Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Summer Christmas Eve

Well, here it is, Christmas Eve in Chile. While the Chileans are outside frantically searching for those last-minute gifts—or trying to close up their register before another frantic shopper comes racing up to their lane—I am here in my house writing this blog. In three or four hours, I will be heading to Kanke’s parents house to spend a very weird Christmas Eve swimming in their pool, drinking wine and trying my best not to zone out when I don’t understand their conversations.

The Chilean tradition consists of a dinner and then opening presents at midnight to correspond with Jesus’s birthday. I asked my professor where Santa came into this tradition, and he said his dad would sneak out after dinner, pull all the presents onto the front porch, ring the doorbell and run.

I have been avoiding the whole thing like a plague. Summer Christmas isn’t any fun!

As much as I’m happy that I’ve survived four months here, I feel like this last week has been just hard. And it’s not that I haven’t been going out and meeting with friends—on the contrary, I’ve been out every night of the week until one or two in the morning. It’s just that I realized recently that I’m a visitor here. And these people are really not my people. As much as we try to bridge the cultural gaps between us, as much as I enjoy spending time with my Chilean friends, as much as I love learning new things, I am American, with American ideas and American culture, and I wish I could have been home for American Christmas. There’s nothing like living abroad to make you love your own country and your own traditions.

The silver lining to this week has been a long phone call with my best friend who did a very good job of reminding me of who I am, what I want, and why I’m here (Thanks J!) and several packages from my parents, including a long letter from my mom. The tiniest connection to my friends and family has felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders—that I am not alone…just really far away.

The other silver lining is all the fun I’ve managed to have in between moping sessions.
The last five days, I’ve been out and about, meeting with friends who are on their college breaks, practicing my Spanish, and attending a Carabineros (policemen) ball.

Below are some photos from the Ball. It was in a beautiful location on La Reina hill with a gorgeous view of the city. The men were dressed in their special uniforms, the women wore dresses ranging from cocktail dresses to full ball gowns. I managed to have an okay time.

Here I am with my date, Carlos. And below, it's me and Carlos again!
My roommate Caitlin acting crazy with her crazy date Claudio.

Our dinner table of Carabineros, the ladies in front and our dates behind us. I told everyone to act really crazy. I guess for carabineros, this is as crazy as you get.

Tomorrow, I head to Peru for a Christmas adventure. It will be my first time flying on Christmas Day. Should be super fun!
So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I've got a really great post for you coming up in the new year about the yoga championship I went to but it'll take a while to put together which is why it isn't written yet.
Enjoy your holidays! Cuidate mucho!
Que te vaya bien,
C in C

1 comment:

clanier said...

i love the pics from the ball!
i hope you have a beautiful time in peru! cuidate! can't wait to hear about it!
miss you, girly! see you soon! xoxo