The Changes

Working on my movie making skills while musing

There seems to be so much going on in the world that many of us are either not conscious about or simply have tuned them out.  Events in Ferguson, MO, surrounding the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, by a police officer, raises so many questions for me.  Primarily, why are not more people upset about the conditions in that community.  Just imagine, if a “model” young black youth was gunned down in the street and left for dead (and without human dignity) on the street for several hours, our society would have most certainly passed the tipping point.  I am concerned that through the manipulations surrounding this tragedy, the larger community of people in our nation do not see the erosion of human rights and dignity as something that will one day come to touch their own lives.  It is sad that our inability to act, to pay attention, to love our fellow human beings has become so difficult for us as a society, a nation, and a world.

In spite of so many horrible things existing in our world, I still thank God that I have not become jaded, bitter, complacent, or silent.  I often will walk around my community here in Chile and take note of the subtle and sometimes not so subtle changes that are happening around me.  I have come to appreciate that change, is in fact, not inevitable.  Many people live out the whole of their existence maintaining a very simple worldview that does not make space for them to critically think beyond what is immediately before them.  Honestly, I don’t object to that person’s existence, nor how they have limited their ability to engage with life’s complexities.

However, I do object to individuals who hold no empathy, who dehumanize God’s creation who are a reflection of his glory and loving kindness.  I object to those who deny that there exists a structural prison pipeline existing in the US for young black youth that mothers and fathers spend the better part of their parental instruction telling their sons in particular how to avoid that beast.  No, we are not all perfect creations in our present states.  Not immune from youthful poor decisions and perhaps even smoking marijuana.  Yet such developmental rocky roads should not cost you your life when you life in a 21st century democracy.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not naïve and realize that there are some heartless, ugly attitudes that permeates the hearts and minds of some people.  Notwithstanding, we as a community/society are to be diligent to keep a watchful eye on such persons and impose societal standards of judgment and legal restitution/redress commensurate with their misdeeds.  Yet, not slay them in the street as if their life does not matter.  I realize that being a police officer is a stressful job, that is why the correct and appropriately trained individuals should be undertaking this public trust.

Nevertheless, to not be attentive to and hold accountable those who pervert the application of civil and human rights, we can no longer afford.  Those who abuse their power or have been poor shepherds of such stewardship (leadership) is everyone’s business, not just black people’s business (problem).  If we refuse to think critically and act intentionally, one day folks will look to disenfranchise some of our basic democratic rights in the United States, like voting… oh wait, that ship has already sailed.

I hope these beautiful pictures, sights, and sounds will facilitate your own personal reflections–relative to my own musing–that I just shared with you this eveing.   Make sure you go cast your vote during the midterm elections in the US.  Peace, love, and beautiful thoughts toward you. 🙂

Colectar mis datos

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Keep Calm and Cha Ching!  Collect that Survey Data

Yesterday appears to have been a good data collection day.  I have been meeting with academic coordinators in order to solicit their graduate students to take my survey.  Initially, I was a little nervous because I basically would need to introduce myself and my research to graduate students all in Spanish.  It’s difficult enough to do so in English! lol  Nevertheless, yesterday’s classes were particularly receptive and some engaged me in question about myself and my university (UGA).  As a result, it appears I had almost a 70% response rate from Friday’s group.  Woo hoo!!!

This Saturday morning I met with a group , of what seemed like 50, engineering students.  I didn’t realize there would be so many of them and I almost ran out of business cards which have my survey website address on the back.  So it looks like by the end of this weekend I will have gotten a little more than half of my survey data collection completed.  I’m at this point still encouraged that I may get the remaining portion before my departure back to the USA in January.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it! 🙂

Is she cooking again? Yes, yes I am.

Before and After

I have found some of the best tomato sauces here in Chile. Some of us had become so accustomed to those over the counter spaghetti sauces, but I remember how they used to me much thicker as a child. Purchasing some of those sauces like Prego and Ragu are awful in comparison to making your own sauce or have the good fortune to purchase a sauce in Chile. Love this stuff!! I wish I could bring some back with me, but that would only make me sadder when I ran out of bottles.

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Got creative with some soft taco tortillas and some baby red potatoes. Added in a rare find of “hot” peppers from Alejandra’s and desayuno was baggin’!! 🙂

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Spring has finally arrived to Chile and the flowers are blooming. The air smells of their beautiful fragrances. Therefore, I am going to be posting more beautiful aspects of the nature around me that catches my eye. I feel so happy and blessed that I created this blog to share my experiences in Chile with family and friends. I enjoy being able to look back and reflect on this wonderful moments in my life to date. ❤

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I love Alejandra’s (our neighborhood verdulería)

Guess what I paid for all this... $2.60 USD.  Winning!

Guess what I paid for all this… $2.60 USD. Winning!

The Chilean economy is doing very well as there are new buildings, homes, and businesses springing up all over Talca.  One of my frustrations was the fact that the price of things in Chile seemed a bit too high to me at times.  Particularly, housing and luxury item purchases.  I once saw a bike here in Chile, advertised for about $300 USD.  I saw that same bike at a Walmart in the United States and it was about $99.99.  However, I always get the cheapest fruits and vegetables at Alejandra’s for which I am very grateful.  The people who own the store are very nice as well.

Work

I asked José to take a picture of me hard at work today. Instead, he was taking a video. That’s why I hit him with the, “No you didn’t!” look in the picture below when he finally figure how to take a picture instead of video. Ha ha  It’s so hard to find good help these days. lol 🙂 Just kidding, he’s one of my favorite folks in the office.

 

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I was granted another one-year student visa in Chile (which I understand are very difficult to obtain) to complete my dissertation research and study abroad experience. If you have been following my blog, you will remember the nightmare I had in my first year when I didn’t realize I needed to register with my local police station and obtain a Chilean residency card (read the story here) because I had a year long visa.  Well, my student Visa was ready in early September, but I was still in the US, after returning in August, preparing to return in to Chile October.  I was a little nervous yesterday when I picked up my student visa documents from the Gobierno del Talca.  Inside my passport were stapled some little pieces of paper that read in Spanish.  I was to have only 30 days from the date of the Visa to register with the local international police station.  My October 2nd arrival would have made me 1 day over that deadline.  Additionally, my providential residency was invalid as of September 1st as well.  So I immediately went to the PDI office and updated my info.  The officer initially paused at first  when he read the dates on my documents.  I immediately told him that I had only just arrived to the country on October 2nd, to which his response (with a smile) was a reliving, “No problema Doña Lisa“.  After that visit, I needed to renew my residency card (see above) which I completed today. 🙂 This experience was a bit of a milestone for me as I conducted all of my affairs alone and figured out how to get to each appointment without having to take a personal taxis everywhere.  They (personal taxis) can be very expensive to take around our city.  I have become a friend of the micro (little public buses) and colectivos (cheap group taxis) that one can usually take from place-to-place for under a $1 USD.

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Carmen’s twin sister Paola, bakes homemade breads.  I purchased a loaf and enjoy it with a late night cup of my Juan Valdéz instant coffee (that I brought with me from home).  It’s a very expensive brand to purchase down here.  I love that new knife you see there that I just purchased from Home Center.  It’s slices things like butter! Ha ha Nevertheless, Chile is the land of where Nescafe instant coffee rules.  I do miss my french press and coffee beans.  I can be such a spoiled American when it comes to my morning coffee routine.

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Juan Valdéz coffee and strawberry marmalade on home-baked Chilean bread

But those brick walls tho'!

But those brick walls tho’!

 

One of the first things I noticed upon my arrival to Chile was the difference in the way most homes are build in the Midwest and Southern USA compared to what I experiences here in this country.  I mentioned in an earlier blog post how there are a number of new homes being build in our neighborhood.  Here are some pictures of the interior walls that initially caught me by surprise while sleeping.  On one my first night of sleep in Chile, I turn in my bed toward the wall and thought I had broken my elbow.  In the US most homes are build with drywall (or plasterboard) that pretty much create a hollow space inside the interior walls of most homes.  When I turn and hit the wall during my sleep in the US, I simply know to turn the other direction and go right back to sleep.  As you can see from these pictures, Chile builds house that the Three Little Pigs would envy.  I can imagine it’s in part due to their being an earthquake prone area or its simply a historical way in which homes are built in Latin America.  Additionally, it seems that wall-to-wall carpet (with fluffy base padding)  is not the norm here either.  So I don’t know how common it would be for little kids to sit on the floor to watch TV or play with toys.  Maybe, it’s very common and no one gives it much thought.  I will be keeping an eye out to see if as  Chile continues its economic ascension, will shag or cushy floor carpeting become part of the symbols of affluence.  One can hope! 😉

 

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Taking my personal day seriously

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So I have been planning and working non-stop since my return to Chile. I am happy to report with much success over what will mark two weeks on Friday. I returned with high anxiety about the fact that I needed a better response rate on my surveys and wasn’t quite sure how that was going to happen. I sought God’s direction (as I do quite regularly) and felt he was giving me some very creative strategies to employ over the almost two week period. I am very pleased by the favor he has given me with making inroads via academic faculty and departmental leadership who are supporting my research efforts.

I felt like I had been soft of burning the candlestick at both ends, because I also committed to teach English to some adult learners twice a week. On top of all that, we are not in fellowship/grant/scholarship application season at my university. So I am also writing a number of proposal and letter essays, along with having to update my CV. I went to go pick of my renewed student Visa, but the director said she needed another day to secure it to my current passport…that was last Wednesday and I have been trying to find time to get back downtown to pick it up. Sigh… the game plan is to go get it tomorrow morning.

Nevertheless, I decided last night that Tuesday was going to be my own “personal day” to just rest. I’m so glad I did that today as now I feel very refreshed. I was excited to get an email from a dear friend who told me she constantly follows my blog posts and loves the food pictures I include with some of the stories. So, that’s the reason I showed the soft tacos I made today for dinner. They were fantastic!!

Before leaving the US, I had adopted a pretty regular workout schedule at the Ramsey Fitness Center on campus. Those activities also included my group fitness class which I love better than working out on my own. I love the social aspect of group fitness and have made some of my most endearing friendships from those meetings. Unfortunately, there’s no Zumba on campus this semester. L Also, my friend Graciela has returned to complete her academic studies while also hold down a full-time job as our office manager. I miss our after-work chats and workout sessions in the weight room. So, I’m going to have to discipline myself to do my workouts on my own. I think I can do that until January when I return back to UGA. J I also think I am going to try to incorporate a little more distance running into my exercise protocol. I used to enjoy running with my Daddy in the early mornings as a kid. We’ll see how that goes.

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Well, it sounds like my students have arrived for the English lesson so I’m going to have to closeout this blog post. In summary, I want to give praise and thanks to God for helping me with my research and everyday life in general.  I am so grateful for the many blessings I have been given in life and look forward for the purposes and plans that are yet in store for me to walk into.  However, those tacos were so good that I am now kinda sleepy. I’ll get some coffee so I don’t fall asleep while trying to teach English this evening. Ha ha.