Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Santiago, you never cease to surprise me...

Hey all,

One month from today I will be in Chicago. With my parents. Sleeping in my bed. With my baby kitty. Eating peanutbutter. Great times? Greatest times? Although I look forward to this idyllic future, I still can't believe how the time has flown. Thus I have continued taking advantage of my time here. A couple of anecdotes from my last week...

Soccer game

On our last group outing we ventured a whole 20 minutes outside of the university to go to Estadio Monumental to see Colo Colo play Santiago Morning. The stadium was rampant with fans, shouting and whistling, especially in our direction (as the desfile (parade) of gringas, we have yet to go unnoticed). Although we were pretty far back from the field (our program director sat us here on purpose so we would be out of harm's way if a fight broke out...she was nervous) we still had a great view, not only of the action but of the mountains as well.

I hate to say it, but the whole experience kind of reminded me of a high school football (futbol?) game; each team had it's own personal cheering section, complete with a marching band and too much body paint. Songs were sung, or rather, war cries were cried, but in the end, there were real tears: Colo Colo played terribly and lost to Santiago Morning (a huge upset) and the fans trudged out of the stadium, disheartened. But hey, I was pleased, now I can check one more thing off the bucket list.

Went to a English

Last wednesday, my class on Women in Korean History had a guest lecturer come from Stanford to talk about the current state of North Korea and its relationship to the United States. He didn't know Spanish but almost everyone at my university has a decent comprehension of English so there was no translator necessary. The talk was not only interesting, it was funny too; he opened with a recent poll demonstrating the percentage of Americans who hate North Korea. The poll found the Americans 18-34 years of age hate North Korea less but the man's explanation for this was that young Americans are uneducated about geography and confuse North and South Korea, so they displace their hatred due to their stupidity. At this point, my professor looked at me and just laughed hysterically. United States youth, promoting stereotypes until we are properly educated.

Encountered some cultural differences

On Tuesday, I had a group presentation on the Tibetan culture and health systems. We had to involve the class in some way and many of the other groups brought or made traditional food, so my group suggested we bring in Chinese fortune cookies. I said that I wasn't comfortable doing that because a) Tibet is practically a separate country from China and has it's own unique culture and b) fortune cookies are an occidental creation and have nothing to do with Asia in general. A girl in my group said, "no, it's fine, no one will know the difference" but that we could ask the professor beforehand if I felt absolutely uncomfortable. The next day we asked the professor and she said, "of course! They represent the influence of Chinese culture in Tibet!" and happily munched away on her cookie. I literally still have no words.

Ate the "best" empanadas in Santiago

Cheesy. Fried. The size of my head. Need I say more?

Shout-out goes Ben Herrmann! Happy early Birthday! Can't wait to see you in December!

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