A wise man once told me to not only savor the sights but to also soak up all the smells — good and bad — of a place because our sense of smell has the greatest capacity for memory. Or something like that. Well, that is definitely true, and I’m learning to love this fact on multiple levels.
I have been in Chile for a full month. 4 and a half weeks. 33 days. Within that time I’ve experienced homesickness and the love of a different family; loneliness and beautiful, new friendships; sunburn and refreshing evening breezes; lovely, routine morning walks to school and ridiculously mind-blowing sights of ginormous mountains; and so so much more. It feels, simultaneously, like I arrived here yesterday and like I’ve lived here most of my life. Along with the adventure of all these new feelings and experiences and adjustments, some comfortingly familiar smells have entered the scene — some things just don’t change, no matter where you are in the world.
Old books. Freshly mowed grass. Babies. Grandmas. New clothes. Freshly washed cars. Hot asphalt. Wild flowers in a warm breeze. Sunscreen. Fire. Chocolate. Orange juice.
All of these smells are familiar smells and have made me smile at one point or another, simply because they are not different among all of things that are.
I’m having fewer moments of homesickness, and when they do happen, they’re usually short-lived and caused by hearing of things at home that used to be my “normal” rather than generally feeling lonely or super far from everything I know and love — I’m getting to know and love things and people here too! Some of those things include the landscapes (duh), the wine (duh), the language (duh), and the weather (duh!), and some of those people include my beautiful wonderful host family, my new friends from my program (shout-out to Kaelin and Kelcie!), and my new friends from El Oasis.
I went to El Oasis for the first little event (Tertulia Lite) last Thursday, by the way, and it was probably one of my favorite experiences, including my trips to the mountains, so far; so stay tuned for more details about that part of my life down here!
As I continue to adjust to my new normal, I’m also realizing that using my non-native language all the time is actually really exhausting, even if I don’t notice the effects right away. I’m just always very tired by about 3pm. However, one of my favorite reminders is the fact that the Lord knows every language on Earth and in the Heavens and has the ability to impart any knowledge He has on any human at any moment in time; with that in mind, speaking Spanish all the time doesn’t seem so intimidating because I know that if He really wants me to say something in particular to anyone, He will give me the words.
This life is starting to feel a little more like reality. While feeling like I’m on vacation all the time is fun, learning to live real life here is a different kind of adventure. And I love it.
I will be here for 4 more months. 15 weeks. 105 more days.
Here’s to continual adjustment, even more new feelings and experiences, and even more pieces of home reminding me that the world isn’t really oh-so big and scary.
Peace and Blessings and All the pure-and-simple things x
(From Santiago, Chile)