Monday, March 30, 2009

Which ring to do you like best?

I'm at the stage where I need to be ordering my wedding ring. I had mentioned it a while back, but some things happened, my mind changed and now I need to pick a new ring. I've found a few that I really like, but I'd like your opinion on what you think will look best with my e-ring. Here's a collage of some photos that Christian took when we had recently become engaged in Dec. 2007. He had just bought his camera and didn't know how to use it all that great, so these are definitely not his best work:

From Rings

Now, the wedding bands that I like are the following. Which one do you think will look best with my e-ring?

(Keep in mind that I have to order it online, have it special ordered to my size 4 finger, and won't see it until approx. 3 weeks before the wedding)

From Rings
No. 1

From Rings
No. 2

From Rings
No. 3

From Rings
No. 4

From Rings
No. 5

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

The Great Robbery

Ok, so I've owed you guys this story for a little over a week now. Sorry for the delay! Thanks to all of you who showed your support when I mentioned that Christian got robbed. He is ok, so is everyone else who got robbed, and here is what happened:

March 19, 2009: Christian and his friends from work go out to eat to celebrate one of the guy's birthdays. They had planned to celebrate the week before, but had to push it back a week. I almost joined them in the celebration, but when they rescheduled the evening, they decided to go to a restaurant called Mar de Viña and, well, as the name eludes to they serve mariscos (seafood). Ever since living in Chile, I can't stand seafood (except some fish and of course sushi--but not mussels, oysters, nada). So I was at home sulking over the lost photos* and waiting for my husband to get home when I get a phone call at approx. 10pm. I thought he'd be saying "Hi honey, I'm on my way home." But instead I heard, "Amor, tuvimos un problemita acá en el restaurant. Tres tipos entraron y sacaron todo de varias personas, pero ahora todo está bien, estamos con los caribineros." Translation: My love, we had a slight problem in the restaurante. Three guys entered and took everything from a few people, but we are ok now and the cops are here." In that first little bit, he just forgot to mention the guys had guns and had stolen his wallet--he was trying to keep me calm, but either way it didn't really work.

So basically he and about 12 of his coworkers (bosses included) were eating dinner when these idiots showed up, pistols in hand, telling everyone to take out their wallets, cell phones and jewerly. One of the robbers tried to open up the cash register, but it had some sort of safe code on it and they got nervious. So they grabbed as much of the stuff that people had put on the tables as they could and they left, running about a block where a car was waiting for them. There were quite a few people in the restaurant that night, around 100 according to newspapers, but not everyone lost something. In fact, only about 10-12 people total (according to Christian and his friends) had things stolen, and these were the people who were sitting closest to the door. Takeaway: do NOT sit by the front door of a restaurant in Chile.

Fortunately, Christian did not lose his cell phone, just his wallet. He noticed that the robbers weren't really taking their time to make sure everyone had given them everything, so he kept his phone hidden (good thing I didn't call him right when the robbery was taking place). One of his bosses actually was smart enough to take his cash out of the wallet before handing it over. The other good thing is that Christian decided not to take his camera that evening, which is odd, as he is always the token photographer at friend's events. At the end of the day, most people didn't lose too much money, but instead are stuck with the hassle of having to get a new ID card, new driver's license, new bank and credit cards, etc. Supposedly the owner of the restaurant is going to reimburse them for the ID card and driver's license...but I'll believe it when I see it. We are just happy that Christian and everyone is ok and that March is almost over (this month has been such a bad luck month)!

For your viewing pleasure, I have included a video of the news coverage of the robbery as well as an short article about the situation (all in Spanish).

Delincuentes asaltan restaurant y a clientes en Providencia

Channel 13 News Coverage:

*What happened with his computer is that he had the Safeboot program loaded on it, which encrypts your hard drive until you enter in a password. Well something went wrong and the program didn't want to recognize Christian's password and thus locked itself down. My husband works in forensic computer analysis and nothing could unlock this disk. So from the computer standpoint, the pictures were gone. However, the hubbs being the smart man his is, decided to see what he could recover from his camera. I don't know how, but he was able to recover pictures he had deleted from his camera & memory card and actually found the pictures that we had lost for the wedding! Yay!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Sting is Lethal

That's right. I'm a Scorpio and all that you imagine a Scorpio to be. When someone wrongs me, I have no mercy. I'm quick to put on my boxing gloves. I like to prove my point.

Our previous landlord is not wanting to return to us the proportional amount of rent for the days that we are no longer living in the apartment. It's a whole big thing that she is trying to say the contract stipulates one thing and thus she can keep the money. But the contract stipulates a lot of things that she hasn't done--like when she gave us the notice to leave (since she needed to move back in), she didn't do it by a notarized letter as it specifies should be done. The rental agreement also included a bodega (storage unit), and we should have had 100% of that unit, but she's been using more than half of it the ENTIRE time we have rented from her. So if she isn't playing by the rules of the contract, there is NO WAY IN HELL I am going to let her keep that money (no matter how much or little it is) just because the contract says something. It isn't fair and she is just taking advantage of us cuz she doesn't have the money to pay us back. Not my f*ing problem that she doesn't have the money. We will get it back.

My husband just wants to end the whole thing and let it go. I will do no such thing. I'm trying to gather as much venom as possible the sting even worse. I am PISSED!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

1 Year Wedding Anniversary!

Today is my 1st wedding anniversary* with my beloved Christian! I woke up to a beautiful card and a box of my favorite chocolates (Sahne-Nuss) next to the bed. {Swoon}

I am SO grateful to be married to this man. He is my everything. I can't wait until the wedding in June when we can share our love and commitment to each other with all of our friends and family!!!!

Tonight, instead of going out to a fancy-schmancy restaurant, we will be spending the evening at home, free of our computers and TV, making dinner, enjoying each other's presence and regaloneando mucho (spoiling each other).

*This is our 1 year anniversary of our civil ceremony here in Chile. We will soon have two marriage ceremonies and plan to celebrate both dates on an annual (if not monthly) basis. We love celebrating milestones in our lives :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Group Blog Topic: My Past & Future in Chile

Hooray for the group blog topic coming back. This week’s topic is two-fold: “What drew you to Chile originally?” and “Why did you leave, why will you leave, or won’t you?” I’m posting a bit later than the rest of you for reasons I explained yesterday, and the fact Christian got robbed last night was another reason I have yet to write about…BUT I haven’t read anyone else’s stories cuz, well, I’d hate to spoil all the fun :) Without further ado, here is my post and at the end you’ll find links to the rest of the participants in this group blog post!

I have frequently been asked, by both gringos and Chileans, how I ended up picking Chile out of all the Spanish-speaking countries to do my study abroad program. The high-level answer is fairly simple: it was a random choice. But, when you look at the details and event surrounding my years of studying Spanish, the decision to come to Chile I think was a matter of fate and played out in the following manner.

I officially began studying Spanish freshman year of high school, a bit before I turned 15. I remember doing a project that year on Spain and deciding that 1. since I have Spanish heritage from my mom’s side of the family, 2. since I had just learned a bunch about the country during my project, and 3. since we were taught that Spain Spanish was the “official” Spanish, that I would study abroad in Spain. I had never even heard of studying abroad before then, but it wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make. Eventually I would move to Spain to learn Spanish. I don’t even think it crossed my mind that other countries speak Spanish too and that it would be an option to study there as well. My goal to study abroad in Spain remained strong for many years. In fact, I have scholarship essays where I delve into the fact that it would have meant so much for me to study there and learn about my ancestry. So, what changed? Where did Chile come into the picture?

In college, I became even more serious about my Spanish studies than I was in high school (how that was even possible, I have no idea—but that is a story for another day). I began volunteering in the Spanish-speaking immigrant community in Boulder as a way to give back AND to practice my Spanish. I also got involved in La Mesa Española, which was a group of people in the community (students and non-students alike) who were studying Spanish and wanted the chance to practice in a social setting. We used to get together at Buchannan’s Coffee Pub weekly and spend around 2 hours conversing…all in Spanish. It didn’t matter what level you were at, but most participants had either studied abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, lived in one, or were natives of the language. I was none of those. I had 5 to 6 years of language classes under my belt and was using the group as a way to prepare myself for when I studied abroad.

During my first two years at CU, I made a lot of friends who were planning on studying abroad and who went to Spain. Upon their return, which was before I had decided where I wanted to go, I got to hear about their experiences and see how well their Spanish had improved (if at all). My friends told me about the crazy trips that they took every weekend to different parts of Europe with the gringo friends they had made. When we were in situations where Spanish was spoken, I could note the change in accent when my friends spoke, but I could also see that they clearly weren’t bilingual and it ends up that most of the time there, they spoke English rather than Spanish. Which all makes sense—you travel with gringo friends and it’s easier to communicate, you leave Spain and pretty much have to speak English unless you already know German, France or other languages, and when you are barely in Spain for classes, the amount of time you actually use your skills is really not enough to become fluent.* PLUS a million gringos go to Spain to study abroad and thus it is saturated.

Basically what I found out through “interviewing” all of my friends who studied abroad (be it in Spain or other parts of the world) was that everyone has their own reasons for studying abroad. Some people go because they want to travel and get to know as many countries as they can. Others go for more of a cultural experience and really try to assimilate into the new culture and learn the language. Perhaps others go for a mix of the two or for completely different reasons that I never thought of. My reasons were clear for studying abroad—to become bilingual in Spanish and get to know another culture punto final. Of course, the traveling aspect appealed to me, but I knew I would never be someone who would spend more time outside of the country than inside it. All of my friends also shared their biggest regret from study abroad: no matter what their original goals were for their time abroad, everyone wished they had stayed a whole year instead of the 4-7 month periods they actually were there.

I learned two things from my friends: 1. I would study abroad for at least a year (there was no question on this one, if everyone had regretted not doing, I sure wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake), and 2. I realized that Spain was more for those who wanted to travel all over Europe and I saw that my friends’ Spanish hadn’t improved as much as I had expected, so I decided I didn’t want to go to Spain for study abroad.

So I began exploring options in Latin America…looking at all the programs offered by CU’s Study Abroad Programs Office and focusing in those that were for students with an intermediate-advanced Spanish. I knew that any program in Latin America would be smaller than the ones in Spain because they were way less popular at CU. Although there were various options in Mexico, Costa Rica, and all of South America, the only programs for intermediate-advanced Spanish were in Perú, Argentina and Chile. The program in Perú required you to take classes of quechua. At the time I thought learning one language would be confusing enough and did not want to have to learn an indigenous language on top of Spanish. (Although looking back, I admit this would have been really cool in the end, being able to speak both.) So basically I was left with Argentina (Buenos Aires) and Chile (Santiago or Valpo/Viña). I researched each country a bit to see which one would be better—what did each offer, how was the language, where was the program located, etc. I decided the big-city thing wasn’t necessary as I had plans to move to NYC after graduation anyway so that definitely wasn’t a requirement. I though living by the ocean for a year would be really cool. And I really really didn’t want to speak like an Argentine. No offense to Argentina or its people…back then, in my slight state of ignorance, I didn’t want to have an “accent” in Spanish. So that was it: I wanted the beach and no accent and thus I picked Valparaíso/Viña del Mar, Chile. (Little did I know that Chileans DO have an “accent”, just as every Spanish-speaking country does. In fact, certain regions within a country have different “accents”…they are called dialects. The same thing in English happens: an East Coaster, West Coaster, Southerner, Australian, and Irish person all speak in different dialects. Doh. That thought never had crossed my mind.)

So why do I think it was fate then that I somewhat randomly picked Chile without really knowing much about it or having any sort of ties here? Because I was meant to meet Christian, it’s as simple as that. Had I not come, I would have never met him. He is the reason I came back to Chile right after graduation (apart from the fact that I *generally* enjoy living here), because I don’t think I would have had the guts to do it if I were single and didn’t have a job already lined up to come to. Plus I had wanted to move to NYC as soon as possible and climb the corporate ranks.

Now, will we ever leave Chile or will we stay? I wish the answer were a simple stay or go. Before we got married, the plan never included living in Chile. In fact, I was heavily researching ways to get Christian to the States so I could start the job I had lined up at Shell Oil Co. But then I delved into the world of our country’s immigration policies and procedures and wanted to just die any time I thought about the process. So I decided, on my own free will, to give up my job offer and move to Chile. It was much easier for me to get a job (being bilingual), immigration processes are simpler, and I missed Chile so it would be nice to come back.

I’ve been here almost 10 months and our plan, since I decided to move to Chile, was to stay here 2-3 years and then head to the US. It would give Christian more time to learn English, allow me more time to solidify my Spanish, give us time to “concrete” our marriage as to show the US government that we are legit, permit us to save for the outrageous fees that come along with US Permanent Residency, etc. This has been the plan for more than a year now.

But just recently, I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to live here forever. Not just because of this group blog topic, it actually started a few weeks ago, around the time we had to start looking for a new place to live. Although I was stressed out about the move (which turned out a-okay in the end), things have been going really well here—Christian and I are able to save quite a bit of money each month thanks to the fact that we have solid jobs, which would probably not be the case if we were in the US thanks to the state of the economy. We both enjoy our jobs and have great friends that we would miss dearly if we moved away. We enjoy going to the beach at least once a month. I began to feel like it would be almost easier to stay here forever, especially since I’m already accustomed to culture and we wouldn’t have to go through the US immigration process nor through the (reverse) culture shock that will come with an eventual move to the US. I feel like it is easier to start a business here in Chile (which I would love to eventually do) and that I could do better here than in the States, as perhaps there is less competition in the areas where I’d like to have a business. And truth be told, I think we could live a higher-standard of life in Chile than in the States. I love speaking Spanish all day long and know that it will be something that I will miss when I’m in the US. Although I’m not a fan of the fact you have to spend a fortune to educate your children well here, I do like the idea that they would learn Spanish and English from the get-go and I think it would be best done in Chile. It is just way to easy to only speak English in the States. So all of these thoughts have been going around in my head for weeks and I was beginning to see us staying here for the long-term. I talked to Christian about it on Wednesday evening and we kind of discussed it as an actual option, something that needed more meditation and analysis. But for the first time ever, I have been seriously considering staying in Chile. That is...until last night.

Las night Christian was robbed at gunpoint along with his friends in a restaurant in Providencia. Thankfully no one was hurt. I don’t want to go into the story right now, but needless to say, it reminded me of the paranoia that is always present in Chile. You always have to walk around worrying that someone will rob you, down to ripping off a necklace in the street and running away with it. Obviously I know there are dangerous places in the US, but in Chile, it is a country-wide problem from the biggest city down to the smallest pueblito (town). I really wish it wasn’t such a problem here because it is one of the most unattractive aspects of this country. There are other things about the country that I don’t like and would never want to bring my kids up around such as: the lack of punctuality, with a horrible work ethic (only having to do the minimum required, if that), and how many people smoke here. I’m sure I could think of other pros and cons about Chile, but for the consideration of time and length of this post, we’ll just leave it at that.

So what’s the answer to the question? We will leave or will we stay? I honestly don’t know. I think that as long as the US economy can get back on track within the next couple of years, we will leave and Chile will be our vacation spot. If not, we might decide to settle down here or maybe we’ll think of going elsewhere. I wish I knew what we are going to do, but I feel like if we go to the US we might regret not staying in Chile for longer. Or if we stay here, we’ll be far from (my) family and important events and I’ll feel like I’m missing out. Especially when it comes time to have a baby. I want to be close to my mom, someone who I can ask about the funky things that will happen to my body.

One thing I’ve learned from first coming to Chile is that life is full of little surprises. Never in my life had I thought I’d end up living and working in Chile and married at the age of 24. My plans before coming to Chile were to move to NYC, work my ass off in accounting (what was I thinking?) and living the Sex in the City lifestyle, but obviously not be single at the age of 40 (or however old Carrie Bradshaw is). I never thought I’d give up an amazing job offer with Shell Oil to move across the world to a job market in which I had no idea I would be able to find a job that actually adequately uses my skills. So today I could say that we are leaving Chile, and we might stay forever. Or perhaps I say that we will stay for several years, and we leave within months. And with that, I’ll stop. Sorry for not answering the second question in a black-or-white manner, but that is just how it is when you live an international life. I know that whether I am here in Chile or in the US, I will always miss the other country. Both are part of me now and for forever.

*These are what the experiences were of my friends who went to Spain; I am by no means saying that is how it is for everyone.

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers’ posts:



Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pucha, en serio?

Christian's computer died early this morning and unfortunately nothing can be done. We lost pretty much all of the pictures we had taken in Valpo & Viña for my awesome wedding project. Before I knew all of this information, I was all jazzed about writing on the group blog topic and posting it tomorrow...but se me fueron las ganas (I lost all want). So yeah, I guess I'll get around to writing it when I'm a bit more animated. In reality it will be a post that takes quite a bit of energy considering the 2nd part of the topic is why will you leave Chile or why will you stay.

He had just done a back-up in January.....but we still lost all of that hard work. This freaking sucks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Need a Clone (or Five) & Some Tax Info

Seriously. Personal clones would be so nice to have as I could be in all of the places I need to, doing all of the million things I have on my plate, and since they would be clones of me, I wouldn’t have to worry about how it is all being done.

Case in point—in order for our brand new stove to work, the maintenance has to come and change some parts so that it will work with natural gas as it is currently configured for liquid gas (as were ALL of the stoves in Ripley). This is a free service, but you still have to schedule the service and as well all know how that goes in Chile: “Ok, we will stop by tomorrow. Oh and no, we can’t call to tell you at what time.” These sorts of things aren’t problematic to people who work at home, or don’t work at all and are just at home all day. But with both people in the household working, it is just a pain in the ass. My husband first said “Hmm, well I guess I’ll just give the conserje (doorman) the keys so he can let them in.” Seriously? If we hadn’t be g-chatting, I would have smacked the back of his head. What is he thinking?! I would never ever ever EVER take that route, even though I trust the conserje Pablo, I certainly don’t trust the maintenance guys. And since the jackasses won’t call to tell you they are on their way, my husband can’t really plan on being home when they get there. His work pretty much requires his physical presence. So how do we solution the problem? I’ll tell you tomorrow how it actually goes, but this is the plan: Christian called the maintenance company and asked them to come in after 1:30pm as I asked to work from home for the afternoon. The maintenance people said they can only put “PM” next to our name. Hopefully they pay attention to the PM (unlike the people who delivered these appliances) and get there in the afternoon. We are going to give the conserje our phone numbers so that if they show up before I get home, he can call us and hopefully Christian can dash out to meet them or cagamos (we’re screwed) and I stay at work instead of going home. My boss already ok’d me to work from home in the afternoon and since most of my work is internet/computer based it is easier to do so. Except we don’t yet have internet in our new place, but we still do in our old place. So I’ll be camping out in our old place working, and put a note next to the timbre (doorbell) at the new place that they have to come to the old place first. Sounds confusing right? Good thing the new apartment and the old one are in buildings right next to each other. In fact we get our internet signal in the new apartment, but it is pretty weak and I don’t want to deal with slow internet when I’m trying to work.

So obviously if I had a clone, I would let her stay home tomorrow and I would come to work (or vice versa) and thus problem would be solved. She wouldn’t need internet so she could stay in the new apartment and we wouldn’t have to worry that the maintenance guys show up before I get home. She could also be cleaning the kitchen and organizing the rest of the house during the day which are things that I have no idea when I’ll be able to do. I could actually use a second clone to answer the bagillion emails I have pending and a third clone to work on wedding stuff—like practicing doing my own up-do, designing the labels for the invites, investigating traveler’s insurance, looking for wedding rings (we didn’t end up getting them a few weeks ago like I had though we were going to), etc. Oh and I’d clone a fourth to work on my taxes which are seriously time-consuming. I'd then clone a fifth me and one of my husband so we could hang out together all day long. :)

Speaking of taxes…I have found out some really interesting information for those of you from the US who are married to a Chilean (or other foreigner). I suggest you read Publication 54 from the IRS website as a way to get started. Don’t forget to check into whether or not you have to pay Chilean taxes and use such amounts as exclusions or deductions on your US tax forms. The Servicios de Impustos Internos has a FAQ section for extranjeros. Just as an FYI—we DO have to pay taxes here as per the law. The Income Tax Lay (Ley Sobre Impuesto a la Renta) states the following in Paragraph 3, Article 3:

“Salvo disposición en contrario de la presente ley, toda persona domiciliada o residente en Chile, pagará impuestos sobre sus rentas de cualquier origen, sea que la fuente de entradas esté situada dentro del país o fuera de él, y las personas no residentes en Chile estarán sujetas a impuesto sobre sus rentas cuya fuente esté dentro del país.

Con todo, el extranjero que constituya domicilio o residencia en el país, durante los tres primeros años contados desde su ingreso a Chile sólo estará afecto a los impuestos que gravan las rentas obtenidas de fuentes chilenas. Este plazo podrá ser prorrogado por el Director Regional en casos calificados. A contar del vencimiento de dicho plazo o de sus prórrogas, se aplicará, en todo caso, lo dispuesto en el inciso primero.”

Summary: You have to pay taxes only on the money you earn from Chilean sources for the first 3 years of your residency and not on your worldwide income (as is the case in the US). After those first 3 years, you have to pay taxes on your worldwide income unless you extend the period.

How you calculate your Chilean taxes if you work for yourself and not at a company is outside my scope of knowledge. My company takes out the necessary taxes from my paychecks and so I luckily don’t have to worry about that stuff for now.

And finally, some friendly warnings (I have taken an Income Tax class at CU Boulder and thus probably have more experience than the majority of the population, but not as much those who have had more than 1 tax class, obiv. In any case I want to share advice I learned through suffering through that semester of income tax in order to make the process as painless as possible for you all):
  • Read all applicable instructions when filling out US tax forms. Many times what you read on the form will mean one thing to you, but in the “tax world” will mean another thing. The instructions are pretty straight forward in the sense that they are easy to read and that you shoulnd't read into them more than the words that are written on the piece of paper. (And interesting fact is that supposedly the instructions are written for a 4th grade reading level, however you will probably find this is not the case. It is a different sort of logic which is why I say just literally read the words and do as they say.)
  • If you think you found some awesome loophole or that something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The people who wrote the tax law and instructions are smart as shit so don’t think you will outsmart them unless you hired a tax specialist who is following the rules and isn’t pulling some shady tax treatment.
  • If you are stuck on something, google it and see what other people have done. For example, I didn’t know if I had to put “Single” or “Married” on my 1040 since I am only married in Chile and if I put “Married”, do I put “Married Filing Jointly” or “Married Filing Separately”? I googled it and found out I have to put “Married” because if you are married in any country the IRS considers you married. And as for which “Married” box I fill out, well that depends on a whole bunch of other factors, but basically I can pick either one depending on which results in the least amount of tax liability.
  • Print out the forms you need, but I wouldn’t print out the instructions (I just look at the instructions on my computer). It helps to have them in front of you when you are reading the instructions. Also, fill them out with a pencil as you will be erasing quite a bit--trust me.
  • Take your time—seriously the 1040 can take you hours to complete if you have a lot of deductions or adjoining forms to complete. Those of us with foreign income are in for even more time as you have to make sure you understand the process and which forms you need to fill out and by when (there are some automatic time extensions to file if you are living outside the US, there are other extensions you can apply for so that you have more time to fulfill the qualifications for the Foreign Tax Income Exclusion, etc.).
  • If it all seems way to complex and you get frustrated, look into hiring someone to do your taxes. It might put you out $200-500 but depending on your risk level for audits (if you are self-employed they are higher than those of us who work for companies) and your available time, it might be worth it. (I would, however, recommend that you research the things that you are required to report especially if in special situations such as married to a non-resident foreigner as not all tax experts have experience in such areas. It might be worth it to reserach yourself, then hire them, and ask them a million questions to make sure they do it correctly and don't accidentally not catch something. But, hey, that's just me.)
  • Last but not least, good luck, have patience, and welcome to the adult world (or at least that is what I feel like doing my own taxes means, hahaha, no more 1040-EZ forms to fill out).

Friday, March 13, 2009

We now have 2 apartments...

....that is, until we get our furniture moved out (which will mostly be done tomorrow), get the apt. painted and the carpets cleaned and then we can turn in the keys to our old place. Under our contract we have to leave the place in the same conditions that we received it, which were freshly painted and carpet-cleaned. We are still looking for datos (eg. contact information) for maestros who will do this—so if you know of anyone, please let me know!

Christian also confirmed that a two more people from his work have volunteered to come help tomorrow so we are good to go! 4 men and 2 women should be sufficient, especially since we won’t be moving over the kitchen stuff right now. And really we only need the guys to move the heavy stuff cuz I plan on putting our folded clothes in our suitcases, wheeling it over to the new place, and putting them on the shelves. The clothes that are hung in our closet will be carried over by hand (oh this is so glorious not having to pack up everything!) (Thanks to those of you who were checking your plans for Sat. thought, we appreciate it!)

We did buy a refrigerator and stove yesterday as well as some light fixtures (I said bye-bye to my bonus from work all within 1 hour). The appliances are set to be delivered yesterday so once the fridge sits for at least 24 hours after it is delivered, then we’ll start bringing over the kitchen stuff.

I’m not quite sure when we’ll start painting, but I know we will start with our bedroom. I’ve already got a vision for the space and am SO excited to start on it. This whole move, and the fact that we will be re-decorating a bit, has got us thinking about whether or not we actually should invest in an apartment in Chile. Once we move back to the US, we’ll be able to rent it out and pay the mortgage that way. Right now I still feel like we are living like college students, which after 5+ years and 1 year of being married, I am, quite frankly, sick of. So perhaps we’ll look into that more seriously after the wedding. I think we’ve got enough on our plates for now—wedding planning, moving, and working!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We're Moving!

Most of my stress last week resulted from the fact that not only was my husband out of the country all week, but the day he left, we were also informed that we needed to move. Why you ask? Well, because the owner of the apartment needs to move back in. Whatever her personal circumstances were that led her to move out have changed and forced her to need to move back in. It was just crappy news all around because we love where we live—the location, the actual apartment, the fact that our building is safe and that we can trust the conserjes (doormen), the price…need I say more? We had briefly talked about moving a while back when I mentioned that our apartment was small, but when you look at the cost-benefit of moving to a slightly bigger apartment, the costs greatly outweighed the benefits. It’s not like we are crammed into a small place, we just thought it’d be nice to have a place with a balcony or something of that nature. In any case, the idea was quickly throw out and our plan was to stay exactly where we are forever, well, at least until we decide to leave Chile.

But destiny had other plans for us and thus the news from the owner of our apartment. I immediately began looking on the internet for apartments and spent a good day of my Monday calling phone numbers I found in the classifieds of El Mercurio. Now that we were forced to change apartments, we have to make the best out of the situation and try to find the most perfect apartment that we could. So what would that perfect apartment look like you ask? Hold on, you’re in for quite the list of requirements: 2 bed, 2 bath, bigger kitchen than what we’ve got, place for the washing machine, good closet space, close to the metro (ie. within 3-4 blocks walking distance and no more), between the Pedro de Valdivia metro stop and the Tobalaba metro stop, within our budget range ($230.000-260.000 CLP—including gastos comunes), a bodega (storage) would be a plus, and of course in good condition all around. Needless to say that as I made my way down the list of numbers, which just happened to go in order from cheapest apartment to more expensive ones, I just became more and more and more frustrated with the fact that our *ideal* apartment would definitely not be within our budget range, and if it was, there was no way in hell it was located close to the metro.

I kept searching and calling. On my walk home from work I wrote down numbers I saw in windows. I stopped by buildings close to where we live and asked the conserjes if any apartments would be for rent soon. No stinking luck. Remember when all I wanted to do was cry? Ya, all of this played a huge part in that. Not to mention a million other things that just seemed to be going wrong.

Monday night I called the conserje downstairs to ask if anyone in our buildings would be leaving soon. See our little community has 2 identical buildings side by side. We share the same consjeres, plaza area between the buildings, etc. They are like sister apartment complexes. The man who answered the phone just happens to be the conserje pesado (grumpy/rude doorman) who proceeded to say “No, no hay nada.”—No, no there isn’t anything. I was heartbroken. The hubbs and I were just hoping someone would randomly move out of one of the apartments so we could snatch it up. But it is really rare in our little community that someone move in or out. We all seem to be lifers.

Tuesday morning I left a few minutes late for work and saw the nice conserje as I was leaving. I decided to give it another shot and ask sweet Pablo if anyone would be moving out soon. I explained that the owner of our apartment needs to move back, but we just don’t want to leave. He said “Sí, sí hay un departamento que se va a desocupar esta semana.”—Yes, yes there is an apartment that will be available at the end of the week. It is an apartment in the sister building of our community, meaning all we would have to do is move our stuff out of one building and into another. No moving truck needed. No careful packing necessary. Hope was in the air! I could see little rays of sunshine blowing away the rain clouds that had been hovering above my head the past few days.

The new game plan was to get the phone number of the owner of the soon-to-be-unoccupied apartment so that we could convince her that we were the best people to rent to. As things would have it, the stars aligned for us and Christian was able to call her on Saturday and explain our serious interest and the situation surrounding the move. She confirmed that it is 2 bed, 2 bath. No balcony because they closed it off to make the bedroom bigger. Rent is only $20.000 CLP more than what we are paying now (thus within our budget) and it comes with a bodega. Ureeka!!! We struck gold!

Yesterday he called her again to see when we could go see the apartment, and apparently she had talked to Pablo about us to see how we were as renters. He gave us a raving review and she said we had first priority to rent out the apartment. Sweet! Christian went to see it and then called me. He said it is a bit bigger than what we have now, but the carpet is ugly and he walls are yellow. He wouldn’t really go into more details and said its best if I just see it because of course I wanted to know what shade of yellow and if she was going to clean the carpet, etc.

So I saw it yesterday after work. And despite the stained carpet and the hideous yellow walls, it is in good condition. We are taking it and we are moving this Saturday. Although I am upset that she is not cleaning the carpet or painting before we move in, we get to leave the place in the same conditions when we move out. That doesn’t comfort me much as I don’t want to live in an ugly apartment, so we (mostly I) have decided that we are going to paint. Not right away, but eventually we are going to paint. The carpet, well, we will vacuum it and hope our furniture covers the stains. If not, we will buy rugs cuz I really don’t even think a good carpet cleaning would save the carpet. The good news out of all of this is that I get to flex my creativity finger and plan on how we are going to decorate the bedroom, which will be the first priority in painting. The other good news is that the move should be pretty painless and with the money we are saving from 1. not hiring a moving truck and 2. not paying a corredor (real estate agent), we will be able to spiff the place up. I’m not one to normally invest in property that isn’t mine (this should be a no-brainer), but we are planning on living there for a while and I just can’t handle that yellow. So yes, we will invest a bit, but it will save our sanity, which I find to be a perfectly good reason!

P.S. Saturday is the move, pizza will be ordered, if you have nothing to do, let me know. More hands = quicker move. Christian has got 2 guys from work coming to help, but any other help will be warmly welcomed!

P.S.S. I'll post pictures of the before when I get a chance so that as we get to the makeover you can see the progress!

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Hubby's Coming Home Today!

The best news I received yesterday was that my hubbs gets to come home today from his work trip to Bolivia (he was originally going to have to stay until Sunday)!! Slowly the rain clouds are fading away and rays of sunlight are coming through. Having Christian here will make everything SO much better :) He is my pillar, the rock I fall on, my everything.

And we will be celebrating our 1 year anniversary this month!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I feel so much better just having vented on my blog. I know things could be a lot worse, but when you're in the situations and you're stressed out, everything seems like it is as bad as it gets. Sorry for being a big party pooper and perhaps worrying those of you who know me, I just need some sort of outlet or I really like I might go crazy.


I seriously need a mental health day....or a try and destress. I just got to work and the first email I saw shot my stress levels way up. This is not ok. I am trying to look at the positive side of things, but it just isn't working. I try and try and try to not stress out, but it is still getting to me, I can feel the physical side effects. All I want to do is cry right now. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

When it rains...

You know the saying "when it rains, it pours"? Well I feel like it is "pouring" nothing but bad news.......this sucks.

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.