By Jonathon L., guest blogger studying Spanish and skiing in Santiago, Chile
I am going to take the Dani Duran approach to starting this blog and see where that takes me:
This last week, I basically had to restart my Chile family experience because Morgan had returned to the states, Lauren was living it up in Uruguay and Buenos Aires, and for some ungodly reason, Clau (who normally works from home) happened to have one of her busy weeks where her trabajo is actually filming and she needs to be there to do her thing (I don’t think she is the star but she does some of the behind the scenes work…HOWEVER SHE COULD BE IF SHE WANTED TO!!!)
So having the stilts who had lifted me up throughout my Chilean youth (the first three weeks), I entered into adulthood like a true Gringo…calling my family occasionally, and thinking of them as we separated physically…However I still had my Chilean mama and papa and max and the occassional Clau/extended family members (Pato, Andreina etc.) who came in for dinner and a laugh from time to time, so I turned to a new source of love and affection, and found it at my school. The staff, fellow students and I had all grown fond of each other and they became like a second family to me. (Including of course my 3rd family, who now consisted of two new sisters….never a brother…come on boys, you gotta get out more and travel…) And throughout this week, I entered what all Tawongans know is the window of vulnerability. That time in your life, where you are anticipating a big change, and you tend to let your emotions get the best of you from time to time.
Despite my two new sisters bringing completely new personalities to the table, and sweet loving kindness to the family (albeit in their own less-traditional ways) My heart was not ready to open up to them in the way it had for the first three weeks. While last night, we all curled up into my old king size bed, to look at photos, and google map the places where we grew up! And while my new family may not be the unified indestructable force my previous one was, they are once again my family and we do make a fairly interesting team, to say the least.??But I think what really sealed the deal for my week was my fourth week of school. I took an afternoon class, and a morning class but between my 8 hours of class each day of this past week, I went to lunch everyday with amazing people, jammed during recesses, shared our stories, opinions and jokes, and feared the upcoming end of the week where people would leave because, while we are all happy in our everyday life, we are also happy here, and CHANGE IS SCARY, but like in bunjee jumping, snowboarding and (one day) acupuncture, facing my fears has always been one of the most important elements of my personal growth.
So, I am feeling reminiscent of this last week, as it was an entirely different experience from the previous weeks, while the things I did were fairly identical. Class, lunch with other students, snowboarding, Miércoles Po!, and of course the Almuerzo despedido on friday afternoon. However, this time I was saying my goodbyes to a staff of teachers, administrators, tutors and students who I had grown to love, and I could tell from their uncomfortable laughter, that I too was a valued member of the family. Within my four weeks in Chile, I have learned to love 3 very different very wonderful families. I have learned to cope better with change, however as I am about 30 hours from my final “chau” in this wonderful country, I find myself nervously awaiting the return of one of the original sisters (and Clau being done with work) and for one night and the better part of one day, I will learn to love a new combination of the same people who have made this month incredibly memorable!
Find out more about Spanish and Skiing in Santiago
Read all of Jonathon's blogs from Santiago