Six months ago this week, Carlos and I packed up everything we owned into five suitcases, and flew on the long journey from London to Santiago.
I left with a heavy heart to be leaving my home city, my childhood home as my parents are moving very soon, but of course to be leaving my family and friends was the hardest. I was scared about moving somewhere newish (I lived in Santiago for ten months between 2010-2011 so it wasn’t totally new), with no job yet, and Spanish that I wasn’t confident with! I was scared I wouldn’t adapt.
A lot has happened since them, so to remember the first six months living in Santiago this time around, I have chosen six words that best represent the past six months.
At first, it was like everything had changed, I felt like everything was new and scary. We had changed countries, cities, jobs, flats, the language, the time zone, the climate, the currency, the seasons, the people we saw everyday. It was a lot to take in but as it felt like it happened slowly, it felt easier than it sounds though of course some days were easier than others.
But of course, with change then comes stability. We have lived in our flat for three months now, and we started working just after that. We have our routine of which days I go to yoga and Spanish class, which days Carlos plays football. We know which supermarkets and local shops we like, we know when is the best time to take the metro, and we know which coffee shops we want to see. Routine and familiarity makes me feel calm, and settled and I like it!
Having said that, I like nothing better than weekend trips! Routine is great, but the routine of making the most of weekends, makes that even better. We have managed to fit in a fair bit of exploring outside of Santiago.
Peñaflor :: A small city, that feels like a town, just outside of Santiago. Carlos’ family live there and it’s where we lived for the first three months, it’s also somewhere we go lots at weekends to breathe, eat nice home cooked food and have a taste of family time.
Valparaiso :: In the last six months, I’ve taken four trips to my favourite colourful city. It was a great place to take my family and friends who visited for our wedding, and it’s so close to Santiago that I can’t resist a trip there often! Viña del Mar :: The popular beach city next to Valparaiso where we went with my family and friends just before Christmas.Cartagena de Indias & Isla Tierra Bomba, Colombia :: This, of course, was more than a weekend trip! We spend ten days in Colombia for our honeymoon and fell head-over-heels for this charming city.Pupuya & Matanzas :: A month ago we spend the weekend at the beach for some friends’ wedding. It was beautifully picturesque and laid back.Quillota :: We visited just for the day for Carlos’ friends birthday, and saw stunning views from the bus, this sunset was magical!Pichilemu :: Just this week, during our half-term holiday from school, two friends and I spent four days in Pichilemu. It was the ultimate way to relax after our first half-term after the summer.
Mountains are a huge part of my life, as I see them everyday and the novelty of that hasn’t worn off! In fact, I hope it never does as seeing the mountains from your balcony really is the most special thing!
Of course, during these past six months, Carlos and I shared a major life event of getting married! It was the most amazing day 🙂 This brought with it the fact that my family and lots of our friends travelled from different countries for this, we were so lucky to spend Christmas together, and explore. We had a wonderful wedding with a laid- back vibe, and everything we had wanted on our special day.
Probably the most important, as what is life without happiness? Of course, I have days where I feel homesick. Days where I want to see my family so badly, or meet up with my best friends more than anything. But I feel lucky, lucky to have a job I like, lucky to live in a nice flat, lucky to have the most supportive husband and his family.
It’s been a roller coaster of a six months with so many changes, but I feel six months is a land mark in living abroad! Let’s see where the next six months take us!
Can you relate to any of these feelings?
Lots of love for a lovely week ahead!
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What a beautiful story with beautiful pictures. I’m visiting Santiago for the first time next january, so the tips on which daytrips to take are great. Are there lots of busses between Santiago and Valparaiso?
Thanks Melissa! 🙂 Ah, how exciting! There are buses all day long between Valpo and Santiago, from several different companies. They are as frequent as every 15 minutes so it’s so easy to get there. Let me know if you need anymore tips! 🙂
Wow! Happy six months in Chile! It does feel so much better when you’ve got a routine, especially classes and activities to go to… that’s when I really started feeling settled too! Although I moved under different circumstances, I remember those feelings and can definitely relate to one of the last parts you stated: being in a new country, great job, newly married with all of my friends back home 🙂 Lucky is indeed the word! I hope the next six months are even better 🙂
Thanks Cynthia! I take lots of comfort in the fact that I’m definitely not the only one going through all of these feelings. Having a routine is the best way to feel like you are living ‘real life’, I’m a big fan of that! 🙂
time flies when you’re having fun! I’m glad you settled well:)
That’s true! Thanks very much, Tanja! 🙂
That last shot of you is lovely! Congratulations on your first 6 months away, you’ve packed a lot in for sure. This was a really interesting insight into expat life, thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks so much, Rachel! Glad you enjoyed reading 🙂 Here’s to the next six!
A lot of changes, but I am so glad that the post is ending on such a positive note! I could actually feel how happy you are! Some people just cannot overcome the challenge of change and tend to get depressed. I can totally relate because I had to leave everyone and everything dear to me and move to a different country (Haiti and now Japan) with my husband. At times it gets hard when you miss your family and best friends, but building your own life in a new environment is also so exciting and interesting. I also think it’s wonderful that you try to get out and explore the country during the weekends! 🙂 xoxo, nano
Thanks for your lovely message, Nano! I always seek comfort in the fact that there are so many other bloggers going through the same thing, you can never really feel alone. Seeing the country throughout the weekend always add to the excitement of everyday life 😀
Your wedding dress looks gorgeous!! And I love the Valparaiso street art 😉
Thank you so much! 🙂 Valpo street art is beyond amazing, it’s the best!
Great for you Marcella! Reminds me of when I moved to California (the only thing is that I was by myself). Everything was so different but now I live to say I have been Californiarized. Hope things continue to be great in Santiago.
Thanks so much, Ruth! 🙂 Everything feels to different at first, but you are right ; you adapt and adapt.
Gorgeous photos! I’ve heard Chile is a lovely place to visit..I would love to go to South America ..so much to see there, thanks for sharing! Valerie #traveltuesday
Thank you!! Chile really is a wonderful place to visit, there is so much to see. South America as a whole is the most beautiful place, words can’t describe!
I love this idea for a post! Congratulations on making it through the first six months–those are the hardest, they say! It looks like you had a wonderful time for the most part, and I can’t wait to see where the next six months take you too! xo
Thanks Amy! I’m glad you enjoyed reading 🙂 The first six months are definitely a challenge, I’m excited for the next six too!
I loved this recap of your first six months (for the second time) and I just LOVE all your photos, you definitely chose the right ones!
Thanks Diana, it was a fun and reflective post to put together 🙂
It sounds like change colors every aspect of your life based on this recap! Belated congrats on getting married. I love being married, but it can be hard work sometimes!
Thank you!! Being married is great, but I don’t feel any different as a married woman as we had been living together for a good few years before 🙂 It’s lovely!
what a big and brave move! Glad it turned out well.
Thanks so much, it really was a big move!
moving to a different country (or in your case – to a whole different continent) is a major change, you are so brave and the way you write about the change and share how you feel about it is very inspiring,Marcella 🙂
Santiago is such a color bomb overwhelming the senses, all photos are beautiful, and you are gorgeous… stay happy and share the happiness ♥
Thanks for your lovely comment, I’m glad you enjoyed reading! Sharing lots of happiness with you too, lots of love! 🙂
So, Chile changed your life! What a story. Well-done! #TravelTuesday
Thanks so much! 🙂
Absolutely love this post! I think it’s so important every so often to just stop for a second and reflect on what’s been going on. Even though it’s been a rollercoaster, and change is never all easy, I’m so happy you’re enjoying your new life here! (And selfishly I’m happy to have you here!) This is such a beautiful way to tell your story and the pictures are stunning! I can also relate to most of these feelings (well besides Marriage) considering I just made a very similar move! There are good days and bad days, but as long as he good triumph, that’s all we can really ask for right?! 😀
Thanks Lauren – I totally agree! Reflection is something that I think we all intend to do more, but don’t. I 100% agree with you, happiness is the key, and the most important thing there is 🙂
SO happy to have you here too!!
Wow, that’s wonderful and so inspirational! I just found your blog and I love it! This post was so sincere that I almost feel all of your emotions and you remind me that we don’t have to be afraid of the changes! Thanks!
Greetings from Bulgaria,
Aww, thanks so much for your lovely words!! 🙂 Change is allllllways hard, but this one has been a good one despite how worried I was about it.
Yep, love always wins, you know best! Happy travels, Marcella!