Lost Girl of the Week: Kyle Hepp

Chile, Couples Travel, Expats Abroad, Lost Girl of the Week — By on September 7, 2007 at 11:40 am

When we came across Kyle Hepp’s blog detailing her life as an ex-pat living in Chile, we bookmarked it immediately. Not only does the girl have a flair for spinning the mundane into the hilarious, but the story of how she met her husband (a Chilean hottie!) simply made us melt. Talk about the benefits of travel! Here’s the recap from our Lost Girl of the Week:

I was just 14 the first time I came to study abroad in Chile. I had taken one year of Spanish and gotten all A’s so my mom decided it was time to ship me off. The day after school got out in the U.S. I hopped on a plane to Santiago. When I arrived I was terrified! Anybody who has taken a language in high school knows that what you learn in your first year is a joke. I basically knew how to say the Spanish equivalent of “Hi, my name is Kyle. Where is the bathroom, please? My favorite color is blue.”

Needless to say, I spent the entire first day hiding in my room under the covers and whenever my host family knocked on the door I’d make snoring noises so they thought I was sleeping. But, when I eventually came out of my room (approximately 48 hours into my trip), I learned that Chileans really aren‘t that scary. Over the course of my three month stay I got a better grasp on the language, made friends and fell in love with the culture and the country. I knew that this place was going to have an impact on my future.

When I got to college I decided to come back as part of a study abroad program to Chile. First semester of my junior year, when I arrived down here for the second time, I was not pleasantly surprised at all by the quantity of hot men at all. There were none. Maybe it was the fact that I’m taller than a lot of them. Maybe it was the fact that they’re all waaaaaaay too hairy for my taste…I don’t mean furry chests or back hair sprouting out of their shirts, I mean they all had long hair on their heads and lots had facial hair. I’m just not into the straggly, wannabe rock star look.

When I first laid eyes on Seba (short for Sebastian. It’s pronounced, SAY-bah ) he was a breath of fresh air. His head is shaved, so he’s like a sexy, significantly smaller VinDiesel.

We met at his 24th birthday party. A girl on my program invited me. When she called to shout, “I’m going to a Chilean’s birthday party and he and his friend are actually hot!” I was into my hooker boots and out the door so fast I didn’t even have time to hang up the phone.

When my friend introduced Seba and me, he seemed a little shy and just thanked me for coming. But he stared me down all even. Apart from some serious eye flirting, the whole night went by and nothing happened. I got bored and put on my coat to leave, and he ran up to me.

He asked for my phone number. I didn’t understand him. He tried again and I still didn’t get it. I just laughed, I was tipsy and I couldn’t understand the crazy Chilean kid at all. Finally in English he asked, “How will I find you again?” and pointed to his phone. BINGO! I understood. I gave him my number, he hugged me goodbye and promised to call the next day.

Two whole weeks passed and I didn’t hear from him. I gave up hope of ever seeing the only hot guy in Chile again.

Then one day I was walking at my Chilean university when I heard a voice calling my name with an accent. I thought that was really strange since at that point I had zero Chilean friends, so I figured the mystery voice wasn’t talking to me. But, lo and behold, the hot bald Chilean ran up to me. The first thing he said was, “Please tell me now if you gave me the wrong number on purpose and I will just leave you alone.” Ooops, my bad! Like a true, dumb gringa, I had gotten my own phone number all mixed up. But, people, cut me some slack…seis and siete sound kind of alike. We corrected my error and the rest is history. Seba and I were pretty much inseparable from then on.

I moved in permanently with him and his family my second semester of study abroad. It was about that time that I began to ponder the perplexities of Chilean life. Why were my 24 year old boyfriend and his 27 year old sister still receiving monthly allowances? For that matter, why were grown adults living with their parents and not hating every second of it?!?

That’s just the way things are down here.

So I got used to all the things that at first seemed so strange to me. And what should’ve been 1 semester abroad turned into 3 semesters (a year and a half). When I finally did go back to the U.S. I brought more than just souvenirs with me…I brought a fiancé! My parents were shocked but supportive. Seba could only stay 3 months because he was on a tourist visa so when I had to finish school we survived the Hell that is a long distance relationship.

We tried to get him a fiancé visa to come into the U.S. But, one of the stipulations with that visa is that after getting married you must spend the next two years living in the U.S. I’m not down with that. We have grandiose dreams about traveling the world and being ball and chained to one country definitely wasn‘t in our plans. So we decided to screw the visa and I moved back to Chile when I graduated. We got married down here last February in what our friends and family simultaneously proclaimed “the best wedding ever,” and I’d have to agree.

Now we’re adjusting to life as newlyweds and working hard to save money and take our big trip, Lost Girls style 🙂

–Kyle Hepp

You can read more of Kyle’s musings on being an expat in Chile at http://www.ohquepasa.blogspot.com/. For more informative articles on the country, visit her site at http://www.lovetotravelchile.com/.

    1 Comment

  • Jane says:

    That’s so sweet. I’m glad you realized that you didn’t have to stay in the States if you’d have more freedom elsewhere.