After a very long bus ride* from the southern edges of South America back to Santiago, a visit home (Portland) and a rapid-fire trip to DC, I have finally settled back into Olin. Like many upperclassmen, I'm living in a suite (a group of six singles sharing common spaces) in East Hall.
The first few days back were a bit harried (What classes am I taking again? Who are all these freshmen? Why did it make sense to pack my laptop and power cord in separate boxes?**), but I'm starting to get back in the swing of things-although I'll admit that when I hear people speaking English in public places I still look around to chat.
One unexpected shock of returning was the amount of physical stuff I have: from "everything I've used in the last month fits in this backpack" to "there's another bin in storage?". Some of this is necessary for the greater complexity of "real life"-my traveling life consisted mainly of walking, bussing, eating and sleeping and thus had no need for things like textbooks, calculators or interview clothes; some of it is "technically unnecessary but reasonable" (eg. full size towels, clocks, markers) and some of it is pure "but I might need it someday!". One of my goals for incorporating my experience last semester into my normal life is to cut down on that third category-at the moment there are two bins under my bed with things I think I'm unlikely to use and will be given away if they're still there in the spring. Ideally, I'd like to get to the point where I can name everything I own.
My other two "bringing Chile home" goals are more straightforward:
1) Keep speaking Spanish
2) Drink mat
I also have a couple new theories about time management springing not from Chile per se but from the amount of thinking time I had. I'll be setting up some experiments with those later in the semester and documenting them here.
*Tangentially related long bus ride story: Early in my travels, I was in northern Chile trying to get to Chañaral, the next decently-sized town on the only major highway.
Me: Could you please tell me the schedule of busses to Chañaral?
Ticket Seller: Chañaral? Um...I don't think there are any...
Me: They're sold out for today? How about tomorrow?
Ticket Seller: No, there are no busses to Chañaral.
Me: Ever? I am sure there is a bus to Chañaral. It's just to the north.
I eventually talked him into at least searching the system for one-and he finally turned the monitor towards me so I could watch and slowly and deliberately typed in: C-A-N-A-D-A. So much for my pronunciation. And for the record, no,Turbus does not run to Canada.
**Answers: The Art of Approximation, Renewable Energy, Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship, and a TBD philosophy course); the excellent class of 2015 who I look forward to getting to know; and it's a mystery, but the cord was recently located in a pillowcase.