Creating a counter narrative to the “Ugly American” stereotype

Promoting the Anti-Ugly American Stereotype

So today I treated myself to a lovely meal at the Hotel Casino Restaurant in Talca. I was frustrated about not having gas to wash or cook today and all of my housemates seemed to have left for the 4 day holiday weekend.

What happened to the gas?

At first, I was upset this morning not having any hot water to shower, nor heat to cook or wash dishes.  I wasn’t sure how the gas functioned in the house and wasn’t about to experiment finding out (if you know what I mean).  I’m trying to keep everything here the way I found it.🙂

After my emotions calmed I began to reflect upon all the things I take for granted by living in the United States, and as an American.  I also started to remember a period when as a child growing up, there were times when either a thunderstorm would take out the electric power in our neighborhood, or we would have to wait until Daddy got paid on Friday in order to turn the gas back on.  I thought about how I wasn’t all that upset back then, having to temporarily live  without what I knew as my amenities and “necessities”.  So, I next begin to pondered… Why was I not upset as a child?  Had I learned to arrogantly take for granted all of the conveniences and blessings I had by growing up in the US?

I now realize that as a child life is simply and you really don’t worry about these kind of things especially when your mom makes innovative ways for you to cope.  Plus, having 6 kids, allowed my parents to seemingly always  find ways to pass the time under such circumstances.  We would either boil some water to bath or light candles or use flashlights to see at night.  But,  has my advanced education and economic elevation into the “upper-middle class” change me?

So instead of being the “Ugly American”, brooding and pouting about how I miss ice cubes in my drink, not being unable to have a Superstore in proximity (walking distance) to me where I can buy something simple like an umbrella, or not being able to call the gas company to let them know I expect the problem resolved in 24 hours, I simply just chilled-out and walked to the mall and had a lovely meal.  Heck!!  I do still have electricity; so I could easily boil some water for my needs and also microwave any food I have to warm it up.  In short, there’s no real crisis Lisa, keep it movin’!

In closing, what I learned today was don’t be so quick to think “you’re all that” and expect things to operate the way you’re used to back in the U.S.  I emailed my mentor and committee Chair Dr. Bliss (who arrives back to Chile soon) about my problem and she does as she always does and encourages me to relax and have a good meal at the mall.  She said the same thing has happened to her in Chile while house for friends and it’ll be alright.  So the meal pictured here was delicious, this experience caused me to reflect on my own blessings and development  of appreciation for how people in different countries handle inconveniences not necessarily turning small things into big problems.  Most importantly, I get to close out my October blogging with some positive feelings and lovely images I recently captured from around my neighborhood in Talca, Maule, Chile.

Enjoy🙂

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