Hooray for the group blog topic coming back. This week’s topic is two-fold: “What drew you to
I have frequently been asked, by both gringos and Chileans, how I ended up picking
I officially began studying Spanish freshman year of high school, a bit before I turned 15. I remember doing a project that year on
In college, I became even more serious about my Spanish studies than I was in high school (how that was even possible, I have no idea—but that is a story for another day). I began volunteering in the Spanish-speaking immigrant community in
During my first two years at CU, I made a lot of friends who were planning on studying abroad and who went to
Basically what I found out through “interviewing” all of my friends who studied abroad (be it in
I learned two things from my friends: 1. I would study abroad for at least a year (there was no question on this one, if everyone had regretted not doing, I sure wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake), and 2. I realized that Spain was more for those who wanted to travel all over Europe and I saw that my friends’ Spanish hadn’t improved as much as I had expected, so I decided I didn’t want to go to Spain for study abroad.
So I began exploring options in
So why do I think it was fate then that I somewhat randomly picked Chile without really knowing much about it or having any sort of ties here? Because I was meant to meet Christian, it’s as simple as that. Had I not come, I would have never met him. He is the reason I came back to Chile right after graduation (apart from the fact that I *generally* enjoy living here), because I don’t think I would have had the guts to do it if I were single and didn’t have a job already lined up to come to. Plus I had wanted to move to NYC as soon as possible and climb the corporate ranks.
Now, will we ever leave
I’ve been here almost 10 months and our plan, since I decided to move to
But just recently, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to live here forever. Not just because of this group blog topic, it actually started a few weeks ago, around the time we had to start looking for a new place to live. Although I was stressed out about the move (which turned out a-okay in the end), things have been going really well here—Christian and I are able to save quite a bit of money each month thanks to the fact that we have solid jobs, which would probably not be the case if we were in the US thanks to the state of the economy. We both enjoy our jobs and have great friends that we would miss dearly if we moved away. We enjoy going to the beach at least once a month. I began to feel like it would be almost easier to stay here forever, especially since I’m already accustomed to culture and we wouldn’t have to go through the US immigration process nor through the (reverse) culture shock that will come with an eventual move to the US. I feel like it is easier to start a business here in Chile (which I would love to eventually do) and that I could do better here than in the States, as perhaps there is less competition in the areas where I’d like to have a business. And truth be told, I think we could live a higher-standard of life in Chile than in the States. I love speaking Spanish all day long and know that it will be something that I will miss when I’m in the US. Although I’m not a fan of the fact you have to spend a fortune to educate your children well here, I do like the idea that they would learn Spanish and English from the get-go and I think it would be best done in Chile. It is just way to easy to only speak English in the States. So all of these thoughts have been going around in my head for weeks and I was beginning to see us staying here for the long-term. I talked to Christian about it on Wednesday evening and we kind of discussed it as an actual option, something that needed more meditation and analysis. But for the first time ever, I have been seriously considering staying in Chile. That is...until last night.
Las night Christian was robbed at gunpoint along with his friends in a restaurant in Providencia. Thankfully no one was hurt. I don’t want to go into the story right now, but needless to say, it reminded me of the paranoia that is always present in Chile. You always have to walk around worrying that someone will rob you, down to ripping off a necklace in the street and running away with it. Obviously I know there are dangerous places in the US, but in Chile, it is a country-wide problem from the biggest city down to the smallest pueblito (town). I really wish it wasn’t such a problem here because it is one of the most unattractive aspects of this country. There are other things about the country that I don’t like and would never want to bring my kids up around such as: the lack of punctuality, with a horrible work ethic (only having to do the minimum required, if that), and how many people smoke here. I’m sure I could think of other pros and cons about Chile, but for the consideration of time and length of this post, we’ll just leave it at that.
So what’s the answer to the question? We will leave or will we stay? I honestly don’t know. I think that as long as the US economy can get back on track within the next couple of years, we will leave and Chile will be our vacation spot. If not, we might decide to settle down here or maybe we’ll think of going elsewhere. I wish I knew what we are going to do, but I feel like if we go to the US we might regret not staying in Chile for longer. Or if we stay here, we’ll be far from (my) family and important events and I’ll feel like I’m missing out. Especially when it comes time to have a baby. I want to be close to my mom, someone who I can ask about the funky things that will happen to my body.
One thing I’ve learned from first coming to Chile is that life is full of little surprises. Never in my life had I thought I’d end up living and working in Chile and married at the age of 24. My plans before coming to Chile were to move to NYC, work my ass off in accounting (what was I thinking?) and living the Sex in the City lifestyle, but obviously not be single at the age of 40 (or however old Carrie Bradshaw is). I never thought I’d give up an amazing job offer with Shell Oil to move across the world to a job market in which I had no idea I would be able to find a job that actually adequately uses my skills. So today I could say that we are leaving Chile, and we might stay forever. Or perhaps I say that we will stay for several years, and we leave within months. And with that, I’ll stop. Sorry for not answering the second question in a black-or-white manner, but that is just how it is when you live an international life. I know that whether I am here in Chile or in the US, I will always miss the other country. Both are part of me now and for forever.
*These are what the experiences were of my friends who went to Spain; I am by no means saying that is how it is for everyone.
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