Sunday, April 25, 2010
Do you remember those t-shirts that say "Life is Good?"
I have been a little lax with my blogging. . . in reality, it is because so much is happening that I so desperatly want to express it perfectly that I keep saying . . . Oh I will write about this when I have more time because it was so incredible it deserves to be told well . . . well I have no time to sufficiently express anything because everything is so amazing. It is like me speaking the spanish language . . .sometimes I simply cannot completely express exactly what I want to say . . . which is difficult for me because I study communication. . . what it means to read and write and express. . . in English. So I feel a little ridiculous sometimes . . .which is good for the soul. Let me try to give you a glimpse . . . .
April 5th or so I took an overnight bus from Santiago, Chile to Temuco, Chile . . . a city in the south. We lived in a Mapuche (an indigenous people of Chile . . .and parts of Argentina) community called Chapod for one week. This community is very small, very rural, most people are family . . . and mostly very incredible and wonderful and perfect. I had geese and sheep and cows and pigs and chickens and dogs and one cat in my yard and more importantly, a mom, dad, 2 sisters and a brother that lived inside of my house. To explain the beauty of this situation let me say this: the night I left we had a wonderful dinner and my dad broke out the hymnal and looked up special occasions, farewells, and said, "If anyone would kindly join me, I'd like to sing a song of farwell" . . . and then right before I left before I got on the bus my brother and sisters put me up in the air (picture my face towards the sky and my back facing the earth) and threw me up and down . . . saying "chicle!" "chicle" which means gum as I understand it so I don't know why they said that. . . but it's a celebration thing . . .then after about 17 rounds of hugs I got on the bus and as we drove away my brother and sisters put their hands on the bus window and ran after us. Sidenote: I have a brother, (let me be specific because I have a collection of brothers these days) named Grayson . . .this brother lives in the United States and the same mother birthed us and I think he is pretty cool. He is fifteen. Although I love him and I have always loved him, I didn't come to Chile thinking. . . Oh, it would be really great to have another teenage brother in Chile. Well, I have a brother named Pato who is 13. He is super-cool. He took me to caves and taught me to play trompo -- a national game with a wooden spinning top like gadget. We bonded. We are buds. My sisters attend University during the week in the city and return on the weekends. My dad was one of the teachers in the community school but retired 2 years ago. My mom made homeade bread in the woodstove everyday and heated water for me to bathe. I also had another girl from my program living with me. Julia. Our beds were right next to eachother so we stayed up every night sharing life stories like little girls. I played soccer almost every day -- with kids and dads and moms . . .everyone. You might know that when I was little. . . well really until I was a little older than little. . . I wanted to be "an old fashioned girl" . . . I would turn out the lights and write by candlelight and wear a calico dress my mom made me . . . think Laura Ingalls Wilder. So I absolutly loved this week of my life. My family had a love for eachother and a way of expressing this love that was so pure. The reality is, however, that everything that was "fun" for me is life there. . . .it's a life full of hard, hard work without the commodities I am used to and take for granted . . . internet, hot water, lots of books in the house. . . . I could go on and on about this week of my life forever and ever. . . . but the good thing is I am hoping/planning on returning here for my last month of my program to do my final research/project. I haven't told my family in Chapod yet . . . hopefully they will be a quarter as excited as I am! More stories later.
Now I am in Buenos Aires, Argentina. What a change of pace. This too is an incredible, but COMPLETLY distinct experience. Before I arrived here I kind of thought . . . I hope my family isn't wonderful because it is already going to be hard enough to say goodbye to my amazing families in Santiago and Chapod. Guess what-- they are wonderful. My sister and her boyfriend are tango dancers and I have now been to 3 tango classes. . . I think this will be a new lifelong passion . . .I already talked with Joshua about taking classes with me when I get home! He's all for it. My mom and dad are great and have incredible conversation and cook incredible food and teach me so much. I also live with 2 other students studying abroad . . . Laura, from Switzerland and Mats from Sweden (but was born in MEMPHIS, Tennessee of all places. . . small world). So you can imagine our dinner conversation . . . we usually start dinner around 10 and finish talking and cleaning up aroud 1, 1:30 AM. BEAUTIFUL. One of my goals in life is to live a life full of long dinners. One day I was standing in the kitchen with my Argentinian mother as my sister from Switzerland whose first language is German sat at the kitchen table reading outloud in Spanish the history of Las Madres in Argentina . . . .these women are mothers whose children "dissappeared" during the dictatorship . . . 30,000 people disappeared under the final dictatorship of Argentina. Crazy. Everyne lost someone. These women have been uniting since the days of the dictatorship to call attention to this atrocity and to fight for the causes their children didn't have the chance to. They have marched every Thursday at 3:30 PM in Plaza de Mayo in front of La Casa Rosada for 33 years! We talked with one of the mothers, Juanita last Tuesday and marched with them last Thursday. Talk about a powerful exprience. It's one thing to read about, it's another to watch a 96 year old women walk with a photo of her daughter she lost to the dictatorship around her neck. All the mothers wear white scarfs on their heads to identify themselves . . . this tradition first started by wearing one of their lost child´s cloth diapers from their childhood. Google this history. It will break your heart and make you stronger.
Other cultural activities I have done in the past week: tango dancing, went to a drum circle show, gone to incredible street markets, the Bellas Artes National museum, wandered these amazing streets and discovered cafes and restaurants and clothing stores and art galleries. It's a dream really. I can't even express how much culture and how much there is to do in this magical city. You really must visit. The Spanish is distinct . . . there is differnt pronunciation than in Chile and many words used in Chile are not used here. . . so I'm transitioning. All double L's in Chile are like y's. . . here they are jahhh o something like this. For example: Cay-A is street in Chile. Cay-J is street in Argentina.
I am still loving it here. I am missing people something aweful, of course, but I do believe that I am learning an unincredible amount that is going to stay with me forever and ever. My appetite to know the world has been wet. . .or rather, drenched. Anybody want to travel?? I am all for it. I am being challenged and amazed and misunderstood and questioned and encouraged and . . . . .
Thanks for reading my world wind month update . . . hopefully more details and pictures later. I have, however, elected to spend my last month in a place without internet. . . but I plan to go into the city a couple times a week to conduct interviews, use the internet, ect. I am really excited about my project . . . I realize that many of the children of the Community of Chapod may not know what the ocean looks like or what is Africa or what people look like in China. . . I am hoping to do some kind of praticum teaching about the world and collecting written work of what the kids in the school think about the world in an effort to encourage the appreciation of their culture, La Mapuche, as important and special and distinct in the world.
A special shout-out to Jessica and Chad who got married today . . .and to the Buono family. I sure wish I could have been there and know that it was so very special. I love you!
Another shoutout to my dear friend, Cristina. I remember you and am encouraged by you today and always.
Un beso y un abrazo fuerte a todos,