My mind is meandering tonight, having arrived home very late from work, and having burned my leftover ravioli. Oh well, there’s always red wine for dessert…
I have one foot in the beginning and one in the end. In four weeks, I leave Chile. As I look out at the darkened, rainy cold night, I can’t help but feel conflicted; I have been completely absorbed in this culture, going blind reading Spanish legal texts, driving myself crazy trying to keep up with the demands of work at home, plus a research project that fascinates me but is eating up all my waking moments – and finishing my work with the faculty here, plus trying to prepare for working with three additional law schools in the period of a week before I leave.
The personal relationships I have developed over the last five and half months have begun to take on new meaning – not only those I have had for many years, but the new ones: compassionate, vibrant people who have welcomed me unconditionally and enthusiastically into their lives. There are so many of them, and I am, already, beginning to miss each one deeply. My days continue to be filled with lunches, dinners, meetings; each one a gentle reminder of what little time I have left.
Last night, I went to see “La Fiesta del Chivo” (the Feast of the Goat), featuring Isabella Rossellini and based on the book by prolific Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa. (for those of you who have not read his work, it is definitely worth a try) It is about the dictatorship of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, and was shown free of charge by the consul of the Dominican Republic at the Moneda cultural center (ironically located in the La Moneda Palace, where the Pinochet government murdered Allende…). As the Chileans say, “impactante.” I will miss just walking to every type of entertainment one can imagine….
And speaking of coming into focus, my daughter, who came to visit me for awhile, took off for the south of Chile early Monday morning, in a pickup truck, to join a group of law students. They are spending the first week of winter break building more permanent housing for the earthquake victims in a very small town outside Chillan, with the non-profit organization “Un Techo Para Chile“ (one roof for Chile). Working outside all day in the cold, rain and mud, and spending the nights in sleeping bags in a school cafeteria. Good for them.