Guys. Guys. GUYYYYSSSSS.
I’m going back to Chile in four days. That’s like no time at all. That’s so little time that they need to overnight ship your contact lenses to get them in time (that happened today). That’s so little time that if it turns out I’m missing any paperwork…I’m absolutely out of luck.
I’m like 99.9999% sure that all I need is my passport and my boarding passes. Let’s hope.
Four days out and I’ve already got some clothes in my suitcase. There’s some shopping that needs to be done. I’d like new jeans and I need some toiletry stuff to at least get started, so I’m not running to the store my first day there. I also need ot finish up gift buying for the host family. But the fact that I have things organized and even some stuff packed is a huge improvement over last July, when I didn’t have anything packed until the night before. That was a horrible decision. There were tears. Not this time around! I’m gonna get it done by Thursday night, so I can sleep well and not be stressing out Friday morning as I get ready to go to the airport. Good news of today: my airline now allows you to check TWO bags to Chile for free!
It is indeed winter in Chile, and the weather has warmed up enough here that I can actually put away my winter clothes. It was cool for a few days, and it runs a little cool in my house, so I’ve been learning to love layers and hot food and beverages again. It will be summery here right up through my departure. And rainy and cool in Santiago when I arrive!
I’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking, writing, and reading in Spanish lately. Re-immersion is critical. I’ve had a couple of chances to speak it recently, too, and I’m pretty happy with how I’ve done. But it’s one thing to speak Spanish during a Skype conversation with your host family when you know that you can switch into English any time you want, and it’s another thing entirely to be working full-time in your second language. I just need to trust that I’ve done it before, and know that I don’t need to do as much work this time around to get there.
Even if I’m totally packed the night before, Friday will still be a long day. I have to get through security and check my bags first. Then I have my domestic flight. Then I’ve got a few hours to hang out and wander at my connecting airport. Then it’s on the plane for my third eight-hour flight. I will cry when I say goodbye to my parents again. I just will. It’s just how I am. I’ll be done by the time I’m close to security, and then before they even serve dinner on my Santiago flight (which is only about an hour into it), I’ll be sick of the plane and be ready to be in Chile.
So besides all of the travel preparations, I’ve been doing some baking and catching up on sleep. My body loves sleep. Who knew?
On a food-related note: this was supposed to be a reset week before I go back to the land of empanadas and carbs on carbs. Instead, this has been the week of eating ALL the things! (For those of you who don’t know, that phrase comes from this awesome blog. If you don’t like your comedy a little dark and absurd, though, I wouldn’t recommend it.) I mean, at least I won’t be wearing a swimsuit any time soon.
Going back will not be the same as my first time there. My host family has welcomed another gringa into the house. I’ll be in a different room. Work is a lot different from school. I’ll be busy all day long but then I won’t have work to do at night. I’m going to be there with a new group of people. The weather will be worse and daylight hours will be getting shorter. A repeated piece of advice has been to keep my expectations low- not to expect things to be bad, of course, but not to create incredible, specific hopes about what my experience will be like. Nothing ever goes as planned. I love my expectations, of course, but instead I’m trying to remember that this experience will be unique. It will not be like the last time. It will be something new- just in a lot of the same places and with some of the same wonderful people as before.
¡Nos vemos en el camino, po!