Tonight I embark on the next chapter of my journey. I’m taking an overnight bus from Santiago to Victoria, the city where I’ll spend the next eight months of my life. The past ten days have been spent here at the country’s capital and epicenter. Although I’ve only come to know small pieces of this vast metropolis, I’ve experienced its hustle and its bustle. I’ve endured the weeklong orientation/training, which was pretty arduous but also helpful. It was fun (albeit interesting) living in a rather unpredictable hostel. It was also really cool to meet the other volunteers. Everyone is from somewhere different, and at a different place in life, but we’re all united by this common adventurous spirit. It’s been awesome getting to know some of them, so it will be sad saying goodbye. But, as much as I’ve enjoyed it all, I’m glad to be moving on to a place that’s smaller and quieter.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to find little niches of stillness, both to settle and restore my soul. Whether it’s meant closing my eyes, plugging into music, or sitting outside beneath the trees, I’ve found opportunities to do one of my favorite things: to write. Without a doubt, it’s become therapeutic for me. It allows me to quiet myself, block out the noise, and process all that’s been swirling around in my head and my heart. It’s also the place where I’m reminded how good the Lord has been to me. It’s in those still moments that He speaks to me through the Spirit, refreshing and restoring me. In doing so He reminds me to look and listen for Him elsewhere, and that’s what I love so much about these peaceful moments. They’re not just temporary moments but rather they permeate the rest of my life. I’m sincerely lifted in spirit.
The town I’m headed to, Victoria, is known as the gateway to Andean paradise, which sounds pretty promising, but I’m not sure how much faith I’m willing to stake in Wikipedia. Nonetheless, I’m excited to leave the busy city and head for the countryside. It’s bittersweet that I won’t be able to look out the window on the drive, but at least I can try to sleep, and when I wake up, I’ll be arriving in my new hometown!
My host family is an elderly couple with no kids left in the home, though I imagine there are probably children and grandchildren coming and going. They live five blocks from the school at which I’ll be working. I believe it’s a middle and high school, but I’m not positive. The town has a population of roughly 33,000, which seems like a decent size to me; not too big, not too small. I’m very much looking forward to seeing and exploring the town. I’m also incredibly anxious to meet my host family, my teacher, and my students. Although it’s technically the second chapter in my journey, it’s really the beginning of it all. It’s the reason I came down here, so bring the adventures on!