...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

Monday, April 09, 2007

Fotocopiadora 12 de febrero

In Chile, students don't typically buy books for their classes. Instead, everyone checks the book out the library and photocopies the entire thing, then either gets it spiral-bound or clips the packet together. You don't make your own photocopies the way we do in the US, and there was no equivalent to Kinko's. Rather, the street across from the University was lined with little photocopy shops (fotocopiadoras) where you would go and order your copies. Sometimes, especially at first, It was frustrating for us gringos, because often there would only be one copy of the book in the library, so if it was checked out you were out of luck. Or, the professor might leave the book at a fotocopiadora, and the students would be responsible for going to get their copies made. This could also be confusing because some professors would just say "Oh, I left the book at the fotocopiadora across the street" (but they were all across the street!) and the Chilean students would just know which one they were talking about.

12 (Pronounce it doce, or doh-say) de febrero was my favorite fotocopiadora. It was also the one that Carla's and my Brazilian Culture professor used, so we became well-acquainted with good ol' Doce. It was run by an older woman and her young daughter? niece? granddaughter? I don't know what their relationship was, but the young woman was extraordinarily helpful and gracious. In fact, our Jon developed a little crush on "12 de febrero," as we called her: "She's the only woman in Chile who's smiled at me!" He even concocted this plan about faking an internship with the fotocopiadora to study Chilean commerce (he was a business student) as a way of getting to know her but balked after he realized that he would have to photocopy hundreds of pages illegally: "I just coudn't live with myself breaking that many copyright laws!"

Here the women are, photocopying:

This is the Casa Central (central house or building) of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, where I studied:

And finally, here's one of my professors, Dr. Jorge Mendoza. Of all my professors, he was the most jokey and informal with the students, and he used a ton of slang in his lectures. Sometimes I would run some of his phrases by Daniela, one of my good Chilean friends, and she would be all, "...He said that? In class?" I didn't know this at the time, but my friend Juan Carlos told me after the semester ended that Dr. Mendoza was taken prisoner and tortured during the Pinochet regime. That just about blew me away. This picture is from our Moral Social (Social Morality, but I bet you figured that out) class; it looks like we were talking about the mission of the Church and Pope Paul VI. You know, to this day, I couldn't tell you the point of that class. We laughed a lot, though, and I met some cool ciencias religiosas people.

A funny story from Moral Social: towards the end of the semester, Dr. Mendoza announced that us gringos (there were three of us in the class, although somehow I always was the token gringa who he pointed to whenever he needed to demonstrate a point about "those people over there" in the US) wouldn't have to take the final oral exam with him. There was an immediate uproar and suddenly all the Chileans were clapping in rhythm and chanting "In--jus--ticia!! In--jus--ticia!! In--jus--ticia!!" ("Injustice! Injustice! Injustice!") My friend Ronald cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered "ESCUCHA LA VOZ DEL PUEBLO, PROFE!" ("Listen to the voice of the people, doc!") All the other gringos and I could do was laugh.