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. 🙂
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! 🙂
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