The most immediate item in the plus category was the 80+ degree temperatures we've had here all week long. I packed two thirds of my maxi dresses and I'm really wondering what posessed me to leave the third one behind. I feels so good to step outside in light, airy clothes and sandals and not have to worry about tights, gloves, coat, scarf, boots...
My first full night here, Ohio got pounded with yet another 6-8 inches of snow. Can't say I was overly grieved to have missed it.
Over the course of the week, I did manage to get caught up watching Arrow and Downton Abbey, which doesn't really help my Spanish, but I cut myself some slack for it being only the first week. If my apartment has a TV, though, I really ought to find a telenovela or two that I enjoy so that I can watch TV and improve my language skills.
Exercise should be easier too. The hotel has a gym, but it's on the top floor with floor-to-ceiling windows and the most optimal time in my schedule to use it is right when the treadmills are all pointing straight at the setting sun. I tried it on Tuesday and had a headache after five minutes
Still, this should be no excuse not to get some walking in. It's summer here. There are parks. And, you know, picturesque city blocks. Alas, my stress usually wins out and exercise for the sake of exercise doesn't end up happening.
One thing I like about city life, though, is that it's definitely great for incidental exercise, since you can walk (and carry) your way through all your errands. For example, I went to the supermarket one evening and got a gallon and a half of water to refill my smaller water bottles and carried it six blocks all the way back to my hotel. It definitely counted as as an arm workout of some kind and both arms shared the workload equally.
This weekend has been somewhat strange. It's true I have friends and honorary family here in Chile, but they all live an hour and a half away on the coast, where I used to live. I was hoping to get to see them, either by going out there to visit myself or by some of them coming to see me. However, neither plan worked out for various boring reasons with which I won't bog down this entry.
So... I went into work on Saturday to get in some more training. Afterward, a nice coworker from Colombia asked if I had lunch plans and we went to lunch together. He explained how when he first came to Chile he didn't have any friends so his weekends were kind of lonely and he didn't want the same thing to happen to me. It was very considerate, but after two hours of dining in the hot sun and the mental strain of so much Spanish I was ready for a nap. So I politely took my leave, returned "home" and crashed.
When I woke up, it was time for my bout of self-pity. I was lonely. And as gratifying as it was to have a considerate Colombian coworker realize that it might happen, nothing can make up for one's own family, one's own friends, one's own language*, one's own kitties...
*I really like speaking Spanish, but I'm still at the place where it's such a brain drain to have a conversation beyond "What's your name? Where are you from?" My goal is that, when I leave, there won't be any more brain drain. But again, it's just the first week.
For me, one of the biggest challenges of this adventure is going to be living alone. It seems like a contradiction in terms, because I'm very selfish of my alone time, but even when I want to be quiet in my own head, I still like the comfort of having someone around. This is why I still live with my Mom. We make wonderful roommates. We make the coffee for each other and talk about our days and sometimes spat because I don't do the dishes as often as I should. I love having her around. I love having my sister a convenient (domestic) phone call away for the same reason, and being there for her to call me when she needs me to.
So late yesterday afternoon it all started to hit me. I'm thrilled to be here. I really am. But why can't I bring them all with me?
I found a lovely new leather jacket for a decent price and a stylish new cardigan (it will be fall here soon, so they're starting to roll out cool weather fashions). I probably should find less expensive methods to cope with my stress in the future, but it was nice to get out and it did help clear my head.
This morning (Sunday) I got to sleep in, which was much-needed, then washed my hair and headed out again. I had to exchange the leather jacket for a smaller size and ended up changing the color as well, to one I didn't see the day before and liked better. I brushed up on some shopping lingo in Spanish (such as "exchange", "return", "fit", and "size").
This morning I spent some time online figuring out how to get to the central bus station via the metro so that when I come back I'll know easily how to get out to the coast to visit my friends. They're all anxious to see me and I them.
In the meantime, I've got another week of training ahead of me, and then it's back home for my California trip and final goodbyes to my family before I return here for good.
It's going to get easier. It's a blessing to be so close with my family as to make parting from them so hard, but I did it once before and I can do it again. As for regulating day to day life, that will get better once I have a proper living space and have mastered all the public transportation (I'll have a car too, but I think I'll probably mostly use that for going back and forth between home and the plant).