Thursday, June 9, 2011

The next step...

is this where I'll be blogging from.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Chabelita in Chile is no more

So, this blog has been stagnant for a really long time and I just realized that it's going to stay that way. I'm pretty horrible at keeping up with a blog in general but despite that, I do plan on starting a new one, which I'll post here as soon as I figure out what it will be. For now, all I know is that this is the end of Chabelita in Chile.

Stay tuned for the reinvetion...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Summer Slump

I inevitably fall into a bit of a down period during the summer months in Chile. I really hate summers here because it's so hot and there's no rain. That, added to the fact that I'm still reliving my wonderful trip back in Virginia, makes this time the hardest one to be living in the southern hemisphere.

What does help me get me through these months is after work beers and weekly trips to the produce market to get gorgeous fruit and vegetables to cook. I also took it up a notch this year and joined a gym and got a personal trainer to make sure I stay busy until Fall.

I won't be too much of a downer here because once we get the first rain here and I get a whiff of Autumn air, I'll be rejuvenated. There's something so wonderful about Fall to me. Harvest time is the most wonderful time, in my opinion. I haven't experienced a Virginia fall in four years and I'm going a little bit crazy without it, but I make do with Chilean Fall. This year will be so much better because my job mandates trips to the winery to be a part of the grape harvest (sucks, I know!).

Just being around the changing leaves and the night smell will make me giddy and energized and excited about what's to come.

I remember when I was in high school and my English teacher was going over possible college application essay topics and one was choosing your favorite word. Mine was then and most likely always will be harvest. There is nothing that makes me feel more comfortable and at home than that word. It makes me think of Virginia Falls and annual trips to the Farm Aid concert and horses and apples and orange-colored leaves and just pure happiness.

So, amidst this wretched heat, I am comforted by the thought of Autumn, which of course makes me think of one of my two favorite Canadian musicians, Neil Young:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

You know you need a trip to the U.S. when…

You get tears in your eyes just walking into the US Embassy.

YUP. That was me today.

I have to add more pages to my passport before my trip home so I went to the US Embassy this morning. I’ve never been there before so maybe my excitement was also seeing it for the first time but the second I walked through security, my eyes filled with tears. And then I thought about what I’ll feel when I FINALLY walk into baggage claim at my home airport and see my family and there were official drops dripping down my cheeks and I was THAT girl among the hundreds of people waiting for their visa interviews. Not gonna lie, I LOVED that all I had to do – literally - was flash my US passport to the guard and I was ushered in ahead of the 10 Chileans waiting for their interviews outside the embassy walls.

I’m always excited to go home and happy to see my family, but it’s been almost a year (the longest I’ve ever been away from home) and I am READY. This not-so-patriotic girl is ready to sing the national anthem, buy an Old Navy shirt, and eat some freedom fries!

But most of all, I cannot wait to lounge around in my parents’ house with my beloved dog, drinking wine and playing board games with my family.

My fix for today was Starbucks coffee and will continue into takeout sushi and illegal downloads of my favorite US shows. Oh hell, I’ll just say it, AMERICAN shows!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Working Girl

So, not that I said anything about it on here (at least, I don't think I did), but according to my plans circa my last blog post I should be in Virginia eating pomegranates and drinking champagne with my mom right now...

BUT I'm in Santiago. With an incredible new job! No longer teaching English (no offense to English teachers. I love teaching, but never saw myself doing it long-term so I don't know how I made it through over 2 years of it).

I started my job at the beginning of October and tonight is the first night I haven't been too tired to do anything other than pour myself a glass of wine and jump into bed. Lucky for me I can still do that and on my new job's tab (not exactly but close enough).

I got a job working for a winery...a pretty damn cool one (winery and job), too. That means I'll be extending my life in Chile and maybe the life of this blog, although it hasn't had much of one lately.

After over a month of work, I'm feeling settled and comfortable and competent. My first few weeks were full of ups and downs as I was learning everything...EVERYTHING. You see, I went to this job interview and said, flat out, I have zero experience in two pretty big sections of this job description, but I really want it and I'll work hard and learn the stuff I don't know and presto-chango, I'm working 9-5 (in Chile it's actually 8:30 to 6:30 but there are no cool songs to allude to using that schedule).

So the job's going very well and I'm thrilled to have started what could very well be a *gulp* career, but my fingers are tired (I write all day for this job) and my glass of wine is full...or RE-full.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yes, I'll have my coffee with some legs

It's pretty clear that I am a proud resident of Santiago Centro and a morning like this one is exactly why. In under 45 minutes I cashed/deposited checks at two banks (NOT the norm for me), went to the supermarket next door, AND stopped by one of my favorite Santiago Centro cafes: Cafe Caribe. This incredible weather has a lot to do with it, but it's also the convenience of everything.

I have been thinking about Chilenidad since reading the past few posts over at Cachando Chile and talking it over with my students. Yesterday, we made a list of all the things that we think of when we think of Chilenidad and one of my students wrote Cafe con Piernas, which got me thinking about how much I love SOME of them and how much I would miss them outside of Chile.

I'm pretty confident that everyone living in Chile or even researching a trip to Chile knows about the famous Cafe con Piernas. I also think most newly arrived visitors hit one up within days of arriving here because they're written up in every guide book and even featured on the travel channel hit show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

I certainly visited Cafe Haiti my first week here and didn't plan on going back after my token tourist experience. I thought, "OK, weird and uncomfortable outfits, kinda skeezy men hitting on the servers, and I have to stand up--no thanks."

Now, I see Cafe con Piernas (the ones where you can SEE through the glass, not the strip club ones) in a whole different light. It's a place where you can get an espresso and soda water for about $1.25 in under a minute. Seriously, those women work FAST and they are equally nice to women as they are to men because everyone seems to tip prety well there. What I also love is that I can indulge in a cigarette as I drink my coffee (probably one of my favorite combinations in the world, as much as I try not to smoke) and feel blissfully at home among the groups of co-workers having a quick cigarette and coffee break together.

Don't get me wrong. There are things I don't like. I still hear some men saying gross things to the servers and watching as they laugh it off since this guy's a regular and he tips well. That part makes me skin crawl, but I'm also surprised at how ingenious the business idea is if you take out the skimpy outfits. I've always joked about starting a Cafe con Piernas for women, but I'd be happy with what they have now minus the dresses and heels because if you take that aspect out of it, it's a cheaper and faster alternative to Starbucks and it's just around the corner from me.

So, thanks to my student (who I hope was talking about the same cafe I'm talking about), I'm adding Cafe Caribe to my Chilenidad list. I love the place and will go more than usual this month.

Anyone else like them as much as I do? Anyone think it's horrible for a woman to go to a place like that? I'm interested to read what others think.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Qualms and Tights

For anyone who knows me, it goes without saying that I almost always wear a dress or sweats--there is no in between for me. If you stop by my apartment, I'll be in my pjs 99% of the time and if you see me on the street, I'll have one of the, ummm, 5 dresses I have here on. With a dress comes tights or leggings and then the problem.

I have such a hard time buying tights in Santiago. Well, that's not true. I have zero problem buying tights, but a big problem with making them fit correctly. One brand's size chart is nothing like the other and the whole talla única (one size fits all) thing doesn't work for me or anyone else I know. Seriously. This winter I bought this gorgeous pair of wool tights I was so excited to wear/be warm in and they didn't fit me or two of my other friends (we all have varied body types so it's a pretty good test of what this "one size" should be).

Today, I decided my outfit for something important would include black tights and then realized that I, with the help of my cat, had ruined every pair I had and thus needed a new one. My saint of a boyfriend went to about 10 different stores looking for what I wanted while I got ready. Saint Italo came back with 4 pairs that were all the same size and yet only two ended up working.

This is frustrating because I lose money when a pair doesn't work out since you typically can't return tights here, but also love the selection here in Chile so much I'd rather run the risk of losing out on some money.

What is my point here? Because I'm caught in this vicious tight buying and wearing cycle, I am in possession of virtually the entire Monarch inventory. If anyone should ever need tights or leggings in a pinch, just ask me! I've got about plenty of pairs to spare (yes, think Seinfeld).