Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in

5 May

This post was originally titled: The two pound bag of Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter Cups in my closet remained relatively untouched until the beginning of this week. Today there are only 7 left…if that’s any indication of what kind of week this has been.

Then I ate the last 7, and suddenly the title didn’t fit.

The original content of this post was complaints, but I decided that didn’t fit anymore, either.

I did find myself extremely frustrated this week at multiple points which explains why I downed an entire two pound bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (oh man that sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, emotional eating anyone?).  But Carybeth introduced me to the idea of the “Happy Week” earlier today, and I’m going to try it out [I also don’t want to give my father any reason to make a smug look of I told you so- there is in fact no reason to ever leave your country] 🙂

My frustrations kept stemming from cultural differences that were happening at my University (La Catolica)– heralded as the best University in all of Chile, and one of the best in all of Latin America.  Turns out it’s also extremely close-minded.  This week’s left me longing for my Madison bubble where I can walk around grinning knowing that everyone thinks in an equally liberal manner.  [ha! just kidding, kind of.  I have also realized that being at Madison it’s easy to never develop your power of persuasion because it doesn’t take much to get everyone to jump on your bandwagon since you all share similar opinions.  I realized during election season that I needed to put myself in positions that would develop my ability to reason and discuss with people who shared totally opposite view points than myself– so maybe I was asking for it?]

But man, I am just a fish in a totally and completely wrong pond.

I received a pretty poor grade on an in class essay for my History of Latin America in the 20th Century class [apparently the prof didn’t get the message that you’re supposed to grade easier on the gringos, this isn’t their native language and they’re just studying abroad, ha].  When I asked a Chilean friend to take a look at it his first comment was, “Well you got a bad grade because you didn’t follow history, you say here ‘stolen lands’ when referring to indigenous lands…nothing was ever stolen, we just mixed…Besides it’s just the Mapuche that make up 3% of Chile, and the government tries to work with them, but they’re crazy.”

Feeling already frustrated I went to my group project meeting for my Poverty and Social Exclusion class where I talked about the email the TA had sent me with an issue example for our topic: the sociocultural dimension of poverty interventions. The TA pointed out that in Chile they often try and do interventions in the Mapuche communities in Mapudungun [the Mapuche language], but that the language is often not spoken any more except by the elders.  So this is one example at an attempt to be culturally approrpiate that fails.

When talking to my group it became clear that they thought that the Mapuche topic is “overdone” and “I mean really, how many of us even know someone that is Mapuche, or someone that has a Mapuche last name?”  [Apparently she missed the last Chilean census that determined that 90% of Chileans have Mapuche blood.  Ninety percent.  In a country where if you want to be successful it’s not okay to embrace your heritage and having a Mapuche last name limits you from many job opportunities]

But what do I know, I’m just the estadounidense gringa that doesn’t have a perfect grasp of the Spanish language [these are the 3 reasons that I’ve narrowed down as to why one girl in my group particularly does NOT like me: a) from the U.S.- most likely this option b) not from Chile c) I don’t speak Spanish perfectly.

So, since it’s happy week, I will have the largest smile on my face next week when we give our presentation on the sociocultural dimension of poverty and talk about “uniting factors like friendship and love,” and The Littlest Prince, and a group of middle schoolers that uses role playing to facilitate inclusion and discourage bullying, and show a video with English subtitles [“To make our foreign classmates feel included” -direct quote in an email from the student to the professor], and make a mural with all of our hand prints in paint at the end to show that together we make something beautiful, as well as write one promise they each make that day to be more socio-culturally understanding, “like learning how to say ‘hola’ in Dutch.”

I’m sorry did you think for a second that I accidentally ripped a page out of my older sister’s 1st grade teacher’s curriculum guide?

Maybe if we’re lucky rainbows and butterflies and puppy dogs will shoot out of thin air.  At the very least I’ll animate them into the power point.

Anyways, looks like I just got a bit complain-y, happy week starting now…

*in a chipper voice*: While it makes me a bit jealous to see people’s statuses that say they are going to sit on the Terrace in Madison, because we are currently entering our winter here and it makes it quite cold when there is no central heating [or heating, period.], I will rejoice in the fact that my duena just gave me an electric blanket that a past student left here.

And I will laugh at my brother’s response to my email that said essentially the same thing [since he doesn’t read my blog that little booger]:

Molly, ignorant people in positions of power is infinitely frustrating.  Get used to it.  Ignorance in national ethos is also frustrating.  But you’re probably already used to that: USA! USA! USA!


I guess I can’t have any more frustrating weeks, because they don’t sell peanut butter cups in Chile!

photo-315At least I’ll definitely be warm while I’m sleeping [were you wondering what Chilean plugs looked like?  I thought so.]


13 Responses to “Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in”

  1. Emily May 5, 2009 at 1:56 am #

    Molly! I was totally going to say your project seems like something we would do in elementary school! Then I read your line about tearing a page out of my curriculum guide. Crazy.

    Don’t beat yourself up when you can’t change people. Ignorant people who are completely closed minded to other opinions (or facts in some cases..) are frustrating. Do what you can and make an impact wherever possible.

    Are you sure Waukesha is where you want to be this summer? It isn’t quite the liberal bubble that you love about Madison…but it is pretty awesome, since I am here 🙂

    Love you!

  2. Teresa May 5, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    I didn’t know Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups come in 2 pound bags!!!

    I was going to have Carly bring me a few, but now I am most certainly having her bring me a 2 pound bag full.

  3. Teresa May 5, 2009 at 4:17 am #

    oh and i love you

  4. carybeth May 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm #

    1. I’m so glad you’re using my happy week method : )

    2. Nice work on the peanut butter cups, that’s my girl.

    3. You’d be lucky to have puppy dogs shoot out of thin air, it would probably add to the happiness of your week.

    4. Did you ever notice the little baby smiley face at the very bottom of your page?

    5. We will be reunited in 58 days! I love you!

  5. Molly May 6, 2009 at 3:47 am #

    oh T-pain, peanut butter cups definitely come in 2 lb. bags.

    Cary, what little smile are you referring to, the creepy emoticons that my blogs makes out of : ) ?

    or is there some secret little one at the bottom of the page that maybe only you can see?

  6. carybeth May 6, 2009 at 4:49 am #

    well, first off, i discovered that by placing a space between the colon and the parentheses you get a non-scary looking smiley face. : )

    but i’m talking about a legit smiley face at the bottom of your page. go to your blog (like the view i see when i go to it) and scroll down until you can’t scroll anymore. there is a little tiny baby smiley face down there. it looks like just a black dot until you look closely. wow, smiley faces are shooting out of thin air already…next it will be puppy dogs.

  7. kdoran May 6, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Well at least us here in the US of A don’t discriminate against the Mapuche compared to other Chileans. As far as I’m concerned, it’s rude to call Mexicans different names.

  8. Teresa May 6, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    I totally see that smiley face.

    And wow Cary, you are observant!

  9. Lorraine Reddy May 7, 2009 at 3:57 am #

    I meant to get you a bag of chocolate covered almonds before you left. I will get one before you get home for the celebration. Love you, Gma

  10. Molly May 7, 2009 at 4:04 am #

    good thing you forgot gram! I didn’t even like chocolate covered almonds before I left, but I LOVE them now, I buy them of my own accord at the grocery store…can you believe it?!

  11. Cretino May 11, 2009 at 4:12 am #

    OH girl you’re *fricking crazy, you should go out and enjoy real chile, instead of staying home eating that crap.

    PS: Keep making your *bottom bigger. chubby.

    Editor’s Note: Words with asterisks have been edited in order to be made more appropriate for the eyes of my grandmother and small children that may be reading this. Also, I have no idea who Cretino is, I’m sure someone is bound to ask that.

  12. Chris McKim May 11, 2009 at 5:08 am #

    Dearest Cretino,

    I’ve been sitting here for five minutes now thinking about how I want to go about responding to your comment posted here…

    At first I thought about attacking your pathetic sentence structure and punctuation, but decided if you were dumb enough to put those commas where you did I would have to start by explaining things you should have learned in the 7th grade – frankly I don’t have the patience for that.

    Then I considered the very basic approach of pointing out how down-right mean you are, but this seemed like a waste of my time. You made it blaring obvious that you are a bad person on your own and nothing I can say here would make that more clear.

    *sigh… In the end what it really boils down to I guess is that you called Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups “crap”. I’m a pacifist, but if we ever meet I’m going to break your goddamn knees with a granite-chisel.

    Most sincerely,
    Chris McKim

  13. Gina June 19, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    Molly! How did I miss that you had started a new blog? I just spent a solid half hour at work catching up on your life.

    Can’t wait to see you soon! Is it inappropriate to drink grasshoppers in July? (Allow me to answer my own question: NO.)

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