This week has been kind of all over the place, for lack of a better term. On Tuesday, due to teachers’ schedules, we had a 4 hour Human Rights class. During which, for all 4 hours, we focused on gender violence. I do believe that it’s important for us, every single human, to examine our cultures in attempts to understand the structural archetypes that have made us and our world what they are. That being said, 4 straight hours of gender-based violence was overwhelming and exhausting. Specifically, we watched a clip from a documentary on the femicide occurring in Juarez, Mexico and all came face to face with the realities of structural violence. Policemen turning a blind eye to the murders, torturing innocent people to confess, while the cartels continue to control the city, including the booming maquilladoras, and women can be abducted anytime, anywhere. If you have never heard of this, please take a moment, for me and all of the women in Juarez, to educate yourself.
Then on Wednesday, unfortunately, I had back to back midterms. Exams are doubly frustrating here because our professors DON’T want to give them to us; however, they are required to by the program director in order to make the program reflective of a university in the States. Why anyone would study abroad so that they could attend a school designed to mimic one they’ve just left is beyond me. But, that is neither here nor there at this point.
But, things got better after the exams ended. Our Spanish professor invited us to hold our class at her house for coffee and snacks instead of sitting in a classroom. It was wonderful! Her house is beautiful, high up on a mountain that overlooks the city. The view was incredible and the company was wonderful. We made fresh guacamole and patacones (smashed, fried plantains) and just sat around on her beautiful deck and chatted for a few hours. It was probably one of the top Spanish classes I’ve ever attended.
The rest of the week was much more light-hearted. Thursday evening I convinced some of my friends to join me at a jazz bar for an evening of music dedicated to Ella Fitzgerald. The venue was one tiny room in the basement of a larger house (which was also hosting other live music). It was dark, hot, and small – the perfect jazz bar. A 5 piece band came on stage (pianist, bass, percussion, flute, and vocals). It was SO wonderful to hear an evening of jazz after about a month and a half of a life filled with reggae. Although I admittedly have a very critical ear, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Then today, I went with a few friends to a local park where the community was hosting a full day of free activities! We arrived in the early afternoon and strolled through the artisanal vendors before catching a circus show! After the show was a 2 hour hula hooping workshop (complete with a terrific DJ)! And, best of all, the rain held off until everything was over and I was cozy in my house.
I think San José is growing on me… 🙂