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Chile officially home away from home

After being in Chile for more than five months now, the feeling that I am an actual Chilean is starting to set in.

The things that I perceived as odd before are now normal. Conversations come easily, and staying out until 7 in the morning no longer results in sleeping the entire next day.

About a week ago, I woke up slightly confused. It took me a couple of minutes to realize what the confusion was about. Now that I think back on it, I'm surprised that it didn't hit me right away -- my dream was completely in Spanish.

Before this, my dreams had been in English with a couple of Spanish words thrown in. This dream was completely in Spanish. While in shock with the thought of my dreams being in Spanish, I failed to notice one other thing. It dawned on me that I had been thinking completely in Spanish for the past month and I didn't even realize it.

Asking myself questions in Spanish just comes naturally now. (Writing in English on the other hand, does not come quite as easily anymore.) Sometimes my friends ask me how to say something in English and I simply can't remember the word. My friends joke that I don't even know how to speak English anymore.

Writing articles is becoming harder and harder with each one I write. I no longer know if my grammar is correct, and I often have to stare at a sentence for a minute to wonder if it is correct or not. Words seem jumbled together and I am starting to spell like my brother does. (Which isn't pretty -- sorry, Dylan.)

Sure, my Spanish isn't that hot either, but I'm so used to hearing Spanish that I've almost blocked English out of my mind. Don't get me wrong, I obviously still understand everything in English, it just sounds strange.

There are many things that I still don't understand in Spanish. I almost always understand what people are saying to me, but often I can't understand the key word to the sentence.

Just the other day, my dad said something about the pool to me. He said that the water in the pool was...something. That right there is my problem. The water in the pool is what?

One of my good friends loaned me a few books in Spanish for me to read. I had previously been stuck with reading the awful "Twilight" series, but now I have one of my favorite books in Spanish. I have read "Inkheart" multiple times in English and now I get to enjoy it in Spanish.

Now that I think and dream in Spanish, it is much easier to have full conversations with people. I actually know what to say! Knowing that I've accomplished this much is such a great feeling.

It's hard to believe that my exchange year is almost half way over. Time has gone by way too quickly as it usually does. I just can't picture myself returning to the States surrounded by English, having a curfew, knowing almost everyone that I pass on the street and just being back in Detroit Lakes. It's hard to remember that I haven't lived here my whole life -- just a mere five months.

Although Chile isn't my real home, it has officially earned a spot as one of my many homes away from home.

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a junior at DLHS but is studying abroad this year in Chile.