On Friday night, I went to a salsateca called “Rosa Negra.” I was one of the early-comers and early-goers, arriving at 11:30pm and leaving at 3:30am – these people don’t mess around. And I know I’m not a good dancer, but wow was that emphasized in the context of a club specifically created for salsa dancing and full of Chileans who have grown up with this dance as a part of their culture and all know exactly what steps to do at what time…
One thing I really appreciate about dance down here is that everyone participates, and no one is embarrassed. Dance is one of those things that can make people feel vulnerable to judgement. In Latin America, though, it’s such a big part of the culture (and such a part of their genetics!) that there’s no real atmosphere of discomfort or judgement – at least from my point of view as an outsider. A night at the salsateca is just a night of fun with your friends (and some strangers).
There have been times since coming here that I’ve felt a little uncomfortable about being an outsider. That night was not one of those times. While I was very aware of the fact that I didn’t catch all the social cues or know all the steps or understand all of the language, I was surprisingly content… I didn’t know most of the people there, and I will never see them again; I know what I don’t know, so I think that helped; and I also knew there was no way I would learn it all in the span of a night, so I was happy to laugh at myself and be laughed at (good-naturedly) while witnessing another side of the Chilean culture.
As I’ve said before, the more I see of this country and the more I learn about it, the more I love it.
I’m to going to lie, though — this week was another one full of moments of not feeling like I wanted to be here. They’re usually few and far between now, but they’re still real. Today, however, has been a beautiful day so far, and it’s been reminding me how lovely this place is:
After church, I sat in a park reading, and a little boy decided to share his thoughts on his favorite video game with me.
As I walked home on the opposite side of the street than usual, I caught a glimpse of the snow-capped Andes.
It was a cooler morning than usual, which made walking extra pleasant.
The green plants lining the streets are currently covered in beautiful, colorful blossoms.
Sundays mean closed streets and bike races full of active families.
The parks are also full of happy families and happy couples and people running and exercising and walking their dogs. I got the bonus of a serenade from a pair of parrots in a tree in the park, too.
And I had lunch with my lovely friend Kelcie in a cute little organic cafe — quinoa and fresh smoothies.
It was a good morning. There’s beauty in the little things in every country. I know I’ll still miss home sometimes, but I also know I’ll really miss this place when I leave in three months.
Peace and Blessings and Healthy Reflection x
(From South America)