it’s been about a week since we arrived in santiago after a hectic day of departure. an SUV ran head-on into the power pole outside our house, we got stuck in traffic, were told we needed a visa for emi at the check-in desk, were told i had to pay for my checked bags, waited forever to be cleared for take-off, arrived late in atl which meant we had to run to catch our flight to santiago…but we and our entire ragtag pile of luggage made it to south america!  

we spent the weekend unpacking, settling into our apartment and meeting some of the people at san marcos. it’s been rainy and overcast since we’ve been here so it’s been a bit of a gloomy start. we have a view of the andes on one side of the apartment…but we also have a construction site on the other that seems to go from about 8am-8pm, with a nice long siesta in the middle.  

the church nate is working at donated pretty much everything we need, including a pile of toys for clementine. i don’t think she even misses philly (sorry, friends) because she’s made out like a bandit in the acquisitions department. the only thing lacking was books, so for now, we’re rotating tirelessly between richard scarry and paddington the bear.

after getting lost on the way to church on sunday, we arrived late and were called up front to introduce our frazzled selves to the congregation. good thing nate is a great verbal improviser. it was generally about what we expected, and at one point it felt exactly like the church that we went to for most of my life. a hodgepodge of expats, locals, bicultural families, newlyweds, decade-long missionaries, TCKs and MKs from all over the world. in a weird way, it felt so familiar to be among people who don’t belong. despite our attempts at piecing together some spanglish and driving in circles constantly, not knowing how to communicate doesn’t seem as stressful as it could be since the culture generally seems less snooty and less aggressive.

i am so thankful to our communities in the US and to the people we haven’t even met here in santiago. i feel like the entire summer was spent deepening friendships and being on the receiving end of what felt like undeserved gifts, time and support. we were so amazed at cards we received, generous and thoughtful gifts, and the incredible number of meals that we didn’t have to prepare, especially in the last couple of weeks. on this end in santiago, our apartment was cleaned, furniture and household items and groceries were donated, and they’re helping us to set everything up from internet to visas.

for the most part, we’ve been handling the day-to-day stuff like feeding and cleaning ourselves. in emi’s world nothing much has changed so she still wants to play games, eat cookies and throw tantrums. although the transition has gone relatively smoothly and no matter how many times i’ve done this, it is never easy to leave close friends or a familiar environment. it kind of felt like we were running at full tilt packing up and spending time with people in philly over the past couple months, and it’s like going cold turkey in our social life. i know that we’ll eventually make new friends (maybe) and discover things that we love about santiago (hopefully), but we miss everyone!