Most of my week (Monday through Friday) is spent at the school in Chol Chol where I’m helping. However, on the weekends I get to explore! I’m very grateful that God put me in the hands of a host family who wants to show me around and a mentor that worked hard in advance to connect me with local people here who are around the same age as I! So here´s a little bit about some of my adventures here over the past few weeks…
Adventure #1 – El Campo
El Campo is the countryside! I have actually been able to go to the Chilean countryside a few times now, for various things. I visited 2 different families and even the land where my Chilean “grandmother” used to live. Each trip was between 35 mins and 1hr and 15 mins away from where I’m living. The countryside is very beautiful. It’s winter here, which means it rains a lot and is very cold, but our trips were still fun despite the weather! My first trip to el campo was just to look around and take in the beautiful nature! I learned that the national flower of Chile is the copihue (pretty and pink!!) and that if you’re careful, you can even swing on some of the branches (haha, my little 6 year old host brother taught me that one!)
My second trip to the countryside was to visit the bishop´s sister and mother. This was a very special trip. I couldn´t communicate that much to either of them while I was there (still trying to figure out Chilean Spanish), but I did my best to smile and be appreciative of everything. I got to explore the land and even watch my host family knock fruit down from the trees that had not yet fallen during the change of season. I also learned that if you pronounce “membrillo” (the fruit) just a little bit differently…well, let’s just say it’s not a fruit anymore! Haha!! (Oops, gotta laugh at yourself when that happens!)
My third trip to the countryside was to visit another family. It was a quick visit, but also a very special one too. I think I might save the details of that one for another post!
Adventure #2 – Temuco
This past weekend I got to go on a city tour of Temuco (the city where I’m living!). I went with a local girl, Carol who is close in age to me and studying to be an English teacher. We went to the Pablo Neruda train museum, the football (soccer) stadium, and this beautiful lookout spot (Cerro Nielol). It was a really fun day getting to explore and spend time with a new friend!
Adventure #3 – El mar
This adventure might have been my favorite! This past Sunday, we got in the car after church and drove just a little over an hour to the town of Puerto Saavedra by the sea, or “el mar.” We only actually stayed there for probably 20 mins, but it was worth all the time in the car because it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. I wanted to cry it was so beautiful (although if you know me at all, everything makes me cry!! haha) It didn’t rain, the waves were beautiful, and we even got to see the sun begin to set. It was one of those days that just leaves you in complete awe of God’s creation.
Who am I?
Hi! This is my very first blog post from Chile, where I am serving as a SAMS bridger for just over 2 months. This is the start of my third week here, and I figured I should probably post something to share about my experience so far! My name is Juliet Millard and I am 21 years old. I´m going to be a senior at Grove City College this fall where I´ll be finishing my final year as a PreK-4 Elementary Education major and Spanish minor.
What am I doing here?
I applied to be a SAMS bridger almost a year ago and had know idea where I would be placed or what I would be doing. All I knew is that I would prefer somewhere Spanish-speaking. Well, many months later, and here I am in Chile!! I am living with a very sweet host family in Temuco and commuting daily to the town, Chol Chol where I am helping at an Anglican school here. My days consist of time spent helping with the English classes and Religion Classes. I´m also teaching my own English class/workshop for 45 mins after school 3x a week!
What is God doing?
That’s a big question. But, God is doing a lot. There are some incredibly faithful people here that are doing amazing things for God´s kingdom. It´s encouraging to see how intentional many of the people I´ve met here are with their walks with God. I think the greatest way I’ve felt God’s presence so far though, has been through other people. I’m a very people-oriented person! I love spending time with other people and making new friends. However, my transition here in Chile has been pretty difficult for me. I was super nervous to travel down and I´m having a much harder time than I thought I would communicating (Chilean Spanish is quite the challenge!!), which has made it very difficult to make new friends and be a “people person.” But, God has been placing people along my path to help me every step of the way.
On my very first flight from Pgh to Toronto, I ended up sitting next to a girl who was my age, from my city, and getting on the same connecting flight as I was in Toronto to Santiago! We ended up talking the whole flight and navigating our following connection together. I don´t know if I could have done it without her! (Shoutout to Haley if you ever happen to see this!)
Then, when I landed in Santiago (where I was crazy nervous about figuring out my connection), out of nowhere this man saw me and helped me every. single. step. of the way through the airport. He helped me check in, go through security, and find my gate! It turns out we were headed to the same flight anyway, which made it easier for him to help me, but I didn´t know him, didn´t ask for his help, but he just saw me and knew I needed it. He wasn´t sketchy, had no malicious intent, and didn´t want anything from me. He simply wanted to help. Just because.
Here in Chile, I am very grateful for the people God has placed in my path too. I have a wonderful host family (who let me come home to them and cry after long confusing days where I feel like I only understand two percent of what people say to me) and mentor family (thank you Smith Family for always driving me everywhere and asking how I´m doing)! But, I’m especially grateful for the English teacher here, whom I´ve connected with. She’s only a few years older than me and so kind and helpful. Without her, this whole experience would be a million times harder. We speak in Spanish but she graciously lets me make a million mistakes, ask a million questions, and never gets mad or frustrated. She has shown me everything I need to know in terms of navigating the school here, and she too, has let me cry when I was overwhelmed with emotion and all that comes with being in a new place! (Thank you Fabiola for being so wonderful!!)
How can you pray?
First and foremost, please be praying for all of the teachers and students that I’m spending most of my time with here. Pray that the Lord will give the teachers all the patience and strength that they need each day, and that the students would have the desire and willingness to listen and learn.
Second, please just be praying for me as I continue to navigate this new experience – especially Chilean Spanish!! I have discovered I´m really not that great at Spanish… haha! It makes everything a little harder when I have a really hard time understanding everything everyone says!
Thank you to everyone for all your support and I promise I´ll post more pictures once I figure out how!!