Samantha McCauley is a student at Miami University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Samantha is currently studying abroad with ISA in Valparaíso, Chile.
The other day I started to walk from the city of Valparaíso to my class in the neighboring town of Viña del Mar. It takes a little over an hour on the sidewalk that runs along the ocean, but it is a pleasant walk that I like to take every now and then. The other day, however, there was a strong wind coming in from the ocean and dark clouds off in the distance. I was only about halfway to Viña del Mar when the rain came.
I have been here for over two months and it had not rained yet, but when it finally did, it poured. I ran to the closest bus, but I was soaked by the time I got there! It continued to storm well into the night when I returned with my housemate, Abby, from our evening class. As it turned out, I was not the only one who was surprised by the sudden change in weather. The whole family, including the Chilean students I live with, was full of energy and excited about the wild storm. After dinner, we all retired to one of the bedrooms on the second floor that has a view of the city and the ocean. For hours we all sat with the window open as we watched the rain pour off the roof. We watched the purple lightning strike off in the distance over the ocean. We watched a river of rainwater violently rush down the side of the mountain, washing the streets like a waterfall. It is hard to explain the mood of the room or the way we all felt, but I think we were all amazed and humbled by the power of nature. More importantly, as we all sat close together, arms around each other, listening to good music and the sounds of the storm, we were all relishing in the power of love and friendship.
There is so much that I have learned here so far that I cannot even begin to explain. Most of what I have learned I credit to my new friends. Because of all of our different backgrounds and interests, every single member of our strange family brings something unique to the table. They have all changed me in ways they will never know, and I will never be the same. I have only been here for two months and I have already grown in so many amazing ways. I can only imagine what the next two months have in store for me!