First steps into Chile and I realized my Spanish was shit. I could barely find my way to Santiago’s city center without blindly assuming I was on the right bus. But $1,900 CLP later, and some very broken Spanish the adventure began.
Valparaiso is a wonderful city. The city had an artistic energy that inspired life. Everyone seems to be an artist or creator in the city. Street art crawls up the old city walls and sets the tone for the culturally rich vibs to be felt everywhere I went.
One day I spend on the beach, reading, catching up on sleep, and these Valparaiso teenagers dropped off the beach boardwalk to spin, climb and express themselves with the circus ribbons and rings. It wasn’t something I sought out, but serendipity made the experience even more special.
Then it was off to Spanish Lessons. But first I had to find an instructor. Another thing I assumed would be easy. Turns out I was in for a treat again. I wondered through the university, looking completely out of place until someone eventualy lead me to Arturo, a spanish literature professor who taught travellers from him home in the old town. This man is a true legend. Recognized my Noam Chomsky for his literature, and connected to Pablo Neruda’s network in Valparaiso… I was completely in luck learning Spanish (or technically Castalliano) from him. By the end of our sessions, we were sharing our art with eachother. Check the clip of me playing one of my instrumental songs for him after we read some of his poetry.
The last notable experience in Valparaiso was the live jazz music. After all, I was working and traveling for the first time aboard. So I decided to work late one night and take my office to the bar. 2 meters from me the artists set up their instruments and jammed the night away. Not only was I working in a complete state of flow, but I was also genuinely loving the music and intermittently chatting with the artists between sets with my basic Spanish.
The lessons learned in Valparaiso:
- Live your life, don’t wait around for life to happen
- Don’t plan everything – sometimes the best things happen on a whim.