It's with some sadness that I have to report that I'm back in England due to the serious illness of one close to my heart. It wasn't an easy decision to make; indeed the person in question is not very pleased with me, but I feel it is the right one, and that this is where I need to be right now.
So my last few days in Chile were spent with my substitute family, enjoying picnics by the river and tramps in the mountains, before saying goodbye to the very starry skies with one last pisco sour. I was not looking forward to the mammoth journey home - one hour minibus to San Fernando, 2 hour bus to Santiago, half an hour taxi to airport, thirteen hour flight to Madrid, three hour flight to London, followed by a 2 hour drive home - but luckily it all went smoothly and wasn't too painful (excepting the very odd german guy on my flight who asked if he could rest his pillow on my shoulder! Er... No?) My little brother came to pick me up and after a teary reunion at the airport and my first pint (pint!) on English soil, I was relieved to find I was happy to be back. The same stars I had said goodbye to on the other side of the world were still shining down on me, albeit a little less brightly and obscured by light pollution, but they were still there none the less. As South America itself will be.
After a good twelve hour sleep, I woke up feeling vindicated in my decision to return by the British weather that greeted me - I was expecting leaden skies, pissing rain and a general sense of doom and gloom. But no, I've had clear blue skies and crisp sunshine and even the bitter cold is a somewhat refreshing change to the relentless heat of Chile. And then there was snow! I LOVE snow! It was with some excitement that I dug out my winter coat and gloves (to now be accompanied by endless alpaca goods) and little squeaks of delight escaped me while I rediscovered the items of clothing I had left at my mums. After six months of the same shorts and tshirts, I don't think I'll ever be so pleased to see a pair of skinny jeans and a flannel shirt again! I am clearly quite behind in the fashion stakes but being out of the country for so long has taught me I really don't care (remind me of this when I'm lusting over a new handbag please!) although even I realise my well-loved stripy pyjama pants should by no means ever be seen in public again.
My first few days in England have been spent catching up with my nearest and dearest and facing the reality of the difficult future ahead of us. It's clearly not how I imagined this year would pan out but hey, asi es la vida! In the meantime, thank you for following my adventures in South America. It has been the best thing I have ever done and I can't wait to go back.
Hasta luego! Xxx