Today marks one year since my graduation from Drake University, and 3 months and 3 weeks living in Chile…
How is that possible? Time is flying by… It seems like yesterday that I was leaving Drake. And that it was just last month that I was arriving in Chile. Looking back, this year wasn’t all easy, but it’s been filled with many life changing and rewarding experiences.
Starting with my move back home. Sorry Mom and Dad, but I was dreading it. While I had accepted leaving Des Moines behind, I was everything but enthused to be heading back to the suburbs and living under the same roof as my parents. It was quite the transition. In addition, it was the weirdest feeling to know that you’re on the brink of an adventure. But, at the same time, stuck where you are. The first few months were the hardest… especially as I watched each of my friends begin their next steps.
However, once I adjusted, life really wasn’t that bad. And, I will admit… I actually enjoyed it. Besides the obvious benefits of being rent free, and having my own bathroom, this was the longest amount of time I had spent with my family since moving away to school. I had forgotten what Sunday dinners were like, going on runs with Dad, and weekend visits to the eastern market. It felt good to be home.
But once winter hit I was ret to go! Cold and bored was not a good combination.
The first month in Chile was strange. I was so happy to be here, AND it was summer! The sun was shining, and every day was perfect beach weather. But at the same time, I was in unchartered territory. This wasn’t my first time in Chile, I spent 5 months living in this same town almost 3 years ago as an exchange student. However, even though I’m sorta studying abroad now, my experiences are completely different. I moved to Chile for my Fulbright, to work and have an academic adventure. (I know that might sound lame, oh well!)
It felt strange that first month because although things were strangely similar, I still felt like a foreigner. While so much was the same, so much was different. I no longer was living with a host family, most of my friends were no longer living in Chile, and my lovely study abroad program was not there to support me, or explain the complicated things like registering my visa.
Even though things are different, transitioning to life in Chile has been easy. Especially when the month of April was filled with people coming to visit me. I am very fortunate to have friends and family that were willing and able to travel at least 10 hours to come see me in my new home. Amazing college friends trekked all the way here to go to Lollapalooza and drink wine with me. Then my siblings came so I didn’t have to spend Easter alone. (And to see some glaciers and go white water rafting)
After spending most of April gallivanting around Chile with friends and family, it was time to get into a routine. After a few melt downs about my Fulbright Project, and conquering the fear of my advising professor, I am finally on the right path! My project will be a lot of hard work, but once it’s done it will be very rewarding.
A year ago I was sad to be closing one chapter of my life. Today, I’m happy. Excited. Thrilled & Fortunate. Although transitioning can be difficult and overwhelming, which it was, I could not have asked for a better year in transition. This past year has been filled with many important and meaningful memories.
Almost every day I stop and smile. I could not be happier that this is my life, that I am living in Chile, and following a dream. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, or what the future has in store for me. But for now I’m content on just being happy, making new friends, enjoying good wine, and trying new things.
So here’s to life and being happy! I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me, and I can only hope the next 7 months in Chile will go this well.