So 8 months have slipped past and now I'm sitting in a libreria in Caldera trying to think of how to sum them up in a few words during my last 3 hours in town. It goes without saying that I won't be able to accurately describe how I feel but I'll try.
I arrived in Caldera in April with a little hesitation. I was hoping to be placed in a small town but when I got here the reality sunk in--I will be calling this place home for 8 months. I remember that uncertainty and the feeling of "what have I done!" I was taken on a small tour of the area my first day here and saw some pretty spectacular places like Bahia Inglesa (English Bay) which is like a little piece of the Caribbean in Chile. But I also saw some of the signs of the poverty that many people here live with. The same shock hit me as I wondered into school the first day. Students everywhere, I didn't know a single person. How was I going to do this? Then I met my host family and was filled with feelings of uncertainty.
Eight months later I am leaving a family that I feel as close to as my biological and chosen families in the U.S. I have had to say goodbye to close friends who treated me like an old friend...buena onda. I am also leaving a unique location I have grown to cherish. I simply cannot describe this feeling except to say that it is much more accurate to describe it as a multitude of emotions rather than any single one.
I look forward to seeing family and friends. We will all have changed in the last year but that thread that makes us "family" will only be stronger for it.
Adios, Caldera. Nunca les olvidaré a mi la gente, los alumnos, las paisajes, la familia. Guardaré un lugar para todos ustedes en mi corazón. Nos vemos pronto.
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