Lengthy title but this is an introspective piece so that should prepare you.
Traveling abroad has made me much more adventurous, and opened my mind to new ways of thinking and seeing the world around me. It has also shown me other cultures and traditions and lifestyles. But you know those people who come home from being in Italy for a month and they have a slight accent and are always talking about Italian history or culture or writers, and turning their noses up at your Papa John’s addiction because “that’s not even real pizza”? I have not yet become that person.
Not for lack of trying though. I think it’s important to further yourself intellectually. Not to the point where your friends all end up hating you because you’ve become a snob, but to the point where you feel comfortable talking about current events and art and music from around the world. And I think I have furthered myself a little bit… But I cannot get into some of these things that sophisticated people do or talk about. For instance, my awesome roommate two nights ago asked me if I liked cinema. And I love movies I watch movies all the time. But then he started talking about this really cool Canadian director and the ascetics of his movies and my mind went completely blank. I took one film class in Viña last year and absolutely loved it, but I think I just don’t have time to truly appreciate good cinema. When I want to watch a movie, it’s because I want to relax or take a break, so I look for something funny or dramatic or action packed. I never look for something artsy because I feel like that will require work for me to watch it. Like if you watch an artistic movie, you can’t help yourself from noticing the unexpected shots the camera takes that really make a difference in the mood, or the fact that this song was placed ever so carefully with that scene, or that this overlying theme can really relate to all types of people… Stuff like that. And I love that, but again, I don’t think I have enough time to be sophisticated.
My favorite movie is Clueless.
My roommates really are the epitome of sophistication. They dress well, although a little hipster which is cool, they are super into art because they’re both artists, they know stuff about art HISTORY (which I learned sometime but promptly forgot all about), they have interesting friends that are fun to talk to, and their bookshelf is filled with the perfect mix of informational, inspirational, and fictional novels. They’re sophisticated- but more than that they’re just really cool. And like I’m cool(ish, I’ve been in bed since 5:30 tbh), but this is what I’m aspiring to be.
To have a collection of books from all over the world. To have furniture with a story (theirs is from an abandoned hospital…). To have some kind of knowledge about some kind of art. The first two are easy, I make a couple of fun purchases and I’m two thirds of the way to sophistication (by my own messed up definition of the concept). The last one is hard because memory has never been my thing. I can’t remember a single sports stat that I hear. I can’t remember conjugations which is why my Spanish is so rough. I can’t remember any piece of information from a class the day after a test. Like my memory is just not meant for facts. I cannot tell you which time period Salvador Dali is from but I can tell you his paintings look cool to me. Like can I still be sophisticated if I don’t particularly like art museums but I love beautiful things? I think so.
Anyway, my roommates are not only very cool but also have a sense of humor and it comes unexpectedly and it’s always so funny. Like when they say bad words in English. Or when we have any sort of conversation about my nonexistent lovelife. Or when we talk about pop culture from the U.S. Which is really where I thrive. And which is where my lack of sophistication probably stems from.
If I use the word sophistication enough will I become sophisticated..?
I think if I travel enough I will become more sophisticated. And hopefully learn a few more synonyms to the word as well. I know that cool furniture and books and souvenirs don’t make a person interesting though. It’s more about the journey. How you had to barter for that chair or how you found this book super cheap on a side street in Lastarria. I think stories make a person, and as many stories as Des Moines has given me, traveling abroad has given me so much more. It hasn’t just given me my own stories though- it has given me the stories I hear from people all along the way. For instance, I tell crazy Carson stories literally all the time. I love talking (if you couldn’t tell from how much I write…) and connecting with people and laughing. And I’m definitely not the most sophisticated person (my favorite tv show right now is bob’s burgers) but those three things I just listed don’t necessarily have to come from an intellectual conversation. I will continue to pursue (my own definition of) sophistication through travel, and through exploring the world around me, and being interested in learning about everything. But I’m young still and I’m really okay with not knowing everything right now. I’ll be cultured some day.
(also, viva Chile, we just won round 2 of la copa america and this is a long weekend and I am ready to relax in Reñaca with Barbi and the beach and more ceviche! I <3 chile)