Friday, December 30, 2011

2012 Esp

Pienso que estoy lista para escribir esta cuestion.

Aca en el Chilean Miner I, el primer de los 33, con los movimientos del marea y champana, estoy pensando en 2011.

Creci como persona mas que nunca este ano.

Paciencia: Estando en Chile, aprendi a relajar.  Tuve problemas al principio en sentar y hablar de lo que parecia siempre las mismas cosas y haciendo lo mismo la proxima comida o dia.  Ahora puedo relajar y hablar tranquilamente sin pensar que 'debo' estar haciendo algo.  No es una perdida de tiempo.

Amor:  Nunca mas me va a enganar.  Mi corazon esta ahora reservado para alguien que lo merece.

Familia:  No hay nada mas importante que familia.  Disfruta con ellos y pasar el tiempo con los mas te importan.

Respeto:  Hay los que si lo tienen y los que no.  Jamas voy a pasar el tiempo con alguien que habla de mi en persona tercera en frente de mi.  Pero todavia voy a darlos mi respeto.

Criticismo:  He aprendido a negarlo cuando viene de alguien que no me quiere ni me conoce y escuchar las opiniones de los que si.

Confianza:  De nuevo, YO, y los que me quieren.  Nadie mas.

Determinacion Autonoma:  Desafortunadamente, no es respetado en todas partes. Fortunadamente para mi, tengo todo lo que para seguir con mis metas.

Preservancia:  Cuando la meta 'sta wena', daselo todo.  Cuando te hace dano seguir, dejalo.  No tiene sentido seguir haciendo algo que no te traiga nada.

Enfermedad de la mente:  No hay nadie que este loco.  Solo les falta amor y se le pelo.

Y muchas mas...

Pensando ahora en mi estandia en Chile, ni solo aprendi de la cultura chilena pero ahora entiendo porque un pais que este 'desarollando' funciona como funciona y lo que necesita para desarollar.  Muchas veces me preguntaron de mi opinion; "Tu, como extranjera, que piensas?"  Eso fue super dificil para mi contestar.  Soy super anti-conflicta y me complicaba contestar honestamente porque pensaba que iba ofender.  Los chilenos son unicos.  Descubri algo todas las semanas que me extranaba y queria estudiar.  Cuando recien llegue, me dijo alguien que es un pais tercer mundo.  "We're in Chile, what do you think?"  No le creia.  Todavia no lo creo.

Chile tiene potencial de ser mucho mas.  La gente desea mas, hay metas en el gobierno, las escuelas, las municipalidades, etc.  Hay procesos que se estan haciendo, ninos que se estan educando (Vamo' Cony y Panchito!), tecnologia por todos lados que abre oportunidades para gente que nunca lo tenia.  Lo que se necesita es que la sociedad lo acepta.  Trabajando para las metas, CON GANAS, haciendo los procesos que estan puestos (esto es el miedo/falta de confianza en 'el systema' que se trajo generaciones de dictaduras), y claro, trabajando juntos.  Sin pensar en que clase este otro, son chilenos y humanos todos.  Este tipo de desarollo puedo ocurrir en Chile, lo veo.  Emprendedores, gente de negocio, escuelas, universidades, todos tienen sus ideas para el futuro.  Quiero y deseo yo que los chilenos se apoyan entre ellos.  He visto como son cuando hay un partido o cuando se necesitan, quiero que se juntan ahora para crecer y desarollar como quieran tanto.

Para mis amigos chilenos, siempre vendre a verlos, Chile y su gente tendran un lugar en mi corazon especial.  Me encantaria seguir con mi proyectos que deje alla.

Para terminar, mis metas para 2012:

- Correr una maraton cada mes
- Correr una carrera de 50 millas(
- Dar paz a todos
- Crecer mas como humano

Los quiero a todos y los deseo lo mejor de todo, salud, amor, trabajo, en 2012 y siempre.  Que sean lo mejor que se pueden.

(No he revisto ni corregido, perdona los errores y cosas de emocion)

Elizabeth Kocek
Nunca olvidare el acento chileno, wn.


I think I'm ready to write this thing!

As I sit in the Chilean Miner I, drinking champagne and swaying just a tad, I am reflecting on 2011.

2011 was the year I developed the most.  
I have learned:

Patience:  Spending time in Chile taught me relax.  As much as I struggled with sitting and talking about the same things and doing the same thing the following meal or day, I am now able to sit for hours without having the sensation that I "should" be doing something.  

Love:  I will never be fooled again.  My heart is now reserved for someone who deserves it.  

Family:  There is nothing more important than family.  Cherish your time with them and be sure to make time for the people that matter.

Respect:  Some people have it, some people don't.  No more spending time with people that talk about me in the 3rd person when I am standing in from of them.  This doesn't mean to disrespect them either.

Criticism:  I have learned how to disregard it from the people who do not care and are just talking out of their A$$ and appreciate the opinions of the people that matter.

Trust: Again, only myself and the people that care.  No one else.

Self-Determination:  Unfortunately, this is not respected in all parts of the world.  Fortunately, I have the guts to believe in myself, no matter where I am.

Perseverance:  When the goal is right, give it your all.  Personal goals are very powerful when they don't involve hurting yourself.  Sometimes it's just stupid to put energy into something that gets you no where.

Mental Illness:  No one is crazy, just a little "off". 

There are many other things I can think of. 

Reflecting now on my time in Chile, not only did I learn about the Chilean culture but I now have a better understanding of why a 'developing' country works the way it does and what it would take for it to be 'developed'.  The Chilean people are amazing in so many ways. I discovered a new piece of their culture to examine and analyze practically every week.  When I first arrived, I was told by a Chilean it is a 3rd world country and I didn't believe him.  I still don't believe him.  Chile has much more potential than 3rd world.  The people are striving for more, there are goals for the future, there are processes being put into place, children being educated and technology reaching into villages, giving opportunities to people that never had them before.  It is truly a matter of the Chilean society accepting these opportunities, working towards the goals, following the processes, and working together.  That is where the development needs to be focused.  Entrepreneurs, business men and women, schools, etc, have plans for a greater future.  I encourage the Chilean people to encourage each other.  I have seen you come together in time of great need, come together as a people now in order to reach the level of development you seek.

As a note to my Chileno friends, you will be seeing me still in Chile, as it still remains strong in my heart.  I feel I left work undone that I would like to follow up on in the future.  

On an ending note, my goals for 2012:

- Run a marathon every single month
- Complete a 50 mileer
- Spread peace to everyone
- Grow stronger as a person.

I love you all and I wish you the best of the best in 2012.  Be the best you can be.

(I have not reread nor revised, I apologize for any mistakes or emotional mishaps.)

Elizabeth Kocek

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

So, Jorge came for 3 weeks and we had a WONDERFUL time.  I can't wait to see him again.

This meant I need to get into full training mode.  I even passed up Midget wrestling last night when my crazy neighbors invited me.  I guess I'm old when I don't care if I "never have this opportunity again".  I had a plan to get into the mountains today!  Of course, I had heard it was going to rain.  BUT, it's San Diego rain.  Like some drizzles.  I almost changed my schedule this morning but I made it out there to the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, after stopping at CVS to get some pepper spray for the mountain lions that have apparently attacked up there.  They didn't have it and I told him that it would be his fault if I get attacked.  He didn't seem to care...

So, I was thrilled to have mud on my legs again!  I used to run on my lunches when I was at AIU in the Poplar Creek Forest Preserve and come back with mud on my legs.  Chile doesn't get much rain and their dirt is more of a clay.  At least where I was living.  Plus, since being in San Diego, I haven't gotten mud on my legs.  (But running barefoot on the beaches makes up for it!)  So, I was thrilled!  I wore a shirt from a race in Chile I ran with Alejandro and my classic 2007 Big Sur Marathon long sleeve shirt.  I brought a fleece too just in case.  Driving up was great, they had the markers for the elevation, although they have those in Chile I still get impressed coming from the Midwest.  The rain kept on and the windows got foggy.  I stopped at a local restaurant and got a map from a woman who had probably never left the state park in her entire life.  It was by the campground that looked awesome.

So, I found my path and I went.  Long pants with shorts underneath just in case, two 8oz bottles of water in my fuel belt and some munchies.  It was MUDDY!  It was COLD!!!  The views were GREAT!!!  My hands were FREEZING!  I left my running gloves back in boat since I didn't think I needed them.  If it's not snowing, it's not cold.  HA.  Little Midwesterner underestimated the Cuyamacas.  Luckily, I had a fleece headband from my Dad from years ago otherwise my ears would have fallen off.  I trudged on for a few miles, I think my chin and neck were the only things dry.  My high-tech shirts didn't dry off quick enough in the 'drizzle' I thought I was going to encounter.  I debated turning around...  "Am I being stubborn and stupid?"  "Or, did I just become a wimp not being in cold weather for so long"  I started trying to think of signs of hypothermia... I wasn't shivering, my hands were a weird yellow color and didn't work, I was thinking logically, or was I?  I recalled the woman who had gone out for a run in the mountain, in California, and ended up falling into a ravine, busting up her ankle and was stuck there for 3 days with only 8oz of water and she got her period.  She made it through but when she needed to be hospitalized for days.  Was this my fate or was I being silly?  Have I gotten that old and precautious?  I did turn down the opportunity to watch midget wrestling after all.  And it was probably the one and only chance I would have had...

I finally decided it was time to turn around and head back to the car when I ran into a guy with a full parka with the hood up, gear and walking stick who asked me which direction to the top of the mountain we were apparently on.  I was afraid he was spying on me and he was going to tell the Ranger there's some crazy girl running around up there.  I didn't take any precautions on the way back, ankle deep in streams, I stepped directly into the mud and puddles, didn't move any branches out of my way, I figured I'd go out in a storm.  By the time I finally got back to the car, it took both hands and a push with my shoulders to turn the key in the door.  (the clicker opener is at the bottom of our marina...)  And then it took nearly 20 mins for my fingers to function well enough to open the zipper on my pants to take off my wet pants.  So, I laughed at myself and drove back to San Diego. I'll go back when it's sunny.

I finished my run at the Y, I had seen that they had a free 2-week trial going on.  I wanted to join anyway for the pool.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about my day. I also made a spanish tortilla, some coleslaw and some quinoa today...


Friday, September 23, 2011

How to label international airports

I've just arrived back in San Diego after 3 long flights from Santiago.  Santiago, Chile to Lima, Peru, to San Jose, Costa Rica and then finally to Los Angeles where we had left the car with some friends.  I got started thinking in my after-18th stage of tired mixed with jetlag about airports.  I had no idea what time it was, both of my phones were on different times than my watch and I had forgotten whether it was the US or Chile that had already changed for the season.  (It was Chile =)

So, I've been in airports in close to 20 countries, in some really small towns around the world and the biggest in the world.  Kosice, Slovakia, another small one outside of Milan that took me to another small one outside of Berlin, on the only SMOKING flight I've ever been on.  I've been to all 3 London airports, I've waiting in line in Seville cursing my brains out with Jefe, and I've gotten a salivary gland infection that caused me to receive a steroid shot in the butt while waiting in Detroit for 10 hours after our 3 flights back to Chicago were delayed, AFTER we had flown (with my mom and sister) from Corpus Christi, to Houston, to Detroit in order to get back to Chicago.  My brother got back from Corpus Christi driving before we made it!

So, my point is, just looking at two things will give you a big idea of what kind of airport/city/country you're in.  This I discovered when walking into the San Jose giftstore recently and was shocked.

#1:  Do they sell wooden structures of native people or metal structures representing buildings? 

#2:  Condition of the bathroom.  Is there a line?  Are the people waiting patiently?  Does the door lock?  Is there toilet paper?  Is it on the ground?  Does it flush properly?  Is there hot water in the sink?  Soap?  Towels or hand dryers?  Finally, is there a DRINKING FOUNTAIN outside. 

All of these factors and more need to be taken into account when evaluating an airport.  I'm going to work on a formula to figure out scores.  I'm sure there is some kind of international evaluation through the UN but mine will be better. 

San Jose was an interesting airport.  In talking with a woman on my flight whose husband has a business there, the people have very low living standards much like the rest of Central America.  However, the airport shows you just how many tourists they get.  In Santiago, Lima, Bogota, Quito, etc, I've never been spoken to in English.  Here, I was greeted in English.  I felt that sense of being attacked you feel in malls when walking into stores in the US.  They sell all the regular drinks, magazines, snacks, etc, as any airport in the US, the bathroom was beautiful, and there was a working drinking fountain.  Now, in order to bring up their scores, they will need a Starbucks in every terminal, wifi throughout the airport, a pet relieving station, a chapel and a prayer room.

I'm back in the boat now and just wanted to share my thoughts during my last trip.  I wish everyone a great weekend.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

En Chile again


After spending 3 months in San Diego, living on a boat, we have returned to Chile.  I have to admit, it was hard. At first, I figured I had to change my mindset and try to be more reserved and not drink, and do dishes, etc.  Now, I am going to try a different approach.  If someone complains about my behavior, I still have the gringa excuse.  That´s all.

I saw a Chilean movie on the plane coming here.  It´s called Machuca and takes place during the 1973 revolution.  The idea of communism I had here was, according to the movie, very different than the Polish and Soviet communism I had studied.  Allende actually lost the Socialist support, probably one of the reasons the coup was able to happen.  And, there were fully-functioning catholic schools during that time.  I had wondered how, if Pinochet believed in the "Chicago Boys" and his neoliberalism; using the open markets to control the government and the country´s economy, why were his representatives and his techniques defying human rights?  Aside from being a dictator, of course, I couldn´t get it around my head why in theory it should function, but he represented and represents still the deaths and disappearances of so many Chileans.

I am beginning to understand.  To make something happen in Chile, unfortunately, force is needed.  It was quoted to me today in describing a Chilean, "my way or the highway".  The idea of trying to understand and attempt to use someone else´s idea is foreign to the common Chilean.  Unless that idea comes from Europe or the US.

Also, in the movie, they showed both sides of the political spectrum.  Which, unfortunately, corresponds with the socio-economic groups as well.  From what they showed, there was no one from the upper-class that supported Allende or any leftist group, the leftists groups being more extreme.  To my surprise, the English Catholic school where the two kids from different social statuses meet was allowed to function and actually shut down after the coup.  BECAUSE, the head priest, an English man, was attempting to integrate students from another neighborhood and social status.    Something that the parents couldn´t even understand why.  Simple diversity and integration was unknown.  Not only after the US´s Civil Rights movement subsided, but, 10 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I have a dream speech".

The biggest thing I realized after watching the movie and something that didn´t really shock me but actually put a lot into perspective for me was that the Chilean mentality hasn´t really changed.  Chileans from the upper and even the middle class, (which I should mention has developed since then), are not able to, or, ´shouldn´t´ spend time with or be friend´s with people from lower classes.  I´ve heard them being called, "THOSE people" and within the same lower-class level, when another tries to move up and do well for themselves, someone from their status will inevitably try to pull them down.

Even some of the chants in the street I heard once when I went to check out a protest back in May or April were the same.  And, I read that families went to the streets in July with pots and pans as well.  And, from what I´ve heard, people are still rounding up stray dogs in the middle of the night.  At this point, I can´t say whether they´re doing it for the meat or just to get them off the streets.  Of course, the movie came out in 2004 but it seemed to be a good representation of the 1973 Chile.

This movie should be shown in every school around Chile.  I would say at least by Freshmen year of HS, primer medio.

Welcome back to Chile.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update in Santiago

Well, it´s been 7 months, whoops!!

Started an English school:  It´s going alright for now.  I need to get more students, that´s all.  I get resumes from teachers practically every week wanting to teach but not enough students yet... But, summer is coming to an end and everyone has told me that people are now coming back to life after being on vacation for 3 months!!

I helped to celebrate Chile´s 200 years of independence in September, that was a huge festival!  It was 4 days of asados, wine and cueca, the national dance!  It was also there that I began to ponder the Chilean idea of how well someone does or not does organize their belongings as being a representation of how good of a person they are.  More to come on that.

In October I returned to Chicago to run the Chicago Marathon with the Hall Steps Foundation and celebrate my nephew´s 4th birthday!  Both wonderful experiences!

November was a good month considering the school and the amount of students.  As well, I organized and cooked a Thanksgiving dinner for friends and students!  It was my first time doing a turkey and it turned out alright... haha!!  And the stuffing was even better!!!  Thank you to Tía Lily for allowing me to use your home...

December is when I got homesick.  We started going to the lake with the kids for the weekend and it took me some time to relax and try to be on vacation without doing anything but eating and washing dishes.  Luckily, I was able to swim, run and bike and just play with the kids.  As a matter of fact, I probably had a better time with the kids than with the adults.... lol

And Christmas was beautiful, I got a beautiful new camera from Jorgito that I have used to the MAX.  Coni, still 8 at the time, got her first cell phone!!  And she was the last in her class to get one as well.  A sign of the times I guess.  Or a sign I´m just getting old.  In between Christmas and New Year´s I came down with pelionefritis (sp?) or, a kidney infection and I was put on antibiotics for 2 weeks!!!  Insane.  Nevertheless, we went out until 8am New Year´s Eve and had a wonderful time!

In January, Jorge and I were going to be gone from the 5th to the 18th on a trip to Brazil. It got cut short by a number of different things and we went on motorcycle to the 4th region, La Serena, Coquimbo and Valle de Elqui.  On the way back we hit a bit of a road block to say the least...  then we went by car to the south.  To Patagonia, it was awesome but rainy and my back hurt terribly the whole time... the whole time... when we got back I got a good deep tissue massage it it helped TREMENDOUSLY.

February came around my friends came to visit!  It was awesome.  We went all over the place.  To el Lago Colbún, to Curicó and Licantén to visit friends, Iloca, Pichilemu and, of course, to Algarrobo.  Unfortunately, one of them got left behind and had to buy a new passport =(  But, everybody had fun, ate good and did a lot of partying!!!!!

Now, in March, I am putting forth 3 major efforts on three projects:  Santiago Abandoned Animals, Chicago English School, and my personal training (both me and others).  Please, if you´re reading this, please read the Santiago Abandoned Animals blogs too:

We are in the process of raising funds, with the idea of starting to operate in May.

Thank you for reading, more to come...

E. Kocek