Monday, October 27, 2008

Visa things, Sunday things

So, today is the last day I'll get to sleep past 7:00am since I'm getting another class.  I can't complain about that since it's a normal time to wake up, but I LOVE sleep. I absolutely cherish it and I seem to be getting worse and worse about it.  Today, I slept blissfully until I. called me at 10:30am which made me feel so guilty since he has to get up at 7:30am everyday to go to a job he's not that interested in.  So, I jumped up after an amazing dream that I met Oprah at the Emmy's and got to tell her about one of my friends who is her protege, and decided to check on my visa status with extranjería.

 The last I checked, they claimed my paperwork hadn't arrived and after going to correos de chile and seeing the high-tech, classified mail system they have that I paid for (come on, have you ever heard of COMPUTERS???!!!!), they wrote in pen a confirmation that it had been delivered.  My logical question was, "is there a more official document I can bring to extranjería to show that it was delivered".  The response I got, "No, no.  This is the official time.  If you want a copy you'll have to go to Plaza de Armas and see if they'll let you have a copy, but I don't think they will".  So, I'm thinking "alright, where the hell in Plaza de Armas do I go?"  And the nice, but dense man tells me that I'll know it when I see it.  I was late to meet my cuñi so I just left it at that.

So, back to this morning. I call and the woman actually finds me in the system this time and says that I was missing a piece of paper in the envelope and that they had sent it back.  Even though the woman at my institute supposedly put my envelope together the way it should have been and just handed it to me to send, That's an OK answer for me.  The woman at my institute is relatively friendly and everyone makes mistakes.  I don't even mind using the mail that takes at least a week when I could drop it off by hand in 10 minutes.  I think I've always been pretty patient with Chilean bureaucracy as long as the last person I'm sent to actually gives me a useful answer (it's normally an address on the other side of the city).  The people at extranjería have been surprisingly helpful and friendly to me, but my problem is that I really need to get that visa in the mail ASAP, If for nothing else than not to give the new guy at Ekono a heart attack when I use my passport number and not my carnet number when I pay with a credit card.  But seriously, I need you visa, I want you visa, so hurry up!

On a totally different note, yesterday was election day.  And the craziest thing about it to me is that men and women vote in different colegios.  That just seems way too old-fashioned even for Chile, but as my suegra said (and I couldn't help but laugh), laws are just too hard to change here so most of Pinochet's legacy is the same because it's next to impossible to change.  That to me just sums up most Chileans and their views on politics, but that's another post in general.  

But my point in mentioning elections was to talk about my Sunday.  My suegra actually warned me not to go out. Or rather said it would be better if we didn't go out.  I'm still not sure why, but I have a feeling it had nothing to do with elections and everything to do with the fact that she wanted us to go to her house for the day, but we already had plans.  And it seems like everyone else had those same plans: Parque Forrestal.  I. and I had a picnic there and let Olive run crazy for a few hours while half of Santiago walked by.  I have never seen the park this crowded and we are there almost every weekend.  There were more shows and people selling things than ever.  I love to watch all of the circus talent there.  There were a group of people climbing and swinging off two rope-type thingies that seem to be all the rage (when I saw Justin Timberlake in concert, Pink opened for him and was swinging all around the stage on them).   Even though it was incredibly crowded, we still had a really nice, quiet place to eat the yummy potato salad I made,  sneak-drink a bottle of wine, and play cards.  And now it's back to work...

P.S. I've been thinking about my group post and am having a hard time narrowing down my post so it may not be until tomorrow or later tonight...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Great Schlep

In the spirit of it almost being election month in the U.S., I wanted to share a "political" video with everyone.  My inspiration for sharing this video comes from a wonderful blog, Mandy Moves.  She posted a great video made by and for women to raise awareness about what Sarah Palin's possible vice presidency (and if that happens, likely presidency) means for women and their rights (about 100 giant steps back in time). Check it out here.

Now, my video comes from Sara.  But I'm not talking about Sarah right-wing-idiotic-barbie doll Palin; I'm talking about Sara possibly-the-funniest-woman-alive Silverman.  For anyone who isn't familiar with her, I warn you that her genial humor is based on offending EVERYONE so don't watch if that's not your cup of matzoh ball soup (but, come on, it's so obvious she's a smart and liberal-minded person).  

Anyway, she made a video called the Great Schlep supporting Barack Obama and it's probably the only celebrity endorsement of a politician that isn't so cheesy it makes me want to vomit.  More importantly, it's absolutely hilarious!  For any Jewish bloggers (or just Jews-at-heart like me), it's that much funnier.

Check it out below and enjoy (I hope!).  I apologize for my computer illiteracy, but I don't know how to put the video directly on my blog so I'm just posting the link

Monday, October 20, 2008

Job Woes

I think I can safely post about an institute (without naming it) since I totally didn't get the job there and I have to vent.  

So, about 2 months ago I interviewed at an English institute that actually offers full-time contracts with a salary.  I was sooooo excited because a monthly salary, regardless of how small it is, is so exciting to me I'd take half of what I've made some months here teaching by the hour.  So, I have this great interview where we just end up chatting about this professor from my old school (UVA) and this grammar book we both love.  Anyway, this woman tells me that I am definitely getting the job and that I have a second meeting with their HR person to discuss contract possibilities. 

I am so thrilled at this point because I had just recently quit a job I hated and was making half of what I did the 2 months before.  So, I go back and meet with this woman who then says that the fact that I was going to the U.S. or a week caused a little bit of a problem, but they were going to figure out a different contract and let me know that week, but that I definitely had the job and would start training the next week.  Here's where they get horrible and unprofessional.

I don't hear from them that week.  Nada.  So, I wait until Monday and write a polite, just checking in email to the HR lady.  No response.  A few days later, I write the woman who interviewed me to check in.  No response.   A week later, I write again almost just for fun because I know I'll get no response.  Frantically, I drop my resume off everywhere and get a job at an institute that pays o.k., but I really wanted the salary job.

SOOOOO, 2 months and 4 emails with no responses later, I get a bullshit email saying "Oh, I'm so sorry but your email got lost. Contact me ASAP if you still want to work with us."  MY first reaction, was are you f-ing kidding me with this ASAP crap???! But, my second was YAYYY possible job.  So, I emailed her back as per her annoying request asking about a contract job.  She emails me back saying I should come in for an interview this Tuesday when I have a class.  I write a polite email back explaining that I have to work then, but that I'm available anytime after that class.  I also ask what the content of the meeting will be so I can properly prepare myself.

OK, so 2 hours later I get this totally bitchy response saying "I only emailed you because you still seemed interested in working with us, but I never wanted to waste your time (as suggested in your email below), so I think it's best to cancel our meeting for Tuesday."  

I'm sorry, but I didn't know that asking about the meeting so I can be prepared could be translated as "you're just wasting my time", can it?  And even so, is it really allowed to send an email like that when you're supposed to be a professional?  It's totally fine to decide not to hire someone based on that, but I think there are much better and more professional ways of handling it.  

So, now I'm back to my old ways of panicking  about my class hours every month and searching for any type of full-time job.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"I've had plenty of Joe jobs. Nothing I'd call a career. Let me put it this way: I have an extensive collection of name tags and hairnets"

Today started out as a busy and early day. I had several classes to go to and lots of catching up to do now that I'm back in Chile.  I got a great start and happily walked to work to get my materials from the substitute who was supposed to drop them off for me.  So, I got to institute #2 today only to find out that all classes were cancelled (i.e. I'm not getting paid today) because of día del profesor.  HAH!

I'm sorry, but I find that ironic or maybe just really crappy luck.  Yay, let's celebrate teachers.  Yeah.  Great!  But, I'm not a teacher.  Or at least, not a salary-paid one.  So, if you're going to celebrate me, pay me double or at least give me double the hours to work.  But please, PLEASE don't cancel my classes and tell me happy day. 
But, I'm actually not as upset as I know I should be about not getting paid.  Why?  Because I love doing nothing in my apartment and I found the best source for it: Movies.  Free movies.  Lots of movies.  Legal movies.  You can basically stream any movie you can think of and it's pretty quick.

So, for all of you English teachers out there who frequently go from a very busy day to a practically free one because of your classes being cancelled, be a bum like me and start brushing up on your best movie quotes.

I'm starting Wayne's World right now...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Airport Thoughts

I´m waiting to board a plane to Santiago after almost a week at home in Virginia for my friend´s wedding (pictures to come). After about an hour of panicking about my bags getting to Chile, I am calm now and resting after running all over the airport in Buenos Aires. I have no money to buy food so I´m stuffing my face with the Halloween candy I brought back ¨for my students¨. I cannot wait to get home to my I., Olive, and apartment. But I am dreading going back to work because I´m afraid they took my classes away from me or aren´t going to pay me because I wasn´t here to turn in my hours. BUT, I will save the bulk of that worrying until tomorrow morning at 8am when I have my first class.

In the meantime, I can´t help but think about 3 lovely Argentine women I met on my flight from Washington to Buenos Aires. The first, I met in a panicked state while walking to my gate. She was screaming in Spanish and the information desk employee was begging for a translator so I thought I´d try out my frantic Spanish comprehension. I think I just cut it because this woman was yelling and sighing and running back and forth so I really had to concentrate to get all she was saying.

It went something like this (in translation, of course):

my girls, they took my girls!! the police...because of dolls!!! i was in New York and now I´m here and my girls!! We have to go home and the police have my girls and we bought those dolls and my pássport and I need to go to Buenos Aires!!!!

Finally, she got a call (from international police, I guess?) that her girls were being released from custody and when I saw her at our gate she was a totally different person and calmly explained that she and her daughters were basically stripped and searched and then brought into one of those little rooms all because they brought those little tiny snowglobes on. Needless to say, they´ll never go back to Dulles Airport because they were so hysterical and scared and it´s all because they accidentally brought something through security and then couldn´t speak English well enough to explain it.

Minutes before I met the first woman, I was in line at security thinking about how it had changed a lot and hired all new people since the last time I´d been there. This may have just been my particular line, but all of the employees seemed a lot meaner than usual and I heard several extremely racist comments told as running jokes coming from the NSA employees in the short 3 minutes I was there. I think it´s more than coincidence that I noticed those changes only to witness their product minutes later with the mother of the daughters who were detained.

This treatment of people is disgusting. I won´t get into details about my views on national security and the threat of terror (yet), but I have a problem with NSA´s changes after September 11, 2001, and I hate that 3 extremely friendly and wonderful women will never come back to the U.S. because of the experience they had last night.

I am grateful to have met them and then coincidentally sat next to them on the plane because they were so sweet and it´d be so nice to visit them when I´m Buenos Aires this December.

That´s about it! Can´t wait to land in Santiago!

Oh, and I voted yesterday! All I can say is take that, McCain and retarded Sarah Palin

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

good ol' U.S. of A.

For one week, I will be in the great EEUU.  I am going home for my best friend's wedding and am  basically coming back right after.  It will be a short trip, but I basically can't afford to not be working any longer than a week.  I am excited to see my sister, my dad, my best friend, and my dog.  Not to mention other close friends and family.  I cannot wait to eat cheddar cheese and vietnamese pho.  I'll also take advantage of cheap and good used book stores and new John and Kate Plus 8 and The Office episodes. 

 Pathetically enough, I am really sad to say goodbye to I. (I'm switching to this now) and Olive even though its for such a short time. Regardless of how long I'll be gone, it still means a huge side of my bed will be empty every night I'm not here.  But, I am so excited to see my best friend marry her perfect mate.  After almost 10 years together, there is no doubt in anyone's minds that they are meant for each other and I can't wait to be simultaneously sobbing and laughing right next to her as she fulfills her dreams this Saturday (she has been waiting for this day since we were in 8th grade).  

I'm sure I'll post from home, but it will be Izzy in Virginia this week which doesn't quite have the same ring as Chabelita in Chile, but oh well!

Blog with a great cause

I'm pretty sure that everyone who reads this blog also reads this blog by kyle, but just incase, I'm linking it here.  In short, she and her husband are sponsoring a very talented man's education so that he can make a decent living in Chile.  

For anyone who doesn't know, getting paid well and getting good jobs depends so much on what you studied and what type of degree you got which means raw talent doesn't carry much, if any weight.  You can be the most amazing teacher there is, but if you don't have your MA in education, you will not be paid the same as other mediocre teachers.  This is the case with Marcelo, the man Kyle and her husband are putting through school.  He is a very talented surveyor (I think this is the correct translation of trasador) and loves his job, but unless he gets his degree from an institute, he can be the best there is and still get paid nothing (and I mean nothing).  

The point is that Kyle and her husband have offered the incredible: to cover all of his education expenses.  This is amazing.  These are two enormously generous people who are doing a wonderful thing for their friend.  Any readers can help out by buying Kyle's pictures from her photography website because 100% of the money she makes selling her prints goes to Marcelo's education.  Check out her link here and see how good she is.  The US embassy just bought several prints from her so she's got to be damn good!  

Go read about it and then if you have a blog, put a link in it.  If not, put it up on facebook or myspace or something

Good luck, Marcelo!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Disappointing debate/really fun night!

Debate wise, tonight sucked.  Palin did what she does best and avoided answering any question, but I think Biden and the moderator were more at fault for not calling her on it.  Now I know Biden has to be careful because he's a man and he can be seen as attacking a woman or whatever, but come on.  He had a real opportunity here and he came out just OK.  All I can think is how AMAZING it would have been to have seen Hillary up there against Palin.  She would have ripped her head of, chewed it up, and spit it back out (literally and figuratively speaking) and one one could have accused her of being sexist.  You can only accuse her of being intelligent (and determined/bitchy/whatever).  Big mistake, Barack! 

Anyways, my night was saved by great company and delicious food at Basic.  I can't praise that place enough.  Obviously, my mom and boyfriend were there which makes things great, but I also met two other blogging gringas (Sara and Shannon) who are just fabulous!  And not to mention Jessica who I already knew was fabulous.  So, the mediocre debates were evened out by fun people.

Ok, I'm going to sleep since I have class bright and early.  I can't wait to hear and read more about these debates...