Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Damn you, Wilkie, and other...uh... weekly updates

So it occurs to me that it´s been two weeks since I wrote anything down here, and a lot has happened since. My dad asked me the other day (through the google internets) whether I was having trouble getting to my blog. I actully laughed out loud. I haven´t had trouble getting to my blog (I end up visiting a ciber café 6 out of 7 days each week), but I have had trouble writing. My normal methods of processing new things, new complex things, are a set of tools I seem to have left back in Portland (looking at you, dear people and home space), and so the main summary of the last two weeks is this:

  • For the first week, and for some of the second, I felt very alone, very sad, and a bit angry at my surroundings (without reason. My responsibility completely, and I knew it).

  • I had a Spanish class, at a small language school about a thirty-minute walk away from my apartment, for that first week. I wish all language classes were taught as such. Immersion grammar for four hours that is then followed by two hours of conversation. Plus, a long lunch, and coffee breaks. Oh, not to mention the class size of six plus a kind, introverted, semi-crude professor who was more of a peer than someone on a different educational level. I wish there was a way to take the advanced classes.

  • I miss that coffee machine at the language school. For $300 CLP a day, it made me semi-crappy café cortados.

  • I don´t miss feeling different (non-partyish/non-flirtyish/non-smoker) from most of the other foreigners attending the school.

  • I don´t miss a similar feeling that I had while attending a party (I was invited by my roommate) that started at 10pm, in Las Condes (ritzy part of town), and involved the birthday girl running fist first through a glass door because was drunk enough and excited enough that she didn´t understand that it was a window... and not a door. The party continued after she was taken to the local clinic for a deep cut ona her nose and a small cut on her hand. (She was lucky).

  • Was told by people at the party that La Cisterna (where I thought EPES was located. It´s actually in El Bosque, which is one neighborhood further south) was a horrible neighborhood where the people couldn´t help being violent. ...uh-huh.

  • I went to see "The King´s Speech" again in order to feel less homesick, and I was amused at the subtitles (How do you translate britishcisms like "bob" anyway? Or tongue twisters? The answer is, you don´t). Finding the theatre was interesting. I must have looked for it for over half an hour, and finally realized it was underneath the ground I had been pacing.

  • Spent my first Sunday in Santiago reading close to 600 pages (the entire book, mind you) of Wilkie Collins´s The Woman in White, which I shall now recommend as one of my favorite 19th century novels ever. It´s 19th century pulp! How can you resist? It has mistaken identities, murder, asylums, wacky foreigners...and it´s written in a way that clearly demonstrates its orginal form: as serial installments that appeared in one of Charles Dickens´literature magazines. I picked it up intending to start reading it. Within about 30 pages, I knew that I wanted to finish it that day, by golly. I´m not going to say anything about the plot, since one of the best things is discovering bit by bit what is going on. (For those of you who don´t want to read the book, but want me to expound upon it, shoot me a comment.) Yes, in fact, there is an eponymous woman who dresses entirely in white, and, no, she is not on her way to a wedding.
(Edit: I arrived to the ciber late tonight, and so I have to close this post for now. Let me say that on Monday I will explain the title of the post, and why I am much happier now, if still incredibly overwhelmed, now that I´ve started working for EPES. Also, the picture situation is interesting. Define Interesting. Well, you see, I´m starting to be less shy about taking pictures, both of places that one generally takes pictures of and of things that captivate me somehow, but I´m having issues with uploading the pictures in a fashion that doesn´t annoy me with: a)time, and b)batery draining. I´m experimenting with different photo storage sites, and when you start seeing pictures, you´ll know I´ve found a good one... Okay. I´m also just a sucker for trying new programs and new technology. Hasta Lunes!) Or rather... Hasta Miércoles, since the cibernet had no free computers last night. I checked back four times! Okay, so the second week... now known as last week:

  • Got up my first morning for work, took the Metro to La Cisterna (end of the line) and got completely and utterly lost in looking for EPES. It shouldn´t have been that hard, but I only had an aerial image from Google Maps in my head as a reference for location, and my paper map (given by Contact Chile) stopped just south of Providencia. Oh technology-accustomed brain!

  • Arrived early, around 9:30, and it turned out that the Administrative Secretary had just gotten there. It was a weird day, I learned, since most of the staff had gone to a funeral.

  • Spent my first few days here learning names, learning how to understand the Chilean accent/dialectual differences, listening and sometimes briefly joining in conversations, taking part in lunchtime social gatherings, and reading. So much reading. What my supervisor wanted, and what seemed best, was that I should learn as much about EPES as I could in context. I read transcripts of seminars, of curriculums, bits of history, etc.

  • I went to a party on Friday night for an EPES staff member who is leaving her position in order to get her doctorate in history (specifically focussing on the history of women in Chile). The party was wonderful--good people, good food, fun games (including escondidas! Hide and seek!)--and I started to feel like I was part of the group... Maybe the staff member who was leaving, Mari, including me in her farewell speech was a surprising part of that.

  • I´ve been walking around different parts of the city in order to explore my surroundings some more while getting exercise. I spent an hour sketching in the Plaza Ñuñoa on Sunday, and I spent Saturday walking around a feria with a coworker in Puente Alto.

  • I´m less homesick, overall, and I´ve started writing again.

Saludos desde El Bosque!


  1. I really like Smug Mug for photo upload and sharing. Give it a shot!

    Thanks for the update. Reid

  2. Cool. I´ll try that. How much do you pay for smug mug? Didn´t you have some complaints about flickr?

    Also, I have a vimeo account now, so I may start using that to upload videos.

    Also also, maybe I´ll start writing enough where you won´t have to thank me for the update. :)