Some Final Words for My Beloved City

It was about 2 weeks before I left and I was already ready to leave my second home in Santiago de Chile.  I was anxious to see my family and friends and to be able to wake up under my own roof again.  As much as I loved living with a host family for my 5 months abroad, I really missed my family.  Quite honestly, it was the very first time I had felt truly homesick.  Maybe I had felt this way because the idea of returning was becoming so real to me or because I had been too busy to think much about returning home that I never felt the urge to go back.  At this point, I felt satisfied.  So much so that I was ready to say goodbye to a city that had given me so many wonderful memories.

So, on my second to last day of my stay in Santiago, I went for a hike on the city’s second highest mountain, Cerro Manquehue, and it was truly the most emotional hike I’ve had.  No tears, I promise, but it was just a reflective memory walk.  I remember the day that I moved in a day earlier than everyone else and I remembered the emotions I was feeling so rawly that it felt that I was feeling them for the first time again.  I remembered how overwhelmed I was moving from the airport to my hotel on my own speaking purely in Spanish without any help.  I remembered how alone I felt that evening as well.  The most alone I had felt in my life, but at the same time I remember feeling a sense of excitement and thrill for what I would be experiencing my following 5 months, and every moment of it was beyond what I expected.  So, as an ode to my beautiful city, here is what I wrote for her.

A note for my beloved city:

Chao, Santiago de Chile. No puedo decir lo suficiente cuánto te voy a extrañar. Gracias por todas las experiencias que me has dado. Desde las horas pico horribles en el Metro, temblores y días lluviosos hasta los cerros hermosos que abrazan tu alrededor y tu hermoso paisaje que me bendice cada mañana con tu cordillera y amanecer. Te quiero y ya te echo de menos.  La única cosa que te pido es que tus ciudadanos ayuden a limpiar todo el smog para que todos puedan ver tu belleza. Yo sé que ha sido una experiencia difícil a veces pero me ha enseñado mucho a travez de mis desafíos. Gracias también por haberme dado amistades fuertes en mis últimos meses en mi estadía. Aunque los meses al principio fueron muy arduos, a través de esa temporada me has enseñado a sentirme contento estando solo. Ahora, veo que hay algo hermoso en eso. Que nunca he estado solo, que siempre he tenido un compañero. Y ese compañero soy yo. 

Goodbye, Santiago. I can’t say enough how much I will miss you. Thank you for all of the experiences that you have given me. From horrible rush hours in the Metro, tremors, and rainy days to your beautiful hills that embrace you along with your beautiful landscape that blesses me every morning with your mountain range and sunrise. I love you and I already miss you. The only thing I ask of you is that your citizens help to clear your smog so that everyone can see your beauty.  I know that it has been a difficult experience at times but you have taught me a lot through my challenges. Thank you also for giving me strong friendships in the last months of my stay. Although the first months were tough, through this season you have taught me how to be content with being alone. Now, I see that there is something beautiful in this. That I have never been alone. That I have always had a companion and that companion is me. And for once, I got to know him really well.

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