Bottom line: I am having the absolute time of my life down here, and the country of Chile holds my heart.
Earlier this week I was beyond overjoyed to play the ever popular sport (basically the only sport here that is important to anyone and everyone) of "futbal", or as we call in the United States, soccer. We were given this opportunity to play at the local park in the city with our classmates from ECELA. Luckily for us, some local Chilean futbal players jumped right on in and joined us. Believe me when I say I am at the complete bottom of the toe Dom pole when it comes to skill in the game, but I cannot tell you just how much fun I had running around kicking the ball (and SCORING FOUR GOALS!) for several hours! I felt like I was truly taking part and experiencing the culture, as crazy as it sounds, because the sport is just that big here.
During my time here I truly have done so much in this short amount of time. One experience that was important to me was our trip to Chile's "White House", where here it is called La Moneda. History and government has always been a strong interest of mine, so going to this sacred building was such a cool experience for me.
*Disclaimer: Several selfies with the security guards at La Moneda may or may not have been taken this time by myself... when in Chile, right?*
Going along with the theory of my odd passion for history, on Thursday we made the trip to the Museum of Memory. Here, we learned about the reality of the history that tremendously effected Chile. I cannot say that the museum was "fun" and "awesome", because the events that occurred that were displayed at this time were not so. The museum was very, very well put together and I truly got an in-depth look at the nation's history. This experience was touching to my heart, and I grew a profound respect to the Chilean people. Growing up in the United States, students often times in schools I believe are sheltered to events that happened or are happening in most of the entire world. Going into this trip, I will honestly sit here and say that I knew absolutely nothing about the history of Chile. Oddly enough, many Chilean people know a great deal about the history of the United States. This finding does not sit too well with me. As people as a whole, the more and more I am exposed to new and different experiences, the more I believe we should be more culturally aware.
Today we ventured to Lo Barnechea where we rode horseback (!!!) for over four hours in the ANDES MOUNTAINS! I hate repeating myself over and over, but honestly I am not kidding when I say it was one of the greatest, most beautiful experiences of my life. We took this one way dirt road up this winding path and it led us to a ranch just completely filled with so many horses, cows, chickens, and of course, dogs. Although my horse was a little (or a little more than a little) stubborn at first, I began to truly love my horse. I think he fit my personality perfectly. My horse decided to stay at the back of the pack with one of the guides where it gave me a perfect opportunity to work on practicing my Spanish as he knows zero English. When we reached the top of the mountain, they cooked an awesome BBQ for us.
Let me repeat this: I had a BBQ cooked for me at the top of the mountains looking into the city.
Basically, today was one of the best days in my twenty years of existence, and absolutely topping any other activity we have done thus far here. I cannot put into words just how incredible today has been. So beautiful, so different, and so captivating.
This, is what I call living the absolute dream.
My time here has really made me more appreciative of the culture here, and has made me appreciate what I take for granted in the United States. At the top of my list but not limit to: a hot shower at my convenience, tap water, and my car. Wow I miss my car. The people here really appreciate nature, and really focus on conservation. I think this is such an awesome quality that we, not as United States citizens, but worldwide, should learn from. Actions such as turning on hot water to shower and turning it off the rest of the time, unplugging charger cords when not in use, turning off lights, no dishwashers, mass use of public transportation as opposed to your own vehicle, smaller portions to avoid waste, are just some of the things that I have noticed here, and I believe are genuinely great qualities that not only I have taken for granted and not appreciated, but ones that we should learn from.
Thank you for following me on my journey as I continue to explore what else this beautiful country has to offer and as I continue to learn more about its culture and myself.
Chao for now!