Hitched

Married muffin over here … had a blast last night … enjoyed celebrating with every single person there…and eternally thankful to my husband and friends back home for the video that made me cry like a baby…

More on all that later.

For now, here’s a preview of what’s to come (visually.)

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Butterfly, glitches, moths & ex wives

The dark cloud that is G’s ex is always looming.

Can we take a minute to ponder that, please? This literally means that it’s a forever-present entity that exists to make your life awkward – for sure – and sometimes just plain miserable. So even when G and I are at our happiest, say, at a relaxing getaway in the middle of nowhere, there is always that little glitch of dark, stormy clouds. And of course there’s the anxiety that comes along with just waiting for what the next shenanigans will be. And it’s always just a matter of time before the shenanigans rear their ugly heads.

A very good friend of mine tells me that in the face of the ugly, dark glitch, when such occasions of misery arise, I should just rise above it. I understand that, of course, but ask myself how does one rise above something that isn’t done directly to them? In fact, how does one avoid getting raging mad when they see that the damage is being done to someone they love? I think that most people can handle themselves well enough, even when third parties seem out to get them. Somehow we pull it together for ourselves. But arguably, this is a million times harder – even impossible – when you have no control over the hurt that’s coming towards your loved one. My bottom line here is that it’s f*ing hard to keep my cool when I know that G is being hurt on PURPOSE, something he doesn’t deserve, and there is nothing I can do to protect him from this or defend him from it.

I’m sure I don’t know the extent of it. I do know that a grown woman who went through a divorce SHOULD be thankful that the ex-husband is a fantastic and EVER PRESENT father. One who not only does his legal duty by paying child support but who plays with his kids, talks to his kids, tries to understand his kids and is basically one of the best dads I’ve ever witnessed. I like to think that I put myself in other’s shoes quite often. In the shoes of a divorced woman left with two kids to raise, I’m fairly certain that I’d be STOKED that the man I personally couldn’t harmonize with, was an amazing dad to our kids. On that note, as a divorced woman I know I wouldn’t just stare at my phone as I watched such a dad call and call and call to try to talk to his kids…letting days go by before I finally handed the kids the phone so that they could have a conversation with him. I’m pretty sure that only teenagers pull such stunts, not grown women with two children who, by the way, is also a teacher. Ah yes, education’s finest! [Note to self: can I ask for background checks on all would-be teachers my future kids might have?]

I’ve done this putting myself in her shoes scenario many times. I’ve imagined being as pissed as she is that I was left alone to raise two kids [there’s a story behind that, but for the purposes of trying to understand this other person, I’m thinking along the lines of what SHE would think. HER reality as SHE sees it.] “Left alone” and now learning that my ex-husband is about to remarry, meanwhile I can’t find myself a steady boyfriend, let alone a fiancee [wonder why]. Then I add to that the context of having been raised in a traditional Chilean household. One where perhaps the father put up with a whole lot of sh*t from the mother, but, being traditional, there was never any thought of divorce. Misery is part of marriage, didn’t you know? You marry for life, no matter how awful the other one treats you! Such is the sanctity of marriage! [her reality, not mine.] So when I married, in my early 20s mind you, I did so after dating probably a total of 2 guys before marrying the one who happened to be with me at the right time for marriage.

G was a different person back then too and this is worth noting. He wasn’t necessarily a follower, but his leadership skills didn’t have an environment to thrive. He had several encounters in life where he wasn’t encouraged to be a leader or encouraged to throw forth his right opinion … and so she led by default. Not because she’s a better leader (I can imagine few people are when compared to G and that’s a fact) but probably because no one told her to sit down and shut up … so to speak. G was a leader brewing … and his catapult was his career. Through his career and his accomplishments he finally embraced the personality and mannerisms of the leader he was born to be. And truth be told, such leaders – such ballers – cannot stand such mediocre women.

I said that to him once. I looked at him and asked “How can someone as shining and brilliant as you, marry someone so plain, predictable and boring?” The answer is that back then, he wasn’t half of who he is now.

He’s so amazing, so insightful, SO SMART, SUCH a contributor … you WANT to hear his opinion and it never crosses my mind to not accept it or ever not want to hear it. And he expects the same back!! He has ZERO patience for people who are boring. People who are ordinary. And that’s exactly who he married back in the day … so it was just a matter of time … as a butterfly has transformed, so did he. And a butterfly CANNOT keep the company of a moth.

The moth probably looks at the butterfly now and thinks “You are a poser. That’s not who you are. I don’t even know you.” Oh little moth, little moth. This is the real deal now … and I can see this is one butterfly who is off to bigger, badder things in life because he’s allowed to be himself. If this weren’t who he truly is, how would one account for all the blessings that surround him now more than ever? Thankfully he is truly blessed.

….oh right, except for the dark glitch who may or may not allow their kids to attend our wedding. The glitch who won the name battle and now the kids don’t call me the cute nickname they used to call me, but flatly say “Andrea.” [Andreita upset her too much.] The glitch who just stares at the phone when he tries to call to talk to his kids. The glitch who takes them away on weekends when he’s supposed to see them.

Rise above it, ANDREITA.

Me and the butterfly are just going to go on with our bad selves. Can we just leave the moth, who repeatedly tries to crash the party, to burn herself against the shining light?

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Fun with the scanner

I’ve had a day to myself today and besides going outside for some needed beautifying, gym and taking Obi out, I’ve been indoors all day. So of course that means playing with the scanner, right? Right.

I dug up some old pictures of me to document on the blog (for future generations – hee hee!) and spent the afternoon scanning them into my computer. What I noticed is that I started out really cute, then got awkward … then hit puberty and got MORE awkward … and then got a little chunky … then finished up where I am currently: the state of me.

Without further ado …

This is little Dre with my aunt. Yes the pic is B&W because it’s the 70s and we were in Chile. This is before I left to live in San Francisco.

From there, we hit up a few shots of when I was 3ish, the age I left Chile and arrived in the U.S.

This is me at a boat show, probably at the Cow Palace.



This is me at 3 yrs sporting a bikini…meditating I guess. I don’t really know what I’m doing but am too distracted to figure it out with the fact that I was EVER so flat chested! Also, no joke, I have the SAME legs now that I did then!

Then I was 4 …



After that – we jump to 6 ….

And my first grade school pic. Tell me you aren’t digging the corduroy jumper …

Then apparently my mom hacked my hair short for my 1st Communion when I was 7. The only time in my life I’ll ever wear a veil. Now I’m thinking I probably should have saved it.



Ok, so now I’m warning you that from here on out, things get a little ugly. Don’t feel bad if it becomes a bit hard to spot the cute girl that once was. I totally get it …


My 5th grade class picture … I was about 11 yrs old. Please continue to be my friend after this … I had no control over the hair, I promise! My eyebrows look pretty dope though, wouldn’t you say?



More awkwardness followed at 12, 13 and 14 … within those years I also got a perm which I COMBED OUT every day… so basically I had a triangle on my head. I omitted those pics on purpose as I have much dignity left in me. [Note: the acid washed jean jacket was my prized possession. It zipped up!]



Then I was 15…the age when I landed my first real boyfriend. Apparently the awkward stage didn’t help my love life as the second I was over it, someone wanted to date me.



From there it was a quick leap to HS graduation …

Until the last year of my teens …

Working my way through college and finally at the legal drinking age!…not that you can tell from this picture as I look 14 again! What can I say? I’ll take this opportunity to point out that this is the age I joined a sorority … and this particular picture was taken at the first sorority event I ever went to … see below at my graduation pic to note what 2 straight years of drinking does to the looks.

Finished college a little later than most, at 23, but did it anyway. Here it looks like my age caught up with me, tackled me and added a couple more years.

Here’s 23 post-college (i.e. not drinking every other day and actually getting some sleep. With my grandfather who passed away in 2005). If this doesn’t speak volumes about what drinking does to one’s youthful appearance, not sure what does.

Then I was 26 …

27 …



And finally jumping ahead to the big 3-0. It’s been 3 years since I celebrated my thirtieth and I’d like to think I look pretty much the same. Besides, those pics are already digital so it takes all the fun out of the post!

The moral of today’s post is this: one really does some lame-ass stuff when they’re home most of the day on Saturday…
Another morsel you could perhaps consider taking home after this post is this: awkward stages hit everyone. So do a 5-10 pound fluctuations.
Finally, drinking every day makes you look haggard.

To end this lovely scan-filled afternoon, I’d like to pop in a pic of my beloved from when he was 3 … just for sh*ts and giggles! :o) J’adore my little blondie!!

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Deviation (from the chaos) post

Just a quick post not related to the EQ and the stress it’s causing (to say the least) both here at home and in the country, I thought I’d share some pics of Obi’s life with us … he’s too cute for color tv!! (though I myself will call myself out in that he drives me nuts, puppies can be a pain in the behind and the allergies I have to him have me at wit’s end.) Other than that, j’adore our bulldog.

Obi coming home



Obi’s first car ride



First night at home with us

Little nugget



Sleeping …

Hanging out with me…

Little paws …

In his toy basket …(trying to get his toys, he found himself inside)



Looking oh-so-cute on the pillow my mom made for him

We got some great pictures yesterday afternoon of Obi running around the grass in our building’s backyard … so great because he runs sideways, like a crab! I’ll post at some point. For now, just thought I’d lighten up the blog posting … note that at this very second, I’m having a “my dog annoys me” moment so I need to hurry up and post this!!!

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Slacker

Can we talk about my lack of planning ahead?

I’m leaving to go home tonight because thankfully, I’m finally going to become a U.S. Citizen! Yay!! My Naturalization Oath Ceremony takes place in San Francisco this coming Thursday and like any good employee, I’m hopping a plane back to Chile the following day. It’s bad enough that when I’m out of the “office” and in another country I feel completely disconnected and this is going to be the case from Tuesday – Friday of this week. Good of me to then be responsible and hop a plane back following the ceremony.

Oh except that it JUST occurred to me that the second I become a U.S. Citizen, my green card is going to be taken away (replaced by an official document that states I am a U.S. Citizen) … and I won’t YET have a U.S. Passport … so I ask myself, how on Earth is this going to work out? And why didn’t I plan ahead and do all my researching about this before TODAY, the day I’m leaving?

Can I leave the U.S. without a green card? Even if I show my document stating I’m a citizen, won’t there be an issue with me being a US Citizen traveling with a Chilean passport? I’m so confused!! Will the airport people not care? Will they call INS on me? Ack!!

I have no idea what’s going to happen. All I know is that after I enter the U.S. and take my Oath, I won’t have the correct travel documents to return to Chile. For all I know, I CAN leave…but then what if I can’t? What currently looks like a week-long stay in CA can quickly turn into a one-month wait for my U.S. passport to be processed.

Can I cry at my lack of organization and forethought??? Please?

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My last rant about Chile for 2009 (that I’ll blog, I mean)

A short one because I’m basically going to C&P what I just tweeted (it’s all for you, my dear blog readers. I know you wish to know the in’s and out’s of living in Chile, and well, I couldn’t finish my year without one more frustrating bit of info.)

With much love from me to you. :o)

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Merry Christmas Eve day

It’s Christmas Eve and for all intensive purposes, today is Christmas in Chile. Since celebrations occur this evening, with dinner at about 10 pm and the opening of gifts at about midnight, that puts Santa’s arrival at about 11:45 pm versus the 4 am timing that occurs in the States, allowing kids to catch some zzzzz’s prior to the frenzy on the 25th in the morning.

Several things are on my mind today and I’m trying to sort them all out and/or make them happen.

The most pressing thought this past holiday season can best be described by channeling the Talking Heads and their song “Once in a Lifetime.” Not necessarily the entire song, but definitely the first part of it and especially the end of that first part which asks “Well, how did I get here?” Here a snippet (compliments of Kermit the Frog since I couldn’t find the actual video on YouTube. I rather think the Kermit one is more up my alley but that’s six of one and half a dozen of another …)

Yes, Kermit’s voice gets slightly annoying towards the end of the clip but I do want to consider each point in the beginning of the song:

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
– well no, not living in a shotgun shack exactly. Apartment’s nice and cozy.
You may find yourself in another part of the world – Yes, this part here is true.
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile – No, no. The car is a mini little egg-type bit.
You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife – Why yes, in a beautiful apartment with a beautiful, nice smelling soon-to-be husband …

How did I get here:

– I’m the woman of the house and in a way I’ve never known before. I may not clean, as we have help for that, but I direct the cleanliness and well-being of this house.
– I decorated for Christmas and have initiated traditions that I foresee being with us and our future family for a while.
– I’ll be the hostess of our family’s gathering for Christmas Eve tonight.
– We bought Filet Mignon and are about to embark in a full fledged hard-core prepping of a family dinner
– And we’re going to try to create magic for G’s kids tonight given that they believe in Santa and we have to keep this little lie alive (well, “we” is a term I use loosely actually. G will be doing most of the magic making.)

I bring this up because my mom has been keen to repeatedly telling me that she’s so proud of the woman I’ve become and the house I’m “running” and the traditions I’m continuing for my “own” family. Sometimes I feel like she’s talking about someone else since half the time I consider myself to be oh, about 16 and obviously a 16 year old can’t manage all that – what, with boys and the entire cast of Twilight to consider. Who has the time? Sometimes I feel like I’m this teenage girl trapped in a big, woman world. Other times I feel like the same woman who was alone in her apartment last year during the Christmas season and inviting her girlfriends over for merry enjoyment of alcoholic beverages. I didn’t even have a tree back then.

We’re hosting family and friends at our grown-up apartment tonight and it’s a big deal to me. It’s a moment in time that captures everything I once longed for and thought was so out of reach: a man I love who loves me back equally; my mom seeing me in my own home as a grown up; the invite-ER as opposed to the invite-EE during Christmas; the hostess who makes sure that each one of her guests finds a gift under the tree. Sometimes I have split-second moments of freaking out (hence, how did I get here type thoughts) but the freak out is really the 16-year old/single woman me backing off to the woman-of-the-house/master-of-her-own-domain diva who is on her way to having it all. I’m not there yet – far from it – but I am certainly ahead of the curve I think. And that curve isn’t one set by peers, but one that was set by me – versions of me that existed long ago and versions of me that I knew far longer than the me I am getting to know now.

This me is a grown up. This me is a woman. (Even writing that seems weird. What? Me? A woman? Surely, you must be mistake …) This me has a fabulous apartment and is serving filet mignon for Christmas dinner!

Madge said it best… who’s that girl?

Hee hee! Me I think. Except you know, a “woman” now.

To who we were and to who we are now… and to the path from A to B – Merry Christmas!

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Google Earth: handy tool or useful stalking mechanism?

Last night G introduced me to what might be THE BEST invention ever … Google Earth. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you check it out, download it and start sightseeing/stalking different parts of the world.

I’m OFFICIALLY obsessed!!

I give you my Google Earth’s version of my apartment building (second bldg from the bottom right) Side note, I had NO IDEA that our neighbors had a pool on their roof!

So then we decided to check out all the destinations in Asia where we are planning to go on our Honeymoon – and THIS, was by far, the coolest thing ever:

Bangkok:
See all those little blue squares? That’s where people have uploaded pictures in that area! The more squares, the more likely it’s a tourist attraction…

Phuket:

And one of the BEST TOOLS about this thingy is the street view option…not all destinations have this option but more likely than not, U.S. cities will for sure have it… here we have Tokyo (another Hmoon destination) and we also have a close up of a street in the Shinjuku district…watch as it zooms, zooms and ZOOMS!!:

Of course, I guess we can also see this as a scary Big Brother-type tool that allows people to stalk one another and allows big corporations (i.e. Google) to keep tabs on what we’re doing and where we’re going. Yeah, I guess we can go that route…but I’m pretty sure this has been going on for decades without us knowing and now it’s open and free for us to use! For the moment, we better just sit back and take advantage of this little tool to help us find our destinations (long gone are the MapQuest days of simple “turn right here” and “turn left here”)… I imagine that pretty soon they’ll have live cameras set up somewhere actually MONITORING live. Next thing you’ll know is that you’ll look out the window and see some droid filming what you’re presently doing, all because someone entered your building’s address in Google Earth!

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Fake Chilena Part II: What makes me Chilean

What gives me a huge sense of joy regarding this blog is that I can throw things out there and I have the privilege of reading people’s thoughts/opinions about such things. I also feel an immense amount of appreciation for the blog community in general, mainly because it’s perspectives galore! And who doesn’t like third party opinions, I ask you?

Anyhoo, so my list of why I’m not Chilean (in my mind) can go on and on, but it’s only fair to point out reasons why I AM indeed Chilean because there are quite a few. After all, with Pil as a mother, (who ever-so-nicely told me when I was 4 that I’d speak to her in Spanish only or she would never talk to me) – it’s hard to forget where one came from.

1) Believe it or not, I really like Nescafe and I drink it once or twice, daily. Others may argue that it tastes gross, but coming from the U.S., where the majority of coffee tastes like Starbucks (yuck), I’m not really sure what the difference is between that and Nescafe? In fact, I think Nescafe is tastier! … and I blame Starbucks and their gross coffee for this.

2) I grew up reading Condorito. Given that back in the day we didn’t have much money, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t getting the lastest Condoritos to read, therefore, I most likely learned to read in Spanish with the same three comic books – over and over and over. I really liked his nephew Cone and felt like he was my buddy. I liked Yayita too but her boobs and body weirded me out in a “please-don’t-let-that-happen-to-me” kind of way (it did). Finally, I really liked that his dog’s name was Washington. How Shey-lay-no!

3) I’m inclined to dress my salad with either lemon and oil or balsamic and oil. Granted, I’m not sure if this is totally Chilean, but I do know that Chileans more often than not, don’t even have salad dressing in their fridge, let alone dump it on salads.

4) Me gusta chismear. Or, I like to gossip. But “gossip” actually has SUCH a bad connotation, I almost feel bad about lying in such a manner. I like to be “in the know” and like to know what people are doing and how they feel. Of course it’s one of the MAIN reasons I love that my gringa friends have blogs – it’s like being a fly on the wall. Mostly I like to hear about my family and what each cousin (out of 1049) is doing and how he got this or that person pregnant (heard that story about three times) or how he/she flunked out of their year in school (heard that one once, thankfully.)

5) Pisco sours and pan amasado. Yum, yum and YUM! If I could send a care package to all my wonderful friends back home, I’d FOR SURE include these two little concoctions because MY WORD, do they make me a happy Chilean! (Though currently limiting intake of both due to upcoming wedding. My own, I mean.)

6) The smog is slowly becoming second nature to me. I guess this is more of a Santiago thing. When I first got here I remember seeing the layer of smog SO THICK that I thought FOR SURE the knights of the Apocalypse were on their way to my house. Now I wake up, get my day going, see the smog, and carry on. I don’t even think about it! Further, I went to a friend’s house the other night to do our Secret Santa, and I realized that near her house I could actually SEE the Andes Mountain range! From my apt, I simply can’t! With it, the dust and dirt that the smog brings into my apt is actually ALMOST taken for granted. Almost.

7) Family is important. To the point that I talk to Pil not just on a daily basis but about two to three times a day. I talk to my Uncle Pato who still lives back in the States, about twice a week! I have acquaintances back home who talk to their parents once every two weeks. ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS??!!! Not to be morbid, but either person could be dead in their home, being eaten away by rabid dogs with so much time between communication! I’m just sayin…

8) Wine. It’s not just for special occasions or sexy moments anymore. Oh no. This divine nectar of the gods has become a staple at most meals. When Pisco Sour isn’t center stage, that is.

9) Tarjeta BIP. Live it, love it, own it. It’s the electronic card that gets you on the metro and buses. I have two. One has BIP written on it and one is from the days when they were TESTING the cards… seriously, it’s about 4-5 years old. I alternate, depending on which one has more money on it. (you recharge it periodically with more $$$). G has lived in Santiago almost his entire life and he doesn’t even have one! Come to think of it, I just realized that I have NO idea what “Bip” even stands for! I wonder if it’s to mimic the sound the card makes when you swipe it?? Hmmm…

10) I’ve gotten used to the fact that when I want envelopes, I don’t go to a place similar to Long’s and browse their office supply aisle for a box of letter sized, standard envelopes. I go to a tiny, itty bitty, office supply store which sells me the envelope of my choice INDIVIDUALLY. They buy the box and then sell each envelope IN the box, to the consumer. At first I thought this was weird. Now I just appreciate it bc honestly, who needs an entire box of envelopes? This is a GENERAL example of how I’ve gotten used to finding the exact store that will sell me exactly and precisely what I need. No matter how small the object or how cheap.

11) I REALLY, really, really (no, really) like 80s glam rock and I never complain when they play them over and over again at clubs (discos as they say here.) What can I say? I grew up in the 80s so the fact that Chile seems to be stuck there at times is A-OK with me!

Such silliness….As one gringa friend would say, “Oh She-lay.”

And I’m this weird combo of gringa and She-lay-na … so when people ask me where I’m from (and they do about 90% of the time because of this said “accent” I presumably have) I just don’t know what to say anymore. I’m both and I’m neither.

Honestly my life would be MUCH easier if I could just direct all such questions to my blog. The answers are all here, folks. Hence, chileangringa dot blogspot, etc etc…

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Fake Chilena

Today I went out to lunch with a good gringa friend who lives here in Chile and we always joke around about how much more Chilean she is than me due to the fact that she’s been living here for about two years (going on more) and before that, had been traveling here for a good number of years to visit her then-boyfriend, now-husband.
Hand-in-hand with that feel-good joking, is the same joke about me being the complete opposite – in that really, I’m a fake Chilean. It’s kind of ironic considering that for many of the 29 years I lived in the U.S. I claimed to be thoroughly and 100% Chilean… I remember busting out my passport on occasion just to prove HOW Chilean I really was!

The reality is that aside from being registered as having been born in La Serena, Chile and having a RUT (ie a social security number), having family members who are product of generations of family members born in Chile and thus having family who has lived here forever, I’m not that Chilean. You might disagree with me after having just read all that makes me Chilean but I have evidence and facts that will support my claim and as this is my blog, I’ll lay them all out for you. Then, you can determine if I’m right or not.
I am not familiar with Chilean customs or everyday to-do’s. I just went to Tavelli for the first time ever and apparently this place is an every day go-to spot for lunch. Similarly, I’m not wired to order the lunch specials in most day-to-day restaurants. These lunch specials are much less expensive, offer more food for the buck and generally are pretty tasty. But I’m not wired that way. So I don’t know the restaurants or spots AND once there, it never occurs to me to order the lunch special.

Also, since it’s Christmas time (though you wouldn’t know it given that it’s 90 degrees here!) there’s many Nativity scenes around – in people’s homes or outside city halls or even in the mall! It’s a predominantly Catholic country so this makes sense, of course. Except that the other day I passed by one with G and I freaked out because there was no baby Jesus to be found!! “OMG they stole the baby Jesus! Who does that?” Because we’re in Lat Am and of course, stealing is more of a norm here than not. Yeah except that no one stole the baby Jesus. It just so happens that in Chile, the custom is to put the baby Jesus out the night of Christmas Eve – after the time he’s supposedly been born!! Ok, so that makes sense I guess but I had no idea that’s how they roll in Chile – Baby Jesus doesn’t make it to the party until the 24th.

Innately, I think it’s super weird to call just anyone “Tia” or “Tio” and I only think it’s ok if 1) you are directly related to them or 2) they’ve been in your life for so long, that you imagine they were in the delivery room when you were born. Any other relationship, in my mind, doesn’t justify calling someone your aunt or uncle. But get this – children in preschool call the preschool teachers Aunt This and Aunt That. Um….why? Don’t give me the “out of respect” excuse bc if it’s solely due to that, then I’ll argue that Miss/Ms. This or That shows tons more respect than Aunt This or That. Any day. Yet here I am, fighting the power, calling people by their first names or Miss/Ms So-and-So bc to me, this Chilean custom isn’t embedded in my DNA. It’s a losing battle, I’ve been told…

Maternity leave. No I’m not taking any of that as of yet (and for some time to come) but for the few months I’ve been here, I’ve heard stories and stories about pregnant women taking FULL fledged advantage of the time off they are legally granted. According to my friend Google, Chile allows 18 weeks of maternity leave! But wait, there’s more! Chilean women are further protected by the law that prohibits employers from firing pregnant women and making it illegal to fire a woman who has taken maternity leave for up to a year after she has finished this leave. Can we sit back and ponder that…just for a moment? For a full year, this said woman is basically SECURE in her job and that NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF performance she’s exhibiting at the office, she cannot be fired. She can show up late for ten days straight, miss important meetings, decide she no longer wants to work with excel sheets, etc etc and there is no way she can be fired.
Adding to this mix, I’d like to add that from insider scoop, I can attest that these women can also secure their jobs for longer by becoming pregnant with a subsequent child and thus securing further maternity leave and another year of employment after her second leave is over.
In my un-Chilean mind this is how I see it: 18 weeks is a nightmare and what the hell am I expected to do all that time?? I mean sure, I’ll like the baby and want to make sure it doesn’t get hurt or anything like that, but trust me, I’m not sure I like to be with MYSELF 24/7 for 18 weeks, let alone a baby. [Note, this is NOT where you insert jokes about my maternal instinct. I’m going to be a great mother! Hrmph!] I would also fear – FEAR – that during that time that I’m (forced) away from work, some other woman, man, older, younger, more experienced, more enthusiastic, what have you, will somehow “take over” my duties and excel at them! While I’m at home with a kid for a million years?? I think not. I did not go to school to be left in the dust by a man who isn’t even capable of having kids and my forced time off is not a pedestal for said person to excel in MY ROLE. I refuse to be anyone’s professional piggy back when I’m just as qualified.
Finally, from a supervisor point of view, how utterly annoying and UNproductive to have someone on staff who is protected by all these wonderful laws, but who abuses them by being quite half a**ed in her work. I’m just saying, I’d be pissed if I were the boss of such kind of woman (and I’ve heard they exist.) Needless to say, quite un-Chilean of me. G tells me that even if I were to beg my employer to let me work from home, chances are they’d say no. Thus, having kids = abandoning career. And THAT, my dear blog reader, is a thorn in my side that I will fight until the very end!! Can’t I just give five weeks to the next woman who likes to stay home with her kids in lieu of career advancement? That sounds like a nice trade.

On a lighter note, here’s some quick things that remind me of my un-Chilean-ness:

1.) I don’t eat ice cream three times, twice or even once a week. Chileans like their ice cream! The McDonalds’ here even have a special window dedicated to selling JUST the ice cream: sundae, soft cone, McFlurry, what have you.
2.) Also, I walk like I know where I’m going or like I have somewhere important to be (even if I don’t.) Whereas, on a daily basis I’m stuck behind women and men lallygagging on the sidewalk, asking one foot’s permission before moving the other! My heaving, annoyed sighs usually signal that I need to get by, and usually they allow me to do so … but not before they look at me as if I were ET.
3.) I wear nail polish on my toes.
4.) I forget to eat with my hands in clear view for everyone at the table to see. It’s generally considered impolite to eat with one hand on your lap (I don’t know, lest I be touching myself … or others??!)
5.) I’m not inclined to partake in “once” or tea time and I don’t have that custom in my home. Whereas most Chileans, at least families, do.
6.) I don’t have a Chilean mullet and go out of my way to tell my hair dresser that I want my hair cut STRAIGHT in the back and not in a “V” (thus resulting in the Chilean mullet). We gringas here make fun of this phenomenon often enough.
7.) I think Pan de Pascua is disgusting.

Though to end, I’d like to share that I did do something today that made me feel quite Chilean. For the application to the Masters program I’m hoping to attend, I need to submit a “carnet” or ID style picture (think passport picture.) Most Chileans take really bad, deer-in-headlight/mugshot type of pictures … and I’m happy to report that mine, was indeed, no different. I am now, truly, a Chilean and I have the carnet-style picture to prove it.

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