Week 1 – Santiago

Blurry.  Challenged. Inadequate. Absorbing. Lost. Progress. Lonely.

I arrive to Santiago exhausted and disoriented after an overnight flight – a new culture, a different language, another continent. However it doesn’t take long to realize that Santiago is an easy city – clean, safe and with efficient transportation. My first few days at Sistema B are hard. I’m thrown into a new work environment, the Spanish is fast and different, and I have a lot to prove. I take lots of notes and learn great new words, for example, acucioso (diligent), lograr (to achieve) and of course bacan (Chilean for “cool”).

I find myself in new meetings every day – introduced to many entrepreneurs and learning about great social ventures in Chile. The Spanish immersion is much more intense than I had anticipated, and I’m complety exhausted at the end of each day. I am frustrated by my inability to communicate effectively and share my input at a professional level, but I also feel growth and am grateful for the experience.

The natural beauty of Santiago amazes me.  The modern South American city is settled between looming mountains and on a clear day I can see the remaining snow in the distance. The weather is perfect. I sit on my balcony and watch the sun set each evening while the cool evening breeze cools off the hot summer day.

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