And over the weekend I got a lot of lessons.
I travelled to Chile’s capital, Santiago, for a job interview, stayed for a few days
Not with my sister as I would’ve normally done, but with a friend.
the interview was more or less a excuse. I wasn’t even sure I wanted the job.
I was more interested in testing out whether it’d be a good idea for me to move there.
it’s a big city. far bigger than i’m used to and it’s easy to get blindsided by all the bright lights and tall buildings. of course I’ve been there before but it’s different when you’re visiting than when you’re considering making it permanent. specially when you’re right in the center of it all.
I was haunted by anxiety nearly the entire time I was there. that was fun. fearing I’d get attacked or robbed, that I was going the wrong way, that I’d get lost and my phone would die,that my transit card would run out of money, etc. I haven’t been attacked or robbed but the other stuff have happened.
I was so frazzled I didn’t even take many photos. partly cause of the whole worried-about-being-robbed thing but mostly I was too nervous to properly notice anything.
your phone dying when it’s dark out, you’re in a strange city, hungry and fucking exhausted, it’s like the least-fun thing ever. and worse, half the streets don’t have signs cause they keep getting knocked down in protests. so all you can do is swallow your fear,panic,and tears, and ask someone for help. and hope they won’t take advantage and send you the wrong way to be robbed or whatever.
I’m not very good at asking for help. I think it’s cause I don’t like being or appearing vulnerable. but getting lost is fucking worse. sometimes you gotta ask.
the interview ended up not happening.
I got turned around exiting the metro on my way to the interview and was too late to make it. what should’ve been a 5-minute-walk took nearly forty. all because I took the wrong exit,and even with google maps I couldn’t course-correct in time.
So I got lost and didn’t make my interview. unsurprisingly, I felt bad after. I kinda wanted to sit down and have a good cry. I felt stupid and a failure.
I sat down for a bit to figure out what to do. I called my mum. I took the metro back. walked to the flat. I had to take a connecting one but I actually felt like walking.
I talked myself down. focused on good things. like recognising which street I had to turn to get to the building. which street to turn in to make it to the supermarket. that morning I had paid attention to my surroundings to the return trip was easy.
friday was not a great day. I was tired from the trip, nervous about the interview,uncomfortable with the heat, and sometime mid-afternoon my stomach started hurting a lot. too much food cause I didnt wanna waster it and nerves led to my stomach really fucking hurting. I’d been to a university to ask about a course I’m interested in, was hungry,stopped by a nearby mall to eat. and wow,did it hurt. in a way it hadn’t since january. I just wanted to lie the fuck down. but I couldn’t. first I had to go grocery shoppinh,then spend an hour in public transit. by the time I got back to the flat I was actually feeling a bit better since the food had time to go down. I was relieved to be able to change my clothes,have a cup of tea and sit down.
the university visit wasn’t bad. the place was nice. had a nice courtyard.trees,shade,all that. I managed to make it there without getting lost and to talk to people inside in order to get where I wanted to go. the person in charge of the program wasn’t there thought. still on holiday. but just going was big for me.
I wanted to visit more universities since they were all sort of close. sort of since it’s too big of a city for anything to be truly close. but since I felt so bad after lunch I skipped it. and by the way Monday rolled around I just wanted to come home.
that day, in both buses I took, on the way there and back there were singers on the buses. I was lost in thought but they helped me get out and ,idk, appreciate what was happening around me. helped me be aware. not in a hyper-vigilant everyone-is-a-threat way just in a dont-get-lost-inside-your-head way. they were nice. I didnt have coins but one took a fist bump. almost everyone in the bus but one or two people acted as if they werent there but ive never liked that attitude. feels rude. the second guy actually chatted me up. I’d stopped by the supermarket and bought oats with chia and he made a comment about how those oats were really nice and talked to his friend about superfood chia and maqui too. his friend didnt even know what maqui was. we had a little chat, then they did this improv rap, it was well done.I didnt have coins so I just congratulated them. they were a bright spot in my day.
I’d made a list of different places I’d like to visit so on Saturday morning I went to Quinta Normal. it’s nice little park with a couple of cool museums. it has a pond with these little pedal-powered boats that we call water bikes. I think that’s what they were. didn’t look that closely. I found the park’s lack of grass and trees a bit disappointing. there was too much cement. the science and technology museum was pretty cool though. little machines to try out and play. pedal-powered electronics. a big space section. infinite mirrors.
I had lunch with my sister,later went with her and her bf to the mall. nothing too exciting. it was good to do something so bloody normal like grocery shopping.
then I visited a friend. look at me being all social and adventurous. I double and tripled checked the directions on which bus to catch and how. I walked to the stop no problem. I got there as the bus was leaving so I had to wait. it was a hot day so I was wearing shorts and a tank top. some creep in a car threw kisses at me and offered me a ride. I offered a court ‘no thanks’ and ignored him. he drove on and I was able to breathe in relief.
nobody likes cat-calling,go away.
then I got my bus and an old man got in to sell stuff. later as I struggled to read the name of the stop he told me where we were and we had a little convo about wine. I went to see my friend and we spent a chill few hours doing nothing, watching weird youtube videos and shit.
the friend I was staying with then texted me about a movie, and I said I’d meet her at the theatre. I was walked to the bus stop and received detailed explanations on which bus to take,where to exit and board the connecting bus. so I wasn’t too worried about getting lost but I did have to wait in a dark,deserted bus station. as a small,thin girl in shorts, I definitely felt like prey. at least my sister had given me a sweater cause I’d left the flat at 11am and hadn’t thought I’d be out all day.
we went to see moonlight. which I liked, though I definitely felt I was not the target audience. like the movie is speaking a whole other language you don’t understand. it was well done,visually. I like that since chiron didn’t speak a lot, the movie spoke for him.
by the time we left the theatre,sometime past midnight, I realised I hadn’t had anything to eat but a muffin since lunch. I’d meant to get to the mall early for a bit but time ran out, so I was feeling very zombie-like.
it took a while to get some food. my friend was with someone else,so I let them chat, I was already on low-battery mode. we walked around bellavista thinking about where to go and fuck, I wanted to go to bed so badly. I wouldve taken a taxi after the movie but I was too hungry.I wasnt really in the mood to appreciate the night life.
Sunday was a little better. sister,boyfriend and I went up San Cristobal Hill via cable car. it’s brand new and you can bikes up and ride them on the way down.
I’m not generally scared of heights so the ride up was cool. the place was full. we got there and Mass was happening. they had speakers outside. what was interesting was that it was very much about Virgin Mary,what they talked about, the songs. not surprising since there is a statue of her in the top of the hill but I’d only been there once like 20 years before. so it was a surprise to me.
it felt weirdly comforting. familiar words and songs. reminded me of school. made me a bit emotional. it was a nice place. it was full of people,sure, but not like suffocatingly so. there was a lot to see. people to watch.
to one side there’s a sanctuary I guess, and people can leave offerings and light candles. I saw a man lighting a lot of candles. like a whole wall of them. I thought he was lighting all the ones that had gone out at first,cause there were so many, but no, his backpack was there with many empty candle packets. I guess he needed a lot of help. on the far wall there were plaques,a lot of pictures and gifts.
I even visited the chapel,where I sat down and called my mum. told her I’d been to mass,basically.
and then we rode our bikes aaaaaaalllll the way down the hill. carefully,cause there were a lot of people. and it was sunday so ground level there was a whole street that had been closed to let people ride bikes,run,etc.
I don’t think I’d ever seen that many bikes in one place.
back home if we can get 200 people for masa critica it’s a success.
it was a nice little excursion.
Sunday afternoon I went to visit my older sister. she’s got a house in the suburbs,children,pets,the whole thing. it meant 2 hours in public transit. quite the endeavour.still, it is much nicer over there. quieter. not as many people. there are trees and grass. and it’s more familiar.I went in the pool, we had dinner, I watched a movie. my niece and nephew were getting ready for the first day of school.I stayed over cause I didnt really feel like 2 extra hours in public transit and my temporary roommate would be out late.
On Monday, I considered whether to do more stuff or head back home.
heading home won out it was either then or tuesday, I wanted to be home no later than wednesday. on wednesday I saw photos of the masa critica meet and wondered if I’d stayed had I remembered it was happening.
. I did take one final excursion into the National Library which is very old and big and pretty fucking impressive.
one time I was in Santiago,just walking around, I came across the Public Library and loved it.
while the National Library gives you a sense of reverence, the Public one just feels like home. it feels comfortable and safe, and like a place where you can hide,hang out,work.
After the library I headed back to sister’s. , deciding to take a bus that left from nearby rather than from the centre of the city. I had to buy the ticket online and it was kind of an ordeal. stupid website wasn’t working.I’d gone to one terminal and couldn’t buy the ticket there, didn’t know where I could, and the time google wasn’t much help,only showing cargo places. I thought I could buy it online. should’ve been easy,instead it was very stressful.
I went through a lot of anti-anxiety pills over the weekend. ended up taking uber a couple times cause public transit is a bit messy and at some points I needed to get somewhere if not fast at least easily.
-to check,double check and triple check where I am going and how.
-to ask someone to double check my plans
-in the metro,to ask a worker there about which exit is the best
-to always have extra food cause
-it takes forever to get anywhere (and you’ll get hungry)
-that at least bip cards offer emergency trips now, so you won’t get stranded
-to take a jacket cause sometimes you’re out till late and it gets cold at night
-people playing in public transit can be amusing at least
-do not worry so fucking much about later;enjoy the moment (This is one lesson that never seems to stick in my brain )
-double check that you have everything you need, cause when going anywhere takes 40 min-an hour, you can’t just go back home to get it.