Face to face

column

11-10-2013

Twelve thousand kilometres and thirty hours later, I find myself in fifteen degrees Celsius at eight in the morning at the end of the world—literally. Flying over the breathtaking cordillera of the Andes was one of the most surreal moments in my life. It's winter here, though most days the pollution makes it hard to tell what time of the day it even is. Nevertheless, the rain which falls a rare 3-4 times a year washes away the smog to reveal the beautiful snowy peaks of the Andes. That's right—I'm in Chile, the end of the world.

Of course my first and most important mission here was to test whether the Coriolis effect is real. I can confirm that it is, in fact, a thing—when flushing the toilet the water spins in an anti-clockwise direction. Crazy! I don't know if I can ever get used to that.

Starting a life in a new place can be daunting, but it is certainly much less difficult than before a time when the internet and smartphones took over our lives. Making sense of the jungle of bus and metro lines, quickly converting the ridiculous foreign currency into one you can actually calculate in (1 Euro is around 665 Chilean pesos...on some days) and just generally finding your way around a massive foreign city has never been so easy with technology.

As practical as they are, smartphones will never replace face-to-face communication. After all, it would be pretty ridiculous to quickly look up a word mid-conversation. And it certainly doesn't help me to understand the strange language spoken here, which is apparently Spanish, though it sounds nothing like anything I'd been preparing for.

Moving to a new country isn't easy, though some countries are easier to get accustomed to than others. Yet in a strange way, every place is the same, and the challenges are present everywhere. The greatest challenge is to simply turn off my computer and get out there.

Sometimes, going vegetable shopping to the farmer's market turns out to be more rewarding than watching anime in bed.

 

Rebecca Sereinig,student European Studies

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