It’s so hot here!

The title has nothing to do with this post — it’s just really hot here. :)

Apologies for disappearing last week! It has been difficult to reflect when I am constantly absorbing, taking in worlds within worlds of new information, new data, new details, new words, every moment of the day. Every day feels like weeks. And I have an inclination to say that this is what inspiration feels like.

I’ve been a bit distracted lately, feeling a little uprooted, ungrounded. Between news from the states, midterms, language acquisition, loneliness, stimulus, excitement, all the things, my brain and body are struggling to find stability inside of it all. But it’s a strange — and certainly new — kind of instability. There are a lot of things I do not have control over, and this is good practice for me.

Just before I left the States, I had a couple of friends and family members bring up my headstrong independence, which is at times certainly a strength, but can at other times be too stubborn to recognize its own limitations. As my dear friend and roommate said as I was trying to get everything ready before leaving, “You know you don’t have to do it alone — I’m just upstairs.” Or, as my sister put it, “Why do you have to be so John Wayne about everything?”

It’s true; I am not the best at asking for help.

Well, last week, my backpack was stolen from underneath a table where I was sitting. I had a moment of intuition before leaving my apartment that day, and packed lighter than I usually would have, grabbing my camera but last minute choosing to leave it behind. (What I will miss most is my journal from the past year — I was on the last page!) But these things happen, and you just have to let it go. The most disquieting part about it all? Having to ask for help.

In these last few weeks, I have been so fortunate to make friends with some beautiful ladies in my program, who, oddly enough, are all from Portland. Fancy that. These women have lent me money so I could go grocery shopping, bought me drinks and bus tickets to the coast, lent me their phones when I needed to cancel my cards, traveled to come get me when I couldn’t get into my apartment — all without even really knowing me. More importantly though, these women gave me space to be vulnerable; they allowed me space to be vulnerable. They gave me something familiar, something warm, and showed me inclusivity in the moments when I needed it most.

I had to learn how to ask for, really, how to accept help under uncomfortable, intimidating and intimate yet totally unfamiliar circumstances. I had to recognize and admit that I needed it. Sure, writing about it now it seems kind of minor, but the actuality of it all was and is very real for me. It’s the deconstruction/reconstruction process that I feel myself undergoing everyday, but don’t always have the words to name. It’s the openness that comes after you feel certain things breaking inside of you, suddenly allowing you to see what’s behind them.

So, here is us Ptown ladies, in Chile, in our matching fanny packs, which are actually really popular here. Also popular here: rollerblading. And hot dogs.

Coming soon are photos from our absolutely amazing trip to the coastal city of Valparaíso, where I am absolutely certain I will live one day. <3

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Abrazos,

Jenna