So we made it to Chile. The plane rides were an adventure to say the least. My first flight I tried my very best to stay awake so that I would be able to sleep for the next flight. Little did I know I would be sitting next to someone who would not allow for that or to even try to relax, but that is not going to start my trip on a sour note. Customs and immigration were not as scary as I pictured them to be. I am honestly super proud of making it through that and our crazy van drive. (motion sickness does not do me well). Then I arrived at my host families’ house that welcomed me with open arms. As I tried to unpack and use my very little Spanish to talk with my host momma, I start to really feel that I am in Chile. She then takes me and Renee for a walk to a farmer’s market and a small grocery store. We learn some foods and how to interact in the social construct down here. When we get back to the house we both decide a nap is in order. That hour was golden. We met the group for finding our Spanish school and then proceed to find money. When we find a restaurant to have lunch at 4 pm (this will be an adjustment) I order my first legal drink ever and I needed some home cooking so a hamburger. Then me and a few of the girls went exploring. I really am proud of how well I have been holding up but then when we got back home I got sicker than a dog.
After a great nights rest I woke up to probably the best thing as a teacher, sounds of children laughing and getting off the bus for school. My host mom walked me and my roommate to the school and dropped us off like it was our first day of school. I had the nerves to prove it too. Our placement test was nerve racking but the more we went the more comfortable I became. ECELA is nothing like language learning back in the states. It is so much more comfortable. In my conversation class a lot of my Spanish came flooding back and I actually had a few small decent conversations (with only one French word slip up). The lunch at ECELA was my very first Empanada. Empanada es muy bien. Then off to Universidad we went. We stuck out like a sore thumb but were welcomed by everyone with a smile. We had presentations from multiple people involved from the education department and international affairs. They were all so wonderful and full of great knowledge. After, we went exploring to the mall. We did have a little rough patch but that is when I had my “light bulb” moment. Yes, it was awful I thought to myself but I have made it this far nothing is stopping me. And that is when it hit me. I am in Chile teaching, learning, and exploring on my own. I am honestly really proud reflecting to myself about that. Then we went back to ECELA for a BBQ. We had lots of food and conversation. I also broke out of my shell and made a new friend from California who is in the military and I danced (or tried to). Well only two days in and ready for more.