Monday, August 25, 2008

Vacation Recommendations?

Christian and I are starting to think about honeymoon locations and we want recommendations from people who have been to these places! We are thinking about Mexico, the Caribbean or Central America. Neither of us have been to any of those places and we would like a nice beachy place and warm ocean waters to enjoy. We’d like to know about both the all-inclusive resorts and the not-so-commercial places to stay, price ranges, food, etc. Some of the questions we’d like answers to:

  • How was your stay in general?
  • Were you at an all-inclusive resort? If so, did you find it worth the money or would it have been possible to spend less money staying at a nice hotel but choosing the restaurants, etc.?
  • Where did you stay? (any links to hotels welcome)
  • What kind of activities did you do? (snorkeling, diving, zip-lining, etc.)
  • How long were you gone for?
  • What is the best way to travel to that location?
  • What time of year were you there?

We are planning our honeymoon for late-June 2009, so keep that in mind and we are on a budget, but we’re also not afraid to splurge on a wonderful vacation!

Here are some of the places that we have been considering (but are open to any ideas at this point!):

  • Cozumel, Mexico--heard it is amazing, white beaches, snorkeling, and only 3% of the island is developed (
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic

Thanks beforehand for all the advice!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Group blog topic: Chilean men

**This is a new type of post that I’ll be doing when the time permits—a couple of my friends came up with the idea to pick a topic and all write on it at the same time. This time the topic is obviously Chilean men, as the title states. I think it’s a creative idea and I’m excited to see what the other girls write about. I have not seen any of the their blogs to see if they have already written anything...I want to keep that element of surprise in the picture.**

As I sit down to write, it seems that every idea that I thought of during my busy day at work has just suddenly disappeared. Gotta love a bit of writer’s block. Chilean men is a an interesting topic considering that I am married to one. I could go on and on about my husband (just as I did in my list of things that I love about him), but of course that would only give you more insight into my love life and not really into the Chilean culture as a whole. I’m not social anthropologist, but I do think it is important to represent the culture as it is—a wonderful mixture of backwards logic at times and a big heart. And for that reason I have decided to write one pro and one con about Chilean men, each of which come from my personal experiences.

The Annoying (aka Con—I find it best to get the worst over first)

One word: piropos.

To understand the power of that word, it is necessary to first define it and then give examples. If you type piropo into an online translator you will be told that it is a “flirtatious/flattering comment”. I wish it were just a flattering comment*, but that is not the case here in Chile. A piropo here can be defined as the cat-calls, whistles, sexual comments and whatever other noise Chilean men decide to make at a women as she walks past them.

When I came to Chile I was well aware of the situation and I actually learned how to ignore it quickly. It was just normal to have the micro (public bus) drivers honk their “special” horn that sounds like a whistle or to have random men on the street call you “linda, amoricta, guapa, etc.” I only started being bothered by it after I started dating Christian because he and I went everywhere together, meaning the percentage of piropos reaching my ears dropped to below 5%. See, the good news is that 99% of the time if you are with a man who is obviously your significant other, the piropo-throwing men won’t say anything to you. There is the occasional asshole who will still whistle or say something when it is more than clear that you are with your significant other—I think that is very rude. (Not like I don’t think piropos in general aren’t rude, but still.) Since Christian and I have always been practically inseparable I have gotten used to the lack of “flirtatious comments” in the street...which just ends up making those that I do receive MORE annoying.

Piropos also come with stares. Stares like a lion would look at a fresh cut of meat, just ready to have teeth sunk into it. You can feel their gaze and talk about uncomfortable...To get to an example, my morning commute lends itself to at least 1 piropo per day, if not more. Some days it is the man who sweeps the sidewalk outside of the music academy on my street whispering "sweet nothing" (ya right), other days it is the construction workers who like to do a group shout-out, and today it was some random man staring me down as we walked past each other. He must have had the neck of an owl because I could still feel him staring long after we had passed each other.

*In some cases the word piropo is used in the non-sexual way it is defined. This is mostly when someone gives you a very sweet comment. However, I RARELY hear it used in this sense of the word.

The Wonderful (aka Pro—a much happier topic to write about)

Ladies, let me just tell you that chivalry is not dead. In fact, if you are looking for a knight in shining armor to spoil you and treat you like a princess, I’d invite you to find yourself a Chilean :) There is just something different about the men here.

I began to notice all of this when I first started dating my husband because it took me off guard that he would go completely out of his way to make sure I got home safely at night, to ask me what I was feeling and TRULY want to hear the answer, to open the door for me, treat me with the utmost respect, not be afraid to commit to me and be truly interested in a relationship. All the boys back home were terribly afraid of commitment, and those who weren’t, were already taken. You’re probably thinking “ya of course you think there is something different about Chilean men, you married one”—well like I mentioned before, of course I am slightly biased, BUT the numbers of extranjeras (foreign women) who have fallen for Chileans speak for themselves. I know that it happens in all countries across all cultures...but I was so surprised to find out that just here in my new little corner of the world, there are over 400 English-speaking women married or in serious relationships with Chileans**. And I’m guessing that number is a serious underestimate since it is an invitation-only group and that is just one subset of foreigners. Heck, just from my study abroad program, in which around 80 students participated the whole least 6 of use have or are planning to get married to Chileans--that is 7.5% of just my program. Multiply that by the number of gringos who come and study in Chile each year!

So even if all the love-y dove-y stuff doesn’t have you convinced, let’s talk about the every-day caballerosidad (chivalry). One new social norm that I have picked up during my professional career here in Chile is the fact that Chilean men wait until the women get into the elevator first and always wait for them to leave the it first as well. They are typically very conscious about opening doors for any woman and they will let you pass through a walking space first, even if they are in a hurry. They are very conscience of giving la pasada (literally “the pass”, figuratively letting them go first) to women.

When travelling on the extensive bus system (not the micros, the longer-type traveling buses) here in Chile, you will also find everyday caballeros (gentlement). Every time I arrive at my destination safely thanks to Pullman buses, there is a man waiting to help all of the women step off of the bus. That caballero will make sure that he is able to give you his hand for support when taking that last large step because that is his job and his deber (duty).

When travelling on a micro within the city, a man who is seated (perhaps with the exception of a viejito--little old man--but even then most of the time) will give up his seat for any little old lady and many times, for any women who doesn’t have a seat.

I find all of this non-mushy chivalrous behavior to be sweet and refreshing. And with that I will end this post.

**This number comes from a networking group, Chilespouses, of which I am a member.

[Updated in order to publish links to the other fabulous stories that over a dozen gringas wrote!]
Katina (style and male sex symbols)
Mandy (Chilean men compared to U.S. men)
Emily (machismo)
Leigh (having friendships with Chilean men)
Shannon (Chilean male drivers)
Clare (Chilean men and sexism)
Meredith (Chilean men's intense need to be in a relationship)
Lydia (a completely spot on list of generalizations about Chileans)
Jessica (guy love in the Chilean form)
Heather, the girl who started this whole thing (Chilean men and sex...finally someone mentions the cafes con piernas!)
Tamsin (Chilean men's complete devotion to the female species)
Kyle (Chilean men's power to make gringas fall for them)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gym Frustrations

We finally joined a gym about a month ago. It´s the Canadian-Chilean gym that is actually open on Sundays and Holidays (unlike the false-advertising Pacific Club). We were so excited to start going and scheduled our fitness exam with the profe (personal trainer) the second day of our membership. Now, although Chile isn’t top of the line when it comes to gyms, I do like the fact that our membership includes a once-a-month fitness evaluation and exercise plan. In theory, it is awesome. In practice, well not going so well.

During our examination, we were weighted, they took our body fat (with the little hand-held machine) and then we had to ride the stationary bike for 20 minutes while keeping a RPM of 95 and gradually increasing the levels. I had explained to the profe that I have a leg injury*, from 2005 mind you, that still irritates me. (Back in May, when I was in CO, I did something to irritate it again so I knew I needed to be mindful.) Yapo, so no worries, we get started on the bike and he puts me on Level 0. Can’t really go much lower than that I suppose so I figured it’d be cool—even though I really don’t like stationary bikes. They hurt my hips and knees. Anyway, at first everything was ok, but about 5 minutes into it, my butt and leg started feeling uncomfortable. I just attributed it to the fact that I was on a stationary bike. The uncomfortable-ness didn’t supersede to a pain level, even when I increased the level on the bike, and so I thought all was good. Until we started walking home, that is.

Even though I had stretched after the little exam and whatnot, during our 10 min. walk home, my leg started to ache. I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I woke up at 3am with so much pain that my wonderful husband had to give me a very light massage with Dolorub (kind of like Icy-Hot). It felt just like when I injured the damn thing. Not cool. I couldn’t go to the gym for over a week because my leg was in so much pain that even my daily commute to work (6 blocks walking distance) was horrible.

So what does all of that mean? Well it means that now when I go to the gym (sadly only 1-3 times per week), I can barely do any sort of aerobic exercise. I don’t even feel like I get a workout because I have to take it so lightly. I can walk on the treadmill for about 20-25 minutes with ZERO incline, and going about a speed 4, much faster than that and my leg starts to ache. I can also do the elliptical (which I prefer) for 25 minutes at Level 1 or 2, and any of the programmed workouts. But god, I barely break a sweat. And what I just described is nowhere NEAR the exercise program the profe gave me. It’s just not fair you know. In my head, I want to go to the gym every day and work really hard and get back into the shape I used to be, but my body isn’t letting me.

I know that I could also do a little aerobic and then move on to the weight machines, and that is an option, but it just doesn’t feel the same. I’m not really sure what the deal is, but going to the gym feels like such a chore instead of a fun way to pass my time. Perhaps it is because life has gotten so busy and there is always something to be done at home. Not really sure. All I know is that that addictive feeling that I had in 2005 when I went to the gym TWICE a day, isn’t here. And I want it back!

*In 2005, I was a company member of Blue Moon Dance Company in Boulder, CO; which is a mix of ballroom dance, jazz, modern, and any other type of dance that each choreographer wants to integrate into his/her pieces. I joined the company in the summer of ‘05 and began training for the show we had in September, called Torque. In one of the pieces choreographed by the director of the company, Pat Connolly, I was lucky enough to dance in a duet full of lifts and aerobatic moves which were amazing to learn. In one spot, I had to do the splits with one foot on the floor and the other on the shoulder of my partner, Julius. He pulled back in order to allow for a longer line and to be honest, it was a beautiful position. [The picture to the right shows in a really ghetto way how the position looked. Sorry for such crappy photoshop skills, but I don’t have the actual picture from the show and I certainly can’t put myself in the same position!] Unfortunately, in one of the rehearsals right before the show (the week of the show), I went into the splits and as I stretched back, I heard a “pop pop” and felt shooting pain in my left buttocks/hamstring. It didn´t turn into crippling pain or anything—in fact I even finished the rehearsal. And then came the real pain. As soon as my body cooled down, my leg started to ache and shoot pains up and down my body anytime I moved. Sitting, sleeping, walking, any position bothered my leg. And of course, as any good dancer, the show went on. We had to change the leg that I stretched into the splits for the other leg. I figured it was a typical hamstring pull and treated it as such, but I couldn’t even sit still in class, I couldn’t go to the gym nor dance. Finally in January or so, I went to the doctor because my leg wasn’t getting any better. Turns out I tore (not completely) the tendon that attaches my left leg (high hamstring) with my pelvis/buttocks [See other picture to the left with red circle pointing out the place of pain]. No surgery needed, but I did the whole bit of physical therapy for about 4 months, including bi-weekly trips to my physical therapist and daily exercises on my own. The worst part about the injury is that you use your butt and legs for everything so it never really gets a thorough “rest” and the other bad thing is that there isn’t much blood circulation up there thus making it harder for it to heal. I thought that the half-a-year I spent rehabilitating it would have been enough, but as you can see, 2.5 years later, it still isn’t back to normal...and thus my necessity to write this blog entry! :(

Spanish Computer

**A great forward that my Dad sent me. Wouldn't normally post this kind of stuff, but I think it's funny and a great testament to some of the difficulties of speaking Spanish (gender of words).**

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

“House” for instance, is feminine: “la casa.”

“Pencil,” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”

A student asked, 'What gender is “computer”?'

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that “computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (“la computer”), because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine (“el computador”), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Más de 80 Razones que Te Amo Christian

Today is our 2 year anniversary of being together...and since it is such a special day, I have a special post for my husband. It comes from a book I made him on Valentine’s Day...así que aquí vamos:

Christian, TE AMO porque…

1. me haces reír
2. tenemos nuestri propi idiomi
3. me secas el pelo con el secador
4. me enseñas lo que no sabía
5. cuando estamos juntos, estamos en nuestro propio mundo y no necesitamos a nadie más
6. tienes patencia conmigo
7. eres inteligente
8. me cuidas y sé que siempre lo harás
9. tus labios siempre están listos tocar los míos
10. me regaloneas y me tratas como una princesa
11. cocinas comida rica
12. te gusta planear eventos
13. eres el hombre perfecto para mi
14. me perdonas cuando estoy frustrada o irritable
15. me amas a mí
16. jugamos Papá Mono en las mañanas de los fines de semana
17. compartes todos los quehaceres conmigo
18. quieres casarte conmigo (¡YA LO HICIMOS!)
19. me haces pensar en cosas en que normalmente no pensaría
20. eres puntual y un perfeccionista también
21. cada vez que estoy triste, tratas de hacerme feliz
22. te gusta dormir como cucharaditas
23. me das todo lo que necesito
24. me llamas y me mandas mensajes durante el día, incluso cuando sólo es para decir “Hola, te ami”
25. me haces sentir como si fuera la única mujer en todo el mundo
26. me das energía cuando no la tengo
27. me haces querer empezar una familia
28. me besas en público y no tienes ninguna vergüenza
29. nunca has tratado de cambiarme
30. a veces, me sorprendas con regalitos de tu amor: palabras románticas, un masaje, un regalo físico, etc.
31. me dices lo que necesitas de mí
32. eres mi mejor amigo
33. te gusta la comida picante
34. tu sabes lo que quería decir cuando no puedo encontrar las palabras correctas para expresarme
35. te puedo contar secretos y nunca los dirías a nadie
36. me deseas
37. aceptas mi familia como la tuya
38. me das una razón para vivir
39. me das cariñito…¡el mejor del mundo también!
40. me siento como si puedo hacer todo cuando estoy contigo
41. te encanta mi cuerpo como está
42. me has ayudado entender a mí mismo
43. puedo hablar contigo sobre todo
44. siempre tomas mi mano
45. estás disponible ayudarme si lo necesito
46. no me exiges más de lo que te puedo dar
47. eres tan loco por mí como yo a ti
48. me ayudas ver ‘la foto grande’ cuando estoy fijándome demasiado en las detalles
49. me encuentras irresistible
50. haces sacrificios para el mejor de nuestra relación
51. pones nuestra relación sobre cualquier otra
52. eres mi otra mitad que antes me faltaba
53. podemos hablar por horas de todo y de nada…y disfrutamos de los dos
54. te importa si estoy feliz
55. eres fiel a mí
56. tratamos de ser iguales en todo lo que hacemos como pareja
57. siempre pruebas cosas nuevas conmigo
58. siempre consideras mis sentimientos y me enseñas hacerlo también
59. tienes fotos de mi en todos lados
60. me muestras gracia cuando me equivoco
61. sabes lo que siento sin que digo nada
62. me amas para la persona que soy
63. cuando me necesitas, paras de hacer todo para consolarme
64. no puedo ver mi vida sin ti
65. me has mostrado que puedo confiar en ti más que en cualquier otra persona
66. pensamos en la misma cosa al mismo tiempo
67. me animas en todo lo que hago
68. me besas con pasión
69. siempre tratamos de resolver una pelea al tiro en vez de gastar nuestro tiempo estando enojados
70. tenemos valores muy similares
71. siempre me abrazas
72. me has dado todo de ti
73. cuando te me di, no perdí nada
74. tratas cada minuto juntos como un tesoro
75. siempre estás preparado defenderme
76. no te cansas de mi necesidad de tu atención
77. eres orgulloso de mis logros
78. mi amor para ti crece más y más cada día
79. cuando estamos separados, tratas de que nos sentimos más juntos aún
80. nunca tratas de controlarme
81. me besas cuando piensas que estoy durmiendo
82. te gusta hacer cualquier cosa conmigo…ir de compras, mirar una película, ir de paseo, quedarnos en la camita toda la mañana, etc.
83. me ayudas hacer posible todas las ideas locas que tengo…como hacer las 3 fotos del zoológico en una, o crear nuestro sitio de la boda, o inventar cualquier otra cosa.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

An Unexpected Transformation

**This is an essay that I wrote for the Student Diplomat Essay Contest back in Nov. 2007 about my study abroad experience. I didn't win, but I'm really proud of this piece of writing and thus would like to share it.**

I wanted to shed every aspect of being a gringa the moment I arrived in Chile. Had you asked me what being a gringa meant, I probably could not have replied with a clear idea because I had never really given any thought as to what being American meant to me. All I knew at that point in my life was that I wanted to step outside my box and put 110% into becoming Chilean. The results of my energy spent trying to change from a gringa to a chilena would not end as I had expected. Instead of experiencing a complete identity change, I would evolve into a chilenguita.

Before I had even left, I had researched the Chilean culture. I knew the slang words like cachái and po. I did not pack one t-shirt with graphics or sayings in English, because I did not want to stand out in any way, shape, or form. But even so when I first arrived, it was apparent that I was not from Chile. Using the micros (the public transportation), figuring out where to buy something as simple as chapstick or remembering to bring enough change to use a restroom were all concepts not natural to an American. Going to the grocery store for the first time was more than an adventure. I went to the cold section to find milk and eggs. Neither were there. The milk was boxed and hardly recognizable. The eggs were located next to the spaghetti. I didn’t buy either item as I was too perplexed at not finding them in the cold section. Buying fruits and vegetables requires weighing and pricing your items before going to the check-out line—which is something I only figured out as I was being yelled at while in the check-out line.

I tried my best to learn what I could as fast as possible. I spent the majority of the evenings during the first month or so in Chile with my host family: staying at home and playing board games, attending family functions, or running errands with my host mom. I often observed how people behaved in public, noted the things that were “different” and learned to change my behavior and think like a Chilean. It was somewhere around the five month mark that I stopped feeling like a gringa trying to be Chilean and just felt like a chilena. I finally had settled into classes and was able to understand what I was taught; however, it wasn’t my classes that made me feel Chilean, it was my life outside of the classroom. The bond that I built within the community was strong. I watched the local news and knew the Chilean celebrities. I was hooked on the Chilean version of "Married with Children", a show that I once had thought was a silly remake. As I became more familiar with the Chilean lifestyle, the show ceased to be a cheesy knock-off and became a culturally astute satire that mimics Chilean society. It was the small things in the daily routine that made an impression on my life. For the 21 years before I went to Chile, I hated hot tea. I now feel like my day is incomplete without a steaming mug of Ceylon tea and an once (afternoon snack) of toast with sliced avocado. With every day that passed, I felt my roots growing deeper in the Chilean culture.

Returning to the United States after living abroad for over a year has been one of the most challenging things I have ever had to do. Just when I had truly become comfortable in the new life I was leading, I was pulled away and thrown back into the shell of what I used to be—a shell which no longer fits. In the weeks that led up to my departure to the U.S., I was faced with the reality that I didn’t know who I would be when I got back home. Would I just go back to being the old Tyffanie? Would I not resemble her at all? How would I balance the two? The thought of having to lead a double-life was not appealing, but I had no other means with which to try and deal with the fact that I wasn’t just the old Tyffanie anymore.

My worries were alleviated a mere month before I came home on July 4, 2007. I received an email from the U.S. Embassy a few weeks before the 4th of July, inviting me (and all U.S. citizens) to a flag-raising ceremony that was to be held on the Embassy grounds. It was a warm wintery Wednesday morning and I decided to attend the event. When else would I get to celebrate our Independence Day at the Embassy in another country? I have hopes of one day working at the U.S. Embassy in Chile, so I figured that perhaps I would also have the opportunity to meet the Ambassador while I was there. I was quite surprised at the turnout and grandeur of the event. Starbucks was providing free coffee and snacks, a local private school choir was onsite to perform, there were several military officers in attendance and easily around 100 Americans were gathered to celebrate.

There was a patriotic spirit in the air that I have never felt so strongly before—not at a baseball game, not on a previous 4th of July celebration, never. There was just something different about all of us Americans, gathered around a flagpole on the other side of the world, sipping on Starbucks coffee and eagerly awaiting the event to begin. It began with the children’s choir and the raising of the U.S. flag by the U.S. Marine Detachment Color Guard. We stood and watched as the men serving our country marched from the embassy doors to the flagpole, attached the symbol of our country and raised it up while we sang The Star Spangled Banner. That very moment sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes. I finally realized that I had missed being American and that it was something just as important to me as being Chilean. Instead of trying to be one or the other, at last I could just let the two mix.

Today, instead of seeing myself as purely American, I see myself as the best of both cultures. Chile is still a huge part of my life and the lessons that I learned while living there have changed me forever. They aren’t things that I can just turn on or off, depending on which country I am located in; they are permanent changes that have increased my awareness and changed my perspective of my role as a U.S. citizen. I have been blessed with the opportunity to bring back a new set of experiences and redefine what it means to be American. I have been able to cross the lines and emulsify two very different worlds. On one hand, I am living the typical college life, full of extracurricular activities, group projects, tests, deadlines, etc. However, I also volunteer as a translator and interpreter for a local non-profit, the Emergency Family Assistance Association, which typically deals with the large—and mostly unseen by college students—latino immigrant community in Boulder. This, along with my experience in Chile, has undoubtedly helped me connect to my American heritage, which contains stories of immigrants from Germany, Ireland, and Spain. I now see myself as a part of many cultures that all intertwine in one way or another and make up the world we live in today.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Being an expat has its ups and downs, as does life in general. Sometimes I feel like it’s way too easy to be a negative-nelly and always call down the foreign culture. Of course as humans it is easiest to note the differences in our environment when they have a negative impact or make us feel uncomfortable--just as Clifton Fadiman once said "When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you feel compfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable." During my first year in Chile, I don’t remember being too bothered by these differences. Of course there were times when I became frustrated, but in general I tried to keep the spirit of “everything is different and life is an adventure so go with the flow”. But this second go-around, for whatever reason, it is a bit different to be tan relajada (as relaxed). I’m sure it all has to do with re-adjusting to life in Chile*, getting used to being married, having a full-time job and have a ton more responsibilities than I previously did. I like to refer to my first 13 months in Chile as a vacation because that is what it was—let’s be honest. Of course I studied and worked hard (the 2nd semester) in my classes...but I didn’t have to work, or participate in a million extra-curricular activities and be a super-star student. It was a descanso from my life in the States (much needed at that time in my life) and it allowed me to take life one day at a time.

Back to the point about always talking about the downside of the foreign country where one is located—I think another factor that greatly attributes to this frequent behavior of expats are all of the little things that we miss from our home countries. For example**: sloppy joes, unlimited cell phone minutes & text messages, my family & friends, having free bank accounts, efficiency, etc. Sometimes the smallest thing—that would normally not bother us—can have the biggest impact and completely spoil our day.

Another cause relates specifically to studying abroad—it is never the same place the second time around (unless perhaps you are travelling with your friends from study abroad). I remember when Bethany, Claire and Kathy left after the first semester my life in Chile completely changed. But for example, when Bethany came back in May of ’07, it was just like the “good ole times”. So living here, even though I’m in the process of making new friends, will never be the same as it was those last 6 months of 2006.

So I wanted to take a minute to write a bit about the things that I love about Chile, all of those things that I so dearly missed when I was back in the States for 10 months:
  • My husband! (of course)
  • Empanadas de pino (minus the olive): really I don’t think there is anything like an empanada de pino that just puts the taste of Chile in my mouth
  • A damn-good pisco sour (and yes, I vote it is Chilean!)
  • Speaking Spanish 100% of the time....well maybe about 90% of the time
  • The importance of family in this culture
  • The fact that the beach is 1.5 hours from me all of the time—meaning I can go whenever I want
  • SAHNE-NUSS...need I say more?
  • The beauty of the Andes mountains (when you can see them that is thanks to the smog)
  • Charquican: another one of my favorite Chilean dishes
  • The fact that life is slower-paced and more relaxed in general
  • Saying “sípo, nopo, cachái”, etc.
  • The facility of travelling wherever you desire—either by a cheap flight, or an even cheaper bus pass which is typically sin problemas (without problems).
  • Ceylon tea
  • Jamón de pavo (similar to turky lunch meat) and cheese sandwiches
  • Delecias from Castaño: type of cookie with a fruit jam in the center
  • Buenos Días a Todos & Casados Con Hijos: Chilean television shows
  • Not being considered short (thanks to the face the Chilean cultura is overall very short)
  • Being able to photocopy an entire book at a photocopy shop without getting in trouble
  • The fact the news here takes into account WAY more international news than in the States, where most news shows are focused solely on the U.S., thereby furthering the ignorance its citizens
  • The ferias artesanías
  • The fact that you can get most things at a pharmacy without a prescription and that medications are MUCH cheaper.

I'm sure there are more profound reasons for why I love Chile, but the truth is it is the little things that make life sweet.

*any time you leave a country and go to another (typically for long periods of time) there is a period of re-adjustment even if it is your native country.

**in no particular order

The Author of the Every-Once-in-Awhile Diary

I’ve never been good at writing in a diary daily or keeping a journal. I still have the only diary I’ve ever had stashed away at my parents’ house with less than 25% of the book used. I don’t know why, but it just has never been a strong point of mine. I promised myself that I’d be better at writing in this blog that I was in my previous study-abroad blog, not because there is anything more important in this blog, just because it is a personal goal of mine. It all got started when I had just arrived in Chile and wasn’t working. What did I do with my time? Well apart from unpacking and whatnot, I browsed the internet. My friend Heather, who is the g/f of Christian’s college buddy, sent me a link to her friend’s (and my new friend’s) blog and I somehow stumbled upon Heather’s own blog. Both of the blogs—and a ton of others that I have found—are devoted to the thoughts of expats. I enjoyed (and still do) reading through my new friends’ blogs and thought that perhaps other people would enjoy mine. And if not, at least it is one way to express what I’m feeling, get my thoughts down on “paper”, etc.

I by no means think of myself as a good writer, which I think is one of the reasons that I struggle to write more frequently. I have my moments of inspiration and in that moment, I can write cualquier cantidad (a ton). Luckily, living in a foreign country is typically full of inspiration-joggers. I think life in general can be that way, but living in your native country doesn’t seem to spark as many ideas as being in an environment where la vida cotidiana (daily life) is very different. The unfortunate situation is that my inspiration hits me when I’m never* in a situation to be able to sit down and elaborate on my brilliant idea. I’m trying different techniques to either maintain the inspiration, or be able to write down enough of my thoughts to later detail the entry. (Any suggestions are openly received.)

I’m also going to try to write in my blog more frequently....even if it’s not much. I think many times when I think about writing, I feel pressure (from where?—I have no idea) to write a long entry and really that is just not necessary. I’m thinking about waking up 15 minutes earlier each day to be able to write a bit. The only issue that I run into is that Christian is always sleeping until just before I go to work, and los ratoncitos (a.k.a. my fingers typing on the keyboard) wake him up. Although I don’t really feel bad for him if it is 7:30am and he wakes up because I am responding to an email, doing so at 6:15am is taking it to an extreme. So we’ll see how that works. I find the mornings, when I’m the only one awake, the most peaceful to write because my thoughts are clear and there is silence in my life. If I try to write in on my lunch break, or when I get home from work, there is just too much going on to concentrate on what I want to say. With that said...I have a bit of time alone since Christian had to go to work for an hour or so, and therefore I must aprovechar (take advantage of) my time wisely.

*obviously an exaggeration because if I was never able to write, this blog wouldn’t have anything to it

Disclaimer—La Chilengüita is a blog created upon my personal experiences and which expresses my personal opinion that in no way represents the views my employer, family or friends.