Goodbye Seattle, Hola Santiago

A few days ago I packed up my final things and said goodbye. I’ve never planned something like this so far in advance. In a way it was just a relief it was here, I’m not sure my body could handle any more send-offs from my friends (thanks Meghan for all those trips to Mexico). It was almost anticlimactic; I did find myself asking a few times ‘Why am I doing this again?’. It was like I forgot my motivations. But here I am sitting in Valparaiso, Chile, and they are all coming back.

Hardest part was saying goodbye to my lil Wheaten buddy Griffey. He has no clue and probably thinks I’ve just abandoned him, or maybe he hasn’t even noticed that I’m gone. He loves his uncle Lorn (where he’s staying while I’m gone) so probably just thinks he’s on some awesomely long fun sleepover with the cool uncle who gives him way more treats than his mom. I’ll have to bring him some Argentine steak to bribe my way back into his heart. This was our goodbye:

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The flight down was amazing – I was sad to miss Thanksgiving with the fam, but loved the empty rows of seats on the plane! No turkey for me, just a 22oz beer. She talked me up from 16oz, it was just a dollar more and since I’m on a budget now I figured I should take advantage.

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Got picked up by Rodrigo from the airport – a K2 connection who is super accommodating. Dropped me off, gave me a key to his place and some directions around Providencia neighborhood where he lives, then he took off for a couple days to go work at the coast. Now that is trust! Spent my 24hours eating an amazing quinoa/tofu/avocado salad at El Huerto, getting a pedicure, going for a run along the river, buying deodorant, guzzling water and eating flan. Standard first day.

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Had some great lighting end of day yesterday, made for some flowery sun flare:

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I liked this line of graffiti on my run. These lines sound so romantic in Spanish and somehow so cheesy in English. Saw some seriously heavy street makeout sessions walking around Santiago. No shame in their game. I forgot that about this part of the world!

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Maneuvered a few different legs of public transport to get to Valparaiso (Valpo as the cool kids call it). Walking, metro, nice bus to Valpo, local bus (read: 84 stops and barely tall enough to fit my backpack), more walking (following some vague online directions), a lot of asking people for help (slowly getting back into Spanish, although I clearly still can only understand 10% of their answer to me seeing as how I nodded yes then walked a block and realized I had no idea what he’d told me), then tiny cable car up the hill to my hostel’s neighborhood.

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Amazing views up here and incredibly helpful staff (thank you Cristian!) at Hostal Jacaranda. Can’t wait to explore tomorrow!

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