So, I was walking the Rips in a slightly dirty part of town that I think many folks in the States would think was scary. I thought about the fact that I did not feel unsafe or threatened in any way. I realized that this was the exact thing I’ve been reading about for years now. I had never really even thought about my color until I became educated about the privilege that I grew up with. Privilege, even though we were broke and it was a really shitty situation. I have never been pulled over or questioned because of my color and most of the time, people don’t notice me at all. Even here, which leads to what I was thinking about. I was completely surprised that no one was staring at me. I felt completely at ease and accepted. Maybe that’s because Chileans are accepting, or it could just be that they don’t give a shit about the lone gringa and her dog wandering through their neighborhoods. I think its the latter. More people notice the dog and point and stare at her because there are few to no heelers in this country. I get stopped and asked about her breed (“raza”) more than anything, and it usually leads to some interesting conversations and wonderful exchanges. This must be the reason I’m so happy here. Having Ripley come with me was a great decision, even when she eats my underwear and tries to pull my arm off while walking. People here love dogs, even though there are so many that get abandoned to the streets. I guess by proxy, that means they like me because I have an obviously much-loved dog with me.
I don’t know, but I’m grateful that this is all working out so well. I still like my classes and students, and I’m already down to only 4 months left here. It’s delightfully crazy.
By the way, you are all still welcome to come visit. You’ll need a sleeping pad and a blanket, but this is a beautiful place, litter and all, and the mountains are irresistible.