Expectations [Chile]

Guess what?

I’ve landed on a whole new continent. With a whole new tribe. A whole new language. A whole new living space.

Valparaiso Chile is as good as everyone says it is. There are SO MANY COLORS. The artists that have taken over nearly every wall in the city have added something new and full of life to this already vibrant place.

We’ve received such an incredible welcome here. From the fascinating venue of Dinamarca399 and the stunning co-working space of iF Valparaiso to the beautiful homes of Valparaiso Experience and Augusta Apart Hotel every interaction we’ve had has exceeded our expectations.

I have to be honest. I didn’t really have any expectations of Latin America. Before I came away for this trip my mind has been occupied in making sure that everyone else gets here safely. That we have a tribe for The Nomad MBA that is happy and raring to go.

I had read a few blogs, but all with the view to excite other people, not myself.

So when we finally landed in Santiago, I was merely grateful for the WHOLE ROW of seats I had to sleep on for the journey and that we were no longer 40,000 feet in the air – there wasn’t really anything I was ‘looking forward’ to.

Nothing could have prepared me for the way that this city has nestled itself into the folds of the mountains.

The houses on top of each other deeply reminded me of Port Au Prince [Haiti] and the stretches of brave and expressive art drawing homes together and somehow erasing property boundaries.

Even as we drove down into the mist that settled itself on the Cerros from the ocean I breathed deeply. It’s a deeply romantic and evocative place.

I had been traveling for around 30 hours by the time we placed our bags down and were welcomed ‘home’ by Bart, who is looking after half of our group. He brought us into his home and made us coffee before we were swept off to view other apartments and to take care of other administrative things.

That coffee was such a welcome into a culture that continues to prove itself as one of the most hospitable I’ve encountered. People here work hard, but also take great pride in making sure that all bases are covered in a way that is human and in no way contrived.

It doesn’t feel like everyone here once read a text book on how to be the most kind or most insightful or the best at the tourism business and then started to live it out.

It actually feels like it’s in the blood, or maybe the sea mist, here. A quiet and gentle pride in making sure that every interaction is the best it can be, and that when you need to disappoint someone you do it with honesty and having tried all other possible avenues first.

You can feel the community in the air, and it doesn’t feel like an exclusive thing at all. Scratch the surface and you’re brought in [even with very little Spanish – the people here also seem to have an extreme amount of patience for explaining how to become an expert in no time]

With this in mind, I turn once again to my idea of expectations. The times I’ve felt disappointed, or failed to meet the expectations of others.

I recognize that because I had so few things that I was looking forward to in Valpo I’m probably enjoying it more.

The wonder of turning a corner and seeing a funicular, or a hill SO STEEP that it seems impossible that anything was built on it, or a painting that arrests you for 5 minutes even though you’re late because it’s telling you so much about this place.

Even the dogs here are very friendly. There are hundreds of them, and for the most part they are docile [far from the packs in SE Asia] and some of them are extremely sweet.

There’s one in particular that I want to take home as he waits for me on the corner and accompanies me when I take a moment of outside time away from the Bonding Weekend that has just happened.

He greets me like we’ve known each other for years and asks nothing of me [there’s that expectation thing again] then wags his tail as I pet him and leave to go back inside. He has total trust in me and a sweetness that I want in myself.

I want to approach every person and situation with low expectations and such a complete trust.

So, I’m going to be working on the things that I put my expectations in.

I’m going to try hard not to put them in other people and instead learn to expect that all will be well. Having the expectation that things are figuring themselves out in ways I may never understand, but in ways that have the very best in mind for me and everyone concerned.

I feel that in me somewhere deeply and each day, and experience, is just helping to solidify that truth.

Here’s Psalm 62 [Passion Translation] on being pretty sure that no matter what expectations are met, not met, ones I meet or don’t there is someone far bigger taking care of all the important things. What a gift and a joy. Again.

I stand silently to listen for the one I love,
    waiting as long as it takes for the Lord to rescue me.
    For God alone has become my Savior.
He alone is my safe place;
    his wrap-around presence always protects me.
    For he is my champion defender;
    there’s no risk of failure with God.
    So why would I let worry paralyze me,
    even when troubles multiply around me?
But look at these who want me dead,
    shouting their vicious threats at me!
    The moment they discover my weakness
    they all begin plotting to take me down.
Liars, hypocrites, with nothing good to say.
    All of their energies are spent
    on moving me from this exalted place.
Pause in his presence
I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the one I love,
    waiting as long as it takes for him to rescue me.
    Only God is my Savior, and he will not fail me.
For he alone is my safe place.
    His wrap-around presence always protects me
    as my champion defender.
    There’s no risk of failure with God!
    So why would I let worry paralyze me,
    even when troubles multiply around me?


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