Getting through August

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But come September…. the world is mine.

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

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Channeling Bret Michaels

That sounds really weird.

Why would anyone want to channel this guy?

Perfecting the duck face.
Perfecting the duck face.

I’m only kind of kidding, of course. I’m sure Bret Michaels has a ton to teach us about beating the odds given he has the worst kind of diabetes known to man and he still finds energy, health and time to dedicate to what he knows best: music, supporting our troops and veterans and canoodling with 80s-haired wanna-be vixens. Seriously, more power to him. [Side note: I own all three seasons of Bret Michael’s Rock of Love. Chew on THAT.]

It’s been THREE WHOLE MONTHS since I quit that painful excuse for a career move and I’m still right where I was on March 1st. I mean, I guess I’ve grown somewhat: I’ve meditated over the experience, did the due diligence of finding the moral lesson in the HUGE fail I had to endure, have beaten myself up and consoled myself a dozen and one times and have gone to and fro with lamenting and redeeming myself. The moral of the story is this: I totally and completely fucked up, reacted hastily to an expired situation and, because of the frustration this invoked, was blinded into thinking that the first company to come along and court me WAS INDEED MY SAVING GRACE. By accepting all the glorious things they offered, I’d show ex-company what I’m worth and man, won’t they be sorry to see me go. 

Well we all know how THAT worked out.

If my ex-company ever lamented that I left, I never knew about it. Though I suspect that my wise ex-boss surely saw me making this mistake as it was happening and, in her age and the infinite wisdom associated with her life experiences, she probably hoped for the best for me but surely thought I was being impulsive. And then she probably concluded that she didn’t want such an impulsive wreck to continue to run her business in Chile. So a pat on the back and “good luck to you” it was. As a person she was probably sad to see me go, but as a business woman she concluded that I had made my decision and life would go on.

Lesson learned: I was defiant. I acted impulsively. I was immature. I was all ego.

I crossed into what I thought was my field of dreams. All I had ever hoped for in structure, in organization, in position, in teamwork. Only to realize that NOTHING was as it had been promised and what had been painted to me on the outside was merely an illusion … or a wish list of where they wanted to be but had failed repeatedly to achieve. No ONE person was going to achieve that for them when the organization was screwed up, from the leader downward. Good people, talented even. But so much more to accomplish and, truth be told, a little fishy that as a group they still failed repeatedly to accomplish their wish list. I bowed out in the nick of time.

Lesson learned: I left more humbled than I’ve ever been in my life. I remain as humbled. I lost faith in teamwork; I lost faith in myself. I doubted myself. I beat myself up for making such a terrible mistake. I felt sorry for myself. All of this (and more) has made me pick myself up. Has made me push aside all the negativity, all the doubts, all the fears. A calloused me has emerged.

I’m less likely to be as impulsive now. I’m more apt to listen than to speak. I’m asking more questions and pushing for answers if something seems fishy. Unfortunately I’m also probably way more skeptical than ever before. I believe the word I’m looking for is tainted.

So why Bret Michaels, really?

All of the above has happened internally (obviously), while on the outside I’ve been on multiple job interviews. Some that have really, really interested me, others which I was quite skeptical about. Thus far, none have panned out. This in and of itself is hard on the self esteem. Some days turn into weeks and I realize that I’ve had no solid leads in well over double digit days. I fear becoming a has-been. I fear becoming irrelevant. I have images of turning 45 and realizing that I never worked again… I never dominated my area/project/division/what-have-you, again. Never killing it again. Add the stress of having one demanding toddler who at times flies off the handle to such an extent, I’m left wondering if I’m even losing at this whole parenting thing. Add a newly diagnosed epileptic dog. Add a traveling husband who is here only sometimes (and Murphy’s Law has it that he’s gone when shit truly hits the fan.)

Nothing is the end of the world, but every little thing adds up. And the thoughts that swirl in one’s own mind can be such ball busters.

Bret Michaels wasn’t necessarily impulsive in his decisions on Rock of Love. In fact, in the first season, everyone was sure he’d pick Heather. She seemed like the obvious choice as she was so much more his style and vibe (fake boobs and all!) Instead he picked Jes. Jes was cute, spunky, smart – the kind of girl other girls want to be friends with. Good decision. Smart, reliable. BUT SO NOT BRET MICHAELS! He made a safe decision, but not a decision that Bret himself could truly commit to … and he didn’t! Because then came Season 2 of Rock of Love. In what we now know to be typical Bret style – he likes the party girls and the centerfold types for a little while. But when it comes down to it, Bret is a man of substance. Again he floored us by not choosing Daisy and going with Ambre! The smart, flat-chested, career oriented girl that again, all girls would love to befriend! Then, out of nowhere, in Season Three he went COMPLETELY AGAINST everything we knew about him and he chose Taya instead of Mindy! Mindy – the all American girl!! Taya – literally the Penthouse something or other. I was totally distraught with that decision because Taya played it up that she was a lady and that all her Penthouse “spreads” were done “in taste.” She portrayed herself to be one way but really, she was as trashy as the rest! I’m disgusted just remembering ….

All of the above has nothing to do with my life lessons learned in the past six months. What I mean when I say I’m going to channel Bret Michaels, I really mean that I find solace in Poison’s song “Something to Believe In.” It reminds me that there are bigger problems out there, but I also know that we all have our own battles and we all need a little something to believe in everyday. Sometimes a good song is all you need to soothe a dark moment just enough. Once it’s over, you find you’re on the other side of the dark  moment and able to keep on moving.

“Road to God, take me home.” Thanks, Bret.

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Identifying with "Lost in Translation"

I’m more analytical than I give myself credit for and in the recent weeks I’ve been analyzing my current state of affairs as my one-year anniversary of arriving in Chile is quickly approaching.

I think my feelings on the matter can best be described by the original trailer to the movie “Lost In Translation.” I’ll give you a minute or so to check it out below.

Incidentally, I’ve been to Tokyo and aside from being FABULOUS it really IS how it’s depicted in the movie. The thing being that the movie is focused on two different (or similar) reactions to that environment.

Anyway, the case in point isn’t about Tokyo but about my identity crisis in this new chapter of my life. For as long as I can remember, this was the trailer to me:

“Andrea who is originally from Chile, works in anime and is on a mission from God to find THE ONE. Andrea fills her time and space with reading historical fiction and US Weeklys, hanging out with friends, traveling for work and engaging in spontaneous bouts of physical activity otherwise known as cardio excercise. She likes to dabble in drinking wine and playing computer games and is a big fan of greek yogurt. She owns more jeans than she has time to wear and looks forward to baseball season so she can watch games in the sun with her friends (using the term ‘watch’ loosely). She routinely hosts movie nights and girls’ night at her cute, albeit small, apartment. Her cooking skills cover a variety of salads, mostly consisting of lettuce and avocado, with a generous gob of minced Dungeness crab. Andrea has questionable opinions towards all things Mormon and all things ordinary.”

This little paragraph pretty much summed up who I was for a big part of my life and in comparison, my life now looks NOTHING like said points mentioned above.

The trailer for “Lost in Translation” stated in the beginning “Bob is lost.” In this case:
“Andrea is lost as she begins to come to terms with what it means to live her life in another country. Andrea is new to being a wife and suddenly finds herself in charge of a home where two, sometimes four people dwell. She owns a dog who recently chewed up one of her two pairs of high heeled black boots – she is the master disciplinarian. She’s also balancing her career working remotely for a company based abroad, all the while managing her humbling grades in Graduate School. All this grouped with trying to cement bonds and friendships with other women living the Expat life as well. Andrea spends the majority of her days completely alone, reaching out to the world via social online mediums, something she never did before back home. Old Andrea – meet new Andrea.”

I’m learning about being a wife, a “dueña de casa” (verbatim, “owner of a home” which has more do with running and creating a home vs fiscally owning a home), being a pet owner, doing my job well but knowing that eventually I’ll need to have a secure job locally if I’m ever going to establish my career whole-heartedly here, branching out, learning how to maneuver myself in this city, so on and so on. All of this is grossly misaligned with what I knew of me before so to me, it’s no wonder that I’m in this perpetual state of crisis with regards to my identity.

In “Lost in Translation,” the character Bob (Bill Murray) asks the character Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) “What do you do?” to which she replies “I’m not sure yet actually” and later, in a different scene, she tells Bob “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be.”

Chile is full of nuances, bureaucracy, crime, traditions and social norms – things that can make anyone’s head spin even before they have to come to terms with all of a sudden being a wife and “mom” to a six month old dog in a foreign country where no one seems to understand where you’re coming from. As such, it’s pretty hard to determine what one is “supposed to be” at any given point. Shying away from the ordinary and in a land where a) being different isn’t rewarded and b) being different isn’t something easily accessible, you find yourself wondering where your path is and how you walk down it at your own rhythm once you’ve determined said path.

But “the good news is, the whiskey works” to quote the trailer/movie again. And in my case here and now, the whiskey is all things that make being here better than being there… the whiskey is all that stuff that nudges me and says “Hellooooo, remember this?” After all, as much as I loved my single life and LOVED my old apartment, the fact of the matter was that it was lonely on many occasions and even then I had days when I’d be home alone and talked to no one … the bad news being that I didn’t have the reality of G walking in through the door and sharing the evening with me. And if there’s ever one common denominator in the field where all that’s good belongs, it’s G.

In summary, am I having an identity crisis? Yeah, I think I am. I’m in this strange land with its strange customs, where I don’t know tit from tat and on top of that I’m all of a sudden a “housewife” in more ways than I care to recognize. Simply put, the housewife bit is not the gig I was thinking I’d have this time in life and I’m fighting it with blood, sweat and tears. The wife part I like – something one can definitely get used to, but this is also a learning curve. I’m attempting to introduce old Andrea to new Andrea …one’s lost and one’s found. Both are versions of me that I know and love, though the former one is that which I’ve known for a lifetime minus the last year.

In the end it’s the environment, where I am, what I do and who I surround myself with that’s changed. I don’t recognize the usual suspects because the usual suspects are played by completely different people now. It’s on me to get with it and adapt already. I have yet to learn to identify with my new roles in my new world. This is the main reason for said identity crisis I’m proclaiming. In the end, I imagine it happens to others who find themselves in warp speed towards another chapter in life … or is that just the new Andrea wishful thinking?

I have faith in the final thought in the “Lost in Translation” trailer above … “Sometimes you have to go halfway around the world, to come full circle.”

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Date on, evil woman! Date on!

I know a lot of you have been wondering about a certain element in our lives – a plague, a tumor, a zit on the face of humanity …how’s it been since the wedding, you ask? Not that G shares any kind of insight on that dark side of existence but I’m happy to share something that’s becoming more and more evident as days pass:

It would seem b*tch face has a boyfriend.


Since this blog is relatively public and whatever I write can (and would) be used against me (or G) by said b*tch face, I’m going to have to leave it at that. If you know who I’m talking about and what it means for there to be a sad little man in her life right now, join me in a happy dance!

Happy, happy, joy, joy. Happy, happy, joy! Second verse, same as the first!

Oh but I do feel sorry for said sad little man, for he knows not what’s to come if he stays. Though, for our sake, I do hope she’s charming enough, for long enough, to nail him down. And I hope he’s stupid and tolerant enough to propose marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I wish them a lifetime of everlasting love but the reality is that SOMEONE’S true colors are going to come flying out. I just hope she keeps a lid on them long enough for them to make the thing LEGIT. I’m not gonna lie.

That’s my news – short, sweet and totally vague. Let’s pop some bubbly to that, mkay?

And happy dance!

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State of frump being a pseudo housewife

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet. Can’t wait.

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My competitive landscape in Chile

My competitive pool is much smaller in Chile.

Granted, this is perhaps directly correlated to the fact that Chile has a population of about 16,758,114, of which, about 85% is urban dwelling… i.e. the majority of them are crowding my space here in Santiago.

But I spent days wondering, how many of these 16+ million are in the same competition pool with me? I’m not going to say that I’m schooled in what the AVERAGE Chilean person, man and woman, aspires to because I’m sure it varies from person to person and social bracket to social bracket. All I can really base my assumptions on are family members, either close to me or not, as I observe what they accomplish in life and what they set as priorities.

Back home in CA I’m from a very, VERY competitive landscape. We’re talking Silicon Valley, Sand Hill Road: the venture capitalist mecca of the world, Stanford University, Nasa Ames Research Center, UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Financial District all within a good 60 miles from one another. And I lived (and grew up) right smack-dab in the middle of that. On top of that, I was also living in the DIRECT outskirts of one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., where, according to this year’s Forbes report, San Francisco comes in as the 4th most expensive city in the U.S., following NYC, LA and White Plains, NY.

It comes as no surprise (to me at least) that my high school graduating class consisted of sons and daughters of bank owners, hedge fund owners, partners of VC firms, notable investors, reputable doctors and lawyers, etc, etc, what have you. And that was the crowd that surrounded me in a PUBLIC school of the area… I can’t begin to imagine the company kept at the local private schools!

The competition I felt throughout my years in California was fierce. Seriously, something I wonder if many Chileans can understand. Right now, couples I know are purchasing homes that cost upwards of $2 million DOLLARS. Yeah. Couples that are between 31-35 purchasing homes or even ASPIRING to purchase homes in that price range. And even if we never dreamed of doing such things, we still have/had a pretty skewed view of what it meant to be successful. Ok, so MAYBE not a house worth millions of dollars but a two bedroom apartment/townhouse/flat that costs ALMOST $1 million. Trust me, this is NORMAL where I’m from because unfortunately that’s our reality. We either strive to make it or … we keep striving to make it (fortunately I don’t have friends who are quitters.) And I believe that we ALL went through a kind of crisis between the ages of 27-30 when we felt like we’d accomplished only a fraction of what we set out to accomplish and we held our heads in hands because we felt like we were ‘lagging behind’ when compared to our peers.

When I lived in CA I had decided that I didn’t need to live in Hillsborough or Marin County or even in San Francisco itself. Perhaps it was because I felt overwhelmed by the ridiculous competition and I knew that if I wanted to be in that race I had to keep on studying and add another degree to the arsenal. Unfortunately (or not) where I’m from, every other person has a Masters degree of some sort and it was quickly becoming a state of Bachelors = high school diploma. The only exception to this rule that I personally saw was with innovative people who created either a new service or a new technology (and in Silicon Valley, trust me there were many!) I didn’t find myself to be particularly creative – not in a core-shaking kind of way – and I certainly didn’t attend a top-tier university and the combination of both of those ‘setbacks’ made me feel that the ONLY way I could remain in the competitive game was to keep studying… but then again, choosing to study resulted in another set of suffocating avenues I had to weave through. Primarily, which school, what to study and PRAY TELL how would I pay for it!!??

But now I’m here in Chile … something that I hadn’t planned on years ago when I was mapping out the would-be actions I wanted to take to arrive at the life I wanted to have. In fact, during high school, college and as I entered the work force, all my decisions were based on living my life in the U.S., just as I had been for as long as I could remember. My frame of reference was that which I noted above and yes, I would adapt myself accordingly (perhaps in a fashion I now see as “settling” when compared to what my peers were setting out to accomplish) but my life would reflect SOME aspect of what was the “norm” around me. Said norm being where even over achievers fade into the background in the highly competitive environment.

All of the above brings me to this: I’m starting classes at a business school here in Santiago in April and I decided to focus on Marketing. Whereas in the States I would have probably chosen an MBA program due to the competition around me, here I feel that I already have an edge given that my undergrad degree is from a U.S. university so I decided to do something I was actually interested in. And so I sit back and think that all my prepping in an UBER competitive landscape in CA is going to serve me well here in Chile. I speak fluent English and Spanish, I work in a multi-national company where I manage an entire region, I have an undergrad degree from the U.S. and now I’m going to work hard for a Masters in Chile. I’m already wired to be an agro competitor, no holds bar, the “I-will-not-allow-you-to-be-better-than-me-without-a-fight” kind of mentality that I HAD TO HAVE growing up where I did. I don’t think it will be easy to charge ahead and become a leader of some sort here in Chile and I know I have a LOT of things to learn before I become one.

But I can say I do believe, 100%, that my competition pool here is much, much smaller than it was in the SF Bay Area. My mentality and focus hasn’t changed, my environment has … and it will be interesting to see what I accomplish and learn because of that.

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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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