Chekeitha Gray


Chekeitha Gray

I'm a student studying abroad in Chile. I'll be living with a host family and going to a foreign university so I can't wait to see what is in store for me!

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 2nd 2018

Okay, so what just happened? As I walk through the sinuous streets, I see some of the same sights but something is different. The same dotted hills, the same stray dogs wagging their tails, begging for attention. The same busy produce market. The same brilliantly blue ocean underneath a turquoise sky. But something is very different. This is Chile. The place that used to be a haven for weary souls. A place virtually untouched by racial discrimination that is experienced most other places around the world. Due to a wave of unexpected (non-European) immigration, xenophobia and racism have also arrived in Chile. The streets are colorful more than just architecturally now. There is color in the accents and in the faces of those who walk through the streets and many Chileans don't know how to handle ... read more
Me, loving life.
Las Condes

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago January 2nd 2018

After our secret date at Alejo Barrio in Valparaiso, our clandestine meetings continued. However, I still didn’t know what we were doing. Nothing had been declared yet. Did Koke like me? Or were we just two dancers enjoying hanging out in secret during the daytime? A week later, the group was proposing meeting up at the beach, yet no one could solidify the plans. I had been dying to go to the beach and so had Koke apparently. He messaged me privately again and we went together. Long after the sun left the sky we were still lying in the sand laughing and talking and then he treated me to lemon pie at Bravissimo. No one in the group knew about it and it was exhilarating. The next week, emboldened, I slid into his DM and ... read more
Los Mil Tambores-Valparaiso
Bachata Fest, Here We Come!
Friday Night Dance Social

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso November 15th 2017

There’s no way to say it but to just say it I suppose. I started dating someone from my dance group…in secret…and on accident. I know that sounds really weird. Let me explain. I met him last year back in November when I joined classes at the YMCA. But like I mentioned in my last blog, I wasn’t too impressed with anything or anyone. My instructor made me dance with a chair, remember? And the “already cool people” that the instructor spent the majority of his time with? This guy was one of them. They were awesome dancers but, the class being separated by levels, I would never get the chance to dance with any of them. However, one of those guys started asking me to dance with him during the breaks. I didn’t think anything ... read more
And in this one.
Asado at Renzo's
Join Vito

Disclaimer: This is not another party story. Not even close. All I can say is that I am addicted and my brain is on fire. It's comparable to infatuation or a new love. A powerful drive makes me want more and more. I'm talking about dancing. I go out, thinking that the urge will somehow fade but instead, it drastically increases! It's comparable to going to a restaurant, eating a meal, and then leaving with even more appetite than when you came! It feels abnormal. Instead of that song "Blame it on the Alcohol", I blame it on the endorphins. I go out and don't drink a lick, yet I'm filled with a natural euphoria. Physical activity is proven to combat depression and dancing, degenerative brain disorders. Therefore, my hobby is also healthy! I've done ballet, ... read more
The Crew

I had an interview today at a girls' home in Valparaiso. This was after calling repeatedly for over a week by the way. Finally they told me to come in. I was Mary Poppins, my large umbrella in hand, dressed to the nines and puddle hopping in the steady rain. I was excited and just knew it'd be a GO. Eagerly, I waited underneath a bus stop awning a block away until it was time. Then I went in, professional, resume in hand. The director of the girls' home greeted me and invited me to her office. She began her spill by telling me that some of the girls have meltdowns from time to time. A few of them are traumatized from being removed from their families, or from things that happened to them with their ... read more

My lovely mother came to visit me. Dreams do come true. Whereas my trip with Kelsey was about seizing the day, pushing ourselves to the absolute limit activity-wise and living euphorically, my mom’s trip was more about taking time to pause, smell the roses, and enjoy everything and everyone around us. With her, my senses were heightened to the pleasure found in everyday Chilean life. I got the joy of simply being with the Chilean people that I love and my mom at the same time. My two worlds collided creating an interesting and unforgettable kaleidoscope of color. My mom coming to visit me was every bit of a miracle. That’s probably part of the reason I walked around in a surreal fog of bliss the entire time. This trip would have been completely impossible even ... read more
Me, mom and Papa Samuel
Papa Samuel's parents

South America » Peru » Cusco » Machu Picchu March 3rd 2017

Finally, someone has come to visit me! My friend Kelsey came to visit me for 2 weeks and we had an AMAZING time. It's because we were both HIGH ENERGY. This was my kind of trip. We spent a week in Chile and a week in Peru seizing every day. We woke up in the mornings and walked until night fell. Although we're both foodies and ate like champions, we somehow managed to lose weight during this trip. Yes, we walked so much that we actually slimmed down. Haha! I'd always wanted to go to Peru but when I was a student, I didn't have the money so this was my chance. Plus, I've always wanted to share my Chilean treasure with someone from back home so they could experience this side of the world that ... read more
Unfinished building

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza November 1st 2016

October was rough. This month has been a grand convergence of all things unpleasant including cultural confusion, dysforia, and a wolf in sheeps' clothing who pretended to be Prince Charming. I got home sick around the 2 1/2 months mark of studying abroad. Therefore perhaps this was a normal 2 month slump for me? This time it was wayyyy worse. The first time, I experienced a 2 week period when I was mentally tired, could no longer understand Spanish, and the excitement and colors all around me seemed to fade. I came crashing down off my travel high and I would have given ANYTHING for a Chipotle burrito. Anything! It was melodramatic at best. This time, I sank into a light depression. I was homesick. I missed my car. I missed my bedroom. I missed not ... read more
Bife de chorizo...where have you been all my life? <3

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso September 19th 2016

"Preparate", prepare yourself, they said. As I got home this morning at almost noon, I felt like I had been hit by a bus, my entire body sore. It was then that I understood that Chileans are not kidding! This was my first time celebrating the infamous 18th of September, Chilean Independence Day, or should I say Independence week? I am so excited to finally be here during this time! I've always wanted to do this and I've heard tons about how much fun it is. I haven't been disappointed! These last 3 days have been a whirlwind of cookout after cookout in various places. I was fed so much meat that I had to change into stretch pants! Chilean flags soared high and there were fireworks in the night sky. This was followed by fondas ... read more
Anticucho = kabob

South America » Chile » Valparaíso Region » Valparaíso August 13th 2016

Last Saturday night while I was on the computer and my host sister was taking a nap, some robbers broke into my host family's house. I heard a loud crash downstairs which made it obvious that someone was entering who shouldn't. I ran into my host parent's bedroom and woke my sister up and we locked ourselves in the bedroom. Just then they came up the stairs and immediately started kicking down the bedroom door. It sounded like a group of people and they were talking loudly, completely brazen. I thought we were going to get raped, minimum. We had nothing to defend ourselves and we were terrified. We hid in the bedroom closet as I prayed profusely in English. God heard my prayers. They gave up on kicking down the door even though they could ... read more

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