Friday, November 14, 2008

I need a 3B outfit!

So, 3 of my favorite students invited I. and me to a very fancy anniversary party for their company at Casa Piedra in a few days. YAY! Delicious food, open bar, entertainment, and dancing. My students have been talking about the clothes they bought for the party for over a week so I know the dress code there. The invitation says "formal dress" so my first thought was, "Yay! I'll wear my great Anthroplogie dress with those fabulous shoes my mom bought me for graduation" And my second thought was, "Fuck! I took them to the U.S. in October because I NEVER wore them here and couldn't think of any occasion where I would wear them."

So, now I've got to find a short, but formal dress and some great shoes and of course, they both need to be inexpensive and I need to find them soon. I'm thinking I'd like to spend more money on the shoes (I like bright colors, but comfy heels/wedges) and I'll just try to find some sort of black dress that I can dress up with jewelry, red lipstick, and other accessories.

Ok, my problem is that I never go shopping in Chile. I think that in over a year, I've only bought 4 to 5 pieces of clothing and most of them were too expensive for what they are. I need help! Does anyone know where to go to get cute stuff?? I would love something like this dress or this dress or anything else black or red.

Anyway, this is my plea to all of you fashionable ladies living in or who have previously lived in! And, thank you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Primer Matrimonio Chileno

This past Saturday I attended a Chilean wedding for the first time. I.'s cousin got married and the whole family was there. If I could sum the wedding up in 3 words, I'd use the Chilean expression "3B" for bueno, bonito, and barato (good, pretty, and inexpensive). I was VERY impressed by all aspects of the wedding without considering how much it cost, but when they told me how much (little, really) they spent on everything AND that they had to change the location 2 weeks before the wedding, my jaw dropped to the floor and I vowed right there and then to get married in Chile.

First and foremost, the most beautiful aspect of this wedding was that the bride and groom are madly in love with each other. I'm very realistic about the probability of a couple staying together (so I often think they won't), but I'd put a good amount of money on the success of this couple. Sharing their special day with them was a wonderful experience.

Second, the location was AMAZING. It was up in the mountains in (or just outside of?) Lo Cañas. Seriously, why someone doesn't own a little vineyard/hotel/restaurant up there is beyond me since it seems to be geared toward the wealthy. If I could invest in something, it would be Chez Shea, Lo Cañas, Chile. Anyway, this place is comparable to the gorgeous wedding my best friend just had in Virginia which cost much more (as most US weddings do). Now, her wedding was magical and the place where she got married was so beautiful (same goes for how much she and her hubby love each other), but this place at Lo Cañas was magical and beautful, too. There is the most amazing view of the mountains and Santiago at night. It was breathtaking. The house/event place was gorgeous with an ivy-covered walkway and garden around it. The grounds weren't as well maintained as they should have been, but it was still impressive.

Third, the catering company was excellent. Their service was remarkable by anyone's standards and all of the employees were very friendly and accommodating, which is something I've learned not to expect while living in Chile. Whenever you wanted a drink or mini empanada, they were right there helping you. And, they had a perfect number of staff working, not too few which was a big problem at my friend's wedding.

Now, it's not that I expected a mediocre wedding from C and her hubby; it's just that there was no fuss at all about it from anyone. I'm used to American weddings where often the bride, groom and family start planning at least a year in advance and inevitably run into wedding party and/or planning problems. I've seen brides forced into including disliked family members in the wedding party just to make grandma lay off the guilt trip and, fancy wedding planners blatantly lying about how the wedding will be while charging an arm and a leg for their services. With this wedding, there was none of that. Over the past few months you'd hardly know they were even planning one, yet everything turned out beautifully and I doubt they ever broke a sweat over any of it. How refreshing! The most important day of their relationship was stress-free and perfect. I can only hope for so much.

Here are some pictures from Saturday:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama and my sister

First, I am very happy about Obama being elected. He was the deserving and capable candidate and he won. Now, let's hope he comes through on all of his promises.

Ok, so my point in this post is not to talk more about the election, but to introduce my sister. She just started reading my blog so I thought I'd give her a proper introduction since she's the best (and only) sister I've got.

This is me with C right before I left for Chile the first time:

And here we are again:

We often dress the same, especially when snowboarding together. That's us in our personalized neighborhoodies we made in honor of our grandmother, Carmen. And yes, we also own the same snowboard and both have pink goggle buddies on our helmets. We do that because it doesn't matter how we dress when we snowboard because we're GOOD. And I don't feel bad saying this because we're not good at much else (although, my sister is a good horseback rider and can beat anyone at movie trivia). I have to milk my one talent for all it's worth so, I'm GOOD! AND, my sister's good, too!

C is 26 and a true Taurus. She graduated from UVa in 2004 and I followed in her footsteps this year. She is a lot more organized than I am and she goes to bed earlier, but we love the same food, wine, music, and cherish staying in when on vacation and ordering room service and a movie. We quote movies and tv shows to no end and probably annoy a lot of people because of it.

C is also on her way to being a badass nurse anesthetist which is why I hardly hear from her now. She sleeps, studies, and goes to the hospital. She's a graduate student at Georgetown and is part of an insanely intense and challenging program (but, it should be since her patients' lives will be in her hand once she graduates). In a little over a year, I will have my sister back, but for now our virtual relationship will have to suffice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Elections from a Chilean Perspective

I just got back from an English class with some of my favorite students. This is a great class because my students are employees of a certain Seattle-based specialty coffee store so I get all of the free coffee and tea beverages I want while I teach. I also get paid double since I have to schlep up to Las Condes and eat some of the best salads there are in Santiago to teach it (notice my sarcasm since I LOVE any excuse to go get a yummy salad for lunch). But the best thing about my students is that they are fun, intelligent, and love speaking English.

Today, was so great because we didn't even crack open our textbook since everyone was so excited about the U.S. elections. They were really interested in how I was feeling, in what it's like in the U.S. today, in how my parents and sister and everyone else I know living in the U.S. are feeling today, and in what all the Expats were going to do tonight to celebrate (or grieve) when the results come in. They also talked about how terribly upset they would be if Obama is not elected. It was so interesting to hear how much faith they have in Obama as a world leader. Now, neither my students or I are under the impression that Obama is any sort of savior. I really believe that big change takes a very long time and is extremely difficult within any government, but I (and they) also believe that voting for Barack Obama over John McCain is the right choice*. They are excited about the same things I am: what this would do to improve the U.S.'s image all over the world and its international relations, what this could mean for Black men and women everywhere, and what would happen in the U.S. once its president is not totally and completely worthless.

Now, I would consider these particular students more informed on world issues than most Chileans I know, but all of my students (the dummies and the smarty pants) have been talking about the elections. They've watched the SNL clips, seen the Sara Silverman Obama endorsement, and laughed at my "Sarah Palin is a retard" comments. My point is that it seems that the whole world, or all of Chile at least, is more interested in this election than elections in the past and it's because of Obama (and that Obama also means the end of Bush). I also have not met one Chilean rooting for McCain (but was unpleasantly surprised to find out through facebook that I know many more McCain/Palin supporters than I thought).

So, during my next class on Thursday, my students and I are either going to celebrate together or cry together.

Tonight, I'm going to Basic Bar (when do I not go there?) with some other lovely Chile-Gringas (Sara, Jessica, and Shannon) as well as a few Chileno spouses to watch the election coverage. Anyone else who reads this, come on out if you can! Here's hoping for happy results!

*My dream democratic ticket would be Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson with the next best being Clinton/Obama and then Obama/Clinton. Hillary will never cease to amaze me and Richardson is an experienced, intelligent and moderate man so they would make a dream team in my opinion.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Significant Other Brag Tag

Amanda tagged me

1. Where did you meet?
We met on September 18, 2007, at my host brother's best friend's parent's house (otherwise known as his aunt and uncle's house)

2. How long did you date before you were married?

We're not married yet but I'm guessing (and hoping) that it will be between 2 and 3 years

3. How long have you been married?
We have been living together and supporting ourselves economically for almost 5 months now so I consider that practically married

4. What is one thing he does that surprises you?
He irons his shirt before work every morning. This is a man who needs an hour between when his alarm goes off and when he actually gets out of bed, yet often turns his alarm off in his sleep without realizing it and then jumps out of bed with 5 minutes to spare, BUT he always has time to iron his shirt and most of the time, make coffee (the real kind!)

5. What is your favorite feature about him?
Not to copy Amanda, but his eyes. He has the kindest eyes I've ever seen. They are so telling of his personality. The second my mom met him, she turned to me and said, "I love him! He has the sweetest eyes."

6. What is your favorite quality about him?
His kindness. It just pours out of him and it only takes one hug from him to understand how sincere he is. (some of my mother's friends always talk about how his hugs are amazing)

7. Does he have a nickname for you?
Yes, "guachona" and "amorcita" (which is making fun of the fact that I thought since our puppy is a girl, she was amorcita, not amorcito...wrong!). Jokingly, he also uses any petname from the Cuppycake song

8. What's his favorite color?
Blue (I had to ask him to be sure on this one)

9. What's his favorite food?
All food, but more specifically, pizza and all other Italian food, bread, palta and tomate, rueben sandwiches, five guys, and kebobs with creamy cilantro lime sauce from Sticks in Charlottesville, Va

10. What's his favorite sport?
It was mountain biking until his bike broke

11. Who said, "I love you" first?
He did.

12. When and where was your first kiss?
The night I met him while we were dancing to cumbia at a fonda with my host brother, his date, I.'s cousin and cousin's girlfriend watching us.

13. What's your favorite thing to do as a couple?
Lazy Sunday (we have a better nickname for it). We alternate with serving each other breakfast in bed, then we both cook something new together for lunch, and we relax and watch movies or tv or read or listen to music and talk all day. Our best lazy Sunday was when we first started dating which turned into a lazy Friday-Monday and involved Sade, a bottle of rum, a bottle of pisco, lots of never have i ever and other fun games and no food because I was too happy/excited/nervous to eat (it was totally PG, by the way!)

14. Do you have kids?
No, but we have a puppy

15. What's a hidden talent of his?
He's really good at drawing and excellent at all games that involve strategy.

16. How old is he?

17. What do you admire most about him?
His patience. He has more patience with everyone than anyone else I know. He is a born teacher and listener. I'm learning from him.

18. What's his favorite past time?
Lounging around when it's not Sunday and getting me to do it with him without making us both feel guilty about not "doing" anything

19. What's his favorite type of music?
Haha, we have had our fair share of arguments over who gets to pick the music! His favorite band is Tool which is great with me, but we part ways at Slipknot, yet have found neutral ground with bands like The Killers, Rage Against the Machine, and any music released before 1995.

20. Do you think he'll read this?