I arrived about two weeks ago. For the third time. The last couple weeks have been a blur of settling in and the pure luck of arriving during a time of tremendous activity.
- September 11th: the 39th anniversary of when General Pinochet threw over the Chilean government in 1973 and began his 17 year dictatorship.
- September 15th – 19th: a countrywide celebration of when Chile was declared an independent republic on September 18, 1810.
But, now that I’ve checked off all the transition to-dos (cell phone, work orientation, apartment, metro familiarization, the initial wandering around to the sounds of my ipod) and I’m starting “living-mode,” I can’t help but take a second to think about what the heck made me leave a life that I was uncomprehendingly happy with. After all, in good ol’ Wisconsin I am extremely blessed with a humongous group of the most amazing friends I could wish for, a family that couldn’t get any more fun, loving, or supportive, a city that I’m involved in, and a job/career that I’m passionate about. So, what in the world lured me 5,000 miles and a couple oceans away? I can’t pinpoint it exactly but I know it lies partially in my upbringing and partially in this deep desire to challenge myself and continuously widen my mind.
The first time was when I studied abroad for 6 months. Well, I studied enough to come home with 15 credits but luckily traveled my fair share. This new “on my own” experience strengthened my perspectives and gave me a thirst for better understanding and connecting with the people and places of this world.
The second time was when I spent some time working in Ecuador and then backpacking for 3 months throughout Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, and Chile. Living for that amount of time out of what I packed in one bag was humbling yet exhilarating. Meeting hundreds of people from all over the globe along the way made this world a very small place. It was addicting to see the similarities and the differences from so many different people while sharing laughs, suggestions, perspectives, and dreams.
I guess that brings me to this time. Now, I’m here to work and here to take in stories, knowledge, and experiences on a deeper level – thanks to the maturity that work experience and the last two adventures have instilled. There’s no shying away from the fact that the business environment is a global environment. This far transcends the traditional “(One country) company working with (another country) company.” Nowadays, this global environment exists on our teams in the office. It is diversity of race, faith, language, lifestyle, economic level, and the list goes on. The importance is being able to seamlessly transcend between these differentiators and unify through effective communication. Part of that comes from a personal mindset and approach; part of that comes from the ability to understand people and the ability to relate to/ be relatable.
Why Chile, again? Well, that wasn’t really the plan but I’m glad it turned out the way it did. What I wanted was to speak Spanish, and South America continued to lure me with it’s mountains and diverse landscapes. I figured that it was the continent to explore while I was young and my body was strong, because, here, there are so many opportunities to really put it to the test.
I look forward to spending this time outside my country and outside my never-ending support system in order to fall back on no one buy myself as I further develop myself personally and professionally. So, I’m not exactly sure where this year will take me but here are a couple goals to keep it all focused:
- Spanish proficiency
- Concise, clear, and confident communication – the results of excelling in my new job
- A solid understanding of Latin business, customs, culture
- To be a salsa dancing queen :)
- To learn how to cook all the delicious food I’ll surely try
- To leave here a more well-rounded, open-minded, and self-aware individual
- To see as many new landscapes as my eyes and pocket can handle