It sure is Chile today

Yes, I know. This line is basically the definition of corny. But for the past few months, it has become very popular with my younger sisters, who feel the need to keep reminding me that in less than three months, I will be hopping on a plane to one of the craziest experiences of my life. Why my sisters think I am likely to forget about my upcoming semester abroad in Santiago, I have no idea. As my friends will attest, most of my life these days revolves around Chile. Either I am filling out scholarship applications for my study abroad program, scheduling appointments for doctor appointments before I leave the United States, or simply searching online for the coolest places to visit in my future home, Santiago is never far from my mind.

So who is this girl, the one with the crazy sisters and the strange obsession with her future life in Chile? In short, I am a Wisconsin girl through and through. I have lived my entire life in Neenah, Wisconsin, a city whose biggest claim to fame is making manhole covers. Now this may sound lame, but think about it. How many people can go anywhere in the world and look down at the street and see a big piece of metal with the name of their town on it? Yeah, that’s right. Probably not too many.

Anyways, I think my excitement for travel started with my grandma, one of the most insane travelers I know. Every Christmas for as long as I remember, my grandma has come over to my family’s house with trinkets, gifts, and stories galore from her treks across the globe. It is due to her that I have a large collection of the most eccentric presents a person could ever collect. One year my sisters and I received brightly colored shirts that were shaped like bubble wrap, the next it was lizard patterned socks. One particularly memorable year, all of my cousins and I were the proud recipients of wigs made entirely of beads- I think those may have made the Christmas picture the following year. Regardless, all these stories and items did nothing less than spark my curiosity about the world and inspire me to seek out my own adventures.

Today, as I sit in my dorm room and think about the months to come, I can’t help but wonder what the future will bring. My emotions change almost on a daily basis One day I will literally be jumping up and down in my hallway out of excitement for my time abroad, and the next day I will remember that I will soon be leaving all my family, friends, and basically everything I have ever known. Even so, every time I look at the background picture of Santiago on my laptop I can feel a jolt of excitement rush through my body and I know that I am doing the right thing. The time has come. Santiago is calling my name. ¡Adios, Madison- I am off to explore the world of South America! Hopefully I will even find some manhole covers from the Neenah Foundary on the streets of Chile- a little piece of my home that can go with me wherever I travel.