This city is home to over six million people.
Home is an intimate subject for me to talk about. A home is not a home just because am a resident. For me, it takes a variety of experiences.
Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Santiago-I love the busyness of its subway and streets, the different cultures of its people, and the great mountains around the city-but I cannot say that this city is my home yet.
On my first day in Santiago, I went with two of my friends to explore the Central Campus of La Católica. I walked fifteen minutes to get to the Metro, met up with my friends at one of the stops, and we then rode the Metro for twenty more minutes. One difference between cities in the United States in comparison with Santiago is in the United States, there are lights with crosswalks every block or so, that is not the case in Santiago. If you don’t cross the street where you need to, you may end up walking another seven to ten minutes until you reach the next crosswalk. My friends and I may have had to do this a few times and eventually we made it to the campus, although it was right in front of us the whole time. We walked into a beautiful hallway and then outside again into a courtyard in the middle of all of the classes, it was cool, contrary to the humid Metro we had been riding on earlier. (Sidenote: the heat in the Metro has me convinced that Chileans most definitely have a higher blood temperature than gringos like myself.)
After our little tour, we decided to continue exploring what the area had to offer and fresh blueberry ice cream was one of those things. Yum! At one point, we stopped inside a ‘beauty store’, which could be comparable to Ulta, but is about the size of a MAC store. In order to purchase facewash, deodorant, makeup, my friend Kaitlyn had to take a number and wait until her number was called. It was so weird.
On one of our journeys to find a crosswalk, we noticed this beautiful, yellow, palace-like building and of course we had to go figure out what it was. When we finally reached it, we realized that we could continue to walk up more stairs to an even higher place -of course we had to keep climbing. At the top of the stairs was a beautiful little deck that overlooked the city and the mountains that surround it. As I looked out, I felt small in comparison to the vast landscape of buildings that surrounded me, and even smaller in comparison to the enormous mountains. Regardless of how uncomfortable it made me feel, I think it was important to understand how small I am in this world-but not insignificant- and to remember that life keeps moving around me, whether I am there or not.
Santiago is not my home yet, but as I to get to know the city and befriend its beautiful residents, it grows on me. What is most important is that I see God here. He is at work in this city, in the lives of its residents, and in me. Over the next few months, I hope that He makes Santiago my home and I hope I can be used to love its people well.