The Homestay Experience

The whole trip entering Chile I felt small. I was just a boy on a tiny green bus that rode on the thin, snow covered international pass, “Los Libertadores”. The road, the bus, and I meandered through the international border, insignificant in size, age, and wonder next to the towering Aconcagua and all of the other magnificent Andes peaks. The bus climbed slowly on Argentina’s side, and after crossing customs it started to loop and loop down an incredibly steep frozen slope. I had never seen anything like it. The view was breathtaking in a terrifying kind of way.

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I arrived half asleep and two hours late to the bus terminal in Santiago, Chile. There I met Luz Maria, my Chilean mom, Osvaldo, her husband, and Osvaldo Jr., her seventeen year old son. From that moment on, the family has only made me feel welcome in their home and country. Below is a picture of the room they provide for me.

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In the morning I sneak peeks of the Andes from my bedroom window.

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In the beginning I was hesitant about staying with a Homestay family in Chile. My decision to register was primarily based on making myself available to a new experience. Thus far, the experience has been phenomenal. When our schedules align, we eat together.  On occasions we cook together.  Some Sundays they take me to explore some areas difficult to find without a car. Sometimes we just sit and chat for hours after dinner.

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My first days were shaped by the warm and loving atmosphere they created for me here in Chile. Their home has become my home. The world feels small when I call Santiago home and Chicago home and Portland home. Then I walk outside, take another look at the Andes, and I remember the world is large and I am small.