Feeling like a local in Chile ๐Ÿ˜„

While writing this update I’m sitting in the bus with a warm blanket around my legs and almost ready to sleep in my comfy seat. I quite like these kind of moments, traveling by bus at night. No wifi, just a moment to sit still and enjoying myself with watching a movie/serie or looking back at all the pictures of my journey ๐Ÿ˜ Especially that! Every time it makes me feel so grateful and happy when I relive those memories. Sometimes it even makes me so emotional that I just miss the people I had such a great time with or when I see pictures of you all back home.. But, that feeling will soon change. Two weeks to go! Just 2 weeks ๐Ÿ˜ฒ How did it suddenly went so fast?? I can’t and sometimes don’t even want to believe that in 2 weeks I fly over the Atlantic Ocean, back to Europe..

The last couple of weeks have been so great!! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I felt like a local here in Chile and I have to admit that thoughts of soon returning here and maybe finding some work for a period of time in Chile after I visit Holland for a short while, are really going through my head a lot.. ๐Ÿ™Š I don’t know exactly how to describe it, but this country just gets me completely. I feel so at home here. This country has it all!! Mountains, Patagonia, Pacific Ocean, Desert, bustling cities ๐Ÿ˜ And especially, great people!! It feels sometimes a bit like when I was in Colombia. The people are so nice and kind here. There are also some kind of slang words of how they talk Spanish in Chile, same as in Colombia. I love it!! ๐Ÿ˜„ A lot of that slang I learned when I was staying at Elqui Terra. “Siiii, po! Cachai?”๐Ÿ˜‰ My Spanish is improving a lot and every time I talk Spanish with people I get compliments of my level of understanding, my accent, my fast learning and so on. It gives me a great feeling when people are so amazed when I tell them that I learned the language in 9 months traveling with just 2/3 weeks of classes ๐Ÿ˜ hihi. I really have to find a way back in Holland to keep my level like it is now because I love speaking this language ๐Ÿ˜ It’s has so much passion, emotion in it. People are sometimes sounding like they are singing. You can just feel the love in the words, very special! โค
But back to Elqui Terra, the paradise, my home, my Chilean family… Pff, it was really hard to leave that behind after 1.5 months being there! I started to feel like I lived there myself. I met some people from town, went to Yoga every week, explored around and just enjoyed my stable life there. Some couple of days I was alone again with Roberto as Ale was back in Santiago. I did a lot of different things during those days. I helped Roberto with planting some trees and getting the earth around stone free. Which wasn’t always easy! Sometimes there were big rocks deep in the earth, exactly on the place we wanted to plan the trees. So we had to be strategic on how to get these out without using all our strength. Roberto is very good in that, strategic thinking, observing the whole situation, getting the bigger picture, cachai? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I learned so much from him! We also got more and more stones from the river. The end result was so great to see!! ๐Ÿ˜ I also got myself a new little project, painting the doors of the house. Every door had to get 2 layers so it took me quite a while before I ended that task, but the result was pretty nice! Next to all these little projects, the regular tasks were continuing. Luckily because of the rain we didn’t have to irrigate for over a week! The sheeps and me were getting along a bit better, except with the male of the 4, Baldomero. He got very agressive and everytime you approached him, he want to attack you. Sometimes it was a bit scary and Roberto made the decision to sell him as he was becoming a danger for the guests as well if he kept him longer. To impress my family a bit with my cooking skills, I made them a Dutch quiche. All fresh products, the dough I made myself as well, rolling with an empty bottle of wine ๐Ÿ˜‰ haha. They loved it so much that they asked me to make another! On my days off I went one day to La Serena, the city 1 hr away by bus and I went back to Pisco Elqui to visit the Pisqueras this time, learn more about the way this alcoholic drank is made and of course taste the different brands ๐Ÿ˜‰ I remember I was even a bit tipsy, haha! Menn, I felt so happy those days ๐Ÿ˜ I even wrote it in my diary; Nadine, never forget how happy you are feeling now here in the Elqui Valley. Remember these moments, cherish them and be in the NOW โค On one evening in my last week there I went on a little stargazing adventure. Alejandra had given me a free pass for one of the Observatoriums they have in the area and where you can do a night of stargazing as the sky is super clear here! This area and more up north is the best place in the world to watch the incredible galaxy ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I had quite some moments by myself watching the stars at Elqui Terra. It was so magnificent to see the change of the moon so clearly every evening. I haven’t seen a moon cycle so clear in my life before.. Every night you saw it was getting fuller and fuller. During the stargazing night I have seen different kind of galaxys within our own galaxy, The Milkey Way. Super interesting!! I also saw Jupiter ๐Ÿ˜„ Very clearly and as the earth turns around, you could really see the planet moving further and further with the telescope. Unfortunately I wouldn’t see the star signs I learned that night when I’m back in Europe as I’m on a different side of the earth now and the parts of the galaxy you see there and I see here are different. Even though, it was a really nice evening and I even met another Dutch girl. Quite funny to speak Dutch again after not speaking it face to face for a while ๐Ÿ˜‰
Also during my last week at Elqui Terra I spend some quality time with Alejandra when she got back from Santiago. She took me out for dinner and there was a Pisco festival in town. She always introduced me to everyone she knows and meet on the street. She has quite some similar characteristics like me so we connected very well! Talking with lots of different people, having a drink, chatchatchat. Really nice! Mostly during moments like those, I meet very special people and have touching conversations about life and whats around us in this world.. ๐Ÿ˜Š All of these conversations bring me so much and are a great expression of Love between two strangers who just meet each other for a moment on their paths in life โค Sometimes this continues in spending more time with each other or it’s just a short moment, but mostly so intense, at least for me. It feels like that I am and they are messengers in life who are there to help you further in your journey. No expectations from each other, just sharing your interests, love, talking about yourself, hearing the visions of the other and just being both in the purest form of who you are.. Thats something I will incredibly miss when I will be back in Holland. This level of connection is so strong in the traveling world but not that much in the day to day one, but who knows! Maybe it will be completely different as I feel/am different.. ๐Ÿ˜Š Vicuรฑa is such a lovely town with super sweet people. They are always in for a little chat on the streets or a hug from somebody they know. It was very contagious so I started doing that as well. The tall Dutch woman who is acting like a local Chilena, haha! You know what, I really think that I might have some Latin American blood inside of me ๐Ÿ˜‰ But then the moment was there for me to say goodbye and let this place go for now.. Roberto & Alejandra always ask their WorkAwayers to leave something behind so they have a memory from them within the B&B. For a long while I was thinking and thinking of what I should create for them. I’m not really good in these kind of things, coming up with something to create myself. You don’t want to know how long I have been worrying about it. Of course the stones were a big project of me during my time there, but I wanted to leave something behind which only I created. Luckily I have some great friends back home who know me very well and were able to brainstorm with me, connecting me with what really suits me, is me.. Part of that is writing and quotes. So with this in mind I created a book for Roberto & Ale with questions every WorkAwayer can answer + write about when they leave which says things about their time there. Things like ‘what is your funniest moment during your time at Elqui Terra?’ or ‘What was your favorite food here?’ things like that. I even included some pictures together with my stories and besides the book I created a nice wooden plank for in the lounge of the B&B with wood from their old gate and painted a quote on it, my favorite one “Happiness is not a destination it is a way of Life” โค It might have been a bit last minute, but it completely felt like that this was what I had to leave there with them. Something completely Nadine style ๐Ÿ˜Š When I gave my gifts to Roberto & Ale, they were so touched by it and said that this was their best present ever given by a WorkAwayer ๐Ÿ˜ They got me a present as well, coincedentely it was a frame with a collage of pictures from my time there with them and a personal message, a bit of the same thoughts we had with sharing the great pictures together we had ๐Ÿ˜ƒ so nice. They also gave me some beautiful jewelry. With a very blessed feeling I packed my stuff and continued my journey to discover more of this spectaculair country! A little tear rolled over my cheek when I sat in the bus and I left the Elqui Valley behind me. However, as Roberto also said when he dropped me off at the bus terminal, he felt that it won’t will take long before I come back again. I really felt that as well! ๐Ÿ˜Š
As I had then 3 weeks left before I’m heading back to Europe, my journey continued first into the biggest bustling city of Chile, Santiago! My German friend Linda recommended me a nice social hostel close to all the great places of the city. Immediately it felt like a great place and when I joined an organized group dinner from the hostel as soon as I arrived, I socialized a lot and met some nice people. Breakfast was included there and a pretty nice one I have to admit! More socializing was going on the next morning and that’s how I met a great lady from Australia, Nardu. She just left her life behind in Brisbane to start living in Santiago. She has been here 6 months ago while traveling with her best friend and felt that she wanted to come back and live here for a while. It didn’t feel like a coincedent that I met her, having in mind what I just mentioned about my thoughts of coming back soon to Chile ๐Ÿ˜‰ She has seen quite a lot already of the world, 31 yrs old, lived and worked for a couple of months in London, made some small trips to explore more of Europe from there and so on. She is such a positive person like me and also quite extravert, so you can imagine that we bonded very quickly and had a lot of fun together!! ๐Ÿ˜„ Every day we spend a big part together, going for lunch/dinner/drinks, on a walking city tour, language exchange meeting, and so on. She loved taking pictures of me so I kinda had my person photographer, haha ๐Ÿ˜‰ She knew already some locals from her first time here and some Aussies who live here as well. I met so many nice people because of her! Santiago is a very 24/7 awake city and I felt a bit like I was in London ๐Ÿ˜ƒย There is one neighborhood here which is my favorite one, Bellavista. This is the heart of the artists, musicians, great restaurants, cafes/pubs! Every night its so alive and lots of people are on the street. I came there quite often while I was in Santiago. One day Nardu and I went on a little adventure together outside of the city because yesyes, 1.5 hrs away you can find great ski areas!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‚ I got in contact with a guy to organize a day tour for us with everything included like equipment and clothes. Nardu had skied before as well so there we went. We had the perfect weather, clear blue sky, warm sunshine and great snow on the pistes! Unfortunately the guy who I organized the tour with didn’t understand that people who have some experience of skiing don’t like small places with only “baby” pistes.. So before we were in a place where there were nice pistes and lot more variety, we were a couple of hrs ahead and had to pay more money than agreed ๐Ÿ˜‘ Every time again when I go on organized tours/experiences, it goes with a lot of hustle or it is not an experience like I hoped for. A big learning every time again. Luckily the guy who was our guide in the mini bus (not the one I organized the tour with) helped us a lot and made sure we would be okay ๐Ÿ˜Š I admired him a lot for his calmness and kindness. It brought me back to memories of working for Nike, organizing all the events and then in the moment having to deal with things which didn’t go as planned.. I was a bit tired that day from the busy days before in the city so my level of calmness was a bit far away from my actual behaviour ๐Ÿ˜… But, at the end Nardu and I had a great ski day together!! Enjoying the snow, a nice self-prepared salad for lunch in the middle of deepdeep snow. Feeling the sun burning on your face while you ski down.. It couldn’t be any better, a day skiing in the Andes mountains of South America ๐Ÿ˜ After the skiing I met one more time with Alejandra as she was back in Santiago again. She showed me their apartment as she was preparing it to have it rented by foreigners/expats. A beautifil apartment!! Lot of very authentic furniture. It was great seeing her there ๐Ÿ˜Š
During the weekend Nardu & I partyed together, walked up the big mountain Cerro St. Cristobal in the city to see a great view of Santiago and I visited a very impressive museum, The Museum of Human Rights. Its one of the best museums in the city and I can definately confirm that. It started with an exhibition outside of the museum about Chilean women who have fought for their rights to be heard in the country. Basically the whole timeline of Feminism in Chile. After that, 2 floors were demonstrating a very important time of the Chilean history, the dictatorship of Pinochett.. Roberto had told me a bit of this already but I didn’t really know what the ins or outs were, but I can tell you that these stories felt like I was in one of the Concentration Camps of the 2nd World War! People who were prisioned for no reason, electrocuted, beaten up, killed, whatever.. This period of time was from 1973 until 1989, the year I was born. I spend at least 2hrs in the museum and was still not finished when they closed. I really want to go back and finish where I left off when I’m back in Santiago before my flight to Europe. It had such an impact on me. I really needed a moment to myself to disconnect from the impressive stories before I was able to do other things. That night Nardu and I went out dancing, we were with one of her local friends and we invited the guide from our ski day as well to join us. I had such great and enlightened conversations with this guy, like everything fell in place, all the puzzel pieces of my journey, my underlying purpose and experiences I had were becoming clear. It’s hard to explain and I have to admit that I was a bit influenced by some Mariuhana ๐Ÿ˜ but I was so much in the moment that it kind of felt like a spiritual awakening. Don’t worry, I won’t become like one of those typical traveling hippies who smoke pot all the time to live in the moment ๐Ÿ˜‰ haha! But, this experience and the talks with him I will never forget..
My bus I’m in now is almost arriving at my 3rd Chilean destination, Pucรณn. 12 hrs away from Santiago into the south of the country. Even though the season is not the best at the moment here, rain and pretty cold, I just felt that I wanted to spend some time in the mountains again, before I head back to the flattest country of the world ๐Ÿ˜… This part of Chile is known as one of the best, Lake District. So I hope the weather is not that bad and I can do some hiking to see the beautiful lakes around here. It already starts pretty good here as Pucรณn is placed next to a beautiful lake ๐Ÿ˜Š My plan is to also go up the volcano you can see on the back of my photos. All the way too the top, if weather allows ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜Some locals told me that this place is even beautiful in the rain, so I can’t wait to explore, disconnect from the busy city life and feel the energy of pure nature again ๐Ÿ’šย The last week in Santiago was super great, but I was so hyper active ๐Ÿ˜ฎ It made me more concious of how much influence my surrounding can have on me. I even feel that my immune system is a bit low now so I hope I don’t get sick.. ๐Ÿ™Š I plan to stay at least 7 days here and then after the weekend I head back in the direction of Santiago. I will make a stop for some days in Valparaiso, a city at the beach and then return back to spend my last South American weekend with my dear friend Nardu in the bustling city.
Two weeks left… It’s unbelievable! Almost 10 months traveling on my own in this impressive and beautiful continent. It will be so hard to leave! ๐Ÿ˜” However I also can’t wait to hug all of you again and share all the love I have given here with you ๐Ÿ˜โค
Hasta pronto todo el mundo!!
Gran abrazos y besitos a tรญ de mรญ ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜ xxx

One thought on “Feeling like a local in Chile ๐Ÿ˜„

  1. Pappa leo schol

    Hallo dear daughter,
    it is impressive to read and see the pictures about your journey! So important and beautiful stories and feelings
    I cannot wait to see you about a couple of weeks!
    Enjoy the last weeks in santiago and surroundings .
    I loved you very much and look foreward to hear all your experiences and stories
    Cannot wait to huge you!

    your daddy


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