After mapping out my semester, the sad, but obvious, reality hit that I will not be able to do everything and see all of the places that I planned on doing. Far from surprising, but it hurt nonetheless to confirm it. The problem: classes. I am, in reality, here on a “study” abroad program, so I’m technically supposed to study. Well, go to school at least. However, this is far from ideal for my grand aspirations of really getting to know all of South America, or all of Chile at the very least. Last weekend represented the preliminary shock to this sad state by leaving me with only three days to explore Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, two cities with such rich histories and characters that I needed much more time. This frustration grew as I mapped out my other planned trips, where I will not have the time to explore on my own pace in the effort to see as much as possible. I sure have a rough life, don’t I?
As I mentioned earlier, classes have finally started, three months after I ended last semester (I almost forgot what academics and responsibilities were like). As a result, the time has come for routines and homework. Without realizing at the time, last Monday was my last first day of classes, at least for a long time. Crazy. Despite sounding incredibly jaded, I think I’ve burned myself out of the academic setting anyway, and it is a good thing that I will get to explore life in a different way by the end of July. (Hint: it’s not going to be in an office or a text book). However, for now, I am still a student, but we all know about the inescapable senioritis. It’s real. Study abroad? Maybe.
The exciting parts of the past week fell, as expected, on the weekend, which was my first in Santiago since I arrived in Chile. After three weeks of buildup, I finally experienced the infamous Chilean carrete. Directly translated, carrete means party, but the English word lacks the proper connotation to communicate its meaning. It is so much more. One good description that I heard is that carretes are more joyous gatherings, while partying in the US is more to forget the week. That sheds some light on the word, but really you’ll just have to experience it for yourself to understand. This was also one of my first opportunities to meet people from outside the AU program, with revelers hailing from South Africa, England France and, of course, Chile itself. Also, because I am an AU student, conversations inevitably managed to meander in the political direction, further fueling my previously mentioned fascination with different nationalities’ perspectives on all kinds of philosophies, this time with a few drinks to really encourage honest opinions.
The final big news of late comes from wandering around Santiago this afternoon: I found a leather-bound anthology of all of Pablo Neruda’s works at a street book fair. Now I can continue feeding my fascination with him, and my newfound interest in poetry in general.
While my long distance adventures around the continent may be curtailed by having to pass my last semester, there is still a lot a will discover here in Santiago. And while I mock the official academic setting forcing “study” on my adventure abroad, I will in fact study a lot. There are so many cultural, historic, natural and social (and so on) aspects to explore here. If I want to get the most out of adventure abroad (my real title for the semester) then I do actually have to study. Just not in the traditional form that’s expected of me.