Today I complete my first week in Santiago, Chile. This also happens to be my very first Fishing Buddha post from the brand-new city, country and continent. And that also checks off a few items on the List. The idea of Fishing Buddha is a result of a constant search within myself. It is my way of peeking into myself and the intricacies of this world. I spent my whole last year plotting my next big move and here I am finally. It feels very surreal still. At the moment, I am enjoying the fruits of my year long search and absolutely loving meeting new people and having the most amazing conversations of my life:
Heather is an International Relations student from Michigan who decided to not do the usual political internships and came down to Chile instead to volunteer at an orphanage. We talked about many things including life in Chile, the difficulties the orphanage has, how Chileans party, visited my first Chilean shopping mall, and, of course, exchanged our stories while eating some delicious empanadas. Conversation lasted: 3.5 hrs
Skinner is the founder of an amazing educational institute called, Exosphere which aims to build an unique entrepreneurial community and an alternative education system. I met him on my coldest mornings in Santiago, so far, and it turned out to be the warmest conversation I’ve had in many months (my last being with Raam when he visited me in Florida.). We talked for hours non-stop on almost all topics we could think of – politics, entrepreneurship and its challenges, the future of education, differences between American and Chilean society, life philosophy, religion and its current mainstream interpretation, Start-Up Chile, our stories and how we ended up in Chile, the potential in Latin America, food, Anthony Bourdain, hiking in the wilderness alone and much, much more. Conversation lasted: 4+ hrs
Leslie and I have one thing in common above all – we’re wanderers. She was raised in the heart of the Silicon Valley by two “serial start-up veterans”. After graduating, she did what any other person would logically do – not really- and move to China to teach English. [I hope you guys are beginning to see a pattern with the kind of people I like to surround myself with.]. After working there and connecting with many globally recognized corporations for five years, she again made another hop all the way across to Santiago, Chile to participate in Start-Up Chile. She now calls Santiago home and is very actively involved in the start-up scene down here. We had a nice lunch and then she took me over to a start-up called, Co-Work where we met even more start-up founders and entrepreneurs i.e. more lunches next week! Conversation lasted: 3+hrs.
So, these are some of the people I have met here so far. My calendar is still pretty full and I am meeting a few more this weekend. Also, not to mention the awesome people I work with. I have been very lucky to be working with the most hardworking, sincere, nice, funny and food-loving people I’ve met in a long time.
I still cannot comprehend the enormity of the entire thing. I am meeting people I had only tweeted or Facebooked so far and having the most wonderful, inspiring and beautifully long conversations with them. But that’s not all. There is another group of people who have really moved and inspired me in the last week. They have truly made me feel like a rockstar. And that group of people is you guys and girls from around the world.When I landed in Santiago, I was overwhelmed by the amount of good wishes and compliments I was showered with. It was quite the experience to be cheered on by people who were thousands of miles away from me, but still able to connect and be a part of my journey. I have talked about not being able to be a stranger anymore these days and that’s what this last week has been like. Not for one second did I feel lonely, alone or scared even.
So, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know some of you are very excited to see the pictures and how I live here so I will include that in the coming posts. To be honest, I have not even unpacked my camera yet. Besides a couple pictures from my iPhone (they’re on Facebook) I haven’t really shot anything. I wanted to experience this new home unfiltered (ahem, Instagram) through any lenses or equipment for the first week and I am glad I did so. However, the photographer in me is itching to explore this beautiful place (I also can’t wait to try out my new lenses ) and so I will make it my mission to go on a date with my camera very soon.
Hope you all are having a fantastic week just like that ant in the picture above. Thanks for reading.