I finally found a minute in the chaos to sit down and write. To put it simply, it’s been chaotic. Simultaneously closing the school year and leaving the country indefinitely has been a lot for this gringa to handle. My game-plan has been to accomplish small goals each day, which has worked well. Leaving Chile in all of its bureaucratic glory should be considered an Olympic sport. I started the process 7 months ago, and I’m still working on it. I’m going to be making a “gringo guide for leaving Chile” to help my fellow gringos maneuver the system a little more gracefully –stay tuned.
I can't wait to be home and have all of the hair-pulling non-sense I've been dealing with behind me.
My latest headaches:
LATAM not allowing León to fly with me because I'm flying with multiple airlines (don't worry, I'm not leaving without him)
My landlord taking advantage of me by using my full deposit (and asking for more money) to renovate my entire apartment (I have a lawyer involved)
Trying to receive my pension funds back (a 7-month long struggle)
Other than signing and notarizing documents, closing accounts, selling things and packing everything up –heres what I’ve been up to.
I threw a baby shower for my dear friend Dani who is expecting twins. It was so lovely to see her and her big tummy.
My best friend Nicholas visited me in Chile at the same time my Dad and step-mom were visiting me. It was a very busy time school-wise for me, so I felt guilty not having the energy to tour them all over town. While I worked, they went off and did their own things and then we all reconvened at dinner and talked about our days. I’m glad they were able to make it down here and see what I’ve been up to for the past 4 or so years! It’s crazy to think that all of my best friends from home have had a chance to come down!
I’ve been to several “despedidas” or farewell parties in the past month, some for me, some for other friends. My work threw a very sweet despedida for all of us that are leaving. I’m absolutely going to miss my co-workers the most –they are some of the most genuine and wholesome people I have ever encountered. I know for a fact that I will never again have the opportunity to work with such a large quantity of kind-hearted, passionate and wonderful people again.
The room-mothers of my class threw me a very special despedida with my students. They put together a video of each student giving me a farewell message –it’s one of my greatest treasures from the school year. The substitute teacher that has been replacing my co-teacher while she’s out on sick-leave, secretly made a book for me filled with farewell drawings and messages from the kids. I feel very attached to my class this year and I’m sad to see them go. It broke my heart to see some of my current and former students crying at the fact that they won’t ever see me again. I feel a tinge of guilt that they won’t see me in the hallways next year. You really get attached to some of them, and it makes me sad to abandon them.
^^ "Miss Kim, I think that when we are in 3rd grade you can come to be our miss 2 times"
^^"I'll mist you so much in the days that I don't see you."
^^ "I love you Miss Kim is no the same if you are not in the school. I don't want you to leave the school"
^^ I gave each of my students a special award
^^One of my students made me my own award
I also had my own despedida with friends. It was at a rooftop bar, and it was perfect. I had all kinds of decorations, which was very "gringa" of me.
We celebrated León's third birthday. We went for a car-ride (in Uber), we went to the park, we went on the metro and we had dog cake (well not me).
I went to a dog-event called Woofstock
^^ The most beautiful dog up for adoption!!
^^My new map of Chile
^^Cheers to the end of another school year!
A lot of people have asked me how I’m feeling about leaving Chile. I’ve observed many friends who have gone before me cope with their departure in different ways. For me, I feel an overwhelming sense of contentment. I feel like I’ve accomplished what I came here to do, and that I’ve grown so much as both a teacher and individual. The timing just really feels right. I’m so happy with my experience in Chile but I’m also feeling excited to turn the page and begin the next chapter in my life. With that being said, I haven’t been one of those overly emotional people that cries the last time they visit their local grocery store. I was almost feeling guilty for feeling not sad enough. I think it all finally hit me when I was saying goodbye to my co-workers and good friends from work. I truly admire them so much and I don’t want them to not be a part of my daily life anymore. I wish I could bring them with me wherever life takes me. During this moment, the tears started coming and that sadness started to take over. One of my favorite quotes sums of this feeling beautifully, “You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That’s the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place”.
I’m a whole bunch of mixed emotions and I’m trying to just sit with that for a while. I’ve been through so much in these short 3.5 years that any emotion that I’m feeling is justified. The definite worst part is saying goodbye. Whether it’s to the guy on the corner who sells snacks, or to my best friend –nobody likes them, but they’re inevitable. I’ve quickly discovered that it’s difficult for me to find the right words when it comes to saying goodbye. As a result, I’ve been writing letters to the ones that I have a lot to say to; for my most painful goodbyes.
One of my students had a bandaid that fell of, so I turned around to find him using a glue stick to stick it back on
While talking with my Chilean lawyer he said "you can't blame one little poopy for that amount of damage in the apartment" he meant puppy
A Chilean co-worker was describing a handsome guy and said "and he has the nicest ears" she meant eyes!
One of my student's fathers is fascinated by my life and always asks me thousands of questions. When I mentioned in a meeting that I was leaving Chile, he didn't want to talk about his son anymore, just about my reasons and my future plans
Some of my students wanted to make a video to send to my new nephew Mason. One of them said "Mason, you're special, just like everyone else in the world"
I had a woman from England do a demo-lesson in my classroom, but her English vocabulary is very different than mine. She asked the kids "to take out their rubbers" (referring to erasers) or "to have a quick think" (take a second to think about it). The look on their faces when she said things like that was priceless
There was this art exhibit in the center of the city to raise awareness for global warming. They had 1,000 penguins made of recycled materials scattered around. I was dying to see it. By the time I got there, they were no where to be found. Apparently, the day before, they gave each and every penguin away to the public.
Since I follow all of the dog shops in Santiago on Instagram, I entered one of their contests by posting my most glamorous photo with my dog and won!
My despedida was so well-decorated the people that worked with me kept saying "it's just like your classroom, I'm not surprised at all!"
^^ "Have fun in Miami" -I'm not going to Miami.......
^^A kid had a birthday part where they did airbrush tattoos -it was really weird seeing children with tattoos
^^One of my students brought me a gigantic wasp hive, I wasn't quite sure what one should do with a wasp hive....
^^A student kept telling me she was going to bring me a surprise. Finally when the day came, she gave me a bag of cereal that she had set out especially for me at her house...
^^Grammar is also fun
^^How often does an actual Swiss person offer you actual Swiss chocolate??
^^ León is so famous on instagram
^^ They told me he could only enter the store if he was in a cart
^^Pretending to be interested in buying a Nescafe machine for the the free coffee
^^My dad got tired while shopping so he decided to rest a while
^^The guy on the corner who sells snacks loves León and gives him peanuts
^^Nick went to Rio and met Flo!!
^^Me telling the street dog that I gave him half my meal already...
^^ I'll never get used to 90 degree Christmas seasons
^^ An actual machine that washes your dog, like a vending machine
^^It's like an automatic carwash but for dogs!
"Hamsters are so caring. But he hurt you when you molest him." It's important to note that molestar in Spanish means to bother.
^^While packing, I turned around to find that León packed himself
^^ And lastly, a big welcome to my new nephew Mason!! He just couldn't wait to meet me, so he decided to arrive over a month early. He is doing very well, and I can't wait to meet him!!
It’s been one hell of a ride Chile, but it’s on to the next one for this gringa.