1. I was counted in the national census of Chile on Wednesday.
2. I love being an hija adoptiva.
First: The Chilean census is not conducted like it is in the United States. Here, the census is a national holiday, and every person is required to stay in his or her home until a census official (mostly volunteers, from my understanding) comes to that home and fills out a form about every person in that house. No shops are open. According to my host dad, no bread is anywhere to be found. (I cannot vouch to either of those personally because I actually didn’t step foot outside of the house… I didn’t have school, and it was just one of those days.)
I was sitting at the table working on a paper (kind of ) when an official got to our house, so he turned to me and said, “Your turn.” So now the Chilean government knows that Natalie Lusardi did not have any children at age 19, she is a woman, and she has no indigenous Chilean blood.
Second: Besides the fact that I was counted in the Chilean census, I have been really absorbed into this lovely house and family.
I already felt like part of the family, truly. I couldn’t have asked for a more ideal situation than with these good, loving, generous, patient, and accepting people. But I was supposed to move out of this house at the end of this week, when my USAC program ends. I would stay in another house for my final three weeks in Santiago.
I was planning on staying with a different family here in Santiago, a little bit closer to El Oasis, but that didn’t pan out. Today, my lovely host mom asked me what kind of house I’m staying in when I leave them (because she is concerned about if I will be cold when the temperatures drop more)*. I told her I was still unsure about that, so she requested that I explain the situation, so I did.
Without thinking twice, she told me that I should stay with them for three extra weeks. I said, “Really???” and she walked me into the other room, where my host dad was watching television, and she explained the situation to him. He immediately said, “Lógico, she should stay with us.”
They didn’t try to find me somewhere else to stay. They didn’t even say “Hm” or “Well…..”
I don’t know about you all, but I’m pretty convinced that these people are angels and that the Lord wrapped me up in His love and provision inside their arms and their home’s walls. Wow, I’m going to miss mi familia adoptiva…
I’ve been counted by the government. I’ve been adopted by the people. I think I’m officially chilena now.
Paz y Bendiciones y Besitos x
(Desde Las Condes, Santiago de Chile)
*P.S. Out of her concern for my well-being, Imelda gave me slippers (that are more akin to pillows or entire rabbits) to ensure that I do not catch a cold. I repeat: Angel.