So far first 24 hours have been way smoother than when in Buenos Aires. I didn't lose any credit cards, climbed up to Castillo Hidalgo which had an amazing view, and I found a great restaurant for dinner. I also think it went smoother because instead of going from for the most part only ever in the US to a country and city that was basically the complete opposite. I had to get used to the culture, money, language, etc. Now I have a month’s experience and it’s much smoother.
I spent much of my nights and weekends in Buenos Aires hanging out with someone from Spain, Alberto. Aside, I referred to him as “The Spaniard” when talking about him with friends and coworkers :DD. I assumed that just because he spoke the language he knew everything but he didn’t. Yes, he spoke Spanish, but the Spanish in South America is way different and he had a hard time understanding them. Also, he went through the same cultural differences I did. So I assumed he’d have a 100% leg up on me but he only had a 20%.
I like Santiago, the neighborhood and the Airbnb is nice, but I get the impression the neighborhood is very different than the rest of Santiago. I almost wish I was in a more "authentic" neighborhood instead of this very rich one. I like the neighborhood in that it feels very similar to "home" but I kind of like being out of my comfort zone to learn and grow and I'm not in this neighborhood. It’s nice knowing what to do when going to a bar which was kind of confusing in Buenos Aires.
In Buenos Aires it seemed like the people were pretty mixed ethnically so I didn’t stick out but in Santiago I stand out like a sore thumb. Maybe because Buenos Aires is on the east coast facing towards Europe and Santiago is on the other side of the Andes and was kind of isolated?
Let's talk about the Airbnb. It's very nice and the hosts are friendly, but I think I hate it. The hosts are an older couple that only work 1-2 days a week and I think they are lonely so they talk way too much. I can't enter or leave the house without a 15 minute monologue about 20 different countries and how well they speak English. Every time I've asked a question I've regretted it. This is only the first 24 hours and I'm here for 28 days. I'm not looking forward to sitting in the house working for eight hours a day with them wandering around bored. To be honest, I went from my favorite Airbnb to what I think is going to be my worst Airbnb ever.
Choosing how long to stay in an Airbnb is going to be tough. I really wish I wasn't in this one for 28 days so maybe two weeks in each is good. However I didn't really warm up to people in Buenos Aires for two weeks and then I loved the Airbnb and wanted to stay longer. If I had only stayed there two weeks I would have never had as much fun as I did. I had so much fun I thought about staying a few more weeks but decided in the end that paying for two Airbnbs in two different countries at the same time wasn’t practical. It wouldn’t have been a hardship so maybe I should have.
The people I met in Buenos Aires made me really want to learn Spanish so I’m going to try to find a tutor or something in Santiago to get better. I really hated not knowing what people were saying at dinner without having to lean on Google Translate a lot of the time.