The Bucketed List

June 10, 2015

in Central/South America, Chile, Megan Gray, Spring 2015

This blog post is dedicated to the things I’ve done during my travels in America del Sur. A lot of times, we talk about what we’re going to do in the future: all the places we want to see, all the things we would love to accomplish, what adventures we want to go on. I’ve done the same thing; always dreaming of all the things I want to see and do. I, like many others, am a proud owner of a bucket list. But there’s a time to make these lists and there’s also a time to realize them. Sometimes you don’t even know something is on your bucket list until you check it off. So in this post, I want to look back on everything I’ve done: the bucketed-list.

  1. independently flew in a plane sola from the Twin Cities to Los Angeles to Santiago to Arica WITHOUT getting lost or delayed or even losing my luggage.

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2. saw the coolest waterfall I’ve seen in my life and a smoking volcano, all in the same weekend.

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3. climbed a 1,880 meter “hill” (I’d call it a mountain)

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4. learned how to work public transportation to get around new cities AND to get to and from different cities as far as 11 hours away by bus. which was actually quite a feat because it sounds simple, the first micro ride in a new city you’ve never seen when you may not even speak the language good enough to understand the directions someone gives you can be quite terrifying.

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5. became a part of not only one but TWO new families. both of whom quickly accepted me into their everyday life, introduced me to the cousins and the uncles and grandmothers, and celebrated birthdays and holidays with me.

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6. became fluent in a language: not only in the words of the chilean spanish, but also in the “chilean” of the chilean spanish. I can now not only understand the regular words like “bread” and “I’m full” and “how can I get to the centro,” but also the “chilenismos” (special chilean slang words), the city names and the fútbol teams.

7. joined a salsatec and learned how to Salsa and Bachata

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8. met up with a friend of a friend in a new city, whom I’d never met before who happened to be involved in a school especially for children with an intellectual disabilities with the intention of doing a quick little research project there.

9. end up doing a month-long practicum at that school, where I pretty much hung out with kids ages six to twenty six everyday, and instantly made about 200 new best friends. I shared with them my USA culture, and in return they taught me about their Chilean-ness.

10. wrote a 32 page paper in Spanish about my project AND gave a 30 minute presentation on it in front of a panel of professionals from my program and the university in Arica.

11. volunteered at a place called the Teletón, where I not only had a great time playing with kids waiting for their therapy appointments, but where I also made incredible Valparaísan friends.

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12. met 24 amazing classmates and dear friends from different states whom I am currently making plans to see again.

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13. turned 21 years old and celebrated with host-sis

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14. learned how to make lots of new chilean food from the host fams

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15. learned about traditional medicine in Temuco and Putre

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As I write this in the airport waiting for one last flight home, looking back on all my pictures, I’m realizing that I’ve probably bucketed a million other things as well and that this list could go on for almost ever. I loved my time in Chile, and wouldn’t trade my 100 (and five) days there for the world. I’ll miss the country, my Chilean friends, my American friends, the spanish, the music, the chilenismos, the besitos, the welcoming attitude of almost every person I met, and so much more. Although I’m leaving Chile for now, it’s more of a “nos vemos” (see you later) because I’m most definitely coming back someday soon.

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