SCU: Day 11

Published: August 25th 2007
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Today we had a practical lesson and was really enjoyable. On Monday I told Clara how much I enjoyed a soup I tried in Colombia called 'Ajiaco'. She said they had a version of that soup in Cuba and we'd go to the markets and make the soup together. We went to the local markets where Cubans get their ration of vegetables from and found what we needed. Then the three of us sat around Raquel's dining table peeling corn, potatoes, plantains, etc. The process took three hours before we actually sat down for the meal. Of course the two male dance teachers turned up in time to eat with us. I asked them if they were going to wash up the dishes as part of their contribution to the meal. Clara and Raquel gave me a high five for that but they still ended up washing the dishes. The soup was different to the one I had in Colombia but the process of making it, with three different generations -- the teachers, Clara and Raquel in their 60s, us three students in our 20s-30s, and the 10yo girl from next door -- it was a really beautiful experience.

After lunch I wrote to mum about the isolation I'm feeling being the only gay in the village. Unless you're a minority you'd have no idea how isolating it feels being different to 90% of the rest of the population. We're bombarded with heterosexual images every day and heterosexual PDAs. I choose to surround myself with people who make me feel safe and I avoid places that don't make me feel safe such as hetero clubs where there is too much testosterone mixed with alcohol. Back home I surround myself with strong, queer women and if they're not queer, they're queer-friendly, strong, feminist women. People I can relate to, who understand what it's like to be different and who don't take their positions and privileges in society for granted. But now I'm out of that safety zone. I'm surrounded by women who act like they're on heat whenever they see a man, by men who feel they have the right to objectify and harrass women, by heterosexuals whose facial expressions change when I tell them I don't have a boyfriend because I'm a lesbian, by people who I'm too scared to disclose that I'm a lesbian out of fear of violence or harrassment. It's a difficult position to be in and one many people wouldn't be able to relate to. Heteros are quick to say "if you want to stay safe then don't tell people you're a lesbian". Idiots. It's a part of who I am, so why should I deny it or be made to feel it's a shameful secret? I'd like a holiday romance, I'm entitled to one as much as anybody else, but I won't get that unless I do ask around about gay nightclubs, cafes, areas, etc. Every country has something for queers, whether it be out in the open or underground. But enquiring about that could put my safety at risk and that's not fair. If other people get to be themselves why can't I? ** rant over **

On the way home from checking my emails I bought some more bread rolls. The lady behind the counter likes to flick through my Spanish phrase book and point to words. Today she attempted to marry me off to two of the male bakers using this method. I politely declined her invitations.

I asked my host mother if I can watch her make tomales tomorrow. I really want to see more of how they cook here even though I've only got two days left.


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