I left Boise monday morning. Leaving was hard, but knowing we’d see each other saturday morning was helpful. My flights on the way back went well (go figure) and I was able to sleep well on a plane forthe first time ever (luckily).
I got to santiago tuesday morning just in time to catch a bus (luggage included!) and get to my first class of the day only half an hour late.
It wasquite gratifying as a traveler to be able to competently make my way, by myself, through immigration and customs. Language was not even an issue. I also enjoyed being able to walk confidently through the mob of taxi drivers after customs with only a brief explanation to a couple that I already had a bus ticket.
Walking 3/4 of a mile through the city with my rolling carryon was kind of interesting, but no-one bothered me (maybe it’s not that much of an oddity?) and I made it to school with no trouble.
Over that week I was able to keep the fact that I had gone back to the states a pretty close secret. Most of my classmates had done some extra travelling themselves and were just as happy talking about their own adventures. The few that did ask didn’t pry and were eventually informed as to the reason for my trip.
That Wednesday I did some walking, bought and activated two pay as you go phones for my family to use while they were there and generally waited around and did homework.
My mom’s parents, who we call Oma and Grandpa Ron, were scheduled to arrive thursday morning. I was not going to meet them at the airport since they had travelled internationally before and I couldn’t afford to miss another class.
In retrospect I realize I probably shuld have met them and saved them some stress, but it all got sorted out eventually. They had planned on hiring a van , but one of the super-insistent taxi drivers picked them up and brought them to their hotel, only to find out that they had forgotten to exchange money and didn’t have pesos to pay him…and the banks were closing in less than an hour. Resulting in more fare and some wandering for exchange places.
When they finally got to the hotel they were greeted by people who only spoke spanish, but somehow eventually managed to get to their room.
Meanwhile, I was hanging out around my computer and cell phone waiting to hear from them. In chile in order to call from a land-line to a cell or vice versa you have to know what digits to dial first. I didn’t figure this out for quite some time after i arrived in chile and of course my grandparents did not know this.
After a while they figured out how to get online in their hotel and finally were able to send me an email. I had called the hotel a couple of times already with no luck, but after I got their email, I was finally able to call them and I let them know i was on my way over.
They were quite relieved to see me. I gifted them with the cell phone for my side of the family (the other would go to israel’s family) with the numbers of myself and the other phone programmed into it. It made getting in touch much easier.
We visited for awhile and then went to find food. I gave them an introduction to the metro system (i was very glad for this later) and we ate at the most american bar in chile (entirely accidentally).
We said goodnight and I prepared to meet the rest of the family in the morning. My brother-in-law, David, sister-in-law, Sandra, mother-in-law, Ann, my grandma, and my parents.