Lord Thank you for my Family, Especially my Brothers

Lord Thank you for my Family, Especially my Brothers

Big Brother Jimmy and Little Brother Darrin

In all of the hustle and bustle of my busy days here in Chile, rarely a day goes by that I don’t thank God for my family and the life my parents provided for us as children.  Few experiences are more precious than the love of your brothers growing up.  The confidence, protection, and sometimes (terror) that siblings bring into our space, can leave an indelible impression that can follow you for the rest of your life.  The love, care, and protection that I received under the umbrella of my brothers’ self-appointed guardianships over me and my sisters, has contributed to my being able to be in Chile today.  In reflection, from the time they showed us how to physically fight, to their being vulnerable, even crying in front of us girls my brothers are very special.  Their maturity and love over the years has only grown and has contributed to their being loving and excellent fathers to their own children today.  Sure, they weren’t perfect and made mistakes like the rest of us.  But, I think they have no idea how proud we all are of them at times and I am using this reflective moment to share that point with them and the world.  I love you Jimmy and Darrin, you guys are the best kind of awesomeness brothers. ❤  ¡Los quiero mucho!

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I will never forget the time when I was in the elementary school walking home with my little sister.  Another young boy in my grade had taken a fancy to me and caused a small circle to form around us near the playground because he wanted me to give him a kiss.  I was in total fear and shock because at that point I had never kissed any boy and I most certainly didn’t want that exchange to be with him (not my crush).  Out of fear my little sister ran home to get my mom and left me alone with this brute and the circle of chanting classmates.  Then all of a sudden this fiery little kindergartener (my little brother Darrin) appeared out of no where and assailed the would be “Romeo” with punches, telling him he’d better leave his sister alone.

I was rescued!!  🙂 I constantly recount that story at family gathering as it always makes everyone laugh.  But, that is simply how our brothers were with their sisters.  They protected us and on more then a few occasion caused us girls to be in neighborhood fights with them as they tended not to back down to anyone.  The picture above shows my Big Brother Jimmy wearing boxing gloves he had received for Christmas.  Those are the same boxing gloves he used when I asked him to show me how to fight.  We were bouncing on the bed like Muhammad Ali until the first punch my brother laid to my arm caused me to drop.  At first, I wanted to stop and cry because I felt he had punched me took hard.  He laughed informing me that was a soft punch and continued the lesson.

By the time I reached middle school I had only one incident of bullying.  I am sure the girl who was harassing me had no idea I had gone to the James A. Brown Jr. Boxing Camp during the summers and I gave her a beat-down she would not soon forget.  That actually was the last physical altercation I ever had in school following that incident.  I now had a “rep” as a youngster and only needed to fight if someone was bothering my sibling.  It seemed that when we were younger girls others thought my sisters and I were “soft” because we were by most standards cut girls.  But, the neighborhood soon learned that you don’t mess with the Browns because we would battle in groups.  My parents always told us that we were to stick together even if our sibling was wrong and they (my parents) would sort it out the mess after we got home.  Therefore, we would always present a united family front whenever we were in public and still do so today.  Those are valuable lessons we pass on to our own children and I think it has worked out well.  None of our kids had to deal with any extended incidents of bullying as either a cousin, parent, or grandparent, would be at the school in a heartbeat to “resolve” the issue. lol

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As you can imagine, my brothers could be very intimidating to would be suitors of our affections.   Even for my sisters who are now wives, my brothers made it clear to their brothers-in-law… “I’ve got my eyes on you bruh!”

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Nevertheless, you cannot find a more loving pair of brothers.  I always asked them how they could seems so tough but be like putty in our hands if we were feeling down or vulnerable.  To which they would always respond, “I love my sisters and would die protecting them!”  So that’s the kind of legacy I have that has made me unafraid to try new things and go to new places.  Of course, I exercise wisdom and don’t go places that are dangerous or where I could be harmed.  But, I always felth that my Daddy and Brothers had my back.  My brothers are always  so proud of us and brag all the time  to their friends about their beautiful, classy, accomplished, and intelligent sisters.  That always makes me smile inside.  I so wish all of my family could be here with me in Chile, experiencing this wonderful opportunity to see the world and life as a Black person living in a cultural context that isn’t the United States.

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Today I received my residency card and RUN number that allows me to conduct financial business in Chile.  I told my officemates “Ahora yo soy Chilean también“, and we all  laughed at my errant assertion.  However, I know that I am assimilating well here because Ricardo who is the office Director of University Planning and Development (and is sponsoring my workspace in his office) is one of the few persons that speaks fluent English here.  Today when we ran into each other at the coffee machine he spoke to me entirely in Spanish.  I then proceeded to tell Graciela the office manager that this now confirmation of my earlier assertion that I am Chilena.   She laughed and challenged my assertion by telling me I had to go up upstairs and tell Olga (another office mate) that we were not having exercise classes this evening.  To which I responded, ¿Es una prueba? (Is this a test?). lol

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Yesterday, I used my RUN number to secure discount points at the grocery store.  That was major for me on two levels.  The first being I always look for savings when I grocery shop and was very frustrated that before obtaining my residency card I wasn’t accumulating points.  The second is that I was able to do these activities all on my own and I wasn’t nervous anymore about conducting my affairs in Spanish.  But, I ain’t goin’ crazy with it.  I have to renew my student Visa in June and I will certainly have at least one of my Chilean homegirls with me to get all that competed successfully in Santiago.

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As I arrived to campus I noticed these flags (banderas) representing the Universidad Católica del Maule and the country of Chile blowing in the wind on campus.  They  looked so majestic and strong, standing tall in the midst of the strong wind’s  that crashed and assailed them.  This image also reminded me of the characteristics my brothers possess  and it also reminded me of how small the World is becoming.  Who would have thought during the time that I was being terrorized for a kiss in elementary school that I would be walking the streets of Chile, South America to a University who is hosting me as a Visiting Scholar.  Moreover, that I would be here in another country completing my doctoral dissertation research.  I’m not a person who believes in happy accidents and luck.  I believe in the favor that God shows to those interested in walking in their destiny, and holding to a higher purposes that reflects his love and intelligence in the world.  To realize that I am that little Black girl from Lake Street, in Akron, Ohio, now positioning myself to complete my Ph.D. in Adult Education so as to become a woman who can “change the world”… well, words are too limited in their ability to describe this feeling.

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Wow!! Carmen has a twin sister.

Wow!!  Carmen has a twin. :)

I found out this week that mi amiga Carmen has a twin sister Paola. Double AWESOMENESS!

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Chile never ceases to surprise.  For example, I woke up this morning with the assistance of a little earthquake tremor (chico teremoto).  I also enjoyed family day with my Chilean host/landlord Carmen and her family.  She may or may not have told me she had a twin sister (gemala) last semester.  Carmen is very private and my Spanish wasn’t as good as it is now last year so she might have told me and I simply smiled and nodded politely.  So we began Saturday afternoon with this delicious chicken and vegetable stew prepared by Carmen (she’s a good cook like me).

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Her twin sister Paula has two boys ages 6 an 10 named Gaspar and Andres.  The older son knows a little English so we were able to talk about his school and my family.  As you can see, after lunch they both enjoyed some helado chocolate (Chocolate ice cream).  Gaspar doesn’t like taking pictures but he warmed up to me enough to make this funny face while eating his ice cream.  Very sweet and friendly little boys.  I told them and their Aunt (Tia) I was going to improve my blog with their fotos. 🙂

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Yummmmmm helado chocolate!

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Oh my word!!  It is so hot down here.  The temperature is ranging between 80-90F degrees (27/32C).  This might not seem very hot, but after leaving the United States were it is winter time these types of temperature require an adjustment.  I always seem to loose weight in Chile in part because the portions sizes are smaller here (we have very large portions in the US) and walking in the heat carrying my bookbag feels like I’m walking in a sauna.  No complaints, I’ll that this over snowy Mid-West blizzards in March any day of the week.

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More family and friends join Carmen, her sister and sons, upon my return from my power walk.  I am terrible with names and don’t remember the new folks, but they were just as lovely.

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Tweenzies!!

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Another place I am happy to see is our neighborhood tienda de verduras y las frutas (vegetable and fruit store).  I also finally had the chance to eat some grapes as they were not in season when I arrived last semester.  So now, all the fruits are easily accessible and this was the best pear I had tasted in some time.  The also had some peaches, but I’m a Georgia Bulldawg.  It’s going to very difficult trying to compete with a Georgia peach.  They are the BEST!!  Unfortunately, I think that Chilean farmers are using GMOs because I saw some of the biggest ears of corn, squash, and cucumbers that I’d ever seen in my life.  I wanted to take a picture but felt it might be a little rude to do so.  Maybe I’ll get the nerve up to ask the owner to take a picture next time. 🙂

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Well, the highlight of my weekend was to talk with my daughter and her beau this weekend while she visted Texas.  I thought they looked so cute and told them I was going to take their pictue and put it on my blog.  So here it is guys!!  She’s a lawyer so I hope I don’t get sued for not getting any permissions.  I don’t know if their images are copyrighted or not.  No matter, I’m the momma (the original law)!  He he.

Today the Interviewer Became the Interviewee

Today the Interviewer became the Interviewee

I was the guest lecturer for Professor Patrick Matzler’s class at the Universidad Católica del Maule. His students from the English Language and Intercultural Communication class today asked great question about international scholarship. Fue una experiencia buenisíma!!  I also paid tribute to Micheal Jackson with my white footies and black shoes in this picture. Ha ha! 🙂

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Profesor Patrick Matzler is originally from Sweden and has been an academic in Chile for several years now.  His wife is Chilean  which brought him to the country.  He has also been of great assistance to me with my focus group interviews and dissertation research data collections so I was more than happy to meet with his students.

CI promised the students that this blog post would be in both English and Spanish.  Therefore, I’ll have to write it out first and translate to Spanish for posting.  They asked great questions as we shared in rich discussions.

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Verción Español

Hoy día yo tenía un tiempo bueno con los estudiantes de la clase Idiomas Inglés y Comunicación Intercultural.  La asignación de los estudiantes fue  entrevistar a mí e también escuchar a qué yo tenía compartir sobre ser una erudita visitando de un otro país. 

Preguntas incluían deportes, (el nombre de LeBron James nos hablábamos muchas veces), educación con fines de lucro privado en Chile, UGA, mi vida en Ohio y Georgia, colegio atlética y comó jugadores son pagaban, educación International y carreras, CTIM, comida, adaptación cultural, el elección presidencial, y mucho más.  Todo el mundo parecía muy atento a mi hablando e yo espero que ellos puedan usar la información yo daba completar sus investigación proyecto de clase.

De nuevo, una gracias especial a Profesor Matzler por me permitía visitar con suyo estudiantes.

 English Version:

Today I had a great time speaking with students from the English Language and Intercultural Communications class.  Their assignment was to interview me and listen to what I had to share about being a study abroad visiting scholar.

Questions ranged from sports (the name of LeBron James came up several times), private for-profit education in Chile, UGA,  my life in Ohio and Georgia, college athletes and  how players are paid, International Education and careers, STEM, food, cultural adjustment,  to the recent Presidential elections and much more. Everyone seemed very attentive and interested in what I had to say and I certain hope that they will be able to use what I shared with them to complete their class research Project.

Again, special thanks to Professor Matzler for allowing me to visit with his students.

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Una Tarde con Felipe, Mercedes, y el Volantín

Una Tarde con Felipe, Mercedes, y el Barrilete

An Afternoon with Felipe, Mercedes, and the Kite

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Hoy Mercedes, quien es la secretaria de la Directora biblioteca, me invitó a ella casa por la cena con su familia.  Después de comiendo nosotros íbamos a el parque permitir Felipe (ella hijo) a demostrármelo cómo volar su volantín.  Como nos caminábamos yo veía, para el primero tiempo, un árbol de anaranjados.

Today Mercedes, who is the secretary of the Director of the Library, invited me to her house for dinner with her family.  After eating we went to the park to allow Felipe (her son)  to demonstrate how to fly his kite.  As we walked I saw, for the first time, an orange tree.

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Los volantínes son un pasatiempo importante en Chile.

Kites are an important pastime in Chile.

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Le pedí Felipe si él fue un profesional con barriletes y él me dijo, “Mas o menos”,  yo reí. 🙂  Mercedes ayudó su hijo preparar para el vuelo.

I asked Felipe if he was a professional with kites and he told me, “More or less”, I laughed.  Mercedes helped  her son to prepare for the flight.

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En el principio, todas estaba bueno pero desafortunadamente, el volantín desplazado demasiado lejos y estaba atrapado en un árbol.  Yo estaba feliz que yo podría obtener el barrilete fuera del árbol por Felipe, pero el próximo evento estaba malo.

Se me rompió el volantín con mi dedo en el viento muy fuerte como caminamos volver a la casa.  Porque lo estaba hecho de papel y se rompió fácil.  Felipe me dijo no preocupada.  Yo sentí terrible.  Yo le pedí el precio y más tarde en el noche dárselo dinero desde los EEUU, como un regala, pero también pagar para el destrucción del volantín.  Yo supe que no fue necesario pero ayudó me sentir mejor.

In the beginning, everything was good but unfortunately, the kite drifted too far and was trapped in a tree.  I was happy that I could get the kite off the tree for Felipe, but the next event was bad.

I broke the kite with my finder in the very strong wind as we walked to return to the house.  Because it was made of paper it broke easily.  Felipe told me not to worry about it.  I felt terrible.  I asked him the price of it and later that night I gave him money from the United States as a gift, but also to pay for the destruction of the kite.  I knew it was not necessary but it helped me to feel better.

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Cuando nos volvíamos a tomarme a mi habitación, hay un hombre en la calle que estaba entretenido los conductores con palos de fuego.

When we returned  to take me to my place, there is a man in the street that was entertaining motorists with fire sticks.