Picture please…oh, no picture?? No job!!!

Ok, perhaps I’m ever so slightly exaggerating in my subject heading but I find it quite – what’s the right word – … peculiar/disturbing that it’s quite acceptable here to submit a resume for a job with a picture of yourself on it.

Actually the most disturbing part of it isn’t that it’s acceptable to submit it as such, but more so, that it’s acceptable to REQUEST the submission of a resume with a picture. And they will clearly outline, in writing so as not to cause any misunderstanding, “Con currĂ­culum, foto y referencias…” (Submit with Resume, Picture and References…)

Can we think about what this means in the day-to-day job application process here in Chile? When it comes down to two individuals who have the exact same qualifications and who have the exact same stellar references and who have worked in similar impressive companies, the automatic deciding factor is: your appearance??!!! How you look in your resume picture?

And in Chile it actually goes beyond that at times (so I’ve heard). It can really come down to whether or not you’re a lighter skin tone or blonder or have light or dark eyes. Why? Because that’s really valued in a country where everyone pretty much looks like the next person. I’ve been here less than a month and the other day at the mall I did a double take when I saw a true blonde. I was like “whoa!!” Hello?? Who am I? Blondes are more prevalent in the USofA so to me, it’s like ok, you’re blonde. Here, not so prevalent so it truly stands out as a mark of …being different. Or perhaps in some minds, a mark of being better. After less than a month, I fell victim to that as well.

Which brings me back to applying for a job. I thankfully have a job but it got me thinking about my resume picture, in the event I have to start looking for a job here at some point. Which picture would it be?? Which would sell me and make me stand out?? Especially should a blonde, blue eyed be my competition.

I was thinking of this one:


Though I feel like I look a TINY bit like I’m trying to go … use the facilities. Would that work for me or against me? If I argue that I am a hard worker and don’t give up, that could work in my favor, no?

But then, there’s also this one:

Where my enthusiasm cannot be denied and therefore, one could argue that I would apply that same enthusiasm to my position, right?

But how can we discard this one:

And this one provides the “A” as a reminder for my name and that’s ALWAYS useful, when a potential employer remembers your name. Am I right or am I right?

Thoughts?

It’s a tough call. They’re all an aspect of me that I want an employer to recall! What to do? Perhaps when the time comes, I should submit a small photo album for further reference…

And to be fair, there are so many other factors that contribute to getting a job here. I think that above and beyond a picture or being fair and blonde, it’s what we call a “pituto” here. Basically, knowing someone who can get you in. This is a country that is run by “pitutos.” If you want anything here, you need to know someone who can get you in (whether a job, a club, a social group, a school, etc).

In the end, I’m not so sure it’s that different from the U.S. Whereas there we can’t legally request or send a picture on the resume, I don’t feel that it’s past us in the U.S. to pick a candidate based on which college they attended. I also don’t feel it’s unheard of to hire someone that someone else referred. Of course it’s not. I know two people who were hired at my old company based on a reference from me. Of course they did their part to get hired but would they have gotten the interview without the reference? I wonder.

Though now that I am thinking about it, the difference I see is this: in the U.S. it truly is possible to get a job at a company where no one recommended you or gave you a reference. In fact, I think that when compared to Chile, getting a job in such a “blind” manner is even prevalent in the U.S.

Well, should I ever get to the point where I need to find a job here, you can rest assured my avid blog followers (all three to four of you), I will shed the TRUEST light on the process for your enjoyment and for our mutual enlightenment!

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Nana

There’s one in my apartment right now, cleaning. She addresses me in the formal you and calls me Senora Andrea. Did I mention she may potentially be older than my mom AND that I am paying her an amount, though good here, that might be considered illegal in the U.S.?

I don’t know how I feel about this. The selfish me is so stoked I don’t really have to clean anything – or iron – EVER! I like things to be super clean but hate the process of cleaning.

The not-so-selfish part of me is like “um please let me do that since you’re about 40 years older than me and shouldn’t be bending over like that.”

I’m sure the selfish part of me will win out especially since here it’s considered normal to have a nana who is paid between $10USD – $25USD for cleaning a three bedroom (or more) apartment. And it’s considered normal that no matter how much older she is than me, I’m the Senora.

For me there is no other option though – I call her Senora Ester too and also refer to her in the formal you. I can’t imagine not doing so… she’s cleaning my toilets for Pete’s sake!! Oy.

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My cabby can beat up your cabby…and other findings

Today I stepped out of my “office” to have lunch with K (take another bow, as this is your THIRD cameo on my blog) and to avoid another fight with Santiago (the city) I opted to take a cab to her office. I already had a fight with Stgo earlier this week and I really want to avoid getting all cranky pants at him, especially around the dreadful topic of parking in the city. It’s a nightmare. You thought SF or NY was bad? Try Santiago where 7+ million of their total 16 million inhabitants live in the city. In short, the car to parking spot ratio is dire. So, I avoided driving so as not to have another fall out with the city as I did on Monday.
Except my cab driver cut another cab driver off at some point in the route and when we were about 2.2 seconds from where I had to hop out, the cab that my driver had cut off pulled up next to us at the light. Thus began the insults back and forth:

Cabby #1 (the one who was cut off): You need to put your blinker on, old man. You totally cut me off!
Cabby #2: No I didn’t. You were going that other way and I was going straight.
Cabby#1: No, that’s not how it happened. You just need to use that blinker and stop driving like an a**hole.
Cabby #2: Oh, I’m the a**hole? You need to be quiet and just keep driving. You’re just way ahead of yourself and driving too fast. (which, incidentally, can I just point out that one cabby saying that to another is SO ironic…)
Cabby #1: Where did you get your license? Stay out of my way, old man!

At this point, the light changes and I can literally SEE the bldg where I’m supposed to meet K, all the while these two cab drivers continue to yell insults at each other as we’re driving! All I want to do is GET OUT OF THE CAB as I was pretty sure that guns were going to soon come out blazing. Oh no. That’s not how it’s done here in Chile… instead, they each swerved TOWARDS each other and away from each as if to scare one another into thinking that they were going to get hit. But the thing is that it was done with such synchronization that neither of them hit the other one and it was done as a show of muscle. Fluffing of feathers, if you will. I, of course, was thrown about inside my cab, hit my elbow and ended up with my purse on the other side of the passenger seat. In the end though, he stopped at the building, I paid my $1200 pesos, thanked him, wished him a nice day and stepped out.
Ahhhhh… all in a day’s work!

So that was today’s misadventure. But what I wanted to provide here is a short view of some things I’ve kept mental note of since I moved in with G almost a week ago.

Some things I find quite interesting/peculiar and/or sometimes cute:

  • Apparently I am living with, and will be married to, the Chilean version of Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor (TV show called Tool Time with Tim Allen). I can’t begin to imagine why Gonzalo feels the need to have about four tool chests, but he does! One is even two tiered and ROLLS like luggage. Why so many tools?? What does he feel he needs to constantly fix? And if there is anything – and I mean ANYTHING – that is remotely loose or, God forbid, broken – the words “I can fix that” come floating out of his mouth. In any case, my thought is that this is quite a good quality to find in a mate. I’m not complaining but it IS peculiar. I told K about this and she mentioned her husband was similar but with electronic stuff. Is this, like, a norm with Chilean men??? I said to her that if we put Gonzalo’s mind and her husband’s mind together, perhaps we could have them come up with a home made garbage disposal.
  • Chilean women don’t tend to use tampons as much as they tend to use diapers – I mean, feminine napkins (whatever you call them.) I’ve been to Jumbo, I’ve been to Lider, I’ve been to Farmacias Ahumada, I’ve been to Cruz Verde… you name it, I’ve been to many retailers and while the selection of diapers, I mean pads, ranges in size, color, scent, etc, there is just about two options for tampons. What??!! This is like the complete OPPOSITE of the U.S.!! And I heard that they are “phasing” out the Tampax brand all together! Who makes these decisions? And what’s the deal with Chilean women and tampons? Why don’t they get along??
  • Why are the rolls of paper towels for the kitchen only half the size of those in the U.S.? Why do they use midget paper towels here? What’s wrong with the long tube??
  • Dryer sheets anyone?? Why so anti dryer sheets, Chile?? Yes I know that having a dryer is a luxury rather than the norm here, but you DO sell all of six different types of dryers so you must at least offer SOME form of static cling remedy!! I feel this is a huge lapse in your dryer customer service.

And finally (for today) –

  • I once thought that in the U.S. you were just a number but in reality, Santiago holds the record for labeling anyone and everyone with a number. You want ham from the deli? Take a number. You want to buy a router? Take a number. You want to ask a question about your health insurance? Take a number. You have a doctor’s appointment? Take a number. Happy Hour? Take a number.

Ok I’m just kidding on that happy hour take a number thing… but I bet it’s not that far off from reality SOMEWHERE in this narrow country…

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Sign in the bathroom – I don’t understand

I took this picture when I was at the gym. I was using the bathroom – and before you wonder what I’m doing with a camera in the bathroom of my gym, let me explain! I used the bathroom after working out, hence I had my iPod with me which is ALSO my iPhone, which incidentally has a camera.

Anyhoo, I was using the bathroom and there is this sign in the stall and it’s to promote the use of this little container from a company called BioWay. The container is for “unmentionables” one my have used in the bathroom – lady supplies, if you will. Or, since a lot of the plumbing in Lat Am countries is not necessarily the most advanced, sometimes you have to throw out your USED (yes used) toilet paper into a waste basket so as to avoid clogging the toilet. The most modern facilities don’t really require that type of thing and the most hygienic of facilities will offer these fancy receptacles for throwing out all other types of items one may have used and/or touched during their stay in their bathroom.
The point is, there are these little receptacles that open and close via a sensor. You wave your hand in front of the sensor and it opens to “receive” your trash and then you wave your hand again and it disposes it for you in a bio-hygienic way. Fancy Schmance, right?

But here’s what I don’t get. Why is Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai promoting this thing/service/what have you – in Chile?? As far as I know, she isn’t all the rage here. I’m pretty sure the likes of Bradley Cooper and Clive Owen are MUCH more popular than Aishwarya Rai amongst Chilean women who are members of a gym in Vitacura. I don’t get it.

Further, here’s what the actual sign says (my comments follow in red):

Throw away your sanitary napkins, tampons and cotton [Yes it says cotton] in the container.

In using this container, you are:

  • Protecting your health [ok, I get that.]
  • Avoiding possible infection and contagion. [ok, got that too]
  • Maintaining the restroom hygiene [true, true]
  • Protecting the environment [Yeah, ok, I’ll buy that.]
  • Protecting your image as a woman [Scratch record, stop the presses – WHAT?!!!]

Now, I’m not sure if you’re really hearing me on this, but pray tell, WHAT does that EVEN mean?? My image as a woman meaning that I’m clean? And if I don’t use that receptacle does that mean I’m unclean and therefore tarnishing the image of all women in Chile?? Or worse, all women in the WORLD?
Or are tampons, therefore periods, associated with women and I should really be doing my part in protecting that image by throwing my tampons out there vs. the toilet because due to the faulty plumbing the thing COULD overflow and that would create a mess, which is unclean, therefore I go back to tarnishing a woman’s clean image throughout Chile.
I don’t even KNOW what to make of that statement or what the message is OR why, of all people, Aishwarya Rai is encouraging me to protect my image as a woman by using this gadget in the bathroom stall!! I mean, what if I don’t use it? What if I have NOTHING to throw in there? Or even if I did, and I declare anarchy and refuse to use it – what then??

Whatever. My point here is that I don’t like people telling me what to do, especially when I’m in the bathroom. And I ESPECIALLY don’t appreciate Miss Bollywood actress over here threatening me that if I don’t use the receptacle I’m tarnishing my image as a woman. I’m just sayin.
And if anyone out there has any inkling or even a suggestion as to what the intended message of this sign might be, please enlighten me. Truly. Enlighten me.

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Personalized Insurance coverage

I went to buy some medical insurance today… and was told that the insurance sales people make house calls.
How so very 1950s.
So now I’m waiting for him to call me so that we can coordinate a time for him to come to my mom’s house, explain my medical coverage options and sell me some insurance – all in the comfort of my own home.
I swear, sometimes it seems like you’re living in another decade here in Chile. How can one country have so much technology and modern amenities and at the same time be so old school? I’m intrigued…

In other news: I did get the checking account approved… booya!!!

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Normal outfits, please!!!

I’m so sick of this cold.
I can’t wear anything but layers upon layers and it’s stifling. I feel like the kid in “A Christmas Story” and if I add any more bulk to the lower part of my body, I will soon look like a star fish.

More than half my wardrobe is on it’s way to Chile (probably somewhere in the Pacific, floating along outside of Mexico). The other third is on the floor, in suitcases, crumpled beyond recognition. Today I took a shirt out, ironed it, put it on – only to realize it’s too cold to be wearing it.

And of all the times I’ve been to these malls, let me tell you – nothing is jumping out at me saying “BUY ME!! LOOK HOW CUTE I AM!!” Nothing. I’ve gone through these purchase lulls before but I think that part of my problem here is that I have attitude about the style. I don’t think it’s Chilean fashion – true fashion, mind you – that I have a holier-than-thou attitude towards but more so, it’s the department stores and what THEY carry. It’s.All.The.Same. Seriously. It’s like going to Nordstrom and just having Brass Plum to choose from — everywhere!

Ok, granted, I will be the first to point out that I’m no Posh Spice in the wardrobe department and who doesn’t need a little fashion help? I most certainly do. And I’m not saying that I have the best wardrobe around, because clearly I don’t (hi, Wonder Woman Tshirt, anyone?) I’m also not saying that I incorporate much color into my wardrobe as black, white and gray is pretty much the color palette in my closet. And I should also take into account that I haven’t really been anywhere that isn’t a mall (no boutiques or small, independent stores) and that I don’t know where to find them anyway. Also, I need to remember that more than half my wardrobe – and SHOES – are in the middle of the Pacific right now.

Ok fine. So in the end this wardrobe crisis doesn’t come down to Chile being the fashion armpit of South America (not that I know of yet anyway) and it doesn’t have anything to do with my own personal style and take on clothes.
It’s the cold.
I realized this in Tahoe a few years back – or was it during a dreadful winter in New York City – there really is NO LOOKING CUTE in the winter.
Puffa-lump jacket – it’s you and me, ugly together until at least September.
Ugh.

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First Week in Review – "You’re Doing It Wrong."

Completed and made it through my first official week living in Chile and I think that the phrase, “You’re doing it wrong,” borrowed from the movie “Mr. Mom” most adequately sums up my first seven days living in the Southern most Latin American (major) city of the Southern Hemisphere.

In the movie, as the title clearly gives away, Michael Keaton (during his cute years, with prime 80s shag hair) loses his job and at the same time, his usual stay-at-home wife, gets an amazing advertising gig she can’t pass up – so she heads to work and he stays home with the kids. The first day he takes the kids to school, he’s driving in the wrong direction and just NOT following the instructions that of course all the other moms seem to know. Even his kids repeatedly tell him “Dad you’re doing it wrong” and of course Dad doesn’t agree with them until he reaches the drop off point and the yard mom introduces herself and confirms “Jack, you’re doing it wrong.” As the movie progresses of course he begins to GET it and eventually even becomes a yard dad and repeats those same words to another bozo parent who can’t grasp the concept of going in one way and out the other when taking kids to and from school.

Here’s the thing though, it’s not that I actually DID anything wrong. It’s just that I did everything with that phrase in my mind because I realized I didn’t know HOW simple things were done. You all read about the bank charade and I think that was the only thing that I did (besides driving) where I was clearly messing up left and right.

On Friday night Gonzalo dropped me off at this pub/bar/place – call it what you will – to meet the American woman I mentioned in my first blog entry (wow she’s made two cameos already. K if you’re reading this, take a bow). Anyway, as I was getting out, I turned to him and asked if it was normal for me to sit there by myself, just in case she hadn’t yet arrived. He said yes. Then I asked ok, well is it normal for me to go ahead and order a drink by myself while I wait. Again he said yes. Armed with these confirmations I went in ready to sit down and order my glass of sauvignon blanc and STARE DOWN anyone who made me feel that what I was doing was anything less than normal.
But in the end it wasn’t necessary since we arrived within 10 seconds of each other. (In case you’re wondering, yes it was fun, yes she was “normal,” and yes I got buzzed at happy hour.) Oh and I did also realize that I bring something QUITE valuable to the table here in Chile – US Weekly. Do you know how many hoops one has to go through to get this magazine down here? I’ll have about three weeks’ worth in the next few days so whatever you do DON’T RUIN IT FOR ME. I’m really sensitive about my US Weekly reading.

Returning to the matter at hand, I accomplished the following things last week:
1). Signed my rental agreement for our apartment (moving in August 1st)
2). Got into the groove of working at home (which, nonetheless, remains odd to me but I’m sure it will grow surprisingly pleasant at some point.)
3). Opened a checking account (personal and business) – I think I did, anyway. You know how that goes.
4). Joined a gym and went for the first time today (similar to Equinox in Palo Alto – super nice – but of course I did the parking thing wrong – oy.)
5). Had date night with my fiancee (that, I think I did right)
6). Learned to turn on the califon all by myself (don’t ask!)
7). Drove in Santiago (illegally but carefully.)
8). Spent time with Gonzalo and his family (including his kids).
And today’s most triumphant accomplishment:

I realized I had left my $30 lock (kill me now, I bought it at Equinox and before realizing how much it cost!) at my new gym. I remembered that Gonzalo had told me about the equivalent to 411 back home so I dialed it, asked them to connect me to the Sportlife in Vitacura, talked to the person at the front desk and agreed to have them hold it for me until I went tomorrow. All while DRIVING down Holanda street!! Do you have any idea what this accomplishment means??? I had a problem and found a solution – by myself. It truly sounds so simple but I’m sure that each and every one of us, who has found ourselves in a completely different country, where we aren’t sure of the norms, has had the memory of doing that FIRST thing all by oneself? Seriously I feel like a baby who located her hand and thumb!

Mr. Mom is a fantastic movie by the way. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s Michael Keaton at his best though can’t particularly say I’m a huge MK fan. The lines are classic and so fitting. In fact, I’m sure that come six months from now, I’ll be using Jack Butler’s ol’ line in response to “You’re doing it wrong.” That being:

Don’t tell me I’m doing it wrong [Santiago]… I know what I’m doing.

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First Date Night: Seafood and the W

Gonzalo and I had a very nice “date night” last night. The past week has been filled with to-do’s (in case you haven’t noticed) and so after his doctor’s appointment last night (which he needed to do) he says to me “What’s next?” What he meant was for me to take out my snazzy new iPhone and under the notes section, find our two separate “To Do” Lists – one is labeled URGENT and one is labeled Dario Urzua, after the street we’ll be living on come August 1st. He wanted to know what else we could accomplish that evening from one of the lists.

I was NOT about to make another trip to Parque Arauco (the mall) as I have been there about four times this week, AND FURTHER, had been there earlier that day to get my engagement ring back. So I says to him, I says: “No hagamos nada.” (Let’s do nothing.) He’s Mr. Efficient and Thorough so I do believe that his brain might have short circuited for a second but he pulled through in time to partake in our first official date night out in Santiago (since I moved here, that is.)

Now, if you’re anything like me, you might have been a mermaid or a walrus in your past life. (Sometimes I think I still am THE WALRUS, but that’s neither here nor there). I know this sounds like a really silly thing to say but what I’m trying to express is that I LOVE SEAFOOD. All of it, any and all kinds of sea creatures, are yummy yummy for my tummy. And in Chile they have this plate at most seafood restaurants called Machas a la Parmesana (razor clams au gratin) and I’m OBSESSED with it. OBSESSED. I do believe that my real motivation for moving here was the seafood, namely – this dish. And so my lovely fiancee took me to dinner at a seafood restaurant that cost an arm and a leg (un ojo de la cara y la mitad del otro, as one might say here in Chilsters). That was a lovely time though the waiters there are such sales people that they are constantly pushing more food on you!

Gonzalo: “We’d like to order the Machas a la Parmesana”
Waiter: “Can I offer you an additional appetizer? Perhaps garlic prawns? Or if you’re so inclined a salad? We could make you a nice tomato and onion salad, or perhaps simple lettuce with hearts of palm? The machas a la parmesana really is a small plate; you should consider a second appetizer.”
So obviously we ordered another appetizer. The one plate really was too small. He was right. Those waiters always know how to sell more food, don’t they?

After dinner we made our way in the 41 degree (F) temperature over to the fancy schmance new W Hotel. We’ve all been to W’s, some of us to W’s around the world, and so in terms of ambiance, the W Santiago is just another hotel in a long list of modern/minimalist/urban hotel chains that are targeting either the nouveau riche or the over 50-mid-life-crisis crowd (and the usual business traveler who wants the hotel to be the same place where he parties and then expenses it, calling it a “Business dinner”).

And on that note, the one thing that I’ve found to be quite consistent at all W’s is the bar. Always techno-musickey-plush-covered-candle-lit-weird-lamps-in-the-corner kind of place and everyone who works there wears black. And have names like Natalia. Which incidentally was the name of the nice young woman who took our orders on the plushy sofa.

We went with her suggestion first: W’s variation on the pisco sour and mojito, followed by the traditional version of the two. They were delish of course but OMG can we discuss the prices?? Gonzalo and I each had 2 drinks and I paid the equivalent of $45 USD for all four drinks. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying “Dre, that’s normal, since when are you about to pass out from ONE $11 drink?” UM HELLO!!! I’m in Chile!!! Why does a drink cost the same here as it does back home?? Pray tell and why was the place packed with people all paying between $11 and $15 a drink??

But, it’s what you get at any W and I’m glad to see that Santiago’s W isn’t about to be the black sheep of the Sheraton family by charging any less than its counterparts. Way to show ’em how posh Santiago can be.

We had a nice time though and as usual, I’m so grateful to be in a relationship where we can sit at the W and make fun of the foofy drinks that costs un ojo de la cara y la mitad del otro, and then sit at home the following night drinking glass of wine from the bottle in the fridge (which no doubt cost less than $7).

Keep a look out for the blog on the budget version of date night which will consist of a hot dog and beer for dinner and sitting in a plaza people watching!! We’ve actually done that before, but substituting the hot dog for ice cream. Good times Chilean Style!

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Banco de Chile: Making Adults Feel like Imbeciles since 1893

Should you be so inclined to open a checking account at Banco de Chile any time in the near future, here’s what I learned today:
1) get a co-signer who makes a lot of money. Trust me, you’ll need it. Banco de Chile doesn’t really want you without any “economic history.” If they sit down with you otherwise, they’re clearly doing you a favor.
2) practice filling out applications. Go to the local Starbucks and McDonald’s and just load up on employment applications. Practice, practice, practice! It’s the only way you won’t mess up an 8-10 page application when the time comes.
3) draw rows and rows of boxes, about three inches wide by 1.5 inches tall. Sign inside each box WITHOUT letting your signature touch any of the lines. It’s harder than you think!!
4) Make sure your signature always matches the one on your official ID. If you’re a Smith, then be a Smith! Not a Gonali like me.

Banco de Chile – The Gestapo of Banks!


So Gonzalo came to pick me up at lunch today to take me to the bank so that we could open a joint checking account and so that I could also open a business account for my consulting gig. An important step in starting your new life in a different country. Access and mode of management for one’s minor duckets.

The cool thing about banks in Chile is that everyone has an account executive designated to you, your account and your money. You always have this person’s direct line, email address and whatever branch you open your account at, you have the option to make the person who opened the account your designated banker. In short, personalized attention in a way that is most often seen only in high net worth individual banking back at home.

Except the not so cool part about banks in Chile…all kinds of paperwork to fill out when opening the account. Though I think that I probably had more than the average amount due to the fact that not only was I opening TWO accounts, but that I have no “economic history” in Chile, therefore Gonzalo had to serve as my account’s “co-signer.” Yeah I said it: a co-signer. The same kind you need in order to buy a house, or a car or even rent an apt sometimes. You know, BIG stuff.

Quite contrary to what I’ve always known. In the U.S. anyone and everyone can open a checking account – it’s like a right of passage. You get your senior year high school yearbook, you get your checking account. Here it’s like applying for admission into MENSA; all kinds of hurdles to overcome, constantly having to provide examples of how utterly amazing you are and what an upstanding citizen you’ve been –> and THEN they tell you whether or not you are accepted. In fact, I don’t even know if I’ll get accepted for this said checking account but I very well hope so after all the crap I had to sign AND provide a thumbprint for!! Everything I signed, needed a thumbprint. Then they took pictures of us to send in with our paperwork!!

But wait – there’s more!

Gonzalo: “Why are we signing this insurance document without a price detailed on it?” [mind you I need insurance to get a credit card.]
AE: “You are signing an insurance document without a price detailed on it. Why? Because your credit limit can fluctuate between one point in time to the next.”
I kid you not, that’s how he spoke. He repeated the question, but first framed it as a statement, followed by “porque?” and then followed THAT with the answer.

Really? Is that how we talk in Banco de Chile? That’s how we talk in Banco de Chile. Why? Because they’re old school I guess.

The most stressful part of this whole process was actually FILLING OUT the paperwork. Not exaggerating – this was full on S.A.T. stylie. Adding to the pressure, you couldn’t make a mistake. Like, at all. I made ONE mistake, scratched it out and Gonzalo FREAKED out at me “YOU CAN’T DO THAT!!!!”

Apparently scratching ANYTHING out (or “altering” as the AE said) voids the entire application. Oooooookay. Start over, new application. If I were writing a Judy Blume book, this is how I would best describe what was going through my mind as I was RE-filling out the application…. “Are you there God? It’s me, Andrea. I’m really nervous, God, and feel like all I really need in this world to be totally happy is this one little checking account… so many other girls have one, God. When will it be MY turn? When? Please God, don’t let me mess this application up again …”

In the end, I made it through the application without any mistakes but I don’t recall having ever been so meticulous about writing since my 2nd grade cursive test. Those few pages took me about 30 minutes to fill out… maybe more. I’ll never know. I was too stressed out to consider the time.

So yeah, and then we had to sign more and more papers, all containing little signature boxes which weren’t allowed to have one millimeter of our signatures touching its lines. Gonzalo failed that and had to do it over. Apparently he has a really tall signature and he couldn’t contain it in the box. It’s hard stuff signing inside the box and not touching the lines. Banco de Chile doesn’t mess around!

In the end it WOULD SEEM that the AE was satisfied with our applications, signatures, ability to stay within the box and ability to not F-up my penmanship the second time around. Thus, our paperwork should be on its way to the main branch. Before it was all over however, the AE asked me “Do the signatures on these forms match the signature on your I.D.?” And for the first time in my life I was paranoid that my signatures didn’t match. I noticed that on my Chilean I.D. I don’t write out the second “Z” in Gonzalez and that on it, my last name really looks like it’s Gonali. You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if my credit and debit cards came in the mail with Andrea Gonali on them. Banco de Chile would of course claim it was my fault. What, with bad penmanship and all.

To summarize:
Getting a checking account in Chile is a bitch and a half. Getting one through Banco de Chile is like pledging a sorority that doesn’t really like you and convinces you that you’ll NEVER get in. But even if you do, it’s most likely because you slipped through the cracks and someone wasn’t doing their job. Only time will tell if I’m in, you guys. I’ll keep you posted.

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Side note from my Chilean life: Some of what I miss most from the U.S. (thanks Mands!)

me: I really like that term, I hear you barking

it’s funny
and derogatory in a way
but true at the same time
bc if you hear someone barking
you just get it
anyhoo
Amanda: I always think of “my dogs are barking” referring to your feet, tho
me: oh yeah
there’s that
wow dogs are so versatile

Amanda: true…and then there’s always the old phrase “who nuked my dog?”
me: ha!!
and you can be dog tired
Amanda: let sleeping dogs lie
lies like a dog
omg, somebody stop me!!

me: shut your dog face
OMG i just made myself laugh
Amanda: HAHA!!!!!
I just snorted
me: ooooh sh*%
Amanda: for realsies
me: that was some funny stuff
I might have to put this on my blog right now


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