An Ode to Domingo Faustino Sarmiento

It’s been just over two months since I arrived here in Santiago. Although things still feel new, exciting, and sometimes terrifying each and every day, I also realize that I have found comfort and routine living in the city.

Lots of these realizations have come as I packed up my belongings into a bag, yet again! A few weeks ago my host mom and I moved into a new apartment. Here is my ode of to my initial haven of safety and familiarity, my apartment in Domingo Faustino Sarmiento:

My empty room! Can’t believe how much this felt like home, even after just a month.

As I walk home from a day of classes at IES, I tap the “forward” button on Spotify, still jamming to my American folk/indie pop faves from the States. Judah & the Lion drown out the sounds of the city and the route home has become muscle memory. I approach the gate to Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and the gate is opened for me, I am no longer a stranger here.

I approach building E and smoothly open the door, scoffing to myself in memories of the first few days of rumbling through my ring of 7 keys and having to call my host mom on my prepaid flip phone to open up the door.

I slip off my shoes and right into my slippers, give a “besito” to my mom, and flip on the kettle to warm up with my favorite (and classically Chilean) Ceylon tea.

I plug in my space heater and warm up within my 7 layers of blankets (thanks, ma!). The Chilean winter no longer bothers me, and I have newfound joy in cuddling into my safe little space.

To the apartment where I first found calamity in the shock of big city life, thank you for your quaintness that forced me into growing conversation and active listening. I am refreshed by the simplicity of limited space and belongings — my dresser and closet fit exactly what I needed and no more. Thank you for the peaceful escape I experienced after walking through your doors, especially after the long days of Chilenismos and a frustratingly small Spanish vocabulary. Thank you for a place to call my own in a city full of people that know I don’t belong.

Here’s to you, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, you were good to me!

Moving day consisted of shopping carts full of boxes going up to the 14th floor of our new apartment!
Barrio Italia, a hipster neighborhood just five blocks from my new apartment! I frequent this place pretty often now.
The view from the terrace of my new apartment! Although I miss the small neighborhood feel of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, I sure can’t pass up a sunrise view of the Andes every morning!

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