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Living With a Family Again

For the last year I′ve been living semi-independently away from my family in Kalamazoo College, New York and Madison, studying, working and perfecting the art of cooking rice. I′ve grown accustomed to it, and it′s been rewarding look into the crystal ball of what my life might be like once I evolve into the childless hermit I′m certain I will become. So the biggest challenge of studying abroad in Valparaiso, Chile is not that I′m emerged in another language I′m only marginally fluent in, or even the fact that I′m an alabaster-toned individual living dangerously close to a hole in the ozone layer, but the fact that I′m living with a host family.
When I wrote on my Chilean housing application to be placed with a family who “is okay with the gays, because I am one,” the program decided to play it safe and place me with a family that I would best describe as proof that the hippie subculture has found new life in Valparaiso. My mother, Anto, is a massage therapist and dabbles in herbal remedies. She takes care of her mother, Coto, who has Alzheimer′s and spends her days stumbling around the house rearranging everything. Coto will often decide that my shirts would be much more comfortable wedged in-between the couch cushions. My brother, Benito, is twenty-four, lives on the second floor with eleven of his best friends and lectures me about how I am too obsessed with my material possessions. As for the eleven people he lives with, I still don′t know some of their names, but seeing as I′ve been eating lunch with them for the past two months it seems rude to ask them now.
I′m the only one in the house with my own room, a room covered with colorful murals. I′m used to my privacy so sometimes I need come to my room just for some precious alone time. It′s weird living with a family again, especially one that′s so radically different from the family I grew up with. It′s much different from just living with a group of weird people because this family treats me like I′m actually part of their family.
Last week I ate some bad fish at a party and got very sick. Immediately my host mom rushed to my rescue, emailing all my professors and bringing me food and tea to bed. It was the first time in a long while I had someone take care of me like this. I′ve never felt so cared for and I realized I′m going to miss this crazy house when I leave it this winter.

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About Cameron Schneberger ʼ15

Cameron is a sophomore from Madison, Wisconsin, with an undeniable passion for theater, creative writing and studio art. He has not decided on a major yet, so he is utilizing the K Curriculum to the fullest extent. When he is not in class, you can find him on stage, in one of the many theatrical production that K produces, or as part of the student improv group, Monkapult. He advises you to hide your whiteboards on your door; the man will write on it if he sees it.

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