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Probably My Last Post

Thursday, December 22, 2011

One of my novice crew coaches liked to say that while any cardio is good cross-training, the best is running.  ¨There´s nothing quite like running – it´s just so damn efficient.¨  That´s how I feel about living abroad.  Anything new makes you grow, but damn, this route sure is efficient at making you a grown-up.  The last thing I want to do is offer unsolicited advice — I recently suffered that experience with a gringo aquaintance in Palena (who also told me “not to worry” about not having a boyfriend) — so I’m not preaching, just speaking from my experience.

When I picture myself landing in Chile on Febuary 1st, I think, aw, que niñita [what a little girl].  It´s a sweet feeling, not condescending.  But I have grown.  While I guess there are plenty of tangible skills I´ve gained  (Spanish, teaching, wood-chopping) there are plenty I still lack (like avoiding getting a sunburn — it hurts to be wearing jeans right now).  The growth, I feel it in my spine: I am stronger and also much more flexible.  Mostly, eleven months later, I am better at taking care of myself, which really comes down to knowing what I need and want.  I don’t know precisely what I want in the future, but at 23, most of the time I know exactly what I want on the day-to-day level — a quite night, a social night, a spin around the block.

And as to Chile, traveling this week, especially returning to Chile from Argentina, I´ve realized I really do love this country.  Sometimes, I think this has more to do with my humanity that with Chile; that is, my affection for Chile is a simple reflection of our instinctual tendency to attach and to love.  I could just have easily lived in Argentina for a year — in fact, Buenos Aires was high on my dream list — and then che and voz would be normal, po and wn strange.  But we are programmed to love, and I lived in Chile, so it is Chile I love.  This attachment business is the fact that makes me want to live abroad again, and simultaneously makes me fear it, because as I am currently experiencing, leaving love hurts.

What next?  I´ve changed my answer, from being sure of TESL February to just vacationing January.  I need to be in one place and see what arrives.  I need to stare at the walls of my childhood home, to laugh with my sister, to cook with my mother, to go out for breakfast and pizza with my dad, to talk for hours with my dear friends, not on a computer screen but by my side.

I have lived so much living in the past year.  The past two weeks have packed more raw human experience than ever before in my life — more despair, elation, and recently, a surprisingly peaceful, yet equally strong emotion: pride.  I am proud of surviving winter without central heating, of milking a goat, of teaching damn-good lessons in a damn-awful school, of not losing anything in my travels.  More than anything, I am proud of taking this leap, of boarding a plane January 1, 2011 to arrive in a town I could barely locate on Google Earth.  I am so glad I took the chance.  Proud and grateful — so very grateful for my family, the luck of the emotional and material foundation that allow me able to stretch, further and further.

I am writing this post from Dunkin’ Donuts in the Santiago airport (one of two places with wifi — the other was Starbucks), and it’s time to buy a snack and then camp out with my Kindle at the gate (I’m reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, really fun).  As my title states, this is probably my last post.  I will post here if and when I start another blog, but I think this is the end of Latitude 43.  Thank you for reading!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. nancy permalink
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 9:27 pm

    To read this last post is an inspiration. You capture some of the feelings I had on my return to Boston from a year in Italy. You say it all: Keep exploring the world, keep attaching and keep loving. It will take us far and wide and right back home inside ourselves. Hope to see you before next Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to talk to you in person. Big hug and ben tornata! Nancy (of Nik and Nancy)

  2. Amanda Keammerer permalink
    Thursday, December 22, 2011 11:41 pm

    Awwwww! Sounds like you experienced an amazing journey, my friend – one that you will not soon forget. 🙂 Proud of you for sticking it out and stirring it up and living it out to the fullest!

    • Friday, December 23, 2011 6:12 pm

      Thanks, Amanda! I hope you are doing well in your own journeys!

  3. Eliza permalink
    Friday, December 23, 2011 6:28 pm

    Yes! All so good to hear!

  4. sally chapdelaine permalink
    Saturday, December 24, 2011 8:16 am

    You are an amazing 23 year old soul.I thank you for sharing your experiences with us.It has been a privilege to follow your courageous journey.Welcome home.Your family must be estatic!!

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