Welp, I made it safely to Punta Arenas six days ago and started work immediately. Can't say the city is a huge departure from what i was expecting, but then again i have made conscious efforts to hold zero expectations during my travels. Take it all for what it is, is what i want to do.
According to Wikipedia, Punta Arenas, the capital city of the Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, is the most prominent settlement on the Strait of Magellan. The city itself was officially renamed Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to Punta Arenas. It has a population near 150,000. Punta Arenas literally translated is Sandy Point. My initial impression of the city leaves me a bit underwhelmed, but i am keeping an open mind and will continue to be positive. It's got some good points, some bad points, but it all works out.
Things i have experienced and enjoyed thus far include:
The People - Chilenos are super friendly and approachable! Whenever i am at a loss for words, which is often, never am i afraid to ask a stranger ¿Cómo se dice...? While a sinking suspicion lingers that people may be making fun of me or saying rude things that i can't understand, i still receive an answer to my question with a smile and laugh. But if i was a Chileno, i'd probably laugh at me too. I'm just a gringo. No hard feelings, Chile.
The Weather - And i use to think Montana had unpredictable and exciting weather! The skies here can switch from a pleasant cloudless 15°C day to 40knot winds and hail to ominous gray to rain with cloudless skies and back to pleasant weather in the course of an hour. The forecasts mean nothing. I love it.
Things i miss already include:
American Grocery Stores - As one who values eating, and eating well, as much as i do - i should have seen this coming a mile away. I miss basil, reasonably priced economy sized bottles of kikoman soy sauce, and whole grain bread. I miss coldsmoke and moosedrool - hell, even coors light for that matter! I miss spinach, chocolate chip cookies, and sriracha sauce. While the bakeries and seleción de carne are amazing, the supermercados and Chileno diet as a whole leave a lot to be desired. On a more positive note, the wine is super cheap!
Speaking English - This is self explanatory and i don't really need to justify it with any sort of explanation, but i will. Moving to a foreign country and not being able to speak the language is difficult! I knew that when i decided to make the move, but i never imagined it would be so tiring to have to constantly be actively listening to what people are saying or always making a conscious effort choosing my words. While making small talk has never been a strong talent of mine, i feel even more at odds here in Chile. So it goes. But rest assured, i am not despaired. I the knew the language barrier would be one of my greatest struggles abroad. And while it is challenging, i feel lucky to have the challenge.
Language Lesson of the Day: Think of Punta Arenas - small city. Dark - dark in the day time. People sleep - sleep in the day time, if they want to. If they want to! There's some good points - some bad points. But it all works out. I'm just a little freaked out... Say it with me now! Piense de Punta Aernas - pequeña ciudad. La oscuridad - oscuridad durante el día. Las personas duermen - duermen durante el día, si quieren. iSi quieren! Hay algunos puntos buenos - algunos puntos malos. Pero todo trabaja fuera. Soy solo un pequeño flipó...