Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thursday, January 2

Today I woke up early and met up with Jose. We went to the park and sat around and talked for a while. It was nice to catch up with him since we hadn’t seen each other in a while. Then I went home around 1 and started packing for the 10 day Techo Para Chile community service trip I was leaving for that night. Supposedly, we were going to be sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor without even being able to shower for 10 days straight. We were supposed to bring the bare minimum amount of clothes. I packed two backpacks with work clothes to build houses in and not worry if they were ruined, toiletries, 2 packs of baby wipes to “shower” with, and that’s basically it. Around 7, my mom dropped me off in front of Instituto O’Higgins where the bus was coming to pick us up. Katie H (who was also going on the trip) and Daniel met me there. Daniel leaves for New Zealand on January 6, so this was the last opportunity we had to say goodbye to him. I had been really worried that the same thing was going to happen with him that happened with Antonia (she left really abruptly and I didn’t get to say goodbye), so I was relieved to see him one more time. We just kind of hung out in the park outside the school and talked and laughed about old times and how crazy it is that Katie and I are now exactly where Daniel was when we met him—halfway through our exchange. I remember being really impressed by how long Daniel had been in Chile when I first met him and how much he knew about how to get around and how much he had done and now I realize that I know all that stuff too. It was a really sad and also really satisfying wakeup call that I’m not new here anymore. Anyway, when the time came for Daniel to leave, we all hugged and said goodbye and tried not to cry. I think goodbyes with exchange students are the hardest because I might very well return to Chile and see all my Chilean friends again, and I’ll definitely return to California and see my friends there again, but I’ll probably never take a vacation to New Zealand just to visit Daniel, which makes the goodbye a lot more permanent. Anyway, we didn’t have long to be sad because we went into the school and they immediately organized us into the different places we would be going to, and then we played a couple of dorky but fun warm up games and got on the bus for a 10 hour ride to Valdivia in the south of Chile.
I realized immediately that this was going to be a great trip because although I didn’t know almost anyone (just Mery, Rosario, and Katie), everyone was super nice and excited to talk to me and make friends. Katie and I sat together on the bus and after talking to the people around us for a couple hours, they turned off the lights on the bus and everyone went to sleep.

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