Slacktivist, for now.
Wednesday, 06.01.2011 - 10:19 am.

Suddenly, june. Three months ago, I flew in this country. I'm still in awe over how nice and easy I've had it. Ok, not entirely, I've had minor glitches (namely, problems with the scholarship money) but in terms of warmth and hospitality, it was like people were waiting for me, including an awesome man, and I have not been left alone. I'll take this opportunity to, once again, express how grateful I am for being here and having all I have.

Another minor discomfort is how often I get sick. Like, I am sick right now, again. I blame it on the weather and the horrible clouds of smoke, although Andrew told me to consider taking vitamins and see if it helps. Also, everytime I show a sign of getting sick, I have some engagement that makes me walk an extra mile, physically, and that's when I fall ill.

This time around, it was the fact that I had to travel to a nearby town for the diabetes project/my thesis. We're visiting clinics to recruit people with diabetes. Yesterday I went to this town, like 30 minutes by bus. It's a very small, rural town, but it's a bit colder (from there you can see a volcano covered in snow) and the work I had to do was exhausting. I was already coughing, and on my way back, fever started.

Andrew takes good care of me, so I can't complain. We take turns, because he also gets's me, then him, then me again. But usually it's me who gets it harder. Hence, here I am right now, in bed, not wanting to move at all. But the cat is keeping me company, she's good fuzz therapy. And I need to be fully rested for the next three days: I have classes, from 9 am to 7 pm. Killer.

So where have I been? Working on my master's, of course, but also, last week there was a literature festival and friends of Andrew's came into town. A classmate of mine, Julie, and I visited a train station, now museum, where poet Pablo Neruda used to play as a child. I've been also trying to write more in my blogs and keep up with Simeon's comic strips. I sent a care package home. I talk to friends and family via skype or e-mail.

Virginia and I in particular have become very close. Not in terms of frequency of communication, but yesterday she sent me a long, long e-mail. So long, she added an index. It was about why she hadn't written back in a few weeks and, in a nutshell, she'd gone through a few things that made her reach the clarity, happiness and self-worth she didn't have before. I feel very honored that she'd tell me all that, and I understood her completely. You may say I "lost" two years trying to win a scholarship, two very painful years with a job I hated and the burden of Joseph's ghost, but those two years were also filled with experiences that made me reach a great deal of maturity and yes, happiness.

In other news, I'm trying to go vegan. Here I've gone on to become hyper-aware of animal suffering in every realm. I was always very sensitive to this subject, particularly with dogs* and animals in the circus, but as I've added more and more animal rights associations to my facebook feed, I'm appalled by all the brutality us "human animals" inflict on "non-human animals" on a daily basis.

* One of my hobbies now is to caress stray dogs...with precaution, of course, I know some can bite. But in general, they're as hungry for affection as they are for food and they start wagging their tail once you give them some attention. I always try to carry some snack to give away, but it's prohibited to feed stray dogs (I'm not sure it's prohibited per se, but there are consequences if authority sees you doing this). I get the feeling most of these dogs once had a home. And every night and morning when I look out the window and feel the cold, wind, rain, smog and fog, I can't believe there are homeless beings out there. I cannot believe people would throw them out to the streets with such a cruel weather.

I have yet to find a way to help. I wish I could adopt but I live on a 4th floor and I don't think these are conditions for a dog (it's a small apartment with no yard and while I'm home most of the time, sometimes Andrew and I go out for long periods). I've found a local association that helps stray and abused dogs and cats, I'll write and see if I can be of any help, beyond donating some money.

For now, I just sign petitions regarding this or that form of animal abuse. I know, slacktivism at its best but they kind of work, I think, sometimes. I shall make myself really useful in the near future.

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