First of all, I must apologize for the late resurfacing! It was busy around here since my last post and there sometimes evil things like “fiestas” and “cerveza” who keep you from doing what you should. Shitty excuse, I know !
However besides those things, which I should perfectly be able to control, there is something I have just recently noticed. The constant cold, that you feel everywhere and the abrupt change of your daily routine decrease your productivity.
It is more or less easy for me to get up in the morning, because I have my -15 degrees sleeping bag. By the time of my first cup of tea however, the warmth has gone and the internal heat provided by the tea only lasts for 15 minutes. It is unimaginable how “las Tomas” (people living illegally without running water, “official” electricity and canalization in their barracks, mostly far up the hills of Viña and Valparaíso) are not frozen to death after a night of 5 degrees. Compared to them, my problem of wanting to stay all day in my sleeping bag is microscopic. Despite my high quality clothes, the cold gets to me everywhere and it is affecting me more than I first realized. With the unusual meal and working times it is not easy to find your new own rhythm, but I am very aware of the fact that this is what I signed up for. I just did not expect I would care so much
about being productive and having a rhythm. Actually this should not be surprising because I just left behind a stage of my life with an imposed daily routine, school and I quit, temporarily at least, a society where everything aspires towards performance and productivity. I’m on my own this year and I get to make the calls without being bounded by an highly influential framework, which I like very much. I can sort out the values and principles that I just adopted because I had to and find new ones within this one-year-experience. This is a liberty that I value really much !
In my first post, I said “the work of integrating oneself, of gaining trust and getting to know one’s environment should be done by myself ” and I’m right in the middle of doing this, enjoying every bit of it. It is so much fun when I meet new people, simply already because of the level of my Spanish. You don’t get their jokes, but you’re laughing anyway, which they think is very funny, because they know you did not even get one word. The conversation once started, you need 2 minutes and the online dictionary to express yourself, they react in 30 secs, which gives the conversation a very funny rhythm. After I told them that I’m from Luxembourg, explained that it is only 82km long and 57km large and is situated between France and Germany, they need exactly 5 minutes to call me “aleman” (German) again. When I reminded them of my actual nationality, they start to call me “aleman falso”, which is likely to become my nickname.
As a complete stranger and knowing that I am going to stay for a year, I feel the need to start again using the little word “my”. I want to be able to say “my people” and “my places” again. Music, arts and sports are extremely powerful catalyst in this process, because musicians, artist and people who are devoting a bit of their time and energy to preserve all kinds of aspects of their culture, have a common mindset. They are open, welcoming and eager to exchange ideas and energy. They are proud of their “thing” and curious to find out more about the “thing” of other people, from another place.
The “El Surco Centro Cultural” is a perfect example. It’s a small neighborhood library (one room), which on weekends is transformed into an all-kinds-of-event-hosting hotspot. The last four Fridays they organized a series of jazz evenings with fantastic musicians and awesome jam sessions, which I was so happy to play in. Rap, Funk, Jazz, Salsa, Cumbia, Vals Peruano, every type of music was accepted and we played as many as we could. They cooked great things, they had “cerveza artesanal” and the “ambiente” was unique. It was the music that pulled us all in, even me “the stranger”, sometimes until 5 o’clock in the morning. Culture, in all its aspects, is something we should be proud of, eager to share and not trying to defend it against foreigners . As long as there are people like the ones of “El Surco”, you don’t need a “Front National” or an “AfD” to protect your culture against the evil strange forces, because by exchanging, showing and sharing nothing will become “extinct” or get destroyed.
I try to be as present as I can here on this blog to share my experiences and in the future perhaps some of individuals I encountered along the way. Please do not hesitate to contact me to get more information, to suggest things that I can write about, to exchange stories and experiences from where ever in the world you are !
Hasta luego ! David