Thursday, May 26, 2011

Updates and preguntas

 What do you know about social determinants of health? Or how they can be highlighted through popular education? No really… I’m curious. I spend a lot of my time these days looking at articles like the one below (and this one is interesting, but fairly rote), and I am wondering how common the ideas are among people I know.

Speaking of time, how has the time passed oh-so quickly? Sometime in the beginning of last week was my trip’s half-way point (I admit, for several reasons, I didn’t look up the specific date) As of last Sunday, the 15th (that date I do know), I have less than a month left to spend in Chile. How do I feel about that?

  • Relieved. Honestly, this trip has been hard for me in a lot of ways, mostly in regards to the solitude. Yes, I have friends here. Yes, I have people I am going to stay in contact with. I work with amazing people and live with wonderful women. I am surrounded by awesome people and I am incredibly grateful for that.  But there is no one in Santiago who has known me for years (obvious from the start), and I miss having people who do know me that well in my day to day life. I miss my family. I miss my friends and my northwestern haunts. I am accustomed now to sharing my living space with my lover, and not having him here to talk to, to coexist with, after work is… well, it is has never stopped being strange. I am constantly reminded by the totality of this strangeness. In general, the majority of people in Santiago de Chile are very focused on family (friends who become family and family who become friends). I miss my family. 
  • Sad. Of course sad. I am going to miss Chile and Santiago and my new friends/family. I am going to miss going to EPES everyday (groggily stumbling into the people pile in the 8:15am Metro station at Parque Bustamante and only somewhat less groggily walking out of station La Cisterna almost an hour later). I am going to miss working at EPES. I’ll miss the communal lunches, and the stressedly running about, and the capacitation workshops that breed amazing learning environments. I am going to miss my pieza chiquitita, ferias de las pulgas, churrasco stands, the green spaces near the Centro, the DJs on alternative radio stations… I could go on, but you get the idea. I have so much left to learn here. I need to come back at somepoint.
  • Excited. I  have a job as a teaching assistant during the summer (at Portland State University) and another internship in a part of the Multnomah County Health Department (the Community Capacitation Center, which is a small center akin to a Portland version of EPES). I am also looking forward to farmer’s markets, good biking weather, coexisting with friends, public parks, free movies in the park, stacks of library books getting musty-dusty beside my bed, and kisses from Mitchell (won’t lie about that one).
  • Scared-excited. Going back means getting ready to leave higher education studies after five years. Yikes. A degree and all. 
  • Scared. Shit, I need to search for a job. I am excited by the prospect, but even more so I’m terrified of the idea of not finding or getting anything related to my chosen field. I really want to work at some level of community health or popular education. Really really really. En serio. And in Portland or its surroundings, if you please.
  • Content. Have I mentioned that this trip has helped me to focus on what I want in my life? Work, free time, todo?  If I haven’t, my mistake. I think that perhaps this is the clave (key) of this trip, and will remain that way far after I fall asleep in my own bed with mrrring cats.
I leave on the 14th. Coworkers are already insisting that we need to go out for drinks beforehand. I am concerned by the lack of time to go to ferias before I leave, and the space (or lack thereof) in my luggage for gifts to bring to friends and family. I have my first interview for the nutrition project tomorrow. I am going to propose a website in two weeks. Fast fast fast! Work work work! Closure!

And on a random note: Did you know there is such a thing as a water bear? And that they can  live in space? I did not know that. And… well, now you know.

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