Here’s my problem recently … in fact it’s been a problem for a while now and I suspect it’s a deeper rooted problem than I care to consider: the move to Chile has propelled me into adulthood.

When I moved here, I embarked on a whirlwind of adult themes – living with a significant other, having a household with a significant other (complete with a shared checking account), getting a dog with a significant other, getting married, and finally, being a stepmother to significant other’s children. Prior to all of this, I was a single gal living in the San Francisco Bay Area, traveling a heap for work and going out with my friends whenever the hell I pleased. No one to take into account besides myself and living the single life in my fabulous little apartment in the sunny outskirts of San Francisco. I traded all this in for the sake of love and moved to the bottom of the Earth to… become an adult.

The thing is, adulthood is fucking lonely. I’m nostalgic more than I care to recall and I miss my former life more than I care to admit. Then I consider that perhaps adulthood, introduced firsthand while living in a foreign country, is made far worse by the fact that I have to “learn the ropes” in this new country and adjust to society and culture here. What does that mean? Personally, for me, it means being the odd-man out 24-7. Combine this with “adult” responsibilities like planning for retirement, saving, planning kids, paying bills, saving for a future home, and seriously I just want to curl up in a ball and fall asleep next to my dog. All of it seems dry, all of it seems boring and ALL OF IT makes me miss my friends back home more than I can possibly express in one post.

Here’s the thing: while most of life is happening around me and I try to navigate my own life in the best, most successful way possible, inside, I’m like Peter Pan. I literally am the kid that never wants to grow up. Outside I’m 34 years old; inside I’m 24. In fact, call me crazy, but I still recall – FONDLY, mind you – the ’80’s Toys R Us commercial:

Indeed, all I want in life is to continue being a Toys R Us kid.

But those days are long gone and I’m not a Toys R Us kid. I’m not even a Falabella kid.

I guess what really makes adulthood a fucking drag right about now is this: I’ve had a really hard time making significant connections with people I’ve met here in Chile. Yeah, I LIKE some people I’ve met and think they are, in essence, pretty cool people, but I’d say it’s a far cry from actually connecting with said people. Sure, there are all kinds of variables, the most obvious one being my demanding job that pretty much sucks my will to do anything else besides come home and crash most of the time. But there are all kinds of other variables to consider too: age, priorities, responsibilities, work, time and space, just to name a few.

I know that my best friends back home are also tackling adulthood head on. They’re watching as other friends have children, buy homes, buy second homes, have second children, move up in their careers, etc, etc. Entering adulthood in Chile, for me, has been like starting a new school. I’m alone, I don’t really have any friends, I’m going through changes that feel weird and awkward and it seems everyone else is either 1) not going through the same changes or 2) breezing through said changes. In fact, I attended Catholic school for a hefty amount of time and when I started 8th grade in a public school in a new city, for the first time ever, I recall feeling a similar sentiment.

At times like these all I want to do is go somewhere where everybody knows my name … yeah I’m recalling the theme song to “Cheers,” but OH MY GOD does it ring true and comforting right about now.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.

[Why yes it does take everything I have and more so living in a foreign country where more often than not, all things seem backwards to me.]
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.

[WHY YES IT WOULD!! I could potentially prolong my sanity, I think.]

Wouldn’t you like to get away?

[Yes. Ideally to San Francisco or New York where my best friends are living. Given this, I’m thankful for an upcoming trip to NYC in September.]

Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,

[I used to live a life where I frequented places where many people knew me. Now I live the most anonymous life I can fucking conjure up.]
and they’re always glad you came.

[This line is the one that gets me. So many places I know I can walk into right now and KNOW that people will be happy to see me. But, fuck, more importantly, that people will actually GET me. I won’t be the odd man out, I may just fucking blend in. That or people will actually know me. Such a far cry from my life in Chile right now.]
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same

Misery loves company? Happiness loves company too, though. I’ll take either one here in Chile, but I’m so missing those connections. ARE people the same here as they are there? Do they have similar troubles? Do they go through the same things?…. Fuck if I know.
You wanna be where everybody knows
Your name.

[I do!]

You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,

[As much so here as there? Probably but then again, what do I  know?]
You wanna go where everybody knows
your name.

[What does it mean to go where everyone knows your name? Common bonds, that’s one. Relatable history, that’s another.]

There’s something to be said about surrounding yourself with people who know your history, people who knew you “way back when.”

The most recent example of this:

Text message via Whats App with Amanda Aug 13, 2011

What the hell does all that mean and why should you care?
You shouldn’t care actually. If you do, I’ll call you a crazy stalker.

But what I’ll share with you are simple facts:

1) Amanda is a really, really good friend I met in college . In fact, we lived together our senior year.

2) I used to be the agro friend who had her hair done (highlights and cut) every nine weeks on the dot. I also used to have my eyebrows done on a monthly basis. (An impossible feat here in Chile since, after having lived here 2+ years, finding a decent hairdresser continues to be a Holy Grail-esque quest.)

3) With this personal standard, I took it upon myself to alert all of my friends of their unruly hairs (whether on their heads or faces) whenever said hairs reared their ugly natures. I was what Amanda used to refer to as a “crotchety old aunt.”

Yet despite that annoying trait, this good friend of mine, along with another dear friend, remembered me when they passed by the hair salon where I used to get my hair ‘did back home (said reference to Trio). So much so, that they sent me a text message alerting me to the fact, despite the thousands of miles and the times zones that divide us. To me the idea  of being “where everybody knows [my] name” and to know people are “always glad I came” is something that is embodied in this text message I’ve shared right here on my blog.

I envision the me right now, grappling with being an adult and taking on the adult responsibilities that are coming at me left and right, stepping into the car with my two good friends, hearing them say “Dre!!” (if you ever watched “Cheers” you’d get this reference. If not, then here.) Seriously, I think that’s all I’d need to dust myself off and face the craziness of this new adulthood (in a foreign land.)

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7 thoughts on “Cheers

  1. Wow, Andrea I like your blog!!! Makes me feel kinda sad too. For one thing I am SHOCKED that you are 34! Aren’t you still in college??? Where does the time go. As I am a little bit ahead of you in years 😉 i can tell you i still crave and want to be around all of the friends that I had when I was younger. I can be myself bad behavior and all and they will still love me! The biggest compliment that i can give a person is that I forgot I didn’t go to high school with you!

  2. It really is hard to be away from home like that and away from the life you had already made for yourself. I feel for my poor hubby sometimes living here with all us mad Irish people, and he does sometimes feel very left out. When I lived in Chile I felt like my life was on standby the whole year, but for me it was only a year so it was easier. Now for Chris (my husband), he’s finally finding his place here, but it takes a long time and it’s seriously HARD WORK!!!But I’m guessing you’ve figured that part out already 🙂

    1. Hi Jamie,
      You totally nailed it, I think. It feels like I’m just now snapping out of this notion that no, this isn’t temporary and no, my life can’t continue this “stand by” type of existence. I think I’m definitely waking up and yes, it’s like this crazy slap across the face. The fact that I’ve waited two years to finally begin studying for the driver’s exam is testament to my “temporary stay” ideology. Who was I trying to kid, I ask? Oh well, it seems the message is sinking in, loud and clear and life goes on. I have to continue to figure out how best to do that here.

  3. Long gone are the days of heading home to the Crestview house, jumping in a twin bed and watching TGIF…
    I lovelovelove you.

  4. I’m sorry you’re having a rough time lately. I will say that after 5 years here, I have that feeling of people who know my history. Obviously it’s not the same feeling I have with friends who’ve been around for 15 years, but 5 years is still long enough that there’s a level of comfort that I didn’t have only a couple years in. I know the job is busy, but it sounds like now that you and G and the kids kind of have your routine worked out – which was obviously the priority before, and rightly so – it might be good for you to invest some of your limited free time in trying to make those connections that you feel like you’re missing. They’re always there, whatever country you’re in, it’s just sometimes hard to see them.

    1. We are becoming more social as a couple but I really feel there’s something to be said for surrounding myself with people who knew me even before I was married, or in Chile, or working for this company I now work for, etc. It could be that here in Chile I lack a sense of my history and past. In the end though, I do have some time management skills I need to hone. Yes, my job is master of time suckage and LORD KNOWS that I completely agree with you about winter and as such, the motivation to go out just doesn’t thrive during the winter months. Alas, excuses, excuses. :o)

  5. I have always wondered why it is so hard here to develop deeper relationships, more specifically, friendships with foreigners. I suppose it is because they always think we are not going to be here for a long time or my theory is that they missed out on the whole moving out at 18 and the college social thing (or the majority) and mostly hang onto people they have known since they were little in their colegios. It can get lonely here being a foreigner but I hope things start getting better for you!

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