I’m writing from the international terminal of the Santiago airport. I’ve been here many times, but this time is different: In two hours, I’ll be leaving Chile for good.
No, not really. I have no doubt I’ll be back. After all, I’ve lived a long and formative period of my life here. If you follow this blog all the way back to the womb, you'll see that I've called this country home since October of 2007 -- and that's not counting the year I spent studying here in college. That's a total of nearly four years, four extremely important years if you believe -- as I do -- that a person's twenties are vital when it comes to becoming who he or she is. Santiago is the city where I began to come into my own; I honestly believe that I would be a different person today if I had confronted the challenges of young adulthood somewhere else. New York City will undoubtedly play a major role in this continuing evolution, but Santiago will always have the advantage of having started the ball rolling.
I've written before about the mixed emotions I have about leaving Chile. In the interest of not breaking down and bawling here in the terminal, I'm not going to get into those emotions here. I will, however, include a sappy but very fitting quote I just happened to come across the other day. According to Lawrence Durrell, "A city becomes a world when one loves one of its inhabitants." If loving one inhabitant makes a city a world, loving many makes Santiago a universe -- one I'll definitely be back to.
And, in order to rescue this entry from complete and utter sapdom, I'll toss in my four main gripes about what otherwise is a decent airport terminal: It's hot, there's hardly anything to eat, there are no drinking fountains, and the guy sitting next to me has a scary-sounding phlegm cough that he's not covering up. Is it time to board yet?
By the way, I stole the title of this post from this famous Chilean cueca. Of the landmarks mentioned in the song, Quinta Normal and San Pablo con Matucana have special places in my heart.