Showing posts with label Universidad de Chile. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Universidad de Chile. Show all posts

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reasons why I'm happy

  1. I went to Valpo and Viña this weekend with Jack and it was so relaxing. We stayed at a beautiful apartment in Playa Ancha and spent the days walking along the beach, eating delicious food, and laying on the beach. Oh, and of course watching the Teletón, which I had never seen before. That probably deserves a post all of its own.
  2. Universidad Católica won the Championship!! I'm not that into Chilean soccer teams, but I hate Colo Colo because it's like being a fan of the Yankees. Who wants to cheer for the team with the most money and that everyone cheers for? Plus, their uniforms are fugly. And I strongly dislike the Universidad de Chile because a bunch of hoodlums on their way to a game stole my purse. Also I've been to a few U. Católica games and the stadium is in one of the most beautiful spots in Santiago (even though it's so far away it's practically Argentina...)
  3. I'm going home for Christmas in 17 days! I can't wait.
  4. Wednesday is a holiday! Yay for breaking up the workweek. I think I'm going to go to the pool on Cerro San Cristobal. Fun.

Well, I think 4 reasons are enough to be happy, especially for a Monday.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Unfortunately, I think almost everyone in Santiago has a story somewhat like this

About a week and a half ago I was walking up Salvador to the metro when a bus full of la barra de la U (crazy fans of the UChile soccer team) went by. Someone threw a beer can at me. Unpleasant, but I shook it off, crossed the street and kept walking.

Last Wednesday I was heading to a private class not far from El Estadio Nacional, where La U plays. I didn't realize it was game night and as a bus full of la barra went buy and yelled some not so pleasant things at me. At that moment I thought, "I should find out the schedule so I try to avoid the bus route from my house to the stadium on game days." I even told F. about my idea and he thought it was a good one.

There's some sort of saying about "best laid plans..." but I don't remember it right now.

The fact is, I never looked it up.

Yesterday at 4:30 pm in broad daylight I was walking home from F's house. We live about 15-20 blocks away, so it's totally walkable. I considered taking a micro home, just because I was supposed to go to Isabel's house and was running a little late. But I hate waiting for things, and soon got bored at the bus stop and started walking. About six blocks from my house I see a micro approach jam-backed with la barra. In fact, it was so packed that the back doors weren't shut. It stopped at the stoplight. I thought, "Crap. They're going to yell stuff at me." But I clutched my purse a little tighter, put on my "don't mess with me face" and kept briskly walking.

Then, some (insert many swear words here) guy from the bus runs up behind me and starts grabbing at my purse. As I look back on the situation, I should have just started running in the direction I was already heading because it would have been more difficult to grab my purse. But hindsight is always 20-20. Anyway, without letting go of my purse, I whipped around and started playing tug-of-war with the weon for my purse. Last night I was lamenting that perhaps I didn't fight hard enough, but this morning my left arm is killing me, so I guess I put up a good fight. But he got it.

I stood there, dumbfounded, not knowing what to do. About 100 people on the bus stared back without doing anything. I consdiered running to the micro driver and telling him, but I knew he probably wouldn't do anything, and even if he did, the weon could just escape out the door again (and probably miss the game...hmm...perhaps I should have done that). I thought about yelling ugly swear words at him, but there were a LOT of people (mostly men, mostly part of the barra) on that bus and I feared some sort of retaliation. As I stood there, another guy on the bus mockingly said to me, "Camina no mas, no puedes hacer nada." (Keep walking, there's nothing you can do.) And ultimately, that's what I did.

The material losses weren't that big of a deal. The one I'm most upset about is my cell phone, not because it's the latest model or anything (in fact, I can't type that without laughing) but because of all the contacts, and the fact that work has that number. Now I'll have to go in and tell 10 different people and departments my new number. Huge hassle! But Isabel's boyfriend gave me his old phone (thanks guys!!) and so at least I don't have to buy a new one.

The thing is though, I'm kind of freaked out about walking on the street by myself during the day. And obviously I'm going to have to get over that one pretty quickly or I'll turn into a hermit.

The only small consolation I got is that La U lost yesterday. What can I say? Karma's a bitch.

P.S. Here's La U's schedule for anyone else who may live near the Estadio Nacional, or near the recorrido of the 508, 106, 103 (buses that I've noticed are usually packed with wild fans). Of course if you live near Grecia, I'm sure almost all of those busses are packed on game days.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Group Post: How Gringos Percieve that Chileans Percieve Gringos

For my contribution to the group blogging this week, I want to focus on one specific group of gringos that infiltrate Santiago and other major Chilean cities: exchange students.

I was an exchange student in Santiago for 7 months in 2007. Quickly upon arrival I realized that I did not want to be associated with the typical stereotype of Gringo Exchange Students that travel around in throngs, yelling English on the metro and basically wearing a sign saying "I'm an easy target! Steal my iPod, take my wallet, I don't care!" So I tried to change my look. I started wearing darker colored clothes, scarves, Converse and tights under everything. (Needless to say, my fashion went from bad to worse!). I also tried not to hang around large groups of gringos, and stuck to my three closest friends in my program. My proudest moment was while shopping in Patronato with J., (who is blonde) the shopkeeper asked if I was Chilean! That was of course before he heard me speak.

But I digress.

At the Chilean Universities that I attended (PUC and UChile) the professors and students both had clear biases when it came to gringo exchange students, and I hate to say this, for good reason. Many professors accepted that gringo students would come to slack off and travel, and didn't expect them to do well in the class, or let them get away with murder, so to speak. Some classes even had separate grading guidelines for gringos and chileans. Most of the professors (especially at UChile) didn't even want to put up with exchange students and didn't allow them in their classes. I would say that the majority of gringos in my classes lived up to this chilean sterotype, and I find that really sad. It's really hard to fight against a sterotype when there are thousands of people out there propogating it. I remember in my photography class at UChile four gringas showed up to class the day a huge project was due with nothing. The professor, obviously livid, asked them where it was. They told him they wouldn't be able to finish it until the end of the week because they had been in Chiloe over the weekend. Obviously in the US this kind of excuse wouldn't fly. Why did these exchange students think it would in Chile?

The same goes for fellow classmates. They were hesitant to do group projects with exchange students because they were afraid that they wouldn't pull their weight. The only exception I experienced was a chilena who wanted to practice her English. Again, I'm not blaming Chilean students for thinking this way...most gringos are like this. They come to Chile to take a break from the normal grind of College life in the US. And maybe I shouldn't judge them just because I came to Chile with a different goal in mind: to truly learn the culture and study (hence: study abroad).

Outside of the university setting, Chileans generally assume that gringos don't speak Spanish (or if they do speak it, they do so poorly). I can't count the number of times that people have started asking F. questions about me when I'm standing right next to him. "De dónde es ella? Es gringa?" "Sí, soy gringa y hablo castellano. Tampoco soy sorda, por si aca." Also, if the Chilean speaks any measure of English they will inevitably switch over. Umm...hello? Did you not just hear that I speak Spanish? Trust me, things will be easier for both of us if we stick to Spanish. Plus, as an exchange student, that's what I'm here for. To improve my Spanish. So háblame! (Now when I go back I will be less annoyed at the English attempts, considering I'll be an English teacher! But back then it was different.)

I have to say, that all things aside, the best Chilean friends that I made were ones that were truly interested in me as a person instead of my status as a gringa. I'm not sure why that is so hard for some chileans to do, or maybe it's a universal thing...maybe any foreigner experiences this to some extent, no matter what country they are from. My host mom, for example, has now hosted 14 gringo exchange students plus numerous foreigners from all over the world that have rented the apartment attached to her house. Although I imagine that she is full of generalizations and perceptions about gringos, I never heard her voice them. She only talked about how unique each student was that stayed with her. She knew that not all gringos were rich, because she hosted a student that couldn't afford to buy clothes for the Chilean winter. She knew that not all gringos voted for Bush because she talked to her students about our political leanings. And she certainly knew that not all gringos were fat slobs, because most of us had trouble finishing the huge delicious meals she prepared, and insisted on walking to the metro stop 10 blocks away instead of her driving us every morning.

I can't wait to read what others post about. I also hope I haven't offended anybody either. I love Chile and like I said, the majority of Chileans that I have formed lasting relationships with know me as a person, and it just makes life more interesting that I happen to be a gringa too. :)

Here's what other people think so far: