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Emotional roller coaster: Missing home but happy to be in another country

October started out with a shock -- quite literally. Two weeks ago, I got electrocuted. It was quite the experience!

I still have no feeling in my left hand pointer finger, but who needs feeling in that finger anyway?

This weekend was spent at the beach with my parents and their friends. My exchange student friend was going to come, but her parents informed her that they were going to a wedding in Santiago the day we were going to leave. Therefore my weekend was spent getting smoke blown into my face, eating fish and sleeping.

The majority of my weekend was spent sitting next to a man who insisted on blowing his cigarette smoke in my face while moving my cup across the table. Every time I wanted to take a drink of my juice, I would have to uncover my face from its hiding place in my shirt to reach across the table to grasp my cup.

Each and every time, I got a face full of respiratory trouble coming my way. (I know it's a bit dramatic, but drama makes it better.) You could say that I didn't exactly enjoy Rodrigo's presence.

Maybe it was the smoke or even the salami that was sitting on the table, but that was when I lost it. There, in front of all these people I didn't know, I started crying. I cried about the stupidest things.

I cried because the salami tasted like the special salami my family always searches for when we venture out west. I cried when Rodrigo hugged his son, because I miss being hugged by my dad. I cried when I realized that I only understood half of the conversation.

I just cried.

I didn't know what to do. I could barely keep the tears from pouring down my face. I started thinking about things from home that I missed. I realized that I missed things like my driveway (weird, right?), the floor of my bedroom, access to more than five shirts, two pairs of pants, and two pairs of shoes (I guess I could fix that by buying clothes here, but they're all girl clothes...) or even that annoying stuffed dinosaur that makes noises that I have stashed away in the top bunk of my bed (Thank you, Mary!).

I just couldn't stop thinking about them.

Then one of my parents' friends started talking to me about very inappropriate things, which naturally, made me laugh. Mostly because I only caught some of the words, so I didn't really know what he was saying. But it cheered me up enough to make me remember that I'm in a foreign country. Things don't get much better than that.

On Saturday, we went to a fish market right by the ocean. Basically, we ate fish right off the boats. So, here is how it works: the boats drove right up on the beach, unloaded their catches, and then we ate the catch. I ate a live baby crab -- pincers and everything! It was disgusting.

It was slimy and all sorts of nasty. We stayed at this beach for a little while more, and then we went back to our beach house where we just hung out and ate food. It seems that all we did was eat.

Eating appears to be a big thing here in Chile.

My weekend was made even better when I was invited to go see a festival of kites and a circus. I've never been to either one, but I'm sure they both will be fantastic. I can't wait to see all the beautiful kites flying in the sky. I'm not sure what to expect at the circus, but I can't wait to find out.

This exchange student business is a bit of a roller coaster, but I sure am glad to be on this ride.

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School but is studying abroad this year in Chile.