I did somehow manage to stuff everything I needed into two suitcases. Wow, you might be saying. Well, it’s a big deal if you are like me and you have somehow managed to convince yourself that everything you own is somehow vital and necessary to your survival for the next year or so of your life. I agree. I may have a problem.
The flight went rather smoothly despite the fact that 24 hours to boarding said marathon flight, I started a round of antibiotics for a sinus infection. Fun. Actually my cold/sinuses behaved rather well on the flight and I even had an aisle seat, so there was no awkward climbing over the sleeping hulk next to me to run to the bathroom and get kleenex. Ah… those were the days.
I remember once on a flight to Iceland when I woke up the large Norwegian guy next to me as I was trying to step over him. He was like Six feet tall and I’m not. So imagine a the very awkward image, if you will, of me straddling him and being about three inches from his face when he suddenly wakes up. Fortunately, he had a good sense of humor about it.
As soon as my flight landed, I turned on my Santiago face that can sometimes be referred to as my “don’t mess with me face” or also my sad face as one Chilean member of my flight pointed out when he walked right up to me and in halting English said “You…look…sad.” It’s now my “Let’s practice English with random strangers face” apparently.
Like all international arrivals, I had to navigate my huge cart of suitcases around a cement maze to get to the international arrivals tent. It seems like the part of the airport that used to be able to hold all the eagerly waiting families sustained some structural damage and has been replaced by a large tent while they repair it.
I met L. by this elevator. You can see the cracks and the broken glass. As far as other earthquake related damage, I haven’t seen any. I haven’t yet ventured out of Las Condes, but I will rectify that today.
Yesterday, I finally spoke to my good friend G. in Concepcion and her mom. They sounded stressed, but okay. I felt better afterward because every time I wanted to talk to her there was an aftershock or a power outage. She said they still don’t have water and the buildings were she and her mom work were damaged to the point where they are no longer safe to occupy.
It feels weird to be back. That was my longest stay in the US in a while and I’m experiencing a strange mix of “whew…I’m finally home” and “I cannot believe he just did that” culture shock. Oh Chile…