Even though I blog about every week, its so impossible to capture everything that has been happening in my life in Chile!
Today was amazing, this will sound really cheesy but I just felt so alive! Being here in Chile, with my photography and journalism friends has made me so certain and so passionate about my calling to photojournalism. I have never felt more like where I belong, then when I am hanging out with my chilean friends debating about politics, human rights, religion and of course journalism in the news. Of course, I stick out a lot too, I’m constantly learning more about how just how different American culture is from Latin American culture, and how much I have to learn. Chilean culture really is so rich and diverse.
Chileans are extremely passionate people, about everything. They express things in ways that Americans usually don’t, they are not reserved in any sense. They also are really politically active, artistic and close with their families- in comparison to the united states. Chileans live at home until they are in their early 30′s and that is completely normal, and my friends are all very open with their love to each other and their families. The other day one of my friends was telling me much he loved his mom and how he would die for her, just in a casual conversation.. and my host mom and host sister are always holding hands, hugging, kissing on the cheeks constantly- it is just the culture here!
Today I went to a huge protest/march for better education, more rights for the Mapuche or indigenous people of Chile and for freedom of the press- all huge issues in Chile. I am not exaggerating when I say this, 80,000 people showed up in the streets to dance, protest and exercise their right to assemble peacefully. I took lots and lots of photos and had fun participating too!
It really wasn’t violent until the end of the march after we had all marched all though out Central and up to a different Stadium that was really beautiful and antique looking where there was live music, speakers, more dancing and protesting. Unfortunately the dancing turned into mosh pitting and then a riot broke up, my friends took really good care of me and we managed to struggle our way to safety! Soaked in sweat, covered in confetti, and feeling extremely triumphant we made our way back to the metro where we reluctantly went back to classes for the afternoon. We stopped at a street market on the way though and we all bought soy burgers, juice and candy before going to the University. After classes we heard shooting outside on the streets from tear gas bombs and they had shut the big entrance doors meaning there was trouble, so naturally of course we had to go check it out. With all of our cameras in hand and bandanas soaked in lemon juice to counteract the tear gas we headed down to the action like real journalists. As we were witnessing some riots, some soldiers came up to a few friends and I who were taking videos and demanded to see our identification cards and they wanted to search our backpacks.. my heart started beating really fast as we all dug in our pockets for our ID’s and opened our bags. They quickly scanned our ID’s and looked through our bags and told us that if we weren’t journalists we weren’t allowed to be taking pictures and that it wasn’t safe here so we needed to leave.
It was one of the scariest moments, but at the same time nothing compared to the moments I experienced while In Ghana with the soldiers searching our things and demanding passports every 10 miles.
I had a little quiz in yoga class today too, but it was easy peasy and my teacher even commented that she could tell this wasn’t my first time doing yoga!
This past weekend I went to the coast, Valparieso to a beautiful sea side city made up of colorful homes situated on rolling hills. Me and my friend Cassie, and Pablo (another foreign exchange student from Peru) decided we would strip down and dive into the freezing, literally, water of the Pacific Ocean! And we did, we literally did a little Chilean polar plunge! That plus some delicious sea food and a tour of Pablo Neruda’s amazing house made for a great weekend!
Unfortunately there is rain in the forecast and COLD WEATHER! not my favorite, time to pull out the sweaters and endless cups of hot tea for me!
The other night, my host mom and I had a really great bonding time- she helped me proof read all of my essay’s that I’ve been working on and we had a great discussion about the her family, my family, relationships, love, racism, really everything that can be discussed haha. Then we baked some delicious cookies together and ate them while drinking tea and bonding more- I am so lucky to have such a great family here that I can learn so much from!
This weekend I plan on making a little field trip up to the Andes with a friend studying from German, possibly going to some hot springs with my mom and sister, working on a documentary and photo essay for a journalism class with my friends, and exploring santiago with them all! I can’t wait
No matter how far a person can go, the horizon is still way beyond you. -Zora Hurston