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Published: October 29th 2010
Today was my last morning to wake up in Arica. The alarm on my cell phone went off at 4:30 am and at 5 I was getting on a bus to the airport. My host mom and sister, Camila, left me with the rest of the students in my program at the gate to Campus Saucache and now I am back in the Santiago airport waiting for the second leg of my flight to Temuco. Sitting in this airport is all too familiar after my 14 hour layover in August, but this time I have more friends with me. The skies are also clearer today and I have a fantastic view of the snow-capped Andes that surround Santiago. Flying in to Santiago is incredible, especially in the early morning sun, because the tips of the mountains peak through the clouds.
I honestly, I have not been in Arica long enough to form a serious attachment to it, but I have enjoyed living and studying here and having my wonderful, welcoming host family. What does this change of location mean, in terms of the small life I have put together here? No more late night tacos with the host family, wrestling
to keep Jimmy- the rambunctious lab- in our yard, onces and desayunos, weekend empanadas, or Sunday almuerzas with the abuelos. Then again, no more getting up at 7 am for classes, hallulla for two meals a day, or surprise family excursions. I will also no longer be able to see my favorite quiltros, and ex-quiltro Rex. Leaving Arica means no more Playa Chinchorro and DiMango's ice cream on weekends. No more views of el Morro or walks along 21 de Mayo. There is also the potential for less dirt in my life, as much of Arica seems to be made up of dirt. Perhaps I will get to experience rain again- I'm told there is a lot in Valparaíso. Surprisingly, rain is something I have missed while living in Arica because, as much as the sky looks like it will, it just never happens.
The last two weeks in Arica have passed in a blur, largely thanks to the many class projects and exams. And, just like any other exam week, I survived. On Wednesday after my final presentation I said goodbye to the not-so-friendly alpacas on Campus Velasquez. That may have been one of the most exciting aspects
of school in Chile, alpacas and Guinea fowl hanging out on the campus. Of course now I don't have to catch a U collectivo at some point in the morning to swerve around the streets of Arica and- hopefully- get dropped near the gates of the university. Sometimes the drivers don't understand my accent, or perhaps I just don't have any idea what I am saying to them, because they miss the stop I ask for by a block or more.
Of course all of this means I am moving on to a new city with new streets to learn and new sites to see. All coming after a stopover in Temuco, in the lake district of Chile, a little bit north of Patagonia. We will be studying Mapuche medicine and integrated practices. We have been told that the Mapuche have a poor view and general mistrust of outsiders, including Chileans, due to years of discrimination and abuse. Hopefully, with the help of the program coordinators experience and connections, we will have a good time.
As a bonus, for my last week in Arica, I felt my first legitimate terremoto. That's right, an earthquake. Not a serious one,
just a little shaking while I was taking a nap. I have felt the occasional temblor, or mini-earthquakes, but this was actually an earthquake. Exciting.
Tot: 2.488s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 8; qc: 56; dbt: 0.0402s; 2; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb