It is hard to believe that it has been one week since I left China. According to my body clock anyway – it was last Thursday evening that had me flying to Tianjin on my first stopover of a very long journey to Santiago! It seems like a lifetime ago.
Andy, giving the peace sign
One week ago, I was a “superstar” in my neighbourhood – shouts of “Louisa!” were music to my ears because I knew young kids would be running up to me and giving me a hug. I miss that. I miss seeing Andy, who was always so willing to hug me and tell me he loved me. I miss Leo, who would playfully poke me in the leg, arm or belly, just to make me run after him. I miss Shirley, who would want to show me how well she was doing with her dance lessons (and stretch her leg way up over her head – oh to be young and agile again!). I miss Lucy, the shy young girl who would barely talk to me when I first met her and who I discovered knew so much English, we could talk for almost an hour in English. I miss Judy, who despite only being in the second grade, could easily have been in grade 4 or 5, so advanced was her English. I miss the kids a lot.
A Brazilian couple I met
However, I am now in a country where I fit in. I may not look Spanish, but I blend in a lot more here. I don’t get the stares that I did in China. I don’t get pointed at and laughed at (at least that’s what I presume they were doing – what exactly were they laughing at anyway? I never wanted to know). I can walk down the streets of Santiago and not feel self-conscious that I am “fat” and will be told that. I am aware of my weight, and didn’t like being told that by any of the Chinese. It’s nice to be blending in and not a strange sight for people to see. Of course, they haven’t yet seen my colourful tights – I may get stared at then lol.
I am enjoying Santiago very much. For me, it’s a walking city. I have walked for hours all over the city. Barrio Lastarria, Barrio Bellavista, Providencia, Barrio Italia – so many areas to see all with their own unique qualities. Would I want to live here? No. It’s a city I would definitely come and see again, if, God willing, I am granted that privilege. I don’t feel enough of a connection though to want to live here. Perhaps I haven’t seen enough of the city. It’s possible there is an area I would like to live in. For now, I am enjoying the wondrous beauty of this city that lies at the foot of the Andes. I am enjoying the food. Completo hot dogs with a bebida. Empanadas. Pastries (that’s something I need to STOP enjoying haha).
On Saturday I head to my next destination in South America – Valparaiso! I am looking forward to being near the ocean, and to explore a new city! In the meantime, I have one more full day in Santiago and will make the most of it!!