¡Éxito Éxito! Tengo renovado mi Visa estudiante sin problemas.

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Many of you might recall the nightmare I had upon my first departure from Chile at the airport.  Neither my University in the US, or I knew that I needed to register with the PDI in Talca within 30 days.  See the resulting adventure here: Hugo me dijo que Chile dijera, “Por favor Lisa, no se vaya”.  Renewing my student Visa also was more complex than I had hoped, but certainly made much more simple by the assistance I got from Laura Paris in the UGA Office of International Education, the UCMaule campus International Affairs Office, and the Gobernación Provincia de Talca.

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I had to finally ditch the taxi travel as it was becoming too expensive.  However, getting around Talca, particularly Downtown (El Cento) with no bus schedules or maps available to you is no easy chore.  This was my first time (well actually this was the second day of my first time) for riding the Talca micro buses solo.

 

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So my student Visa expires on September 9th, and I was told to submit a renewal no sooner than July 1st.  Well, I’ve lived here for almost a year and my friends have been lovely about helping me out when I have to deal with government agencies in Chile.  But, I don’t like bothering people and felt it was time for me to go “solo dolo”.  So my officemate José is such a sweetheart and made me a handwritten map in my notebook so I would know how to get to the correct office in downtown Talca, Maule.  I also shared the map with the bus drive when I boarded the micro so that we were all on the same page. Ha ha :p

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Well, the day was kinda gray and gloomy as it had been raining much of that week.  The micro  is the name of the little buses that travels around the city of Talca and for my purposes downtown.  On this particular day, a woman got on the bus and started passing out these little chocolate candy bars boasting they contained almonds; despite the picture, there wasn’t a single almond in that candy bar when I ate it two days later.  Also, the chocolate wasn’t very tasty either.  Nevertheless, initially I was thinking to myself how lovely someone is passing out free chocolates on this rainy Wednesday.  It must be to cheer up everyone’s day.  In short order, the woman who was passing out the candies stood next to me expecting payment.  I was a little annoyed because I didn’t see her asking anyone else for payment and didn’t want to be treated like the “sucker” foreigner.  I had the 100 pesos (about 20 cents) but it was a matter of principle (or so I thought).  Noticing my annoyance and effort to find my coin purse the bus driver paid the woman and smiled as me indicating that I didn’t need to worry about it.  I assured him I hand the money and offered to repay him; but he wouldn’t accept it to which I said, “Gracias” with a smile.

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I arrived at my stop and the bus driver gave me notice that was where I wanted to go.  So I started walking toward my destination and am always impressed by some of the Graffiti art I see in the city.  Above are a few pictures that I took.  It’s also sobering to see remnants of the big 2010 earthquake that devastated parts of Talca, Maule and the surrounding province areas.  There are plenty of new edifices going up around the city, but still many areas particularly in El Centro still show signs of the damage to buildings during the big quake.

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Even, the government office I arrived at had been only partially repaired and also had some nice Graffiti artwork on its exterior.

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Yay!!  I got my temporary student Visa renewal document while my application is being processed in Santiago.  I didn’t realize until my committee member who lives in Chile told me that it’s difficult to get a student Visa to chile and particularly one for as long as I had, (un año) one year.  I appreciate the fact that the Director and all of his folks in the office are happy to see me return and support my staying for another year as their guest Visiting Scholar.  I so love those folks at UCMaule. 🙂

So you know this story will not end without some type of adventure, because well it’s me.  So, when I left the government building I went the wrong direction and ended up on some street where I had no idea where I was.  I continued to walk a bit and the more I walked the more unfamiliar the neighborhoods appear.  So what did I don?  Ain’t now shame in my game. I was a Girl Scout growing up and turned right back around and traced my steps back to the government office where I processed my Visa.  I then realized that I had literally turned left at the corner when I should have turned right.  But, now worries.  It allowed me to get this precious photo below of a loving young woman patiently strolling with an elderly women possibly a relative, on the streets of El Centro.

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So that takes to to something I wanted to mention I’ve noticed in Chile, Talca in particular, and that is how much respect and reverence people seem to have for the elderly here in this country.  As I was riding the micro and looking out the window I would see instances of what appeared to be middle-aged children assisting their parents who were using walkers and canes.  I also saw how young people would willingly give up their sets for senior citizens who were standing, because the bus was full of passengers.  I couldn’t remember the last time I saw something like that on a public bus in the US.  Most of the time people just keep to themselves on the bus in America in fear of making eye-contact with someone who might harass you.  I know there is a special blessing for those individuals who are respectful and honorable toward the elderly.  If the Lord is willing and the “creek don’t rise” one day that elderly person will be you and I.  Just something to think about.  Enjoy your day and/or evening.

As per usual, chau chau! 🙂

 

 

Feliz día de Padres (Happy Fathers’ Day)

Feliz día de Padres (Happy Father's Day)

We have so much respect, love, and appreciation for our Daddy.

Where do I begin to share with you all about the awesomeness of our father? My Dad’s nickname growing up was “Sonny”, and my little sister Keasha always says… “Everybody should have a little Sonny Brown in their life.” Today, more than any other time, I concur with her assessment. We are very blessed to still have both of our parents; because many people find celebratory days like this one very difficult to experiences. I greatly empathize with that reality and whoever is readying this and misses their father, I invite you to share mine in this short blog exchange.

I have always been a self-proclaimed “Daddy’s Girl” and I am sure that few in my immediate family would disagree with me about that position. All of my siblings and Mom tell me that emotionally, I am very much like my Dad who I would describe as walk softly, but carry a big stick if people start trippin’!! Ha ha.  My father and I have always seemed to have a mental, intellectual, and spiritual connection that allowed us to communicate without words.

My parents were very young when they married (around 19 years old) and at times it seemed that we were growing-up right alongside these young parents. In my opinion there was only an upside to that reality. There are numerous stories I could tell about how my father has been there for his family, from the time he helped me manage my asthma as a youngster by encouraging me to run with him down by Summit Lake at 6 am in the mornings, to the time he walked from his factory job returning home with actual icicles hanging from his nose as he had to walk home from Barberton, Ohio when his car broke down. Because of my Daddy’s encouragement during my early years, I went on to become a star-athlete in junior high and high school in track and field earning a silver medal in Junior Olympics competition and breaking a school record in the hurdles as a teenager. My father supported and encouraged us not only in our extracurricular activities, but also in our academic and spiritual development. I remember my father attentively reading my papers during my undergraduate and graduate years in college and he remains today the smartest and wisest person I have ever known. These are not simply the musings of a daughter holding larger-than-life exaggerations of her father; because there are easily 5 more sibling corroborators along with a long host of grandchildren who can attest to how very special and wonderful our Daddy (and Grandpa) has been and continues to be.

One of the few pictures of our Daddy as a teenager.

One of the few pictures of our Daddy as a teenager.

My Dad is the oldest of seven siblings and only he and my Aunt Bev are still on this natural earthly plane with us out of that group. I can only image the heartache associated with the transitioning of your parents and most of your siblings that my father has endured.  Nevertheless, my father’s spirit and dignity always allows us as a family to remain both mentally and emotionally strong during some of the toughest challenges in our lives.

Of course, there were times when I thought both of my parents were out of touch as a youngster growing up, believing that they simply didn’t understand how things are changing in “The World”. But, I have come to realize as an adult that my Dad’s claims (as per King Solomon) that there is nothing new under the sun have been pretty accurate, and that although technology and innovation has introduced new complexities in life, human beings maintain a consistent type of character that if you are attentive, you can learn how best to negotiate. Ultimately, wisdom is the principle thing with my Daddy (1 Kings 4:29; Proverbs 4:7). It is because of my father that I always had big dreams and was never afraid to pursue them. Words cannot express the joy I felt being able to Skype with my Dad from Chile and sharing with him my excitement about traveling to another country in the pursuit of my PhD.

So, in order to try and wrap up this post and honor to my father I have to say that the “true” blog post would be much too long in my effort to describe how my father has always been a man of quiet dignity and strength for all of his children. He teaches and examples to us the virtues of hard work, family support, loyalty, and how placing God as the head of your life can greatly assist in directing for you a prosperous path. So on this special date, I pause to thank God for my Daddy and every time I see his smile, hear his laugh, or listen to him pray, I am every more appreciative to be his daughter. ¡Te quiero mucho Papi! Gracias por todos. ❤  🙂

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With the help of my daughter I could Skype and laugh with my Daddy and Mommy from Chile

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Saturday family homemade Ice Cream scoops with Daddy pre-Father’s Day

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It was perfect weather today for our get together BBQ in order to celebrate the awesome Father’s in our families.

Happy Father’s Day to all who call or know you as you Daddy