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Gap Year Abroad

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mi familia

 Welcome to my blog, and I can't wait to share my adventures with all of you.  I have been in Chile for almost a month now and have already written some things down, so here's what I've been up to.  Thanks for stopping by, nos vemos! 


August 3, 2015


On Saturday morning at 10:30 am, I met the four people that I was told would be my “family” for the next five months of my life.  Little did I know how quickly that word “family” would become so real.  The past two days have been filled with shopping, amor, markets, malls, fiestas, movies, abuelos, primos, friends, tacos, cookies, bread, and lots and lots of spanish.  And, I’ve honestly loved every second.  The Ramirez Cabrera family has immediately made me one of their own.  I sort of expected to be treated as an outsider, having questions pounded at me constantly.  But as a total 360, these four people haven’t changed anything about their lives for me but simply have opened up their hearts and their daily life to include me in it.  It’s not a vacation, I’m living the daily life as any other Chilean would.  From the moment they picked me up in their car, we went straight to the supermarket to pick up some things, drove to a gas station, went to the grocery store, went to a salon to get haircuts, ate some lunch, went out to run some more errands, and then got ready for Andres’ (my host brother) 19th birthday party.  At lunch, the nine people sitting around me (there were family friends too) were having full conversations about their past vacations, talking about “The Voice Chile,” like they would any other day.  I could sit there, take it in, participate in conversation when I wanted, and I was perfectly content.  I didn’t want it to be “The Smith Show.” I wanted it to be a normal family lunch, and that’s exactly what it was.  They are proceeding with their day to day life, and I am lucky enough to get to hop on for the ride.

Ximena or “Xime.” She is an incredible mother.  From the way she talks about her kids, you can tell she loves them with every bit of her heart.  She is very talkative, genuinely kind, and giving.  From the second I got here, she has called me her “hija” “niña” and “amor,” making this transition easier for me in every way.  It’s nice to have someone here that I can always turn to if I need it.


Claudio.  He’s a proud dad.  He’s definitely quiet, but you can tell with every word he says he cares so so much.  He always makes sure I have all the food I want (which has been more than enough).  When talking about his son, his words were genuine and his face was glowing.  Oh, and he walks really really fast.  We already have an inside joke about it.

Andrés.  This 19-year-old (as of yesterday) reminds me a lot of my brothers back at home.  He plays rugby and has lots and lots of friends.  He talks really fast.  And, he has also made me feel extremely comfortable here, walking the 30 minutes to the university and back with me, showing me how to use the micro, teaching me some engineering stuff, and asking me a lot of questions.  He’s an extremely genuine and kind person.

Constanza (but everyone calls her Coty).  She’s the little sister I never had, and I love her dearly.  On the first night, she slept in my room with me just because we wanted to.  We have gone to the mall, watched four movies back to back, and have spent every minute we can together.  Just talking to her constantly has improved my Spanish so much, and her hugs make me feel right at home.


Don’t worry Mom, Dad, Whid, and Joe.  No one will replace y’all.  I miss you all dearly!  There really is no place like home, but I think you have to live somewhere else for awhile to realize that.  For now, I’m loving trying something new, forcing myself to adapt to a situation that is unfamiliar.  And, I’m so so lucky that these are the people I get to surround myself with everyday and make Chile feel like home.

Bye for now,




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