Hello, my dear Friends!:)
I’m writing this blog from the place which is really far from Finland. I would like to remind that now I’m in Chile for my exchange period. In this blog entry I decided to share my experience in foreign country, cultural shock and challenges that I faced. I clearly remember the day when I was flying to Chile. I had a transition flight through Madrid where I waited for 2 hours. What I’ve learnt there is to search for gate needed 2 hours before not to face such a stressful situation as I did. Nobody speaks English in the airtport of Madrid – just take into consideration if you plan to travel there. I spoke Spanish a little bit, so it was ok but still I couldn’t understand everything. So I accidentally got out the airport 30 minutes before the gate is closed haha:D Just imagine how I felt. Fortunately, I was so stressed that I asked to show the way every single person on my way. Finally I got to my plane hopefully.
Actually I already experienced the cultural shock on my plane to Santiago. I guess that everyone has some stereotypes about people from Latin America so I realized that they are partially true. When I stepped on the board of the plane I was literally shocked by chaos that was there. People were walking along the board instead of sitting and let others to take their seats. Stewardess tried to make everyone sit but it was absolutely useless until the last 5 minutes before our plane moved. I also noticed how men were staring at me. I just kept my head down avoiding visual contact and thought to myself: Ok, girl, it’s just for 5 months, it’s just new culture and you will use to it. And I did.
After living in Santiago for 3 months, I can say that I draw so much attention because blonde hairs and light eyes are really rare in this place. The majority of population in Chile derived from Mapuche(Indians who lived in Chile since ). Between 1850 and 1875 big colonization of some places in Chile by germans has taken place, however, they mixed with Chileans, so you won’t meet any indigenous blonde people here. My Chilean friend told me that blonde is a meaning of beauty here. I still don’t understand the reasons. Is it Influence of Europe and America or just individual preference? I would love to know this cultural mystery of love to blonde “gringos” (foreign people)!
Ok, I was saying that I was searching for my place in a plane. I was wondering how to bring up my huge and heavy hand language and I immediately got help that made me feel better after full frustration. Actually Chilean people are very helpful and friendly. I got so much help from people who I knew just couple days here.
On the next day after my flight I was sitting in a very cozy hostel in the Centre of the city and looked in the window. It was very foggy without any hint of a ray of sunshine outside. If you have ever been to Russia, Saint-Petersburg where I’ve been living the most part of my life, you could understand that it’s a natural weather for me. However, I still felt quite weird with this weather because I was on the other edge of the world and the city seemed to be very depressive. This day I met the guys who turned out to be my future groupmates and we decided to go for a walk. I was excited by a huge white mountains around the city, I found it amazing although city seemed to be quite faceless. We were walking along the street and looking at dozens of street vendors and street performers who were juggling or kicking the ball in front of the cars. Everything was so new for me. Sometimes it’s amazing to look back to your perceptions and feelings in the past and compare it with present ones. Now I used to my life in Santiago and passed the point when everything was so strange. I think I used to this place also because I’ve changed inside . I believe that we always change when we travel by absorbing the part of the place to ourselves.