University of Wisconsin–Madison

Ode to Arica

Today is my last day in Arica. Tonight some friends and I are catching a bus down to San Pedro de Atacama, a desert town that is world renowned for incredible star gazing. We’ll spend the long weekend there, and then I’ll fly to Viña del Mar, right next to Valparaíso and an hour and a half from Chile’s capitol Santiago, where I will be conducting an independent research project for my last month here. As I sit outside and enjoy Arica’s warm desert air, exhausted from my morning of frolicking in the waves at the beach with my friends, I can’t help but think of all the fun I’ve had in the past two months in this city I’ve come to call home. These are just a few of my favorite Arican memories:

Enjoying time on top of the Morro with a view of the whole city
Enjoying time on top of the Morro with a view of the whole city
Cheering for Arica at fútbol games
Cheering for Arica at fútbol games
Enjoying the beach every day of the week
Enjoying the beach every day of the week
And staying to watch the sunset
And staying to watch the sunset
Sharing my slackline with new friends
Sharing my slackline with new friends
Birthday parties
Birthday parties
Spending time with “Chato” (aka “short one”), my host wiener dog
Spending time with “Chato” (aka “short one”), my host wiener dog
Beautiful meals cooked just for me by my host mom
Beautiful meals cooked just for me by my host mom
Relaxing outside with the hummingbirds
Relaxing outside with the hummingbirds
My wonderful host family
My wonderful host family
Teaching my host mom how to be a badger (aka tejona)
Teaching my host mom how to be a badger (aka tejona)

During the past two months, I have done much more than simply enjoy a beautiful city with multiple beaches where it is always sunny and never rains. I have also gotten to know a ton of incredibly generous Chileans who have opened up their homes and their culture to me, even as I struggle through the Spanish. Although I’m excited to live in a new city this next month that is much bigger and supposedly beautiful, I wouldn’t trade my last two months in Arica for anything in the world.