My new life.
Thursday, 03.03.2011 - 9:26 pm.

Hi from Temuco! I made it safely and my home for now is a lovely cabin-like B&B. I live in front of some university, a few houses away there's a band rehearsing, and on the corner there's a psychology clinic from said university.

But let's start from the very beggining of my trip: I left my country at about 3 pm on Joseph's birthday, the 28th. He barely crossed my mind, excited as I was. There were no particularly tearful goodbyes from my family, which I appreciated. I didn't really feel like crying much...excited as I was. But yeah, leaving them was hard.

I made it to Panama in two hours. I thought it'd take me three but it turned out Panama is one hour ahead. I waited two more hours to board the next plane, to Santiago. I killed time surfing the web and checking in with people. My flight was full and it was terribly uncomfortable. It was six hours long and I couldn't sleep much.

I'll give myself credit for being so stoic. Even my kidneys hurt but complaining never crossed my mind. I slept little, ate little, drank kind of reminded me of my trip to Costa Rica to see Aerosmith. I changed my watch again: in my country it was 2 am. In Santiago, it was 5 am, March 1st.

Compared to traveling to the US, going south is a breeze in terms of security checks. The only problem was that one of my bags was missing and would probably arrive in the last flight of that day, assuming it wasn't lost.

In retrospective, the airline did me a favor: I didn't have to carry two bags in Santiago. And luckily, the one with me had all the essentials, namely, my deodorant. The rest I could do without, and both bags had clothes. I forgot my toothbrush at home so Brother #3, who dropped me off at the airport, bought me two there, plus toothpaste, even when I told him I had packed both items. Thank the Lord for him: those items were in the missing bag.

Anyway. I took a cab and I made it to the hotel. It was, simply put, delicious in there. I crashed for a couple of hours. I was exhausted and my eyes looked like I'd smoked pot. Also, I forgot the alarm clock Q gave me and I couldn't sleep well thinking I'd oversleep. But I didn't.

The hotel included breakfast and after that, I went out into the city. I was staying in a nice part of downtown and I couldn't believe I was there; I only saw these places on TV. I walked down the street because the hotel and the building I needed to go there were very close. I was going to get my scholarship money but they were requesting my chilean ID...dammit, what the fuck? So I have to get it here, then fly again to Santiago and THEN sign the agreement. Jeez. Such an unnecessary obstacle.

I spent the rest of the day walking in and out of the hotel, going places nearby. I walked around the city, bought a few little things. I was assigned the nicest taxi driver, a woman that gave me advice and showed me several parts of the city. She even came with me to run a few errands in case someone wanted to take advantage of me, a newbie in the country. She said she had a son "my age" (he is 21, I'm 26...lolthnx) and so she was very protective of me. She was an angel.

I had dinner in a diner next to the hotel. I was still having trouble with the currency but I managed. It was 8 pm and the sun was shining...OMGWTF. The bed I slept in did the unthinkable for me: it totally took away my exhaustion. I woke up at 4 am yesterday (March 2nd), this time I asked the people in reception to wake me up, and get me a cab for 4:30 am to the airport. I felt so, so rested and ready to go on with my journey.

At 5 am I retrieved my missing bag and everything was in order. Then I checked in for the domestic flight but it didn't take off until 8:30 am. It was a long wait but I took the time to have a small breakfast in a restaurant and also to surf the web again.

The flight was about two hours long. By then I was getting sick of flying...and I felt like throwing up. It was mixture of the breakfast coffee, the orange juice from the plane and the realization that my life had changed for good. I was about to land in a place that was to become my home. Actually, saying "I want to go home" was not allowed anymore. This was my home now...would I like it?

The airport was pretty much a cabin. I descended from the plane directly to the runway...I just thought, "just like The Beatles did!". It was cloudy and windy, so amazing. I took my bags and walked out of the cabin. Just like that! No customs, no searches, no forms to fill. Of course, it was a domestic flight, but still.

There were two people waiting for me, each of them such a kind soul. One, Nicolle, was the assistant of the master's director. The other guy I have no idea what he was, but as soon as I greeted them, they made me feel welcome and taken care of. Before taking me to the B&B, they gave me a tour and told me about the place.

Temuco is a city, but more like a small town, the type where not much happens. Downtown wasn't so different to the downtown of my cities, only more organized and neat. It doesn't take you more than 20 minutes to go from one extreme of the city to the other by car. The only real attraction is a mountain. There's a little museum, then it's just bars and a mall, a casino, a theater...

They brought me to the B&B, which I adored. I unpacked and slept a little. These have been the longest days of my life, but I wasn't as tired as I thought I'd be. Nicolle came back for me at 1 pm and we rode the bus to the university. She gave me a tour around campus, we talked about each other and our countries, she took me to lunch...the master's director paid for it. We ran into him and I got a chance to meet him. Such a wonderful man. Nicolle is getting her bachelor's degree in psychology but she's involved in so many activities, she's very proactive and lives on her own, so she also needs the money. She had to leave but told me the bus ride home. She also gave me her phone number. I haven't seen her again but I am so grateful to her for showing me around and just being so nice. She'll also help me find a definite place to move in.

I had trouble getting on the bus but in the end I caught the right one and it stopped right by the B&B...thanks to a man that helped me realize where I was. I speak and people ask where I'm from. I know I have an accent, everyone does, but I've never heard it. Later that evening, at 5 pm and the sun shining like fuckin' noon, I walked to a mall that's a few blocks away and bought food. Then I just slept nicely at night. My first night here.

I woke up today and had a long day at the university. I met my master's classmates and letting them know I was salvadorian helped break the ice. We're 18 people and I could tell they started paying more attention as soon as I started speaking to introduce myself. I don't sound like them. But don't get me wrong: I've been welcomed with arms wide open.

Throughout the day I had the chance to get to know my classmates. One of them, Karen, invited me to lunch to her house, after picking up her son at school. I can't believe all this hospitality, have I done something to deserve it? I hope to return the favor one day. Anyway, after lunchtime, I became closer to other classmates, you could say I've made a few friends now. Celeste will help me get my ID and her and two other guys may take me to the mountain on sunday.

So I came home (hehe, home) after my first day of class...I went to the supermarket again and now I'm ready to go to bed. I'm so happy to be here. I do miss my people but you know...I'm so happy where I am. Grateful for the oppportunity, grateful for all the amazing people I've encountered. It feels like I've been here for a long time, not two days. I've gotten lost, I've walked so much my legs are sore (exercise FTW!) but I've also discovered a sense of direction and intuition that I didn't have before.

It gets better: the master's director talked to me today and asked me if I was interested in taking part in some research. I do have to find something to keep myself busy with, my classes are only three days a month. There's plenty of things to do and the library is great. But also...he asked me if I wanted to get my PhD here. Wow. Just, wow. He was impressed by my application and thinks I'm a good candidate...that means, getting my master's AND my PhD at the same time, plus two more years of just the PhD. That means doubling my stay here from two years to four.

He asked if I had a reason to go back to my country, "boyfriend, job...". I'm fucking free. I AM FREE, I still can't believe it. I can do what I want and I have all the time in the world. It all depends on a series of factors, including an additional scholarship, but there you go.

My's all happening. No, really, how come I got all this awesomeness coming my way?

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