2016 kicked me in the nards

I’m sorry.

I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, the time lapse is quite disheartening, isn’t it?

I feel like I’m playing the part of the guy who wanted a commitment, settled down ready to embark on that road of domestic bliss and then… BAM!!! Just kidding! I need to be free… can’t commit. Don’t make me. It’s not you, it’s me. Bla, bla, bla, etc.

I SAID I wanted a blog. I SAID I really, really liked writing. I pay for my own hosting … I mean, the commitment is there, right? Well, clearly not. Regardless, I’m back and instead of going on like a babbling idiot who will never, ever be able to accurately make up for lost time (not to mention all the loyal readers I lost with my absence – and trust me, there were many!) I think it’s best to just do some quick updates for everyone on all things relevant to being me, aforementioned Chilean Gringa. (Side note – I’m thinking I need to change the title. Do I feel it adequately represents me? Not anymore, but we’ll delve into that later on. I can only manage a few key at a time while dipping my toe in the blog pool again.)

Ok. So where was I last time we were together?

……
……
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AHHHHHHH yes… August. Chileans and their weird sayings about getting through winter and then the slip n’ slide into summer once September comes around each year. That.

A mug only a mother could love.

Well, one of the most relevant things that happened to me in the last 2+ years is that I lost my beloved Obi. For those who are unfamiliar, Obi was my cherished English Bulldog. I got him shortly after moving to Chile and he was my very first pet, first partner in crime … the one who was with me when I was feeling on the verge of jumping from a ledge living in Chile, with me when I finally landed my first job here, when I got married, when I had a baby. He basically accompanied me through my transition from functional alcoholic singleton to adulting in the adult world. He was my world in so many ways and he taught me so much about sappy things like unconditional love, sacrifice and unselfishness. But Obi was really sick … he was epileptic, had to take medication that ultimately damaged his liver, and while dealing with ongoing seizures, my poor baby developed glaucoma in both eyes. Not only did he lose his sight, but glaucoma is PAINFUL and he would wince and cry from the pain. My little nugget was a mere six years old. Enter months of heartbreak.

Anyway, ultimately we did the only thing we could do for Obi. We let him go. The situation with him was out of control by the end and even though I felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest, we did the only thing we knew would help him lead a happier, better life. Even if said life wasn’t with us. Needless to say, that was a dark period in my life. Almost two years after my very last blog entry, I lost my Obi and I can sincerely say that it was the first time I ever lost any living, breathing thing/person/being that actually meant something to me. It was my first experience with true loss of a loved one. Yeah… those were dark times for me.

Shortly after that, and I mean literallly 9 days after losing my pet, I was laid off from Avon Chile. My boss called me into his office and this is how the conversation went the minute I sat down:

Boss: “Hello Andrea, how are you doing?” (he’d been on vacation and generally out of town for the past weeks leading up to this day, so I hadn’t seen him in a while).

Me: “I’m ok… actually, it’s been a rough few days. I lost my pet last week.” (I should share that he too has a beloved family pet that he brought with him from Argentina upon being transferred to Avon Chile. Meaning, he’s a self-proclaimed dog lover and considers his Lab part of the family.)

Boss: “Oh, that’s too bad. Listen Andrea, I have some bad news for you. We’re going to have to let you go. But you know what I think? It’s best if you say that this was YOUR decision. Yes, that’s best for all. Are you ready to go into the board room and address the other managers with your decision?”

Cue in my reaction:

Yeah, those were dark times for me again in 2016.

And so, again, almost two years to the day since my last blog entry about Chilean and their August sentiments, I found myself unemployed, mourning my dog and the loss of (what seemed to me) OH.SO.MUCH within a span of 9 days. WITHIN A SPAN OF NINE DAYS, PEOPLE!!!!!!!

Can I repeat that those were dark times for me?

See, what we have here kind reader, is a little glimpse of what’s been on tap between July 29 and August 8, 2016. I realize that I’ve left out a whole lot of something between August 2014 and July 2016, but that will just have to wait. Maybe we can just leave it at this: if you have a specific question about the going ons during the two years I didn’t blog, feel free to raise your hand. I’ll be fielding questions Lionel Richie-style: All night long.

Only kind of kidding.

But hey, I’m going to pat myself on the back for getting this out there. It took me a while to dip my toe back in the pool and maaaaaaaan…. mama feels GOOD. I’ll be back because there is SO MUCH MORE to say.

We’ve only just begun. Again.

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Getting through August

Chileans have this saying: “Pasamos Agosto.” We lived through, or passed, August. The saying goes that if you live through August, it means you’ll live a whole other year. That’s something to get excited about, right?

When I first moved here I was still stuck on what each month meant in terms of the Northern Hemisphere. August was back-to-school month. It marked the end of summer. It was when, in San Francisco at least, the weather improved and summer really started. What was the big deal about August and why were Chileans so “relieved” and happy that it was over?

Five years later (and a terrible 2014 thus far) I get it.

In Chile, the months ranging from March to August are rather dreadful, really. January and February are officially summer months. That means many things, including less smog in our lungs (the heat rises and carries all dirt and grit above our noses so that we aren’t directly breathing it in) and lighter traffic as families plan their typical two week’s vacation between these two months, it means the roads are far less stressful and the commuting times are lessened. Children aren’t straddled and choked in school uniforms and are, instead, running free, enjoying themselves and laughing. The sun shines every day and with the sun, happiness and optimism tends to run rampant.

Naturally, then, March through August are the complete opposite. Days are dreary, either with overcast or rain, but mostly just overcast. This means that the pollution that penetrates every fiber of this city is actually sitting down low at nose-level. This leads to not only shivering bodies because of the brisk weather but also respiratory illnesses that come and go all winter long (product of the smog we’re constantly inhaling.) The streets are jam-packed with cars, honking like jerk offs and driving like the monkeys in “Jumanji.” The days are short, with sunset anywhere between 6:00-6:30 pm… that leaves a huge window of opportunity for petty (and major) crime because with the sun gone, the anti-socials find the guts and the means to scare us silly. Kids are in school, bored, tormented, wishing for summer vacation.

August is the very last month of this dastardly torture. If you lived through all the previous months, still breathing and still going, you have it made because next month is September and September marks the beginning of happiness of all Chileans.

September brings us Chilean Independence Day and this means three-to-four days off just to party. “Yay, we aren’t linked to those crazy Spaniards!” September is met with relief, optimism, excitement and the thrill that comes with planning any mini-vacay, no matter the destination (down the street or the Caribbean.) After that, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to December, which brings us Christmas and New Year’s (more festivities) and then yipppeeeeeeee, January and February – vacay months! In between we have longer days (sunset around 8:00 – 8:30 pm) and warmer weather, all which makes us as happy as little girls!

For personal reasons, I just can’t WAIT to get through August. I truly believe that once August is over, my own personal version of 2014 will drastically improve. Call me crazy, but I honestly have a gut feeling about this. After breaking my nose almost three weeks ago due to a crazy, split-second decision that involved me lunging after Obi to take something away from him, which resulted in my crashing directly into a cement pot with my nose, I decided that was the bottom of the barrel this year.

Between surviving the most agonizing, bully-infested, confidence-busting, professional experience of my life, to finding out and coping with the fact that my beloved pet is epileptic, to failing over and over again at landing interviews between endless job applications (and when I did manage an interview, failing miserably at landing the actual job!), I proceeded to break my nose …. after that, I decided, quote boldly, really, that THAT was it. August was the end of it. In fact, August was going to be the transition month – the month when things were manageable, even if they weren’t amazing or even great.

But come September…. the world is mine.

Or at least, the tides will have turned in my favor. Just you wait.

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Things I need to remember today

Yesterday I found myself moving around quite a bit. As I’m unemployed, surely this may come as a surprise (or not, if you work inside the home). Between the gym, checking in on the repair of an appliance, grocery shopping and even an impromptu lunch with some ex-coworkers, I didn’t get home until well into the late afternoon.

I walked in loaded with grocery bags and barely able to open the door. It was weird that my dear little Obi didn’t bark when I opened the door and even weirder that he didn’t come to greet me immediately. I didn’t think much of it because it’s been known to happen when he’s taking a nap or out on a walk with our trusted nana.

Not a minute had passed – I had just plopped all the bags on the kitchen table – when I heard a repetitive thump, thump, thump coming from our bedroom. When I walked in I found myself facing one of the most gut-wrenching, frightening and most devastating things I’ve ever seen: my sweet little Obi in the midst of a seizure. His head was trapped between our large, wooden television stand and the wall and since he was convulsing, he was repeatedly banging his head between the two. He was salivating PROFUSELY (more than what’s normal for bulldogs), stiff-legged and unresponsive. I ran to get my nana, yelling and freaking out “What’s wrong with Obi?” and together we went back to the bedroom and watched in horror as Obi just kept convulsing. We were both in tears, repeating his name “Obi, Obi, baby, what’s wrong?”

Weird things happen to me when faced with something so intense. For instance, my mind races but my body doesn’t react. I don’t get an adrenaline rush or physically FREAK out. I picked up the phone and dialed our vet (who’s incidentally seen Obi since he was 4 months old). He immediately told me that, from what I was explaining, Obi was having a seizure. As I was talking to him, trying to make sense of what was going on, Obi suddenly stopped moving and just went limp. This is when I freaked out because I honestly thought Obi had died.

Thank God he didn’t die. As if someone had jump-started his battery, suddenly he sat up and started barking at us – aggressively. He then started pacing frantically all over the apartment, drooling extensively and even urinating in the kitchen (something he never, ever does now that he’s an adult). His erratic behavior was confusing and it was daunting. He didn’t seem like his regular self and he seemed on edge. Then, within a minute of all this chaos and uncharacteristic behavior, he began wagging his tail and started to recognize us, returning to the lovable Obi we all know.

All this time, I was on the phone with our vet. Poor guy, I’m sure it was awful to receive that phone call now that I think about it. But I’m thankful that he was there for us and that he proceeded to tell me exactly what I needed to do – basically scoop him up and immediately take him to the vet to have him hospitalized. Tests needed to be run and Obi needed to be in observation. Seizures were known to repeat themselves.

So where do we stand now? What’s going on with Obi as I write this blog post?

He’s at the vet and we’re waiting to hear back on various tests that were administered yesterday. In addition, we’re waiting for a neurologist to see him (hopefully today) so that we can have a more precise indication if this is something related to ingested toxins (i.e. chocolate for example!!), something dietary or, worse, something related to his nervous system or brain. And so we wait.

Meanwhile, I’m overrun by a heaviness that I can’t shake. Why is Obi having such a hard time? Yes, I know he’s a bulldog and bulldogs are known to have a million problems, but there are also bulldogs who have minimal problems and go on to live 9-10 years (unfortunately the life expectancy of this breed is quite short in comparison to other breeds.) Obi’s just four years old and already he’s had hip surgery and now this. A deep hollow and unrelenting sadness is the only way I can describe how I feel today.

And since I realize I can’t stop living or moving because of this (even though what I really want to do is just curl into a ball and sleep), I wanted to at least remind myself of a few, very important things to remember today:

  • Right now, at this very moment, Obi is alive and had what the vets are saying, a “very good,” seizure-free night
  • Put make up on. You may feel like you don’t care about anything but don’t go about your day with that kind of face
  • Go ahead and drink that second cup of coffee but don’t substitute it for breakfast. You may not be hungry but at some point you will be.
  • Keep looking for and applying to jobs. You still need to work even if right now you just want to snuggle with your dog.
  • Remember the life you’ve given Obi, full of comforts, full of love. How many dogs would be happy with just a fraction of what Obi receives everyday?
  • Remember Obi is in good hands. These are the same people that operated his hip and he’s fully recovered from that!
  • Get up, get your keys, grab your purse, leave the house and do the favor your husband asked of you. He’s your unwavering support during this heavy, uncertain time and he needs help planning his mom’s birthday celebration this coming weekend.
  • Stop convincing yourself that outside sources are “cursing” you and now the people (and dogs) you love. Stop that right now. Don’t give anyone that control! Who are you anyway, believing such folklore?? Just stttttoppppppp.
  • Yes you’re unemployed, yes your dog is sick. Yes 2014 has been shitty so far (between starting the year with our baby in the emergency room, my birthday sans husband because he was on a two-week business trip, horrid new job experience, subsequent push to quit, taking forever to find a new job, hearing how at my ex job the person who now has my position is being given allowances I was repeatedly denied … and now sweet little Obi having such a hard time…). Yes 2014 has been trying and not-so-stellar on the ego and self confidence. Remember that all of the ego related grievances DON’T MATTER when the people – and dog – you love aren’t well and happy. That’s the priority.
  • Remember to trust. Trust God, trust life, trust that things happen for a reason. Trust that Obi will be ok. Know that he won’t be around forever, but right now, trust he’ll get through this.
  • Remember to pick yourself up. If you don’t you’ll find yourself (figuratively) draped over the floor and people need you. Your daughter needs you.

 

My first baby. My tub of love. My Obi.
My first baby. My tub of love. My Obi.

**UPDATE** (June 4, 2014)
Several weeks have passed and it’s been overwhelming and stressful (to say the least.)
Without going into too much detail, Obi had two more seizures after the one I wrote about here and after another stint at the vet, more tests and another visit with the neurologist, he was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy on May 14, 2014 (two days after his last seizure.)

It’s actually kind of funny that the diagnosis of having idiopathic epilepsy means he has seizures but the cause is unknown. It could be from something he ate, something he experienced or something he underwent (surgery for example) and it could be as recent as last month or as far back as three years ago. Who knows?

I started a journal of his day-to-day so as not to invade this blog with the craziness that is occurring with Obi right now. For those interested you can read his story here – PASSWORD bulldog. I appreciate all the concern and the messages everyone sent! Means a lot! Thanks so much!

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What are you going to do about your dog?

This is a question I get asked a lot. My response (in my head) is “What are you going to do about your face?” But of course that’s my inside voice.

In the 2.5 years that I’ve had Obi, my spoiled and loveable bulldog, I’ve grown used to the different reactions that people have regarding my dog. In the beginning it really, really bothered me but as time passed, I began to take the advice of well-wishers and began to brush off the mean and ignorant comments people had about him. I also learned to accept that everyone else didn’t have to like my dog as much as I like him and that it was ok if people were scared of him. Yes, I reserved the right to judge those people but in the end, I stopped letting it bother me and I stopped reacting so aggressively.

Who's afraid of the big, bad bulldog?

The irony is that in the past two years since I’ve had Obi, bulldogs have become one of the top ten “pure” breed dogs preferred by Chileans and with each passing year, the breed is becoming more and more popular (if commercials featuring bulldogs are any indication or the increasing number of bullies I see being walked around our neighborhood.) As per usual, the thing with Chile is this: if you wait long enough, thanks to the Internet and globalization in general, eventually people come around and seem to “get” where you’re coming from. That’s the silver lining of being an expat, and, let’s face it, the main consolation when I feel like griping about something pertaining to life in Chile.

However, one thing I have yet to wait out is the prevailing belief held by many that now that a baby is on the way, I should have some kind of answer to the question “what are you going to do with your dog?” Obviously to me, this question makes no sense. It would be like asking a second-time mom what she’s going to do with her 3-year old son now that she has another bun in the oven. Let me clarify: I’m not stating that some prep work isn’t required. I’m just saying that the question posed seems to imply an equal answer from my side (i.e. we’re having him slaughtered and stuffed, then we’re mounting his head on our wall. What?) Yes, this imaginary answer is ridiculous (I would NEVER!) but it reflects just how ridiculous I find the question that is asked over and over again by all KINDS of people, dog lovers and haters alike!

That aside, of course, the loaded question does bring to light the fact that some groundwork needs to happen. The fact of the matter is that Obi is just as part of the family as any other human equivalent under this roof and the poor little guy has the total disadvantage, that, unlike the rest of us, he hasn’t had months of prep time to get used to the idea of a baby. In fact, I don’t think he’s wired to like small, creepy, crawly things. First of all, he lunges at moths and swallows them whole. Second, if he sees a bug, he hides under the bed (apparently moths aren’t bugs in his head). Third, he barks really loudly at the vacuum when one is lugging it from room to room while cleaning (this being an example of something crawly, naturally). Finally, when I recently took him to the vet, we encountered a bulldog puppy that drove him insane. Apparently too small, too energetic and too bouncy for his liking. Check out the video below.

In all seriousness, I do believe that Obi will continue to be our loveable bulldog once the baby arrives. The main thing that we need to constantly remember (and some free unsolicited advice from yours truly) is to CHANGE AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE OF THE DOG’S NORMAL LIFE. In our case, what does it mean?

1.) Will Obi’s sleeping area be changed because of the baby?
No. He’ll continue to sleep where he’s always slept, right here in our room at the foot of our bed.

2.) Will Obi’s eating area be changed once the baby arrives?
No, it will continue to be in the kitchen, twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.

3.) Will any new rooms in the apartment be suddenly off limits to him because of the baby?
At present, no, but sooner or later this will change a bit since I don’t want him picking up small toys from the baby’s room and choking on them. However, he’s used to suddenly having rooms off-limits to him. For instance, right now, the dining room and living room are off limits because of a recent “accident” in both rooms (Grrrrr….)

In addition, what else are we doing?
1.) We play videos of baby’s crying, cooing, laughing, etc so he can get used to the sound.
2.) We walk around with the Cabbage Patch Kid my mother gave me when I was 8-years old (yes, you read that correctly), which we lull to sleep, carry around, pretend to feed, etc, etc … like some 30-something year old nutjobs. We even dressed this doll in the baby’s future duds. I kid you not.

Currently the would-be baby sleeps in the future baby's bassinet. She's wiiiild!

3.) We’re brushing up on the commands he learned during his 6-month long obedience training (just in case!)

4.) Once I’m at the hospital, we’ll be sending home the clothes that the baby first wore so he can get a good ol’ whiff of the baby’s scent prior to her arrival at home.

Are they bonding or what?

Am I delusional in thinking that our dog will adapt? No, I truly believe that we’re going to be ok. The fact of the matter is that the baby is going to be an adjustment for EVERYONE, including G’s kids. The thing to keep in mind is that we need to address any kind of “rejection” or “odd” behavior with patience and strategy. Obi’s not going to be the first or last dog to have to adjust to a new baby in the house just as G’s kids aren’t going to be the first kids to adjust to the same thing. And I honestly believe Obi will do well. After all, he adores G’s kids and has never caused them any harm. In addition, so far, he seems to get a kick out of the would-be baby.

The point being is that, yes, I agree that some prep work needs to be done with any dog who’s about to realize that his “only child” status is about to be sabotaged in some way. This is part of responsible dog ownership, no?

Though the fact still remains that Obi will forever be my first baby, no matter what the haters think and no matter what other women tell me about “not knowing love until you meet your baby…” blah, blah, blah, BARF. I know love and I’ll know new love with the baby, let’s not confuse things. I love my husband, I love my dog and accordingly, I’ll love the baby. I see no competition. After all, no matter how much I love the baby or how cute ANY baby is, how can one NOT adore this loveable, wrinkly tub of love??

Obi's official Glamour shot.
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It’s time to stop playing dumb

In June, when G and I decided to get Obi neutered, I wrote a blog about the constant reactions I received from MANY (and I mean almost ALL) Chileans with whom we shared our decision to neuter. I surrendered to the fact that my role as a responsible pet owner was once again more proof to Chileans that I was a “bicho raro” (odd duck) and that my poor proper Chilean husband must be the “pobrecito” (poor guy) who had no choice but to let his gringa wife have her way with their little pooch. (Incidentally, this is just one of many examples of gringa wife = bicho raro, Chilean husband = probrecito.) I must have given the speech about the benefits of sterilization dozens and dozens of times and of course, this was met with resistant, then skeptical eyes. In the end I always found myself frustrated and concluding “It’s what we do where I’m from.” It seems that was the only acceptable response that Chileans would accept. “Oooooh, right. It’s a Gringo thing. You crazy, Gringos.” The fact of the matter is that Obi was neutered, yeah it hurt and he was uncomfortable, but almost three months post-op he’s fine! Here’s proof, my dear skeptical Chileans:

Obi lounging in the sun 3 weeks post-surgery.

Obi next to his BFF, Toyotomi, 4 weeks post surgery.

Obi playing in Parque Bicentenario 5 weeks post-surgery.

Obi two weeks ago displaying his deep appreciation for his new toy from Brazil.

I told you guys he’d be fine. And despite one of the RIDICULOUS reasons that many Chileans still hold on to as reasons for not sterilizing their pets, I don’t think he understands the notion that he’ll “never be a father” because, oh, he’s A DOG!

Anyway, the point of of this blog is this: after some researching and reading, I’ve come to learn that there are many entities and people in Chile who actually favor the notion of responsible pet ownership. And because of this, I’ve decided that anyone who gives me ridiculous reasons for not doing so (an example of said ridiculousness noted above), will automatically be labeled as ignorant in my book. Call me extreme, call me rude, call me intolerant. I disagree with all three because the fact of the matter is that Chile, whether behind the times or not, is actually well aware of the need to be responsible … it just seems that said knowledge needs to spread to the masses via communication and education.

Here are links to various interesting articles and websites regarding the topic of the stray animal population and the programs available to help dog owners be the best owners possible to their little furry family members:

  • Sterilization programs in various comunas of Santiago (link)
  • Article on the root of the stray animal over-population in Chile and why sterilization is better than elimination (link)
  • Article on the Canine Sterilization Center in Osorno, Chile (link)
  • Article on initiative to fine those who feed street animals in Valparaiso, Chile. Note that this initiative has since been suspended. (link)
  • Financial Statement and information on campaign to save animals post February’s earthquake “No los dejes atrás, ellos también son víctimas.” (link)
  • The rights granted to animals in Chile (link)

The fact of the matter is that right now the everyday reality I encounter in Chile shows that many people have got to get their act together on the topic of pets and the animal over-population in Chile’s streets. But I have hope for the younger generations because Chileans are a smart bunch, savvy in many ways, forward-thinkers and progressive. Yet in so many ways, also quite antiquated (believe me, G and I run into people OUR AGE who still view the concept of “me man, work – woman, home good) and responsible pet ownership is one of those concepts that continues to just float about without any real place in the culture.

Case in point: G and I took Obi and his kids to Parque Bicentenario last Sunday, where we found ourselves in the midst of the “tiki-tiki-ti” (Independence Day) celebrations and park bustling with stands, activities, rides for the kids and people everywhere. Inside the area designated for pets to run around without leashes, there was a woman who was there with her own bulldog for the first time. We got to talking and in the next five minutes, I about keeled over in astonishment realizing that:

  1. her bulldog was running around like crazy, something she thought was “great” since he spent so much time during the week indoors.
  2. she didn’t have water and because her bully was so thirsty, he was foaming at the mouth
  3. she didn’t have baggies to clean up after him, which was a problem when he suddenly stopped running to proceed to throw up due to over exertion.

Yeah this woman had a bulldog that had been gifted to her and yeah, she seemed to think he was great but the problem was apparent: she was pretty irresponsible as a bulldog owner. 1) bulldogs literally, physically cannot run around for long periods of times, even if they want to. There are many health reasons that back this up which I won’t get into here but any proper bulldog owner would know this even by simple means of something called the INTERNET. 2) Bulldogs are drastically (almost annoyingly) sensitive to the heat and sun, even if it’s not that hot. As a result, when outside, in the sun, an owner must ALWAYS have with him/her some water for the little piggy to drink. They get thirsty and they get thirsty fast. Obi can chug 2 liters of water like it’s nobody’s business on a typical park outing. 3) an owner of a dog (or cat) should be pretty aware of the cues that indicate that their pet is not doing well, in a similar fashion that a mother or father would be attuned to their kid all of a sudden feeling sick. At the very least, notice that you dog is not over exerted so that the poor little guy doesn’t throw up?

Needless to say I almost b*tch slapped the woman for being so dumb and for being so oblivious. I immediately took the opportunity to point all of this out to G’s daughter and told her the following “Having a pet is a responsibility and if you’re going to have a special breed like a bulldog, you need to make sure you know the dog’s limitations so that he can live a happy life.” Even G’s daughter, who is 8, understood that bulldogs can’t run around for extended periods of time.

I don’t know if it’s the culture or if it’s Chile’s obsessive focus on the children’s welfare that makes for the myopic view of topics regarding animals (and the environment, while we’re at it!) Maybe it’s neither and it’s just a geographic obstacle, in that Chile is literally so far away from so many other “developed” countries and that it’s surrounded by geographic barriers (Andes and Pacific Ocean) that the information and tendencies are delayed? Or perhaps it’s none of the above. In any case, if there are people as dumb as those who reprimand me for neutering Obi and people like the woman mentioned above who didn’t have the slightest idea of what it meant to be a bulldog owner, I believe that times are changing and Chile is evolving when it comes to animal rights and education to the masses on the responsibility of pet ownership. It’s time for the masses to stop playing dumb regarding the topic of responsible pet-ownership and the topic of the over-population of dogs and cats in the country. If parents-to-be educate themselves on all things involving children and newborns, if someone who’s about to buy a car will read every article and book about how to care for the car so as to assure it’s longevity, if people study the last financial statement of a company they are interviewing with in order to gain a competitive advantage in the interview process, what would it take for these same people to learn a bit more about the benefits of protecting and enriching the lives of animals?

I wonder.

Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. ~George Orwell, Animal Farm

Ever occur to you why some of us can be this much concerned with animals suffering? Because government is not. Why not? Animals don’t vote. ~Paul Harvey

Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar. ~Bradley Millar

Here’s an epilogue to ponder:
I never used to be so aware of animals and especially dogs. But ever since I moved to Chile and realized how animals are regarded, both the good and the bad, and became a pet owner myself, I have found that I am quite adamant on the topic of proper pet responsibility and education. In fact, I’m more adamant about pets than I am about children, as controversial as that may sound. I don’t have kids, I have a dog. And in Chile, as well as everywhere else, there about 100 times more people fighting for the rights of children than there are those remotely concerned about dogs and animals. Things will shift when I have kids, I’m sure. But that just means that my focus will then be balanced between kids and dogs and by no means, will that ever mean that my focus on dogs will falter.

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No balls

During a time when the country – no, the world – is obsessed with balls and where they can go (i.e. World Cup fever), I’ve had a ball-centered weekend myself. Except my weekend has more to do with the REMOVAL of balls. That is, my dog’s balls (to my more conservative readers, sorry for such a crude way of putting it!)

Last Friday, G and I had Obi fixed (neutered). While we’re completely and totally ok with this decision, it’s been a mini ordeal in Chile, a country where neutering a male pet is simply unheard of. Even G wasn’t too keen on the idea when we first got Obi so my mission was clear: at least in our home, in our own way, we’d do what we could to be responsible pet owners and do our share to help control the pet population in Chile. It’s easy to shrug off the responsibility of helping the pet population (in both dogs and cats) but the reality is that said responsibility starts with each and every pet owner.

So when I set out to “convince” my dear husband that neutering our male pet was the best option, I did my research. According to various reliable, online sources (such as The Humane Society, ASPCA and the likes), these are the most convincing reasons (in my opinion) to fix your pet:

1) Neutering your pet can help it lead a healthier life and in males, eliminates testicular cancer.

2) The female dog won’t go into “heat” and the male dog won’t feel inclined to wander away from home (in search of said female dog in heat.) The overwhelming sexual urges just don’t kick in and your dog is free to be your dear, sweet, family pet. Isn’t this the reason you got the dog in the first place?

3) A neutered male dog will be much better behaved because they focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs may mark their territory all over the house.

4) Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering (Obi was neutered at six months, the earliest recommended age to neuter pets.)

5) Finally, the most important reason: everyday, animals die because there is no one to care for them or are killed by euthanasia because no one wants them. There is simply no excuse for allowing pets to breed unless one is a responsible breeder who knows what he/she is doing!

With all this, G was of course convinced. He let go of the learned reaction he had for so long as a Chilean who grew up in Chile: it has nothing to do with being more manly or less manly. It’s a dog, for Pete’s sake! We are not removing the MAN’S testicles, we’re asking a professional to remove our pet’s testicles for the reasons stated above. Further it’s not “cruel” of us to “deny” him the experience of a sexual encounter or the experience of being a father. Again, he’s a DOG!! He still has his penis and as far as we can tell, it works despite the neutering! Furthermore, having done our research, we know that this particular breed (bulldogs) don’t innately pursue procreation. Most female bulldogs needs to be artificially inseminated because it’s not part of their DNA to go around shacking up with every dog they see!

My dear husband is a smart guy and with proper research and argument, if someone’s right, someone’s right. In this case, I was right and once we had this important discussion, not only was he convinced it was the right thing to do with Obi, but he defended (and continues to defend) this decision to every person who has something negative to say about it.

But frankly, I’m SO SICK of the weird looks, shocked questions and concerned expressions some Chileans continue to give me. Today in the elevator my neighbor made a comment about how “particular” Obi was being because he was barking at her. I told her he had just had surgery. When she and her son asked why, I debated on what to say … finally I just said “I had him castrated.” Their looks were priceless. I’m sure that they had a field day forming a very vivid picture of what my family life with G was like … I was very proud of myself for causing such shock to my fellow (narrow-minded) neighbors but quickly found myself EXPLAINING why I had done it (basically “blamed” it on cultural differences and that where I was from, fixing a dog was considered normal.) In any case, they continue to think I’m a weirdo and I’m sure I didn’t help in easing their opinion that my dog is “weird” too.

Just for the record, my fellow Chileans who think this is such a horrible thing to do to a dog, Obi’s a-ok. In fact, the only thing that has him feeling less than stellar is the pain medication. We quickly discontinued it, of course and now he’s on his favorite rice and chicken diet.

Of course, immediately AFTER the surgery he looked like this:

In his e-cone and doped on his recent dose of anesthesia, he looks like a pot head, druggie dog! He was super uncomfortable and couldn’t find any way to sit … but he’s since then conquered the situation and he’s looking more like this:

He’s laying low, not really going outside and chilling with me and G in-house. AND he’s not even noticing the operated area … some websites indicated that he might lick or scratch the site, but he hasn’t and he doesn’t seem to be feeling any kind of pain. He’s running and jumping and eating (now that he’s off the pain meds).

G and I are happy with our decision and we know that in the long run, our little guy will lead a healthier, happier life as our dear family pet. Yeah, I’m still super annoyed with the majority reaction here but it doesn’t make what we did less appropriate. We’re being responsible and we’re assuring our dog’s happy life from now on.

The question is: are you doing the same for your pet?

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The (pre)kid post

No, I’m not PG.

So while we’re on the subject of kids (from my mention on the previous blog post), I thought it would be a really good idea to officially document how I feel about the little earthlings now that I don’t actually have any.

This is kind of like a list I made back in the day on a regular piece of paper that I can no longer find … grrr … it basically listed bullet points of the different things I hoped to accomplished 1 month, 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and 15 years from when I started the list. I was 25… so you can understand why I’m so annoyed I can’t find it! I’m almost at the 10-year point! I hope I’ve accomplished something!

Anyhoosers, my point is that I’d like to document how I feel about the idea of kids and my thoughts on having them or not having them. Someday in reading this entry, my daughter/son might hate me. If that’s the case, err… sorry kid. I can’t help that I have very extreme and sometimes conflicting views on procreating today in March 2010.

Here’s my first thought on the matter: once the kid is here, it’s here for good (barring any atrocious event that I don’t wish on anyone.) In general, the kid is here to stay. That means that FOREVER MORE you have to worry about this other living, breathing thing. I mean, if I have to work around my day in a way that has me home each time Obi needs to eat then I can’t imagine what it takes with a kid! I already feel constricted with Obi and it drives me insane!! Further, you never stop worrying about this being… so it’s like a lifetime of this WORRY you carry around with you. I remind you of my entries regarding G’s kids after the earthquake here in Chile … I mean G was worried sick even though he tried to play it off. For days on end and I wondered how he even functioned!! If that were me, I’d be freaking the F out!! I know myself and I do NOT handle freaking out well. I’m worst-case scenario woman in my head and if I had a kid to add to that equation, I could very well live a lifetime of hyperventilation due to stress. Yeah, that sounds fun.

Putting aside the “WORRY FOREVER” sign up sheet, here’s my second thought on the matter: pretty much you’re responsible for how adjusted or f-ed up the kid is going to be and if he/she grows up to be a contributing, happy person in society. I mean, how many people do you know that are so screwed up because of their parents? I definitely know a few and may count myself in that group every so often. What if you put your kid in too many activities after school in hopes of keeping him/her away from drugs, only to produce an overachiever perfectionist who is anorexic and much too hard on him/herself and deals by cutting his/her arm? Is that worse than drugs? Ack! And for that matter, what’s the right balance of activities? Teach them two languages, put them in a sport and in an art, teach them to meditate and do yoga, all the while taking them to a hill with lots of grass to run wild in, every other day of the week? Will my kid turn out ok then? Should I throw in some Tae-Kwon-Do too? Yeah, yeah, kids don’t come with manuals, blah blah. So then of course, more pressure on the parents!

My third thought on the matter is this: I really love Obi. I wouldn’t give him away at this point, sell him or try to pawn him off in any way, shape or form now that he’s part of our small family. However, I recognize that life before him was much easier and much more comfortable. I realize as well that if I knew then, what I know now, I don’t think I would have acquired him in the first place. Having a dog is a BIG DEAL, more than people think … so I can’t BEGIN TO IMAGINE the big deal that is a kid. Yet I take extremely good care of him, train him, love him, feed him and do all the basic necessities necessary, spoil him and cuddle him … but that doesn’t change the fact that I see him and think “Life was much easier and maybe better (still undecided) before.” Can you imagine if I feel this way with a human being who relies on me for survival and guidance? Hello, insta-bad parent – just add water!

My fourth thought on the matter relates to G and the fact that he has two children from his previous marriage. The person I love already has kids and has experienced first hand all the joy, excitement and fear that goes along with having kids. In fact, he’s even more experienced in basic things like changing diapers and burping (not to mention all the other crap that I can’t even think of because I’m not a parent and have NO idea) than I might ever be! He’s been there, done that. When I go through the “Holy sh*t I’m a parent” freak out/realization, I’ll be alone. I’ll basically be going through all those sentiments solo and that kind of sucks. It’s not his fault of course. He adores his kids, rightfully so, and I adore him for being a good father to his kids.It makes him a better man and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But it does affect how I view becoming a parent, I’m not gonna lie. Any maybe it’s my own version of being screwed up by a parent, but I never had a father in my life and the man who IS my father, played favorites with my sister and me. Meaning, he ignored me my entire life and was present for my sister. So in my head I can’t imagine that G could love any other kid more than he loves his own right now. Call me crazy – I might be. But it’s how I feel at times and it’s stuff I think about.

Not all is tainted in such a negative light when it comes to kids, though. I’ve experienced first hand how much joy they bring to a parent’s life and to life in general. I’ve seen it with my mom and how happy I make HER. I’ve seen it with G and his kids and how absolutely happy they make him. I’ve seen it with my sister and my nephews and I’ve experienced it personally with family friends and their three daughters. Point being, I’m not stupid. I GET how having a kid is SO WORTH IT to some in many, many ways. The stress, the worry, the pressure – all of it is worth it and they’d do it all over again, time and time again. I get that and I totally respect that. After all, without parents who feel just that, where would we all be? And personally, I’ve never met anyone in my entire life that I’d want to have kids with more than G. He’s it – the King Bee – the creme de la creme – Mr. Right and I will look no more. That’s how I feel about him and so obviously having a family with him, IF I DISREGARD ALL FOUR POINTS ABOVE, seems like a no-brainer. It’s an immediate “duh! Of course!”

Ah, but that’s the catch, isn’t it? Putting aside all the insecurities, all the pre-conceived notions, all the ideas that your kid won’t be good enough. Shelving them and deciding to go on with your bad self. I’ll most likely have a kid or two, I’m not gonna lie. Yeah I’ll admit already that my life is easier without them … but with G by my side, can it really be that bad? I think not.

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State of frump being a pseudo housewife

I can’t imagine I’ll ever be wired to be a stay-at-home mom. I used to be pretty sure this was the case but since I’ve moved to Chile I’m 100% convinced. It’s confirmed now that the housewife role – and even pseudo housewife role I currently live – is for the birds.

Right now I say that I’m a pseudo housewife because I’m the one who stays home, while G leaves the house to go work. Granted, I work too, but since I work from home, I basically set my own schedule. Meaning if I want to work 8 am to 5 pm or 1 pm to 10 pm, it’s my call. I think that as long as my work gets done AND I’m easily accessible to those who need me, then I can basically do that. It’s a cool gig but it comes at a price as well. I’m the one who’s home … which means I’m the primary caretaker of Obi, our bulldog puppy. I’m the one who works with the trainer and makes sure our dog is forming into an acceptable and agreeable member of society. I’m also the one who does laundry … why? Again, I’m here. It doesn’t take much to just put a load in, come back to my computer, then put the load in the dryer and come back to the computer again. It’s either that or the clothes just piles up and up and up until the weekend (or evenings at some point.) Who wants that? I’m also the one who primarily cooks. Why? It’s really a last resort because I’m not familiar with take out places in Chile, besides sushi and going out to dinner every day is $$$ and bad for the waistline. And again, I’m the one who’s home. I’m here when the nana comes every Tuesday to clean – that’s sweet! Less cleaning for me. But I’m also the one who has to direct what needs to be done in the house. Why? Because I’m the one who’s home. And in all fairness it’s probably best that way since I’m the pickier of the two of us in regards to how I want my home to be/look/feel. In between nana visits, I’m also the one who cleans … mainly after myself and my dog, but still.

So let’s see here: I have a kid (kind of. It’s a puppy but it feels like a kid), and do all that’s involved with having said “kid,” I cook, I clean, I work, and I’m at home almost all day, everyday. And I have the new state of frumpiness to prove it! Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that I’m about to start graduate school and I’m planning a wedding, I could very well be depressed.

Which has me wondering … will this be my constant state of being forever??

Obviously not…that’s just me freaking out with that last sentence. The mere fact that I’m going back to school will certainly snap me out of this state of semi-consciousness. I hope that it helps me be a contributing member of society as well. Nothing is worse than being stagnant and not moving forward.

It’s also hard to watch G go out and be the awesome baller that he is, while I am here at home. Maybe it’s a case of not giving myself enough credit for the job I do with the company I work for, or maybe it’s because he’s just in a different reality than me and I kind of envy that. Living here in Chile I’m feeling that it’s harder to grab the world by the balls like a man would. Maybe it’s because I don’t see many of these women around me on a day to day basis and the ones I can think of are gringas (yay! Represent!) I know this is just setting the stage for me to go out and become the youngest female VP for Chile’s #1 consumer products company (whatever that is) … but in the moment, I feel far from that.

If I were to add kids to this mix, I’d take a long walk off a short plank. I know I should feel a little more gung-ho about having kids but let me tell you, I’m not feeling the gung or the ho. But I’m 33 and time’s a tickin’ … and I think, well, I don’t NOT want kids … and I kinda do like the thought of kids …. so ….at some point in the next couple of years I”m going to have to walk down that road… but if it means staying at home with all of the above PLUS A KID … I can’t imagine I’ll be a happy camper.

Oh well… at least I’ll look the part. I’m already uber frumpy, with split ends, roots grown out about an inch, bad toenails, worse hand nails, bad, dry skin and a unibrow anyone would envy. My daily outfit is jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops. Oh, I do manage to put some make up on though, that’s a plus. Hmmmm, then I imagine that an offspring would result in me with no make up on my face and about 20 pounds overweight.

Sweet. Can’t wait.

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Ack! Earthquake in Chile!…and I live here.

Sweet BeJeezus, that was scary!!

I’m not talking the “normal” kind of earthquake scary either … the kind I knew before today. After living in the SF Bay Area for over 29 years, I thought I was pretty accustomed to feeling the ground move every so often.

But no matter how accustomed you think you are … nothing prepares you for 2+ minutes of NON-STOP 8.8 ground movement and subsequent shaking, thundering, crashing and breaking that occurs with it.

Obviously we were in bed, G and I… and actually I had just gotten into bed after a bathroom break (TMI). I was commending myself and my dog for breaking the 3am barrier – i.e. the dog has stopped waking us up in the mornings whining from boredom. It was 3:15 am, baby was tired and we had a full day of wedding planning ahead of us…I closed my eyes, ready to enter my sweet lull.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand cue in the earth rolling … like riding a wave, I imagine. Except being from an earthquake zone (SF Bay Area) one always first determines if the quake is going to stay put or suddenly get all agro on you.
In the most abrasive of manners I jolt G up with “It’s an earthquake.” He sits up with me to proceed with the analysis: is this going to roll along like this or is this going get ugly?

OH. And then it truly got UUUUUUUUUUUUGLY. Now, mind you, at this point we’ve been rolling along with the wave for a good 30 seconds and as each 15-second interval ticked by, the once-rolling motion proceeded to turn into sharp movements, jolting us back and forth. We live on the 11th floor, the topmost floor of our building, and since buildings in Chile are “earthquake ready,” on the top floor you tend to feel each and every roll and jab TIMES TWENTY. And the thing is, the quake didn’t stop… it didn’t ease up or roll into a slow sweep… it not only kept going but it kept getting STRONGER AND STRONGER as each second, then MINUTE, ticked by. One by one I could hear things from other rooms crash to the floor; glass breaking, water splashing; thud, thud, crash, thud, shatter…and alongside those noises you hear the immense, RAW POWER of this monstrous earthquake that’s taking you on this SOOOOOO-unsolicited ride.

I was at the door frame, holding on until my fingers hurt … G was across from me in the bedroom holding our TV in place so that it wouldn’t fall on our puppy below (who by they way, was FREAKING OUT.) I remember thinking “it’s going to stop… it’s going to stop, it HAS TO STOP, it’s been so long” and realizing that the quake just kept going and going and getting stronger and stronger. At which point I seriously, cross-my-heart-stick-a-needle-in-my-eye thought to myself “Oh my God, I’m going to die in this earthquake. This building is going to fall and we’re going to die.” And NEVER, EVER have I had a thought like that, where for a second it was this peaceful-type realization that “this is it.”

And then, of course, thank God, it did stop. And that’s when the panic set in.

Our mom’s live in the next “comuna” over, each in her own apartment but in the same building. Once I realized we were ok, all I could think about was my mom and her insane fear of earthquakes … and the fact that she was alone. Quickly, G and I got dressed, grabbed the dog, ran down eleven flights of stairs IN THE DARK, dove into the car and raced through disabled stop lights to get to our moms’ homes. Our moms where upset, of course, but once we got there and everyone was gathered outside, there was a sense of security. Unfortunately that security didn’t lend itself to the other issue at hand: mobile phone connections and land lines were collapsed and G’s kids were outside Santiago with their mom. For more than two hours G tried to get through just to make sure his kids were ok–> and NOTHING. No calls were getting through. He finally decided to drive the hour and a half drive to where they were – not that he had clear directions on how to get there (he was working off memory). 40 minutes later he calls me to tell me that he can’t get through… the roads were closed due to collapsed overpass pedestrian walkways and crumbled pavement that ran for stretches at a time. I can’t imagine the torture he was going through not knowing if his kids were ok …and it was torture for me to know there was nothing I could do to help… [Update: his kids ARE ok and yes, he was able to talk to them. They’re shaken and freaked out, but ok.] In the end he came back to my mom’s apartment … by then, none of us had eaten for over 12 hours and we certainly hadn’t slept. But the sun was up. It was morning. Electricity was back at my mom’s house. Those three things combined brought some feeling of security back. So we packed up our dog, his things, my mom (who came over to help clean up) and we headed back home, ready to face the mess that we briefly saw on our way out at 4 am.

Considering how fierce the earthquake was and how intense it felt, I’m surprised we didn’t have more damage. At most we lost some cool picture frames. At best we have a crack going down the wall of our apartment’s foyer to forever remind us of this atrocious event. We have friends here in Chile who live waaaaaaaaaay higher up than we do and the damage to their apartments was far worse … not so much in terms of structure (like I said, Chilean buildings are “earthquake ready” thank God) but in terms of stuff thrown everywhere! We were spared, I think. In more ways than one.

The table in the front foyer, as you walk into the apartment. Plant and picture frames on the ground; area rug soaked. The crashing of this vase to the floor was not a welcome sound during the ‘rolling-with-the-homies’ episode.



The scene as we walked in to the dining room/living room area. Picture frames, meet the floor. Charmed, I’m sure.

This was a fun sight … our yet-to-be-thoroughly-paid tv toppled over. That’s the center table leaning in to kiss it hello. [Btw, we now know the tv is fine. And she’s ok!]



And my office… which actually, now that I think about it, kind of always looks like this. Maybe slightly less messy.

In the end, my review for “Earthquake Chile 2010” is a big, fat, thumbs down. Please don’t ever let me/us have to go through another 2.5 minute event that has us literally holding on for dear life. I’d like to take a “pass” on the aftershocks that continue to shake the city (and the country for that matter), most of which feel as if they’re 5-6 points, given how high up we are. But on the other hand, I was amazed at how the Chilean people came to one another’s aid in this crisis – even if it’s to merely ask “hey, how are you?” (Which, by the way, is precisely what our neighbors did after the shaking stopped.) There’s security in talking about what you went through and a feeling of safety in knowing that others went through the same thing. And I do have to say that the outpouring of concern and well wishers on my Facebook page was humbling. While I would rather never again have to go through what we went through at approximately 3:30 am Chilean time today, it serves to remind me how forever grateful I am… and in this case, I’m grateful that we survived.

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Me lately

I’ve never looked or felt frumpier. You know those new moms that you see walking down the street and you think to yourself “Geez sister, pull yourself together. A little eye make up would work wonders on you right about now. And while you’re at it, pull that scrunchie out of your hair.” I’m on the receiving end of that. For the first time in my entire adult life, the roots of my hair are over two inches out. In fact, my hair is about two months overdue for even a haircut! … ask any of my close friends if that’s normal for me and they would assure you that you’re talking about someone else. I was formally known as the persnickety old aunt-type who liked to point out when someone needed to hit the hair salon STAT. I felt like I was offering a public service, really. Well the irony is that now, I’m that person I used to call out. Oh life, how you mock me! (and while we’re on the topic, hi uni-brow!)
And don’t get me started on my nails, both hands and toes…or the fact that I haven’t dressed up and worn any type of heels in daaaaaaaaaaays (to be read, “months”).

In a way, I am a new mom with the arrival of Obi-wan Kenobi on the 12th of this month. And I’m not sure having a puppy is all it’s cracked up to be. First of all, he surely hates me. I’m not sure why he doesn’t like me but he’s taking to growling at me (the mean kind, not the playful kind I keep reading about) and, of course, he’s taking to biting me. Let’s add that to the fact that I spend about 8 hours a day cleaning his waste so that he’s not running around in filth, making sure he has clean water, trying to remember to feed him every six hours, attempting to keep him clean, trying to train him to be a proper dog in a few months AND all the while waking up at 3 am EVERY morning because of his cries/whines. Of course I get myself out of bed and play with him and cuddle him as much as I can so that he feels secure and loved…And the thanks I get for all that? Bites and growls. Forgive me if for the time being I’m not quite understanding the whole “man’s/woman’s best friend” bit. I’m not saying that getting him was a mistake because I do have faith that things will get better. When he’s a little older and outgrows this stage he’s in, coupled with being able to take him outside so he can run free and mingle with other dogs (he doesn’t have all his shots as of yet) I really do believe that life will be pleasant. That’s part of what motivates me to keep training him, to keep teaching him right from wrong, to keep trying to make him a happy, well adjusted dog. But right now it’s no picnic. In fact, it’s downright dreadful.

I’m allergic to him, did I mention that? Yeah, I break out into hives whenever I hold him. I was having breathing issues too for a bit but then started taking Allegra AND we bought an air purifier with HEPA filter so things on the respiratory end are much more pleasant. For the hives I’m using a cortisone cream but unfortunately I can only apply it for a week … that means until today since a week ago I went to the doctor for said prescriptions that enable me to be near our puppy. Here’s a pic I took yesterday … this is WITH the cortisone cream. Though in its defense, I did initially fail to apply it to this region …

In case you haven’t noticed the tone of this post, I’m feeling slightly depressed and glum. This is why I closed comments on this particular entry. There’s no need to tell me that you relate to me, that you understand or that you’re sorry. Also there’s no need to tell me I need to snap out of it and stop feeling sorry for myself. I know all of the above and really, do appreciate any sentiment or time taken to express that sentiment. I’m really writing this because I simply just.felt.like.writing. After all, it’s one of my 2010 proposals/resolutions so I thought it to be quite appropriate.

My wedding is in less than two months and I feel like things are wrapping up nicely. Summer is coming to an official end here in Chile so I hope that means that vendors are finally going to be responsive and available. Though here’s a typical story… in November G and I went to the place where we want to get our cake and they told us that we were seriously too early to begin planning for the cake and that we should come back in February or March. All righty. So I called yesterday to ask about going in for the tasting and after answering the “when is your wedding” question, I’m met with:
“Oh honey, you should have come in a while ago! We’re taking orders already for next year! What are you waiting for?”

FML and F-them.

Needless to say we’re going this weekend.

But I have to say, despite all the planning and all the hoopla surrounding me in regards to weddings (two friends here are getting married in a couple of weeks, within a week of one another), I continue to feel like my own personal wedding is this event I’m planning in general and that I’m just attending as a guest. Like my own party I guess, but nothing major. In part I’m thankful for this feeling because it means I’m not stressing over details. Another part of me feels as if I’m cheating myself though! For myself personally, I pretty much have nothing. I don’t have a bouquet, I don’t have shoes, I don’t have “something blue” and I don’t have accessories. Yeah I have a dress and yeah, I like that dress, but it’s certainly not the over-the-moon sentiment I thought I’d have about my dress. It’s nice, I like it, I guess I look ok in it and that’s about it. Something tells me that’s NOT NORMAL!!!

The only constant is G and how much I love him and how much I love our life together. There’s no one in this world I’d rather be with and no one who could make this depressive, blue state I’m in even remotely worth treading through. But all that other blue stuff makes me kind of numb… similar to the affect my skin has with the cortisone cream.

In general, sometimes my life in Chile feels like it’s smothered in cortisone cream. I walk around not really being a part of this society and culture. I guess that sounds weird to those who don’t know how the stuff works. It’s more of a personal observation, I guess. I have a lot of them because when you don’t really integrate well in a society, you mostly live in your head… which later results in diarrhea of the fingers on a keyboard within a blog entry.

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