If you’ve ever wondered what it would feel like to be a little kid again, or how it would feel to be back in middle school, then sign up to be a foreign exchange student. Really. I feel like I’ve relived the ages 3-19 since I’ve come to Chile. The first couple of days I felt like a toddler because I never knew what was going on. My life consisted of sleeping (recovering from a month of AFY and jetlag), eating, and more sleeping. My familia would explain where we were going before our outings, but all I understood was, “vamos.” I totally felt like a little kid again just getting in the car because everyone else was and sitting content in the back seat looking around. It was fun because every destination, whether it was the market or bank, was a surprise to me.
More recently I feel like I’m in elementary or middle school. I (try) to tell mi familia everything about my day: school, friends, activities. The other day Emily, Holli and I wanted to make cookies and didn’t really know how to go about it. We didn’t know which of our madres would be the most “okay” with it. The next day Emily said, “I asked my mom, and she said you can come over on Friday to make cookies!” I just had to laugh out loud at this. I’ve been away at college for the last two years, and I totally forgot about what it was like to ask mom if and when I could have friends over.
Another change I went through upon arrive in Chile is going without a cell phone because Verizon doesn’t work down here. *I have a secret confession. One of the things I’m most excited for when I return to the states is listening to what I call the “Mystery Voicemail.” I received a voicemail on my phone when I was waiting in the Toronto Airport, but I couldn’t open it for some reason. Ten bucks says it’s my dad saying, “Abby. This is dad. Call me.” But all the same, I look forward to when I can listen to the mystery message…*
But, back to Chile, it felt so strange to have no way to call anyone or for them to call me unless I gave them mi madre’s number. The first week or so I kept getting “phantom vibrations” thinking someone was calling me. But my sister Giselle got a new phone, and mi familia presented me her old phone. I was so excited! I felt so cool to have a cell phone. Granted, I only have six numbers in my phone and I keep forgetting it in my room, but it’s a phone nonetheless. It gives me flashbacks because there is no T9 texting, and I can’t figure out basic things like sound setting. I actually don’t call people much because I pay for the calling card, and every call I make costs me money (but it doesn’t cost money to receive calls, so we always say, "you call me," catchi).
The times that I feel like an adult are when I talk about traveling. I tell mi familia about possible trips to Argentina or Peru, and they listen to me and take me seriously. I know I can do it and I do have some solidified trips lined up, but I can't believe they take me serious enough to trust me traveling around South America. They've heard my Spanish. They know how bad I am. So, even though I may feel like a kid around them most the time, I love that they treat me like I'm adult that has things all figured out. Bacan!