The consul at the Chilean embassy is an incredible human being. Hands down.
Going back today, I was greeted not only in Spanish, but with welcoming smiles as I stood, laughed and stumbled over second-language conjugation and vocabulary. Eduardo. My first new Chilean friend. Amigo.
He told me I look Chilean. Brownie points.
Eduardo me dijo que, “I’m sorry, but you haven’t been approved for a visa.”
“Wait, what?” I smiled. Kinda of. Laughed. I knew his jokes. He cracked, of course.
He let out a chuckle himself and asked me to sit down while he processed everything. I did. The same consul was there. We conversed for a few minutes in Spanish, speaking of the city where he grew up: Valparaíso.
He took my fingerprints, and explained to me the different paperwork I would need to keep track of for customs upon entry into the Chilean airport. He showed me the visa in my passport. The extra paperwork would go into a seperate folder. I would need to be knowledgable of the information on my visa in Spanish.
He asked again where I would be studying.
“A la universidad del Adolfo Ibañez. En Viña del Mar.”
He gave me a flag. “For your hard work.”
I smiled and gave him a hug. I’ll send you pictures!
He asked if I would do him a favor? Take some pictures of a specific location. I said of course. He pulled out a magazine of Valparaíso. He flipped through several pages of una ciudad muy hermosa. A beautiful city.
He pointed to a house slightly ruined. “That’s where I grew up.”
He explained that it had been 50 years. The earthquake that hit Chile destroyed much of the house. He said it might be different. He looked off, reminiscent. Go there and take a photo for me, would you? His business card had his e-mail address. He wrote the address of the location.
My Chilean mission, we agreed, is to find that house and take a picture. I like a challenge and I won’t let him down. After all, he’s the reason I can travel there.
All in all, Chileans I am learning, are wonderful people.
me dijo que – Told me that
Este estudie – Study this