Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bye-bye 2008

Holy is the last day of the year! I've hardly had time to let it set in that in approx. 15 hours it will be 2009! This past year has been wonderful and jam-packed of exciting events and changes. Luckily I was able to reflect a bit upon 2008 when I sent out our first annual holiday letter which included a recap. And although I was able to reflect upon this year, I surely haven't thought much about 2009 and what I hope it brings. One thing I do know is that we are planning the big wedding for June and I am SO excited to see my family and friends and celebrate my marriage with all of them. The plans are coming together nicely and I've got some awesome people helping me plan from afar.

I also haven't even thought about New Year's Resolutions. Although I've made them in the past, I definitely forget all about them before the month of Feb. hits. I still haven't decided if I'll make any this year just because I feel like the idea of a resolution never works for me. However, I did see this post over on the 2000 Dollar Budget Wedding blog and I totally dig the idea of reviewing the past year and making goals for the new year along with a collage. I guess it's similar to the resolutions, but I feel like it is more formalized and better thought out. So I might do that, but I definitely won't get to it today since I've got to work half-day, then pack for Viña and then travel to Viña. So we'll see.....if I end up doing it, I'll share a bit.

Anywho.....HAPPY NEW YEARS TO ALL!!!! I wish you lots of love, happiness, abundance and security in 2009!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Navidad en Santiago

As excited as I was about Christmas, and as much as I enjoyed the day & a half with my husband, I still missed my family so much that it brought me to tears, not just once, but two times today. We were lucky enough to talk to them on Skype, but in the end, it just isn't the same as being in Rye, seeing the snow, eating the home-made waffles and my Dad's cookies, spending time with the fam, and playing with Dunkun.

Last night, Christian and I made pizza, enjoyed ponche a la Romana (champagne with pineapple sorbet) and opened 3 presents. Two of the presents were the ones my parents specifically told us to open on Christmas Eve (per our tradition) and the other present was from my company. Here is a slide show of the few pictures we took:

We also watched Elf yesterday, which I just LOVE!!!!!

This morning, we slept in and then made the delicious sweet red bell pepper-cream cheese snack. We then proceed to open presents and sip on the mimosas that we made. We had planned on making the desayuno gringo right away, but we were full from our other snack so we took a rest and watched some TV.

Around 2pm, we sat down to eat scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon and more mimosas atop our pretty Christmas placemats that my sister gave us. In the afternoon we watched The Grinch Who Stole Christmas since Christian had never seen it. Last but not least, we chatted with my parents and then went for a walk.

And here we are now...getting ready for bed and to go to work tomorrow. Enjoy the pics and hope everyone enjoyed this Christmas!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I asked Santa for....

...a little something called a long-haired, miniature dachshunds puppy!

(I doubt he'll bring me one, not because I've been bad this year, but because I'm not home enough to take care of the little guy--but I'll keep asking Santa for one until the day he brings me one!!!)

Happy Holidays!!!!

Just a little something from my husband and I to all of our family and friends....
From La Chilengüita

From La Chilengüita

More pictures of our Christmas celebration to follow!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy (Belated) Blog Birthday!!!

Well I supposed 6 months isn't necessarily considered a birthday, but still. Saturday the 20th of this month was the 6 month milestone of the creation of La Chilengüita. Thanks to all who have kept up with me, inspired me to write posts, commented on my posts, and who will continue to see how this chilengüita's life evolves.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Group Blog Topic: The Holidays Away from Home

This is the 2nd Christmas season that I have spent away from home in Colorado. The first time around was Christmas of 2006 when I was studying abroad here in Chile. That year, I wanted to experience a Chilean Christmas, which is somewhat different that my family’s traditions. Now, in general, I am not a homesick type person and so although it is a bummer not to be at home for holidays, it didn’t really affect me back then (of course I missed my family, but I wasn’t depressed over going to the beach on Christmas day).

The Christmas celebrations here in Chile really start on the 24th when families gather in the afternoon or early evening to go to church. My Chilean host family had plans to head up to el cerro (or Cerro Castillo in Viña, where the grandparents lived). There is a church close by and we all had plans to attend the ceremony. Of course, in Chilean style, we were running late and thus by the time we got to the church there were no seats left and there was a crowd of people standing outside. I couldn’t hear a thing, and I wasn’t too keen about attending a Catholic mass anyway, so my host sister and I returned to the grandparent’s house where we hung out and took pictures before everyone arrived.

(Me and Florencia hanging out before the festivities began--Dec. 24, 2006)

Once everyone gets home from church, it is time for a feast. My host-grandparents are known for have weekly feasts on Sunday afternoon lunches, so just imagine how much food was there for Christmas Eve! Basically, after stuffing ourselves, some of the men took a nap and the rest of us hung out and socialized until midnight rolled around. Unlike in the States where parents try to get the kids to go to bed as soon as possible on Christmas Eve, in Chile midnight is just the start of the party. When the clock chimes 12, Santa might stop by the house (as he did in ‘06), and presents are to be opened. Depending on the size of the get-together, this can take hours. In fact, I ended up leaving the Christmas celebration a bit early (around 1:00am) to spend the rest of the holiday with Christian. We went back to his apartment to open up our gifts to each other.

The next morning we made desayuno gringo (American breakfast), one of our favorite meals!

(This time there were no mimosas, just 100% pure OJ...¡qué rico!)

(A few days before Christmas, Christian and I baked my mom's traditional
holiday cookies, called bizcochitos. They are SO delish!)

It was a wonderful Christmas, and completely Chilean (except for the cookie part). I was able to Skype with my parents on Christmas night as well as some other relatives that were visiting my parent’s house. Man do I love Skype....what did people do before the internet and webcams?

Moving onto this Christmas, well it is a 180 degree difference from the previous Christmas—which we spent splendidly in the States—was so A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. that I don’t know if we’ll ever have another Christmas that is on the same level. We thoroughly enjoyed being in Colorado with my family, we got engaged on Christmas morning, we spent New Years bowling with my parents, and we ate the best food ever. So, following that Christmas is a toughy. For one thing, Christian and I are in Chile and we only get half a day on the 24th off of work and the 25th as a holiday. We are saving up our vacation for the wedding in June, so we both have to return to work on Friday the 26th, thus leaving us little time to travel to Viña. We decided it’d just be best if we celebrate the two of us here in Santiago, making a desayuno gringo (of course)—complete with mimosas—and enjoying our first Christmas together as a family. We are also going to do Christmas the way my family does it—open one present on Christmas Eve and save the rest of the presents for Christmas morning after Santa has visited!!! Lucky for us, Santa already visited my parent’s house in CO and they sent along the presents he gave us with the presents they were sending us.

Can’t you just see the grin on my face when I opened the box to find all of these presents that they weren’t supposed to be sending? (We had previously decided they would just send something small as to not waste money on shipping.) It was a total surprise and in the words of my Dad, they wanted to “give us a mini-Rye Christmas (like the one from last year) but proportional to our Christmas tree (which is iddy-biddy)”. How cute/wonderful is that? It is the small things like that which make me miss my family even more!!! I really wish we could all be together this Christmas, but alas we will have to resort to our friend Skype. It will be strange to have such a tranquil holiday season, but considering I don’t have any vacation, I definitely need a bit of a rest. Plus I think it is important for Christian and I to start making our own traditions as well (most of which will come from my previous Christmas celebrations I think).

You are probably wondering where my husband’s family is in this whole holiday picture? Well, to be honest, they aren’t much for celebrating Christmas in general. When I was spending time with my host family in 2006, Christian had a family dinner with his mom, dad, and sister (who has the same name as my sister!). But that was about it. They don’t normally give gifts, and do not have that custom. So, for us to spend Christmas here just us isn’t a big deal to the rest of the family. Plus we plan on going to Viña for New Years to see the badass fireworks and hang out with his family.

As for my Christmas shopping...well, I’m a bit behind. Normally I’m pretty good about getting my gifts well ahead of time, as well as sending out cards and making any sort of little crafts to give to my extended family members. Last year, I made some magnets from some beautiful pictures of Chile that I had taken. They turned out really well for being DIY. This year, I just mailed out a few cards on Monday and I just got my family’s gifts via the internet, but we still have to shop for my suegros and cuñada. But no DIY crafts, unfortunately. Christian and I have one bought each other one gift so far, both of which we are already using, hahaha. I need to think of a surprise for him though....hmmm. I’m going to go ponder that now. More to come on my slight obsession with Christmas later.

Until then, you should check out the other bloggers who wrote on the same topic:









Resident Expat

Obama's team now includes my cousin!

I'm pretty pumped that Obama has chosen my 3rd cousin, Ken Salazar, to be the Secretary of the Interior! You can read about it in this NY Times Article, or you can just google Ken Salazar and Obama and a ton of stories will come up. It seems that some environmentalist groups are p.o.'d with Obama's choice, but I'm sure someone would be mad about whoever got nominated. My cousin is a self-made man, like Obama, who grew up on a farm in the San Luis Valley in Colorado, without indoor plumbing (according to my mother's recollection). And since his job revolves around the issues of rural America, and that is where he comes from, I know he'll do a great job. He comes from a family that had very little and has now made his way to D.C. He and his brother John, who is also in politics, are amazing and I am so happy for our family!!!

Here's a picture of Ken, my mom and me at the LAEF Scholarship Gala in 2005:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"Obama sings mega 80s hit"

This is a great video. Whoever came up with it 1.has a lot of patience and 2. is just awesome.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Highlight of the Madonna Concert

I’ll get to a recap of the Madonna concert when I get a moment, but for now I just wanted to highlight the best part of the evening (apart from being with my hubby and the bad-ass back-up dancers on stage who make me want to quit my day job). There was one song (I don’t know what it was called, nor do I have time to research that) where the words Action were shown and pictures of world leaders and important global issues were flashed on the screen. Madonna wasn’t on stage singing at this point, it was like a “filler” while she was changing clothes—but the message of the song and video was important. So, about half-way through this song, a picture of Obama flashed on the screen and the whole stadium, around 60,000 people, started cheering and screaming for Obama. Let me remind you that I was in Chile with 60,000 Chileans, not in the States and not even remotely thinking of political movements…but still, his image made THAT much of an impact.

The last image of the video performance was also of Obama, and again the crowd went nuts…but it wasn’t as surprising as the first time because normally when a song finishes at a concert, everyone claps. But going crazy in the middle of a song, just because an image—a face of hope for the whole world—was shown on the screen, that made my jaw drop.

It just goes to show how happy the rest of the world is that we F.I.N.A.L.L.Y. have a competent and change-driven leader in office.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Missing Viña

This weekend my husband and I traveled to Viña, as we do quite often, to hang out with his family and enjoy the ocean air. Part of the trip was dedicated to moving my suegros (in-laws) back to their old apartment. About one year ago, they moved into a new apartment which had just been built. The point of that move was to have a better view of the ocean and have more sun hit the house. The “old” or previous apartment was on the 2nd floor and the sun hardly ever enters it due to the way it faces. Well it turns out they are making all the new buildings like crap—using minimum quality materials, making them the size of matchboxes, and trying to save in any way possible while still charging a butt-load of money. So what did that mean for my suegros? Well, less space was obviously a thumbs-down…especially since it meant going from a 3-bedroom apt. to a 2-bedroom one. This meant that when we went to visit, we stayed in my cuñada’s (sister-in-law’s) room while she slept elsewhere in the house. And while this is typically not a problem for Chileans as they are very accommodating in that sense—I absolutely hated sleeping in her room because uh, hello invasion of space. Right, that is my gringa side talking, but it drove me nuts. Now that they are back in the old apartment, a bed was put in the extra bedroom and voilah a guest room for us! The crappy construction of the new apartment meant that my sister-in-law could hear everything that happened in the apartment next door. Even if they turned on the faucet, she would wake up. She must be a very sensitive sleeper because I’ve never had problems waking up when we slept there, but as it bothers her and affects her quality of life—that is just not cool. There were also problems with the bathrooms, the administration of the whole building, etc. So back they went to the old apartment. We spent all day Saturday moving them. My job was to help in the moving truck and watch the things so no one would steal them. When the guys would bring the furniture, boxes, etc. to the truck and set them inside, I would take care to make more space by pushing it in further. Then the moving guys would organize the puzzle-like truck to fit everything in and return for more items. When we began unloading I would unpack and move everything that I could lift to the edge of the truck so they could just grab it and take it inside. That really helped the unloading process speed up. Overall, the move went well. After the actual moving, I tried to help out where I could. Christian was busy installing all the light fixtures, and anything else electric. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law went about organizing and putting things away. Since they had already lived there before, there was a space for everything.

Saturday night, although we were dead tired, we reanimated ourselves to go have a drink with our friend Clarita who just moved back to Chile to be with her fiancé. Hmm, that sounds kind of bad. It wasn’t hard to muster up energy to hang out with her, but that was because it was her. There are few people we would have gone out with that night after being so tired. Clarita studied abroad with me during the 1st semester. She, la Boricua and Kathy were my best friends on the program and we had some great adventures together. She has been with her fiancé around the same amount of time that Christian and I have been together and thus we have been able to share many of the relationship milestones together. I am super pumped that she is back because it helps make living in Chile a bit like it was before, even though I’m in Santiago and she’s in Viña.

Sunday was cloudy in the morning and so I took some time to edit some pictures that I’ve been meaning to work on. Christian was helping organize more and move this piece of furniture here or there or wherever they wanted it. As soon as the sun came out, Christian and I went to the beach to take some Christmas pictures. Then I aproveché de (took advantage of) sunbathe a bit to hopefully get a tan. I didn’t have too long though because we were invited in the evening to go have once at Christian’s ex-girlfriend’s (K.) house. That sounds strange, I know. But she was really close to Christian’s family. In fact, he moved to Germany to be with her in 2006. Had things worked out, it was a permanent move. But alas, fate was not in the stars for them and he returned to Chile where I then met him and blah blah blah, they lived happily ever after. No, but really, he and his ex have stayed friends and I have no problems with that because I know that when it was over, it was over. She actually moved back to Chile in 2007 (I think) and began dating someone that she had met through her work. They just got married in Oct. and are expecting their first baby within the next 2 weeks. Since my suegra hadn’t seen K. pregnant nor seen their condo, we were all invited to hang out a bit before the baby arrives. We had fun hanging out with K. and her husband. There is a huge laguna by their house and we all went for a walk out there and took some pictures. Sunday night we had plans to celebrate our friend Hugo’s 28th birthday with him at a bar called O’H. It was pretty tranquilo, but a lot of people we knew were there and it was great to see Hugo after like 2 months! I had a mudslide which was *delish*, and super strong. We weren’t out late, but long enough to see midnight come around, saludar Hugo for his birthday and chat a bit more with friends.

Yesterday was a holiday which meant no work. YAY for random Catholic holidays! While the topic of the number of and reasons behind Catholic holidays will be saved for the future, I must say the number of long weekends in Chile is a definite plus. First thing in the morning I went to the beach for a good solid hour and baked in the sun. It was amazing. And it made me miss my daily trips to the beach that I took back in the Summer of ’07. We came home after lunch and ran errands, cooked food, did some of the normal weekend house work, and chatted with mis padres on Skype.

Spending so much time in Viña, and on the beach, really made me miss living in Viña. It is such a beautiful city and in the summer you can’t find a better place to be. I really wish there were more job opportunities there because we would move back in a heartbeat. I’m super thankful that I chose to study abroad in Viña and Valpo over Santiago. Best decision ever. Now I just have to figure out a way that my husband and I can earn the same amount of money while living in Viña…..I guess for now, we’ll just have to settle on making more frequent trips to visit my suegros with the intention of hitting up the beach.

How can you not love living where the vista (view) is this beautiful???

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Blog MIA

Wow, I have been blog-MIA. Not because I want to be, but ask Kyle mentioned in one of her posts, when life gets busy, prioritization becomes key and things like the personal blog get shoved to the bottom of the never-ending list. I figured I should take 15 or 20 minutes to write a short update about what’s been going on.

Work is going well. I’m not really sure if I ever explained what I do, but I write technical accounting memos for my company on all large contracts that we enter into. Lamen’s terms: I read contracts in Spanish, write a summary and do an accounting analysis in English. I started this job on Sept. 22nd, and it has been going great. I really enjoy the atmosphere and the people who I work with. Everyone is so down to earth and light-hearted. My boss, who is Canadian, is awesome. I am so glad she pursued me to apply for this job. She actually just got a bad-ass promotion, so she won´t be my boss for much longer, but I’m really happy for her. Work has been picking up and now that we’ll be seeing some shifts in job titles and whatnot, I have a feeling it’s about to get even busier. I am learning a lot, and trying to absorb as much as I can. Technical accounting is hard stuff—I mean, ya I studied accounting in college, but did I learn all the exceptions to FAS 133 Derivative & Hedge Accounting? Uhhhh.....NO!!! So, that means I’ve got my work cut out for me, reading past memos to learn about the business, taking online trainings that our company offers, and trying to read any extra information that I can.

The fitness plan is going well. I started off the first two weeks really strong, but last week went sour. I was so busy with a million events that time (and energy) just escaped me. However, last night I did 2 workout videos and a yoga video at home and it definitely felt good to get moving again. Tonight I’ll probably do another since I won’t have time to hit the gym. I’ve got to do some work since I had to leave the office early to go to the doctor. When I started working out practically every day, I felt a lot better, and I loved the sore feeling that you get in your muscles when you are constantly pushing your body. I hardly ever turn on the TV now because when I get home, I have so much to do that I just get started on it—cooking, working out, shopping for gifts, planning events, responding to emails, etc. Wedding planning should be among those things, but I have been even more MIA with wedding planning than with my blog.

In the last week and a half, I’ve done the following:

  • Celebrated my birthday at work
  • Celebrated my birthday in Rancagua along with my sister-in-law’s birthday and the rest of the family
  • Went to the doctor twice, in a far-away doctor's office. Today I went in micro (that’s right, in a public transportation bus).
  • Planned a bachelorette party for Heather (this includes shopping for the gifts and penis-decorations, wrapping the gifts, and making sure the gifts got to the party before Heather and I did since we had Starbucks plans beforehand)
  • Cooked Thanksgiving gringo breakfast one day after Thanksgiving
  • Attended a baby shower, became the unofficial photographer, and edited the photos for the mama-to-be
  • Worked late several days
  • Cleaned house, gone grocery shopping, cooked—the normal house-y stuff
  • Decorated the Christmas tree (pictures will be posted in due time)

Whew, I’m tired all over again. And if I were to start on my To-Do list, I might just go crazy and would probably run out of text space on my blog (hahaha if that is even possible). So I think that is my cue to sign off and start on my actual work since I need to put in a good hour or so on this memo.

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.