Journal 6 - October 17, 2002

Santiago de Chile » Go Back

Journal 6
What was I feeling the night before I left New York for Santiago? Trepidation, fear, apprehension? Try nausea, dizziness, headache and fever. You know, all the ailments associated with the common flu. Well Sunday morning wasn't any better. I considered changing my flight, but decided it would cause more problems than it was worth. So I packed, made some phone calls, said my goodbyes, and made my way to JFK.

Leaving NY wasn't easy. After only a few short weeks I had found myself feeling quite at home in the big city. Of course much of that had to do with my gracious and generous hostess, Kay Unger, and the beautiful apartment she shared with me. But New York itself had a lot to do with it too. Before I left I found myself giving directions, helping other newly arrived tourists, crossing the crosswalks without looking, speed walking, and to my amazement, able to walk out of the subway and start immediately walking towards my destination without having to consult a map, compass, or the street numbers. I think I even began'a tawk lika New Yorka. Alas, I had to leave, say farewell to the wonderful people I met, hoping to see them again someday, and finally start my adventure.

So began my first trip to a completely foreign country. In fact, prior to leaving for New York I had never been east of Colorado, so maybe this is my second foreign country. Yes I have been to Canada, our 51st state, (just kidding John), and I have been to Cancun, Mexico, where there seemed to be fewer Mexicans than there are in Santa Barbara, but never before had I left our country for a different continent and truly different cultural experience. Those experiences can be found in Mexico and Canada, but in my limited experience in those countries I had never experienced them.

But now that I'm in Chile and will spend the next five months traveling around South America, I'll get to experience many new cultures and experiences. Once again I am benefiting from my network of friends and have been able to get some truly needed respite at a friend's house here in Santiago. I couldn't have been happier to see the smiling face of Marcelo after making my way through immigration at the airport. Marcelo is on of my friend Henry's best friends, and he and his family have been so generous and kind that I can't imagine what I would have done without them. After a couple of days spent in bed recovering from the flu, Manhattan's revenge, or whatever I am suffering from, I finally decided to strike out on my own and do some exploring. All those years of studying Spanish, and more importantly restaurant work, finally paid off. I have been able for the most part to communicate with the Chilean people, albeit not always with perfect grammar, but I have been able to make my way around, order an occasional cappuccino, and begin to immerse myself in the South American culture.

This weekend we're going to the beach, so once again I'll be able to include pictures and max-out your in-boxes. In the mean time I just wanted to report to those of you who care, mom, that I made it, I'm OK, and I'm in good hands here in Santiago. Also, as I stated in previous emails, many of the people on my list are not receiving my emails, and there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the problem. Anyway, let me know if you, or someone else you know is still having problems (kind of hard if you're not receiving them, I know).

I hope you're all doing well.

Justin