Chile was chilly!
Getting through Chile customs was just as strict as Australia. I lost a couple of leaves I’d stuck in my diary for sentimental/decorating purposes, it was sad but I expected to lose them in Australia anyway so I was half prepared.
Staying at the YWAM base was cool. We stayed with a family who was hosting an American dude also, who was learning Spanish. It turned out that the father had spoken on our first week of lectures on our DTS in Harpenden last year, so cool! Dan helped one of the leaders on the base get through a heap of emails because they were written in English, which helped him out a lot. The first two days I was getting over a migraine (after drinking wine from flying business class – I’m done with alcohol!) and so I slept. I don’t think I’ve slept so much ever! Then in the morning of the night we were to bus it to Talcahuano, I woke up with fluid and stuff in the middle ear – it was painful. I managed to get rid of the pain, but the stuffiness was still there (even to this day).
We were in Talcahuano for 2 days, which is a 6-hour bus ride south along the coast. I was expecting to help physically in Talcahuano after the earthquake/tsunami’s hit earlier this year, however God had different plans for me – relationships. We stayed with a family who blew us away with their hospitality (they really know how to do hospitality in Central and South America). The family of 4 moved into one room while they allowed a team of about 12 people use the rest of their house, including their one bathroom. Dan and I picked up a little more Spanish – it helps when no-one can speak English and your immersed in it. The Italian we’d learnt helped, they are very similar. We chilled with the team from Denver and helped out at a children’s party – it was really good to see the children, and parents, smile and have fun. It reminded me of a time when we held a party in Sicily on our DTS for an orphanage, I learnt a lot about just letting go and having fun.
When we got back to Santiago we did a bit of sightseeing. We took a 1-hour bus to Valparaiso, had a seafood lunch and looked around the town a little. The last day we spent walking around downtown Santiago. We got used to catching the little mini buses. The first time we caught one we travelled a LONG way out, we’d actually caught the wrong one (they all look the same, with slightly different signs on them). We were out to buy warmer clothes to go to Talcahuano, it was challenging because we didn’t get back until late and we had no idea where we were. The fact it was cold took over the desire to freak out over getting lost.
I really had to push myself to do things while in Chile and push past/ignore the lazy this-is-the-last-country mentality. It was a real struggle at times. I hate regrets and yet regret so often. I struggle when people are like, “Live life without regrets” because I regret that I regret…I have come to realise that I don’t like to make decisions because of this – if I make the wrong one, I’ll regret it. It’s a vicious cycle that must be overcome. Any good books on this mental issue anyone?
So, we rocked up to the Santiago airport to check in and get on board back to Aussie land when we were denied…initially. It turned out that our tickets had been “refunded” and we didn’t have a booking! Strangely enough, I didn’t fret. We have no idea what happened but my suspicion is that because we didn’t take the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Santiago to get the connecting flight to Australia, they decided to refund the ticket. Thankfully we were able to purchase tickets for the same flight (costing a tad bit more than the original price). I was so happy we could get the flight, but strangely enough didn’t freak out about the whole situation. I think I’ve change a bit in the fretting of things not going to plan, I hope it sticks. We walked through to the duty free shops and although I’m like “over alcohol” I was tempted to buy some Jonnie Walker Black. It was sooo cheap! Fortunately and thankfully I was able to resist the temptation because 1) I don’t need it and 2) It would have been confiscated in New Zealand. Dan had some rum confiscated because it is liquid, which cannot be carried on board. I think it’s really ridiculous and over-the-top, but thems the rules.
The journey hasn’t been as favourable throughout South America as other places, but we made it to Aussie soil and that is what I am thankful to my God for. He has protected and guided us on our travel and it’s been awesome knowing He’s looking out for us and over us. With one more destination to go before we hit home, it’s a time to get over jetlag, breathe and reflect…and what a reflection it will be!