I’m leaving. Just like that my trip to Chile is over. Even though it’s a cliché, I’m going to say it: it feels like I just arrived! Where did the time go? Why can’t I have a few more days? For a moment, I considered changing the date of my flight and leaving at a later time. I learned that no one could pick me up from the airport and saw the $75 that it would cost to ride in a taxi from the airport to my house and rationalized to myself that the nearly $300 I would spend to change my ticket was a worthwhile investment towards my mental health. L and I talked about counting out my anti-seizure pills and seeing exactly how long I could stay here before risking it. Finally, when I called the airline and L heard me talking about the cost of changing the ticket, I saw him shake his head slightly and I relented. I would have to go back anyways…eventually. I have no desire to start jerking, seeing spots, or even experience the momentary loss of consciousness that a partial seizure would include.
I was tweeting that this is the first time I am no excited about traveling to the US. Usually, I would go a long time between visits so I would be all, “Shopping! Food! Family! Friends! English!” but today I’m not. I think part of that is due to the fact that Chile has treated me very well this time. I haven’t had any creepy encounters that involved old men, the police, or old men and the police. Even my daily interactions or transactions at the grocery store, metro, etc., people have been surprisingly friendly. Weird for me. I know!
The only minor exception to that was when I was in the airport on Friday heading to Concepción (where I had a great weekend) and I realized that my flight was about to board…no wait…already boarding and I had to uhm use the bathroom. So, I maneuvered myself and my carry-on with wheels through the maze of feet and other carry-ons to the closest restroom (quite the feat for a girl with multiple blind spots) and there was a line! Of course there was a line. In women’s’ bathrooms there is always a line! So, I waited and hoped they would be quick because I really didn’t want to bother my seatmate to move so I could get out from the window on a flight that only lasts 45 minutes…if that!
To my surprise, the line moved quickly and suddenly I was next. Then, a woman entered the bathroom and she looked at me. I mean, she really looked at me. It’s like I could see her doing the physics of the situation in her head like: “Line+gringa=distinct advantage for me.” After that brief exchange, she walked right in front of me. Okay, so I have to admit this: since surgery I have had a – what shall we call this – a tiny impulse control problem mostly dealing with times like this where I could potentially get very angry, very quickly. So, instead I took a deep breath and reasons that maybe because I’m here with all my luggage she just didn’t want to wait out in the hall and had to stand in front of me because that was the only space available. Maybe. But, if she goes for the next available stall I’m going to drag her out by her perfectly styled bun! Wait… impulse control…impulse control. More deep breaths or whatever. When the stall door opened and she went to walk inside, and instead of flying into a rage, I walked up behind her, tapped her on the back, and stated firmly,”Oye, yo también estoy esperando.” (Hey, I’m waiting too). She looked at me like I had just gotten down on my knees, threw my hands up in the air, and announced that I was the Unibomber – in an airport no less. And then she moved! Simple as that. Later, I found out that she was on my flight and she ended up boarding one spot in front of me. She spent the remainder of the wait to sit down smiling smugly at me and then took her time arranging her luggage at her seat – all while looking exceptionally pleased with herself. “&^&%#!!!”
Oh well. I’m over it. Rude people abound. Sometimes, I’m one of them, but that’s for a different post.
In the end, I got to see almost everyone I came down to see and spent a lot of quality time with the people who made the entire trip and the cost of the ticket worth it, namely L and my friend G in Concepción. Of course, I’m terribly sad to be leaving L. Tonight at the airport, I’ll be the one with the blotchy face covered in tears and snot. I just have to tell myself that his visa will go faster than we think and soon he’ll be on his way to the US.
Now, I’m in the process of packing up my life in Chile into two suitcases that weigh no more than 23 kilos each and two small carry-ons (okay, so small may be a stretch of the truth…two GENEROUS carry-ons). I keep thinking back to when I moved here in 2008. I arrived with two suitcases and had plans of staying only six to nine months. Then, I feel in love and everything changed. Two and half years later, I’m packing again – only this time it’s a reverse move. How strange that moving to South America seemed like the ultimate adventure at the time. It’s true that Chile has been the place where I have really come into my own. I’ve grown and matured in ways that I didn’t even know I needed to grow and mature. I took on the responsibilities of the life I was trying to avoid in the US without even realizing it. Except, moving back to the US does not feel at all like an adventure. In fact, it’s a little scary. Finding a quote unquote real job fills me with a trepidation that I didn’t feel while peddling my resumé in Santiago. I suppose like everything else in life – including brain surgery – you just do it when you have to and it all works itself out. Right?
Wish me luck :) Oh, and I did find someone to pick me up from the airport. I really do detest taxis… in any country.