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) 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 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.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The American Trinity

My friend Kyle shared this video which I thought was quite interesting to watch, especially with today being the 4th of July and the fact that I have now been living outside of the United States for over 4 years now. The speaker is kind of dry, but the ideas he is transmitting are definitely worth contemplating a bit.

Happy 4th of July 2011!!

For the 6th year in a row, I am spending the 4th of July in Chile. Kind of hard to believe it has been that long and somehow, between moving back home for my last year of college and coming back to Chile married, I have always been in Chile for the month of July.

We were hoping that we would have already been moved back to the U.S. for this year's celebration....but here I am, freezing cold on Monday morning before work, with absolutely no plans to celebrate this year. It's not to be unpatriotic or anything, but because that is just the circumstances of this year. It isn't a holiday here and for some reason, the US Embassy decided not to do their traditional Flag Raising Ceremony on the Embassy grounds. I have gone 3 times over the past six years to the Embassy for this celebration, and I really appreciate that event. I am bummed they didn't do it this year. (They did put on a different celebration together with a gringo bar here, and I'll have a different post about that.)

I pretty much have forgotten what the Fourth of July is like in the U.S. I hope that next year we can celebrate big time so Christian can experience what it's like. I now feel like fireworks are more for New Years in Viña than for the 4th of July--which is totally a sign I have been living in Chile a little too long. Don't get me wrong, I love Chile and I especially love the New Year's celebration and the fact it is summer for New Years (but not the fact it is summer for Christmas). But I am honestly excited for a (vegetarian) BBQ and fireworks and hot weather for the Fourth in 2012.

Anyway....all of this to say one simple thing: Happy Fourth of July to all my fellow compatriots! I hope everyone back home has a safe and fun long-weekend celebration and for all my gringo friends here in Chile, cheers to you all!

P.S. Pictures from the 2009 celebration at the U.S. Embassy

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.