Tiempos para no olvidar
So many things to catch up on, I don’t even know where to start! I’m happy to say that I now finally feel a little bit more at home here, I have my group of friends at school that I go to lunch with instead of solo all the time, to go out with on the weekends, talk about anything with and just relax with in my long gaps between classes! One of my best friends here is a guy named Vicente ( I doubt he will be reading this, he doesn’t really speak English, although it’s much better than any other Chilean) He is one of the nicest, funniest guys in the world- oh and he is gay! We hang out for hours literally just lounging in the park or walking around the city talking all about life, the obstacle of being Gay in a country that is so backwards, our hopes dreams, and even fashion! He is a journalism major also, and we have a lot of the same goals in life, it’s funny because he is always talking about how he needs to get out of his home country, travel and widen his perspectives- and that is exactly what I am doing right now and was saying about 6 months ago! He is coming to New York City next December and January with a local YMCA here that helps Latinos come to the USA and work, so fingers crossed I will be paying him a visit next winter to help him with the culture shock as he has been helping me here.
Last weekend my friends and I went to a concert in Estadio Nacional, about an hour from my house- it’s the biggest stadium in Santiago, where they used to torture people and have public executions during the dictatorship. It was a concert called “Un cancion para no olivdar” or A song to never forget, in memorial of the dictatorship. It was really cool, I heard lots of singers and speakers that were really passionate and moving! I took lots of really cool pictures too and of course lots of salsa dancing took place! On Sunday I got my own little personal tour of Santiago with another one of my Chilean friends! We walked probably at least 10 miles, no joke! We walked all over Santiago- we visited the park where Daniel Zamudio ( a teenage homosexual) was beaten to death a few weeks ago for being gay, and visited his memorial, I saw more stadiums and museums that were very old and are now just a pile or rubble from a huge earthquake that happened in 2008. I saw the Memorial for Victor Jarra ( a singer, artist, poet and political activist during the Dictatorship that would paint beautiful murals and sing songs about freedom and the struggle for human rights, he was arrested by the Government and tortured by having his tongue and fingers cut off while he was still alive then shot to death by 44 bullets of a machine gun then his body was thrown into the streets as a warning to all other Chileans). The memorial is now, ironically enough a deserted site filled with graffiti, homeless people, trash and stray dogs- I wanted to take pictures but my chilean friends advised me it was not safe to take my camera out- but the site will always be held in my memory. It goes to show, how a country is left after a communist dictatorship- and how the struggle with poverty and human rights is still such a problem here.
After that awesome tour, our feet hurt SO BADLY! So much walking- but I was happy to go home that night and have delicious dinner waiting for me with the family- homemade soup, avacado, tomato, cheese sandwiches and apple Kuchen! Yesterday during my Photojournalism class, we took a field trip to go visit a famous photo exhibit, it was by a chilean photographer who traveled to India and took pictures of the people in the streets, rivers and temples- it was so beautiful but devastating. Hannah if you are reading this- I’m so proud of you for going to India, and I know you are going to make a difference!
I also went to the Chilean Modern Art Museum with some friends and explored looking at art, more photography and what not, I ended the afternoon by getting delicious soy burgers with some vegetarian friends and watching the Barcelona/Chelsea futbol game! After the futbol game, and after my voice was a little strained for yelling at Alexis Sanchez (chilean playing on the Barcelona team) I went to a march with more aspiring journalism students from Chile! It was a protest against the repression and cutting down of forests in Patagonia! It was so cool and we even got to go make some posters and march around, I was a little scared of the Carbineros (Chilean corrupt police that are brutal! ) but everything was pretty peaceful!
This has been a long entry! But I’ll wrap it up by saying that this weekend I’ll be off to the coast with other foreign exchange students to explore an older city called Valparerisó!
Miss you all!
“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” – Alan Keightley