Here I am..one year later

Seeing as my last post was about 4 months ago it’s safe to say I’m a terrible blogger. There has been so much I’ve wanted to write down basically since January that I just haven’t had the chance to get around to yet. So much richness in my time in South America and travels throughout the continent that I don’t want to lose before time fades my memory. That being said, I want to commit to updating this blog much more frequently in an effort to document and save all those special memories. Hopefully once a week or 2-3 times a month will be a reasonable goal to start myself off with.

I also wanted to come back to this drafting page soon after my return to the states, but my last month in Chile consisted mostly of traveling, and as soon as I landed in Texas, I hit the ground running. These past few months have been some of the busiest yet, keeping my mind locked in the present and making me come close to forgetting that I was JUST in Chile…not that long ago! I don’t want that to happen.

So, here I am one year and a few months after I first started this blog and much has changed. Normally I am not a fan of change, but I wouldn’t trade any bit of this past year for the world. Chile will always be very dear to my heart for how it shaped me and taught me not only about another culture, but about life in general and the beauty of it in all corners of the world. Living in the hemisphere opposite from everything I knew also taught me much about myself and who I am once you take everything familiar and comfortable away. I grew in ways I had never imagined before, learned things not many people can without living in another country, and found myself reaching for those experiences that had once scared me. I thank God every time I think of it, grateful for the opportunity I had.

My first post in Chile was titled “Here I Am!” and you can find it here. I can remember my first day pretty clearly – it felt rushed and confusing and completely unfamiliar. After my first night in the hostel my room cleared out and I was hit with the worst case of homesickness I’ve ever experienced. In fact, my first week was such an emotional roller coaster with my mood doing a complete 180 after one night of conversation with friendly Brazilians.

Oh how I love Brazilians. 😉 They’re some of the friendliest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met, possesing such a positive energy for enjoying life. Once I made friends I was pretty much over my homesickness and ready to take on the challenges that come with living abroad. It was my now boyfriend Carlos who first showed me how to love Santiago rather than be scared of it and I never lost that feeling!

I remember my last morning in the country my brother and I were picked up at 5am by an airport shuttle at our hostel in San Pedro de Atacama. We drove 2 hours to the airport and watched the sunrise out of our sleepy eyes. I couldn’t close them – couldn’t lose a second of the view of the desert and the soft, traditional music playing in the car. No one spoke during that ride, and I was lost in my thoughts reflecting over the past year. Once in Santiago I stuffed myself too full with delicious empanadas and jugo de maracuyá. One final pisco sour in the airport and my departure was very bittersweet.

So much to say about my relationship with Chile…so much that I treasure and would love to spend hours talking about. But I know long blog posts are overwhelming and often not read so I’ll cut it (kind of) short for now.

Now I am back in Texas, but living in Houston now instead of Dallas. I live with some awesome friends that so graciously let me have the extra room in their apartment! Fun fact – I was Maid of Honor in their wedding. Thanks Kat and Will! My boyfriend, Carlos (my very own Carioca), finally came up here from Brazil in the beginning of August and we immediately moved down to Houston where he is doing grad school at the University of Houston. He also found some roommates not too far from me.

I also found a job in Katy ISD, and I feel very honored to have been hired by this district! I  did my interview over Skype and was hired about 3 weeks before I even got to meet anybody in person. It was an unbelievable relief and joy to have landed a job and get back into the classroom in such a nice district. The teacher life keeps you busy though!!

The funny thing is that before my move to Chile I worked in a school that was over 90% hispanic and I heard Spanish being spoken all the time – I even had parents that only spoke Spanish and required a translator. Now my school has a much much different demographic and the only person who speaks Spanish with me is the custodian who comes in my room after school. The cool thing is once she found out I spoke Spanish she got really excited and is eager to talk to me each time she sees me – I love it! And I desperately need the practice.

So my other goal (besides blogging) is to find more opportunities to keep the Spanish alive. Living in Houston it shouldn’t be too hard, but with the job I have it’s hard to get out there and do much else! I can’t lose the language though…so I have to find a way.

If you were kind enough to read my ramblings, I appreciate your interest! My next few posts will be focused on travels and observations of the country I called home for 12 months of my life.

I’ll keep you posted.

Hugs,
Heidi

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