So I just want to apologize for dropping of the face of the planet for a little while.... sometimes that's just how I roll ;) The 2 final weeks I had in Santiago after classes finished were such a blessed, relaxed time, where people encouraged me, hung out with me and fed me :) For those of you who helped make my last 2 weeks in Chile so amazing I just have to take the time here to say thank you. Your kindness and friendship mean more to you than you may ever know.
One highlight of my final days was getting to spend time with me wonderful new friend Megan. She also goes to Humboldt but surprisingly we didn't know each other before our time in Santiago together. Because of the way the cookie sometimes crumbles we found ourselves a little more removed from USAC groups. Once Madie found her incredible group of friends within the USAC people and Bryan (whom I'm now dating :) left for Myanmar I wasn't really sure how my final days in Santiago would look. I obviously had a wonderful group of friends within my small group (loved our christmas party together!) and always feel very encouraged whenever Bryan and I talk about I felt weird having spent 4 months with the USAC people and by the end not really close to them. Megan came at the perfect time. Also feeling a bit outside the circles that naturally developed we found we related to each other on a lot of levels and started up a new friendship that we we were sad developed so late in the semester. She won't be in Humboldt in the Spring because she has another semester in Chile, but I know that as the semester picks up I'll be looking back on our evening stroll up San Cristobal (The warm super breeze, the full moon, etc) and our day trip to the coast where we spent some long, glorious, warm, hours laying on the beach.
On Sunday my friend Angie and her kids Victoria (2), Ben (4), and Nico (6) took me into their home for the week. Gosh did I enjoy my time with this family. Taking pictures, playing, watching star wars, cuddling, getting fed: YES PLEASE. I felt so welcomed and at home. It was a great way to get outside of the city and experience a different side of the Chilean culture. Angie is American but her kids are part Chilean and all born in Santiago. Angie is a lawyer but in Santiago she teaches law and does some consulting. She brought me right into her life and let me tag along to Christmas parties, Christmas programs, and lunches. I felt it was an unfair trade for her but she insisted that she enjoyed having me around just as much as I liked being there. The day before I flew out I got to go with her and the kids to the Valpo, a city on the coast, and see some sights I'd missed on my other visit to the artsy, dirty, beautiful, harbor town. I got to ride a boat around the harbor and take a few old rickety funiculars up the hill to see breathtaking views of the harbor and coast. I think the cherry on the already awesome cake was when we sang Christmas carols in the car as we drove back to Santiago.
My flight back to California was pretty uneventful. Long and uncomfortable, but I was chill and happy. To be honest, as much as I loved my time in Santiago, I was ready to be home. The sadness of leaving was fairly dulled by my excitement. I have no doubt that I'll, God willing, visit Chile again someday, but it isn't a place I feel attached to in a long run way. It's an incredible place I once lived and I'm happy to have it as such. I feel like a different/stronger person after 4 months. When I got home it didn't feel like I was gone that long even though the beginning of the semester in Chile seems so long ago. So much can happen in 4 months, friends are made, friends move on, sites are seen, experience gives wisdom, and in the end you see that it all, in the end, turned out ok. And even the way it was supposed to be. I mean I got another wonderful Church family, Santiago Community Church, great older peers who offered me such advice and encouragement, and Bryan.
The blessing that Bryan has been is hard to explain. Neither one of expected anything to happen, or had a relationship lens placed upon the other, but the more we spent time together the happier we became, and the more right it began to feel. It was natural and comfortable, and we are both glad we took down our walls a little bit in order to take a chance. No guy has ever treated me like he does, like I'm worth it ever second, and he tries, man how he tries. The long distance is hard, I miss him every day, but I've never worried because with him I feel so much trust that he will be there as much as he can and do what he said he will do to make it work, that all doubt is gone. As much as new relationships are scary we are excited and that feels awesome. My next big adventure is heading out to Myanmar in March to see him and I don't think I can convey fully how FREAKING EXCITED I AM. I'm all over the place sometimes.... but I don't think I want it any other way!
Now being home for the holidays has been everything I had expected and more. Even if I wasn't fully into church (which I am) I think I'd go just for the hugs. Man, has it been incredible to see everyone. The older I get the more I realize how great my family is. I got to meet my brother's "new" girlfriend and I hope she sticks around because her influence on my brother has been incredible. Her 2 boys are just as great and for those of you who know how much I've wanted nephews, you'll know how STOKED I am. My sister has a new job she loves, my niece is in that fascinating pre-teen age that all the rest of us girls of the family (including me) have no idea how to relate to, and my mom is feeling better than ever having lost 30 pounds! There is some drama and pain when it comes to my oldest brother's family but it seems it's in times hands. My family here has done a pretty good job dealing with all of it but since I just got home, it feels pretty fresh, and I'll need a bit more time to coup/forgive. I'm trying tho.
All in all, I'm incredibly happy now and I'm incredibly happy for the future. So much goes through my head these days but it's good. A lot is going on in my life but I don't feel overwhelmed (most of the time), just blessed to do all I do, know all I know, and be loved by/love all the people in my life. As I prepare for my final semester of college (5 classes, competitive frisbee, work, new boyfriend) I feel so confident about it all that I'm even surprised. I didn't used to transition like I do now but being all over the place this year gave me patience, a more relaxed temperament, experience, and a continued growth in my hope for the future. All super magnificent if you ask me. So much is going on this probably will seem long to you but shallow for me as I try to share a piece of myself with you all. But hey that's what I got God for, to share with, and have someone who knows me better than I know myself :) For those of you that took the time to read this, I love you and appreciate you deeply
Merry Christmas and happy new year everyone!