My Love Affair With Licensing

In my former life, I worked in licensing. I realize there are many people out there who have no idea what licensing is about and I know this because before I entered that world, I was one of those people.

In the simplest of terms, licensing is the act of granting permission to someone to do something. In my former life, I worked with authorizing, granting and allowing the use and release of animation – specifically Japanese animation.

I call to mind a phenomenon I take for granted everyone remembers: Pokemon.

Even as I incorporate use of this image, I know I don't have the right to do so.

Now, I wasn’t involved in any way with the evolution of Pokemon in our everyday lives and in fact, the first murmurs of the explosion-to-come were heard in the late 90’s (1996, I believe, though I could be wrong.) During that time, I was tucked away at college, figuring out my life and where I wanted to go with it. I had no idea what Pokemon was or even, what licensing was or how it would someday wrap me into its snug little world.

The point is, we all remember when Pokemon exploded onto the scene. We didn’t even have to have kids to know that every kid across America (and then some, I would later learn) was engrossed with collecting these devilish little Pocket Monsters. Based on a video game and then turned into animation, it suddenly seemed that the entire world was being taken over by 1) weird looking Japanese animation and 2) that yellow dinosaur/dog thing called Pikachu or what have you. Yeah, kids went nuts over this little animation property and you know what made said frenzy possible? Licensing!! Licensing the shit out of these images allowed said characters to appear on everything from notebooks, backpacks, toys, bedding, tshirts, etc. And I’m willing to bet that we can probably even find said Pikachu on vibrators and such (though of course, not legally licensed for such use.) And once there are things with an image on it, there is always somebody out there, a kid, teen or adult, who just CAN’T POSSIBLY LIVE WITHOUT THAT PIKACHU YELLOW PASHMINA!!!

Before Pokemon, we can remember licensing in all its glory with none other than our beloved Star Wars. Now there’s a licensing jackpot. Let’s think about this for a minute: though Lucas has, without argument, many wonderful creations (Indiana Jones, Willow, American Graffiti, to name a few) there is nothing that compares to the cinematic and licensing success of his mega empire called Star Wars. One of the biggest factors that lends to the success of a licensing brand, if it’s based on a movie or tv show, is its longevity. If it’s a tv show, everyone wants to know – how many episodes can we count on? Why? The longer the series or franchise, the longer someone has to make sure that notebook they develop has time to become a roaring success in retail as well. This is what makes Star Wars so f-ing amazing in the licensing world!! Back in the day there were only THREE movies – movies, not even episodes that air on a daily or weekly basis but a movie that lasts a mere weeks in theaters – and Lucas built an empire the size of China based on THREE MOVIES that came out THREE years apart. Think about it – would you buy merchandise based on Titanic? That was an explosive movie at its time yet it came and went, like movies do. Yet Star Wars remains. Brilliant.

In any case, the point of this post, along with offering you a little background into the world of licensing and how it pulsates around us, is to tell you that, once a year there is a convention dedicated solely and exclusively to the licensing world and it’s called – what else – Licensing Show. Actually its official title is “Licensing International Expo” but no one in licensing calls it anything else but simply and purely, Licensing Show.

The first time I attended Licensing Show, as an Exhibitor, was in 2004. Back in the day, this convention was held in the greatest city on Earth – New York – during the hot, summer month of June. It was nothing short of pure chaos, with people coming and going and my superiors presenting new brands that were on the horizon, compliments of my former company and its intended licensing efforts behind said brands. The following year (and for several years after), we exhibited yet again but this time with a booth twice the size of earlier years, with a reception area and five individual meeting rooms that accommodated six meeting members each. The chaos multiplied. Half hour back-to-back meetings from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm where one basically repeated brand information from one would-be client to the next. This was the typical DAY of the exhibitor and what followed once the convention doors closed (at 6:00 pm sharp!) was any number of cocktails hosted by well-known companies (Disney, Viacom, Cartoon Network, Hasbro, Mattel, etc), followed by dinner – perhaps with a VP of a television network or Creative Director of some sought after agency. One would trek through the trendiest of neighborhoods in Manhattan, from the convention, to the cocktail, to a the posh dinner, only to plop into bed at about midnight, buzzed off business and wine and hurrying into slumber to be in tip-top shape for the first 9:00 am meeting the following day. Past 6:00 pm the cocktails were hard to avoid. Meetings could continue past 6:00 pm but that meant that they were scheduled at a bar and usually, one reserved that prime-time for a favored company – one that allowed you to mix fun and work. It was an exhausting week, that one, but without a doubt, the one week I looked forward to each and every year.

I met my husband at this convention, actually. I don’t recall our first meeting but he tells me that I wore glasses and a white skirt (that’s all he seems to recall so I wonder if I bothered putting on a top that day.) We actually met years before we decided to like each other, but the year we DID fall in love (in November) we attended Licensing Show like always (the June before) and partied at a rooftop bar in NYC. Another splendid tradition: the last night of the convention, all the Latins (Mexicans, Chileans, Argentinians, what have you) got together for a celebratory, let’s-toast-to-another-Licensing-Show-gone-by-and-hey-it’s-awesome-to-see-you-again drink.

Me and future hubby partying circa 2008 at the rooftop bar. I look super sober.

And so, what’s my point with this? Tonight G is flying home from Licensing Show 2011 as I type. This is the first year he attends in which I am no longer involved in the world of licensing. I envy him. I remember what it was like to prepare for that trip, to wake up knowing you face a full agenda of the day’s meetings. I remember being a licensing rockstar if only in my own reality. I remember looking at all my fellow licensing colleagues from Latin America – sh*t, even from Chile – and thinking “Wow, how cool is your gig? In licensing and in Lat Am, what more do you need?” I remember the meetings, the cocktails, the dinners, the parties, the negotiations, the encounters and I miss.it.all. Though I’m happy G is still a part of that world (I can live vicariously through him!) I can’t help but feel that I’ve fallen from grace.

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Hello world!

“Hello world” is the automatic heading WordPress gives you as an example title of your first post. I’ve decided to keep it, knowing, of course, that we can’t call this my first blog post.

Self-imposed description of the blog I once offered.

In some ways we can and in some ways we can’t. As some of you know, I once had a blog devoted mostly to 1) leaving my life in California,  2) adapting to my new life in Chile and 3) living with my then-fiance (now husband). I liked that blog and it was a necessary part of my life as I learned to navigate this bad ass world called Chile. It also helped me meet many a new people, namely bloggers and online social folk like me. Then I had an existential crisis and decided there was NO WAY I could continue to have that blog when all of a sudden, a million months had gone by and I was no longer a newbie here.

So … I decided to start a new blog which, in my head, allowed me to write about ANYTHING. One that would allow me to deviate from writing about life in Chile, culture in Chile, people in Chile, food in Chile, XYZ and 1,2,3 in Chile. I didn’t WANT to write about Chile and everything “wrong” with this country. I was over writing a blog JUST about that. As a result of this crisis, I started a new blog. I wanted it to give me the freedom to be as “sassy” or as bland as I wanted to be. I switched over to another blog host, decked out a blog page and got to writing about whatever the hell I wanted.

And I did do that for a bit … really, a b.i.t.

Then all of a sudden I felt pressured to write something CLEVE

R each and every time. I went from pressure to write about new experiences and observations pertaining to Chile, to pressure about writing  mind-blowing, life altering anecdoes and any knock-down, drag out experiences that only I could serve. Um yeah, except my life is not that exciting. My top-3 things to write about continued to focus on hating Chile, hating my neighbors or loving my dog and his smooshy face.

I need an hour or so with this one.

Hardly sassy and hardly enough material to carry on an entire blog.

The fact of the matter remained, however, that not a day went by that I didn’t want to write. Just sit and write. I used to have diaries and those are fine and dandy, of course, but in this technology obsessed world I live in, typing takes less out of me than the whole pen-to-paper bit. I’m here again because that overwhelming desire to write, even if for myself, won.

A below-the-radar blog that suits me just fine. Kind of like Goldilocks and the three bears. Whereas I’m G-funk-meister herself and the blogs are the bears. This one is juuuuust right.

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Please don’t let anyone die

I can’t bring myself to write a heartfelt blog about the past year which is soon coming to an end. So in true Andrea fashion, I’m going to make a list. To quote Cher in the movie “Mermaids” – “Anything else, is too big of a commitment.” At this point in the blog entry, I’m not sure what the list will contain but I’ll try to avoid putting any grocery items or to-do’s here and I’ll try to focus on things that happened, things I experienced or things I did.

Hmmm.

It’s looking to be a bit egocentric but I’ll try to be objective.

1.) The first thing that comes to mind when I think about 2010 is that it’s been an eventful year for Chile. While I don’t feel any heartstrings pulling about most things related to this country, said strings were pulled in 2010 when I saw the devastation and suffering caused by the earthquake in February. By far the most impacting natural disaster I’ve experienced to date.

2.) I was humbled in Chile more than a few times this year because, you know, sometimes people need it. I was humbled throughout my job search, humbled while I studied in my first year of my Master’s program and humbled by people who truly know how to live a far simpler life than I do. I live in a permanent state of tizzy and knot and I’ve come across several kinds of people who truly live by “little lady, let your mind go and your body will follow.”

3.) 2010 really highlighted my strained relationship with my mom. Theories and reasons exist as to why this is they case, but I’ll refrain from getting into it since it doesn’t seem highly appropriate.

4.) I learned that I could never, for the life of me, be a stay-at-home mom. Hats off to the women out there who wear that badge with pride as I’m sure it’s a challenging (and rewarding) job, but man, that SURELY is not my cup of tea. And no, I’m not concluding this because I had a baby and actually stayed at home, but I’m drawing from my days working from home earlier this year and taking care of a puppy.

5.) Which brings to mind a huge highlight in our family life this year: our first dog . I’ve had my fair share of good times with this lovable ball of fleshy fur and I’ve learned that I’m willing to defend him – tooth and nails – and am willing to tarnish my good name for him. I live in a building of (mostly) idiots who have no idea what it means to run across a Bulldog, and, well, I’m basically the bitch of the building because that’s how I treat pretty much all my neighbors. You f-ing mess with my dog, you mess with me. My mantra is: “You hate my dog, I hate your kid so please get him out of my face.” (Seriously when I drive into our parking area, it looks like a jardin infantil down there. How can I be held responsible for running over a kid’s bike in that state? But that’s six of one and half a dozen of another…)

Obi-wan chillin' in the sun.

6.) I became a U.S. Citizen this year. That’s been rad and I’m glad to call the U.S. my true home. Love you long time.

Paraphernalia from the Naturalization ceremony.

7.) Getting married comes in at point #7 as a nod to my wonderful husband. He has a thing for the number 7. There are certain things I’d definitely change about him if time, circumstance and dimensions weren’t an issue but those things are minor when compared to the wow factor that comes along with being married to him. I’m always beyond amazed that he continues to like me as much as I like him. Besides the best part, which is getting to live with him and being married to him, the wedding itself was fine. There’s one thing we’d both change about that though: we’d go back in time and we would DEFINITELY.NOT. having a wedding again. Oh we’d get married but we’d leave it at the registro civil and that’s it. In and out, done and done. Alas, that’s not how we ended up doing it and now, well, we have these fancy outfits and awesome pictures of an event we aren’t sure we really wanted. See? Even with that I’m more convinced we’re made for each other.

See? Even at the ceremony it would seem I was telling him we should have City Hall'd it instead. He was totally in agreement.

8.) Knowing myself as I do, I am in complete and UTTER amazement that I went back to school and that I did so in a foreign country. My first year of what is ultimately a Master’s in Marketing was difficult for me. Sure, others seem to think that I’m a simpleton for having stated this but compared to what I had seen and what I had experienced, post-graduate school in Chile was tough. Which is why I’m so happy to be done with the first year (which entitles me to a Diplomado in Marketing) and even more happy to say that I finished with a pretty decent grade point average. At least, far better than what I initially gave myself credit for. Along the way, I also made some great friends! Not too shabby.

9.) 2010 was the year I landed my first job living in Chile. It’s a huge multinational company with a very, small, itty bitty operation here in Chile. I’m in the middle of both of these worlds and at times it’s a struggle. The bright side is that I’m learning a lot and the brand is amazing. Another piece of good news is that in March I have a business trip to a yet-to-be-confirmed location in the Carribean!! Ga-ga-oooh-la-la!

For all of the above, I’m grateful. For point #10, I’m sad.

10.) 2010 marks the year when I felt more distance grow between me and my friends back home. I think that in part it has to do with the inconvenience of not being able to simply pick up the phone (my cell phone, that is) and call or text them the way I used to do when I lived back home. Daily life gets in the way and you watch as one hour slides right into the next one and all of a sudden it’s 10 pm and baby’s so tired. I’ve done my best to keep in touch via email and occasional Skype sessions but it’s definitely something I need to work on for 2011. I miss them and no matter how cool and nice and even brilliant the people I meet here in Chile are, I miss my peeps in CA and NYC (not that you guys aren’t cool, nice and brilliant either. Just making that clear.)

2011, you’re less than five hours away. Where did the time go? 2010, how could I have done, experienced and seen SO MUCH in a mere 12 months? I got married, became a U.S. Citizen, started and finished my first year of school, got a dog, survived a major earthquake and got a job – and those are just the highlights!

What then, I ask you, is on tap for 2011, yo? Whatever it is, I only have one request – just one. It might seem extreme, negative, pessimistic and dramatic as it’s the reason behind why I welcome each new year with a sense of anxiety and apprehension. But after 2005, the year when my grandfather, my 17 year old niece and Pope John Paul II all died within three months of each other, all I ever ask of any year is this: please don’t let anyone die.

On that note, I wish you all the THE VERY BEST for the coming year.

...and may the Force always be with you, yo (as well as the wine.)
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Another Thanksgiving gone by

My second Thanksgiving living in Chile and already it seems to me that I’m eternally living in a land with no holidays. It also seems that nothing provokes the holiday spirit in me anymore and though it used to be that the last Thursday in November marked the beginning of the splendid holiday season, now I have no idea which way is up because alas, today was just like any other day.

It goes beyond that though. Everything is skewed when it comes to the holidays. No Turkey, no pies, no cold outside, no football inside (not that I watched it but it was still on). There aren’t even any Hallmark stores (or type stores) with  rolls of cute and decorative wrapping paper. There is no smell of pine or pumpkin spice or even cinnamon and did I mention today was just like any other day? Except in my case, it’s like any other day in what I recall August to be like back home.

I really don’t understand how people prep for the Christmas season here. Yes, I do see that decorations have been up since Halloween (which is slowly being celebrated more and more here in Chile) but when does the activity and the buzz start … you know – buzzing? I had the opportunity to be in a few malls this week but mostly what I noticed in terms of motivation to shop was women and men coming to buy graduation gifts and items to wear at a wedding. Wedding season is coming up and yes, December marks the end of the school year here. Hence the graduation gifts. It’s bogus (even if only in my head) and as a result, I can’t muster up the energy, let alone the will, to trek down to the storage room and dig out the plethora of Christmas decorations we own. No, I don’t in fact want to pull our fake Christmas tree out of the box it’s been living in for the last 11 months because it’s lacking the one thing that make Christmas trees fabulous – the pine smell. In fact, the plastic perfection of the tree only makes me miss the whole notion of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree all the more. You guessed it – they just don’t exist here.

However, despite my ranting here and despite the fact that I’m celebrating Thanksgiving day ALONE (G is out of town) I’m never so backwards as to not look back and reflect on all things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. And following in last year’s tradition, I find it’s much more entertaining to ponder all that makes life grand, one picture at a time. (And don’t think I didn’t just notice how much more upbeat I sounded last year in comparison to this year’s missing Thanksgiving.)

So never mind the hoopla and the woe-is-me-I’ve-no-Thanksgiving-because-I-live-at-the-bottom-of-the-Earth rant … below is a pictorial at things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving:

 

Sunset and the ocean

 

Safe travels near and far
Becoming a U.S. Citizen
My precious little bundle of furry joy
My wedding and all those special people who shared it with me
New York City and all its glory
Social media and all that mess
Living through an 8.8 - me & everyone else I know
The most comfy bed in the whole wide world
...this guy
This guy ...
...and this guy
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Holy sleepy pants, Batman!

Sooooo… how’s about someone telling me how in SAM HELL people manage to 1) work, while 2) going to school and 3) having kids. Seriously today propelled me into another dimension of sleepy pants. Not sassy pants but serious comfy, flannel, sleepy pants.

Ok, so I don’t have kids BUT – I do have a dog and yes, he’s a high maintenance dog and yes, I know it’s my own damn fault. Between getting ready this morning, feeding the dog, taking the dog outside, running to class and then running to work (another mall), I’m spent. And considering all the things I had to do just to make sure Obi (my fun and lovable bulldog) was ok, I swear to you, managing a kid in the morning can’t POSSIBLY be any different.  (feel free to get back at me when I finally do have kids at some point in the future.)

On my way to class I turned into a hypochondriac. I was certain I was about to literally faint from exhaustion. After running around at home, I was of course late to class. Stressed out and annoyed, I was also feeling achy because of my standing adventure at the local mall yesterday. It was then that I was certain I felt a flood of exhaustion (because obviously exhaustion is a LIQUID and not a gas as we previously thought) travel from one side of my brain to the other. Naturally I concluded that the effect was then the cause of my heavy eyelids and I was sure that at any moment – PLOP. I’d fall asleep on the steering wheel.

Needless to say that didn’t happen – BUT – what did go on to happen was, FOR SURE, the most excruciating class ever to be taught at any post-graduate level lecture hall anywhere.  I guarantee you that there has never, not once, been a more boring, mundane and useless class taught at any university, here or at the most extreme northern point of Alaska.

After about 2.5 hours of said torture, I was sitting in class (still certain that the liquid exhaustion was going to seep up into my eyes, a crazy gray color that would alarm everyone) when I looked around at my fellow classmates and concluded that, despite our age and despite the fact that we’re all professional, executives with very decent jobs, when we’re bored in class, we take on 13 year-old behavior. In my class notebook I literally wrote the following in the top-right corner of the page: “Odd behavior of bored, post-grad university students.”

  • One was playing drums with his ONE pen
  • Another one was checking her Facebook page on a laptop
  • Behind me, someone was doodling
  • Further on down the lecture hall, one of my close friends had taken the label off her water bottle, stuck it to the desk in front of her and proceeded to peel it off and on from the desk
  • Two people down from me, a classmate was answering work emails
  • Rows above, someone was playing “Chopsticks” on their phone’s keypad
  • In front of me, someone was setting up her Boutiques.com profile

Ok so I made up the last two observations.

The point is that today’s class was boring. The liquid exhaustion was slowly creeping up my head and, true story, I didn’t officially wake up until 10:45 am, despite the fact that I got to class at 9.

I’m considerably tired. The kind of tired where, if I was a parent and I had a kid with this kind of tired, I’d drag him to the doctor to make sure he didn’t have anemia or something.

Maybe this new strand of tired is affecting my ability to accurately and responsibly view my surroundings. After all, it was today that I decided that 1) my school’s bureaucracy is that of a fascist regime’s (why do they care if I’ve read all the chapters in our book and why do they insist on quizzing us on that? I’m 33! I’ll decide if I read or not!) 2) the Royal Wedding date announcement has, by far, been one of the most important pieces of news I’ve received in a good month and 3) it’s perfectly reasonable, and even my God-given right, to call each and every woman who says something remotely controversial about my dog, a bitch – to her face, and 4) I have some crazy liquid disease that seeps up into my eyes sometimes, causing that grayish tint you’re for sure seeing.

All of the above make absolute and perfect sense to me right now. That’s because I’m about to fall over, I’m so tired.

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First day

Today was the first day of my new job.

I have both good news and bad news so which do you want first? I’m a masochist myself so I’ll start with the bad news: I have no idea what’s going on.

The good news is that I’m the boss.

Though, upon closer inspection, I’m pretty sure that one, combined with the other, is bad news all around. Who wants a boss that has no idea which way is up? In any case, at least I don’t have my head up my ass, which I’m pretty sure is far worse than being clueless.

I realize it’s to be expected. And from what I can tell, the people I’ll be working with are are pretty solid team. This only makes me feel bad that they’re somehow getting the short end of the stick, but I’ll try to have a little more faith in myself and assume that from here until the week of December 6th, I’ll be a wicked guru with mad skills in all things *S* (codename for my new co.)

Today wasn’t a typical first day at the office. Without getting into major specifics (after all, I’d like to keep my new job pretty please), today’s work day consisted of spending an entire day at a store in the mall. The reason for this is that I can’t do my day-t0-day office job or fulfill my corporate role without first understanding the day in and day out of the mall part. I gotta tell you, it’s been a loooooong ass time since I’ve worked in a mall, or even in retail, and it’s hard on the body. My feet, hips and legs are hating life right now and that’s with thinking ahead and making sure I wore  flats on my first day! I used to work at the Gap when I was in college and since then (think well over 10 years ago) I haven’t worked with customers in a retail environment and I’ve especially never worked with customers in a Chilean retail environment. Not that it’s very different, from what I can remember. In fact, the Chilean version is fancier because I’m required to be at the fancier malls of Santiago. A fancier mall means that the customers are from a higher socio-economic background and this was quite evident earlier in the day, with Annies parading here and there in their baggy garb, high heels and stringy hair echoing their desperate need of a haircut.

But that’s not my point.

The point is that my hips hurt. This morning when I left I couldn’t even be nervous about my first day because all I could think about was how awful my outfit looked with the black flats I logically concluded I needed to wear. Those were a good idea obviously, considering the pain that comes with working in retail, but it makes for one unfashionable and UNsassy me.

Not all is bad news, of course. I learned quite a lot today. I observed, asked questions and interacted with many people. I took lots of notes and I plan to do something magnificent with them so that I can show my boss that she was right to hire me because her sneaking suspicions were correct and that yes, in fact, I am brilliant.

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I love you

Hi.

I love you and the fact that you read me.
But I’m done here and want to invite you here.
It’s not about being an expat but it’s about being me (either a bitchy version of me or a lame version of me.) If you come on over, thanks!
If not, then might I suggest you do what I do. Once I finish a book and/or movie, I go back to the beginning and start again. It’s nothing short of genius and I highly recommend it.
Bye.
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Limitless

Right now, I’m doing something I haven’t done in ages.

I’m drinking a rosé as I write the first blog to initiate my sassy pants. I’m actually wearing shorts right now, but that’s six of one and half a dozen of another. The only thing YOU need to know is that my underwear is black and white striped and I’m wearing cargo shorts I bought my junior year in college. I bought the belt at Target.

In other news: I’ve spent the majority of my day annoyed and though I could list the reasons why I’m annoyed, I think I can adequately sum up said annoyance by stating that I merely miss time with my husband today. Earlier this morning he had an obligation with one of his kids and when he got home I couldn’t bring myself to drag him on a million errands we need to do before I start my new job on Monday. Instead, I told him that it made more sense to take a nap. That was three hours ago. And yes, even my dog’s snoring.

Obviously the only logical next step for me was to open a bottle of wine and proceed to initiate my new blog. It’s limitless, you know (I even said so in the title.) Initially with this post, I’d like to manage expectations. I’d like to tell you that I’m going to feel free to be me. You may not like that me and you may find it either disturbingly different from this me -OR- fantastically more brilliant. I might write things you’ll find rude. Then again, I might just write something you’ve always thought but never really voiced.

Of course I’m also going to manage my own expectations here as well. In my former blog life, I had a wonderful handful of followers. I was actually surprised anyone besides my close friends would even care about what I had to say. But of course, my blog back then was quite a niche blog (in my opinion) and I hope that with this blog, I’m able to fully express myself in all ways. I’m ok with the fact that those interested in expat life may very well opt out of reading about my strange musings … and I’m ok with that because somewhere out there are people who are currently annoyed at their still-sleeping husbands and who, like me right now, are also getting buzzed off a Chilean rosé while blogging and watching “High Fidelity.” To those new people, I say this: hi.

To my loyal peeps following me on over from the blog-that-once-was, I say this: Bitch please. You know I can’t quit you. :o)

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I’m all growns up

Being a grown up is hard. This coupled with the fact that I can no longer take comfort in the phrase, NOR THE MERE IDEA of, “When I grow up…”

Too late! Adulthood, here I am. I got here a while ago I guess but when you’re single it’s so much easier to pretend there’s a point in time somewhere in the future when you’re going to be all growns up. Looking back, when one is single, it’s really much easier to accept being down or having things go completely awry. You still have the future, some point in time when you’ll be married and run a home and have a dog, share debt with your sig other and hell, maybe even have offspring.

I look around and confirm that yes, I’m already there, minus the the kid part. So it makes it that much harder when things aren’t going well in a particular area in life because I tend to be pretty hard on myself and I wonder, “Where is the baller lifestyle I once dreamed I’d have?” This notion has nothing to do with not being grateful for what I have: my lovely husband, my wonderfully cozy apartment, my cute albeit high maintenance dog, my health, that of my family’s etc. These are all things I’m particularly happy to have going well. In fact, so much goes well, I often feel bad for wanting more in other areas.

I’m stuck somewhere in the middle of the life I willingly and wholeheartedly chose (here in Chile with all that it implies) and the life I thought I’d have given the people I know and where I grew up. Something is just not adding up.

I wanted to be a relatively young, hip mom. The kind who does yoga, cares about what she wears and always leaves the house with little heels on. The kind of tells her kid to question the status quo and who dresses her girls in black vs the typical boring pink so many moms choose. In my head this mom has most avenues of her life in line which is the main reason the kid exists in the first place. In my mind, this could have been me if only certain things would have worked out a little bit better than they have thus far …

The older I get, the more I fear that opportunities are farther from my reach. There’s challenges in both being old and young, but here in Chile the challenge is more with those of us who are old. Unfortunately here in Chile, my age is considered middle age… adult, old, kind of over, where you are is where you’ll be, kind of thing. There’s more to why I feel this way but those thoughts will remain offline … Unlike CA where this same age means prime time of life. It’s a little weird to adjust to that. Everyone I know socially in Chile is younger than me. My uncle always tells me that this is the best thing, associating one’s self with younger people as this too keeps one young. I definitely agree. But I look at them in wonder at how the pages of their lives aren’t yet written because they’re young. If they stay here, they have an advantage. If they leave, they have time to get their act together back in the US so as to be in tip top shape for their prime time 30s. What a win-win situation, I think.

On a nostalgic note, I used to want to be a writer. In fact it used to be one of my life’s goals, the idea of writing a novel. I used to really like to write and imagined I’d one day be the next Isabel Allende. Obviously that didn’t happen and the writing is now limited to this blog, which of course, is better than no writing. I once had this idea to write about an airport and everything that happens there. The different stories behind why each person is there. I thought it to be quite interesting since some people go to see their kid’s off to college; some go to see their lost love’s leave; some go because of work; some because they’re trying to find their path somewhere else. So many stories that I thought for sure it would make for a good novel. Then I thought it would be really cool to write about my family’s story with the idea being to go back about two generations. You might not believe the story of my family and all I can equate it to is Isabel Allende’s “The House of the Spirits.”

I once thought I’d be a journalist too. This was the reason I studied Communications in the first place. Lo and behold I come to find out that such a degree means nothing here in Chile and it’s as if I merely graduated from high school. This is the main motivator behind deciding to go back to school again for a graduate degree. Maybe it would have been easier to have just kept on with the Journalism bit back in the day. Now of course, I’m too old.

I’m an adult and in Chile, I’m a middle aged adult. This is the hand I’ve dealt myself and I’m learning to adjust. I say this because in my head I feel like I’m still young and on top of the world. IN MY HEAD. Outside my head the reality is different.It would make it far easier for me to have certain things work out in a slightly more positive manner but I’ll remain hopeful that this will soon be the case. Absolutely nothing in Chile is easy and I was delusional for thinking it might be.

But don’t mind me … right now I’m just a little scared of having arrived at the Adult phase without all of my equipment.

Fast forward to minute 1:15. This sums it up.

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You mess with my dog, you mess with me

See this face?



Believe it or not, more often than not, people in this twisted country are SCARED OF IT. And I have to say that I’m getting pretty fed up with the whole notion of it.

When G and I take him downstairs in the elevator so that he can run around outside in the grass, we’ve experienced everything from kids screaming in fear, to women backing up in the corner so as not to touch him, to people literally looking into the elevator when it stops on their floor on our way down and saying “We’ll catch the next one.”

Does he bite? Absolutely and definitely NOT. Does he jump up and get excited around people and other dogs? Yes, very much so. But then again, he’s FIVE MONTHS OLD. He’s learning that jumping up is bad and he’s also learning that pulling on his leash to get closer to a person so that they can pet him (in his mind obviously that’s what they want to do) doesn’t get him any closer to the person. In fact, when before he used to pull and pull and pull, now he pulls and sits when he realizes he’s not advancing. He weighs 25 pounds, yes he’s a big dog but if one more person looks at him and says “Wow, he’s big. He’s going to grow even more?” I’ll seriously punch them in the face. The story is getting old, people. Can your square minds conjure up something a little more creative?

One thing I was stoked on when we decided to get a dog was that in SOME WAYS, Chile is pretty pet friendly. Upon further inspection I realized that this only applies to two things: 1) pretty much everyone has a dog and 2) there are a whole lot of vet options. Other than that, I feel I was led astray under a false pretense. Chile is NOT the dog friendly place I once thought it was, considering that you can’t really take your canine anywhere that’s not a park or a street. You can imagine how I felt in New York where dogs, in comparison, seem to wander free, checking out the spots and drinking mocha frapuccinos with skim milk (not lowfat because that’s a West Coast expression) next to their owners.

I’ve taken to completely ignoring my neighbors when I’m downstairs or outside with Obi. They can’t be bothered with him and therefore I can’t be bothered with them. G and I are already foreseeing that people who live in the building are going to complain and what they’ll mostly complain about is their fear of the aggression they anticipate Obi will have when fully grown. They believe this because he jumps around when he sees other people and pulls and pulls to get near them. Um… cut to the point when (and if) the person allows Obi to get close and he puts his face on the floor so that they can pet him. Yeah – super scary, square heads!

But the biggest indicator of his personality now and in the future is how he acts with G’s kids. Again, when they walk through the door, Obi is jumping around FREAKING OUT happy to see them. After a while, he’s over them and carrying on with whatever his business happens to be. The kids pet him, play with him, brush him, love him, HUG him, get on the floor with him and as far as I can tell, the kids go home to their mom after the weekend in ONE PIECE.

The problem isn’t Obi, it’s Chilean custom and society. Bulldogs aren’t the norm anywhere but LEAST OF ALL here in Chile. It’s beyond these people who dislike him for no reason that Bulldogs EVERYWHERE are a status dog and hello – not a guard dog or a fighting dog. Further, unlike SO MANY people in this world (many Chileans as well) I did my research on this dog and can surely have experts testify (I’m all geared up for court, peeps!) that this breed is passive, non-aggressive, calm, LAZY, good with children and ideal for apartments (due to their almost-non-existent need for exercise). So when the people in my building wonder if he’s a good breed for an apartment, excuse me, but can I just yell “DO YOUR F-ING RESEARCH BEFORE YOU TELL ME ABOUT MY DOG, B*TCH!”



Sorry about that, blog readers. That was mostly aimed towards the woman who lives on the 8th floor and my neighbor across the way. Both of whom look at my dog with disgust and apprehension…But now that we’re on the subject of them, I’d like to share that the neighbor has two sons, both college age. The woman on the 8th floor has a little girl, about one year. I’d like to complain that the neighbor’s sons play music as if IN A NIGHTCLUB all hours of the day when the parents aren’t home and once even had a party where their drunk friends started pounding on MY DOOR trying to get in. Did I complain? No. And though the woman on the 8th floor keeps her kid under wraps, as a person with no kids, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve refrained from complaining about children. I don’t have them so I can’t relate but trust me, I’m aware of them more than you know and I keep it to myself when annoyed.

And speaking of the problem being Chilean culture, the poodles have GOT.TO.GO. There are about 1,294 that live in my building alone (slight exaggeration) and they YAP YAP YAP at everything and everyone. Mainly owned by square couples or old people, they poop all over the place and their delightful owners NEVER clean up after them. Again, do I complain? No.

These people would pass out in a city like New York, where you see every breed imaginable and they all live in apartments (or if they’re lucky, town homes and penthouses). I’m talking Great Danes, German Shepards, Bulldogs, Pugs, Collies, Chihuahuas and everything in between and no one cares! They have boutiques dedicated exclusively to pets and it’s the only city in the world where I feel comfortable enough asking if the collar comes with a matching leash (it did). This city and its attitude towards dogs would, in short, BLOW THE MINDS of the people in my building. Sweet buttermilk biscuits, I wish I could blow their minds …

Dear 50% of the Chilean population (or more, who knows) and Dear People who live in my Building:

Yes I have a bulldog. Yes he’s a puppy and he’s going to grow even more, maybe reach 50 pounds as a fully grown adult. Yes’ he’s funny looking and walks like a crab. I don’t expect you – or even WANT you – to think he’s cute. I get that he doesn’t look like an Ewok or those fuzzy, cuddly Gremlins and I’m ok with that. I’m sorry he’s in his jumpy, happy-to-be-near-people-phase but I’m working on teaching him that jumping up is bad. People good, jumping up bad. Just as I imagine it took you some time to teach your kid to walk, my dog needs time to learn to behave. Just like your kid, mine is a kid and he deserves to have the chance to act like a puppy. Just as I don’t look at your kids and scorn the fact that he/she’s there, please don’t look at my puppy that way. Like it would you, it breaks my heart. He didn’t ask to come here, I brought him here and the bottom line is that he makes us very happy in our home.

What’s that you say? You don’t care and highly dislike him anyway because you IMAGINE he bites? Oh, and you continue to look at him with disdain, as if he’s ugly and gross?

You mess with my dog, you mess with me. And hell hath no fury like a woman scorned …over her bulldog.

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