27 February 2011

Winks and Nods

A gold star stuck to my pant leg. Flocks of birds congregating in DIA's main terminal. Compliments from strangers as the last conversation in the States and the first in Chile.

Ever since I finally got on my way, little signs and winks and omens have been popping up everywhere. Little encouragements that I am doing the right thing, that this is the right path...and the biggest one came last night while I was talking with Pablo, a friend of the hostel's owner. He is from the South of Chile and was an exchange student in high school and college in the US. He even lived in Colorado for four months! We talked about skiing and Colorado microbrews and how girls from Colorado are awesome (because we are...).

As we started to talk about Chile and what it's really like outside of Hostel-land (where everyone speaks English and it's all a little cushy and comfortably familiar), his eyes lit up. It's clear that people here are really proud to be Chilean, and proud of what their country has to offer. Pablo lowers his voice.

"People come to Chile all the time," he says, "They stay in Santiago For a week and leave once to the South for a day. They think they are seeing the country," he scoffs.

"But you," he pokes me on the knee (a very Latin gesture I remember from Italy). "You will see the real Chile. You will live the real Chile."

A massive green streak darts across the sky, lighting it up behind Pablo's head. It races from left to right for ten seconds. The largest shooting star I have ever seen in my life. Not one of the other twenty people on the roof saw it. It was as if it showed up only for me, as a little empahasis on Pablo's statement. Even as I write it reads like a made up fairy tale.

As far as winks go, that was about as obvious as it gets.

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