It’s kinda cold outside today. Yikes!

It's kinda cold today.

I mentioned to my friends on Facebook yesterday how cold it had gotten here (37F degrees last night). I have a great leather and faux fir hooded jacket but my hostess Carmen offered me this lovely scarf to wear to insure my warmth. She knitted it herself and I found it a lovely accompaniment to my outfit today. 🙂

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Here is a closer look at the lovely scarf.  It’s really very warming.  I also received an invitation to attend Misa Fiestas Patrias 2013 in celebration of the Chilean upcoming Independence Day (September 18th) tomorrow.  The University will have a reduced workday on Friday and everything will be closed in the city of Talca for two days.  This includes La Universidad Católica del Maule, that will close for a week beginning Friday afternoon.  I am excited about the fact that following the Misa (Mass) tomorrow, there will be dancing and Empanadas.  Yum! 🙂

Barneys New York And Simon Doonan Host Event In Support Of "Hola" Heart Of Los Angeles

This evening also marked a very special occurrence.  A group of young men where riding passed me on bicycles as I walked home from the library and one of them yelled out “Hola!“.  Now that might not seem like such a big thing without some context.  Chile and Talca, Maule, Chile in particular is a very racially homogeneous place.  I’ve seen virtually no North Americans here and very few who look like myself.  I thought I saw a guy yesterday afternoon but the closer I got to him he appeared perhaps to be a member of either an indigenous indian group or actually from India.  The fact that he adverted his eyes when walking passed me suggested to me he was likely the former.

In short, there appears not to be any racial or ethnic groups outside of native Chileans in Talca.  I digress, I did see one asian man on campus Monday and awaited attentively to see if he spoke fluent Spanish.  Alas, I didn’t get to hear him conversing with anyone.   I’ve only seen two black people (in Santiago I might add) and that was during my bus ride to Talca.  When I walk to the University, sometimes it seems like many of the people I encounter don’t know what to do with themselves or say.  Nevetheless, most of the time when I initiate an “Hola” or “Buenos días“, people respond in kind and some even go further to ask me,  “Como estás?”

I’ve only just started getting used to the one-sided air kiss thing to the cheek as I initially made the mistake of doing the italian two-sided cheek kiss (Ha ha).  My daughter will testify that I am typically a “respect my invisible personal space bubble” kinda person.  However, the new context and new people have required that I learn and adjust to new ways of being in this community.  So in short, having received my first unsolicited “Hola” from a group of ciudadanos de Talca, I have to admit it was pretty nice. 🙂

Misa Fiestas Patrias 2013 Universidad Católica del Maule. 9.13.13

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Semana una completé como una Erudita Visitando del Universidad de Georgia

Week 1 as a Visiting Scholar from the University of Georgia

First week in Chile, South America completed on 9.8.13, it has been sheer bliss. 🙂

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I had a very lovely meeting today with Sr. Patrick Matzler, who is Swiss and speaks English.  Dr. Matzler is a professor on the faculty of the Instituto de Estudios Generales at UCMaule.  We discussed my dissertation research and how I could assist with other scholarly activities there at UCM.  Following out meeting he invited me to attend a Tertulias universitarias estudiantiles 2013.

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In the tertulia students and faculty came together to discuss el tema de “Educación: Calidad y Gratuidad, ¿son compatibles?”  There appears to be some concerns being raised about the quality of education from the standpoint of it being free.  This is an interesting debate, as many people are of the position that if an offering is free, it may not be of good quality.  Such ideas may also create conflict as some people believe that an education is a human right and therefore should be offered as a free opportunity for all.  This is a fascinating and complex subject to explore, particularly in light of reduced resources and issues of debt associated with the pursuit of higher education in Chile specifically and the global community generally.

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Pictures from around Talca, Maule, Chile

Pictures Around Talca, Maule, Chile

Here are some great pictures and short comments related to some recent photos and videos I took in Talca.

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I noticed this young man taking a bunch of glass bottles to this receptacle in my neighborhood.  It seems that recycle is an important goal in Talca.

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This was a charming little tienda de verduras where vegetable are sold in my neighborhood.  As I approached, I asked a guy nearby if I could take a picture of the store.  He said I had to pay him, yeah I passed on the close-up shot in that instance.

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Today was my first trip to El Centro or in other words, downtown Talca where the larger mall is located.  I needed a curling iron and the folks at the mall near my habitación said I would have to find that particular item in El Centro mall.

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Entering downtown Talca.

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Many portions of downtown Talca seemed very similar to my remembrance of downtown Manhattan in New York City, more particularly the SoHo area.

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DSC00168Yay!!  Shopping and browsing time. 🙂

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Lots of traffic in downtown Talca (El Centro).

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Chilean Independence Day is celebrated on September 18th.  The country of Chile secured its independence in 1810 and history records that the area of Talca played a major role in that event.

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These young dancers performed in honor of the upcoming September 18th Independence Day Celebration

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There are very few public restrooms in Chile which surprised me.  When we were at the bus station in Santiago my new friend Carmila told me, “Use the for-pay restroom, trust me!” I was able to use  el ban pictured above because I was a patron at one of the mall restaurants.

DSC00176Mi cena (dinner).

La mayonesa is a common dressing on food here in Chile.  As you know, yo’ girl and feeling the mayonnaise so I ended up selectively removing portions of my salad to another small plate. :/

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I also learned that ice isn’t as common in drinks here as is the case in the United States.  That’s been quite the adjustment as well.  I was happy to have a Sprit with my dinner.  Bottled drinks are served in 1/2 liter bottles versus the 12, 16, or 20 oz. bottles.

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Taking a taxi back to La Casa.

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Purchased this little change purse to avoid having to always pullout my wallet.  So cute and granny style. 🙂

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Chocolate doesn’t seem to be as available here as back in the US, however I was so happy to find these familiar friends. 🙂  They are smaller thank your typical North American candy bar, but most snacks foods appear to be in smaller portions here in general.

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La biblioteca (library) isn’t open on Sundays like is common at UGA but there is an area that’s right by the library that is open and has access to WiFi and electrical outlets for laptops.  It’s kinda like a cabin-style smaller version of the MLC (Miller Learning Center) at UGA. 🙂  Also if you look to the lower left corner of this pic you will see some dog paws.  Dogs roam quite free here.  I don’t who this one belonged to as he was there when I (and the woman in this picture) departed.  He was just laying there chillin’! lol

2013 La Universidad Católica del Maule Talent Show

2013 La Universidad Católica del Maule Talent Show

I had the honor of being asked to serve as a Judge today.  I joked with my friends that I didn’t know whether I would be Nicki Minaj or Mariah Carey.  Nevertheless, this young lady stole the show with her soulful singing voices, winning the praise of her peers and 1st prize in the contest. There was tremendous talent here today and all of the students performed in English. A very impressive display by the students organized by the Professors in the School of English and Pedagogy.  Video and more details to follow shortly.

The talent show hosts included Major Nelson and Jennie from the popular 70’s TV series “I Dream of Jennie”. 🙂

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