About a year ago this week, I started a class that would last the whole semester but would also be going on a 2 week trip to Chile during spring break. We learned a bit of Spanish (more than I learned in my Spanish class) and a lot of the culture of Chileans. It’s super cheesy, but true, that this class basically changed my life.
(Santiago, from Santa Lucia hill)
We left, and one car ride, two bus rides, and two flights later (18 hours) we were at our hotel in Santiago, the capital city of Chile. We spent three days there, went to fruit markets, a torture center that was active during the dicatorship but is now a rose garden, a mine (outside of Santiago), and one of the three Chilean houses of Pablo Neruda. We eventually visited all three of his houses.
(the famous Neruda eye, hanging outside his Santiago house, built for his third wife)
Then we got into the bus again and rode to Chèpica, where we then did homestays for three days. Chépica was wonderful – it’s a small farm town, about 4 hours from Santiago. Yes, the houses were small but comfortable, all of them were one floor (I think because of the earthquakes) and I was staying with a family whose children had moved out, though the children (grown up now!) visited often with the grandchildren of my host family.
(my host mother, laughing with us as we did the laundry)
Three short days after arriving in Chépica, we left again, this time we headed off to the Vina del Mar area. Our hotel was right on the main street area, and this was the first place in Chile where I heard English spoken by people other than those in our group. It’s a pretty large tourist area, because it’s very close to the beach. We stayed there for three days but also took a day long walking tour of Valparaiso (10 hours. Walking). It was gorgeous as well and if I had my choice, I would live there.
(Valparaiso, I believe from Pablo Neruda’s house there)
(Valparaiso is famous for it’s street art)
After we came home from Chile, slightly more bilingual, more blonde and tan (for me anyways), I started thinking about what I was going to do after graduation. I had less than a year before I graduated, and I didn’t know what I was going to do after December. I had asked the mayor of Chépica if I could work as an English teacher there and got a positive answer – so I started research. And hopefully, my boyfriend and I will be moving there in June.