Lara will always have Chile as her birthplace but it's Maya who's the Chilenita. Her life here is far richer and more busy than any of us. There's jardin and Jenny and her friends at the park. She's grown into a confident, friendly and outgoing little girl. Her fluency in Spanish is amazing; I don't think she even realises she's speaking two languages, switching back and forth between them all day long.
It's funny to think that Maya has had so many full and interesting life experiences - travel, living abroad, new cultures, another language, Chilean schooling, and dozens of friends - all before the age of three. She's lived more in her two and half years than most people do in ten. And for that reason I know she will hit the ground running in Australia and take everything in her stride.
About six months ago, I wrote a post on how Maya has integrated into life here and all the friends she has made in the neighbourhood.
One of them, a little girl Maya's age called Sara, is now her BFF (best friend forever). They play together almost every day and adore each other. Sara's parents work from home and Maya is a regular fixture at their house. They are devastated that she is leaving [insert more guilt for me]; they say Maya is like family.
They like her so much in fact that yesterday, Maya and Jenny were invited to spend the day at their campo (farm) in Los Andes, about an hour out of Santiago. They all drove there together. Maya and Sara had an absolute ball, laughing and singing all day long.
I confess I did feel slightly odd that Maya's first out-of-town road trip without her parents should come at the tender age of two and a half. But her other mother (Jenny) was with her, and nobody else seemed to think it an unusual thing to do.
We haven't as yet got the full lowdown from Jenny as they got home quite late (maybe my toddler needs a curfew?), and Maya is an unreliable source of information. But I think it's safe to say the day was a huge success.
Is there a cow in there?
If farms can be gorgeous, this one is
I'm so glad Maya has had such a wonderful time in Chile and made so many good friends. Who knows, with communications being so easy these days, there is a chance she (or I) could hold onto these friendships. I am a truly great correspondent after all, if I say so myself.
And she'll always have my blog to look back on her Chilean life in years to come.