The disadvantages of taking a free flight back to Santiago:
Yes, it’s true, there are disadvantages of not having to pay for your own flight. English Opens Doors is a volunteer program and therefore given the option,the program will most likely choose the cheapest flight possible. This means that instead of having a flight that goes from Punta Arenas straight to Santiago, you get a flight that makes stops in Balmacena, Puerto Montt, Temuco, Concepcion before finally arriving in Santiago. This also means that you get to see the safety demo not once, not twice but six times. I was almost tempted to tell the hostess to take a break and let me do the demo having memorized it by heart. Then there is always the possibility that the connecting flight will be delayed as was my case. We arrived in Puerto Montt at 6:15pm which was when we were suppose to take the second flight. Instead we left at 9 pm. This resulted in us not arriving at 10pm as planned but 12pm instead.
Reunion with the volunteers, celebrating and saying last goodbyes to the other EOD volunteers:
Despite the fact that I made it at the hostal at 12:30, I was still in the mood to celebrate a bit and catch-up with the volunteers. Everyone there seemed to have had a really great experience. I ended up talking with them until almost 4am. Almost everyone is planning to travel. The next day, it was time to say goodbye to some volunteers, which was really tough, and to really celebrate. I really wish I had had the opportunity to meet up with them during the program, I think that’s the only thing that was missing to my experience.
Meeting up with Elena, the volunteer who was in Porvenir in 2010:
I briefly met up with Elena to give her back her games and her Christmas present from her Chilean family. I’m going to try to meet her once more so we can catch-up some more.
The game plan for the next few weeks:
Tomorrow I’m going to Valparaiso for the day. On Monday, I’m meeting my friend Astrid who I met along with her husband when I went to Torres del Paine. They were nice enough to take pictures for me since the day before, my camera broke. She is going to be moving to the US at the end of the month. Then, I’m going to spend a few more days in Santiago to go to Santa Lucia and other places as well as visit a fellow Canadian who lives in Santiago. On the 7th, I’m taking a bus to Temuco and possibly meeting-up with Courtney and Jorge, her billet brother. On the 8th and the 9th, I will take the opportunity to visit Temuco. On the 10th I will take a bus to Pucon and possibly stay there till the 11th. Then, it’s back to Temuco to hang-out with Courtney and Jorge till the 16th or the 17th. Then, it’s off to Punta Arenas to meet up with my cousin on the 19th.
Lack of Spanish speaking:
Since I’ve been in Santiago, I haven’t had the opportunity to speak very much Spanish since most of the volunteers have reverted to speaking English. It’s starting to bug me a bit since for six months it was Spanish all the time. I’m happy I’m meeting Astrid because I will get the opportunity to speak Spanish once again.
Already missing Porvenir and the people:
While walking the streets of Santiago, I realized I am not in Porvenir anymore. No one says hi to you and some people even mock you in Spanish. I guess I’m only now realizing how good I had it when I was in Porvenir. I miss having random conversations with complete strangers and feeling welcome. I’m not getting that vibe from Santiago. I can’t wait to leave this place.