Please don’t let anyone die

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

Hmmm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obi-wan chillin' in the sun.

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

Paraphernalia from the Naturalization ceremony.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...and may the Force always be with you, yo (as well as the wine.)
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White Force, please don’t organize

Something is seriously wrong with Colo Colo fans.

I say this while also adding the disclaimer that my husband and his ENTIRE family are Colo Colo fans.

Colo Colo is a Chilean soccer team; highly favored, winner of a record number of national titles and, in short, is considered by most of the international clubs to be the best Chilean soccer team, period.

Colo Colo is the people’s team. Their most die-hard fans are called the “Garra Blanca” or “White Force” and though this may sound all great and supportive, the fact is that they’re scary. I’ve decided that they are the scariest organized group in Chile. In fact, if they had some inkling as to business, I guarantee they could easily become rulers of the underworld here, probably becoming more powerful than President Piñera himself. Personally, I’m thanking my lucky stars they haven’t yet organized themselves to this extent yet.

Why do I feel this way?

Well because earlier this month I accompanied my husband to my first Colo Colo game ever. Apparently it was some deciding game that may have meant something if another soccer team, La Catolica, would have just lost their game against another team. They didn’t, so even though Colo Colo won their game 4-2, the fact of the soccer matter is that the win meant nothing.

Stadium prior to start of game

This is a picture of the stadium prior to the start of the game. See, I should have known this was going to get ugly when G pointed out that the competing team’s area was way across the field from the “Garra Blanca” and on top of that, enclosed for their safety. Notice that detail above, directly under the billboard advertisement for Cristal beer?

 

G and me hanging out at the game, happy and smiles.

Things got ugly, real fast.

First this ...

Are those flares being waved around by soccer fans? Yes, sweet pea, those are flares. Apparently this is somewhat “normal” for Colo-Colo fans. What, with mere cheering being such child’s play and all. Once I got a gander at those puppies, I was convinced that Colo Colo was the best soccer team in the WORLD. This here is some good PR ya’ll.

Then the above escalated to this...

At this point I’m beginning to freak out. Where are the police? And when things like this happen, all I can think is, WHAT KIND  OF PEOPLE ARE OK WITH THIS?? Who’s idea is this and why is this even allowed??

Ta da! Colo Colo fans as they are, in all their "glory."

It’s not allowed, actually. The police finally did make their way to those bleachers, like Storm Troopers in Star Wars. And in a similar fashion they were dumb and useless. Meaning that, from where I was sitting, it seemed that the fans had the upper hand the entire time. I say this only because what started out with one flare, exploded into many flares and chaos ensued. And also because the police ended up retreating. One second we were sitting in our section, watching the chaos across the way, the next second G was leading me down the stairs and our entire section of the stadium was running out and towards their cars. Literally from one second to the next.

I really had to go to the bathroom right before G decided we needed to run for our lives. I asked if I could go, not knowing that it was the silliest, most insane question I could have possibly asked at that moment. How was I supposed to know? He kept telling me nothing was wrong and that we were leaving because the game was over (despite the fact that I didn’t recall that the game stopped at any point before we ran off)!

Lies!! All lies!!!

In conclusion, I hear that soccer fans all over the world are crazy and totally inappropriate and that it’s not just the seemingly dangerous Colo Colo fans. Since this dreadful game, I’ve heard stories that in Italy (or Germany or something) fans have actually been trampled on and killed by other fans. I hear that Argentinean soccer fans are just as intense – and yes – just as scary.

Call me crazy but fearing for my life at an athletic competition is not my idea of a good time. Hence, my ultimate decision to never again step foot in another soccer stadium, let alone, a soccer stadium located anywhere outside the boundaries of the good ol’ US of A. No sir, I’ll just stick with the snoozeville of baseball games which, as far as I know, seem to be a whole lot mellower.

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Another Thanksgiving gone by

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunset and the ocean

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ok so I made up the last two observations.

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

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

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

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

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First day

Today was the first day of my new job.

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

The good news is that I’m the boss.

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

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

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

But that’s not my point.

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

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

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I love you

Hi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The end of another "era"

On Friday, I posted the following on my Twitter account: “Auto reply stating I no longer work ‘there’ is set and in full effect. Pretty much an era (career-wise) is over. Crazy.”

An end of an era for sure. I spent almost seven years working for a Japanese- American company and selling the rights to our library of Japanese animation to various partners around the world. It was a good time and I learned quite a lot about brand management and life cycle, negotiations, selling, customer relationships and planning ahead. But as I mentioned before, there were lots of reasons why I decided to make the move to find a job here in Chile and though I’m starting to get really nervous about my first day at a new job, I still feel it was the best decision I could have made.

Then I started thinking about another said “era” that’s come to an end and that’s the written story about the California bred girl who moved to Chile to marry the love of her life.

In other words, this blog.

I’m not sure I have any more to say about my transition to Chile, my adaptation and my journey navigating this wicked system. I realize that anything else I have to say about life here has already been said – and quite well – in so many other blogs by expats who live here as well. These men and women continue to do an exceedingly amazing job about describing the life, culture and everyday of living here. (One has even written a book for the Kindle!) So much so, that I turn to their blogs for information and perspectives from a fellow gringos. Sure, my perspective might differ and sure, there are probably people out there who want to read about that (I think), but I feel that I wrote about all I wanted to write about with regards to my move and my life here in the first 18 months.

In making this decision, I looked back and thought about everything I wrote in the past and I think I did a pretty decent job of chronicling what it’s like to move from the U.S. to Chile and organizing the pieces of your life here and there. I covered:
– how I met my husband (why on Earth I moved here in the first place)
– leaving California
– opening a bank account
– making new friends
– missing old friends
– planning a wedding
– becoming a U.S. citizen
– getting a dog
– getting married
– Chilean nuances and idiosyncrasies, such as staring and opinions on responsible pet ownership (to name a few)
– dealing with my husband’s wicked ex
– starting a post graduate program at a Chilean university
– the process of finding a job
– everyday things such are supermarkets Jumbo and Lider
And of course, many many other things.
The whole purpose of this blog was to write about my new life here and now that I look back I feel content that I’ve done just that. Anything else after this post isn’t really about an expat living in Chile. Maybe to an extent it might be, but it wouldn’t be my main message. I think that anything after requires a whole new blog, something with a broader scope and something that would allow me to write more than just about my day-to-day (in the end, how interesting could that be?).
The reality is that my observations about Chilean life as an expat aren’t all that interesting nor are they revolutionary. Yet I bet that if I dig deep down into my bag of tricks, I can come up with something far more brilliant than what I’ve concluded here. That’s not to say I’m not sad about leaving my first blog behind. Part of me wonders if I’m copping out prematurely. But then I think, what the hell is left to say about being a Gringa who moves to Chile and adjusts to life here?
This blog had a life cycle and an expiration date from the start. And by no means do I plan to overstay its welcome. Even so, I’ll never stop writing and it may be that I’ll never stop blogging (at present, tbd of course). But in this age of constant online sharing and TMI of one another’s life, I offer the loyal followers out there an invitation to 1) join Twitter and 2) follow me there. There happens to be an inverse correlation between my blogging and my Twitter use.
What can I say? Maybe micro blogging’s my new thing…
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Work and travel, travel and work

My husband’s a busy guy. On top of that, he actually loves to work. So when it came time to plan yet another business trip to China to attend the Canton Fair, he went full throttle and built his agenda to include back-to-back meetings with suppliers, as well as back-to-back viewings of showrooms, booths and, in some cases, even factories. Meaning that even though he’ll be in China (including fabulously sophisticated Hong Kong) for two weekends, he’s left himself absolutely no time to sightsee, let alone rest.

Such a 180 from my days of international business travel. There were many times when I found myself working over the weekend and I’ve most certainly had my share of working on major holidays. Running from one meeting to another, schmoozing and negotiating from one client to the next, waking up at 6 am and going to bed at 1 am, and in between sitting in absurd Latin American traffic for hours on end. But despite this, I always found time to dabble in the sights, sounds, food and culture of the different countries where I had the privilege to do business. In fact, even my superiors were ok with mixing business with cultural expansion. Maybe it had to do with the fact that in knowing the culture, we were learning how to sell and market to said culture. Whatever the real reason (maybe we were all just slackers?) I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to travel for work for a good part of my career. Moreover, I’m in eternal debt to those who sidelined slave work for a moment and who shared the experience of being tourists with me, if only for a few hours.

Coworker and me on the beach in Cannes, France.

At Monserrate, a Church overlooking Bogota, Colombia.

Banderitas Mexicanas … yes, that’s Tequila and yes it was lunch time.

Well hello, Louvre!

Intersection outside the Shibuya station in Tokyo, quite possibly the most
congested pedestrian crossing in the world.

I see you Cristo Redentor!

And a dabble here and there in Leblon.

Hey, I know you!

Viva LV! I started with US$15 at the roulette table and proceeded to win US$420.

Traveling for work might seem 100% fabulous to those whose job doesn’t require them to travel. I agree. To a certain extent it IS fabulous. But it’s more like 20% fabulous, 50% stressful, 30% exhausting. The kind of exhaustion you just don’t recognize in your day-to-day life because when you’re at home you usually aren’t trying to adapt to different cultures, languages, business etiquette and so on. When traveling for work, you have to be on your toes, 100% of the time. Even sleeping isn’t necessarily all that great since half the time the hotel bed is a lumpy ol’ mess, no matter how fancy the hotel.

I hope that G finds a balance during his million-hour stay in China and that he comes back telling me about something amazing he saw, ate or did while he was there. So far, I’ve heard some stories but unfortunately they’re all still related to work. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not there with him right now … I’m not sure he’d really get the work done that he’s expecting of himself.

Actually, I’m pretty sure that if I ever traveled with him for work, I’d be the rotten apple, bad influence, Chileans-Gone-Wild instigator of the trip. As depicted below:

Downtime during a layover in Sydney before heading off to China (about three years ago.)

My version of downtime (business trip in Buenos Aires, night before heading home) About 2 years ago.
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Strange things are afoot at Dario Urzua*

Holy son of a motherless goat.

I just had the weirdest experience with the world outside of my apartment.

When I stepped into the elevator to take Obi outside for his evening stroll, I found this flier taped to the elevator wall:


It’s a call to prayer to the entire “community” (i.e. building) in honor of the “Month of Mary.” Said call to prayer is taking place ALL MONTH LONG in November, starting November 8th, Monday to Friday from 7:30 – 8:00 pm.

It was like a Twilight Zone version of the fliers one sees in college dorms. Specifically the dorm where the characters in the movie Saved! would eventually go to college. A call to prayer? All month long? I’m officially freaked out.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not freaked out by the notion of praying during the month of Mary (though I AM confused because as a former Catholic school student, I’m pretty sure the month of Mary is in May, not November.) What bothers me most about this is the invasion! In fact, I immediately got off the elevator and demanded to the front desk person “What if I’m Jewish?!” He answered that it wasn’t obligatory. Um, well then … this building has THAT going for it in that we aren’t all forced into month-long prayer with our fellow neighbors.

But seriously, if this were the U.S., this would be so unacceptable, it would border on illegal. In fact, I imagine that in the U.S. the buildings need to first reach consensus to allow such a thing to take place and furthermore, if we were going to be issuing a call to prayer during the month of Mary, we’d certainly have to organize the blowing of the shofar during Rosh Hashanah AND invite everyone to the Iftar meal when Ramadan ends.

I can’t put a finger on why I am so bothered by this but I can describe it as a feeling of invasion and it angers me that a few in the building would feel at liberty to air that in public, in the apartment building where my home is located, without so much as a single thought of concern for anyone else. Why are these few allowed to impose their will on the rest of us who live here? What if I put up fliers stating the Top 10 things that annoyed me about my neighbors each week? Am I free to do that just as they are free to put this flier in each elevator? What’s next? Will I find a rosary and a monthly Missal in my mailbox? “Oh you know, just because!”

What do you think? Am I being overly sensitive or does this reek of imposition?

Oh and the other gnarly thing I had to witness while I was outside was a taxi driver relieving himself on one of the tree trunks of our quaint tree-lined street. Sweet.

Stay classy, Santiaguinos.

[*Dario Urzua is the name of the street I live on.]
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