Walking to my homestay several times every day, I’d pass this sign etched into the corner of a building near my apartment. It translates into:
No day is more important than today…Smile.
What a lovely reminder that often me jolted out of feeling tired, ruminating about the busy day or the next scheduled event for that day, or a multitude of other thoughts that can clutter the mind with unnecessary junk. I don't know who owns this building or was so thoughtful to put such a profound reminder of why we are here (Smile, Laugh!) but thank you wise person.
On Thursday Universidàd Mayor (our higher ed partner in Santiago) hosted a lovely farewell reception for us. It’s hard to believe that three weeks have slipped by so quickly. When we first arrived, it seemed like the month of June stretched out before us, and now that out time is coming to a close we’re left scratching our heads wondering where the days and weeks went. We first sat in a large circle and spent time sharing some of the personal experiences and impressions of Santiago the city, and the many classes, events, and schools we visited.
Some things that stand out to me included the kindness and comradery of the students, warmth and natural affection between students and their teachers (and us as visitors), and how openly we were welcomed into all of the classes & schools we visited. BSC Students also noted how well “taken care of” they felt by their Universidàd Mayor classmates, with them organizing several home visits, numerous tours to city attractions as well as some late-night dancing and karaoke outings thrown in too.
I also have to give a shoutout to my 3 roommates in Santiago: Kelly, Karly, and Anna (from Great Britain). We turned 1443 Providencia into the apartment from Friends (sort of) despite a bit of weirdness--or perhaps because of it. The three of you were lovely to share a space with for 3 weeks and reminded me of why I actually do like living with people, even though I've lived alone for the past 12 years. Thank you for not being annoying roommates, you know I don't put up with any nonsense!
Friday was our last day at our language school, ECELA, and in the afternoon we had a graduation ceremony at which we were each presented with a certificate by our teachers. It was a touching and heartwarming event and a nice way to culminate the experience.
While the students went horseback riding in the afternoon, Pixita and I decided to try out this funky little vegan restaurant called Pepperland that many of the our ECELA classmates had been raving about. We reflected on what a fantastic trip it had been (despite the usual minor bumps and blips), and how proud we were of the Buffalo State IPDS students as a group and how well they represented the School of Education. I reminded Pixita that this is what she built, and I hope it’s as fulfilling to her to see it come to fruition almost a decade later as it has been to be a newer part of it for the past 4 years. I can only imagine what the next 10 years will bring and the opportunities for growth as the world gets smaller and smaller (more humans, cheaper flights, and the internet).
As much as I will miss Santiago, I know our partnership with continue to deepen and flourish in the coming years.
Thanks to all for following this blog, and commenting, and I look forward to the next adventure!
P.S. Angela Patti-You da real MVP, you commented on every blog, every post. It did not go unnoticed ;-)
P.S. one of my furry children is very happy to have a llama rug to curl up on this winter.
I am a citizen of planet earth and am excited to see as much of it as possible in this lifetime.