Sunday, August 29, 2010

Domingos de Dulcinea: Keeping the Fur-Child Warm

It is no secret that we have had quite a cold winter this year. There were two weeks in July that were just frigid if you ask me. Now, while the temperatures may not reach Colorado-winter levels and maybe there isn't any snow in Santiago, the fact that the majority of houses don't have central heating makes a HUGE difference in just how cold a winter feels. I find winters to be much more colder here than in Colorado. In fact, growing up I hated to drink hot tea. Any time I was sick my mom would tell me to drink hot tea and I refused. I seriously despised it. But when I came to study abroad, my breakfast and afternoon snack always included tea and since I was always freezing, I drank it right up. That year taught me to love tea. Now I do quite enjoy a cup of tea, my preference being the berry or fruit flavored herbal teas.

One of my biggest worries last year when we got Dulcinea was how to keep her warm during the last bit of winter and in the spring. Luckily she came to us at the end of August so spring was right around the corner and since she slept with us in bed, we didn't have many issues. This winter was much more of an issue since it has been much colder. We have come up with several different ways to help our little one stay warm because despite all of her hair, she gets cold really easily.

Stay Warm #1: Doggie Sweaters

I started putting clothes on Dulcinea when she was a puppy so that she would get used to them and not try and chew them off. My parents' dog Dunkun will not wear any type of clothing to save his life and I wanted to be able to dress Dulcinea up. Yes, that was my original reason for putting clothes on her from an early age, but it has been very useful when it comes to the sweaters in the winter because they really do help keep her warm. Her first sweater was the pink and white one in the middle that her gringo grandparents gave her for Christmas. She was wearing that sweater during the earthquake too which greatly helped keep her warm when we were in the car for hours waiting for things to calm down. The two stripped sweaters are from Jumbo and fit her perfectly and the World Cup red on was a gift from my friend & coworker Gaby for Dulcinea's birthday. The red & white sweater on the left and the purple & white sweater on the left were made by Dulcinea's Chilean grandmother. My suegra knitted both of these sweaters for Dulci, using the pink & white one as a pattern. She did an awesome job and these sweaters definitely keep Dulci warm.

Stay Warm #2: Sleeping Under the Covers

Dulcinea loves to get under the covers when sleeping in bed with us. She always likes to be touching us when she curls up, whether it is by our legs or our side. Sometimes she takes turns sleeping with Christian or with me, and sometime she sleeps in the middle of us. When she gets hot, she will climb above our heads and sleep on our pillows for a while.

Stay Warm #3: Heated Rice Packs & Blankets

I made Dulcinea's first rice pack last year before we had got her. I thought it would be a helpful way to keep her warm and she loves her rice packs. My mom made Chris a rice pack for Christmas and with the freezing weather we have had, he decided one rice pack wasn't enough for Dulci and gave her his rick pack too. We pop them in the microwave for 4 minutes on high and then put them on the bottom of her bed before we leave for work. We also reheat them during lunch so she stays warm in the afternoon too. She loves them! When she hears the microwave beep she goes running and starts to bark to let you know to take them out and put them in her bed. We also cover her bed with two blankets made out of the polar fabric. She loves to get under the blankets and lay directly on top of the rice packs.

Stay Warm #4: Keeping Warm By the Fire

We have a gas estufa in our living room that is built into the wall. When we are in the living room, we light it to help warm up the area and Dulcinea loves curling up underneath the fire. I was worried at first that she would get too close and burn herself, but she is really good about staying a certain difference. Plus we scold her if she gets too close so that she knows not to do that. Sometimes if we are in the living room and we don't have the estufa lit, she will curl up under it as if to tell us that she is cold and wants us to light it. Yes, she tells us when to turn on the heater! Hahaha....

And that is how we get Dulcinea through the winter in Chile!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Buenos Aires 4th & Last Day

My 4th day in Buenos Aires was Thursday which was our last day of training as well. I didn't get in a workout that morning as I was feeling super tired and thus decided to save up my energy for the last day of "class". The training was really great because it was surprisingly more technical that I had anticipated. Definitely a plus for my position and any challenges I will be facing in the next few months while my boss is out on maternity leave.

After training ended at 6pm, I headed out with some coworkers to go shopping. In all honestly, I didn't want to go with anyone because I really wanted to just feel "free" while I was shopping. You know how it is when you go out with people you don't know too well, you spend more time window shopping than making the other person wait for you while you try on clothes, shoes and look for things to buy. So although I walked to the La Florida street with the group, I made plans to meet at the corner of La Florida with Cordoba at 8:15pm so that I could go off on my own. I walked up and down most of La Florida street. My goal was to get some shoes since I had already found a dress the other day. I finally ended up buying some shoes in the Galerias Pacificas mall in the Perugia store. They were definitely more expensive than what I was hoping to spend, but once I saw them I was set on them and knew I'd regret not buying them. So here's to my new super cute flats:

That night we had a going away dinner for the whole group in a typical Argentine parrilla (bbq place). This meant lots of red meat and luckily I had thought ahead to ask the person coordinating everything if they could get me chicken at the very least. I haven't been eating much red meat in general the past few months and I definitely didn't have any cravings for it in Argentina. Some people might consider that a crime, but I just listen to what my body wants. I did eat 2 empanadas on my trip which did have ground beef, but no steaks were on my plate for sure. The parrilla where we went was so different and upscale in comparison with the parrillas where I have gone in Chile. Granted, we were in Puerto Madero, but still I found the restaurant to be really nice. It was called El Mirasol del Puerto.

They ended up offering me grilled chicken, salmon or ravoli. I chose the ravioli where were delicious. I didn't end up taking any pictures of my food as I had started feeling yucky earlier in the afternoon and then 2 hours of running around shopping made me feel worse. My throat was hurting and I was freezing cold (despite having a jacket on). I even asked for a tea, which normally makes me feel better, and nothing. I knew I was already sick and was totally bummed out. Especially since I had taken some vitamins with me on the trip, was drinking 1.5-2 liters of water per day and eating mostly vegetables. But I guess my body was worn down. So instead of living up my last night in Buenos Aires, I headed back to the hotel as soon as the dinner ended to pack and go to bed. I had to wake up at 5am since we had to leave at 5:30am to go to the airport. My flight was at 7:20am. Luckily we were leaving from the Newbery airport or we would have had to leave even earlier like the Brazilians who left at 4:30am.

I felt like total crap Friday morning when I woke up. My head was throbbing and I could barely swallow. I was exhausted and cold. We made it to the airport fine, did some damage at the Duty Free store and boarded the flight back home. I was supposed to go to work when I got back, but I was feeling so yucky that I went to the doctor instead. She gave me 1 day of medical license to rest up and had me get a test to make sure I didn't have the flu. There is a new outbreak of the flu going around and let me tell you, the test was not fun. They stuck a small plastic tube up my nose and into my throat which caused me to cough like crazy. Once they had their sample they took the tube out. Now I don't think this would be very comfortable on any occasion, but it definitely wasn't since my throat and nose were already hurting.

I spent the day sleeping and same for today. I am just trying to rest as much as I can so my body can recuperate. I got the test results back and no flu thankfully. It has been nice to hang out with my husband and with Dulcinea. She has been so snuggly this weekend, I love it!

I had a great time in Buenos Aires and hope to plan a trip there with Christian so that we can enjoy the city together! But for now, I am happy to be back home in my bed, getting better and receiving lots of cariño (affection) from my husband and fur-child.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Buenos Aires 3rd Day & Sucre Restaurant

The only pictures I have from yesterday are from our dinner, but trust me, you will want to see pictures of the restaurant and more so my dessert....and you will want to eat there if you ever visit Buenos Aires too!

After going to bed late on Tuesday night (and Tues. being a loooong day), I decided not to wake up and work out early but get some extra sleep. I thought I'd be even more awake during the classes but just the opposite happened--I had such a hard time staying awake in the morning. That was of course also thanks to the topic we had at 8:30am: Consolidation under FASB ASC Topic 810, which is not easy to digest at any time of day, but definitely not first thing in the morning. After some coffee (or 3 cups throughout the day which is a record for me), I finally started waking up. Our technical accounting group had a breakout session for more derivative talk in the office in Puerto Madero. Once we finished up there, I took a cab down to Calle La Florida to hit up the Galerías Pacíficas mall and go shopping. I didn't end up buying anything in that mall (it is super expensive, but lovely and worth a visit), but I did find a cute dress in a store on La Florida. I am hoping to find more shoes today if I can steal away in the afternoon again before dinner.

Last night our technical accounting group went out to eat together. Someone recommended a restaurant called Sucre. If you are ever in Buenos Aires, GO THERE! It was amazing!!!! (Map here) One of the best meals I have ever had.

I started off with a Sucre Bellini (peach flavor):

I didn't ask for an appetizer, but if I had asked for one, I would have got the seared red tuna with the jalapeño sauce. We had already eaten some bread with olive oil and so for the main dish, I asked for the grilled vegetable lasagna with pecorino cheese and a ruccula pesto. O.M.G.!.!.! So delicious. In fact, I was so hungry and it looked so amazing that I forgot to take a picture until I had eaten the majority of it! So, needeless to say I did not take a picture. But it was the perfect vegetarian dish. I haven't been eating meat much (in fact I am worried about dinner tonight because we are going to a typical Argentine parrilla--or bbq) and this dish definitely hit the spot.

For dessert I ordered the chocolate volcano with vanilla ice cream on the side. Here is what arrived:

Here is the volcano after it erupted:

And the plate was almost licked clean when I was done with it. It was amazing. I was so full from my lasagna, but I somehow managed to polish off the dessert because it was just too damn good. I would go back and just ask for that if I could! Hahahaha....

We finished dinner early (around 11pm) and while part of me wanted to go out, the responsible part of me decided to go back to the hotel and relax a bit so that I wouldn't have another sleepy morning in the training.

I am so glad I got to come on this trip. It has been so nice to finally meet a lot of people who I only knew via email in addition to meeting new people all around. We have some really cool people working in my company and I don't think I would have ever known that if I hadn't come for this training. The derivative training on Tuesday was really great too and learning about the disclosures yesterday afternoon was new and helpful. I feel a lot more confident in my technical skills and work now.

Well, today is the last day of training. I have to get in some shopping (fingers crossed) before dinner and maybe then go out. I am sad my time is coming to a close so quickly.....before I know it, it will be noon on Friday and I'll be back in Chile. I don't want to leave Buenos Aires....!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Buenos Aires 2nd Day

I started my day off yesterday at 6am with power yoga in my hotel room. I asked about the hotel gym, however it doesn't open until 7:30am and that does not give me enough time to eat breakfast and be ready for our training which starts at 8:30am. So luckily I have my new netbook and can do yoga from there.

Breakfast was your typical continental with "eggs", breads, fruits, etc. Training started out with derivatives from 8:30am to 5pm! The good news is that after having seen presentations on derivatives for the past 2 years as well as dealing with identifying them in my day-to-day, it is finally starting to click. I answered a question today and got a t-shirt from our auditors who brought prizes for those who participated. The session after lunch was a bit difficult to digest (pardon the pun), but once we had the afternoon coffee break, everything went much better.

After training ended, I ventured out to about the city with 2 Brazilians who I had just met (they are at the same training too). I didn't buy anything because we just browsed, but I hope to go shopping tonight since it is our free night. We passed by the Obelisco and Teatro Colon and then walked on La Florida street.

Last night we all went to a Tango dance show at Tango Porteño, which is right by the Obelisco on Ava. 9 de Julio. It was awesome!!!!! They gave us a ton of food (most of which I couldn't finish) and put on one helluva show. I had never seen a tango show like that before and it has made me think twice about tango. Now I need to convince my husband to take lessons with me. It is so sensual....I think it would be fun!

Empanadas Argentinas

Salmon with black risotto

Chocolate mousse with passion fruit ice cream

And now for the dancing....

Buenos Aires is such an awesome city. It has such a different air than Santiago. It reminds me of New York, only latino-ized. I love that it has tons of arts, shows, shopping (and way better fashion), and beautiful architecture. I love the styles of the buildings. It has me wondering what it'd be like to live here for a while....hmmmm......

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buenos Aires 1st Day

Yesterday I traveled to Buenos Aires for a work training that will last through Thursday and then I'll be on an early Friday morning flight back to Santiago (man I wish I had planned to stay for the weekend....plop). Here are some pictures from our first evening here:

Carletto is an Italian restaurant in Puerto Madero where we had dinner.

I had the Ravioli Giuseppe Verdi which was spinach ravioli filled with ricotta cheese in a fresh tomato sauce with garlic & basil. Sooooo good! I had natural orange juice on the side and chamomile tea after dinner instead of dessert.

Today is the first day of our technical accounting training for the Latin America & Africa region. I'm headed out to breakfast and then a full day of derivatives! Tonight we have plans to go to a Tango Show. I'll try to post more pics soon!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Domingos de Dulcinea: She Arrived 1 Year Ago!

One year ago today our little Dulcinea arrived to our home. We had found and met her over a month and a half before she could come home with us because we had to wait until the Chile Kennel Club went to the breeder's house to register her and her sister.

We had spent the weekend in Viña to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday and I finally decided to call the breeder one last time before we got on the bus to come back to Santiago. I had been calling on a weekly basis since we had met little Dulci and I got the feeling I was bugging the breeder, so I waited about two weeks before calling again. The breeder was so happy to hear from me, she said "Oh Dulcinea has been ready for about a week now, but I couldn't find your phone number to call you." Whether that is true or not (because she had my email address too) isn't important. What was important was that my baby was ready and I was beyond excited!

I couldn't hardly keep calm the whole bus ride home. The breeder brought Dulci to our house (since we didn't have a car in that time and Dulci is from Lampa which is a good 25 min drive from where we lived). She was so tiny and scared. For those of you who don't know Dulcinea, she is quite shy at first and then once she warms up to you, there is no going back. So she was so calm and just trying to figure out what was going on. All I could do was hug and kiss her. She was soooo cute!

We played with her, showed her around our apartment, showed her where to go potty and gave her a present--her first toy ever:

She was so tiny she couldn't even make the dinosaur squeak!

We tried to get her to sleep by herself from the beginning (my idea). I had her sleep in her bed right next to me, but she just cried and cried. So I picked her up that first night and put her on my chest to see if she would calm down (kind of like the picture below). She fell asleep quickly and that was the end of Dulci sleeping by herself...hahaha.

My two favorite beings in the whole world:

My family has pretty much always had dogs in the house so I didn't think it'd be very different to get my first one living on my own, but having Dulcinea has really been life changing. I was never the primary caregiver when I lived at my parents' house, but with Dulcinea it is different. She depends on me and Chris so much and she is like our little baby. We have had a lot of fun with her and even though it is a lot more responsibility, it is totally worth it!

I love looking back at these baby pictures of her. She was so tiny and cute. Now she is much bigger and has blossomed into quite a beauty. Her attitude has multiplied 10 times bigger than her actual size, which at times is annoying, but that is just your typical dachshund attitude. Here are some examples of her classic behavior:

Her new favorite habit is to wake us up at night with kisses when she needs to go potty. When the alarm clock goes off in the mornings, she also comes out of the covers to wake you up with lots and lots of kisses.

Her favorite place to be aside from in bed with us is at the Parque Bicentenario where she can run free and play with her park toys. She has a special boomerang and kong toy that she can only play with at the park so when we go, all she wants are her toys.

She loves it when we heat up her rice packs to keep her warm. She treats her toys like her offspring sometimes and protects them from us. She loves to push around her food bowl with her nose and spill her food. She also pretends that she doesn't like some of her food, but then she eats it anyway.

She thinks she is the owner of the 11th floor of our apartment building because she barks every time she hears the elevator arrive. She goes crazy when the neighbor gets home too. She gets so excited to go out for walks that she barks at anyone who gets in her way of getting out of the building. But once she is outside she is happy and all she wants to do is run, which is why Christian has started jogging with her.

She also thinks she is a model. Anytime Christian sets up his camera to take pictures of her, she pulls out the attitude in a heartbeat. For evidence, just take a look at these images that he took.

That is my little guachita rica....

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.