La tiendita que tiene mi corazón


I hate, like absolutely despise, being seen as a tourist. While studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, my friends always laughed when I would say, “please don’t perceive me” under my breath in public. I have tried my entire life to find somewhere where I fit in, and I was determined to make Chile my home. But here I was, last week in the city, with absolutely nothing to bring back to my family and friends. So I decided to visit Pueblito Los Dominicos for the first time, a small village-style market in the city (that had a reputation for being touristy), in a last-ditch attempt to hunt for anything that wasn’t a cheesy magnet or postcard. 

This shop immediately caught my eye, but I walked past it three or four times before going in. The owner was one of the sweetest people I had ever met, and I learned that all the art being sold had been made by either her, her sister, or her mother. She had an aura about her that made me feel at ease, and it was a rare moment when I wasn’t constantly overthinking my Spanish skills. I snapped this picture of the shop before I bought a small painting made by the shopkeeper, knowing I’d want to remember this moment when I realized I would be leaving a part of my heart in Chile when I left.

Whitney Welbaum is a senior studying public relations, originally from Blacksburg, Virginia. She has a passion for traveling, food, and learning about different cultures/languages. Her goal is to travel anywhere and everywhere in the world.