Not really homesick…more lost

It has come to my attention that I have hit a face-to-face moment with my reality:
um…so… I live here. In Santiago…and consequently, am not going to be heading back “home” – ever.

I’ve been told that this happens but that each day will get better. It’s not like I’m on the ledge ready to bounce, but I feel like a stranger in a strange land and have lost all sense of serenity with my surroundings. I come close when I’m with G – actually the closest I’ve ever been since I’ve moved here – but I’m a pretty self sufficient person and it’s not enough for me to only feel it when he’s around.

Do you know what it’s like when the minute you step out of your house, you have ZERO idea of how things are done? Or what it’s like that NO MATTER what you’re doing (walking, shopping, browsing, BEING) you’re different because you NEVER do things or ask for things the way everyone around you does? You speak Spanish but not quite the same as everyone else does and you’re always asked “Oh, where are you from?” Because I’m not gringa enough to pass as a full fledged American (to them) but not Chilean enough to be, well, Chilean. So I’m this weird hybrid that they can’t label and therefore you walk around being … weird.

Weird is fine with me. I’d rather be labeled as weird than be a conformist (those seem to be the two options here as far as I can tell) but if I’m going to be weird, I wish I knew even the most basic of things… such as getting from point A to point B. I have a GPS for that (which works when it wants to) but what I really miss is that comfort of just KNOWING where to go for what. You don’t really think about it when you have it but when you’re used to living somewhere, you can do whatever you please by simply knowing where to find it.

I don’t discard that I may be going through a period where I’m feeling sorry for myself as one reality after another hits me… I won’t go into detail about those realities but let me just say that the whole feeling sorry for oneself doesn’t jive well with me since it’s not my norm.

So I reiterate to you my dear little blog reader, that no, I am not on the ledge ready to jump but man, things are way different here and it’s hard to have no idea which way is up. Well, obviously here they’d tell me that “up” is towards the “Cordillera” (Andes), and not that this has anything to do with what I’m writing but I’d like to point out that when you’re new to Santiago, that damn Cordillera is EVERYWHERE. Literally I feel that it goes in a circle and if not, then at least a half moon because every direction I look there’s a part of the Andes somewhere in the horizon. Which only adds to my lack of sense of direction since a well accustomed Chilean will use THAT as a point of reference for any direction they’re heading in.

But that’s six of one and half a dozen of another, as a good friend of mine would say.

In short, I guess my sentiments right now can best be summed up by a portion of Alanis’ “You Learn”:

I recommend biting off more then you can chew to anyone
I certainly do
I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time
Feel free
Throw it down (the caution blocks you from the wind)
Hold it up (to the rays)
You wait and see when the smoke clears

You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn

And… the smoke does eventually clear, right?

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2 thoughts on “Not really homesick…more lost

  1. Ohhh, I remember those days. And thank god I got past them! I think what you've described here is related to what I feel when in the middle of a conversation someone goes "wait, you're not Chilean, are you?" It's not that I want to be Chilean – I'm perfectly happy with who I am, and that happens to be someone from the US and UK. But it's that I want where I'm from not to be an issue. I don't struggle with the stuff you're mentioning of not knowing how to do things nearly as much now as I did when I first came here, and my accent's good enough that people don't pick up on it right away, but sooner or later we come back to the fact that I'm different. Which is fine, as you said I'd rather be unique, but sometimes fitting in is nice.

    But yes, the smoke does clear, as does the smog to a certain extent, and you'll get the hang of things 🙂

  2. Oh, sweetie, the smoke will clear. I promise! It takes about 6 months to feel like a place is home, whether it is in the US or abroad. I felt like you feel when I moved to Denver for the first time, not knowing where to go for, say, a pedicure or where a hardware store was, but those things come in time. I know that you will acclimate in time and love your life there!

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