Hope you are all well! I've been missing all of you very much this week. I think I have reached the point in the study abroad experience where the adrenaline is wearing off and I'm starting to long for my familiar environment. But hey, I made it about 2.5 months (which is about 2.4 months longer than I thought) and I don't think it's possible to experience 6 months straight of giddy overwhelming excitement. Probably not good for heart health.
Anyways, figured I'd give you all another grab bag of updates. Here we go!
Night out of the week
So many of you have expressed hope that "Abby de la fiesta" will return with me to the US of A. While I'm not sure about 3 months from now, I can assure you all that she is still going strong now so I have high hopes for the future. Last night for example, we went out for drinks around 11:30pm (I have fallen in love with Kunstmann Beer, especially of the honey variety) and after some delightful conversation, decided to head out dancing around 2:00am. We discovered "Jammin" which from the name and colors of the building seemed to be straight up reggae but upon entering, it seemed to be an odd mixture of multiple genres. The music was mostly reggaeton (for those of you who are unfamiliar, here is a great example) with the occasional allusion to Bob Marley and the decorations of the club ranged everywhere from discoballs (of course) to a large steel mask hanging on the wall, complete with copper dreadlocks. The club was hoppin' when we got there and filled with pure Chileans so needless to say we attracted some attention. I danced with one guy por un ratito (for a little bit); he seemed nice enough but the only two things he said that I could understand were "Eres guapa" (You are pretty) and "Tengo marahuana si quieres?" (I have pot if you want some). Another Chilean soulmate.
Cultural experience of the week
Although the subject matter in my class on the Chilean family is extremely intriguing, at times it is a bit difficult to sit and listen to some of the discussion without my eyes bogging out of my head in disgust. It seems there are very set ideas about a woman's role and a man's role in the family here, below are a couple of examples:
1) Our professor declared that she is not a feminist because she believes in fighting for men's rights as well. They have it hard to since they are the breadwinners of the family and we should be more sensitive to the pressure society exerts upon them.
While I couldn't agree more with her second sentiment, I'm concerned that a) she is suffering from tunnel vision syndrome as far as gender roles and b) has no idea what feminism actually entails.
2) On Tuesday, we had a guest professor who said that after a child is born, it is difficult for men to be fatherly or caring for the kid because at that age, they are essentially useless. At 8-10 years of age, the child becomes easier to relate to for the father, who can then start to active in the child's life.
I'd really love to read the study that proves this point.
After my semester in Women and Gender Studies, it's been difficult to bite my tongue. I've thought about participating but I don't want to come off as the ethnocentrist who believes her culture is superior to all others, especially when I'm here in this country to learn about another way of life. So, I'll absorb, process and probably join a kickboxing class to release my aggression.
New experience of the week
For those of you who know me well, you're aware of the 3 things I abhor the most in this world: 1) Injustice, 2) taking any kind of medicine and 3) shaving my legs. Yet unfortunately, the hair continues to grow and due to societal pressures, I feel the need to partake in this ridiculous pasttime de vez en cuando (once in a while). Yet here a multitude of problems have arisen, one being that the drain in my bathroom easily clogs with hair so shaving the forest that so easily springs to life below my knees would clearly be a problem. The other problem is that there isn't really a market for women's razors here because the majority depilarse (wax). Now, I was a waxing virgin but, due to the combination of the aforementioned problems and the enticingly low prices of the procedure, today, with the support of a friend, I faced my fears and got my legs waxed. And I'm proud to say I survived, without a single screech, no 40 year-old Virgin moments to speak of (Ahhhh Kelly Clarkson). Now my calves feel like a baby's bottom and I can wear shorts with ease this week, as the temperatures are beginning to peak into the 70's Fahrenheit. Summer here I come!
Shout-out goes to Keith Potts; in one of my classes we were discussing violence between different groups of youth and in trying to describe the concept of a gang, I obviously had no choice but to reference West Side Story. Apparently musicals aren't so popular here, no one had any idea what I was talking about. When I return in December, marathon of WSS, Rent and 42nd street please.