Wheels Up, Chile, Sally RoseTwo more sleeps and it will be “wheels up” for me. Buh-bye, New Mexico. I’m returning to Chile, two days after my permanent residency visa has expired.

I’ll be entering Chile as a “tourist” for the first time in six years. Whew. How’s that gonna feel?

I guess I’ll find out on Wednesday morning. Since there’s no one renting the AirBnB apartment the day before my arrival, the owner is graciously allowing me to check in early that day with no extra fees.

I’ll be staying in my old neighborhood, Bellas Artes, but minus my million dollar view of the Andes. This apartment is in a different building, on a different street, on the fifth floor instead of the 16th. I might miss the view, but I doubt I’ll miss feeling the building sway so much if we have any earthquake tremors while I’m there. And if I need to evacuate, only five flights to run down instead of sixteen.

Staying in my old neighborhood gives me a chance to hit the ground running. I know where everything I need is. No guesswork.

The winter coat and suitcase that I left last year with Vivi have been delivered to a friend who lives in my “new” building. Vivi’s been telling me how cold it is there, but The Weather Channel says it’s supposed to be a toasty 71º F./22º C. next Saturday. Not exactly winter temps. That coat might not be necessary.

I have no idea what’s in the suitcase. I packed it in such a hurry, under such stressful conditions, last year that there’s no telling what I threw in. Guess opening it will be like Christmas.

I’ll be celebrating my birthday down there, and I can’t wait to visit with all my friends. I’ll be resuming my Pilates classes and signing up for a French class. I’m hoping to attend Book Club the first night I’m back, but that’s dependent on whether or not I can stay awake that long.

Sleeping on an airplane has never been my long suit. It helps if I have a window seat so that I’m not being jostled by people passing up and down the aisle all night. The disadvantage of that is not being able to get up and move around or go to the toilet without disturbing my seat mates.

I used to opt for the window seat, but lately I’ve adopted the aisle + sleeping pill method. It works fairly well.

My 13-Item Wardrobe will be going with me. If you’re not familiar with it, you can click the blue link to see photos of my visit to Scotland two years ago. It works just as well now as it did then. Not sexy, but classic and utilitarian, it makes packing easy because there are no decisions to be made.

This evening, I’ll be sorting money, subway and credit cards, electronics and myriad cords, chargers, etc. I find that more challenging than packing the actual suitcase.

It will all come together, and I’ll be landing in Santiago before I know it. This past year, I’ve worked on identifying and accepting my feelings about re-entry, my return to the US. I’m wondering if there such a thing as reverse re-entry.

How do I feel about returning to the country where I lived for five years? Nervous? Excited? Happy? Bittersweet? All of the above?

~~Sally Rose
Author of Amazon Nº. 1 Best Seller Penny Possible
Author of A Million Sticky Kisses
Contributing author to Once Upon An Expat

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