Tuesday, February 24, 2009


i've spent way too much time on this website today. I thought I'd share it because it's hilarious.

Monday, February 23, 2009

the Expatriate Price

There are many things we expats miss out on while living outside of our mother country. So far for me, it's been 2 weddings, 1 funeral, and many family gatherings and mini-trips . It also means missing out on daily life and happenings that can make you feel like an outsider when you're out of the loop. It's the price we all have to pay for living our lives in another country.

I get this feeling when the actual day comes of the event or holiday I'm missing and sometimes it puts me in a funk. This year on Halloween I just sort of sulked around my apartment watching The Nightmare Before Christmas and Hocus Pocus .

I'm the younger sister so I think my "not being left out" syndrome is more severe because I've had it since I could talk and my sister got to go to the New Kids on the Block concert with my dad and I didn't. The rest of what I feel when things happen there while I'm here I think is pretty universal: It sucks not to be with your family when good and bad things happen.

Last night, I found out that the store where both my sister and I worked all through high school and part of college is closing. It's a small, family run ski and snowboard shop and I'm devastated that it came down to this. I really feel like a part of my childhood is disappearing and I desperately wish I could at least be there for the end. When I think of how it must be for the owners, it reminds me of Meg Ryan's character in You've Got Mail when she closes The Shop Around the Corner.

This couple B. and N. built the store from scratch and really offered a superior service (repeatedly voted best ski boot fitting on the east coast). It wasn't like working at a typical store, either. I babysat for their children, we all went skiing/snowboarding together most Sundays after work, they were there to celebrate my high school and my sister's college graduation and at our Christmas Eve party. They never forget a former or current employee's birthday and they consider us all part of the "fam" for life (even though I haven't actually worked there in over 4 years).

This feeling will pass and this couple will move on with their lives and excel at something else, I'm sure. We'll all have the great memories and it will be OK, but for now, I'll be dramatic and self-pitying because I can't be there. And then it will pass until May when my dad's side of the family (HUGE Irish-Catholic family) goes to New York for my cousin's wedding.

For anyone who might read this blog from the Northern Virginia/DC area, this store is having a going out of business sale that is sure to be great for customers. They have ski, snowboard, hockey, and skateboard equipment so go here if you want to read more.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pre-Academy Awards Show Thoughts

EDIT: I JUST realized that E! isn't showing the Academy Awards, just the pre and post shows. How did I realize that? I just watched 2 hours of pre-show only to see it repeat. There goes my Oscar night, haha!

Could Ryan Seacrest lack any more tact when talking to anyone who's not white?

I REALLY hope Penelope Cruz wins for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona because I just watched that on Friday and she was wonderful

And I hope Doubt and Revolutionary Road (Titanic Dos as a certain Chilean man calls it) win something

I don't think I'll be able to stay up to see the good awards

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

La Vega

I have only been to La Vega twice (a market in the center of Santiago). This is mainly because I had no idea I lived so close to it and because I almost always do my produce shopping in San Ramon at my suegra's Sunday market. I went for the first time last week with a friend and fellow blogger who led me around so I could see what it's all about.

First and foremost, I think the prices where we went, which is actually farther back from LA VEGA and even La Vega Chica, are unbeatable. I'm a frequent feria shopper (at least once a week) so I'm always checking out produce prices and the prices I saw both Vega trips were lower than anywhere else I've been. I spent around 4.000 to 5.000 pesos each time and saved around 2.000 pesos in total. That's a pretty large amount proportionally speaking so I was pleased. I also liked that there was a lot more to choose from that my San Ramon feria and the smaller one close to where I live.

I think that you can get quality produce at a great price so I will continue to go there since it's a nice walk for me that will continue to get nicer as it finally cools off here. With that said, I think there are some definite negatives to shopping there alone which I did yesterday.

First, I get the feeling (and about 5 billion Chileans have told me) you REALLY need to watch your things there. Yesterday, I was right next to a woman who got her necklace ripped off and the weon culiado took off too fast for the woman to catch him and no one paid the slightest attention to the hijo de puta charging through the narrow stalls of La Vega Chica. I quickly took off my silver necklace that has immeasurable sentimental value to me and stuck it in my backpack that I always wear on my stomach with my arms wrapped around it and kept going. I'm always careful with my things, but never paranoid about being robbed, but I was yesterday.

Second, is that the SMELL walking through the meat section is nauseating. I seriously can hardly take it. It makes me want to vomit and my being nauseated certainly wasn't helped by the fact that I got unidentified meat juice splashed on my feet both times I walked through there.

Third and last, are the catcalls. I never write about them but the obnoxious catcalls the male vendors make bug me enough to say something. In general, I don't like the "casera! casera! que andas buscando?!" at the markets here because I like to take my time and walk though the produce sections a few times before deciding on the best options. But the pressure to buy the vendors' food together with the catcalls make me particularly uneasy.

Basically, I will continue to shop there because I love buying fresh produce at a good price, but I'll always be a little on edge because I'm determined not to get robbed here and I like to associate the words "browse" and "stroll" with my shopping experiences, but I can't really do that there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

He IS just that into you

I'm not writing this to sound like a cocky little b*tch, but I can't help but post after going to see He's Just Not That Into You with two friends tonight. I still have a copy of the book because I loved it, but I did try to sell it at a yard sale so someone else could use it. I think it gives great general advice to women about not obsessing over plain old shitty men and it's fun because that episode of Sex and the City is hilarious. It really did open my eyes to a certain situation (junto con all the great advice my incredibly honest friends gave me, of course) and I vowed then and there never to make any of those "mistakes" again.

I'm not sure my revelation had anything to do with my meeting Italo, but he was and still is the first guy I dated seriously after a series of flings and kinda sorta boyfriends that would have made very comical (or tragic?) vignettes in the film. As I was watching the movie, I kept thinking two things:

1. I didn't make even one of those embarrassing and needy mistakes that I had made before when Italo and I first met

2. He IS just that into me!

haha, I didn't need a movie to tell me that, but it's refreshing to be reassured. Oh, and by the way, I AM just that into him, too :) :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Music videos belong on MTV and VH1

And the irony in that is that they're not there anymore, yet you can find them on other stations without video or music in their titles.

You know the music videos the Sony channel plays here over and over and over and over and over (like Motel right now) until they find a new one to play over and over and over and over? Well, I think that I see them so much that when I hear the song on the radio or somewhere else, there's a split second where I think I must like the song and that's why I'm singing along, but then i realize where I recognize it from and change my mind.

I ALWAYS have the kinda new Juanes song in my head and it drives me insane: "es tiempo de cambiar....it's time to change", but I just cannot stop singing it.

I'd have to say that the most annoying one was that Belanova song "1 2 3 Go" with the "Oye niño no tengas miedo" bit and I think the least annoying was the Sarah Bareilles one "love song". i never liked that song when I heard it in the U.S., but after hearing it about 100 times here and watching her little interview, she and the song grew on me.

The Alicia Keys/Jack White song from the James Bond movie was OK, but it was so long with the interviews and it bugged me how many times Alicia Keys said "scat" or "scatting".

Anyway, I think this means that I watch way too much t.v. and I'm out of blogging material for now, but I was just watching the new video of the month and for a second there I thought I liked it, but I definitely don't.

Dylan-the-dog update: He had to have another operation because he was spiking a fever and had a lot of fluid in his stomach which meant infection. The vet flushed out his intestines several times to be sure to get all of the infection out, but he said you never know. It's too soon to tell if he's in the clear, but as of 2 hours ago when I last talked to my mom he was OK and is going home for the night to sleep. He's not eating which isn't too surprising because he never eats at the vet's even when he hasn't had 2 major surgeries but it's important that he does tonight. If all goes well tonight and tomorrow, they're going to send him home and put him in the almost all clear. I'd just like to get to Sunday with his being OK so we can all relax and I can look forward to seeing him when I go home again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What a difference a day makes

Just a quick update on my emotional state, haha. Things are much better today. It still looks like my mom can't come in April, but my wonderful man called me shortly after posting yesterday with his "solution" which was to use the money he has saved to invite my mom to stay with us and cover all of her expenses. She would never go for it because she's thrilled that he and I are saving for graduate school applications, GRE and TOEFL tests as well as an English course for Italo, but it's a very nice gesture that my mom appreciated. I may try to change my ticket in July to April so I can fly home for a month and substitute teach ($110 a day!) and babysit to pay my mom back and maybe save a little bit, too. Either way I think it will work out.

(Maybe?) more importantly, my dog is still being monitored at the vet, but he did really, really well last night in the overnight clinic and the vet thinks he may be able to go home tonight which I think will help him recuperate faster. Another good thing is that the enormous vet bill isn't going to be quite as enormous as my mom thought originally so I think I can pay her back in a relatively short amount of time ($2,600 down from $6,000). And I know, a lot of people think it's absolutely insane to spend so much money on animals, but I don't care. My relationship with my dog is the simplest, most rewarding relationship I have so it's totally worth it. And just look at how adorable/regalon he is:

Thanks so much to those who commented for your kind words. I'd never shared a personal problem like that before and hope I won't have to for a while (but come on, that's life, right?) but it was a really nice outlet for me and I appreciate the comments so THANKS! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

bad, bad day

Today has been just awful. I got some bad news around noon today and it just kept piling on from there. And what just makes it unbearable is that it's been a ripple effect and I can't see the end of it yet. I think I'll wait to delve into some of the details in the hopes that something miraculous will happen to change things, but for now I'll just say that today, among other things, brought me the news that my beloved dog Dylan is very sick in the animal hospital and will remain there for at least 3 more days so the vet can monitor his system after having a piece of a towel removed from his intestine (the vet and I have noooooooo idea why my pick eater of a dog would eat a towel). It absolutely kills me to know that he's in such a grave condition and that that I'm here and not with him. What's worse is that he's my dog which means he's my responsibility yet I'm in no position to pay his vet bills. Partly because of this, I also just found out that my mom isn't coming to visit me in April because she can't. And that was horrible to hear because it makes me so sad and because I know it's so much harder on her. It totally sucked to hear how upset she was and I had no idea what to say to make her feel better which I hate. For our family, 2008 was a very, very rough year so a day like today just magnifies an ongoing bad situation. Normally, I'm a (somewhat) optimistic person, but I'm having a hard time seeing the bright side of things today. Here's hoping that tomorrow's better...

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Chilean Wonder Woman

I have posted about my suegra P. before and how wonderful she is, but I didn't touch on her superhero traits. She is a Jack(lyn?)-of-all-trades. In her family, they (we) all play a game at almost every family gathering where everyone has to go around and list one "profession" or responsibility she's assumed without repeating any of them . The list is endless (seamstress, nurse, butcher, carpenter, vet, therapist, grill master, life coach etc) and the point of it is to show that there seems to be nothing this woman can't do. Common sense doesn't even begin to describe her approach to EVERYTHING. She's just one of those people who always knows what to do in any situation and yesterday, I witnessed her newest skill as a bombera (firewoman).

I was walking from the market with P. and my cuñada when when P. said, "I smell something burning...it smells like plastic.". Two seconds later she was sprinting down the street and around the corner while my cuñi and I were still trying to figure out what was going on. Once 4 or 5 others dashed around the corner screaming "agua!!! agua!!!". we realized there was a fire. My superhero suegra threw her groceries down, ran into the house next door, dumped their trash out and filled the bin with water and then darted next door to throw it on the kitchen fire in under a minute. I don't think the owners of the house would have realized she had been there if she hadn't told them afterwards. There were several people there before she got there and they were all helping in some way, but no one took action like P. did (including me).

The fire turned out to be a small kitchen fire so it was under control within a few minutes and everyone was OK. The woman who owned the house was crying and obviously very shaken up, but that was to be expected. Everyone else in the house was calmly cleaning up the mess and all of the people from the street went back to what they were doing before the fire. P. came out the house, picked up her bags, and we walked home to eat lunch. She probably would have left it at that, but her daughter and I were amazed by how naturally she ran into the house not knowing how bad it would be (there was thick, black smoke EVERYWHERE). Her children are semi-used to her doing stuff like this, but it still totally blows my mind how quick she is to help ANYONE who needs it.

Not only that, but it's truly a gift that she always seems to do the right thing. I remember her brother telling me a story about the guy next door shooting (and eventually killing) himself and P. running next door to help with whatever happened when she heard the gunshot. My first reaction to a gunshot would probably be something like "take cover" or "hide", but hers is, "go help".

"Go help" seems to be her mantra and she never strays from it. She went with her niece to pick up her furniture after a nasty divorce, she went with her sister to every doctor's appointment when she was going through radiation, her other niece confides in her regularly and seeks her advice and she calls me everyday to make sure there's nothing I need and if I were ever to need any thing, she'd do or get it for me.

She is always the first person to run to any family member with a problem and she's always the first to offer any kind of help. She knows things you only learn through experience and boy, has she experienced a lot.

While I'm geographically very far my family and the important women in my life, it is a great comfort to know I have such a talented and wise woman so close. I have a kick-ass mom at home who can do anything and an awesome sister as well as everything my late Grams taught me, but here I have my Wonder Suegra and I think she's a fine addition to the group of women I admire.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

WEIRD and possibly disgusting question

OK, I hope I don't gross anyone out with this post, but I'm dying for someone who knows something about German men (and their peeing habits) to help me out with this.

Tonight, I was chatting with Italo and he mentioned that a friend of his who is dating a German girl told him that German men pee sitting down. He said this because when this friend went to visit his girlfriend in Germany, she and her friends were disgusted that he peed standing up (not sure how they ALL found this out) and told him that all German men pee sitting down.

Anyone know anything about this??? I have no idea why I want more information, but I guess I'm just so used to crossing the tiny plaza by my apartment and seeing men stopping to take a standing leak in front of everyone in broad daylight without so much as batting an eye--It would be interesting to know that most men from an entire country actually take the time to sit down and get 'er done! I tried to google it, but as to be expected I got a bunch of porn sites instead of what I was looking for. I did find a guy's blog about posted signs in public restrooms in Germany that prohibited standing, but it was a kind of crazy blog so who knows if he's reliable or not.

OH, and I totally understand if no one wants to reply, haha..