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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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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I’m a Citizen … hear me Roar!

My country tis of thee… Good LORD did I have a patriotic week last week!!

As some of you may already know, I became a U.S. Citizen last Thursday, after many, many months of waiting and weaving through bureaucratic mazes, it finally happened!
In the simplest of forms, here’s what’s involved:

1) somehow you become a Temporary Resident of the US and you get a nifty card that says so. (I was young so not sure how it officially happens)

2) After a year (I think) you get your permanent residency and you get another nifty card to replace your old one. (Incidentally, this is how I lived for years – Permanent residency and living life, paying taxes, going to school, working etc, etc. The only thing I couldn’t do was vote.)

3) Apply to become a citizen after 5 years living as a permanent resident. Send a check for about $800 million dollars. Just kidding, it’s close to $700 – and then you wait.

4) A letter arrives asking for your finger prints. The FBI wants to see what’s up.

5) Another month passes and a letter arrives telling you they want to test you on American history and civics and “interview” you. Of the 1 million questions I studied, they asked me 6. Yes, just 6. Supposedly it’s 10 but if you get 6 right in a row, they stop “due to time constraints.”

6) Another month passes and you get a letter with your appointment date and information on where to take your Oath as US Citizen. Yay!!

Obviously there are people who wait months and months, if not years, to get from #3 to #6, but I gather that since I lived in the U.S. for so long and am, of course, and upstanding citizen, my wait proved to be shorter. And I thank you, U.S. Government!

The ceremony was held at the Masonic Temple in San Francisco (which kind of makes you wonder if all that jazz in “National Treasure” holds true) and there were 1,275 people from 109 countries there to take their oaths as U.S. citizens. It bothers me to say that many of these people could barely speak English … this really bothered me though it’s a topic best left to another post by another blogger all together. I’ll just leave it at that.

We were seated in an auditorium facing a stage. Like this:

And there were many of us in the crowd:

And we listened to all kinds of people talk about what it means to become a citizen, social responsiblity, government regulations, etc. This was done by an officer and colleagues of the local USCIS office in San Francisco.

We watched videos about Ellis Island, which talked about how the U.S. was founded on, created by and run by immigrants:

Then we took our Oath as U.S. citizens… one by one, each country represented was called out. I stood up proudly when Chile was called and waited as countries ranging from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan were called and their soon-to-be former citizens stood up. Once everyone was standing, we were asked to raise our right hand and say the oath which automatically made us U.S. Citizens.

Once we entered the auditorium, we were given U.S. flags which we all waved once the Oath was read:

We then sang the National Anthem (which I never sang so proudly before) and recited the pledge of allegiance. I’m sad to say that many, many people around me didn’t know the words to either … but I’m not the one who calls the shots on who gets to become a citizen and who doesn’t. All I can say is that I know the words to both and recited them loudly and proudly! Following this, we saw a video of President Obama welcoming us as Citizens of the U.S.

After all that, our official certificates proclaiming that we were U.S. Citizens where handed to us:

My story to get here is something out of a movie – a type of Sundance-nominated indie film. Not many people know it but suffice to say that this moment captured in the last picture above is a culmination of years and generations of sacrifice. And I’m happy to say that I’m one of the few people in my family who can claim to have the prestigious title of U.S. Citizen (out of over 60 family members, five of us are citizens of the United States). And I don’t feel that I’m cheating my country (the U.S.) by becoming a citizen later in life, because I know that I’m a model citizen, with hopes and dreams, and one who works honestly and who works hard. I know my country’s history, its language, symbols and customs more than I know that of Chile’s, the country of my birth.

I’ve never been so proud to be an American and I’ve never been more accepting of leaving my Chilean citizenship behind. For years, I completely associated myself with being Chilean, even when I had been a permanent resident of the U.S. for years and years. Now I know that any success I find here in Chile will be directly attributed to the successes I had in the U.S. I got into one of the best business schools in Chile – why? I’m willing to bet it has to do with my U.S based work experience and education. After all, that’s what sets me apart here in Chile… so nothing short of a FAT thank you is appropriate for the U.S.

And as much as it means the world to me to be a citizen of the United States, it means more to me that my children will, by default, also be U.S. Citizens. The opportunities I can extend to them because of all this are priceless. No matter where we live, I will teach them to be proud of their heritage, both Chilean and American. I will teach them to strive for that American Dream, just as I was taught to do many years ago… the same striving that has brought me much happiness and success today.

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Focus on 2010

There are five major tasks I have present in my mind for 2010 and I hope to embark, enjoy and excel at all five of them. (No pressure.) I’m not going to call them resolutions because I feel that I’ll just be setting myself up for failure (and nothing depresses me more than failure) but I’d like to consider them as chapters of 2010. What I write in each chapter will literally be relayed in my blog but will also write a chapter in my life that I hope I can call “satisfactory” in 12 more months. Mentioning it in my blog now will only help me in determining how I approached and conquered each area.

1) Wedding and marriage.

For the love of all that’s sacred and holy, I just hope I have time to enjoy and appreciate all the planning and all the money Gonzalo and I are currently putting into our wedding day. Sometimes I don’t fully get the scope of the fact that I’m planning all this for me – for us. In fact, I see that I still handle it in the most corporate of ways, as if planning something for a boss. Case in point, I capture all images/ideas/suggestions in power point presentations and review them with G slide by slide. Discuss. Or don’t since it’s kind of pathetic/weird but whatever, it’s efficient. I can’t imagine what it will look like or how I’ll feel that very day but I do hope that I have time to sit back, if even for a mere minute, and take it all in.
Wedding day aside, I do hope I’m good at the marriage part. I’m dabbling in it right now (some would call it living in sin, muahahaha) and here’s what I’ve noticed about my part in married life: 1) I like to cook 2) I really do run the house 3) I need to work on my listening skills 4) I need to let others form – and express – their opinions before I go blabbing mine about 5) More hugs needed! Warm fuzzies if you will. They just make all things better. 6) Need to make sure that we keep up the spontaneous date nights/days. So far, so good with that just need to make sure it keeps up.

2) Friendships
“Some of you I know; some of you I’m meeting for the first time.” (movie line, guess the movie and character). With that, I want to keep cementing the friendships that are forming now with people I’ve met in Chile BUT I’d also like to branch out and meet new people. Namely, I’d like to see about clicking with some Chileans. Weird concept, I know, given that it hasn’t been easy thus far. I blame my lack of outside activity (I work from home) but I’ll get to new opportunities for that in a bit. Or…wait. At least I’d like to blame my lack of outside activity and NOT think that I’m not clicking with Chileans because it’s me, not them.
With that, I can’t forget my peeps back home. Before I left CA I had an idea of who I would remain good friends with always … but those things change and some people are really “out of sight, out of mind.” That’s their M.O. and God love them for it. There are others who remain the same people and the same kind of friend as before. And there are yet others who charge ahead in the friendship arena and come out shining as a friend you never thought you’d have. I’ll reserve public op/eds on the three types of friends that evolve when one moves to another country but I will say that no matter what, I hope to be a good and present friend to all my peeps back home.

3) Back to School
I submitted my application to return to school for a Masters in Marketing. If all goes according to plan, I should be starting classes in April of next year (yeah, as in the same month I get married.) By then, it will have been a full ten years since I graduated undergrad and that’s pushing it since I truly believe I checked out in 1999 and sort of skimmed through my last two quarters of college (a teacher once wrote “Senoritis?? Too bad” on a term paper that year. That’s how awesome I was!) My point here is that I hope I don’t freak out, I hope I learn to navigate the system well…and I hope the Spanish part of the studying doesn’t throw me off. I would like to avoid any kind of indication of “Senioritis” from a professor during my Masters study, if at all possible.
Who am I kidding? This is going to be one intimidating mess for me but I hope I persevere and come out with a good education. AND, it would be quite nice to come out with at least one, if not two, friends. I’ll be OUT THERE, in the Chilean system, learning from them about their ways (in marketing). Kind of “when in Rome” … so my hope is to grab on to some would-be friends in that process. Now that I think about it, I should be hoping I have something interesting to contribute in the study groups I’ll be in. No one wants to be the dumb one in study group.

4) Writing
A few days ago I was a lady who lunched (with some other fellow gringas) and one of them asked me what I had gone to undergrad for, meaning what did I study. I realized that back in the day all I wanted to be was a journalist. I even wrote for my high school newspaper and was editor of the “social” section. I went to Davis for a degree in Communications with the purpose of pursuing this journalistic goal … that of course didn’t pan out bc I took a different route during the dot com bubble. That office job led to another office job and before I knew it, journalism fizzled. Perhaps I would have been a kick ass journalist. Perhaps it’s my parallel life a la the indie movie Sliding Doors. Maybe I’d be living in New York, working as an international correspondent for CNN. Oh my…me likey that…Ok snap back to reality and obviously that’s not the route I took BUT what has stayed with me nonstop is the thing that motivated me from day one – writing. Skits for school, short stories, poems, diaries and now a blog – I simply can’t live my life without some part of it dedicated to writing. I do hope that in 2010 this writing becomes more focused. I have always dreamed of writing a story somewhat based on my family story, a mind-boggling one that is made for Lifetime television for women. When I read Isabel Allende’s “The House of the Spirits” I thought to myself “I know this family. Oh wait! This is like MY family and their story.” Except mine is less whimsical and more dramatic. Trust me it would make for some great poolside reading. Will I ever get to it? I don’t know. But I hope to always be on the writing path that may allow me to stumble upon this story that’s just waiting to be told.

5) Co-Baller

I actually coined this term the other day while I was lunching (the same lunch referenced above. Don’t think I spend my days lunching like a proper Southern woman. I don’t, though of course I wish I did!) The point I was making was that I too wanted to be a baller… meaning I hope to be very successful in my career so as to afford comforts that I didn’t have the majority of my life. I have dreams I’d like to see become reality and goals I’d like to achieve. Perhaps some of these dreams and goals would seem superficial and materialistic to some while to others, they will seem like basic goals anyone should be striving towards. When I was in the U.S. I felt like I was on a path to making that happen. I went to school, got good grades, went to college, did the internships, extra-curricular activities, got a job, focused, got promoted, focused more, got promoted again, etc. A masters degree was in the back of my mind but since I was already a director at my company, it wasn’t pressing. I knew the path, I knew the in’s and out’s of working in the U.S. and knew basically what I had to do in order to get ahead in the corporate world. Now I’m in a completely different country and though the basic how-to’s are probably the same, I’m in a completely different playing field, with completely different players. I see it as starting all over again (though perhaps not from the VERY bottom as I was back in the day, straight out of college). And so, in 2010, I hope to regain my footing on my way to being a co-baller (by “co” I mean alongside G because to me, he’s already a baller.) I hope I begin to understand what’s needed to get there in Chile and that I learn what it even LOOKS like in Chile. That way I can put my eye on the prize and just work towards it. I feel confident that I’ll achieve this, as I think going back to further my education will help immensely. Nothing like preparing yourself for battle, so to speak, on the same turf where one will be battling. I should come out much more aware and I hope to focus on that in 2010.

My focus list can’t be too long though or I might just call it a day and not get anything done. I’ll for sure dabble in trying to be healthy and being in prime physical condition but I won’t kid myself into thinking I’ll become one of those crazy, workout obsessed brides-to-be. That just ain’t me, baby. So let’s just say I have 5.5 things to focus on in 2010 and I’ll be back in about 364 days to review this post and see how far I’ve come. I’ll trust that I’ll have conquered the world by then as my plans for world domination are coming along nicely.

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