An emotionally-draining odyssey in Santiago.
Tuesday, 03.29.2011 - 11:30 am.

I can't believe it's been so long since I last updated! I have my reasons but it's great to write again. Right now I'm in bed, physically and emotionally exhausted from the trip to Santiago yesterday and I have to be brief. I probably won't, but, you know.

I didn't update mostly because Jake stayed home everyday last week. He brought a kitty on sunday night, curiously, after he was bit by a stray dog. He stopped by his friend's vet's clinic to be checked on and see if further attention was needed (it was a superficial bite), and he brought the cat because anyway he meant to bring her home over the weekend.

But that was not the reason he stayed home. He came down with a flu. It wasn't so bad but I kept postponing writing until he got better, which he never did during the week. I got busy with readings for class, this crazy kitty named Marla and housework. It was a very uneventful week, anyway. If anything, I made an annoying trip to do my laundry and I got to talk to my family on Skype: my parents, my sister, my brothers...that was good.

My trip to Santiago yesterday reduced me to tears in the end, although mostly it was nice. I hopped on a bus at 11:57 pm on sunday. It took 8 hours to get there from where I live but I slept all the way there, and unlike my trip to Costa Rica to see Aerosmith, I had a comfortable bed-seat. I didn't sleep that well but it was a significant improvement.

In Santiago, a friend of Jake was waiting for me. I don't think it was that necessary but I appreciate it. Jake told me over and over about the metro stations, the streets, the precautions, everything. I got a little lost at the metro station after getting off the bus, it was my first time in one, but he gave me his metro card and his friend's phone number.

I met with her on a corner near a metro entrance, with a shivering dog sleeping nearby (breaks my heart everytime). We walked to her apartment, from where you can see the Andes, and where she made me breakfast and let me use the bathroom to wash up a little. Two friends of her and of Jake's were crashing there, they were in the city to attend concerts. U2 had played over the weekend, Ozzy Osbourne was playing last night, I think. Damn.

She walked me to the station again an hour later, 9:30 am, and I made it to the Foreign Affairs building downtown without trouble. At last, I signed my agreement and attended a welcome ceremony. I was hoping to make it out at 12 pm. My bus was leaving at 1:30 pm and I had yet to meet with a compatriot I knew from Twitter (LOL).

This ceremony was for people from all over Latin America that were granted the scholarship to Chile. It was interesting, pretty moving, really, and I enjoyed it very much. I made a friend from Ecuador and I found someone from my own country, though I'd met him before in a meeting at the Chilean Embassy.

The guy in charge of all this, however, tells me that here's another event at 3 pm and I must attend it. My heart sank and I told him I had to take a bus home in the afternoon. He insists it's important and I hold my anger because they're the hand that feeds me but they never mentioned anything at 3 pm. They only sent an invitation for the ceremony at 11 am.

I was worried but put a smile on my face at the cocktail afterwards, and I met the embassador of my country and took a collective picture with the Chilean minister of foreign affairs. I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have, because I was thinking what to do. And I wasn't the only one. Many of us had travelled from other regions with a different schedule in mind.

I contacted Jake he and said he'd look into it. In the meantime, I decided to stay for the important meeting (scholarship terms, health insurance), since I was already there and there were other options. While I waited for Jake's response, I met with C, a compatriot about my age who is lives and studies in Santiago.

We got a little lost from each other but we finally met at a square. We went for lunch and had a great conversation. In the middle of it, Jake contacted me and said he'd book me in a 7:15 pm bus, which sounded great. C took me back to the building for the 3 pm meeting but said he could meet with me again to take me to the bus station (it was a different one) afterwards so I wouldn't get lost. I always find such angels.

The meeting lasted two hours and while I was glad I stayed, I was starting to feel exhausted and I had a headache. I made my way out of the building and met with C again. He took me to make a quick trip to a museum and had a wonderful time. We then headed to the metro station and after a tiring walk, I got the ticket Jake had bought for me. C said he wouldn't leave me until he made sure I got it. It was 6:50 and I said goodbye to C, until we meet again, who knows when but possibly in Santiago. I couldn't thank him enough for taking the time to be with me and look out after me.

I waited. And waited more among crowds. Busses came and went. I waited some more. Jake called me at 7:45 and I told him the bus never showed up. He said he'd forgotten to tell me, the final destination of the bus wasn't my own so it probably wouldn't be announced. I got this pit in my stomach and I hated him so much for forgetting such key information. I felt like crying.

There was a solution, actually, I was just too exhausted from running around non-stop since the early hours of the day in a crowded city I don't know. I went to ask to the counter where I got my ticket and yes, the bus had left at 7:20. The guy wouldn't change my ticket and had me pay the difference to get a similar deal. That was the 9:15 bus. He gave me the ticket and the details of the bus and looked at me like I was an idiot and not a foreigner. And later, I realized he'd charged me more than the real difference between both tickets. For some reason, I think he did it to prove I'm an idiot.

I was crying silently as I paced the platforms, worried I'd miss it again. I was pissed off at the agency for making me (and others) change my schedule over something that was their responsibility to inform, for not having the minimun amount of courtesy and consideration for all of us traveling from other regions. Most inmediately, I was sorely pissed off at Jake for not telling me about the bus...that was pretty much the last straw and I couldn't deal with it.

I went to a caf´┐Ż nearby and bought awful french fries and soda, as if I needed such garbage. I had watery eyes and a knot in my throat that wouldn't let me swallow. I stayed there just killing time and fighting off tears. The sun dissapeared.

Then I went back to the platform...just eight seats for so many bus stops. It was less crowded than earlier but I still had to seat, my knees and feet were killing me. I sat on the dirty floor, leaning against a column, and wept quietly some more, out of sheer frustration.

Finally, the bus, my bus arrived. I asked at what time it'd get to my city, the nice old man said that at 6 am. Ah, fuck. Whatever. Jake kept calling me, I assumed, to ask me at what time he should be waiting for me, but I just didn't want to talk to him. If I wasn't so exhausted and I knew my way around better, I thought, I could just arrive without telling him and take a cab home. I only texted him, 6 am.

And I finally sat down, a seat on the 2nd floor of the bus, and I looked out the window. A voice inside me, out of nowhere, asked me, "could it be that, on top of everything, you were very scared?". And I broke down looking out the window. Yes, I was so scared. I was so scared I'd be stranded there for the night.

I was scared and I felt so alone.

The bus picked up more passengers at another station and eventually we were on our way and I fell asleep. I was then afraid I'd miss my stop, but other people were going there too, and anyway, they're supposed to let you know when you get there. I slept badly but at least time went by relatively quickly.

When I got off the bus this morning at 6 am, Jake was waiting for me outside of it...really, pretty much outside the door. A mixture of anger and gratefulness came over me and I didn't hug him or kiss him, I just told him to get me home. He'd brought a bag with my coat, my hat, my gloves...thoughtful motherfucker, eh? I didn't take them but I thanked him, wholeheartedly; he's like that, you know. We took a cab, where I also fought back tears while looking out the window.

I came home and barely cleaned up a little and got ready for bed, drank a lot of water and broke down again in the bathroom. I barely talked to Jake or even looked him in the eye but he was worried and hugged me, and said he underestimated my trip. He made me milk, got me lots of blankets and took Marla away because she plays with everything in my bedroom.

And I just woke up, like an hour ago. I rested well and things don't look so bad now but I still feel frustrated and if I recollect how scared I was (and I didn't even know it, I was just trying to make it through), I still feel like crying. Jake left me a note, saying again he undesestimated the trip but congratulating me for being so brave. He also put a blanket on my window so the sunlight wouldn't bother me.

Speaking of Jake, the sex subject kept being awkward. After I wrote my last entry, we tried to do it again and he just went in and out. It angered me but I didn't say anything...neither did he. The morning after, I was pissed off at many things, mostly the agency's fault, but after a bit of soul-searching, I discovered that I was angry at him, too. Not for not, um, performing well per se, but for acting like everything was all right.

I thought of ways to bring up the subject. I didn't even dare. That day, monday, went by. Tuesday, too. Then he was sick and we wouldn't sleep together, which was a perfect way for me to avoid everything all together. I wasn't even attracted to him anymore.

The night I left for Santiago, we took a nap together and I decided to give it a try. He was going to withdraw again but I spoke and asked him what was wrong. He said something about being too quick but I said that was ok, we're still getting to know each other and we'll get better as we practice. He seemed to relax. It was longer than the previous sessions though still quick. Let's say there's room for improvement. But it was good enough. Really good, actually.

I have a thesis meeting this afternoon and I need to go downtown to get some money Brother #2 sent me (bless his heart). And I need to open a bank account. You know I wrote the agency two weeks ago, asking them if I should do that or if my existing account was om? They never answered. Yesterday they tell me I need one so they can deposit my check. Damn you, people.

Hopefully I'll slowly recover and come out of bitching mode, talk to Jake about the trip (including how angry I was) and return to my nice regular schedule.

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