jeff´s career break

Chile – Organized Yet Hidden

Written By: jeff

Posted On: May 16th, 2010

Career break rtw in Santiago, Chile

Santiago skyline

The past week in Chile has completely flown by.  I’ve been much more active here that I was in Argentina.  It’s probably because I have such limited time here.  You’d think you could tackle a country of Chile’s size in 3 weeks.  But, no.  With classes during the week, there is precious little time to see the countryside.  This is such a Seinfeld problem to have.

I’ve been slowed down a little by a small stomach issue.  I thought I had it tackled but it made a resurgence today.  I’m done with it so it’s clear liquids for the next few days and back on the Cipro (thank God I got a script for it before I left).

Career break, rtw in Santiago, Chile

Park in Santiago

The culture of the Santiagans (???) is much more reserved than the Argentines.  I hate comparing the two, but the two cultures are so different that it invites comparison.  In BA, you don’t have to work for anything.  The city just hits you the moment you walk outside much the same way that New York does.  Parks, cafes, restaurants, etc – they are all within your block.  Of course, in BA, you also have the grit, the noise, the people, the chaos – but there is an energy and buzz to the city that you just can’t avoid (in a good way most of the time).

Santiago is different than BA.  It’s clean, it’s orderly, it’s neat and it’s quieter.  I can tell because I don’t have my iPod turned up to max volume anymore when I walk around.  The city is more residential.  At first, part of me went through withdrawal for BA.  But, part of

Career break, rtw blog in Santiago, Chile

Virgin Mary on San Cristobal Mountain

me really appreciated the laid back nature of the city.  I knew that the city of 6 million had to have things going on – I was just going to have to work for it.  So, I’ve made it my mission to uncover and find the soul of the city.

School is going well.  This week I really feel comfortable with my Spanish again.  I definitely feel I can walk into almost any casual situation and operate, even if I don’t know all the words – bank, travel agent, grocer, subway, bus, etc.  I haven’t had the chance to talk on the phone much, but I think I’d be fine.  The challenge in class now comes as I try to create more complex sentences and express myself more like I do in English.  As I move closer to fluency, I find myself understanding a concept in class and then completely forgetting how to say it in English.  But, from my time learning Afrikaans, I know this is progress even if the mind feels scrambled at times.  This is now week 5 of class and I am feeling on track.  I can even understand (most of the time) the Chileans who have a difficult accent by Spanish standards.  If a Chilean really gets rolling, I have to ask them to slow down. They swallow all there words especially at the end.  Sometimes it’s like a constant sounds of vowels smushed together like the consonants are optional.  But, by and large, it’s not bad and I’m coping.  I just have to prepare my ears for the vocal rollercoaster I’m about to get on when conversing.

Career break, rtw blog in Santiago, Chile

Bellavista neighborhood

I’m thinking of starting a second blog for Spanish only.  It really would be in addition to this one.  Primarily it would give me practice with my writing.  It would also give me a record to see how my Spanish is improving leading up to my fluency exam in November.  We’ll see.  I may have some tech issues with the Mac site not allowing 2 blogs.  We’ll see.

OK, signing off for today for time’s sake even though this is a little abrupt.

Originally published April 17, 2007

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One Response to “Chile – Organized Yet Hidden”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Jung. Jeff Jung said: The Sunday Read, Jeff's #CareerBreak #travel blog: Chile Organized Yet Hidden #rtw #rtwsoon… [...]

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