Until Next Time!

on social media, my daily interactions are almost entirely with Chileans, with my roommate, the people at the grocery store, and my team at the non-profit where I work. 

There's one other major difference I have come to realize during this particular journey abroad. For the duration of my travels in past years, I was acutely aware of the foreignness and temporary nature of my experience “living” abroad. During those trips, in which I was gone for two to four months at a time, I always had a place in the U.S. to return home to, either a dorm room or the house I was renting between years of graduate school. I made friends with people in the new country, but these relationships didn’t hold the same depth as those friendships I cultivated with people in the U.S.  

On this trip, though, I’ve been in Chile for five months, which is longer than I’ve ever been outside the U.S. I don’t have a dorm room or house to return to in the U.S. Rather, I rent an apartment under my own name here in Chile. I know only two expats in Santiago. The rest of my interactions are with Chileans. Perhaps most importantly, I have formed friendships here in Santiago that have the same depth and sincerity as the connections I have with friends back in the U.S. The Coronavirus may have thrown a massive curveball into the plans I originally set my sights on during my year in Chile, but despite the pandemic, my goal to fully integrate myself and cultivate a real life in this new country is being realized. My life in Chile doesn’t feel like a constant adventure in a foreign land as some of my previous experiences abroad have. Santiago feels like my home.