My Chilean Adventure: Touch Down Day One

So if you’ve previously read my ‘Chilean Adventure’ blog posts you’ll be up to speed with the goings on of my latest travel exploits, if you haven’t I suggest you go read them, I won’t be recapping, far too much more to divulge.

Sunday proved a delightful first full day in Chile, we went for a walk along the beach and dipped our toes in the Pacific, had cocktails and watched another sunset. This was the first moment we all came together as a group, three members of the trip flew out on the Saturday so we were joined by them in the evening. The beach has proven a popular spot where we can all talk and relax, get to know one another, and practice our Spanish.

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The Pacific

Another bonding technique of ours was to go for happy hour cocktails; and boy do they free pour in Chile. Back home a single is 25ml, here I reckon it’s half the glass! After a daiquiri and mojito we were all very merry.

Heading back lack to our host family, Yana and I settled in nicely to a family meal of tachos (they were more like fajitas) the food was lovely and soon some Chilean wine was flowing and we tried the local aperitif, Pisco. Again the spirit filled half the glass and after one I said Buenos Noches and headed off to bed.

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Viña del mar

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Viña del Mar

Monday morning, early Monday morning, brought University. Our host accompanied us on the petrifying bus journey to Valparaiso; the buses here don’t adhere to normal bus rules, they’re super small and speed, nor corners, matter.

Looking up at the university though I realised, I’m basically going to school in Hogwarts. The architecture is spectacular. The building s were built in 1933 but at a glance you would assume they’ve stood astride the hill for centuries.

After taking a walking tour of the grounds we finally made our way towards classes. The rooms were freezing, the heat of the sun doesn’t penetrate the walls built for hot summer weather. As we all bundled up, scarves now being used as blankets and jumpers being wrapped warmer we began with our culture teacher; Felipe.

Now as he strode about the class, waving his pen as though it were a sword added to the fact he has a goatee and a fringe that does the whole Loreal flick he was quickly labelled the fifth musketeer. Soon though the faces of the class changed from smiles to confusion, frowns growing, and the what’s app group exploding with various quips about the tangents our musketeer was going off on.

While the class ended with confusion, we were met with sun and the sea as we walked out of the campus towards the buses. While day one of Spanish may have been confusing, Valpariaso proved to be a beautiful city. Our host took us up a funicular where we could see across the port town towards Viña del Mar. The frigid air only added to the tranquility of the evening and I could have stood on the hillside gazebo for hours watching the city move and breath.

Valpariaso by night

Valpariaso by night

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Where is Home?

Sitting on my bed now, looking out at the trees blowing in the wind and a blue sky that allows the sun to filter in through my ancient windows, I can’t help but wonder; is this home?

The answer is usually ‘home is where the heart is’, however, where is my heart?

I have no answer to my sudden question. Sometimes I feel like a little nomadic camel moving from place to place. Having lived in Dorset as a young girl some may say this is my home, however, I know that it is not. I don’t feel euphoric when I visit Dorset. There is no rush of excitement or one perfect exhale that allows all of the muscles in my body to relax. So no; this is not home.

My next stop was Scotland. Having spent many years in this Northern country I could almost say that this is home. I refer to it as that, with its rolling hills, curving rivers and emerald green landscape. Scotland was where I did all of my growing up; I made friends here, created a life and had a staple place in the community. I finished school here and learnt valuable life lessons, however, now that’s neither I or nor my parents reside here is this home? After my parents returned to Dorset after are many years in the ‘barren wilderness’ can I refer to Scotland as my home with no house on its beautiful land?

Then I moved to London; the large sprawling urban jungle that is alive throughout the day and night. University was calling and London answered. Here I’ve met life long friends, had dream internships and found my feet. Here my ambition has only grown. My dreams getting bigger at every passing moment and I feel that life is there for the taking. London is thrilling; one large adrenaline rush of people and work. I somewhat get that relaxing exhale I have always dreamed of; but not quite, not completely. I may call London home to those who ask. Alas in my heart I know that it’s not quite the truth.

I wonder, as I walk around this amazing city; have I found home yet? Is it possible that I don’t have the place to call home, as I haven’t yet located it? I know where I want to call home; an even bigger city with much taller buildings. You know? That city on an island beginning with man? But even if this dream home doesn’t exist there, I suppose I will find it eventually. A girl just has to be patient and wait. Much like you have to wait for love, I’ve decided to wait for my home.

So what I’m saying is that it’s possible to never fit in or feel safe where your family calls home, or where your friends call home. These can simply places that you’re visiting on your journey to the place that you want to call home. I know that while I’m close I’m not quite there yet. Home is calling me, but I won’t be able to settle in for a few years.

Robin Williams

Words cannot describe the loss that as a world we have begun to feel in the past two days. Our lives were touched, and as a whole, as a population we have begun to grieve for this talented man who was tormented by inner demons that not even those closest to him could have known the extent of his horror. 

With the death of Robin Williams, both social media and press offices have suddenly found themselves in an abundance of news. Various groups have differing thoughts on the late actors suspected suicide. 

Robin Williams was a man I grew up with, I watched his movies and laughed at his jokes. From a more serious role in Good Will Hunting to Mrs. Doubtfire, Williams’ roles illustrated his talent as a comedian and actor. A genuine individual with a heart of gold, he had troubled thoughts and a conscience that would not allow him to be rid of his inner demons. 

Struggling with Mental Illness isn’t easy, its hard, extremely hard. When you become your own enemy you lose the person you can trust the most; yourself. Having no one to turn to life becomes very lonely, when you’re lonely you are left to ponder the dark thoughts that have already created this situation. For someone to decide it is time to end their life is not a selfish act. It is a brave one. Knowing that you are going to be leaving behind a daughter, family and friends, creates a situation that takes a lot of serious thought. For any single person, journalist or not to criticise a mans choice is diabolical, hurtful and cruel. They do not know what has gone on in a persons mind nor what has driven them to such a cataclysmic end. 

Judgement is something we tend to do as human beings, judge ourselves and each other. In a time when a serious act is publicised across the world everyone shares a multitude of opinions. For someone to say that what Robin Williams did was selfish is cruel and that person should never be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of speech, well not for the general public to read within a newspaper anyway. We can think what we want but as I have previously said, it takes a brave man to put out the flame of their life. 

Robin Williams’ death has highlighted the risks of mental illness and has already allowed many campaigners to raise their point of needing more help for those who suffer with the disease. It is a disease after all, you battle with mental illness for the rest of your life after you’ve been diagnosed. What most people don’t even realise is that 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental illness within a year and mixed anxiety and depression are the leading diagnosis. In the wake of this great mans death many are already seeking help for their issues and are trying to put themselves on a path that he felt he had strayed too far from.

As he said himself “You are only given a little spark of madness, never lose it.” Interpret this as you may chose however, I see it as an innovative piece of information where he prays that we can all see the child within ourselves, that we can laugh and smile at the smallest of things. 

Jimmy Fallon called him the “Muhammid Ali of comedy” and this is a title that is deserving. While Robin Williams made the world smile unfortunately he used all of his happiness up on others.

I hope he has found the peace he could not find within this life. I will watch his films and continue to remember the man that had a brilliant personality that was vibrant and transcended through the television screen.

Rest In Peace Robin Williams, I sincerely hope you have found happiness and you can smile as you have made the world smile.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbBHkAjpOnI