Saturday, May 5, 2012

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

God it felt so good to go out with good old friends on Wednesday night! I told you I would go to my monthly book club meeting that night and I didn't let you down. It was a night of much needed drinks, good food, chit chat, support, and fun. We did pretty much everything under the sun except discuss the actual book because it had been quite a while since we had the whole group reunited so we were too busy catching up. I guess this means we need to get together more often outside of book club or else our monthly meetings will be turning into random booze filled happy hours...not that I'm complaining...It would just be nice to continue our book club tradition since it's been going on for over a year now and we got a good thing going on here.

Though Wednesday was a blast, I seriously overdid it on the alcohol...I think I just can't handle liquor anymore since nowadays, I rarely party as I've mentioned. I went to bed feeling like I was on a boat rocking back and forth and back and forth...I've never EVER felt that before after drinking. I had that feeling every time I closed my eyes and the motion made me feel sick and I felt like I was going to vomit. I therefore tried to stay awake for a while until the feeling passed, but it didn't and I remember waking up in a dizzy haze throughout the night feeling like I was seasick on a boat. I don't know, maybe the wine was tainted or something because I've never had that feeling after drinking before.

So you can imagine how much fun it was to get up for work the next morning. Of course I had the hugest hangover ever but I popped an aspirin and thought it would pass. It didn't pass. It got progressively worse as the day went on and by lunch I was ready to vomit again. This was another first, I've never experienced a hangover that got progressively worse throughout the day. Weird.

By the time Friday came around, I was dying and ready for the weekend. Work has been so demanding and it's only going to get more demanding in the next few weeks and so now, all I want to do when the weekend comes around is to sit in bed watching Modern Family or The Office, snoop on Facebook, read, and sleep. My poor husband must think I am so boring but that's all I've had the energy to do lately. God I can't imagine what life will be like with kids thrown into the picture! Yikes!

Friday I got home and pretty much fell into bed and had a nice long much deserved sleep. This morning I felt refreshed and energized and went for a run. E and I spent all morning in our pjs hanging out in bed just chilling (my kind of morning) and later on we went grocery shopping. I love that my darling husband doesn't complain when I make him drive across the city to the nice fancy Unimarc at Manquehue to do our shopping as opposed to the lider a couple blocks down the street. He understands me and my love of food and of browsing through the isles looking at all the pretty things and reading the labels and just soaking in all the splendour that is this grocery store. This particular grocery store has everything, and more. I can always find everything I'm looking for there, there are always less people, the customer service is MUCH better, they have a Starbucks, a sushi bar, a sandwich shop, a pasta place, a pizza shop, and a buffet. They also have the best selection of freshly baked breads, and bread is one of my passions in life so this makes me very happy.

Tomorrow is Sunday, another day full of big plans (not). E and I plan on spending all morning in bed again, going to our usual coffee place for morning coffee, feasting on the delicious lentils I made today for lunch, and finishing off the day by going to a movie. I think I may actually even do some more baking tomorrow...we'll see how crazy I'm feeling.

Let me end this post by sharing a fabulous recipe with you for healthy granola bars. I found this recipe at a new website I'm obsessed with called Whole Living (www.wholeliving.com), which is not only bursting with amazing recipe ideas, but also has a lot of great info about health, mind, body, soul, and green living. I recommend you check it out, it's great. You can find the granola bar recipe here, and check out my cool photo of the delicious bars I made below.


A good weekend to all!



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hello World, I'm Back!

Hello all I'm back! Just when you all thought I abandoned you I jump right back into the blogging world once again. I know it's been a while and I've said this before but I plan on trying to update my blog more frequently from now on. Come on me...I know I can do it!

So...where to begin...so much has happened in the past few months. My last post was on the last night of 2011 so this will officially be my first post of 2012. Wow. My poor neglected blog. So much to tell...where to begin?

First of all, let me tell you all about my work life, the reason for my long absence from blogging. The end of 2011 was a crazy time for me at work. I'm not going to get into details because I do not want to share details of my work life in a public blog but since January, I started working in a new area in the company and have since been promoted twice. I now have my own office and I feel like I rule the world. (yay me!) Things have been going so fast for me professionally and I've had to adapt quickly to learn all the new skills and abilities I need to master my new position which is VERY demanding. This is why, in these past 4 months, I have essentially been living and breathing my work. However, now that the dust has somewhat settled, I'm starting to get a better understanding of everything and am starting to feel more comfortable and confident with what I'm doing...which is why I've decided to stop neglecting my personal life and all the little things that gave me joy like this blog and start making more time for me and my friends. Speaking of my friends, I think I've only seen my good old group of gringa friends once since January. Things have got to change. Tomorrow we have our monthly bookclub meeting so we'll start there. Nothing can keep me away!

I never thought I could make a career for myself here in Chile and I am kind of blown away with the path my life has taken. I always looked at Chile as a transitory place in my life, somewhere I would stick it out for a while before eventually moving back to Canada. I never thought I could find a job in a good company and work my way up and be happy and satisfied with my life. I seriously thought I would be stuck teaching English for all my days in Chile and then press play on my professional life once I got back to Canada. I could not have been more wrong. I am so happy in a job that I love and I am so thankful that I ended up where I did in a career that is stimulating, satisfying, and full of opportunities.

So everything is good on the work front and everything is even better on the relationship front. This January, my husband and I celebrated one year of marriage. I'm not going to lie, the first year wasn't a piece of cake and I think people may have been right when they said that the first year of marriage is the most challenging. We spent a lot of time trying to adjust to our new lives, find a balance between being together and salvaging our independence. Okay I admit it, I was the one who had a bit of a crisis in trying to hang on to her independence but those few chaotic months are behind us now and I think we've found our balance...or we're on the way to finding it. But the point is that we're happy and every day we're learning how to build our lives together in a way that makes us both fulfilled and I think this something that never stops in a marriage.

This year is going to be a very fun year for my hubby and I. We happen to have a lot of long weekends this year, almost one or two per month, and so E and I went crazy and bought tickets to somewhere in South America for every long weekend for the rest of the year! This is one of the reasons I wanted to start blogging again, I want to be able to document our travels. For the first long weekend back in April, we went on a trip to Valdivia and I will tell you more about that in a post to follow. Some other future destinations include: Puerto Varas, Frutillar, Puerto Montt, Chiloe, Coyhaique, Buenos Aires, Punta Arenas, Valle de Elqui...and then end of the year with a big month long trip to Europe, half of which we're doing with my family who are meeting us there! This year is all about travelling and I can't wait. We want to do as much of it as we can before we have kids so we went a little crazy.

And now I'm off to enjoy this glorious Tuesday holiday in Chile by going with E to have lunch at the in-laws. Started off the morning with a run and coffee with E at our favorite little coffee shop just around the corner. After lunch we're going to the mall and a movie. This week is going to go by so fast for me since we only work half a day on Fridays. It's so nice having a holiday in the middle of the week to break up the work routine.

Happy Workers Day to all!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and New Year in Beautiful Cold Canada!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

I am so happy to be writing this post from my dear home country of Canada. It has been 1 year and 7 months since I was last home. I have never been away for this long! Since we have no idea when we will make it back to Canada, my mom got a little anxious and bought me a cheap ticket on a whim to come home. So you can imagine my surprise when I opened my email at work and found an eticket to Canada waiting for me. Unfortunately, my husband has no vacation time since he started his new job a few months ago, but he knew how much I missed my family and told me I should go...god bless him. So here I am, having the time of my life with friends and family.

I arrived on the 24th, the perfect day to be stuck in airports, but luckily, I had no major delays. The only problem was that my luggage was lost...and I still haven't gotten it back 5 days later. This sucks because I had all my christmas presents and favorite outfits in there. There goes my entire winter wardrobe! However, I am not too upset about this since I am just so freaking happy to be back. Words cannot describe how happy I was to see my dad waiting for me as I walked out of the baggage claim with a bouquet of flowers in his hands and a big smile on his face. Of course I teared up right away. We hugged and started talking non stop. After leaving the airport, the first stop was Starbucks of course, for the road, and next, Safeway. I absolutely LOVE the sandwhiches they prepare there. Waaayy better than Subway. It's amazing how much one can miss such little details about their previous life.

The drive to my home town, which is just outside of Vancouver, was breathtaking and I was reminded once again of why I want to end up back here. There was a low mist hanging over the mountains and the air was crisp and cool, my kind of weather. The sun was strategically poking out from behind the clouds in places that amplified the beauty of the forests and mountains we were passing. It was a glorious ride home and I felt as if Canada was welcoming home. As tired as I was, I just could not force myself to sleep because I was just too damn excited to be back. My dad and I talked the whole ride home. I arrived to my house to find it illuminated with Christmas lights, covered in snow, and I could see the big pine Christmas tree shining brightly in the front window. Ahhh...it's good to see Christmas again. In Chile I have never felt like I have had Christmas there. They really don't celebrate much.

My mom and my sister greeted me with huge hugs and we started talking a mile a minute. It was as if I had never left. Everyone shooed me to the dinner table right away and we had a nice Christmas Eve dinner where we talked and laughed non stop. After we went to the Christmas service at our church where I got to see a few good family friends. Once we arrived home, my family and I huddled around the Christmas tree in the living room with tea and continued to talk and catch up about our lives over some hot tea. I know, picture perfect Christmas. It was just what I needed.

The next day, my family and I spent all day lounging around in our pjs and opening and enjoying our Christmas presents. The day after that, my family threw me a big welcome home party and everyone I knew in this city came. Our family is famous in town for having pretty amazing parties because my dad is a musician and a great entertainer and always breaks out the guitar at some point in the evening. Therefore, our parties always end in singing and dancing and that night was no different.

The rest of the week flew by in a blur. I can't believe that as I write this it's Saturday. In a week I'll be back in Chile. This week was full of visiting old friends and family. I met with my old highschool friends for dinner one night, I met with my university friends one night where we had a full night of partying, and I am spending every spare second I can with my mom, dad, and sister. Tonight is New Years night and I'm going up to a friends cabin in the mountains on a lake which is about 40 minutes out of town. A bunch of my good university friends are all going up there and we're planning on going skating and having a bon fire, a great way to finish off 2011.

So I'm going to end this post now. I know this is kind of random, especially since I haven't posted in a while, but I promise I will do a post soon to update everyone on my life. For now, I'm just enjoying life at home with my lovely family and taking in everything I've missed for so long. I don't want to think about my Chilean life just yet, I barely have any time left here, just one more week!

I hope you all (whoever is reading this) has a wonderful and safe New Years Eve celebration tonight and a great year to come!

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September

Ahhh spring. I know I always complain that I hate the sun and the heat but I can't deny the happiness I feel when I walk to work in the balmy morning and breathe in that delicious flowery perfume that stains the air now that everything is in full bloom. My favorite things about summer are the mornings and the evenings when the sun is gone and all the flowers and plants open up and release their sweet fragrances. It is heaven. During the winter here in Santiago, you tend to loose your sense of smell since the smog pretty much kills everything...then spring comes, and you remember what it's like to smell again. As soon as I smell all these summer smells: freshly cut grass, flowers and trees of every kind...I'm taken back to the hot desert summers of my little home town and all the memories come flooding back: nights and days at the lake, bonfires, swimming, boating, friends, parties...sigh, I miss it.

Okay so now to get back to my life. In this post I will attempt to wrap up the month of Septmeber, since I've been such a bad blogger and can't seem to coordinate my blog with my life. So here it goes:

September is the month that my husband turned 30, a pretty important birthday. We celebrated by having two parties, one with his friends and one with his family. They were both pretty relaxed but we had a good time anyway. I made my first attempt at a carrott cake which had pineapple, coconut, and cream cheese dressing and it turned out pretty amazing. Everybody was raving since they're not used to carrott cake. They thought I was a genius for trying something so different though I tried to explain to them that this cake was pretty standard in North America. I also made my first attempt at hummus which turned out pretty incredible. It was lemon basil hummus and it was so easy. I just threw everything in a blender and it was done. The easiet appy one can possibly make. Again, all the Chileans were raving and couldn't believe how ingenius it was to make a dip out of garbanzo beans. I explained to them that this was also a pretty standard thing for us North Americans but they couldn't get over it. People really aren't used to experimenting in the kitchen here. Just incase your curious, I got the recipes for the carrott cake and the hummus from Simply Recipes (www.simplyrecipes.com), one of my favorite food blogs.

So my husbands birthday came and went and pretty soon it was time to celebrate the big 18, Chile's national holiday. At work I decided to throw a little office bash for our area so I went to ask for money from my bosses boss to organize the event and he allowed it. I went all out and decorated or whole floor until it was barely recognizable, I ordered empanadas, mote con huesillos, and I went and bought drinks and snacks etc. Friday we stopped working at 1pm and we had our little celebration which turned out great. Everyone was really happy for this little work reunion and it was so nice to see people break out of their serious office personalities and let loose. We put on cueca music, ate, drank (non-alcoholic beverages of course), and were merry.

We also had a big work event that my company put on for all its employees. They rented a huge event center in Vitacura and set up a huge stage where they had folkloric groups playing typical Chilean songs and they had dancers dancing traditional Chilean dances. They also had various stands set up with all the traditional Chilean games (which really aren't that entertaining but were fun anyway). They had a huge bbq and roasted lamb and pig and had a stand for freshly made empanadas. They went all out. It was a huge event, especially since there are over 1,500 employees where I work. This particular afternoon happened to be one of the first true days of spring we had had until that point and it was sunny and warm. The combination of the beautiful weather and all the wine, chicha, empanadas, and asado made the evening blur into one happy drunken dream. Near the end of the event, my good group of friends at work and I just sprawled out on the grass and soaked up the sun and relaxed and talked. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day. Oh and also, there was a mechanical bull, and I rode it :)













The weekend of the actual 18th, I was supposed to go to a fonda on Friday night with some friends from work but that didn't end up happening. On Saturday morning, my husband and I drove to his parents beach apartment at Papudo and we spend the rest of the weekend there with his brother, his brother's wife, their baby, and his brother's sister-in-law and her husband. It was a nice relaxed weekend. We had our bbqs, enjoyed the beach, and even tried to go to a fonda one night but there was nobody there and it kind of fizzled out so we went home early. So we didn't go all out and celebrate the 18th like crazy but it was a nice festive relaxing weekend at the beach.

Yesterday was a wonderful day, Tyffanie, one of my friends here, threw a going away bbq since her and her husband are going back to the States to start their lives there. It was a gorgeous and hot day. There was a ton of wine and food and some of my closest friends here in Chile were there. We all sat out on the picnic tables in the shade, eating, drinking, catching up, and enjoying the beautiful summer weather. All around us there were families having picnics, kids flying kites, dogs bouncing around happily, it was the perfect picture of a nice summer afternoon. It was so nice to see everyone in that environment and all enjoy the beautiful day together...though it was sad at the same time to see another good friend of mine getting ready to leave :( We'll miss you Tyffanie and Christian!!!

And now here I am, on a beautiful Sunday morning at Strabucks, just chilling with my coffee and my computer. I love lazy Sunday mornings like this. My husband went to train with his running group (he's training to run a marathon) so here I am, enjoying some time on my own. Later he's meeting me here and then we're going for lunch to one of our favorite little restaurants, Santa Bohemia. For those of you that don't know it, it's in Nunoa near Condell and it's incredible. Google it and go there. Then tomorrow it's back to work, but luckily, here in Chile we only work a couple more weeks and then we have another long weekend on October 10th. Then after that long weekend, we work a couple more weeks, and we get another long 4 day weekend! Then comes Christmas and New Years and more long weekends. I love this time of year :)

Happy Sunday everyone!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Life is One Big Party

Wow, this last month has been an absolute blur of happy hours, extravagant lunches and dinners, working late, and dancing until the wee hours of the morning. I've turned into a party animal/workaholic. I don't know what's gotten into me but lately I have been feeling the urge to live life and go crazy. I think it has something to do with the fact that I never went through that phase in my life before. I've always been a nerd at school, never went out much, and then I graduated and came to Chile, got married, and now here I am.

I happend to find an amazing job and have met amazing friends there. We have so much fun together and this is the reason for all the recent happy hours and parties. Almost every day, someone wants to have a happy hour and since I'm 25, a time when I should be enjoying life, I haven't been able to refuse. There's just always something to do and somewhere to go after work. Also, work has been very demanding lately and my boss has needed me to stay until late most nights for the last month. The result, as I've mentioned, is one big fat blur of fun. Luckily I love work and my boss and have no problems staying late.

However, the one person that does have something to say about this recent lifestyle change is my husband. Of course it bothers him and it's hard to all of a sudden almost never see me and I know this kind of life is not sustainable for a healthy marriage but at least he's supportive and recognizes that I need to live a bit of a fun crazy life for a while anyway. I've just got to cut down a little. My husband is 5 years older than me and has already passed the "partying and going out all the time" phase...especially since he has been doing that since he was 13. So we're kind of in different places right now but we know how to meet in the middle and at least he recognizes that I need to have some fun, especially before we settle down and have kids and my life is over ha ha. But I'm not going to lie, it is a struggle trying to find a balance between my desire to be independant and have fun and do things on my own and maintain a healthy marriage. I know that sometimes I can be too independant but I want to maintain my own identity, have my own friends, and have a little bit of my own life separate from my husbands. Is that wrong?

In other news, last weekend I FINALLY went up to snowboard here in Chile! I've been here for about 5 winters in row and have never went up until now. We went to Valle Nevado and the day before it had rained and the day was spectacular! IT was definitely one of the best days I've ever had at a ski mountain. There was fresh powder EVERYWHERE! This of course is a paradise for s snowboarders. All together we were my husband, my brother-in-law, and my husbands brother-in-law's sister. First of all, I'm glad we got there alive. Let me just say that the roads up to the resort were some of the worst winter roads I've ever seen! Even with chains, we lost control of the car a few times and once spun out of control and were inches from going off the cliff. The roads have no baraccades so if you slide and lose control, there is nothing stopping you from plummeting to your death. The roads are so steep because you're driving up the freaking Andes, they are uncomfortabely narrow, and full of ice and snow and gapping holes. Not a safe mix. It also doesn't help that people here don't use winter tires and most don't have a lot of experience driving in winter conditions. So, be careful driving up to the ski resorts. Make sure you have a good car and chains and drive cautiously!

Anyway, we got there at 9am and didn't rest the whole day. Well, we stopped for 5 minutes for lunch but we couldn't get enough. At one point I got separated from the group and ended up at another ski resort called "La Parva". I took a wrong turn and was so tempted by a part of the mountain that had fresh powder everywhere so I took off and before I knew it, I was lost in the middle of the Andes and couldn't see any chair lifts or T-bars anywhere. So, I took off my board and did a little treking, something that is quite difficult in knee-deep powder, and finally found a T-bar. When I asked one of the workers how I could get back to the chair lift, they started laughing at me and told me I was at the bottom of La Parva, a neighboring ski resort. Ha ha, it's kind of funny when you think about it, so they escorted me back to the original ski resort I started out at, Valle Nevado and eventually made it back to the group.

Since I hadn't been boarding in so long, I got a little over excited and went crazy, taking every jump I could find, speeding down every run, and falling all over the place. So, by the end of the day I had bruises everywhere and could barely move. That was a fun week at work, I felt the burn and the bruises all day, every day. It's not that I'm out of shape, I've snowboarded my whole life, but it has been about 2 years since I've been up and I pretty much destroyed my body that day since I was a little too excited about boarding again. It's okay though, I love to feel the burn of your muscles after you've used them, it helps remind me that I'm alive and that body's are meant to be used, not sit in an office all day.

I also mentioned at the beginning of this post that the last month has been filled with extravagant dinners and lunches. This is one of the perks of working in the corporate office of my company. I deal with all the big bosses of all the disciplines and so I get invited to all their fancy events. This month all the disciplines have had big dinners and lunches for all their employees so this has included lunches and dinners at Happenings, Nolita, The Hotel Intercontinental (various times), and the Radisson. Of course I am just loving it. Before working at my company, I had never eaten Wagyu beef before and now in the last month, I've had it 4 times! Not complaining, though my waist might be, but it's been great. It's been a great opportunity to get to know more people at work and just have fun with everyone. Next week we have another big dinner at the Hotel Intercontinental again. God my life is so damn hard ha ha. I have to say that I am so happy right now :)

Other news, we're finally moved into our new apartment!!! This place is amazing, I still can't believe we live here. I absolutely LOVE this neighborhood and it is such a pleasure walking home from work or coming back from a run to come home to such a wonderful place. Moving was a bit of a gong show but we got through it in one piece and with our marriage intact ;) This place now feels like home and we're slowly starting to buy things here and there to make it complete. Next on the list: curtains! We still don't have them. And since I hate direct sunlight, this has been driving me crazy.

And now I think it's time I finish this rediculously long post. Right now E is climbing a mountain with a friend and I am sitting here in our beautiful living room typing away and sipping my once hot coffee. Long weekend plans: Today we're just going to take it easy, I'm going to cook a nice lunch (should get started on that soon since it's already 1pm) and in the evening we're going to go see a movie. Tomorrow E has soccer, we'll have a nice lunch, and in the afteroon I'm spending some quality time with one of my best friends here. We're going to hit up the mall and go see the new Violeta Parra movie which I have been DYING to see! Monday E and I are going to use to go explore and see something new so we're looking at day trip options. Anyone have any good suggestions?

Have a great long weekend everyone!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Sunday :)

Oh life...I love you. Things are good.

I have big news....ready?! No, I'm not pregnant...

NEXT WEEKEND WE'RE FINALLY MOVING INTO OUR NEW APARTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's finally happening! After months of planning and paperwork and banks and headaches and all that crap, we're finally getting this show on the road. The owners are handing over the keys on Wednesday or Thursday and then we're using next weekend to move in. So I may not be blogging next weekend since we will probably be too busy with moving in and organizing and all that jazz. We're going to try to get most of the heavy lifting done on Saturday so that Sunday we can just spend cleaning and organizing etc. We made a deal with our friends and family, if they come help us move on Saturday, I will prepare my famous great big cheesy lasagna which they love and we'll make a party out of it. Of course, everyone agreed, so Saturday will be a fun moving day.

Life in general has been great lately, I've been so happy...WE'VE been so happy, my hubby and I that is. Things just seem perfect and just as they should, and right now I could imagine myself living in Santiago forever. Of course there are days where I still get pangs of homesickness and want to get on the next plane back to Canada, but those moments are becoming fewer and fewer and I'm adjusting and adapting to life in Chile.

Work is just awesome. I love it. Even though I work 11-12 hours a day and pretty much get home and go right to sleep during the week, I love the crowd I work with, I love the evironment, I love my boss, and I love being useful and working hard for something, even though I might not have the most glamours position in the company....yet ;) Last Thursday there was a huge happy hour at a bar in Las Condes for our company and about 70 people went. I went with a few of my workmates and got to know them a lot better. We had such a good time and by the end of the evening we were on our feet dancing. We made plans to go out dancing again next Friday. It had been so long since I had last danced and it felt wonderful. I can't wait until Friday. The plan is to go for dinner, drinks, and then out on the town.

Last night E and I went to the mall up in La Dehesa because we thought that the farthest mall would have the least number of people in it. It turns out we were right. It is now our favorite mall. Well, my favorite, E hates malls in general. I don't love it because it's the most beautiful mall in Santiago, I love it because you don't find any of the horrific hoards of people pullulating the mall left right and center that exist in Parque Arauco or even that other mall in lower Las Condes. I was completely impressed. The atmosphere was so relaxed, there was a band playing somewhere, people strolled and walked relaxed around the mall window shopping instead of storming around pushing and shoving like I normally experience in other malls. And this was a Saturday night! It might have something to do with the fact that the mall is somewhat outdoors and since it's winter and cold, people prefer to be in heated malls. So we'll just see what happens when summer comes around, but at least I found my mall of choice for the winter. Besides the absence of people at this mall, there were also way better discounts and so many more than at the other malls! I normally hate shopping in Chile but this was actually a very pleasant experience, which is why I am posting this, incase anybody else feels the same as I do and wants to find somewhere to shop in peace.

And now here I sit, in our soon to be nighborhood Starbucks. I walked here this morning with my labtop since we currently have no internet. E is at soccer with his league and is picking me up to go to his parents for lunch after the game. I love these nice relaxing mornings. I walked here from our apartment down Lyon, one of my favorite streets in Santiago because of the huge Platano Orientales that line it. Its a semi-sunny fall day and there still a few orange leaves coating the streets. God I love days like this! This Starbucks brings back so many memories. When I first came to Chile, this was the first Starbucks I went to since it was close to the institute I taught English at, it quickly became my favorite Starbucks and I came here almost every day. When I lived in Chile for a year and 4 months during my university days, we lived close to here as well and so I would come here again and again, with friends, with E, by myself...It's amazing to look back on all those times when I was still a student, when E and I didn't know what was to become of our relationship, when I was struggling in school, dying to get out, dreaming of a day like today when I would live a stable life with E in one country, and see how much as changed. Life is crazy, life is awesome.

And now I'm off to catch up with all the emailing and facebooking I've missed in this past week without internet, then it's off to have lunch with the in-laws. Today is actually a very important lunch since E's family and I are meeting E's sisters in-laws for the first time. They just got engaged so the two families finally decided it was time to meet. So this will be fun :)

Happy Sunday everyone!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

One of My Favorite Group: Inti Illimani

IT´S COOOOLLDDD!!!

Don´t get me wrong, I love the cold, and I know I was asking for it, but it´s different from back home in Canada where you can enjoy the cold ouside for a while, and then go inside to a nice warm house or coffee shop or whatnot. Here, you´re going from the bitter cold outside, to the just as bitter cold inside. Most people don´t have or use central heating in Chile so most of us have to get used to going to bed with freezing noses poking through the 20 layers of blankets we have cloaking our beds. We have so many blankets piled on our bed that I can barely move from the weight of them when I tuck myself into my bed at night. The worst part is waking up at 6am and seeing your breath as you walk to the bathroom to take a shower and have to wait a whole 3 minutes stark naked as you wait in the shower for the water to heat up. Friday night and Saturday night parts of Santiago reached -7C and -8C respectively! I feel like I´m back in Canada, except without the pretty snow and central heating. Okay, enough complaining, no matter how cold I get, I prefer it 10000 times more than the brutal summer Santiago heat. I´m happy to bundle up in nice warm sweaters and boots, my favorite things to wear.

Friday was Canada day, and because the only Canadian I know is currently in Canada, I didn´t have anyone to celebrate it with so it was just another normal day. July 4th steals all of Canada day´s thunder down here in Latin America ha ha. When I tried explaining Canada day at work, nobody even know about it and some thought I was confused for American Independance Day. Poor Canada, always taking a backseat to the States ;). However, I did have a pretty good Canada Day, even if I wasn´t celebrating Canada in particular. I did go to see my favorite group play with my darling husband and his parents. Inti-Illimani played at a big outdoor theater in Peñalolen Friday night and I was so excited to go since I haven´t seen them in so long. I have already been to 4 of their concerts and I NEVER get tired of them!

I´m not really a big concert person so the fact that I never get tired of going to see Inti-Illimani is really surprising to me and my husband. I just can´t get enough. They are the most talented group I have ever seen in my life. The combination of all those instruments mixed with their powerful sharp voices just takes my breath away. They also sing and play with such passion and their songs carry so much meaning because many of them represent important events and difficult times in Chilean history. Inti-Illimani used to be one group but years ago they separated into two groups due to differences in opinion regarding their musical style. One group wanted to incorporate new talent and new styles of music while the other group wanted to stick to the same style of music and not incorporate any new members. The two groups became known as "Inti-Illimani" (the former) and "Inti-Illimani Historico" (the latter). My favorite is "Inti-Illimani" just because their music keeps evolving and I love the way they have updated many of their songs and added a more modern and energetic spin to them. They are truly a treat for the ears. During their concerts, they pass around their instruments and laugh and dance and have so much fun on stage. They also talk about important issues in Chile throughout their shows and really reach out to the audience. At all of their concerts I feel like I´m at a big yet somewhat intimate party.

Of course since the members of Inti-Illimani started out as communists and are now passive leftists, their concerts attract many communist and leftist crowds, especially since many of their songs represent communist ideals. One of their songs called "Venceremos" (We Shall Win) actually became the anthem of the Popular Unity Government (a coalition of the leftist governments in Chile) of Salvador Allende. At the moment of the Chilean coup of September 11th, 1973, Inti-Illimani were on tour in Europe and were not allowed to return to Chile because their music was banned by Pinochet´s junta. I can´t imagine going on a trip and then being told that you´re never allowed to come home. Wow. So when they were in Europe, on "their longest tour in history" their music took on a new character and incorporated elements of European baroque which they mixed with their lively Andean and Latin American sounds. They were finally allowed to come back to Chile in 1988 and continued playing their music and touring Chile...And I love them. And I think their history, and the lyrics in their songs, are fascinating.

Foto of the original" Inti-Illimani" group before they split.
Taken fromthe" Inti Illiami Historico" website: http://www.intiillimani.org

Foto of the original" Inti-Illimani" group before they split.
Taken fromthe" Inti Illiami Historico" website: http://www.intiillimani.org

Foto of the original" Inti-Illimani" group before they split.
Taken fromthe" Inti Illiami Historico" website: http://www.intiillimani.org

Love this photo. Represents good times on the road.
Taken from "Inti Illimani Historico": http://www.intiillimani.org

Foto of the original" Inti-Illimani" group before they split.
Taken fromthe" Inti Illiami Historico" website: http://www.intiillimani.org


Photo of the new "Inti-Illimani" taken from their Website: www.intiillimani.cl.

A mix of the original and newer members.

Friday´s concert was incredible, as usual. I had goosebumps all night...which could have been from the freaking cold since it was -3C in that area at the time, but I didn´t care, I couldn´t tear myself away. Here are links to some of my favorite songs of theirs (in no particular order) to give you an idea of how amazing they are: This is a very powerful leftist song

-Buonanotte
-Samba Lando
-Exiliada de Sur
-Candidos
-La Fiesta Eres Tu
-El Pueblo Unido (this is a very powerful leftist song)
-La Negrita
-Antes de Amar de Nuevo
-Sobre tu Playa
-Danza Mediterenea
-Danza di Cala Luna

-San Juanito

There are so many more but I don´t know or remember the names of so many of their songs so if you like them, you´ll just have to go look up their music yourself. Anybody planning on visiting Chile simply MUST see this group whose music is so haunting and beautiful and so engrained in Chilean culture. I already have tickets to their next concert in October where they will play with "Illapu" (another traditional Chilean group I love). I´m obsessed with folkloric music from any country, I don´t know why, it just touches my soul since this type of music usually has deep roots to the countries history and all their suffering and joy.

Alright, now I´m off to enjoy my Sunday being lazy with my husband at home. But first, to cook a delicious stir fry and carrot ginger butternut squash soup for lunch. I usually cook as much as I can on Sunday so that we have food for the week since I have no time to cook during the week. Happy Sunday everyone!