I am a few days into what is soon to be my second month in Chile, and almost every day feels like a dream. I have not written in a while because I have been busy absorbing all that Chile has to offer. Sometimes I worry that I am not making the most out of my study abroad experience, because I have not been traveling as much some of the other students in my program, or participating in some new, wildly exciting activity every weekend. However, I must remind myself that there is more than one way to be a study abroad student and there is nothing wrong with doing things a little differently.
The truth of the matter is that every moment of every day that I have in Chile is like an adventure. Perhaps it is not exciting on paper, but every time I manage to express myself with the smallest degree of eloquence in Spanish, I am overjoyed. Whether I am figuring out how to tell the salesperson in a store that I want shoes in a bigger size or explaining my views on a controversial political topic to my host mom, each successful conversation is a cause for celebration. Additionally, I possess enough self awareness to know that I am pretty terrible with directions, so I feel proud of myself whenever I realize that I do actually know where I am, how to get somewhere or how to get home (as silly as that may seem). Each day in Chile, I experience things which are not particularly astounding, nor do they carry any kind of historical weight. No one will be writing newspaper articles about the time I have spent explaining the culture and vocabulary of the United States to Chileans. The time spent chatting about everything imaginable with my host family during meals will not go down in history. In 50 years, it is likely that no one will care that I spent many a lunch hour laughing and learning from Chilean university students in a tiny office. There is no need to alert the media each time I notice a particularly intriguing piece of street art or hear a beautiful song on the metro. But I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything. These moments are memorable and valuable, because they educate me, make me pause and think, or simply bring me joy. I have not ventured outside of Chile yet, but I have eaten a thousand pieces of bread, climbed many an escalera, bought a dress and a box of donuts in the same café, learned how to cheer for the Chilean national fútbol team in a bar, tasted a hot dog covered in avocadoes and mayonnaise, and enjoyed a spectacular view of the sea from my window every morning. In short, adventures do not always to have to be grand in order to be wonderful.