...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

Friday, August 12, 2005

Well Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizz, if that ain´t love then tell me what is, uh huh

I confess that, as much as I love it here (and I do), I really miss Portland and Eugene. I miss the greenness of campus, the trees, walking down the Park Blocks, that one coffeeshop in South East Hawthorne that DeAnn and I went to with our book group a couple times, Fox Towers movie theater, Thai food (it´s the official ethnic food of Portland!), riding the bus without feeling as though I´m seconds away from a grisly death, the Saturday Market (both the Eugene and Portland versions, but mostly Eugene´s), Sakura´s, Allan Brothers´, Smith Family Books, and Powells, oh my God, Powells. I miss going into a coffee shop and being able to order an obscenely huge latte that will last me half an hour--maybe I´m just not ordering the right thing, but most of the coffee here is served in shot-glass sized cups--I´m pretty sure it´s just straight espresso. I don´t think they have the same sort of blended, foamy milk espresso drinks that we do in the US, which is okay, it´s just that...I miss them.

Walking around Cerro Concepcion on a sunny day helps me forget things that I miss in the US. That, and dancing around the living room with Lisu and Mey, who´s started to call me ´´Ica,´´ since she can´t say ´´Jessica.´´ (I love the way hispanohablantes pronounce my name--the hard J sound doesn´t exist in Spanish, I think, so it ends up being like Zhyeh-see-cah.) Mey toddles around the apartment, and when she sees me, she stops and says, ´´¡Ica!´´ with a big smile on her face. ´´¡Si, Mey!´´ I say. ´´¡¡Ica!! ´´Aqui estoy, Mey.´´ ´´¡¡¡ICA!!!´´ Somethimes when Maria´s cooking or something and Mey´s bothering her, she´ll tell Mey, ´´Corra y busca la Ica´´ (Run and look for Ica).

By yesterday afternoon, I was absolutely exhausted. I think it was the culmination of not getting very much sleep for a couple nights in a row, as well as the fact that now that classes have started, getting through the day socially and linguistically takes much more energy than it used to. My feet still hurt a little from walking all over Santiago on Saturday (writing all about what we did would take a long time, but you can read all about it on Kristin´s blog), so I decided to skip tango. I fell asleep around six, woke up in an irritable mood around 7 to Lisu and Mey running around and Ambar arguing with Carlos, while two of the three TVs in the apartment blared, listened to some music, then fell asleep around 8. I woke up in a better mood around eleven-thirty, just in time to watch the finale of ´´La Granja VIP´´ with Ambar and Carlos. ´´La Granja´´ (The Farm) is the most popular reality show in Chile--it´s kind of like Big Brother in structure, I think. The idea is thataA group of people (all Chileans except for one Uruguayan woman and one Spanish man) live together on a farm and do farm stuff. It´s on every night, and once a week, viewers nominate one person for elimination and the contestants themselves nominate another. The next night, the two contestants up for elimation participate in some kind of feat-of-strength challenge (that has absolutely nothing to do with farmwork, as far as I can tell) and whoever loses has to go home.

The two final contestants were Coca, one of the Chilean men, and Javier, the Spaniard. Both Carlos and Ambar, along with most of Chile, were rooting for Javier. They had to crawl through this maze thing, grab a wooden mallet, crawl back through the maze, climb up a ladder, and ring a bell. Personally, I like the ´´Survivor´´ style finale where the past contestants vote for whoever should win--it seems more fair than leaving it all up to some weird contest. Plus, all of the challenges I´ve seen have been based on brute physical strength, which seems like it would favor the men. In any case, last night was actually pretty exciting because Javier was way behind but then he made a huge comeback and won. Ambar was so excited! Today while I was walking to the university I passed by one of the many newstands and a headline on one of the gossip magazines caught my attention--it said something like, ´´¡El español Javier conquisto la Granja!´´ (The Spanish Javier conquers la Granja!) It was kind of funny that of the three final contestants, almost all the Chileans were rooting for either Vicky, the Uruguyan woman, or Javier, the Spaniard. Carlos told me that soon a Survivor-style Chilean reality show is going to start. I´ll have to watch that one from the beginning! I guess you can take the girl away from reality TV, but you can´t take the reality TV away from the girl...or something like that.

Plans for this weekend are shaping up in an exciting way, but I don´t want to write anything about it until it actually happens. Until then, ¡chau!

Well I lost my heart, it didn´t take me no time
That ain´t all, I lost my mind
In Oregon...

--´´Portland, Oregon,´´ Loretta Lynn.