After spending another week in northern Chile (5 days of which I spent living with on other student in a small pueblo of ~30 people, Socoroma, living the daily life in the fields, helping out at the school, and studying the town’s current water and irrigation system), I arrived back to Valparaíso at the beginning of November with a whole lot of work ahead of me as I entered the Independent Research Project period. Before any work could begin though, much play and friends had to come first. Two of my best friends from Tufts, Abbie and Janie who are studying in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, came to Valpo/Viña to get a taste of the high life staying with Wee Wee and fam at my house for the 1-3 of November. Between being spoiled by Wee Wee, going to a beer festival, taking a tour of Pablo Neruda’s house, lounging on the dunes, and having a an asado and playing beer pong with Wee Wee, I’m pretty sure the girls had a successful weekend here.
After the girls left, I was immediately greeted with a meeting with my advisor, a sociologist at the University of Chile, who assured me I still did not have a grasp of a specific research question that I could use for my project (something I’ve been told for the past month and a half). After that heart-warming meeting and a few days of scurrying, article rummaging and Google translate, I finally was able to create a concrete enough idea to get off the ground with. As a quick summary, I’ve decided to observe social interactions, specifically competitive behavior, in two socioeconomically contrasting physical education environments by entering into a public and private school to teach 3 sessions of lacrosse in each school. To complement my behavioral observational field study, I will also conduct interviews through out the month in order to comprehend the sources and influences of the kids’ healthy or delinquent daily habits and values in and outside of school. Even after my first intervention in the public school, I already began to pick up on many behavioral subtleties, and with the aid of a fantastic person and physical ed teacher, I have been able to focus in even further on a few key concepts/examples of the student’s behavior that I will continue to build upon in the next few weeks.
No matter how intense or time consuming the project is, I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to do hands on field-based research about a topic that I’m passionate about. Everyone has been so supportive of my ideas here and it even seems as though my original idea of making a mini documentary will turn out! In the past couple months, I did make another short film of my lacrosse ventures before heading on my excursion to the north. Check out the video here…
Still, can’t let my time pass here in Chile without seeing or experiences something new every day. Lsat weekend, I made a trip about an hour south of Valpo to Algarrobo, where I stayed with an incredibly hospitable family (like the majority of Chileans), whom I met back in Colorado this summer. (The inlaws of my sister’s Chilean nanny). Although a strange connection, it was another reassurance to me of just how strong Chilean warmth really is- to have faith in someone you know by 4 degrees of separation, to welcome them into your home and treat them as if you’d know them for years and years. A truly special, beautiful, calm weekend complemented by the world’s largest man-made salt-water lagoon, beautiful walks on the beach, a family reunion/asado while watching Chile’s most prominent soccer teams faceoff (truly experiencing South American love of fútbol), a community parade celebrating the Festival of Spring, and some home made empanadas.
A true treat it was, but now back to work!…I did come here to study.