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