Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I feel like I'll never catch up on all the fun I've been having in funemployment if I keep taking week-long (or longer) breaks from blogging! There has just been so much going on. Tons of trámites.....which I have yet to even detail so that anyone else moving from Chile knows what needs to be done, we had a friend visiting for a week, and now we are packing up to head to Viña for the rest of our time in Chile before moving back to the States. On top of that, there is the whole job search and big secret project (yet to be revealed) that we are both working on. Oh and of course getting in some travel--we are going to Easter Island at the end of the month!--and planning our three going away parties (one in Viña, one in Rancagua and a big one in Santiago).

So in a nutshell, funemployment has been busy, but a good--make that GREAT--busy! I really want to do some recaps so that I can remember what an awesome time our last months in Chile have been. Plus I still want to write about our trips to San Pedro de Atacama and Buenos Aires--and soon the Easter Island trip too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vegetarian Charquicán Recipe

On Day 8 of funemployment, I mentioned that I made charquicán vegetariano for lunch and that I would be posting the recipe and pictures. Well today is Wednesday and I used to post recipes on Wednesdays…so let’s get down to business!

I am taking these measurements from a Lider Express recipe that I have, however it is all relative to your tastes. I typically throw in more zapallo than I do potatoes, even though the recipe calls for half & half.

Charquicán is typically made with beef, however in my version, I use lentils to represent the ground beef. It is a very typical Chilean dish, served mostly in the winter as it will warm you right up when the temperatures are cold.

Vegetarian Charquicán

1/2 to 3/4 cup dried small brown lentils (depending on how much you like lentils)
2 tbsp EVOO
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped in cubes
1/2 tsp. paprika
500 grams potatoes, peeled & cubed
500 grams zapallo, peeled & cubed (zapallo is a type of pumpkin widely used in Chile, it looks like the picture here—in any case I think any orange pumpkin would do, just not canned pumpkin)
1 cup frozen peas (optional depending on how much you like or dislike peas such as Christian)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen green beans
2 carrots, chopped in small cubes
Merquén (which is a Chilean spice, you could use red pepper flakes in the US)
Salt & pepper
1 cup of the water used to boil the potatoes & zapallo
Parsley for garnish (optional too)

Boil the lentils in abundant water for approximately 20 minutes, or until done. I don’t add salt or any other seasonings. Drain and set aside once they are ready.

In a pan, add the EVOO over medium heat. Add in the onion and sautée for about 2 minutes. Add in the diced garlic and continue to sautée for 1 minute more. Finally, add in the red bell pepper along with some salt & pepper. Continue to cook until the bell pepper has softened. Once it is done, turn off the flame. This is what we will refer to as the pino, which is what it is normally called when it has meat in it for empanadas.

In a large pot, put the potatoes & zapallo to boil in enough water that all the pieces are covered within the pot. Boil over medium heat until you can stick a fork in both the potato and zapallo easily. At this point, add in the carrots, and other frozen vegetables. Boil for at least 5 minutes more so that these vegetables cook. Once they are ready, set aside 1 cup of the boiled water for future use. Drain the rest of the water. Mash the potatoes & zapallo to a chunky consistency. Add in the spices (paprika, salt & pepper, merquén, oregano, & cumin) to taste and mix in the pino. Then add in your lentils to the mixture. I added in the majority and mixed them around and then when I plated the charquicán, I sprinkled some lentils on top. You can also garnish it with parsley on top too.

Serve hot (if need be, reheat the plates in the microwave).

¡Buen provecho!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Days 10-13 of Fun Employment:

Thursday, day 10, was quite busy in the morning, but ended up more chill in the afternoon. I had another doctor appt early in the morning-at 10am which is now considered "early" in my funemployment state. They were running behind though so they didn't end up seeing me until 10:45am....good thing I had my notepad with me because I started brainstorming restaurants to add to my favorite foods page. Once I finished there, I passed by a cute little tea store in the Mall Panoramico to buy a gift for our nana, who would have her last day with us the following week. As it turns out, she had really liked a Rooibos Chai Herbal tea that my dear friend Staci had given me on my trip back home in March. So I was on the lookout for a similar type tea to give to my nana. I went to Zoe, and although I couldn't find a rooibos tea, I did find a Green Chai tea. After picking out her gift, I headed back home and got ready for lunch that was planned with some ex-coworkers. One of these ex-coworkers had left the company at the end of 2010 and I hadn't seen him since. The other two ex-coworkers were my boss and another jefa on the team when I left earlier this month. We went to Baco, which is a French restaurant in Providencia that has an awesome wine menu.

Most of the menu included something with meat, however I asked for a Spinach & Cheese Quiche (Quiche Olivia as it was called). Everyone else asked for the filete a la pimienta (peppered steak), all cooked at different points. Then JJ decided to order a bottle of red wine to go with lunch.....to which I partook more than I probably should have!

(The four of us at the end of lunch.)

After another 3 hour lunch, I arrived home with puras ganas de dormir. And so I did....I took a 3 hour nap before getting up to have another once (a typical Chilean mealtime in the early evening) with B&E (my MIL & SIL), including more pompadour cake.

Friday brought about lots of movement: I had to drop off a radio that I had sold to an ex-coworker, then I had to go sign my finiquito (the document stating I am ok with my last paycheck and terminating my employment contract, which is signed in front of a notary), and right after, I went to Zumba class at the gym. In the afternoon, I had to continue packing up the house because on Saturday morning at 9am the mover was coming to move the boxes into its truck. Christian, on the other hand, had a soccer game to go play, so I was home with Dulcinea going crazy packing boxes upon boxes upon boxes and going through a million papers. To be fair, he had done stuff earlier in the day when I was off running my errands and going to the gym, so it was only fair that he had time to go play soccer with friends. Around 7pm, I started to take a break because my back was killing me, and Dulci and I just hung out in front of the gas stove to stay warm (I’ve previously discussed Dulci’s affinity for the gas stove in a different post). Once Christian got home, we went over to my mother-in-law's apartment in Recoleta for once and to drop off Dulcinea and then went back home to sleep. We figured it would be better if Dulci stayed in the other apartment that evening so that she wouldn't be in the way during the move on Saturday morning.

Day 12 brought about a very early start—up at 7am to finish preparing everything so that when the moving truck arrived at 9:30am all we had to do was take it all out to the truck. The original moving truck that my mother-in-law had booked was under the environmental driving restriction on Saturday and obviously couldn’t drive….so she found us a different guy all within minutes and basically the process was only delayed from 9am to 9:30am—time that we certainly needed. Once the truck came, with my sister-in-law in tow, the four of us (truck driver, Christian, Erica & me) started making various trips to get everything into the truck. Then Christian went with the moving truck and I drove our car to the apartment in Recoleta that my MIL owns. The reason we needed a moving truck in the first place is that our old bed, the dining room table (which belongs to Bernarda), and some other items needed to be moved to this apartment in Recoleta (in addition to our 6 or 7 suitcases filled with stuff as well as all of our food and other kitchen stuff that we haven't sold). It is a tiny one-bedroom which is perfect for when B&E need to come to Santiago to go to the doctor at La Universidad de Chile. We, however, ended up still have a ton of stuff despite our garage sale….and so the poor little apartment was stuffed full by the end of the move. We even filled up the previously empty storage unit. The move ended around 10:30 or 11am which is quite quick in reality. After that, we organized as much as we could with 4 adults and 1 dog in the apartment—which is to say that we basically put everything we didn’t need in the storage unit and stacked up everything else we did need in the bedroom & living room.

Next on the agenda was making some lunch. Bernarda had gone to La Vega (since we are a mere 3 blocks from it) in the morning to buy the items necessary for some chop suey. While we were moving and organizing, she was slicing and dicing all the vegetables to be cooked. Christian had to go run an errand before lunch and so he stopped to get some chicken for the carnivorous version of the chop suey. Once he got back, we feasted and it was delicious! Chop suey is seriously such an easy dish to put together. All the work is in chopping up the veggies, but cooking it all (especially without chicken) takes mere minutes! After lunch, we started to organize anything else that we could. I put the towels and sheets on a shelf that B&E had cleared out for us in the closet. We started to put away the kitchen items which were in several boxes.

In the evening, we wanted to treat B&E to a nice dinner out as a way to show our appreciation for all of their help and willingness. We decided to go to El Caramaño, which is our favorite Chilean-food restaurant (as you can see here).

It is located in Bellavista (a barrio within Santiago), on the street called Purísima.

It has all of the typical Chilean dishes, which are always delicious and relatively inexpensive for a Santiago restaurant.

(Me & Chris)

(Bernarda & Erica)

We started off with their yummy homemade bread & sopaipillas with pebre and Christian, Bernarda & Erica enjoyed some machas a la parmesana as well (I didn't get a pic of the machas, but here is one & a recipe if you want to check them out).

We ordered a 1.5 liter jug of borgoña to drink, which is red wine mixed with strawberries and sugar. I absolutely love El Caramaño’s borgoña and had about 3 glasses of it….and still wanted more which is probably why I don't have a picture of it--I drank it too quickly! Hahahaha!

For our main dishes we had the following:

Christian & Bernarda—Pastel de Jaiba, which is like a crab casserole dish basically filled with crab meat, onion, garlic, bead crumbs, butter, paprika, oregano and parmesan cheese (here is a recipe if you are interested).

Erica—Pollo al Trauco y Papas Fritas, which is a special chicken dish, but I don’t remember exactly what they cooked her chicken with. She had some French fries as a side dish.

Me—Ensalada Gran Caramaño y Papas Salteadas, which was a huge salad with red lettuce, watercress (P.S. I freaking love these in salads), sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and olives (which I proceeded to take out since I don't like olives-except for the green ones with the pimiento center). I threw on some balsamic vinegar and a bit of EVOO and mmmmm down the pipes it went! I had some sautéed potatoes as a side dish.

At the end of dinner, El Caramaño treated us to a bajativo on the house. Bajativos are digestifs in English, which are small shots of alcohol typically taken after a meal to aid in digestion. Christian had mint, I had amaretto and B&E had chamomile.

After such a nice meal, all we could do was come home and go to bed. We were all exhausted and having our bellies full just made us even sleepier. But not before a quick group picture:

Sunday, day 13, was a very simple day. Christian took B&E and Dulci back to Viña in the old car so that the car could be left there while we are using the parking space at the Recoleta apartment. I stayed home and worked on organizing, downsizing clothes, repacking suitcases, etc. We decided to send Dulci out to Viña with B&E for several reasons: 1. this apartment is super small and with all of our stuff it was already too small for 2 adults, let alone a dog too; 2. she has more room to run around in Viña as my in-laws’ apartment is much bigger; 3. we had too many errands to do which would have meant leaving her alone at home for very long stretches of time so either we would have been rushed in our errands or she would have suffered; and 4. she won’t ever be left alone in Viña because even if B&E have to leave, Papi Lucho (my FIL) is always home to be with her. It has been kind of weird not to have her around, but I know she is better off in Viña, being spoiled by the grandparents and tía. And to be honest, it has been a nice break just being with Christian alone. I’ll have to keep that in mind when we have a human kid, hopefully my Mom will like spoiling both human & dog children as much as Bernarda does! Hahaha!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Days 7-9 of Funemployment

I swear that this fills like a thousand years ago.....but days 7-9 of funemployment were really just last week. There has been so much going on that it feels like eons ago!

So last Monday the husband and I slept in. It was his first day of funemployment so we had to aprovechar the occasion. Once we got up, we took care of some stuff around the house and then Christian went to the supermarket to buy ingredients to make lunch while I went to the gym for Zumba. We made chop suey--mine was vegetarian and his had chicken. After lunch we made a trip to Homecenter, which is the equivalent of Home Depot here in Chile, to buy some things we needed for the move like packing tape, plastic to cover furniture, etc. In the evening, we watched a few episodes of House M.D. which is our "new" teleserie. Overall, it was a pretty chill day.

Tuesday had more in store--I had a dr. appt in the morning so I had to get up relatively early to get to the doctor by 9am. After the doc, I had a chiropractor appt and then I made lunch which was charquican vegetariano (pictures & recipe to come later). In the afternoon, we continued packing the apartment in anticipation of the move (which was to be later in the week) and then had once with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who had traveled to Santiago to help us out in the move.

Wednesday we shipped off our bed to the person who had purchased it and kept on with the packing. The painter came by the apartment to give us a quote on how much it would be to paint and the owner of the apt along with a prospective renter also dropped by. In the afternoon, my other sister-in-law came with her boyfriend to take several things her and my mother-in-law had purchased to Rancagua. So basically we had lunch, loaded up the pick-up and car and off they went. I stayed at home with Dulcinea and the nana, to take care of the rest of the packing. In the evening, when Christian, Bernarda and Erica came back from Rancagua (with a yummy cake in tow), we ordered sushi for dinner and had cake as dessert.

There is nothing like ending a long day with this yummy pompadour cake...which we proceeded to eat for the next 2 days straight! Hahahaha...but more of that is to come!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Page for Favorite Restaurants

I've been wanting to create this page for a while now and I finally decided to just get started on it--a page dedicated to my favorite restaurants in all of Chile. When I say favorite, I mean the ones that I do (or would) go to repeatedly because I enjoy their food and service so much. I still need to add comments to the majority of the restaurants, but I figured it is nice to have the list with the link to their websites in the meantime!

If you want to check it out you can click here, or you can click on the linkbar above above where it says "Fave Food in Chile".


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Days 4-6 of Funemployment

(Me & Dulci on Saturday evening)

Friday, Saturday and Sunday marked days 4 through 6 of my funemployment but boy were they jam packed.

Friday morning was dedicated to updating the sale blog, sending out some reminder emails about our pending garage sale and getting ready for lunch. A group of ex-coworkers had invited me out to lunch since they weren't able to make it to my official despedida dinner. When they asked me where I wanted to go, I mentioned that pasta would be good. And lucky enough, Lorena knew of a picá in Barrio Italia called Da Noi Trattoria Ristorante. There were nine of us all together and we had a great three-hour lunch! From appetizers with pisco sours (or in my case a mango sour) to main dishes to desserts and tea. It was a very nice time and I greatly appreciate my colleagues taking the time out of their day to take me out to lunch! I definitely recommend Da Noi. It was very yummy fresh pasta and the mango sour was amazing! Here are a few pics from lunch:

(Antipasto Da Noi)

(Provoleta, basically melted cheese with EVOO & oregano)

(Panzotti with pomodoro sauce)

(L-R: Me, Andrés, Estela, Cecilia, Fabiola, Patricia, Héctor, Manuel & Lorena)

After lunch (I got home at 4pm) I started to scramble to get the house ready for our garage sale that was to go on Saturday and Sunday. There was a TON to do. The idea was to have all of the items for sale in our living/dining room as well as our bedroom (since our bed was still for sale and we had some clothes & shoes to sell too). That meant taking everything that was not to be sold out of those two rooms and leaving it in another room. In addition, in the 3rd bedroom, I had to group all of the items previously purchased by people, but not yet picked up, so that when they came by to pick up their items, everything was ready to go. Needless to say I was running around from room to room all afternoon and evening. Poor Dulci had no idea what was going on and kept following me all over. Finally when Christian got home, we went to eat at El Huerto, which is one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants in all of Chile.

Saturday we woke up early and while I finished prepping the house, Christian went to the farmer's market for some fresh bread, farm fresh eggs and some fruit. Everything was laid out for the sale, although we were missing price tags at first. Then Christian went out and got some post-it notes which solved that issue and definitely helped sales! We had also printed up signs about our garage sale to put outside the apartment building and surprisingly we got several visitors from those signs. Everyone else who came were people who we are connected to in some way shape or form. Saturday until about 2:30pm-ish was quite busy and then after that it died down. Luckily we had bought some hummus to bring home with us from El Huerto on Friday night and that was pretty much our lunch. We still stayed around the apartment until 6pm--I read on my kindle and Christian was on his Ipad2. After 6pm we took down the signs and relaxed a bit. We had no food in the house so we ended up going out for dinner. We wanted to go to Vietnam Discovery since we have heard so many good things about it, but it was packed and I couldn't get a reservation. So we ended up going to El Ciudadano, which was a good option since I had been craving some pizza. Plus I wanted to make sure we ate at El Ciudadano before we leave Chile because I think it is a great little restaurant! We had a nice bottle of white wine to accompany our dinner and it was a great night to close out the busy day.

(Our appetizer of fried fish & calamari, called Frito Mixto)

(Christian with this crab ravioli dish.)

(My pizza which had arugula, mushrooms and cheese.)

(Our yummy dessert called "El Ciudadano", basically a brownie, vanilla ice cream and a caramel whisky sauce!)

Sunday we got up and got ready for the garage sale, but the morning started off quite slow despite the fact that we hung up the sign on the sidewalk again. It was nice to have a slower morning though because it let us catch up on stuff we needed to do. Around mid-day people started to stop by and come pick up things and we finally were able to sell the bed! That was one of two of the large items we still had available going into the garage sale weekend, since all the other big items had been sold during the previous 2 weeks of internet sales. The one large thing we have left is the stove, but I would much rather that the stove is left than the bed. Beds are just hard to store whereas stoves are not as hard. Luckily my suegra has a storage unit at her apartment in Santiago where we will be able to put the stove until it sells.

Between the visits on Sunday afternoon, I made some pumpkin bars to take with us to our friend Brittany's apartment to watch the fútbol game. Chile was playing in the Copa América against Venezuela, but unfortunately they lost. I am not a big soccer fan, or sports fan, in general, but I do like the social aspect of the games. So I am all for getting together for games and having snacks and whatnot. It was fun to hang out with Brittany and her pololo Hugo. After Chile lost, we headed home with Dulcinea and watched some House MD. We are on season 2 and trying to catch up to the current season, which I think is already season 7.

And that was our weekend in a nutshell. I am SO happy with how well our garage and blog sale went! We sold probably about 90% of the things we put up for sale....and everything that is left (besides the stove) are small items. We will have some other things to sell right before we leave, but they are things we are still using right now so I am not counting them in the 90%. The plan is to put this money aside and use it for the household things we will need to buy when we get a place of our own in the U.S.

I liked having a garage sale in my house. It reminded me of when I used to help my grandparents with their garage sales when I was little. This was Christian's first experience with a garage sale...he kept laughing at me when we were trying to price the items and how I carried around the money in the front pocket of my hoodie. I had a little purse to put the money in, just like when I was a kid and we had those banking bags with the zipper!

How was your weekend?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What is a Chilean Completo? Let Anthony Bourdain explain...

I came across this video via a new blog/really cool project that I found and just had to share. It explains and shows quite well what is a Chilean completo. And as a bonus, Heather, Vuko, Chris and I visited the same local in Viña in February after a night on the town. Although I should note that none of us actually at a completo. I had a cheese sandwich and everyone else a churrasco.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Days 2 & 3 of Funemployment

I have now been funemployed for a total of 3 days and so far so good. While I took the first day relatively easy, these last two days have been filled with a lot.

On Day 2, I woke up at 8:30am to the sound of Dulcinea barking like a crazy person because the nana rang the doorbell. I was still in bed and Christian was in the shower, so I had to get up and open the door for our nana. She always arrives around this time, but I am normally already up and ready for work, so this time it was a bit of a shocker to wake up to Dulci's crazy bark. I was in such a daze after getting up that it took me a good 15 minutes to actually wake up and be able to think straight. I made some eggs for breakfast again and proceeded to check my emails. Once I was done with that, I got ready and then made lunch. I made some veggie soup (a twist on from the spicy butternut soup recipe I posted here) for lunch and went out to buy some baguette bread to make garlic bread to accompany the soup. I have to admit that I really enjoyed being able to make lunch at home and actually sit down to eat it after I make it, instead of putting it in a tupperware container for the next day's lunch. I had planned to go to Zumba at the gym at 1:40pm so I ended up eating my lunch before Christian go home so that I would make it to the gym on time.

Zumba was great! This was my second class at the gym and I am really enjoying them. Luckily my gym has Zumba classes Monday-Friday and my goal over the next few week is to make class as much as possible. I am trying to schedule all social gatherings or other obligations around the Zumba schedule because I really really really like this class and it's not like I can take it just anywhere (not here in Santiago at least).

After Zumba, I showered and went for a doc appt. It was quick and painless and I was back in about 30 minutes. From there, I started sending emails to the people who are coming this weekend to pick-up the items they bought from us (since we are selling everything to move to the US). Before I knew it, it was 6pm and time to go pick-up Christian at work. So out Dulci and I went.....and I kept telling her "Vamos a buscar al Daddy, dónde está el Daddy?" ("We are going to get Daddy, where is Daddy?"). I tell you, my dog is so doggone smart. She knew exactly what we were doing and this it the first time we have gone to pick him up in over a year probably. In fact, the whole way to his office, she had me running with her instead of just walking. We entered the building, took the elevator to the 16th floor and as soon as we stepped off the elevator, she started whimpering. She was so excited to see him and wouldn't stop crying. We finally entered the reception area where other people distracted her until Christian came out. I swear that everyone in his office knows who she is...."Oh it's Dulcinea!", "How adorable Dulcinea is", "Dulcinea came to visit us!", "That is Christian's dog, Dulcinea"....and on and on it went. Hahaha....!

Originally Christian had plans to go have dinner at one of his coworker's houses. The coworker, who happens to be from Spain, invited me to go as well, and while I had originally planned on working on stuff around the house I decided to go to the dinner and have me some paella. I mean, stuff around the house can wait, I can bust my butt during the day, but these gatherings--with good people who are entertaining--that is what matters right now. Strengthening and maintaining our connections with the friends we have made here because soon enough we won't be able to get together with them whenever we want. And so I went, Dulci did too and we had a really nice time. We took a bottle of wine that I purchased at the Vendemia de Pirque a few months ago that was a Late Harvest that is local to Pirque. It is called La Misión Sauvignon Blanc from the William Fevre vineyard.

We started with delicious pisco sours made by our friend's wife and then moved on to the wine we bought. I had two glasses and probably could have drank more because it was so. darn. good. As was our company.

(L-R: Me, Aceto, JR)

(L-R: Aceto, Chris & Dulci, JR, Claudia)

We ended up running out of wine (we only had 1 bottle & 5 adults)....but that was probably a good thing, hahaha, because the morning of Day 3 when my alarm went off, I was not a happy camper. So I hit snooze and slept for a few hours more. Ahhh and that is what rocks about funemployment. You can hit snooze as long as you want.

Once I actually got up on Day 3, I knew that the gym was not going to happen. I only had time to go in the morning and I was not going to make it. It wasn't even like I was hungover, but I just didn't feel good, I was under the weather and more than that, super tired still. So I working on finishing up the emails to people who are coming to pick-up our sale items and updating our sale blog (which by the way, if you need a bed or a stove or other stuff, check it out!). I had a chiropractor appointment around mid-day and once I got home, I ate the rest of the soup from yesterday. On a side note, I swear that soups are better the second day around. After lunch, I really had to get busy with house stuff. The goal was to finish sorting my clothes. I had previously sorted my clothes into three piles: 1. yes, take with me; 2. no, I don't want; and 3. maybe, need to try on to decide. So I took the third pile, which, of course, was the largest and started trying it all on. I was able to finishing sorting it all by the late afternoon when it was time to prepare for my work despedida dinner.

At my company, or I guess ex-company, whenever someone left the company on their own terms (ie. not fired), someone from their team organizes a dinner that everyone is invited to. I have gone to two or three during my years at the company and it is nice to have an event outside of work to celebrate the person's next move. So this time it was my turn. My boss and some people on the finance team organized a nice dinner at a local seafood restaurant called Aquí Está Coco. This restaurant actually burned down in 2008 and was rebuild and just reopened earlier this year, or at the end of last year. It has been around for over 30 year and is something of a legend in Providencia (the barrio where it is located).

We were a small group of 9 in total, but we had a great time at the dinner. I know a few other people had planned on coming, but after a super rough week at work (pulling all-nighters), they were either too tired or still at the office by the time 8:30pm rolled around. At first, my plan was not to drink at all (especially after last night's dinner)....so I started the evening out with a Shirley Temple. For the picoteo, we had an empanada de maricos, machas a la parmesana, and a tabla de varios mariscos (ceviche, pulpo, salmon, etc).

Then, as I was browsing the menu to pick my main dish, I saw that they had a pisco sour de maqui as a house specialty. Maqui is a purple berry-like fruit from Southern Chile. I remember eating it when my mom and I went travelling down to Lago Llanquihue and Puerto Montt back in 2007. So I decided to try this new type of pisco sour. It was as purple as can be, and quite yummy although I can't say that I truly noted a different flavor. But I did like the color!

For my main dish, I decided to get the seared tuna with merlot reduction salsa and sauteed veggies. The tuna was good, but to be honest it wasn't as tasty as Astrid y Gaston's seared tuna. I loved the merlot sauce with the veggies though.

For dessert, I had the "texturas de chocolate" which were three different chocolate sweets--a brownie, a nutella-like spread and some chocolate ice cream along with some traditional Chilean avellanas. Sooo delicous! Give me chocolate and hazelnuts anytime and I will be a happy camper!

Besides the food, the company was awesome. We had lots of laughs, thanks to one particularly animated coworker, who also got me thinking with his question "What are you going to miss about Chile?" Now, that is kind of a loaded question and definitely put me on the spot. The first things that came to mind were:
  • Good pisco sours
  • Having all of my gringa friends in the same city (whereas, as we all move back home, we will be located all over the US)
  • Good public transportation between cities (onda, not like the sketchy buses back home that go city to city)
  • The fact that everything is in close proximity--from the mountains to the beach, it will take you max. 3 hours
  • Good seafood (I didn't actually come up with this one, my animated coworker did, but I agree with him which is why I have added it to the list)
I couldn't really think of anything else, but I am sure that over the next few months as we are transiting back to the US and going through reverse culture shock, I will come up with several more things that I miss about Chilito.

With that, I leave you with a group picture--slightly out of focus--but a good reminder of the evening. Thanks everyone for coming to the dinner!!!

(L-R: Isabel, Daniela, Luciano, Claudio, Rodrigo, Cristián, Tina, Me & Cecilia)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Last Day of Work & Day 1 of Funemployment

Tuesday was my first day of funemployment (shout out to Stacy for teaching me that word!) after 3 years of working for a multinational company here in Santiago de Chile. Didn't know I was quitting my job? Well ya.....I guess I haven't actually shared that news here. It all relates to our "big" news--the hubs, Dulci and I are moving back to the United States this year! So quitting my job is part of that plan. I won't get into the whys right now, that can be saved for another post.

I have to say that Monday, my last day at the office, was so surreal. I had such mixed emotions...part of me so excited to be leaving and the other part of me so sad to not be around all the wonderful people I worked with for so long. Maybe I wasn't best friends with anyone at the office, but the great majority were all really good people, with big hearts who I will never forget. I sent my despedida email out in the morning and got a slew of responses back from so many people I wasn't even expecting to hear from. And the things they said. Wow. Thanks guys for making me tear up multiple times during the day. My friend Gaby came to my desk at one point to give me a hug and there I definitely shed some real tears. It was amazing to read the emails from so many different people, all saying how much they would miss me and talking about specific aspects of my character that they found most notable. I'm not saying this to toot my own horn. It seriously surprised me. These people were not forced to respond to my email, and not even everyone did. I was taken aback by their kind words and my heart was able to smile, knowing that if all of these people believed in me then I'll be okay in whatever next step I decide to take professionally speaking.

Then in the afternoon, my boss had scheduled a meeting to go over the manual that I did for my position (to help them know how and what I did, and to help train the next person who comes in to the position...and can I just say that it was 18 pages long!) with her and my coworker. But it was all a big cover-up for a little goodbye party that they had planned with everyone on the accounting team. There were little sandwiches, a cake and some pop for all 40-something of us to share. My boss kindly said a few words about me and when it was my turn to speak, all I could say was "You all got my email this morning that described how I feel so I'm not going to say anything more." And I barely got that last word out of my mouth without choking up too badly. So we ate cake, chatted for a bit, and everyone gave me a hug on their way out. Then my boss so kindly gave me a going-away gift of things to remind me of Chile. So sweet! And all of this was during quarter-end close as well which is a super busy time for them, so I really appreciate that they did this!

So back to my first day of funemployment...to start off, I slept in until 10am. I can't tell you how nice that was, to just sleep until my body wanted to wake up. I really needed it. Then I made some eggs for breakfast, which is usually only a weekend treat since I never had time in the mornings to make eggs. I took Dulcinea for a 45 minute walk which was good for the both of us! She was tired by the end of it since she isn't used to walking so much. My new goal is to start taking her out every day so that she can get more exercise and lose the extra 200 grams she gained in the past few months! After our little walk, I made some lunch (red lentil curry) and went to the AFC to get register for my unemployment money. The AFC is an organization in Chile that is similar to unemployment insurance in the U.S. Every month, when you are working, you and your employer pay a specific percentage of your income into an account at the AFC . Then if you are fired, laid-off, or quit your job voluntarily, you can go register to get that money from your account to use while you look for a new job. I think this is only for people who have contracts with their jobs, not boletas. Now, any person who started working in Chile prior to 2002 has to register with the AFC and tell their job they want to start paying in, because it was not obligatory before that year. For all of us who entered the workforce after 2002, it is automatic. In my case, I can only take out as much money as I put in, and so I will get two months of checks. But for me, that is perfect because that is not money we were counting on!

After my AFC errand, I came home to start sorting clothes. I practically have to pack our bags now because I am trying to sort out what clothes I want to take to the US, what clothes are to donate and what clothes I want to try to sell this weekend at our open house garage sale. I have a lot of nice work clothes that I think young professionals here would be interested in since dress clothes are so freaking hard to find--or freaking expensive if you do find them.

In the afternoon, I had an evaluation at the gym and 1 hour with a personal trainer. I bought a groupon for 1 month at the new Sportlife gym that is like 3 blocks from my house. It came with the evaluation and personal trainer for 1 hour as well. At first I had signed up with the only girl profe at the gym, but then I happened to take a "pilates" class with her and it totally sucked. She was a terrible teacher, very bitchy and on top of it, she knew nothing about pilates. So I immediately changed my evaluation to one of the other guy profes. And lucky me, I got a really nice guy. After my hour of working out with him (he gave me a cardio & weight routine), I took my first Zumba class. I've been wanting to try Zumba forever, especially since one of my favorite bloggers, Gina, always talks about it! I tried a Zumba video and it was pretty cheesy, but the class was way more fun. So I plan to make as many Zumba classes as I can during this month of gym membership. There is a class Monday-Friday and I want to make at least 4 a week, plus go back to Body Pump and Yoga when I can. I want to get as much as I can from this gym membership!

And that was it. My first day of not working was actually quite movido, and from here on out, they are only going to get busier until we finish up everything with the apartment.

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.