I was just looking through the photos I was tagged in on Facebook since January 2013, and I realized that 2013 was the greatest year of my life (so far, of course). I started the year in Chile visiting friends from my exchange year. It was a month filled with happy tears, food, laughter, melvin (melon filled with wine), heat, lots of conversations, birthday parties, hitchhiking, a trip to the beach, a trip to Santiago, trips to one of my friends’ house in he countryside and so much more! I also took my first tattoo to honor my second home:
From February through June I worked fulltime in a kirdergarden and studied for my exams at night, but I still had time for several travels. In February I went to Gran Canaria with Titi, my Chilean (host) sister, to visit our mom who lives there for three months every winter. We had a really nice week with her enjoying the sun, great food (I could eat tapas ONLY for the rest of my life), sightseeing and some shopping. The first photo shows the beach in Las Palmas and the others show my mom, Titi and I when we took a trip to a village in the mountains, Santa Brígida.
In March I went to San Francisco with Emilie, my best friend. Our most important goal was to do a lot of shopping, but sometimes we did some sightseeing too, haha! We also had way too much coffee (we like it that way) and good food. The most touristy thing we did was biking the Golden Gate Bridge on a tandem bike, also known as the marriage counsler, according to the guy who rented it to us. We shopped way too much, as you can see in one of the photos where Emilie has some difficulties closing her suitcase…
During the summer I just worked every day and met some friends. I also spent one week in our summer house in the south with my family before I left for Brazil on August 8. The 3,5 months I spent there were maybe the greatest of my life. I had so much fun, I met a lot of amazing people, I experienced new things, I learned to speak Portuguese, I learned about a new culture, I went to new places, I learned how to make Bahian food and I made a lot of new friends. This week I actually bought tickets to visit one of them, Laura, in Colombia this summer! I have so many photos from Brazil and I would like to share them all, but if you just click here, you can see all my blog posts from Brazil, with photos.
I feel so grateful that I have the possibility to travel so much and to get to know new places, people and cultures. My cousin is very much like me in this way, we both travel a lot, and she told me about a conversation she had with a friend of her’s. Her friend told her that she was so lucky who could travel so much, but then my cousin told her that everybody could do it, they just have to do the dirty work first. That is very true! Before I went to Brazil I talked to friends (especially latinos) about where I should go. A Chilean friend of mine told me to go to Salvador, which was the only one that I hadn’t heard about among the cities that my friends mentioned. I looked it up, read a lot about it, searched for language schools and prices, looked for accomodation, bought plane tickets, bought additional travel insurance, I quit the gym, I changed my sim card to prepaid, I bought a Portuguese dictionary and then I left. I had almost no contacts in Salvador, I had heard that Brazil was one of the most dangerous countries in the world, I new literally one word in Portuguese and I was kind of scared, but also extremely excited about how the next three months of my life would be like. It was a lot of work (and money), but when I finally got there and I made myself feel at home, it was worth it in every possible way!
I hope you all get to travel a lot this year and that you make the best of it!