Home read Dorota Stańczyk

My fascination with Chile began when I met via Internet Miguel, a Chilean living in the south of this amazing country. I could sit for hours at the computer and look for information about the beautiful Chilean corners. Also my bookshelf was enriched with some new positions. In the beginning this country seemed to me so exotic that it was difficult for me to imagine myself in such a remote location. Everything changed when, after two years of virtual conversations and hundreds of letters sent personally, I met Miguel. Everything began to seem easier and feasible. After some time, quite unexpectedly there appeared a pretext to leave. I got a job offer in Chile for a year. Although even this annual period was not quite sure I took it as an opportunity to learn something new. I took a chance.

At the other end of the world

I made the first steps on the Chilean soil on January 19, 2012. It was then when I was seized with fear of what would await me there. Suddenly I realized that I was thousands of kilometers away from my family home, where I had been feeling safe. New faces, new places … Another reality. Before leaving for Chile I hadn’t allowed myself to think that it could be difficult to find myself in a new country. I was too much excited about my great expedition to South America. Anyway, at the time when I was leaving I didn’t know exactly if I would stay there for good. I also bought the return ticket – I gave myself three months to see whether I could live there. This was the beginning of my emigrant adventure, which might seem short, but for me it’s a whole bunch of new experiences and challenges.

The first days in Chile were the biggest challenge that I have ever had to cope with in my entire life. It all around was different when looked at with my own eyes. Buildings, shops, people. I didn’t know what to say, how to behave, where to go. One big culture shock. What’s more, the fear magnified everything. A major issue was the communication. Previously, I hadn’t had too much contact with the Spanish language, apart from a few lessons and intensive learning at home (unfortunately English is not as popular here as in Europe). However, all the encountered obstacles motivated me to intensive work even more. My husband’s support helped and still helps me. But for it, it would have been difficult to find myself at the other end of the world. It was he who organized everything, taught me, explained. He did everything to make me feel in Chile at home. His family and friends also played a huge role. Always eager to help, smiling and understanding. It is thanks to them that I felt I belonged there. Although living in the south of the country I do not have much contact with Poles living in Chile, conversations with them via the Internet made me feel not alone. Suddenly, it turned out that I’m not the only person to have a problem to understand, find or cope with something. This is the way how I remember my first Chilean moments.

Being in Chile I try to memorize every, even the tiniest experience. Each of them is important in its own way. Any, sooner or later, will help me make the next decisions. However, there are three such events that influenced my stay in Chile the most. The first is my Chilean wedding, which is another important step in my life. The second is obtaining the resident status – a long time I could not believe it was really happening. The last event was my husband’s stay at hospital, which somehow made me more independent and taught to cope with difficult situations in a foreign country.

I keep in touch with family and Polish friends mainly via the Internet. Calls, texts, e-mails and letters. Any form of contact is great and makes me forget that I’m so many kilometers away from home. In addition, because I make a website about Chile, I have constant contact with great people not only from Poland, but also from other parts of the world. I am pleased with every e-mail from travelers and lovers of Chile. I’m happy to share my experiences and try to help, as far as I can. All this makes the contact with Poland even greater, and I even dare to say that this contact is greater than it was before.