Thursday, September 25, 2008

Opinions Needed--Wedding Photographer vs. Videographer

So my husband and I have come to the realization that for our wedding in the States (which will be in June '09) we prefer to have our item of splurge be our photographer. I spoke about it with some girlfriends last night, and we all came to the conclusion that good money should be spent on a good photographer because really the pictures are what last forever.

As I began researching photographers in Colorado, I also came across several videographers, which are just as expensive as photographers. That would be double the already splurged budget on capturing our wedding day....but I kind of wonder if videographers are worth the money. I mean, they say pictures are worth a thousand words, and it's very easy to make a slide show, etc. with the wedding day pictures that will tell the story of the whole it is really necessary to videotape the whole thing?

What do you guys think?????

If you had a certain budget to stick to, would you pick:
1. an awesome photographer (& spend all your money there), or
2. get both a photographer and videographer with the same money (meaning the quality might not be the same)?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quick update

Well I had hoped to write more than 2 posts about Fiestas Patrias last week, but it was a vacation week for me and obviously I was partaking in the celebrations. So for now you´ve got a REALLY good idea about the cueca and not much else, but I´m sure one day I´ll get to the rest. In any case, there is always google if you have a burning desire to know everything about dieciocho right now.

So I wanted to write a quick update (hence the creative name of this post) for anyone who’s been wondering where I’ve been....

  • I have a new job which I just started this Monday! So far it has been going great, I really like the people, the company and the location. I’m right off the Tobalaba metro stop which is even closer to my house than my last job—can’t beat that! My boss is a fellow Chilespouse and she is really smart, so I’m excited to work with her and learn from her. Anywho, I’m in accounting for those of you who were wondering, but not auditing, I’m in internal accounting and working with contracts.

  • I had all of last week off (just a little plus to changing jobs the week of dieciocho) which gave me the necessary time to relax and unwind after my last week at my previous job (uck!).

  • I have been better about going to the gym (she says as she didn’t go yesterday, haha). No, but really, it’s true! Christian and I have been making a solid effort in going to the gym. I started a new cardio routine on the elliptical or bike, which is where I power-house go hard for 1 minute and then go a moderate pace for 1 minute. The good thing is that it really gets my heart rate up and my leg is feeling better. Plus I started lifting weights again which feels good.

  • I have become completely obsessed with wedding details....gathering ideas for invitations or other DIY projects, looking at what other women have done for their weddings, you name it and I’ve been reading about it, or saving pictures on my comp for inspiration. The bad thing with this is that 1. my husband feels left out when I am tied to the computer for hours and 2. I have so many ideas it is overwhelming. Now I’m trying to sort through them all to see which ones will work with our outdoor ceremony and which ones won’t. I don’t want my wedding seeming like a circus of ideas... This also explains a lack of posting last week, as I was full-force researching invitation ideas, printing locations, DIY options, the whole works!

  • Christian and I finally bought plates! They are sooo beautiful and they were our birthday present from my parents (for both of our b-days which are coming up). The plates are still sitting on my dining room table because we have yet to find space in our tiny kitchen for the 30-piece set!

P.S. I came across this awesome giveaway from which is worth checking out. It is super easy to register and you have a chance to win one of 24 BEAUTIFUL handbags! Although I have no realistic hopes of winning, it would be SO cool to actually get any one of these purses. Which one do you think I chose (based on my personality of course)??? Check it out for yourself.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

La Cueca (Part 2 of 2)

Forewarning: this is going to be kind of a long post because I’m publishing a paper I wrote in November of 2007 for a dance literature class that I took at CU. It was called the History & Philosophy of Dance and was taught by Erika Randall...who is AMAZING! I loved every minute of that class. She was so inspiring and so when she gave us a research paper and specific topics to pick from, I went to her and asked if I could write about the cueca, Chile’s national dance, because I love it so much. While I studied abroad in Chile I took two folkloric dance classes, one my first semester which was more of an introduction and just dances and the second class my second semester which was much more detailed and theoretical apart from practical. Enjoy!!!

Professor Erika Randall
DNCE 4017
1 November 2007


¡Vuueeelta! Eres la consentida, amor de amores*… The cueca is a polyrhythmic form of music and celebratory dance that has had a presence in Chile since the late 1820s, when the zamacueca, the parent version of the dance from Lima, Peru, made its way across the border (Sánchez Vargas). The dance is performed in an imaginary circle by a man and a woman whose movements are typically associated with the courtship process of a rooster and a hen. An invisible line divides the two halves of the circle and each dancer moves within his or her respective half. The two fundamental elements of the cueca are the guitar and the pañuelo (handkerchief), which is used to convey emotions, feelings and messages throughout the dance. Worth a thousand words, Figure 1 to the right visually describes one version of the cueca, the Cueca Campesina, during the zapateo (patoramosc). In the past, the many variations of the cueca corresponded to the differences in the Chilean society; however, the nationalization of the cueca has interrupted its method of oral transference and the reflection between the dissimilarities within the society and the cueca has all but vanished.

In the past, the different variations of the cueca reflected both geographical subcultures and social-class standings in Chile. Although there are over 100 variations of the dance known to have existed, they can be divided in to several broad categories or styles. As professor Margarita Sánchez Vargas teaches in her class on folkloric dance, there are three main types of cueca based on geographical differences which split the 2,700 mile-long country into three subcultures: the North [Cueca Nortina], the Central [Cueca Central], and the South [Cueca Chilota]. The rhythm of the Cueca Nortina is much slower than that of others, especially when compared against the Cueca Central and the Cueca Chilota. The slow and gentle miniature “skip” is representative of the Northern civilization, which shares many cultural ideas with the surrounding countries of Bolivia and Peru. The zapateo in the Cueca Nortina is a small hop and then a strike to the ground with the foot. In contrast, the zapateo of the Cueca Central is much more pronounced, including the intense stomping of the heels and toes. During the Cueca Nortina, the idea of machismo is demonstrated through the role of the woman, who is supposed to look at the floor when dancing instead of making eye contact with her partner, as is done in the cuecas of the central and southern zones. After the last vuelta (or change of place) in the Cueca Nortina, the dance ends with the dancers in their beginning positions, facing one another and without physical contact anytime throughout the dance. However, in the Cueca Central, the man and the woman typically interlock arms, openly demonstrating that the man has conquered the woman (Sánchez Vargas).

The Chilean society has always been very segregated by social class distinctions, which were mimicked by the different styles of the cueca, especially within the Central region. There are more than five principal different styles of cueca within that geographical zone including Cueca Campesina, Cueca Chora, Cueca Porteña, Cueca Criolla de Medio Pelo and Cueca Criolla Salonera (Sánchez Vargas). The Cueca Campesina traditionally characterized the rural, poorer populations in the central zone of Chile. In this version, the dancers’ bodies are more grounded and hunched over as they both wave and spin their pañuelo in all areas around their body that are under eye-level (Sánchez Vargas). In some cases, the man may even use the pañuelo to join his arms in circling them around the woman during the zapateo, showing the great progress of his romantic conquest and entering into the personal space of the woman. In the upright and erect Cueca Criolla Salonera, as taught by Sánchez Vargas, the dancers are neither allowed to lower their pañuelo below eye-level nor rotate it—the handkerchief is presented nicely and basically left untouched except to change position of the hands. Musically, the Cueca Campesina is played by untrained musicians, differentiating it from the Cueca Criolla Salonera. One can easily distinguish the musical technique employed in the latter just from simply hearing the first few bars of music. The instruments vary as much as the level of musical expertise, ranging from the tambourine, drums and spoons that supplement the guitar in a Cueca Campesina, to the piano, harp and accordion played for the Cueca Criolla Salonera. Another interesting dynamic is how the two dances conclude. The Cueca Criolla Salonera is a cueca conclusive, where the dancers finish when the music stops playing. On the other hand, the Cueca Campesina is a cueca suspensiva, meaning the dancers finish their dance when the singer finishes singing, even if the music has not stopped (Sánchez Vargas). This is a very important feature of this style of cueca because it symbolizes the strong connection within the various rural communities, as the dancers must really listen to what and how the vocalist sings the cueca.

There are different versions of the cueca because it is a dance that has been historically conveyed from one generation to the next through oral tradition. Each version, whether it is the Cueca Chilota or the Cueca Porteña, has been learned through participation in the community in which the dance thrives. The different variations of the cueca survived for over 100 years because “Chilean society, in the past, was highly stratified according to income” (Roraff 51), and travel between geographic divisions was not frequent. For this exact reason, there is not much documentation regarding the cueca in general, but this is something the Chilean folklorists, such as Margot Loyola, have been improving upon.

It was declared on Sept. 18, 1979 by the Chilean government that “the cueca [was] the official national dance of Chile” (Knudsen 68). The Federación Nacional de la Cueca [FENAC], formed in response to this new law, made it obligatory for the state schools to compete in the national championship of the cueca (Knudsen 68). In turn, the school system had to start teaching this dance to students, whereas before it was an extracurricular option (Bobadilla). These competitions, as part of the nationalization, “created a stereotypical cueca …people got the impression that there is only one correct Chilean cueca: the huaso cueca [campesina] of the Zona Central” (qtd. in Knudsen 68). Even before the nationalization, the Cueca Campesina was supported as being the national symbol: “The cueca seems to be even more itself when a huaso dances it” (Garrido 66).

The nationalization of the cueca caused an abrupt change in the method of its transference. As ethnomusicologist Felix Hoerburger discusses, “…folk dances [in their first existence] are learned in a natural, functional way…[and are] an integral part of the life of a community” (qtd. in Nahachewsky 18). The cueca was exactly that—a dance “preserved by oral tradition” (Valdés 41) that was learned during community festivities such as baptisms, weddings, the Independence Day celebrations as well as during religious celebrations such as Carnival and Mingas (Sánchez Vargas). In 1979, it then became an academic study, which meant normalizing the manner in which it was taught and the style that students should learn—the Cueca Campesina. This has changed all parts of the education system, affecting even the university level. The students who study Physical Education are required to take a Folkloric Dance class in order to be better equipped as P.E. teachers with the knowledge to teach the cueca and other folkloric dances to the younger generations (Sánchez Vargas). Just as the National Anthem is seen as a national symbol in the United States, the cueca is also taught to be one of the four national symbols of Chile (Knudsen 68) as well as “part of the spiritual personality of the country” (Subercaseaux 144).

The cueca has transformed over the last 20 years since its nationalization into an international symbol of Chile both for Chileans and tourists alike, which has further perpetuated its normalization. As a foreign exchange student trying to learn the cueca from my friends and host family, it was difficult to grasp because each person taught me different and conflicting movements. The first class I took pertaining to traditional Chilean dances taught the basic choreography of the cueca; however, when we practiced the dance, we did so without any acknowledgement that other versions of the cueca exist. This style of teaching is a reoccurring approach within the education system which has caused a normalization of the dance. However, since students are not taught that variations of the cueca exist, they unknowingly mix in elements of different cuecas, demonstrating that the oral tradition of the cueca has yet to be completely interrupted by its nationalization. With the progress of this strongly developing country, the divisions between the social classes and geographical regions have lessened, but still exist. The cueca has lost the various accents it once had, and instead of portraying different dialects, it has become a voice of the masses.

*Translation: Change of place! You are spoiled, my love of all loves…

Works Cited

  • Bobadilla, C. “Re: ayuda!.” E-mail to C. Bobadilla. 23 October 2007.
  • Garrido, Pablo. Biografía de la Cueca. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Nascimento, 1976.
  • Knudsen, Jan Sverre. “Dancing Cueca ‘With Your Coat On’: The Role of Traditional Chilean Dance in an Immigrant Community.” British Journal of Ethnomusicology 10.2 (2001): 61-83. JSTOR. U of Colorado Lib., Boulder. 4 October 2007
  • Nahachewsky, Andriy. “Once Again: On the Concept of ‘Second Existence Folk Dance’.”
    Yearbook for Traditional Music 33 (2001): 17-28. JSTOR. U of Colorado Lib., Boulder. 4 October 2007
  • patoramosc. Zona Huasa, Folklore y Tradiciones. 31 October 2007
  • Roraff, Susan and Laura Camacho. Culture Shock! Chile. Oregon: Times Media Private Limited,
  • Sánchez Vargas, Margarita. Class Lecture. Danzas Folklóricas. Universidad Católica de
    Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile. Spring Semestre 2007.
  • Subercaseaux, Bernardo. Historia de las Ideas y de la Cultura en Chile, Tomo II, Fin de Siglo: La Época de Balmaceda. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Universitaria, S.A., 1997.
  • Valdés, Samuel Claro and Carmen Peña Fuenzalida. Chilena o Cueca Tradicional. Santiago:
    Ediciones Universidad Católica de Chile, 1994.

Monday, September 15, 2008

El Dieciocho in Chile (Part 1 of 2)

There is not a better time of year to be in Chile than for the week of Fiestas Patrias, September 18th and 19th. This is when all things Chile are celebrated and praised. The empanadas, chicha, vino, anticuchos, huasos and the cueca. What are all of these things you might be asking? Well stay tuned because I plan to focus this week’s blogging on my favorite Chilean holiday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Sex Rebellion in Chile

The New York Times online published an interesting (?) article about Chile on Friday Sept. 12th. In Tangle of Young Lips, a Sex Rebellion in Chile is about the Chilean teenagers and a new phenomenon of ponceo (or making out with multiple people the same day). There have been several television documentaries covering the same topic and it is just as repulsive to the average person here as you will probably feel reading it.

I have found something interesting about Chilean teenagers in general--they all seem to have the need to belong to a tribu urbana (urban tribe), which are cliques that take things to the extreme. We’re not just talking about valley girls vs. nerds vs. jocks vs. artists...we’re talking about pokemones, emos, hardcores and the list goes on. In fact, I found a map that details the different urban tribes defined in this country. It is a noted difference that I have seen between here and the US, whereas gringos seem to forever seek independence, the Chileans look to follow. Obviously this is not applicable to all Chileans, but I think it affects the youth greatly. Might be a more in depth topic for a future post....but for now, have at the NY Times article.

Not exactly the type of publicity I wanted Chile to have...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Recipe: Vegetable Stir-Fry with Egg Noodles

I made a modified version of this recipe (on Sunday) that I got out of a healthy-food cookbook that I bought at Barnes & Noble hace algunos años (a few years ago). I don’t remember what the book was called and I only have pictures of the recipes that I liked (this was my last-minute-way of bringing good recipes with me to Chile without actually bringing the whole book—I didn’t have space in my suitcases!). Well the recipe is modified of course because I couldn’t find all of the necessary ingredients, but it turned out well so have fun with it. I’ll post the actual recipe and then in parenthesis, I’ll put my changes or comments just as I’ve done in previous recipes.

Vegetable Stir-Fry with Egg Noodles

Preparation time: 20 minutes (I think it really depends on how fast you are to cut up all the veggies, I happen to be a slow cutter)
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

  • 7 oz (200 g) dried egg noodles (I used whole-wheat pasta, couldn’t find egg noodles here)
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 8 scallions (spring onions), cut into 1 in. lengths (I used 2 entire green onions)
  • 1.25” x 1.25” piece of fresh ginger, julienned (couldn’t find ginger, so I did without it)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 7 oz (200g) Swiss brown mushrooms, quartered (I used normal white button mushrooms)
  • 1 red pepper, seeded & thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, cut on the diagonal into 1/2 in slices
  • 1 carrot, sliced on the diagonal
  • 10.5 oz. broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 10.5 oz Chinese cabbage, shredded (definitely couldn’t find I did without it)
  • 2 tbs. hoisin sauce (couldn’t find this, but my search isn’t over yet; to bring the spicy aspect into the recipe, I put in some merken)
  • 4 tbs. sake or dry sherry (didn’t have either so I mixed a bit of white wine with red wine)
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves, plus extra to serve
  • 10.5 oz packet of firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes (couldn’t buy tofu on Sunday, so I cooked some chicken beforehand to use in the recipe)

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Add the noodles and cook until tender, following the package’s directions. Drain.

Heat a wok over a high heat, add the canola oil and swirl to coat. Add the scallions and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.

Add the red pepper, zucchini, carrot and broccoli to the wok and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes. Add 1-2 tablespoons water to help steam through, if necessary. Add the cabbage, hoisin sauce and sake and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, or until cabbage has wilted and all the ingredients are well combined. (I also threw in the chicken at this point so that it could heat up again.)

Toss through the tofu, noodles, and cilantro until well coated in the sauce and serve immediately.

Nutrition per serving:

Recipe: Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa from 101 Cookbooks

I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks under the “quinoa” section. I love quinoa because you can use it in a variety of dishes, it easily replaces rice & noodles and it is a full protein. The best thing about finding this recipe is that I could actually make it here in Chile, along with a few modifications.

I made this recipe on Sunday evening and took advantage of using it as a dessert and breakfast yesterday morning! I will put up the original recipe and put my modifications in parenthesis to the side.

Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa

“... Also, a few notes and tips from the book: low-fat soy milk may replace the low fat milk, blueberries may replace the blackberries, dark honey may replace the agave nectar, and walnuts may replace the pecans.” (Don’t forget to watch the milk carefully when you boil it and then cover it because it has a tendency to rise quickly. I actually left the lid slightly ajar to ening...after it happened the first time.)

  • 1 cup organic 1% low fat milk (lecha descremada en Chile)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup organic quinoa*
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries, organic preferred (I used frozen berries that I bought in the supermarket)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted**
  • 4 teaspoons organic agave nectar, such as Madhava brand (I used Karo pancake syrup, because we happen to have it in our house, but you could also just use honey as mentioned above or throw in a packet of Splenda in the water-milk mixture.)

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. (Remember, be careful here with the milk rising!) Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. (Since I was using frozen berries, I stirred them into the quinoa right when I turned off the heat and was going to let it stand for 5 min.) Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.

Serves 4.

*Rinse the quinoa in warm water before using it. This helps to remove the outer coating which tends to be bitter.

**While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Recipe: Perfect Popcorn by SimplyRecipes

Christian made me the perfect popcorn on Sunday night, following the awesome recipe from Elise Bauer. Just as a preparer’s note, I would use an old pan to make the popcorn just in case it doesn’t go as don’t want to burn a new pan! Here goes the recipe tal cual as it is published on SimpleRecipes, with my comments italicized and white:

Perfect Popcorn Recipe
  • 3 Tbsp canola, peanut or grapeseed oil (high smoke point oil)
  • 1/3 cup of high quality popcorn kernels
  • 1 3-quart covered saucepan
  • 2 Tbsp or more (to taste) of butter
  • Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.

2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.

3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. (Count out loud; it's fun to do with kids.) This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

4. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
With this technique, nearly all of the kernels pop (I counted 4 unpopped kernels in my last batch), and nothing burns.
(I had between 10-14 kernels in the batch made by Christian)

5. If you are adding butter, you can easily melt it by placing the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.

6. Salt to taste.

Makes 2 quarts, a nice amount for two people, or for one hungry one.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Foodie much?

So I've declared myself a foodie, after having realized that my life revolves around food. The fact that I plan my day around when and what I will eat seems to be almost sufficient reason enough for this new classification...but, además de esto (in addition to this), here are the other reasons that spurred this self-diagnosis:

  • One of my favorite activities is to eat delicious food, whether it be at a new restaurant, an old fave or in my own kitchen. My husband and I continually spend more money than we should eating at new restaurants in Santiago, en la búsqueda (looking) for rich FLAVORS of exotic food that give variety to the typical, plain Chilean food.
  • I love looking up new recipes to cook, even if I never end up making them.
  • If you’ve seen past posts in my blog, you know that I talk quite a bit about food as it is (pasta primavera, spaghetti, oranges, restaurant reviews, and desserts).
  • The Food Network is my favorite channel ever...and I dearly miss it here in Chile. When I get a chance to watch cable television, the Gourmet channel is my first choice.
  • I totally want to have my own cooking show like Giada’s “Everyday Italian”.
  • I used to want to be a top chef when I was younger, cooking up fabulous desserts and making the presentation meet the flavor level. I soon opted out of this career after learning about the cooking industry. I had a friend, Abbye, who went to Johnson & Wale’s University in Denver for culinary arts and I remember the day she told me that she had to wear her hair back, no jewelry, and no nail polish. I thought, “Four years without jewelry and nail polish? No thank you.” Hahahaha...of course, there was more to it than that...but at the age of 16, that was definitely a huge turn-off to culinary school.

And with this new self-definition, I will be posting recipes which I make and end up loving, including any changes I made to the recipe to suit the lack of resources here in Chile. I will also post any pictures that I happen to take before we dig in (sometimes we just can’t wait for pictures!). Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

New Look!

Well as you can see, La Chilegüita got a makeover today!

I'm pretty excited about the improvements that I made and hopefully you'll find this blog a bit easier to read--now the blog archive is on the left for easy access and all the other stuff on the right hand side.

Anywho...that's all for today!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Group Blog Topic: Chilean women

Today as I sat in a work conference and let my thoughts wander from IFRS to this topic, I came up with a variety of things that could spark inspiration for this blog post. I find there are many differences between American women and Chilean women, but I do not find them to be gaping differences, just little things that I have noticed throughout my time here. Most of them relate to girly things (obviously), like beauty, fashion, and “woman topics” if you catch my drift. I could write forever on these topics, and so to be consistent with my post on Chilean men, I will limit this post to a one pro & one con.

Behind The Times (aka the Con)

I would never say that Chile is any sort of fashion & beauty capital. In fact, I’m more likely to say it is the exact opposite. And one of the things that bugs me most about women here is how they “wear” their hair and “put” on their makeup. Let’s take each of these subjects separately because really it is a problem here.

Most Chilean women wear their hair long. And you would think that they would take care of their hair, washing at least every other day, brushing it before leaving the house, even styling it different every once in a while. Ha. Good luck finding any of that. I swear that the majority of women here wash their hair maybe once a week and definitely do not try and style it before leaving the house.* When I was studying at La Católica, it was disgusting to see how many girls wear their hair greasier than a McDonald’s french fry. And when you can see white pieces of I-don’t-know-what in someone’s hair, dirtiness has gone too far. Another thing with the hair here is that if they do fix their hair, 1. it is the same style every day, and 2. if it is in a ponytail, they put cualquier cantidad (any number) of barrettes all over the place and make their hair look like a rat’s nest. There is no such thing as a smooth, hair-sprayed ponytail...if you see one of these in this country, that girl is a gringa.

Moving on to the makeup issue, it is one of two extremes for the most part: or they wear absolutely no makeup whatsoever, or they wear it like Mimi on the Drew Carey show. Ok so in most cases, Mimi is an exaggeration, but really 99% of chilenas have NO idea how to apply makeup. How about inch-thick eyeliner under their eyes and a nasty green cream-based eye shadow (that you know they bought on the streets) on their eyelids. It really just isn’t a pretty picture.

And think about the hair and make-up (or lack thereof) together....eeek!!!

The Modernism the US Lacks (aka the Pro)

This is where most men might want to stop reading because we are going to enter in to the realm of “womanly” talk....and no, not about periods just yet (that might be another topic soon), but about depilación (hair removal).

Where as in the States, women are subjected to an everyday razor and shaving cream or products like Nair, the Chilean women have this topic under control with waxing and the máquinas de tortura (torture machines, which is my nickname for the electric depilatory devices). There are so many waxing locations here that you really do have to be choosy with the ones you go to, just to make sure you are getting a clean service. But let’s explore this topic a little further...

So, girls around the age of 12 or 13 begin to use the máquinas de tortura that their mother’s have. Or maybe they receive one as a gift from an aunt, abuela (grandmother), etc. Now, although I think these little machines are more painful that both of my tattoos, I think starting at an early age wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. Why you may ask? Because just as with waxing, this little device pulls out the hair from its root, achieving the same results as waxing, just a bit more slowly. Each machine has a rotating head with like 6 tweezer-like parts that rotate quickly to pull out the hair. One has to spend much more time going over the same spot in order to get all of the hair, unlike waxing which takes one (maybe two max.) times to remove a good section of hair.

Well, after years or using the máquina de tortura and waxing, these ladies are left with virtually no hair because they have effectively killed the root that grows hair. Not only that, but when the hair grows back, it at least comes back soft instead of course & stubbly like with a normal razor. It is so UN-popular to shave here, that it is difficult to find women’s razors and even harder to find shaving cream. It is mostly all men’s products.

And waxing here is much cheaper than in the States, which I think is an important “barrier of entry” for gringas to always wax their legs, bikinis, armpits, etc. Here, you can pay a nice & clean salon $20USD to wax everything I just mentioned. A Brazilian bikini wax is typically around $14-$20USD, more expensive than a simple bikini wax...but it’s nothing compared to the $60 Brazilians in the States.

While I have yet to jump on this waxing and torture machine bandwagon, I definitely like to take advantage of the cheap bikini waxes for the summer season. And I’m thinking about starting with the leg waxings...maybe then one day I’ll also be able to kill all the hair-growing roots and not have to worry about shaving/depilation when I’m like 50! Shout out to the women here who are WAY smarter when it comes to getting rid of body hair that we are!

*Most exceptions to this majority are the professional working women I have seen, but not even all of them fix their hair. They always wear it the same way every. single. freaking. day. BORING!

[Updated in order to publish links to the other fabulous stories that over a dozen gringas wrote!]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pet Peeves

One of the things that drives me absolutely crazy is when people *continually* spell my name (or anyone’s name for all that matters) wrong. I understand when it happens for the first time around (especially with my name), but when the same person makes the same mistakes over and over, to me, it seems like a lack of respect that they can’t even take enough time to take note that the other person’s name is spelled differently.

I’ve been at my job for more than 2 months now and people STILL can’t spell my name right. I mean, ya so it’s a gringa name, but if I can spell their name without problems, why they hell can’t they get mine straight? This also happens with a co-worker from France, instead of putting the double “m” in his name (Emmanuel) as it should be written, they put an “n” and “m” (Enmanuel). Anyway, this is not just a Chilean thing, as people in the States did it all the time to me too!

Now of course I understand a typo here and there....but this is more than that. Perhaps I’m more sensitive to this topic since my name is always being spelled wrong: Tiffany (what people would consider the most “normal” way to write it), Tyffany, Tiffanie,, it is TYFFANIE. Not that hard to learn people! And of course, this little pet peeve of mine has made me very attentive of other people’s names, which is kind of cool because they are always surprised that I remember their name or how it is spelled.

Point of the story: take 5 seconds to see how a person’s name is written and be consistent about it. If the person has an unusual name, ask them how their parents’ choose it, you might be surprised how easily that simple conversation can turn into a friendship.

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.