Trying to get things moving
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019 - 3:49 pm.

Oh, boy. I've gone two weeks without writing....which just means I skipped one entry, but a lot of things happen over a week. Yet I suppose it would only be worth talking about it all if I wrote every day. It's too much.

The situation in Chile keeps getting worse. People keep fighting, but no substantial changes are happening in the government. The numbers are increasing in terms of people shot, beaten up, sexually abused, illegally arrested, disappeared, tortured or murdered by the police. Shooting to the eyes is a systematic tactic and many civilians have lost an eye, yesterday a uni student lost both. A friend of mine is involved in a university committee that's visiting uni students who have been arrested to help them; some are badly beaten, a few were tortured by having dogs biting their testicles. I cringe when I'm out in the streets, just going about my day, and I see the police. Part of their violence happens randomly (in a calculated way) outside the protests.

And I'm going to Santiago on Monday night! I have to renew my passport on Tuesday in my consulate. It's a stupid errand that should be resolved by mail, but my consulate doesn't do that. I understand it's a sensitive document, but come on, I have to be on a bus for eight hours back and forth, plus move around the city to pick up the document. Andrew's coming with me, bless him, and also we're going by bus but returning by plane, which is just a one-hour flight (less environmentally friendly, but it saves us eight hours. I do wish there were trains here, there used to be).

See, there is a national strike on Tuesday. This is the third time I moved my passport renewal appointment, however, and I need to renew it to travel to my country in January. I'm a bit scared of how things will be in the capital, but for now I can only hope for the best. I suppose I should have gone on the first date they gave me, but then everything was new and it was blowing up. To this day, things keep blowing up. Maybe it'll be the same this Tuesday: everything exploding but life still sort of running. Hopefully. Life running just enough for us to go and come back safely.

Among the social crisis, our personal lives are still unstable but we're starting to move on somehow. Andrew and I were preparing our applications for a post in university way down south, and I had to ask my boss for a recommendation letter. She really wants me around, because personally she's fond of me and professionally I get shit done. The day after I asked her for her letter, she said yes, but then also offered to increase my salary next year. Yooooooo! I never had anyone offer me that before. It feels so damn good!

Just the day after that offer, Andrew and I found an apartment for rent in the building where we used to live before going to the UK. That is, right across our uni. We're tired of commuting and losing two hours of our day. As we waited for the bus (the bus stop is right outside that building), Andrew threw some ideas around and over the next 24 hours, we stuck to this one: let's stay in this city for at least next year. If at least one of us has a job during the first months, we can make ends meet.

My situation for next year looks like this: I'll still be an "independent worker" for my boss, which sucks in terms of social security, but the salary will be higher and I'll get to do research with her. I also may win that grant to do my own research on LGBT issues, so that'd be a second income to help have some savings, and it'll be something personally fulfilling and useful.

Things for Andrew are a bit more grim. He ended up in a very well-respected but secretly poorly-ran unit in the university, and to make a long story short, yesterday he talked about quitting. This week, both he and I were forced to get involved in activities we didn't want to, nor are contractually obligated to partake in, under the rule of Andrew's boss. Andrew's boss is supposedly my boss' partner in research, but off the record, my boss confessed she rarely contributes with nothing but her name, and my boss and I (and plenty of other people) agree that she's very rude and can be quite abusive. My boss stated angrily that Andrew's boss had no business telling me what to do.

My boss rocks, and she's the only person in a position of academic power who has truly registered that Andrew and I are now PhDs and have a lot to offer. She's my sponsor for my research grant, and she offered to be Andrew's for an upcoming call for research proposals within our university (Andrew had been working with her for a while before I even moved to Chile in 2011). In a nutshell, Andrew and I will be able to stay in this town for at least one more year because my boss appreciates me and my skills, and puts her money where her mouth is.

Labor-wise, the possibilities in my immediate horizon are modest but good enough to keep me happy and with all our basic needs covered. Now, I wish for Andrew to get away from that unit. Hell, if it wasn't for my boss, and for the fact that we're not keen on starting over in another city, I'd just wish to get the fuck away from this university altogether. I don't know if Andrew will get around to quitting, his contract finishes in December anyway.

Oh, well. The exciting thing is that we're looking for a new place so we can finally move out of here, hopefully next month. A friend of us (the one in the committee to help arrested students) drove us around neighborhoods nearby campus on Friday afternoon, and we got a couple of phone numbers that we'll try tomorrow Monday. This will be an important step for us to feel like something is finally happening in our lives.

No word on the adoption meeting. Understandable under the current situation, but I keep seeing how even children in the foster circuit are fighting here due to the horrible conditions and abuse they endure in a system that doesn't look after them. It breaks my heart. Someone talked to some kids who were destroying things in the street and were happy to be part o the protests. The kids said they didn't want this chaos to end because for once they felt part of society, and for once society was feeling as angry, abandoned, and excluded as they've always felt. Jesus Christ.

Wish me luck in Santiago. Although, quite frankly, good luck to all of us.

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