The avatar project was one of the harder aspects of the course for me. I don’t often write creative, fictional pieces, so getting into the flow of writing from a foreign perspective was a process. What I liked most about this course was that it asked us to go farther than just learning the material because of the emotional material we were dealing with. It can be easy to read historical accounts of horrible events and be disconnected from it, forgetting that real human beings had to live through them. By writing an avatar post every week I was forced to absorb the events we were discussing on a personal level. I stopped to think about the range of possible reactions and feelings a person could have about both national and plausible personal events. It made me think about how human nature is not straightforward and how a devastating history like that of Chile (because my avatar was from Chile) could cause surprising or conflicting emotions as people deal with trauma.
That is another thing I am grateful for in regards to the avatar project – going through the history of Chile as if I lived it allowed me to have a much better understanding of the country’s history. While the course focuses on only two countries, there is an abundance of information from the readings that can sometimes be hard to process. Focusing on Chile in the avatar project and larger assignments definitely gave me a better understanding of Chile than Argentina. I am grateful to feel closer to what it must have been like during the dictatorship because it is impossible to fully comprehend Chileans’ experiences from my perspective, but I do feel like my knowledge of Chile and Argentina are disproportionate. This is probably mostly my fault, however, because I could have chosen to write about Argentina in my larger assignments. But the blog posts prepared me the most in preparing the other projects, so it goes both ways.
Going through the motions of trying to grasp what it must have been like for a Chilean citizen is a difficult task and for some of my posts I wish I had put some more effort or feeling into it. Writing a blog post every week can sometimes feel like it should be a quick, easy writing, when to the contrary it is probably the hardest and most important part as it takes studying history a step further. I really loved this class and hope that it comes across in my writing, though I wish I could have put more thought into some of my posts. Sometimes I think my storyline became a little outlandish because I had to confront the events in such a different way from reading historical accounts and writing impersonal papers. While I may have struggled in this respect, I am grateful for the experience and for the tools it provided me to tackle such a challenging subject.