Ever since the retreat my life seems to have moved into yet another phase that will in the end, along with the others, make up the whole wonderful picture that is my experience here in Chile. The retreat seemed to center me and while I am still processing a lot (in my usual pensive, self-reflective way) it seems I have become more natural in my movement through life. If that makes sense? In less poetic terms I could say that I'm feeling more stable and level headed. Unfortunately, and this is something I know is natural, I still seem to struggle with feelings of loneliness. And this is something I will probably have to continue to work on.... I don't want this to make people believe that I don't have some of the most amazing personal relationships here. So maybe I should correct myself and say that I have more of a longing, instead of loneliness. Ya that is much better. I'm a full advocate for strong single women changing the world but I can't say that watching others around me start to pair off, get engaged, get married, have babies (At this point in my life the thought of all that anytime soon makes me severally uncomfortable...) doesn't affect me a little or that I don't sometimes dream about the day (if or when this day comes) that I'll get to travel around with my best friend :) Hopefully someone that can keep up! So all this to say... well I'm not sure what. Maybe just that, whatever role I end up playing, be it aunt, best friend, wife, mother, employ, boss, etc. that I hope I do it well, that in the end it makes someone's life just a little brighter, and (selfishly) the ones I care about most (mostly God) proud.
Monday found me still pretty wiped from the weekend but still just as happy as a clam. After class I had lunch with Madie and then headed up to have my wonderful always chill monday afternoon. It's a great way to start my week, blogging, catching up on hw, going on a run, watching How I Met Your Mother, etc. Tuesdays are one of my more long days because I don't usually get home until late. I don't have my test back from my Latin American Cultures class yet but I'm almost positive I rocked it and with the weather having been so nice all week I have throughly enjoyed my afternoons around Santiago. If only it would stay this way and not get any hotter.... sigh. As some people know I've been having big issues in getting my package that my mom sent me. This package is import because it has my replacement lens (I haven't been able to use my canon in 6ish weeks...) and the dress I ordered before I came to Chile that I wanted to wear for my bday. Madie and I spent the early afternoon working our way over to the Cento post office to try and track it down. After standing in the wrong line for what seemed like forever, being told we stood in the wrong line and sent to an empty window around the corner, we were sent away empty handed (with my minimal spanish I think she said I needed to have the letter telling me to come pick up the package and this left me pretty peeved) I headed off to volunteer pretty frustrated but hopeful that my package could still be received in time for my birthday. Volunteering was ok, we had planned on making bread (using the easy recipe that I used with the kids on sunday) but only 2 boys were home that afternoon so we played Uno (with some of the weirdest rules) and then played a little bit of hide and seek. Then it was onto dance class, which I was excited for since I had missed the week before due to the food poisoning. We did salsa, tango, and finished with a super fun dance from the Dominican Republic. Blanking on the name but it definitely had some sas! After class, a group of us went to get a after dance drink and I throughly enjoyed sharing a pitcher with some people in the USAC program that I don't always have the privilege of spending a lot of time with.
I love wednesdays around here, and this one this last week was what I like to call a TLC day. Well to be fair this whole week has sort of been me focusing a little more on taking care of myself in all ways. But it was my birthday week, I felt it was a good of time as any. After class Madie's conversation partner treated us to lunch. On our way we passed a group of protesters and came uncomfortably close to a tear gas cannon but drove through unharmed and glad to be heading away from that part of town for a little bit. We went to this cheap, and pretty bomb, sushi place and in hind site (because I had already eaten lunch) I regret not getting a role. We passed the beautiful afternoon enjoying each others company, poking fun, and busting up while reading a book about Chilean slang. A lot of it is pretty hilarious and some of it is pretty dirty. Madie and I topped off the afternoon with me FINALLY getting my hair cut and doing our toe nails. I don't have girly times like that very often so its nice to have Madie around to encourage it. I showed up at bible study feeling pretty stinkin' good and left feeling even better. I walked home with Janet (She suggested it instead of taking the metro home) and Keith joined us because he had a pretty uneventful day. While I was, and have been, very happy, there were some things I'd been chewing on and it was nice to talk a bit of it out with them as we strolled through the warm Santiago night. I talked about my feelings about being half way through my time here already and how I missed a lot of the people/things here before they're even gone. I shared the analogy about important people in your life being stepping stones and how that often helps me with goodbyes. I also spoke a little bit about my excitement and anxiety for the up coming birthday festivities. We also talked about whither we thought we were introverted or extroverted, what animal we would be if we could be, and different ways people learn. Loved it.
Thursdays kept the great day trend right on track. After class I met with me conversation partner Nicole and we lounged in the park talking about music. We then headed over to her "faculty" to hang out with her other friends (most of which I had met) and play some ping pong. Man I love ping pong! I even got to toss a frisbee around in the courtyard. Look forward to spending some more time with that group of Chileans because they are also so friendly and cool. Next week I think Nicole and I are hitting up a museum. So this is the part of the day that really gets fun :) Madie had chosen that afternoon to give me the surprise my mom and her had been planning. I honestly had no idea what it was and after I said goodbye to Nicole and hurried off to meet Madie I was pretty anxious. Was it a thing? Was it an activity? Are other people involved? I got off the metro and was greeted by Madie and 4 or 5 others belonging to the "some of my favorite people here" group. We walked about a block down and out front of a department store Madie covered my eyes and led me slowly through. When I opened my eyes I was standing in the guitar section! They got me a guitar! One of the guys, Jack, who is a music major and guitar lover helped Madie pick it out and I now have a guitar sitting in the corner of my room that I'm going to play as soon as I finish this :) After the surprise Madie and I went shopping because I now needed a dress to replace the one I was pretty sure wasn't going to come in time for my birthday. I also bought a shirt that as soon as I picked out knew I was going to buy and as soon as I picked out Madie wanted to throw something. Its the type of shirt she has been looking for since she got here and I only slightly regret seeing it first. I told her I'd let her borrow it.
After a much needed, and hilarious, coffee shop homework session, her and I parted ways and I went to meet with my small group for pizza. This was so great! Laura's parents are in town and because they wanted to meet all of Laura's friends from church they treated us to dinner. We spent almost 3 1/2 hours laughing, eating delicious pizza, and sharing. I strummed a little bit on my guitar while people chatted and got lots of 21st birthday encouragement. Laura's parents were just great and you could see that hanging out with a younger crowd was bringing out their more youthful sides. I went to bed very late this night (late night phone call from friend worth taking the time for) and got up friday promising myself a nap. Never got it. Spent the afternoon with my host madre, she offered to come fight on my behave (which was awesome because she is fiesty and it got her out of the house) for my right to my package. Between stops into the post office I went and had lunch with her and her friend (middle aged Chilean women are fascinating) in this simple and typical Chilean restaurant that looked out onto Plaza de Armas. Very cool and very beautiful. After more time at the post and one of the head guys making about 20 phone calls, we finally tracked down my package, which got mislabeled at the airport and has been lost in the system ever since. We were told we may be able to pick it up at a different post the very next day. We couldn't... it now is looking like tuesday pick up. Didn't get the package in time for my bday but anything worth having is worth waiting for I suppose.
This now wraps up my week and puts us at the beginnings of my birthday weekend! A blog about all that awesomeness coming soon!