EL Major Jade Faletoi (’15) Reflects on Culture Non-Shock in Costa Rica

Whitworth English

Jade Faletoi (’15) is 19 years old and from Orange County, CA. She is a proud American of Samoan descent. She likes big books, and she cannot lie.

Jade is studying at Whitworth’s Costa Rica Center for the fall semester. She recently wrote this piece for our nonfiction workshop blog, Hashtag Polychronic.

Whitworth English

“You will feel frustrated and timid and want to stay on ‘the veranda.’ But there is beauty in this frustration with a new culture.”  Is it strange that I’ve felt almost none of these things over the last couple of weeks?

“You will stand out, because you look different. People will stare, and you will want to hide.” Is it strange that I did not feel like such an outsider?

“You will feel angry at the gender roles here. But you will have to pick and choose your battles.” Is it strange that I feel at home here?

Those orientation meetings that we had were more shocking to me than the Tico culture is. Those tips would have been more helpful to me when I moved to Spokane than they are here. I got more stares walking down the “Hello Walk” than I did walking in San Rafael. I felt that frustration the TA’s talked about when I started attending a university that was vastly Caucasian.

“So what country are you from?”

“Uh, America.”

“Oh, so you’re Hawaiian.”

“Uh, Californian.” Awkward silence, awkward subject change.

Here in Costa Rica, I don’t get so many weird stares. I’m grateful that my high school had dedicated Spanish teachers who pushed me to learn as much Spanish as possible, so that I don’t feel so timid speaking to hispanohablantes. As for the whole machismo thing, I even feel at home with that. Samoan households are patriarchal. The women cook, clean, and take care of the kids. They wear modest clothing and don’t go out much. I’ve lived this way my entire life, so I know what life is like for the Ticas.I feel more at home in Costa Rica than I did in Washington.

I guess that’s sort of a shock.

Nelsonic Philosophy: Post-graduate Employment Edition (or “Dog-Walking and You”)

Whitworth English

Since graduation, Isabel Nelson (’12, above), has moved back in with her parents in Santa Barbara, been on eight different planes, done her first 5k, learned how to say “thank you” in Flemish, and gotten a job at a pet hospital. Since writing this piece, Isabel has gotten promoted. She still walks dogs on the weekends for the dollar dollar bills, but is also the hospital’s assistant administrator. She tries to order the right drugs for two clinics without putting either one out of business. Her favourite dog is an excitable Neapolitan Mastiff puppy named Coco. If you live on the Central Coast of California and have a dog, she has probably picked up after it.

Isabel recently submitted this latest installment of Nelsonic Philosophy, as well as the photos (including those below of the Philosopher “enjoying” a barge in the London canals, and with her sisters on a bridge in Bruges, Belgium).

Whitworth English

I have not done a lot since mid-May, when I graduated from Whitworth University (also known as “Camp Whitworth Fun-N-Prayers”) with two degrees I’m beginning to rethink. Doing a degree in Theatre was a lot of fun, tons of work, and allowed me to experience a learning environment where I was chastised for cutting my hair without permission. I got to take acting classes, tech and makeup classes, and a directing class which allowed me to forbid others from cutting their hair.

I also did a degree in English, with a focus in writing (or, if you ask my father, literature). My English degree was a lot of fun, tons of work, and allowed me to experience a learning environment where I was laughed at for my miserable attempts at enthymemes. I got to take literature classes, writing classes, and a writing consultant class which allowed me to laugh at others’ miserable attempts at enthymemes.

With these killer skills, who wouldn’t hire me? Anybody that wasn’t family, that’s who. Today’s guide will teach you how to navigate the exciting world of nepotism-induced post-graduate employment, provided that you don’t mind smelling like dog crap all the time.

Let’s begin.

Whitworth English

Step One: Get a cousin. Get her to become a vet. Get her to move to where you live. Get her to get a job near your house. Take as long as you need for this step and move on when you‘re ready; I’ll be working with a cousin I’ve prepared earlier.

Step Two: Lie on your couch and watch a lot of SNL. For best results, it should be seasons from long enough ago that the topics aren’t relevant, but recent enough that it’s not totally nostalgic, and actually it seems kind of weird that you wouldn’t just watch this season? This step is key, because it’s called research, dummies. If your parents complain that you’ve finished all the beer and it appears you haven’t moved since they left for work, justify it with the following phrases (feel free to create some of your own as needed): Comedy writing and stuff. Internships, y’know? Like, the humor… zeitgeist. Next Tina Fey or whatever. Then go back to your TV show.

Step Three: Right when you think you might be developing bedsores, start a walking regime. Walk everywhere, like an independent person-grub-thing! Maybe it could be like, that cool “thing” about you that you never had, you know? People would say “Oh yeah, she’s that girl that walks everywhere.” Okay, it doesn’t sound that cool, but you couldn’t make “Girl who wears hand-made fascinators” or “Chick with the eyepatch” work, now could you? Beggars can’t be choosers. Anyway, you’ll need this part for later, because you need to start developing calloused feet for when walking is all you do. Also, you’re not on the car insurance anymore.

Step Four: Send thoughts out into the universe, like Oprah. They don’t need to be defined. “I will get a job” is good, but “I will get a job without having to do anything about it” is better.

Step Five: Hopefully by now, you have sorted out everything with having a cousin that is a vet in the town where you live. If you haven’t, you should be ashamed of yourself. In fact, just get out. I can’t stand to look at you even more than I usually can’t. Don’t let the door hit you on your bedsore-ridden butts on the way out. Everyone else, you saw what just happened—let that be a lesson to you. You should be receiving a call from your cousin’s place of work pretty soon. Would you like a job as a dog walker? Of course you would. You love dogs! Nothing else is happening this weeken—wait, weekend? Eight in the damn morning on Saturday and Sunday? Then again at 3 in the afternoon? You’ve got to be kidding me…is what you will NOT say. You will say, in your best telephone voice “Cindy, I’d be delighted! I’ll be there at eight o’clock sharp.” “You’ve got to be kidding me” is what you will say as your tenth dog of the morning poops for the 3rd time.

Step Six: It’s eight o’clock sharp, and you are not yet there. You are on your way, cursing and grumbling. It’s important to be always late, so your boss knows who’s really the boss. Wear something cute and a lot of makeup, so all Da Cute Vet Boyz will notice you. If there are none of those, at least you’ll look adorable walking those six dogs at once like the animal-lover you totally could be, and oh no! The dogs are headed for that one guy in Santa Barbara who isn’t a stoner or a former sunglasses model and—wouldn’t you know it!—now you guys are tangled up in the leashes, trying to exchange phone numbers through all the barking. What a romantic-comedy kind of day you’re already not having in the slightest!

Step Seven: Become aware that in this rom-com, everyone else is wearing scrubs and doesn’t like you. Also they were on time and are doing their damn jobs, not staring around the room like the sort of gormless raccoon-eyed trollop that thinks a tank top and leggings is appropriate work wear. Meekly read through the safety binder, give a “who, me?” look when they tell you there’s no smoking, and go back through to the kennels.

Step Eight: Try not to vomit. There is enough vomit in this room anyway, so it would be kind of pointless. There’s also a lot of poop in here, but if you’re smart enough to keep up with the Nelsonic Philosophers, you shouldn’t be pooping uncontrollably in public more than once a fortnight. Don’t walk up and down the kennels in a calm-veneered panic, either—it will freak out the dogs and cause them all to lunge against their cages at you, crying and peeing. Get a little blue leash that’s about as long as your arm, make it into a slip leash, and get started. Don’t forget to bring a pen with you, because you will have to write down the consistency of each poop on the dogs’ charts so that the people with real degrees can do their jobs.

Step Nine: Hey, you’re pretty good at this! Look at you, Mrs. Holding It Together! So maybe you’re not allowed to walk more than one dog at a time. So maybe that forces you to walk each dog along the same route. So maybe you forgot to ask for keys to the back door and are left stranded in a shit-covered alleyway full of vagrants with a dog that seems to produce urine by absorbing the air molecules around it because surely NOTHING can have that capacious a bladder. You can do this!

Step Ten: Hahaha, of course you can’t. Walking one dog at a time when there are two dogs boarding in some kennels means of COURSE a corgi will escape (see next week’s edition for “Which Dogs Should Be Extinct?”) and run around the kennels and into the hydrotherapy center where it will try to attack sad, paralyzed dogs. Of COURSE it will do that again this afternoon. And again tomorrow morning and afternoon, and only won’t do it again the next day because it will go home (where it will probably pee on some dictionaries and write racist, semiliterate YouTube comments).

Step Eleven: Come home and cry big, sweaty tears. Cry about your feet, and about the way that your clothes and skin smell. Cry about the fact that you have to do it all again tomorrow. Cry at the idea of never being able to go out on the weekend again, and that your friends think you do a 14-year-old’s job. Cry about your feet some more. You will only get one day to do this, because your family will tire of your incessant blubbering and tell you to quit if it’s so damn awful.

See? All those papers you stayed up to write and tests you crammed for were worth it. You might not be able to use any of those skills here, but you’ll learn new ones (that is, if you didn’t quit the minute you fear-pooped). You’ll learn to wear running shoes and scrubs with lots of pockets. You will soon be able to read poop like a crystal ball: which dogs are healthy; which dogs are sick and need to be taken to the vet technicians; which dogs seem sick but only have “stress colitis” which is fancy talk for “nervous diarrhea.” You’ll learn how to use one bag to safely pick up two poops. You’ll learn to bring three bags when walking the golden doodle, because even with your double-bag skills you will need them. Most of all, you’ll begin to really, really appreciate cats.

Join us next time, if you aren’t dead in a ditch covered in golden doodle poop.

EL and Psychology Major Josie Camarillo (’14) Rocks Rodeo Bible Camp

Whitworth English

Josie Camarillo (’14) has learned that there’s no casual way to drop “rodeo Bible camp” into conversation, especially within earshot of Westminster Hall. Josie recently sent us this post as well as the photos. The photo above, Josie explains, is an example of “bareback riding, where the boy is on an untamed bronc horse holding onto a rope around the horse’s belly and must stay on without touching the horse with his free hand for at least eight seconds to receive a good score from the judges.” Dang.

Josie is a Whitworth English Writing and Psychology double major, amateur photographer, and cowgirl. Here’s what she has to tell us about this extraordinary summer experience:

I grew up with on a ranch, at a horse vet clinic, and at an annual rodeo Bible camp. No, you did not read that wrong; I did type “rodeo Bible camp,” and it’s not a contradiction. When my mom remarried, her and her new husband decided to become instructors at the Northeastern Oregon Christian Cowboys (NEOCC) Rodeo Bible Camp. It was the second year of the camp and little six-year-old me tagged along. I continued tagging along until the grand year that I turned thirteen and became A CAMPER.

The premise of the NEOCC Rodeo Bible Camp is simple: share the Good News of Christ through teaching thirteen to eighteen year olds rodeo events over a four day camp. Girls can choose from goat tying, barreling racing, pole bending, team roping, and breakaway roping while boys can choose from saddlebronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, team roping, steer wrestling, or calf roping. Each camper chooses one event and gets five clinic sessions total from Monday through Wednesday as well as attending mandatory chapel once each on Monday and Thursday and twice each on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I had a blast photographing these fun kids and watching them learn about God. This camp is one of only a handful of its type, and I have been privileged to have been at it in some capacity for the past 14 of its 15 years. Below are a few of the photographs I took throughout the week.

Whitworth English

Goat tying is a timed event where the girl steps off of her running horse to flank a goat and tie its legs as fast as she can.

Whitworth English

Barrel Racing instructor Cindy wears a camp shirt from 2000.

Whitworth English

Barrel racing is a timed event in which the girl rides her horse in a set pattern around three barrels as fast as she can.

Whitworth English

Calf roping is another a timed event. The boy ropes a calf, and then his horse stops, and he steps off to tie the calf’s legs as fast as he can.