Give new places a chance

After spending only 48 hours in this city, I have but a single thought—Santiago is boring.

I’m walking down a cobblestone street nestled between a row of glorious, green trees and a row of beautiful, towering buildings, but nobody is smiling. These people are busy. They have places to be and people to see. The smog grows ever lower, blotting out the sun and casting a hazy shadow on an already lonely day.

I’m used to people being friendly and saying hello in the streets. I’m used to people working less and playing more. I’m used to a lack of a rules and a surplus of excitement.

But things are different here. This country is developed, and it didn’t get this way by letting its people sleep all day and party all night.

One of my friends learns of my discontent and invites me back to Argentina. I consider his offer, but ultimately decide that figuring out this new culture will be a good experience. I stay put, eager to crack the nut that is Chile. Sometimes, I tell myself, good things take time.

And so I reach out.

First, I find a fellow mountain climber on CouchSurfing and invite him for drinks. We meet for terremotos, or “earthquakes”—wine and brandy mixed with two scoops of ice cream. We discover we both love hiking, and do so in The Andes a few days later. We’re now friends, and I feel less alone.

Next, I learn of the Startup Chile crowd, so I go visit. I end up coding with them for a day, and I feel less alone.

Then, Facebook reminds me that I have a Canadian friend living here. After laughing about what a small world this is, we catch a bus to a nearby beach town and explore for an afternoon.

In a few short days, this reserved town has taught me a very valuable lesson. Opportunity is always present, but sometimes you need to reach out to uncover it.

I fall asleep telling myself, once again, that sometimes, good things take time.