Hola! I’m Jade from New Zealand. I’m 18 years old, and have been living in the great La Calera for the past month. And with no exaggeration, I can truthfully say it had been one of the best experiences in my life so far. I am actually writing this from the car, on the way to the airport, at 3am…because I so badly didn’t want to leave that I procrastinated from packing my bags until about 3 hours ago.

Now Gap, where to begin!

I have to say when I arrived, I felt a little nervous and I guess intimidated by the relaxed atmosphere of it all here. I wasn’t quite sure how to fit in, but after about a week and a half, I honestly felt like part of the family. Maria is one of the loveliest ladies you’ll ever meet. I don’t think I ever heard her say a cruel thing about somebody, and was like a second mum to me! (It also helped that I liked chocolate as much as she does) Manuel is wicked awesome. Such a good guy. And no matter how much he does for you he never makes it feel like it’s a chore for him. He’s pretty funny too – if you get his humour like I did. Male is super sweet and always seems to have a beautiful smile on her face.

So pretty much to sum all that up you’re in very good hands and have no need to worry.

During my stay the most I got involved in was visiting the boys down at el refugio de cristo. I’m definately going to miss them all a lot. Especially the feeling you get when you see their giant smiles shouting “tia/tio!!”” I got to hang out with them, playing football or marbles, and also helped out Manu with a few English classes – one of which I ran alongside Brad, which was quite challenging for my spanish but so worth it! I also had a quick visit to the Red Cross with Maria, and journeyed out to Valpo for a day selling completos to locals with the VSP. I didn’t spend much time in the nursery but when I did I was very welcomed by both the kids and the gorgeous tias!

Along with all of this, I got to see heaps in and around La Calera. Vina del Mar is beautiful, even in winter and Valparaiso is the place to head to be amongst some fellow gringos.

If I was to give you any advice, it would be to just get amongst it. Sounds cliche, but just chill and enjoy living as a true chileno/a. This is youre chance to experience the reality of Chilean life so embrace it! I love this kind of travelling as opposed to only visiting tourist attractions and I hope you will too.

What else, a) climb the hill to the cross, b) cut all the s’s off the end of your “gracias’s” and “mas’s” c) get used to hearing “po” at the end of every sentence and overuse it as much as you can. But most of all enjoy. God Bless.

Con mucho carino, Jade

Gracias por todo Gap Chile, Te Amo!



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