the end of a day

The temperature has dropped perceptibly over the last two weeks, which is to say two weeks ago the temperature dropped, and since then it has remained cold. While I can frequently still get away with wearing a t-shirt and walking quickly throughout the early afternoon, I find myself spending more and more time each morning unable climb out from under my down comforter. Few of the houses here in Valparaíso have internal heating or any form of insulation, making the whole experience slightly reminiscent of early winter at home when my parents used to refuse to heat my room. Last Tuesday while walking home from class, my friend Tara gave me the perfect metaphor to describe my current mindset: I feel as though I have finally, for better or worse, reached the end of one of those memorable childhood days at the county fair. I am tired and ready for a hot shower, perhaps accompanied by a bed long enough to accommodate my height, yet I am also content. I have ridden each of the rides so many times as to be satisfied, and while I could stay, pushing myself to take full advantage of those last few potential trips down the gigantic slide, I don’t feel that I need to. The smell of fermenting hay and manure may have been replaced by Valparaíso’s ever present odor of drying urine and rotting dog shit, yet as the air gets cooler and the street vendors begin to pack up their carts, the sentiment remains the same. In short, at least with respect to this adventure, I feel that I have made my peace with Chile. And like every morning after the fair, I expect that when the morning comes in which I wake up in my own bed, I will immediately be ready to return. I now have a few friends here in Valparaíso, and with that the beginnings of a life. Were I to stay for a few more months, I feel as though it could solidify into something more than just a study abroad. Perhaps someday, if and when I return, it will. This will probably be my last post before leaving Valparaíso. Next Thursday my parents land in Santiago, and the following week I’ll begin journeying north. Between playing tour guide and writing my final essays, chances are I won’t have the opportunity to write again. That being said, now that I am no longer obligated to write for UW, I have considered migrating this blog to another address until the conclusion of my travels. If anyone would enjoy reading more, feel free to say so and I will post a link to the new web address.

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