There is Life at the Bottom of the Earth

16 Oct

Hola! Hace muchisimo tiempo, no? I don’t doubt that many of our faithful readers have already created their own versions of my demise on this great unknown continent—Could I have been kidnapped by natives resentful of all that is foreign? Or might I have been consumed by a jaguar while traveling home from the university on a dirt path through the forest? Or did one of the nearby volcanoes erupt violently in the middle of the night, burying the entire city in ash?—and perhaps many of them have already begun mourning the loss of one of the greatest young minds in the Western world. While the large banquets in my honor and the mass distribution of my written and artistic works across the US must be a flattering sight, I insist that all such activity be stopped at once—I am still the sole proprietor of my intellectual work and claim all profits gained from its circulation. Joe the Scholar, Almost-Esq. will assure the observance of all applicable laws during my absence.

So where have I been for the past couple of months? Quite simply, at the bottom of the earth. As the crow flies (an idiom I recently taught my Advanced Proficiency class), the city of Osorno is over 8,000 km from my hometown in Virginia. The cold, rainy winter is finally giving way to Spring, and the entire country is coming back to life with a wild, untamed beauty unlike any I’ve ever seen.

On my travels up and down this long, skinny green bean of a country, I have been left breathless by menacing smoking volcanoes, majestic snow-capped mountains, enormous coast-pummeling waves, expansive orchards and vineyards without visible end, and a strange-looking bird called a Bandurria (Google it. You know you wanna.) Every night, without fail, the moon hangs in the sky side upside down and fills with light from left-to-right (much more intuitive to readers of Latin-based languages; I was never a fan of the progression of the moon phases in the North). And a public healthcare system means any basic medical procedure is free for visiting gringos like myself (more to come on that). I have been super-busy with planning for classes and grading assignments recently—my lack of study and training in the education field has made this a challenging job, as I’m essentially instructing future English teachers—but I have been having a great time with students and professors alike. Nevertheless, I realize that my negligence of TCP has meant that our readers have been deprived of an important international voice that is greatly needed to balance the ethnocentric—albethey enjoyable—ramblings of my co-writer. I hope to keep in much more frequent contact during the coming months, and my fingers are still crossed about that volcano outside my city.

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