It feels unreal. I've been waiting for so long, but it feels like it snuck up on me. I have a flight from Minneapolis to Dallas in the early evening, and then an overnight flight (9 and a half hours long!) to Santiago. There, I'll meet up with other people on my program and we will travel as a group to Valparaíso, about an hour and a half away by bus.
|my approximate route of travel|
All in all, it will be about 19 hours of travel before I make it to the hotel in Valparaíso. I'm sure I'll be exhausted by the time I get there, but we are jumping right into orientation as soon as we get there. We have about a week and a half of orientation before classes start, during which time we'll take some intro classes to learn about the area, get our visas registered with the local police station, explore the city, eat a lot of food, register for classes, and, after a few days, move in with our host families.
I know absolutely nothing about my host family, which is a little bit intimidating. I'm really excited to meet them. I hope I have younger host siblings- I've heard that they can be very helpful in terms of helping you learn the language. I'll know soon enough.
I'm pretty much packed. I'm bringing a medium sized rolling suitcase and a 70L backpacking backpack, as well as my school backpack. I feel like I'm walking the line between bringing too much and too little, so I should be fine. It's hard to anticipate what all I'll need for five months, as well as plan for what may be hard to find down there. I feel like I'm set, though!
It's weird to think how I'll change throughout this trip. I'm sure I'll grow and learn a lot and improve my Spanish, but there's no way to know how much until it's happened. It's especially hard to predict what will happen because I feel like I know so little about my program. We'll just have to see!
So, I'm spending today hanging out with my pets at home, and going to my favorite Chinese restaurant one last time before I leave. Next time you hear from me, I'll be in Chile!
If you have any questions about life at Lewis & Clark, going abroad, or how to fill your time when you have nothing to do at home for two months, shoot me an email! My address is firstname.lastname@example.org.