The rest of the days were variations on the same theme... relaxing in our new Cabaña that we moved in to after two of our Concepción buddies arrived, cooking elaborate breakfasts, hanging out on the beach and working on getting even more tanned, eating at new restaurants, enjoying the last few bottles of Chilean wines and generally lounging about blissfully. The last day was the perfect weather. 80 degrees, lots of sunshine and people around the tiny town center.
I realized just how much I would miss Chile. It had become a home for a beautifully long month, but suddenly that time seemed too short. I can't say I wasn't looking forward to being in Cincy again... this would be my last winter in the country... but I was really going to miss this new home we had created for ourselves.
I learned so much about the country and it's people. Chilean culture is an interesting mix of gregariousness, fortitude, cautiousness and curiosity, to mention just some of the qualities they possess. So much can be learned from their culture and lifestyles. The miners taught us an important lesson in courage and patience down in the mines while we waited in the dark; the children at the day-care taught us how to take pleasure in the simple things in life; the host families taught us how to better prioritize our life; the people we came in contact with taught us how to be open and friendly towards everyone. The bonds I have formed with everyone – whether talking to someone on the street for a couple of minutes or with my host sister late into the nights – will last forever, and it continues to amaze me how much the people and the culture touched my heart in such little time.
This trip enabled me to not only learn from the Chileans, but also from my colleagues, and has already impacted me positively in so many ways. Through this trip, I was able to discover and explore different topics, personalities, and even facets of myself. Being in Chile for an extended period of time allowed me to peep into a different culture and really learn about the people of the nation; this is something simply visit to the country would not have equipped me to do, and I am glad we had the opportunity to delve into these issues and analyze them to bring out new perspectives and expand our horizons. This trip has enable us to become true global citizens of this world.
I will miss so much about the country. I don't know if I will ever be visiting Chile again, but I do know that the people have touched my heart deeply and I will always have fond memories of this trip.
I can't say goodbye, but I will say this... Chile, te amo!