Cold winds, warm welcoming embraces and romantic poetry; different styles, different food, different money, these summarize the first weeks in Chile but, despite it all, the smiles are not so different from those of Texas
My first days in Chile were not as hard as I thought they would be other than freezing winds that felt like they could blow over a house and the surprising realization that their consideration of spicy food is bbq sauce; not exactly my perception of Hispanic culinary tastes after growing up in South Texas where Habanero, Serrano and Jalapeño are used to add flavor and heat to so many things. Not here. Getting used to the transportation was also a little brutal until Ximena, our master of all things Chile, helped me get a Metro card allowing me to take the train which is so much easier than trying to catch buses that always seemed to be full when I need them and would never stop for me no matter how hard I tried to wave to them that I needed a lift.
Chile has many unique features that are new and exciting for me. The ocean is a constant presence no matter where you are in the twin cities of Valparaiso or Viña del Mar. And huge murals and multi-colored houses decorate the hills overlooking city.
So many new friends have been made here and in so little time. And yes, they are different, but not so dissimilar from those I left behind in Texas. The main difference is my ability to understand their Chilean Spanish. But the silver lining is that apart from being friends, they are also my teachers. And not just in words and pronunciation but in customs, styles, foods, traditions and so much more. I am lucky to be surrounded by so much kindness and warmth. It’s going to be a Texas sized challenge making sure I give as good as I get. But I think I am up to it and I’m looking forward to making sure that happens!
That’s it for now but y’all stay tuned because there is likely to be an adventure or two ahead that you may be interested in hearing about.