It's about time I say something about what I'm actually doing in Chile on a day-to-day basis. I'm working at the Facultad de Medicina (medical school) of the Universidad de Chile (University of Chile) doing research on sistemas visuales (insert obvious translation here).
My work is a twenty to twenty-five minute walk (depending on my mood) from our apartment. The walk is full of interesting sights and sounds. In honor of this stimulating peregrination, I have composed a few lines, to be sung to the tune of the beloved carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas".
But don't worry, I'll skip to the 12th day.
"On the twelfth day of [being in santiago] my [walk to work] gave to me:
12 dogs in sweaters
11 friendly vendors
10 bad graffitis
9 smoggy buses
8 forgotten buildings
6 cat calls
5 gorgeous churches
4 fans with flags
3 locked doors
2 cups of coffee
and the U de Chile school of medicine."
Once I get there, I spend most of the day working on my computer, either reading papers about ensemble perception (perceiving the average characteristics of a group of objects above its individual components) and structure from motion (deriving the three-dimensional structure of something from only its motion- like in this video) or trying to code a stimulus for my as-of-yet hypothetical research project. The idea is to see if people will still perceive the statistical components of a collection of objects as accurately once they perceive them as a unified structure. We'll see.
Random things I've learned as a helper with odd-jobs in the lab:
-how to use a french press to make coffee
-how to hook up an EEG to someone's head while they wish the researcher would stop teaching and get to the task already
-how to turn .png images into .jpg images
-how to say "how boring" in Chilean Spanish ("Qué lata", or, if you're really bored, "Qué laaataaaaaa")
Things I appreciate about my work:
-everyone knows to speak to me in slow Castellano (non-Chilean Spanish), "como una niña", as my supervisor said.
-When Chile played in the Mundiál (FIFA World Cup), everyone stops working to watch... although, that, sadly, can no longer be (RIP Chile).
-they all think I'm a reckless badass for living in El Centro (a neighborhood in Santiago that is predominantly Peruvian, which, according to them, makes it sketchy)
Pretty much every day I eat lunch with my friend, Sophie, who is also in MISTI and works in a lab just down the hall from me. I finish work at about 3:30 (although honestly I could stop at 12 or keep going til 6, and no one would comment), reach the apartment around 4, and spend two hours appreciating that I don't work until 6. Then Ian gets back, and we concoct a plan for dinner.
That's my life in a nutshell :D