While our van was cooling down (after overheating) during the ride into Cajón del Maipo, we had decided to take pictures of this marvelous sight! It is amazing how small you can feel while standing in the mountains.

Bailando and Balance

This week it finally set in that I am in Santiago for the long haul…but in the best way possible!

I had my first few classes and even homework assignments. Believe it or not, I’m loving school and not dreading going to class like I usually do in the United States. There is something exciting about choosing which school and which classes you want to take. Sure, it was only week one and my opinion on that may change, but for now, I am very happy with this life because I like normal and I like routine.

Even though I’ll soon be busy with school, I still have plenty of time for fun. I still have time to explore with friends, take day trips, and even learn a little bit of salsa.

Anyone who knows me knows that I cannot dance very well. Something just doesn’t click when it comes to needing my hips to swing and shoulders to sway in tangent. Lucky for me, my salsa partners seemed to be okay with my lack of skills, and I think I may go back every Wednesday for the free classes.

Maybe when I come back to the US, I will be able to say I can efficiently dance the salsa (even though it’s not a dance that originated here in Chile)!

Besides dancing, I’ve had to test my balance in a few other ways this week, all of which have to do with transportation.

First: Micros, also known as buses. These are unpredictable, and they usually have two speeds: Fast and a dead stop. There is no happy medium, which means I need to hang on for dear life every time I am standing on one.

Second: Metros. I have finally got the rhythm down on these, I hope. If I straighten one leg and bend the other, I can usually refrain from flying into the person standing abnormally close to you. However, the quick stops and starts definitely challenge me to stay alert.

Third: Backseat of the van to Cajón del Maipo. This was an experience I hope never to experience again in my life. Every rock we drove over meant hanging onto the seat in front of me to avoid hitting my head on the ceiling. And if you think closing your eyes and sleeping through this is an option, you are oh so wrong. And not only this, when your van proceeds to overheat while driving up the hill, it will begin to roll back down the mountain. Need I explain why I began to have anxiety in this moment?

Last: Bikes. A bike tour through the city sounds relaxing, right? It was a beautiful tour but with so many cars, micros, runners, and other bikes around you, it really tested my ability to stay up and peddling. I almost had more than 1 accident while on this tour, but luckily for me and my friends, no one was hurt.

Hopefully as more and more time passes, I will be able to master more than just walking gracefully.

Like what you read? Give Andrea Mattingly a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.