I would like to start with this: I absolutely adore Santiago.
Being without my tongue is both mentally and emotionally exhausting, but is not without its treasured nuances. Every day, the waves rise and crash, and each night, I have to quiet my brain into stillness. Sometimes, the tide is less violent, calmer, as I slowly begin to learn the steps, the rhythm of the city, and establish my own inside of it.
Somedays, the language comes, the tongue works. Other days, it lies limp in my mouth, drained, the pathways to my brain totally spent. I am often caught in limbo between languages, which turns out to be a strange, world-less place.
But this is precisely why I am here, and though it may be uncomfortable at times — like trying to read and analyze literature in a language I hardly understand — I am stimulated, inspired, and growing, both linguistically and otherwise. My Spanish can only improve from here, my knowledge can only grow. Yes, that is why I am here.
The city itself is full of color, full of music, and though I have not taken my camera out a whole lot, as I absorb and familiarize myself with my surroundings, it is proving to be a photographer’s dream. This city is made to walk in, and I don’t think I have walked this much since I was a young girl. Everyday, my senses run in overdrive, and everyday, I feel as though I am learning a new dance.
And there is also this: so much of me is in the United States right now. While some of the students here feel grateful for the distance between us and the political, emotional, and spiritual state of our home, for me it is a bruise, a reality that hurts to touch. This is an incredibly strange time to be away. And to not acknowledge this would, for me, be dishonest.
I feel sort of suspended in a tangled space of elation, stimulation, weariness, exultation, melancholy, and fear. The knots and webs are beautiful, still.
Here are some photos from my first few weeks in Santiago. <3