So today as I went about my normal Friday routine of traveling to and from school on the Metro I had two interesting experiences. The first was when I came around a bend in the hall to the red line and Captain Jack Sparrow was walking the other way. I wanted to ask him to take a picture with me, but he seemed in a hurry. Maybe they were having a sale on rum at the liquor store. Tee hee.
The second experience was when I was coming home. I hopped on the red line and promptly realized I had taken it in the wrong direction, so I got off at the next stop to cross over and take it the right way while feeling a little foolish. A woman approached me as I was heading for the stairs and asked me for directions to another station at the end of the yellow line. I gave her directions, describing how she needed to change lines at the Los Heroes station and follow the yellow signs. She thanked me and went on her way. On the outside I was totally cool as a cucumber, but on the inside I was like
Not only could I effectively and easily understand and answer her question, I looked like I knew what I was doing enough for her to ask me! Woot!
I was bumming about missing the Fourth of July celebrations yesterday because it’s a big celebration in my family, I missed spending time with them while eating tremendous amounts of barbequed food and baked goods and sweating under the July sun (I have no sympathy for you people. It is cold in Chile and they don’t have central heating because it’s too expensive! Protip: Bring warm clothes and learn to layer).
Still, since I can now count the days I have left on my fingers I am trying my best to take advantage of the time that I have left here. In this upcoming week I’ll be running around like a nutcase trying to visit last minute Santiago attractions, say goodbye to friends, buy souvenirs, finish my last assignments, and pack. Wow. Pack. I hadn’t thought of that before I wrote it just now. Now I have visions of my little room as bare as when I arrived and me hauling my big black suitcase out. Nope. Can’t think about that right now.
It’s not that I’m not excited to be home. I do feel like I’ve enjoyed my time here in Chile but now I’m ready to be back in my culture, in my country, in my language, in my home, with my family. I just know that I am about to get back onto that culture shock roller coaster, and last time it made me a little nauseous at times. (Remember when I talked about reverse culture shock? If not check it out here).
Another thing we’ve been warned about is that people are not going to understand when I try to explain this crazy, wonderful, deep, changing, strange experience. Until you spend an extended period of time immersed in another culture and/or language, and I mean living/breathing/existing it as close to 24/7 as possible, you won’t be able to understand and I won’t be able to explain it. I’d really like to continue this experience by helping study abroad students in my university. I know now what it’s like to have no social capital and no idea what’s going on and no one to explain it to you. My Chilean friends, especially my friend Oscar, have been an enormous help this semester with everything from teaching me slang to warning me about cancelled classes. I think helping others in the same situation as I was will help me to make sense of this whole crazy semester and help keep the memory alive.
So, Wheel of Morality lessons of the day: Captain Jack sometimes has to take the metro, I pass as a local now, I’m trying not to freak out, and be a friend to the foreign kid. That’s all for tonight, chau amigos!