I finally made it to Arica, Chile! Everything is going extremely well. With limited internet access its difficult to type out any more than a brief message, but here are just a few highlights of the trip so far:
The people here in Arica are extremely kind and thoughtful. For example, when I appeared lost and helpless in the airport, the woman who sat next to me on the plane called her neighbor, who drives a taxi, and had him come and pick me up. She and her husband also kept me company until the taxi arrived.
The food is delicious. Every bit of it. Without exception.
The other students on my trip are just as kind as the people of Arica. Interestingly, I am one of only two males on this trip. Two males and twenty-three females.
But most importantly, I believe that I am experiencing “the change.” I’m referring, of course, to the language change. In just two days here, I am speaking almost completely in spanish with everyone that I meet. In fact, it is now difficult for me to speak/write in English without attempting to translate words into spanish. My confidence in my speaking skills has gone through the roof, even if I’ve gotten confused looks from a few of the Chileans that I have spoken with. So far, connecting with Chileans through their language has been the most rewarding.
On Saturday I leave to begin life with my home-stay family here in Arica. A single mother and her 16 year old son. Should be interesting!
Much more to come.