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.