San José de Maipo, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
11-04-2015 03:33 PM
It had been more than five years since I had seen the girl who stayed with my family as a foreign exchange student. Although we exchanged emails and phone calls from time to time, the span of more than 5,000 miles from New York City to Santiago, Chile prevented us from reuniting any time soon. I was busy studying to be an emergency room physician, and she was hard at work acquiring her Masters in Fine Arts. Although time and energy was certainly on our side, the relatively strapped finances of young graduate students barred us from easily springing on plane tickets to visit each other. Yet, after a particularly cold start to winter one year, coupled with a rather exhausting month on the general surgery service, I decided it was time to take advantage of my Barclaycard Arrival MasterCard. Before I knew it, I had bought a plane ticket and was escaping the gray, wintry Northeast to see my old friend in the sunny southern hemisphere. We spent mornings exploring local mountainside villages, afternoons eating empanadas on the beach, evenings immersed in the rich culture that the city of Santiago had to offer. One morning, we spontaneously decided to pile into our friend's car - picnic basket in hand and french bulldog in tow - and trekked more than 100 miles to a remote region of the Andes, to a untouched reservoir fed by the Yeso River. High above us stood the peaks of ancient mountains, beautifully dusted with fresh white snow. As we pulled up alongside the pristine turquoise water, we stepped out and unpacked our picnic, with the radio softly playing reggaetón in the background, enjoying each other's company and the adventure we had created.