...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Seventeen days in a foreign country and culture without crying? I´m impressed I lasted so long.

Saturday afternoon, I had my first real homesickness experience. Carlos was at the beach, surfing, Antonio was out, Ambar had taken Lisu to gymnastics, and Maria was putting Mey down for a nap--I thought it would be the perfect time to call my family in the US, since I hadn´t since I first landed in Chile. I got myself all psyched up to talk with the fam, and then the stupid phone card didn´t work, like, at all. I was rerouted to customer service seven times, no exaggeration, and each time the operator put me through, and then I got the same error message, I got more and more frustrated and disappointed. After forty minutes of trying to call, I gave up and cried a little, mostly out of frustration. Then I made myself some tea, found a pudding cup of flan and two sopaipillas (fried squash cakes--pretty much the best thing ever), buried myself under some blankets and watched ´´101 Reasons Why the 90s Ruled´´ on the E! channel, subtitled and narrated in Spanish. (Sample reasons: American Gladiators, Furbys, Lorena Bobbit, Ricky Martin. I only watched about twenty reasons, but that still equaled a good hour of television.) (And by the way, since when has Hilary ´´No-Neck´´ Duff been a cultural commentator? That´s only slightly worse than Kathy ´´Second Fiddle to Brooke Shields´´ Griffith.)

When Ambar came home and asked me how I was, I thought I had it all together, but for some reason some tears slipped out. She was so sweet and understanding and took me to the corner market to buy a new phone card, and told me that I could always count on her to help me and that I could come to her with whatever I was going through. Last night we had a long heart-to-heart.

I had my first class today, and it went pretty well. It´s through the Ciencias Religiosas (Religious Sciences) department, and is called Moral de lo social--Social Morality, basically. I´m the only foreigner in the class, which is great, because it means that the professor is teaching to the Chileans, not to the foreigners, as I´ve heard happens in some of the popular foreigner classes, like Modern History. I didn´t understand everything he said, partially because there were a ton of people making noise in the hallway and he spoke quietly, and partially because of the language barrier. Sometimes the entire class would laugh in reaction to something he said, and I would laugh along with them, even though I totally missed the joke. What I understood, though, seemed really interesting, and right up my ally--it´s about the social doctrine of the Catholic church with regard to culture, politics, economics, and human rights. I hope I´ll be able to keep up. After class, I asked the girl sitting next to me whether we had any reading for class tomorrow, and she said she didn´t think so. I asked another girl in the bathroom a few minutes later, just to double-check, and she also said that we didn´t have reading. Then she asked me what my name was and where I was from and we kissed on the cheek and talked for a few minutes. Her name is Jenis, I think--I had to ask her to repeat herself like three times, because I didn´t understand her. Anyways, she seemed really nice, so I hope we can get to know each other. In addition to wanting to make Chilean friends in general, it would be really nice to have a friend in my classes who can help me understand things.

Tomorrow I have Moral de lo Social again, as well as a class called Modernidad y Problemas Sociales, that I think´s about globalization. I´ll write more soon; until then, besitos and ¡chau!