Dear Chile: A Xmas Message

Dear Chile,
Today I was asked how I am, living in Santiago. Am I happy?
So I considered some of the negatives I’ve encountered here: the delincuents, the self-constructed houses that offer no warmth during winter, the rushhour commute on the metro, the pain caused by harsh drugs, the huge difference between public/private education, the lack of trust …
But then I thought about all the good things I’ve seen. Like the overwhelming sense of community in my neighborhood during Dieciocho. The support from people I didn’t know when my son was hospitalized. The beautifully painted houses, lovingly watered patches of grass and well-tended gardens – even on apartment balconies. The long lunches with family who accepted me instantly and embrace me as one of their own even though my opinions are sometimes a bit odd for them. The incredible art everywhere, from graffitti to buskers on the metro. All the teachers I have met going the extra mile for their students and offering them a light during dark times (Liceo Almirante Riveros!). The feria where you can find everything you need and where wrapping up the eggs is artistry. The tune the truck delivering gas makes as it goes up and down the roads …
And that’s just Santiago. I came to Chile for love but it’s not love with a man that keeps me here – it’s love with a land. Out of all the countries I have lived and travelled in, this one is more my home than any other – including my own. So thank you Chile – Chilenos and extranjeros – this whole community for propping me up when I needed it and for always supporting my blog. Have a merry Christmas/feliz navidad!
Kind regards,