Last week was my first week in Linares, this week was my second. Stories of how an impulsive nature can lead to both beautiful and terrible times where you feel in over your head.
If you've read my last post, you''ll see I'm not as homesick as I used to be. That's a huge sigh of relief for me. When I moved to Linares, I was sure I would make more friends, which I have, but they're more hospital friends than friends outside the hospital. And when that didn't come to fruition, it lead to some pretty insane decision making:
1) On the first Monday of me being in Linares, some very very sweet interns invited me to hang out with them and they taught me how to make a delicious traditional chilean alcoholic drink. But then I smoked with them, and as I got more high their words got more mumbled/modismo'd. Soon the social situation was reduced to me sitting there watching mouth-a-gap as this one girl bad mouthed other students, nurses, and matronas in the hospital to a group of 5-6 other people in her class. And they were just fixated by this one-woman show that wasn't even good. Overtime I tried to excuse myself to leave, but I was told that if I waited, I would be given a ride home. So I watched this spectacle for 2 hours when I easily could've taken a cab home for $2.50.
2) I had sex with someone who has shown me several times even before we had sex this time just how much he does not respect me. But I'm addicted to oxytocin and needed a fix and he is cute and I knew he was a good cuddler. I'm still reflecting on this one.
3) Good times: On Tuesday I had worked in the afternoon clinic with a wonderful OBGYN who works with adolescents in both pregnancy and gynecological care. I boldly asked her if we could meet to discuss research topics, which she agreed to do and I was invited to her house for dinner on Saturday! It was a magical experience in that this chat of ours was both intellectual and familiar. I was socially amped afterwards. But I was facing another Saturday night alone. So I decided to head to Santiago to find those new running shoes I needed and to go climbing the next day. Problem was that it was 8:00pm and there were no more buses to Santiago until Monday. I was told that if I waited on the highway by the police patrol where all of the buses coming from the south need to stop, then I could get a bus that way. This is when the nightmare starts: When I got to the police patrol, they were taking away the cones, indicating that the patrol was over for the day. But I am not one to give up on travel plans once they've been initiated. I ended up hitchhiking with an evangelical dude with some sort of grandiose personality disorder in a big cargo truck driven by a much less verbose but probably equally religious campo man. I tried to book a hostel from the truck as my friend scolded me on WhatsApp for making such a rash decision, but Google doesn't work on my Chilean phone (actually.) As we went through the toll booth about 40km out of Santiago, we were told by the cashier that there was a serious accident in 10km. At this point, it is 11:30pm and I am without a hostel arrangement. The less religious guy took advice from the more religious guy (hahah why is this a running theme in the world) to take a detour to the micro bus we would eventually need to take to get to center city. The detour lead us to an underpass that the truck cannot clear. We had to take another detour that involved both trucker and evangelical MEN leaving the truck to back it out of a rural road (see how self-destructive this is?!). Evangelical man now has another idea of where to go (again, why are we listening to him? this is the man who previously said that it was God's doing that we breathe while we sleep. NO DUDE! We breathe while we sleep because of an involuntary reflex controlled by baroreceptors and chemoreceptors ugh!). This is when I start speaking up, saying that none of these detours makes any sense. They tell me to relax, which is when I explain to them how scary it is for me as a woman to be with two men I don't know at this late hour. Then Evangelical man tries to reassure me by saying that when we get down from the truck then I will only have one man to worry about (!!!). Evangelical man and I eventually get out of this truck, take a colectivo to center city. Good. Now we're in Santiago. Evangelical man wants to make sure I get to a hostel safely. Ok fine. The first hostel doesn't have space for me. While Evangelical man and I are walking to the second hostel, we happen to walk by the church where he had stayed for 3 months, at which point Evangelical man tries to make creepy ghost noises to demonstrate how old the church is. Not helping. When we can't find the 2nd hostel because it was one block further than expected, he drops me off in a low budget Chilean hotel run by 2 women where I agree to his pressurized voice to stay in the dingiest room for 24 lucas ($40) so he can finally go home. When he's finally left, I tell the women that he pressured me to stay there and that I just need to find this hostel. This is where the nightmare ends: The women are incredibly understanding and empathetic to my plight and walk me to the hostel (9 lucas for a night = $13). The 2nd hostel happens to be the same hostel my best friend and I chose to stay in during our 1-day stop in Chile 3 years ago!!!!!! I'm in bed by 2:30 am. The next day in Santiago was WONDERFUL!!!! I went shopping, got new sneakers, got clothes I didn't need, went to Starbucks, and went to a climbing gym/ate chocolate cake with fun chilean climbers/did my first climbing in 4 months!!!!
Its times like these where the bad times are so bad but the resulting good times are so good that I wonder if being derailed into a bad situation is actually worth it.... Is my impulsiveness/spontaneity/need-to-move/need-for-adventure/wanderlust a flaw to rebuke or is it a positive trait to nourish?
And this is sometimes where I find myself in modern culture... that who I am naturally does not fit with what is safest. When I need to be adventurous and in the sun and around people, a male-dominated and violent and lonely world tells me that it is safest indoors with Netflix. When I find myself loving someone openly, I am told to be careful or else I will get hurt. When I find myself enthusiastic and wild and honest, I am told to be careful to not seem unprofessional. I do not think my spontaneity is an inherently flawed trait to repress or extinguish. It just means that I have to work hard to make the world a place where it is safe to be naturally me.