The Weird Adventure that is My Life

People who claim they will maintain a constant blog flow during a worldly adventure is probably a liar.  Life happens at a more rapid pace than a blog can publish (read: I blew off writing for +/- 5 months. You would too if you were me. Probably.) Whatever.  Here I am months and many life activities later….

sky

SURPRISE:  I’m returning to the good ol’ US of A in 7 short days. And NOT because I really want to, but out of necessity.  I am horrifyingly broke and simply cannot sustain myself on the embarrassingly low wages of an illegal immigrant in Chile.  While I do miss my family and noonie and friends and Kombucha, I am no exactly ready to end this chapter.  White girl problems aside, I will re-integrate back into American culture, whether I like it or not.

I am currently living in downtown Santiago with a Chilean boy (….), floating on the last delicious tastes of this journey before I make my return.  I am so happily content at this point, but I know the lifestyle filled with vices and lacking responsibility is not sustainable for any period of time.

I’ve experienced the entire spectrum of events since leaving Colorado in November, and there is no possible way to summarize this journey into words.  But since I take terrible pictures and do not collect post cards, these hast generalizations will have to suffice for now….. Enjoy my weird adventures I call my life.

I’ve sold art on the streets of Valparaiso for less money than slaves made in the late 1800’s.  I’ve been a journalist (for the first time ever. In another language).  I’ve worked on a farm in a secluded valley of Peru.  I’ve been a journalist in the presence of the Chilean president with questionable morals on many occasions, and found a new despise for politics in the world.  I’ve been in the middle of wild student protests.  I’ve been tear-gased and close to incarceration in the streets.  I’ve started street-wide Christmas caroling among Chileans on New Years Eve.

streets

I became friends with a worldwide street artists, homeless prophets, and street dogs.  I walked my poor mother through the sketchy streets of the city at night with all of her bags (sorry mom).  I’ve drunk more wine than I thought was physically possible.  I’ve gone 7 months without a yoga class.  I’ve attempted to teach yoga in Spanish, then retreated back to english.  I’ve been a drug spirit guide (questionably).  I’ve camped out naked on a private beach for an undisclosed amount of time.  I’ve dabbled in a magical cactuses and chemicals and natural highs and art projects.  I’ve had life revelations.  I’ve had a come to Jesus, but not to Jesus.

work

I’ve learned Spanish.  Then forgot it.  Then learned it again.  I’ve discussed politics and profound ideas in another language with elders and friends alike (and most likely did not make a single deep statement, but simply stayed afloat in the conversation). I know now how grateful people are when you at least try to speak their language and integrate into the culture.  I’ve learned the value in learning the street slang (street slang = street cred.  Always.  No matter your level of speaking). I’ve trekked along the most southern part of the world, surviving on trail mix and high-fives.  I’ve spent multiple days in bed because I wanted/could.

pata

I spent my first Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthday, Easters, and Mothers Day without my family and away from my home.  I’ve learned that these specific days, while exceedingly hallmark-y and overdone, are important and almost vital to spend with those you love.  I’ve also learned that you can create a family wherever you are and that family is not exclusive to your blood line, and that sometimes you have to visit Starbucks for a little taste of over-roasted coffee-flavored home.

I’ve experienced how hard it is to travel while being a vegetarian and gluten-free.  I’ve also experienced how difficult it is to both explain this situation and gain empathy in a different language (impossible? Mainly this —-> Veg lyfe but in Spanish).

I’ve learned there are assholes everywhere in the world, and there are always a select few that cast a negative perception of a country and a culture.  I learned that no matter how much a person dislikes your culture, you can prove them wrong with kindness and decent dance moves (?).  I’ve experienced the embarrassment of being a Gringa in a country that generally does not like North Americans, and I’ve also learned how to not give a fck.

color

I’ve slipped off the face of the earth, forgotten what my home and old surroundings look like.  I’ve been so out of the loop on world events that my mother has to call me and tell me things three days after they happen.  I’ve pretended my way through interviews with important people in Chile, and succeeded.

UN

I made a comeback to my dubstep years, and am not complaining.  I’ve taken 40 hour bus rides to be with another human.  I’ve met the most amazing friends I could possibly ask for, all by chance.  I’ve come across humans who think their karma is forever in good graces because they are traveling.  I’ve met people with the biggest hearts, and people with no human qualities in their human bodies.

I’ve been so content with my life in South America that I started to make permanent plans. I’ve been so homesick that I almost bought a ticket home for the following day.  I went from despising Chilean culture and everything it stands for to loving it and wanting to be a part of it.  I went from hating Chilean and Latin men to (potentially) falling in love with one and changing all of my plans to be with him. I’ve come to realize that generalizations are both semi-true and definitely dangerous.  Everyone in every culture deserves a chance to start with a clean slate instead of being judged from their cultural background.

kickin

Life is like that, you know.  You can’t always have a plan, and you most certainly can’t predict what the future will hold.  You’ve got to just go with it.  Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to be more free and open to new things.

Is my quarter life crisis over?  Definitely not.  Actually, I hope not.  Crisis is just another word for adventure.  I am still intrigued by figuring my sh*t out.  One day at a time.  Are things more clear now?  Absolutely.  I know how to deal with the most bizarre and confusing situations with a calm head.  I know how to make myself feel happy and at home thousands of miles away from my “home”.  I know I can make friends (good friends) and find moderate employment anywhere in the world with a little work and good energy.  I know I can return home with a wildly different perspective on life and a newfound appreciation for my home.  Will I stay home for long?  Probably not.  But that’s the great thing about making your life a choose-your-own-adventure.  Nothing is certain.  Everything is weird, and lively, and beautiful, and unknown.

quote

Chauuuuu && Namaste bebes.

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3 thoughts on “The Weird Adventure that is My Life

  1. What a moving story of your last few months and life experiences during your trip. First of all I am glad you are o.k. and made it through good and sometimes probably not so easy times. I am sure you have learned so much, about yourself, others, and another part of the world. All your experiences are now engraved into your heart and soul and will be part of you forever. I am sure it will be hard to leave. You were missed here though. We were over at your parents on Sunday and it was another one of those special times at their house. Have a save trip back and remember South America will still be there!

  2. Laina, So happy for this opportunity of growth and adventure for you.. Of course your mom doesn’t want you to make a career of it. You really do inspire others. Thank you. Your observations are so real and raw. Most of us do not want the inconvenience or reality with all its messiness and unknown. Thanks for throwing yourself out there and reporting back from the real world.

  3. Laina! Amazing! I love this! And you! I’m moving in two weeks to Seattle but if I can see you and hear about these things in more detail I want to. So proud of you babes. Crisis is just another word for adventure indeed!

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