This past week has been so relaxing for me. I arrived here from Talca on Tuesday, December 30th and was able to spend the New Year in Santiago. I was disappointed that many of my friends had to change plans and could not come visit with me here, but I knew they couldn’t from the outset. One thing I have come to love about Chilenos, is that they don’t want to disappoint the people they care about. So if you ask them to do something for you, they will like say, “¡Sipo!” and then struggle to figure out how to tell you that they have overcommitted themselves and cannot connect with you as hoped. It’s the funniest, because I tend to understand things happen, but they always seem to feel so awful. I so love my Chilean cariños.
So Saturday morning I woke up so refreshed and loved hearing the car horns beeping and people scurrying about the streets below from the vantage point of my patio window. I literally spent the first few days simply catching up on my sleep in my big soft and warm queen-sized bed. This last leg of my dissertation research was so intense. I needed to secure a total of 200 surveys from public and private university graduate level adult learners. I arrived to Chile with about only 40 surveys completed from the public universities and only 7 from the private. I arrived on October 2nd, and would need almost three-quarters move before my December departure from Talca. I literally received the last needed surveys on December 29th and by the 30th (my final research day in Talca) two more rolled in for good measure making my total completion rate 204.
I didn’t realize how tense I had been during the last leg of my dissertation research and visiting scholar experience here in Chile. I certainly think that the events surround the killing of Michael Brown and subsequent uprising in the US surrounding police brutality also contributed to a very stressful period during my time here. Nevertheless, my Chilean friends at the Universidad Católica del Maule came through for me, as always, to uplift me using encouraging words, “Chile es más tranquilo Lisa” and expressions (e.g., big hugs, empathetic smiles, and joyful laugher). That helped me get through a very difficult and reflective period as a black woman living abroad in another country watching my people suffer assault in such brutal ways. But there is a silver lining as a result of those tensions. I submitted a proposal for a special call for Chapters to a New York book publisher. The Editor was looking for scholars to respond to events in Ferguson, MO, and racism more generally in the United States and recommend how higher education could respond. My proposal was accepted, J so I have been spending my last few days in Chile writing and reflecting… it has been a very cleansing and liberating feeling to lend my voice and advocacy on behalf of what has become an unbearable phenomenon for black people in the US (i.e., police brutality and judicial injustice).
So, when my friends couldn’t make my party I decided to go knock on the doors of my neighbors. I’m an Aquarius and making friend actually come pretty easy for me. My daughter always laughs at me because she says I seem to make very close friendship connections wherever I go. It’s true!! J Ha ha So my neighbor Pablo—who is a law school student at the University of Chile—took me up on my offer. We enjoyed great food, Chilean wine, and talked racism and politics. It was a great and wonderful visit and we have promised to keep in touch via Skype as he wants to improve his English and I my Castellano Spanish. #WinWin.
So the day has finally arrived. January 5, 2015, and I am here in my hotel restaurant area waiting for my shuttle to arrive (in 6 hours ha ha). This day opened with mixed emotions as I am so happy to be seeing my family and friends again in the US; but I am also sad to be leaving the new “famifriends” I’ve developed here in Chile. In reality, I actually feel that I am only going on a business trip to the US as Chile truly has become mi otro país (my other country). The concierge said he considers me Chilena—In part because I always stay in the same apartamento when I come to live in Santiago—since I have a resident identification card.
They take really good care of me here and the owners also have long-term housing options that I plan to explore after graduation. My dream is to become a professor and teach part of the year in Chile and the other part in the United States. I also plan to continue working on my speaking abilities upon my US return. However, Chilean Spanish (Catellano) is a bit different and they seem to speak so fast here. It’s funny, I have kinda adjusted to the pace and now when I hear other Spanish speakers (Spaniards, Dominican, and Mexicans) the language seems so much slower and clearer for me to understand.
Well, that’s it for now in terms of the Chilean Chronicles Blog. I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me and stay tuned for my next iteration as a blogger and future scholar. Yeah, seems this writing thing is here to stay (including the errors and edits) and I am grateful to WordPress and this opportunity to improve my writing and vent my thoughts and feelings. ¡Que se vayan bien a todos!❤ ~Lisa