September 16, 2017
Where did all my traveling begin? Hm, I'm going to have to say Harry Potter. Yup, J.K. Rowling filling my young head with ideas that anything is possible. Romanticizing about living in a castle, learning about magic, being surrounded by friends all the time. They were so happy and had so much fun! I begged my mom to send me to boarding school, cause that's the same thing. I was fourteen years old, begging my mom to let me do these expensive study abroad trips for a couple weeks all of the world because we kept getting those pamphlets in the mail.
In Spanish class one day, class was canceled and we went to a Rotary presentation in our auditorium. One of those mandatory lectures students had to attend, but we got out of class. Tyler, y'all, is the second guy who inspired me. I'll keep his last name private. Around 2007, Tyler studied abroad in South Africa through Rotary. He was a year older than me, and I realized, that could be me! I was inspired. I took an application and brought it home that night, casually mentioning it to my mom. Now at this point, she had turned down ALL my ideas to get out of the country and travel, so I figured nothing would come of it. Then my mom said I should apply. APPLY!? Whaaaat, nooo. Waves hand, looks around. Okay.
The process took almost a year, maybe half a year. I got to pick my top 10 countries I wanted to study abroad at. I had taken SPN 101, so I picked Spain. And from there it was just random Spanish speaking countries. And...I picked Chile as my second. In math class one day, I got a notification on my old LG Verizon flip phone, took it out in the hallway. I got CHILE! I went back into class and looked at my best friend since first grade, Alyssa, and mouthed "CHILE" to her. I knew absolutely nothing about Chile, Spanish, or really anything.
Fifteen years old, sophomore in high school, I was waving my mom goodbye at the airport heading to Chile, alone, for a year. I've never really been a huge Christmas fan, so this must be what Christmas must have felt like for normal children. Free at last!!!
And...this random ass Chilean family picked me up at the airport. I didn't speak Spanish and they didn't speak English. I had two 3 year-old twin sisters and two parents. To this day, I still don't know if my host-mom had a job or not. My host dad was a dermatologist, because he took me into his office and cut my toe nail off once. But I'll save that for another blog--sketchy ass surgeries in other countries. Yeah, there's a lot of those stories.
Alright, headed off to dinner and a movie in South Korea with people I just met!