Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We Have a Place for our Wedding!!!

Okay this is just a quick post to let you know that yes, WE FOUND A PLACE!!! I just got off Skype with E after he finished booking it. It's absolutely perfect!!! I'm not going to say much, but I will say it's near Santiago in the beautiful countryside surrounded by mountains! I couldn't have pictured anything more perfect for my wedding!!! I'm so beyond excited you have no idea! My wedding is real! It's happening! And it's happening 10000 kilometers away from here! Whoo hoo!

Tomorrow E is going to book the caterers because we were told that if we want caterers to be faithful and not back out on top of getting best deal, you've got to book them waaaay in advance. Apparently the earlier you book, the higher priority you are for them...though I would think that all their customers should be of high priority...but I'm not surprised at hearing the number of caterers that don't come through. I've heard some pretty crappy stories. So anyway, after we've got the reception site, the caterers, and the church booked, the rest is just fun and games! Or so I think...how hard can picking out some pretty flowers, printing off some invitations, and tasting the food really be?

So anyways, that's the update on the wedding business! Yeah to getting the ball rolling! No harm in getting started early! I'm pumped!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Someday I'm Going to Be Somebody!!! (According to a Random Starbucks Regular)

I had to post this right away because things like this just make life better and force me to take a second from my day to smile and forget the rest.

I'm sitting in one of my two usual Starbucks' here in my home town studying away. I come here a lot. It's one of the few places I can actually concentrate and work hard. I can't really start to focus until I have a coffee in my hand and a bit of noise in the background. I'm not one of those silent library studiers.

Anyway, I'm sitting here, doing the usual, and this old man (who I see here regularly but never talk to) came up to me and said:

"You know what young lady? Someday you're going to be someone. Someday you're going to be someone big. I can tell by the way I see you sit here all the time studying and working harder than I've ever seen anyone do. I just hope I'm going to be around when you make it!"

Of course, I was dumbfounded and washed over by a wave of emotion. I had to force myself not to break down and cry in front of him! I have never had that feeling of recognition, that my hard work is leading to something...that my efforts aren't going unnoticed...and that somewhere, somehow, all this time and work I've so painstakingly devoted to my education will pay off.

Man what a good feeling! I just hope I can prove him right someday! This man's wonderful words has turned my attention to the importance of random acts of kindness and how much one can brighten up a person's day by such simple words. I'm definitely going to remember this and try to pass on more random little acts of kindness and kind words to people in the future.

Speaking of random acts of kindness, I find it sad how easy it is to be swept up in the emotional chaos that is Santiago. I find that after a few weeks there, my nice side slowly disappears and I am taken over by the infuriating and stressful life of that city...partaking in the pushing, shoving, stress, anxiety, and disregard for others that makes up the atmosphere of that place. In times like those, I'm going to look back at this post and remind myself to snap out of it, and show my fellow homo sapians a little bit of love :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ode to my Personal Chilean Cheerleader

So I just got back from my regular run and couldn't help thinking about my last post about how much I love running in Santiago throughout the quiet morning peace of the desolate weekends. As I thought about it, I began to remember all my experiences running throughout the city.

I used to live in the perfect location, right in Providencia, near Metro Pedro de Valdivia, which is right across from Cerro San Cristobal and right beside Parque Forestal. It was the perfect location because it was next to some of my most beloved Santiago parks and it was also so central and surrounded by cute bars and restaurants. Overall is was just a very pleasant neighborhood filled with nice buildings and surrounded by a nice atmosphere.

My run would start at home of course and then I would run through Parque Forestal all the way to El Mercado Central and then enjoy my run back through the empty streets of the abandoned center. Almost every time I went running, there would be this sweet little old man (hard to find those in Chile because many random old men you encounter in the streets are definitely NOT sweet) who worked at the gas station I would pass by. Every time I would pass by that gas station, he would always shout words of encouragement to me as I ran huffing and puffing through the park.

Never in my whole Santiago running career did he ever say anything dirty or disgusting. He would always lift up his arms and flail them about shouting things like, "Vamos mujer atleta!" or "Tu puedes, tu puedes!" and then would beam his adorable little toothless grin directly at me. Whenever he did, my heart would speed up, my adrenaline would get going, and I would get charged with that extra bit of energy I needed to keep going. In response to his cheers I would do the same: lift up my arms in a champion-like salut and wave and smile. I so looked forward to seeing this cute little old man on my runs that I began giving up on my other running routs just to be able to bypass that gas station.

Ever since I left Chile, every time I go running, I find myself thinking of this cheerful old man who lit up my runs and made them more bearable. With every new turn I take, I can't help wishing I had my own little personal cheerleader by my side, cheering me on.. pushing me harder...driving me to reach my goals...Couldn't we all use one of those...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Story

I am a 20-something year old student in her last year of an extra year of a science undergrad. I wasn't planning on staying an extra year, it just happened (damn it to only taking 4 courses first year!). Anyway, I'm now doing honors research which I'm really happy about and taking some classes I really love so this last year of school isn't looking out to be a total disaster. One day I want to go to grad school.

So, as you've guessed by the name of this blog, I'm a gringa who is about to embark on a journey to experience married life in Santiago, Chile. I, like so many other gringa-chilean relationships, have been traveling to and from Chile for the past 5 years all in the name of love. On this last trip, my man (we'll call him E.) proposed to me! How exciting! How did we meet? Here is a little blurb you can read about how we met etc...which I have posted on our wedding site:

Once upon a time, a man named E accidently chose a particular ski resort near my home as his learning English/working abroad destination. Sitting alone in the bus terminal near the airport, watching the rest of the group be whisked away to a more deluxe ski resort by a much more deluxe bus, E began to regret his decision and started to question as to what the heck he was doing in the Northern Hemisphere during the brutally cold winter when he could be perfectly content sitting on a beach with his friends during the hot Chilean summer! But being the strong and persevering man that he is, he continued off into the abyss...

Arriving at this particular ski resort with no accommodation was no piece of pie and though it took a bit of struggling and wracking his brain for the English that would guarantee him a room, he ended up lodging at the good old local hostel for the remainder of his stay.

Though my poor man worked 5 jobs at one point and froze his poor little Chilean toes off ticket checking, all that trouble and hardship had a payoff. It was a freezing cold day the first time I noticed E...he was storming through the snow desperate to get inside the heated lodge to melt the icicles which were continuously forming on his beard. I never forgot him the moment I laid eyes on him and some people might even call it love at first sight.

Anyhow, I noticed him around the ski resort for a long time before I worked up the courage to talk to him but one day, I finally did in the chairlift line-up as he was checking tickets. It began with a few innocent conversations and led to E singing “Lucie in the Sky with Diamonds” on a few occasions and finally led to me, yes me, asking for his number (which I’m very proud of! yeah to empowering women!!!).

One day while I was staying at the hostel where E stayed I happened to mention that my birthday was the following week and that I would be coming up to the mountain to celebrate with my friends. I casually mentioned that he should come but didn’t really expect him to. You can imagine my surprise and happiness when, upon dancing like a drunken fool, I saw E walking towards me! He had remembered my birthday and we ended up talking and dancing the night away (though it wasn't one of my finest moments and thought I would never hear from him again!).

Now that would have been that if it wasn’t for our good friend A, who is also Chilean and worked as a ticket checker with E. She happened to hurt her hip one day skiing and had to go to the hospital (thanks for hurting yourself A!). Of course my fiancé, being the Chilean gentleman that he is, accompanied A to the hospital. After spending the day there, they had missed the last bus up the mountain and had nowhere to stay in town. Luckily, E still had my number I gave him from before (he didn’t throw it away! good sign!) and so he took the chance and called me. Unfortunately, that night I had been avoiding a call from a crazy guy who had been calling me all day so every time my cell phone rang (yes I had a cell phone back in those days), I would ignore it.

It turns out E had been calling me all night to see if him and A could stay with us! For some reason I picked up the phone after the umptieth time, which also happened to be E’s final attempt at calling me!!! So I picked them up from the hospital and E and A came to my house and had a lovely dinner with my family. E and I went on to talk the rest of the night away just the two of us (even though I had a test the next day). That night led to many subsequent visits to the ski resort by me and to my place by E until finally, we had the “relationship” discussion and we became a couple!

Being a couple for five weeks was absolute bliss but as E’s departure date neared, we couldn’t avoid the fact that soon we would be breaking up. At the time, neither of us imagined that a long distance relationship could work. Originally we had decided to break up and stop all communication to make it easier but after a month of separation (and many tears and ice-cream), we finally came to the conclusion that ending our relationship was not an option because we just couldn’t let go. So from then on we began a five year long series of trips to and from Chile, though we were both poor students scraping to get buy. If it wasn’t for the help of our parents, I don’t know how we would have made it!

And so the fairytale ends (and a new one begins). During E’s last trip he proposed on the top of the mountain at the ski resort, the place we first met (after carrying the ring around for two weeks all over New York and Seattle without my knowledge!). Now we just have to deal with a few more months of separation (with one visit to Chile in between) until we are finally married and can be together forever!

The End