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).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cooking Again

Because Italo has class every Saturday and I tutor, we usually grab a quick bite to eat on the way to somewhere else and have gotten out of the practice of going to la vega and cooking a big meal. Today, my kiddies were down south with their parents so I got back in the kitchen. I bought some reineta and veggies and grabbed the coconut milk my friend gave me and made Moqueca, a Brazilian fish stew. It was delicious, but the coconut milk makes it a heavy dish that would make my cuñada sick just thinking about how that mixes with the paprika, red pepper, and other spices. It's perfect if you want to lounge around afterwards, but now I need to go out and all I want is a nap!

I finally decided to take a picture, but it's from my computer so it's no masterpiece:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vamos a Decir que NO!

I don't know how it took me so long to see this video, and the others, but I'm glad I finally did:

This is from the 1988 Chilean National Plebiscite-where the Chilean people voted to end Augusto Pinochet's 16 1/2 year rule. Well, 56% of the Chilean people voted that way. The others were singing a different tune. Literally:

If you type anything about the Chilean Plebiscite on youtube, you'll find plenty of videos from both sides (more from "no") and if you're like me, you'll get lost watching the doctored videos with red images dripping down the screen to reveal burning buses and chaos.

Now, I'm certainly not going to get into a Pinochet discussion per se, but lately I have not been able to avoid this taboo conversation topic as much as I'd like to sometimes.

Because of my job, I teach mainly one type of man (nope, no lady student of mine fits the description) who share many things in common. They are wealthy, Catholic (more precisely Opus Dei), and conservative engineers who studied at either Universidad Los Andes or La Católica. I'm not generalizing here. It's a fact. I have all of their information in my teacher's binder. Here in Chile, these characteristics are pretty much code for "I'm a Pinochetista, or at least my parents were. And I voted for Piñera."* Most anyone in Chile will tell you that they can figure out (and they do try to figure it out) which "side" of the Allende/Pinochet uhh, "issue" a person is on within the first few minutes of meeting them and quite frankly, it's impossible not to. The signs are obvious and it's just something you pick up on here.

When I teach I don't bring up the old Allende/Pinochet** discussion ever for many reasons. Recently, however, my students have wanted to talk about this and everything associated with it when they've never even mentioned it before. Last week, one student laid his opinion out on the table and then went on and on about his feelings on having kept his mouth shut before. It was more like a therapy session on not being able to talk about his beliefs than anything else. Then on Friday, I had a much louder student give me an angry history lecture on the Chilean military (not at all what I learned from 4 years of Latin American Studies and 6 months of Chilean history courses here). Not a huge deal, but it's just so out of the norm that something's got to be going on. I really got the sense that these two students are fed up with being quiet about things and aren't going to stand it much longer. I'm extrapolating A LOT since I only have two examples to go by, but I definitely sense a change in how people who hummed along to the sí song back in 1988 talk about their political beliefs and I wonder if anyone else has had a similar experience.

*Someone pointed out that I'm making a direct comparison between Pinochet and Piñera, politically speaking, which is not what I mean to do, but I guess I need some writing classes to get that point across better :) What I mean to say is that this group of students I'm talking about supported Pinochet and also voted for Piñera. Piñera is not at all like Pinochet and I don't want to make readers think it's like that or that I think that.

**I'm also not saying that Allende was some dream president. AT ALL. I definitely sympathize more with the left in this case, but it would be naive of me to think one's the bad guy and the other's the good guy. And I tend to think every politician has a little (maybe a lot) of bad in him/her anyhow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Milk Money

First, welcome my mom (and I'm sure my dad, too) to the blog. I have never told anyone at home that I have this, but a few internet savvy people have found it anyway. I guess it's time to come clean to the folks back in VA and admit I'm a blogger:

Hi, my name is Isabel and I have a blog.


I'm in Starbucks right now. I'm in A Starbucks at least 4 times a week. I sit and use the free internet and drink an OK coffee of the day. I have almost always ordered the coffee of the day because it's quick and it's cheap. They fill it up while I'm paying and I get out of Starbucks within minutes.

This is not the case in Chile. Because I ask for a coffee with "one finger of milk" (this is our system so that I don't get a cortado, or half coffee/half milk because my "poquito" is not the same as other peoples' "poquito"), the coffee must go down the line to the espresso bar. Always. Without fail. Inevitably, I wait along with everyone else to get my coffee with milk. This is because there is no milk on the counter with the sugar and the napkins. Once, I went to a Santiago Starbucks and there was milk on the counter, but I haven't seen it since then. I have wondered why they don't put the milk out here and have come up with two possibilities:

1. The milk isn't hot if it's out on the counter. Many Chileans I know love hot milk. They drink it at breakfast and they buy a cortado mostly for the heated milk. When your coffee goes through the espresso line, you get warm to hot milk and sometimes even foam (I love those days) in your coffee. It sorta makes sense that the milk isn't out on the counter if people are going to be asking the employees to heat it up anyway.

2. People will use the free milk too liberally
. Again because many Chileans love their milk, maybe Starbucks is worried some will help themselves to glassfulls of it once they've finished their coffee. I'm pretty positive this is at least part of the reason, but you never know. It's just funny to think about because it would never occur to me to refill my cup with milk, but it has always occurred to me to refill my soda at Taco Bell even if you're not supposed to.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The kitchen/bedroom??

It's been a lazy saturday evening after a crazy busy week and I'm topping it all off with a big glass of wine in bed while I stream Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations episodes. I pretty much always watch Anthony Bourdain and drink wine frequently, but I just started to think about how much of the wine I drink in Chile is drunk in bed.

Eating/drinking in bed is one Chilean (or maybe just the Chileans I know?) habit I've adopted. I kinda hate it/kinda love it. Italo and I often eat breakfast in bed on Sunday mornings and since we both work late, we also end up crashing in bed when we get home at night and because I require a glass of red wine after a long day, I end up drinking it in bed because I'm so tired. This may seem symptomatic of alcoholism to some, but I see it as my adaptation of a pretty universal Chilean custom: eating in bed.

I was never, EVER allowed to do this growing up and I had no problem with it. Eating in bed just doesn't feel right. I hate crumbs in the bed and since I'm a messy person, they're inevitable. But when I first got here, my host family would always encourage my breakfast and me to get a room. In fact, we all went our separate ways in the morning to "enjoy" our crappy nescafe "en cama" and then I just sort of picked up the practice and never looked back.

Now, I rarely have time to eat breakfast and I almost never eat lunch at my apartment during the work week, so I've taken to eating my dinner or at least taking my wine to bed with me. Since I'm messy, this also means that halfway through the next day, you're almost sure to find an empty (SOMETIMES half-empty, but not often) wine glass on my nightstand. Some people have a glass of water next to them. Others just a bedside lamp and a magazine. But me? No. No. I have the remnants of my nightcap.

I don't think many other people drink wine in bed, but plenty of Chileans drink tea and eat bread inbed. I still hate that I do this because the thought of crumbs in my sheets drives me crazy, but I haven't been able to fight it, either.There's something so decadently wrong about making your bed your kitchen table, too.It's also completely understandable sometimes. Especially during the winter months where the only semi-warm place is under the covers, it's hard to argue against it.

I've resolved to kick this nasty habit once I have heat and manage to get the tv out of the bedroom and into the tv room where it belongs (another Chilean habit I cannot shake), but in the mean time, salud and goodnight!

Monday, July 19, 2010

All Dried Up

This winter is incredibly dry. Most winters in Santiago are dry, but this one is taking its toll on my body. To start with the ugly, it gives me dandruff. Generally I buy shampoo for oily hair, but that's all changed this winter. Even my face flakes if I don't moisturize it 3 times a day. EW, I know, but I buy special moisturizer that I've never found here so this winter is costing me dolla dolla bills.

Second comes the gross. I got my first nosebleed in about uhhhhh 15 years yesterday. I was talking on gchat with my sister and thinking, wow one of my nostrils is bigger than the other and then I realized it wasn't bigger, it was just dripping blood and looked bigger in my computer's camera. My dad's side of the family is known for nosebleeds in winter time, but it's never happened to me. Santiago winter has changed that. I am now my father's daughter. I can feel the sting each time I breathe deeply through my nose.

Third comes the OLD. My hands are absolutely, positively 40 years older than I am. They are so wrinkly I can't look at them without freaking myself out. If anyone's seen the movie The Others, remember when you think you'll find a little girl playing under a veil, but rather you see an old lady's hand sticks out from underneath it?? Sorry if I ruined that surprise but my face is the little girl and my hands are the old, wrinkly lady. I'm resorting to sleeping with Vasoline smeared hands in cotton gloves.

I never thought I'd say this, but I think I miss (SOME OF) the humidity of Northern Virginia. At least my hair, skin and nose are normal there. Now, I have to worry about things I thought I'd get to put off for almost another 10 years. Thanks, Chile, thanks.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cat Castration

I'm sure someone has already posted about this, but it cracks me up/infuriates me how so many Chileans view fixing your male cat (and dog) as cruel and unnecessary.

This morning I had an early private class and then I went to return my friend's cat carrier that I had borrowed last week to take McNulty to get the big snip. I brought the empty carrier to my student's apartment and naturally, he was curious about it. When I told him what I used it for he said, "PLEASE tell me it was a gata and not a gato!!". The look on his face when I told him McNulty is indeed a gatO was that of excruciating pain. He just couldn't understand why on earth I would do such a thing to an animal I supposedly love, especially since he's not the one who would make the mistake of getting pregnant. This CRACKED ME UP and made me want to give him a little refresher course on the birds and the bees. Hello! It takes two to tango.

This student is otherwise very intelligent, but he just can't grasp why it's necessary to both spay female cats AND neuter male cats. To him, it's not my problem if McNulty sleeps around the town because we won't have any of his illegitimate kittens to deal with. When I brought up the fact that other people would have to deal with them he said, "wow, that's very considerate of you to fix him for other people." And then he went back to the fact that it was painful to even think about what I had done when in reality, it is much more invasive and painful for female cats than it is for male cats to get fixed.

Now, I don't want to single just this one student out because I've heard it from so many people, which explains why so many Chileans prefer male pets to female pets; because then they don't have to "worry" about anything. This is one of those cultural differences that I can laugh at, but when I really start to think about what's behind that thinking it's upsetting.

I won't get into that (in this post, at least), but come on Chileans. Take animal balls for what they are! In fact, take all balls for what they are: 50% responsible for offspring.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

These boots really are made for walking

So maybe I've lived in Chile too long to know any better, but I've had a lot of luck shopping the past much so that I'd say I really like the clothes that are out right now. In fact, I LOVE what I bought. Granted, one thing was a ridiculously cheap dress originally from J. Crew but my other purchase was a pair of Chilean boots I just adore. I might even go as far as to say that Chile has a better boot selection than the US. WOW, yup. I said it.

I think I can rationalize this by saying that I prefer one Chilean style (the shorter, wide boots with no heels). The U.S. is teeming with sexy, tall boots that I'll never even try on. Why? Because I cannot wear them and if "what not to Wear" and my mother have taught me anything, it's that good fit always trumps what's fashionable. I'm too short and my calves are too big for anything tall to go on them so I adore the tiny Chilean boots that don't come up far enough to turn my ankles into those dreaded cankles. What I also love about my recent purchases is that both were very reasonably priced which is a rarity when shopping in Chile.

What's going on here? Are things "en oferta" actually going to be a deal? Are we going to see a Target and an H&M pop up so we can look both stylish and afford our apartments? Is Chile finally realizing its clothes are ridiculously overpriced??

HAH, NO! I know it was just luck. I don't think Chile's quite there yet on the affordable, well-made, fashionable clothing. But I'm happy with my two good deals.

Here's a picture of my beloved footwear (I originally took that picture to show my mom/get her approval which is why you can see newly-mohawked Italo in the background):

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Show me the [Meyer] lemons

Saying that I love to cook is an understatement. When a student or two cancels a class and I have some extra time, I browse my favorite food blogs, make a list, run to la Vega to get ingredients, then come home and put on my favorite music and start cooking--this is when I'm happiest.

I've always fought female stereotypes and anyone who knows me knows that in my relationship, Italo and I tend to swap positions and I do a lot of the "husband" things and he does a lot of the "wife" things. With that said, if I could stay at home and cook all day for my friends and family I would live a wonderful life. Ask me to clean the place afterwards and I'm not so thrilled.

Now, this obsession with cooking and food combined with my living in Chile often poses problems because it's simply too expensive or downright impossible to buy certain ingredients. I like to cook according to the seasons so I get the best deal which makes it hard to run out and cook whatever's all the rage among the U.S. foodies. This makes it almost unbearable to read posts and see pictures of certain things.

Today and for the past several months it has been Meyer lemons. I am absolutely DYING to try these things. People are writing about them like they're the cat's pajamas and I want one! I want one so badly. I want to make ginger lemonade, and these unbelievable sounding puddings and I just want to bite into one to see what the fuss is all about.

Meyer lemons are supposed to taste like a mix between a lemon and a mandarin or sweet orange. Some people eat them like apples which gets me really excited because I have always loved eating the insides of orange and lemon peels. This is what they look like and they are taunting me everyday:

If anyone finds them in the Santiago area (I WILL travel for them), PLEASE let me know and I will invite you over for whatever I make with them if they are all they're cracked up to be (if you're not a creeper, that is).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Vengo de la Cordillera al Mar

Well over a year ago my sister got the idea of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and started planning a trip with her boyfriend. My first thoughts were, "hey! you're going to fly all the way to South America and NOT visit your little sister in Chile?" But on Christmas morning 2009 I opened up my gift from my sister and guess what it was: a trip to Machu Picchu!

Fast forward four months and my sister, her boyfriend, two friends, Italo and I meet up in Cusco (Italo and I had just taken the 24-hour bus ride from hell but the second we got to Cusco almost all was forgotten). We had a few days to tool around before our trek and got to know the city which is gorgeous. Then, it was time to meet our guide and pack our packs.

I was particularly nervous about the hike because I had vowed to quit smoking 1 month before the trip, but after the earthquake I gave myself an extra week, you know, because I thought I was going to die then and didn't so may as well ruin my lungs. Then, I quit for about a week and then, all bets were off. During this time, I was also running to get in shape (I live in Santiago Centro so that's almost equally bad for your lungs) and that plus altitude got me really nervous.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend who refuses to exercise and will not quit smoking could probably run a marathon in record time tomorrow because he's just annoying like that.

Anyhow, back to the hike. Our first day we met the 2 other people in our group (we made up 6 of the 8) and immediately hit it off with Frank and Andre. This was a relatively easy day until the last 2 hours that were straight up. I hadn't slept the entire night before so I'm pretty sure I shed a tear halfway up because I was so tired and dreading the next day because everyone says day 2 is the hardest.
This is me before the rain and before it got rough

Luckily, a lot of coca tea and a good night's sleep pumped me up for the next day and we all had a blast despite walking 4 hours up the steepest stairs/rocks/dirt I've ever seen and then straight down only to eat lunch and do the same thing again. The views we saw were absolutely incredible and made it ok that I'm now missing two toenails because of the downhill parts (duct tape is god-sent on hiking trips when your body starts falling apart).

We were all smiles from here on out

From night 2 on out everything was a piece of cake (not really, but in hindsight it was) and so much fun. The company we used provided us with some of the best food we had in Peru and really high quality service so I was sad to say goodbye to our crew at 4am on the last day until I realized it was only a few hours to our final destination. It was kind of a race from the entrance to the Sun Gate, but since it was overcast that was a big letdown and we just pushed on to Machu Picchu.

Our wonderful group

Let me just say that it REALLY is all it's cracked up to be. I'm the kind of person who is usually let down when something is hyped up, but this was incredible. We were all like little kids taking pictures and marveling at the views while our tour guide got angrier and angrier because we just couldn't sit still and listen to him. Unfortunately, our camera died on our 2nd picture there so I don't have pictures on my computer, but Italo was clever enough to film some videos with our Flip Camera set to, of course, Los Jaivas--a Chilean band that was invited to play on Machu Picchu, which explains the title of this post. That song, Pregón para Iluminarse (not one of the songs they played on Machu Picchu, but it's my favorite), was stuck in my head the whole hike, but I couldn't get the tune right and it became a running joke. I still can't do it!!

The rest of the trip was great, but nothing compared to Machu Picchu. I was really disappointed in my Lima experience but I'll blog about that and the really stressful parts of our trip (it ended with an email from my suegra saying our entire apartment had flooded and we would be coming home to a floorless, empty apartment) next time. Before; however, I'll leave you with my favorite picture from the trip because I love getting dipped :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fuerza Chile

I haven't posted since before the earthquake and am just getting the inspiration to write about it.

I was in my apartment, about to get into bed when the earthquake hit. Luckily, I was with Italo and we both reacted quickly and ran to the doorframe. It was the scariest experience of my life and at one point, I thought we were going to die because I mistook the sound the buildings made moving for crashing down.

Having said that, I am so lucky. Even though it was a horrible experience for me, we didn't so much as lose a glass or plate. So many people here lost their houses and loved ones and I feel fortunate to say that my loved ones are OK.

I think everyone in Chile was in a grieving state last week because we all went to work, but didn't really work and we all hung out, but only talked about the earthquake. We've also had plenty of tremors to remind us that it's not over yet.

I have also been inundated with friends and family contacting me because they want to help in any way possible. Any way, that is, that does not involve donating money to the big organizations. So, it has become my job to find other ways to use the money my amazing family and friends have so generously donated to help Chile.

Last week, we found plenty of wonderful people taking supplies to their families and friends down south and now, Italo and I are getting money together to travel down south once we can be of more help.

My question is what is everyone else planning on doing? From reading posts on facebook, it's clear that all of my gringa/o and chilean friends alike helping and I would like to put together a list of all the ways people can contribute to write a letter to my local newspaper in the U.S. I am aware of all of the big organizations, but am not interested in involving them so anything small-scale would be better. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dude, where's my (Italo's) bike?

In order to save money and get a little more exercise, I started riding my (well, Italo's) bike everywhere. At first, I was terrified of getting hit by a bus, but I soon felt (almost) comfortable riding everywhere. My place in El Centro to El Golf? No prob! Riding with the micros through the center down to Barrio Brasil? Chya, easy peasy. Riding the bike to Providencia and locking it up outside? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

So, I had a 1-hour class yesterday in Providencia. I picked my pole carefully and since I had locked my bike there before, I felt comfortable it would be OK. I wrapped my lock through every spoke and bar and wheel I could. I wiped the inevitable sweat off my forehead, drank Santiago's finest tap water, and took the elevator up to the 22nd floor to my class with my helmut swinging from my backpack, feeling cool.

Fast-foward 1 hour and I'm a lot richer since my student paid me for the whole month. I call my honey to plan to meet for lunch and round the corner to get on my sweet ride and then, I'm brought back down to Earth when I realize my boyfriend's pride and joy (OK, that's a little overkill, but he loved that bike!) is nowhere to be seen. Feeling like an idiot (and a jerk for getting my boyfriend's bike stolen), I manage to tell Italo (since I'm talking on the phone with him when I realize his prized possession is gone and probably halfway to Las Persas to be sold by the motherf**ker who cut my lock and stole our ride). Being the greatest guy in the world that he is, Italo doesn't miss a beat in telling me to get home and not to worry about it and that the important thing is that I'm OK.

What's lamer than someone thinking they're so cool for riding their bike everywhere, you ask? I'll tell you. It's me, helmet still in tow, having to buy a metro ticket since I ditched my BIP pass when I ditched Transantiago for the bike.

So here I sit, next to my bike-less boyfriend, feeling like a jerk and hoping I never see that model again because I think I may accuse some innocent person of stealing from me.

After researching it, apparently this is the only kind of lock that works so I will be buying several and putting them all over the next bike:

So, my dear boyfriend, even though you don't want to hear it because you really don't seem the slightest bit mad at me, this is my public apology. I'm sorrrrrrrry that beautiful bike isn't sitting outside on our patio tonight.


On the bright side, we have a kitten who is adorable and fitting in wonderfully here. Say hello to McNulty: