A lot of kids sat through history and social studies class in elementary school and high school and thought “why do I have to learn this? I’ll never go to these places.”
I was never one of these kids.
I remember learning about South America and the history of it, colonization, post-colonization, governments, upheaval, change economic and social and thinking that one day I would go there. One day I would see all of that.
On my trip to Chile, I went to see La Moneda, the government house of Chile. Not only did I get to visit, but the friend who I went to see in Chile actually works in La Moneda so I got to meet some people who work there as well.
The building was originally a colonial mint and was later transformed into the government house through additions and renovations. Interestingly, the president of Chile does not have an official residence, so La Moneda is like the Old Executive Office building combined with the White House, minus the residence.
Walking through, I had this feeling of being among this colonial splendor but also this history. The tour guide was very careful to tell us about the history of the building and we stood in the are where Salvadore Allende, the president of Chile before the takeover of the country by Augusto Pinochet in 1973 had committed suicide. From the tour guides face and from everything I saw in the building, this was still a chapter of history that every Chilean seems to be truly sorry for and in some way the people are still processing.
So, here I stand in my fifth grade history book. Also, again combined with the feeling of being in a movie about South America, rather than actual South America: