Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Five Years and Still Going Strong

I´m sitting here at my university in an old favorite study spot of mine doing a bit of reminiscing. This spot is amazing because it´s one of those tables with high chairs that wrap around huge glass windows and has an incredible view of the city. This is the place I used to study at all the time when I first started classes here. It brings back so many memories, especially since it was in my first year at university that I met E. I would spend hours here neglecting my homework and just day dreaming about him.

As I look out over the city now, I can see the old Husky station way down at the base of the mountain where E used to meet me. He worked at the ski resort and so would have to catch rides down the mountain and people usually dropped him off at that gas station. There used to be this really nice swinging chair infront of the gas station where I would sit and wait. He would come up behind me and surprise me and just waiting for him to do so sent shivers up my spine knowing that he would jump out at any second. Then we would sit there, infront of the gas station, beside the busy highway, holding hands, cuddling, and catching up on the few days we hadn´t seen each other. Not the most romantic place...but we didn´t notice, and we didn´t care.

That semester was one of the best of my life. I had never been inlove before, and that´s part of what made it all so exciting. We were in a craze, visiting each other whenever we could. He would even hitch-hike down the mountain to meet me when he couldn´t find a ride and there were many times I would skip classes to drive up the mountain to see him. Needless to say, it the worst semester of my academic experience!

That semester was filled with parties and new friends. Because of E, I met all his buddies who worked with him up at the ski resort, all of whom were foregin. Since all of them were here with no family or friends, my house became party central and also their second home while here in Canada. As the semester went on, Es friends would spend the night at my families house whenver they were in town and we would make an event out of it. My parents are Slovakian immigrants and we have a lot of European friends here in town so our gatherings would always turn out to be this big international hit and would always end in music and dancing. There were numerous times where E attempted to give cueca lessons to everyone which ended up with us dancing anything but the actual cueca ha ha!

I still remember the day E asked me to be his girlfriend. At that point we were just ¨seeing each other¨and I had absolutely no intention of being considered an ¨actual couple¨ with him since we both knew that E would be leaving in a few weeks so it didn´t make sense. We had only been seeing each other for a few weeks and he was about to leave in a couple more. We went to go pick up my check from the restaurant I used to work in and we sat in the car for a bit chatting in the parking lot. Then he turned to me and said, ¨Lou, I have something important to talk to you about...¨ At that moment I though that he was going to tell me he didn´t want to continue this fling we were having because there was no point since we would be separated soon and he didn´t want to make it harder than it needed to be...or something along those lines. But instead, he turned to me, looked me deep in my eyes, and asked me in a very innocent and boyish grade 5 kind of way, ¨Lou, will you be my girlfriend?¨ My heart almost exloaded right there and I had no idea whether to laugh or cry! I couldn´t believe that such a sweet and adorable and honest gentleman could exist in this world! Of course I said yes, and so we were officially a couple for 5 weeks before he left for Chile. Yes...5 weeks...it´s nothing I know!

That day in the parking lot will have been 5 years ago as of January 31st. Such great memories. It feels like a life time ago now. I just can´t get over the fact that so much time has already gone by. 5 years is a long time when before I met E I could never even picture myself at 23 and never planned ahead for more than a few days. Now I´ve turned into one of those...what do you call them...grown ups. I am getting married, planning a life with someone, dreaming about having a family together, and looking toward the future. How a person can change in just 5 years. Wow.

So here I am now, planning to get married and go off to move to a new country. I´m looking out at my city right now and realizing how beautiful it is and how many memories I have here. It´s starting to hit me now as I think about how much I am going to miss it when I´m gone. I have no idea when I will be back after this semester and realize that I will probably never live here again. It´s kind of a funny parallel...the start of university was when I started my relationship with E. Now that university is ending, I am ending one phase of my life and one phase of my relationship with E and starting a new one.

It´s a new and exciting step in my life and the significance of it is just starting to hit me now. But I can´t wait to see what the next five years bring. I know there will be many more changes as E and I begin this new journey together and I know that I´ll grow and evolve as a person in more ways than I could ever imagine...we both will. But it´s exciting. I´m really really happy and so ready to get started on these next 5 years to see what they have in store for me!

Friday, January 22, 2010

...24 hours...a new day, 24 years...a new life...

...is what E wrote me this morning for my birthday email. You see, 24 is the age I will be when we get married and thus begin a new life together. As you might have guesses, today is my birthday! Happy birthday me! 24 is going to be one of the best years of my life, no doubt about that. It´s an important birthday for me because it is the absolute last birthday I will spend away from the love of my life, it is the year I graduate, the year I go out into the world and make the big move down to Chile, and the year I will finally marry my soulmate! I can´t wait to see what else this year has in store for me!

And with that I´m off to celebrate my birthday! Goodbye 23, hello 24!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back to Reality

So here I am after bawling my eyes out for the past few days, sitting at my desk in attempt to get some studying done, wishing like crazy I was back in Chile with my E. Sigh...these last few months I have to go through before I´m back seem like an eternity!!!

The day I left just happened to be E´s nieces baptism. E was the godfather and we had a huge bbq with a ton of family and friends at E´s house. Now first I thought this would be a great thing because it would take my mind off of leaving. However, the whole idea backfired on me because when it was time to leave for the airport, there were all those people to say goodbye to! Normally, in the final hours together it´s just E and I. As a result, most people are spared the sobbing details of our goodbye. However, this time I was forced to say goodbye to all those people before leaving for the airport, and each time I did, I began to sob all over again. The more I cried, the more emberassed I was, the sadder I got, and the more I cried again. It was a vicious cycle and I´m thanking god right now that I´ll never have to go through that again! The day I left marked the last day I ever have to say goodbye to E!!! Man that feels good! So now that I´m at home, though I´m still sad and and filling the void left by leaving E with all my mom´s leftover Christmas baking, I am comforted by this fact and am filled with a sence of peace I´ve never felt before after leaving E.

The plane ride home was one of the smoothest I´ve ever experienced. The seatbelt sign was literally only turned on only once during the whole 10 hour flight!!! And when it was turned on, it was only as a precaution since the captain thought there would be a bit of turbulence up ahead. However, the turbulance ended up being a mere bump on the journey, and hardly noticable. I was excatic over my luck of riding on such a great flight since I am terrified of turbulence and being sad and depressed on a turbulent flight just sucks. I cheered myself up on the journey by eating over-priced airport food. I splurged and ate whatever I wanted with no guilt included. I figured this was one of those days where I deserved to drown my sorrows in food. And that I did! You´re going to think me the biggest pig if I tell you everything and how much I ate at the various airports on my way but let me just say that yam fries were involved...and so were twizzlers, chocolate covered almonds, and Starbucks chocolate oat fudge bar...just to name a few :) Don´t you just love eating without guilt?!

Today I went to my first day of classes and am now feeling the wrath of having missed a week! God only knows how I´m going to accomplish all the things I´m supposed to accomplish! Here´s to giving it my best shot! And if I do crappy, I don´t even care because all I care about right now is getting back to E. No actually that´s a lie. School is really important to me so I am going to work the hell out of this semester and give it my all...especially since it´s the last semester of my undergrad! I´m going to finish with a bang! At least that´s the idea...

So this is me, signing off for now. Tomorrow is the crappy day of the week where I will be at school from 8:30am to 9:30pm. Oh joy... Hope your Tuesday is looking better than mine!!!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Why Chile Why!? We Were Getting Along So Well!!!

Yesterday my happy little Chilean bubble shrank yet again and I was reminded that in Chile, one must never let their guard down, not even for a second. The inevitable happened...I was robbed in Santiago for the third time! Ahgghrrhrg!!!! I was doing so well too! I had only been robbed twice on my first visit to Chile because it took me a while to get used to the fact that in Santiago, one must trust nobody and hold onto their purse for dear life anywhere in public. To some people, twice may be a lot, but considering how long it took me to get used to this new paranoid mentality, twice for me is pretty good!

It happened when I was having coffee with a new gringa friend I had recently met. During the whole time of our lovely chat, I had my bags infront of me in my line of vision. I put my bag down for a second to say goodbye and when I looked down, my purse was gone...They´re THAT good! My purse was in my backpack which was touching my leg and was right beside me when I put it down and I didn´t feel or see a thing! Just as I noticed my bag was gone, I saw these two guys in cheap suits walking away. It was so infuriating not being able to go attack them and get my purse back! I basically just had to wave goodbye and accept the fact that I would never see my purse again. There was no security guard around so I couldn´t scream for help or anything. Confronting them would have been dangerous because they could have had a knife or something...you never know if these robbers are armed and dangerous so I basically just had to watch them go.

Arrghgh!@!"!"#$$%$ How frustrating! It´s so hard to accept this feeling of total and complete violation. Who do those guys think they are! I was told that these guys work in pairs and do rounds of all the popular gringo hang outs to skope out good targets. Man I wish I could have set them straight! They can´t do this to people!!!

Thank god the person I was with hadn´t left yet and so she helped me out a ton! I used her cell to try to contact E and she lent me money to be able to take the metro home. At first I wasn´t too worried because I didn´t think I had any credit cards or anything else too important in my purse. So we said our goodbye´s, but then I realized I had all of E´s credit card information, including his pin number, written down on a paper in my wallet!!! I know it´s an incredibly stupid thing to do!!! E had given me that info when I was in Canada because I had to buy some things for him and his family online and I had forgotten to trash it! So after realizing this I booked it to my sister-in-law´s house, which was the closest place I could find to use a phone, since my phone had conveniently run out of money just when I needed it most. Thank god my sister in law was home and she helped me out enormously in calling the bank and blocking all our cards, including my bank in Canada.

So we blocked everything and it all seems to be fine. The only other things in my purse were a cheap little camera that I wasn´t too fond of, my good polarized sunglasses, and my perscription glasses, along with a lip gloss, etc...but nothing too crazy important. The only problem now is that in my desperate frenzy to block all our credit and debit cards, I accidnetly blocked ALL of E´s cards! We now have no way to take out or use any money! So currently we are having to borrow money from E´s family lol! It sucked last night when we were going to split the bill after going out to eat with E´s brother and sister in law and weren´t able to! They understood of course!

So I have now vowed to never be a victim again. Mark my words! I will never be robbed again!!! They say third time´s a charm so hopefully this is the last time! Santiago I´ll show you!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Wedding Planning Crisis

Yes, two posts in one day! Yay! It´s so much easier to find the time to write when one is on vacation. I just have to vent a little about my wedding planning frustrations. So here is the story...

E and I have a specific church in mind for our marriage ceremony and since we´re getting married on the outskirts of Santiago, there´s not a lot of church options. I have been trying to contact the church since the day I arrived here and had no luck until yesterday! Apparently the church is only in operation from 10am to 1pm from Tuesday to Thursday. Ha! Even when I called within these hours, I still didn´t receive any attention! I tried not to stress and told myself that it´s just a cultural thing...people here are a lot more relaxed with getting things done etc...But still, we need to figure this out now because we want to start on the invitations. We were supposed to choose them on this trip, but that didn´t happen thanks to this church situation!

Thankfully I finally got through to them yesterday and asked to reserve the church for our wedding. I breathed a sigh of relief when I was finally put through thinking that everything would be okay. Then they proceeded to inform me that they only do weddings after 9:30pm! Who gets married after 9:30pm!? Especially here in Chile! If I were to put 9:30pm on the invitations, the Chileans wouldn´t show up until 10:30pm! I started freaking out because there really aren´t any other options for churches in that area. I talked to E and our game plan is to call them back and beg them to get married earlier. If not, we´ll have to get married in one of the chapels in that area which I have never seen before and doubt they´re big enough to fit all of our guests. So...this is officially the first crisis we´re encountered in our wedding planning journey. One I hope can be resolved! The problem is that their office hours are rediculous so we can´t even make it out there to talk to them! E works (as most people do) during that time and I don´t have a car and am leaving in 2.5 days. This is one of those moments where I know the best thing to do is take a deep breath and realx but it´s just so hard!!! Something is bound to work out right? Right!!?!?!

So anyway, moving on. I officially have 2.5 more days left in the land of Chile. If you want to know EXACTLY how I feel, read this. Excellent post I must say and a perfect description of how all of us foreigners feel when parting with the love of their lives! This week has been crazy! E and I want to spend every second together but it´s been kind of hard because this week is the week all his family and friends decided to pay us a visit. Therefore, every night has been full of get togethers. Normally I love get togethers but when you only have a few days left together, you really just want to spend every second left in eachother´s arms. As a result of this weeks plans with E´s family and friends, I´ve had to decline invitations by some new gringa friends, which I´m thrilled to have met, to a few outings which I really wanted to attend! Another result of this busy week is that E and I haven´t gotten to have much quality time together. Tuesday we had some of E´s family come over, last night a bunch of friends of the family came over for a bbq, tonight we´re spending the evening with E´s brother and his wife, and tomorrow night E´s old work is throwing him a goodbye party! So pretty much every evening we have left together is going to be spent with a bunch of other people. Not that I´m complaining! I love E´s friends and family and social outings! It´s just that in these last few days together, when I´m feeling sad and depressed about leaving, I wish we had an evening all to ourselves to just relax and cuddle. Well, I guess we had our time for that, I can´t complain. We spent almost every glorious weekend of my visit together at the beach! Sigh...good times!

Now here I am, dreading what is about to happen in the next couple days. You really can´t even enjoy your last few days together when you´re in a long distance relationship because all you can think about is how your heart is about to be ripped out of your cheast soon and each second that goes by is one less second you have with your true love. Man how depressing. Sorry about that! As you can see, I´m in a bit of a mood at the moment! Maybe I should try what E´s friend and his American girlfriend used to do (they´re currently broken up) but their method of parting seems pretty good to me right about now! They used to go directly to the airport bar after checking in bags and get drunk! It´s genius! That way you are able to sleep deeply and peacefully on the plane without thining too much AND have the alcohol take away a bit of the pain! What an awesome idea eh?! Too bad I´m not much of a drinker but I´m tempted to give it a shot anyway! I guess I should be happy and celebrating that this is our last separation we ever have to endure for the rest of our lives! Hallelujah!!!

So if you don´t hear from me in the next few days, it´s because I´ve fallen into a slight depression and am unable to type because I will be a teary sobbing mess! For all of you in long distance relationships who are separated or are going to separate from your loved one, I feel your pain!!! Good luck and hang in there!!!

Damn Cat!

Last night I had a dream. There was a little girl crying ¨Don´t leave me alone!¨ in a really chilling, horror movie type of way. It was seriously creepy. Then I woke up from my dream, and continued to hear the howling. It was this really really sad long howl. You can imagine how freaked out I was when I woke up to find that I was still hearing this sound. At first I thought I was dreaming about having woken up from a dream. Then I thought I might be having one of those REM conditions I learned about in psychology where you wake up, but you´re still dreaming because your mind can´t get out of REM sleep. So I lay there in bed waiting for it to pass, hoping for the sound to go away...it didn´t. I freaked out.

Just as I thought I was going crazy, E started moving around and half woke up. ¨Do you hear that to!?¨, I was almost too afraid to ask incase he didn´t. But thank god he did. ¨Damn cat¨ he muttered under his breath. The crazy noise that had been haunting me was cat! It was sitting directly under our window, howling like there was no tomorrow! I didn´t know cats were capable of producing such a sound!!! You had to hear this! It sounded human! It was insane! It was as if this cat was a human trapped in an animals body and just had its heart broken. It´s cry was so long and sad and it was as if the cat was calling to us to come out and soothe it.

After about half an hour of persistant howling, I no longer felt sorry for it and was on my way to go outside to scare it off when all of a sudden, it stopped! I couldn´t see the damn cat anywhere. It knew what was coming... After tip toeing around outside in my bare feet looking for the darn cat for a few minutes, I was satisfied that it was gone and went back to bed. Of course the minute I lay down and got comfortable again...¨mmmmeeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwww¨. Mother $@#@#%"!!! After another 15 mintues of non stop howling, I decide to go back outside to find the damn cat...this time with much less patience. When I got out there, I see the cat staring me down from across the locked gate. I was in no mood to get the keys to open it and chase it away so I tried to scare it off with my gestures so that I didn´t have to shout and wake everyone up. It didn´t work! This was a brave frickin´cat! My gestures can be quite scary!

Anyway, the cat really started to piss me off. There it sat, staring me down, taunting me from across the gate, leaving me helpless and annoyed as hell! There was nothing I could do, the cat was fearless, I went back to bed. Without fail, as soon as I get comfortable, the cat comes back to my window to sit and howl at me for the rest of the night. Is this a sign? Or is it karma? Did I manage to piss off the cat sometime in the past and it was getting it´s revenge? Whatever the reason, the cat was successful in taking away my sleep for the rest of the night! Too bad E´s family doesn´t get their new dog until the week after I leave! Tonight I´m sleeping with the gate keys in my hand incase we have another situation. Tonight I´ll be prepared!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Here´s to Returning to Chile!

Here I sit in Starbucks attempting to study...the semester has officially arrived. Classes started yesterday but being the bad student that I am, I will not be present for the first week. It´s funny, I had so much on my list of things to do while in Chile on this vaccation, most of which involved school, but so far I have accomplished NOTHING! Now I have 4 more days to study for a test I have to write when I get back and get ahead on my honours! I´ve pretty much accepted the fact that I´ve failed miserably in achieving these goals...hopefully my new years resolutions won´t end in the same fate! I´ll just have to go at it full swing when I´m back in school next week. For now, I´ll try not to be too hard on myself :)

God how I´m dreading going back!!! Being here in the sweet but smoggy Chilean summer has reminded me of how much I love Chile (for the most part) and has me so tempted to just forget this last semester and stay here. So many great new things have been happening and I feel like I´m finally ready to make my life here. I can see a future here and I can see myself happy. It´s weird to think about leaving home, the place I´ve been happy and comfortable for the last 23 years of my life...to think that I´m finally going to go out into the world and be an adult. It´s exciting, but at the same time it´s scary. It´s going to be quite a change adapting to life in a country that is not nearly as comfortable as the one I´m used to. Good thing I´m quite adaptable!

This morning as I was ordering my usual americano with milk, the barista started chatting with me. He ended up giving me a grande instead of a tall just because he was that awesome. Actually, come to think of it, it might have been due to me making a complete and utter fool of myself in the line up waiting to order when I opened up a bottle of sprite which subsequently exploaded and sprayed over everyone waiting in line!!! In any case, it was such a pleasant surprise and for a second made me forget about what a complete failure I was! Ah the little things in life...Anyway, as we were chatting he asked me the number one question everyone asks a gringa in Chile...¨What are you doing here!?¨ I told him I was here on vaccation and that I was coming back to work in June etc... and he asked me, ¨Are you alone?¨ to which I replied yes. Now before you judge me and think I´m a horrible fiance for doing so, let me explain! I thought he meant ¨Am I alone in Starbucks¨. So, once he thought I meant I was alone in Chile, he flipped out and was like, ¨What!? What are you doing here!? Why did you choose Chile!?¨ He sounded completely perplexed and almost offended as to why any gringa would come to Chile out of her own free will!

Once I realized my mistake, I was so tempted not to correct him! It would have been so satisfying to let him continue thinking that I was here on my own so I could once again defeat the norm and be classified as one of those daring adventurous gringas who is taking on the world by storm and making her way through the jungle of life abroad because she´s just that bad ass. But then I came back to reality and corrected him incase someday he were to see me in here with E and think I was a liar and spit in my coffee or something. So I corrected him and once I did, he seemed to understand everything and breathed a sigh of relief. I thought to myself, is it that strange to see a foreigner here in Chile just doing their thing and living life because they want to this way? Not because they came here for a guy or for an exchange for a few months? Foreginers that come here just because they want to seem to be an endangered species. Most of the foreigners I have met in Chile are here for the reasons mentioned above: boyfriends or exchanges. However, the majority I have known are here for someone they love. I am happy to say that a few days ago I had the pleasure of meeting a gringa who falls under the rare category of ¨Bad ass gringa living her life abroad because she wants to¨. It was definitely a new experience meeting a foreingner who is here in Chile just because...with no reason in particular. If I was single, I would love to be that gringa!

But as life would have it, I turned out to be the gringa who is here because of someone she loves, and though I might not have the adventurous life of a travelling gringa who is out and about doing as she pleases, and though sometimes I wish I was that gringa, I couldn´t be happier with the way my life turned out. I am about to embark on a new journey and turn a foreign country into my new and permanant home with the help of my soul mate. I am about to turn my life upside down and start from scratch, with no certanties or promises of an easy transition. I guess that´s quite adventurous and bad ass in itself...relatively speaking!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Days of 2010...Not As Planned!!!

Things were looking good on December 31st and E and I had a great New Years planned. We were going to go to Vina to watch the fireworks and enjoy the night with friends. However, things did not go according to plan. The day started out great. As I mentioned in my last post, I finally had the chance to meet Kyle after months of emailing back and forth. Let me just say, she is every bit as awesome and adorable as she comes across in her blog! Kyle also brought along her friend, who also happens to be a fellow blogger and is just as awesome. I, in addition, brought my sister in law, who is now also a client of Kyles, and we all had a great time sipping coffee at one of the many gringa waterholes...aka...Starbucks.

It was so great to meet other gringas who have established themselves in Chile and are not planning to leave anytime soon. The gringas I have briefly met in the past have all left within months which always resulted in me never meeting any long lasting friends. It also didn´t help that it was so hard to make Chilean friends at first. After coffee, we went for lunch where I was introduced to yet another awesome gringa. It was so inspiring to meet these women who are totally established in Chile, leading successful careers, which don´t involve teaching English, and are so happy and confident in their lives. They were all so lovely and fun to talk with and I really enjoyed myself. I hope to meet them and many more people like them in my Chilean future.

So anyway, back to New Years...Like I said, the day started out totally great, we would never have guessed what was coming! In summary, New Years Eve looked like this...E and I curled up in pain all evening in our hostel room making dashes for the bathroom every 5 minutes. Sorry for the lovely mental picture. We either got food poisoning or some kind of stomach bug and the worst of it hit exactly on New Years night. By the time we got to Vina, we were feeling a little crappy so we took a siesta. By the time we woke up we were feeling worse and stayed in bed until 11pm hoping to be able to make it to see the fireworks at least.

It was hard to tear ourselves out of bed and walk the 3 blocks to the beach to see the fireworks and half way there, we considered turning back. However, I was determined to not let this stomach issue ruin every part of New Years night so we perceviered and made it to the beach just in time for the show to begin. We sat together hunched over on some piece of cement watching the amazing display above us and for a while, all our troubles floated away. It was a remarkable show. In the news the next day we found out that Vina had one of the top 3 New Years firework displays in the world! Pretty good Vina! Apparently next year, which is the end to the 200th anniversary of Chile, Vina wants to have the number 1 firework display in the world. So, for those of you looking for an awesome New Years, head to Vina next year! It´s going to be pretty amazing!

So, after watching the fireworks, we immediately headed back to the hostel and slept. The next day wasn´t looking much better so, sadly, we decided to head back to Santiago instead of wasting money paying for a hostel when we were only going to sit inside all day. It was such a shame because it was so beautiful in Vina and we were so looking forward to walking around Valparaiso, going to eat fresh fish, and enjoying the beach. Oh well, things don´t always work out the way you plan them. Yesterday when we got back from Vina we spent all day lying in bed watching movies. I have to say, we did quite enjoy ourselves cuddling in bed all day in our PJs and chilling out. We have the house to ourselves since E´s family is at their beach place so we get to just relax without having to worry about lunchtime or doing dishes or cleaning up after ourselves...something that we normally have to do since we´re living with the parents!

Today things are beginning to look up and we´re both feeling a lot better, E especially. So we have decided to take advantage of the day and go out and do stuff. After lunch we´re planning on going to Starbucks to hang out, look at wedding invites online, and do some paperwork for E´s new job. Then we´re thinking about going to the church and reception site of our wedding to just look around and plan a few things. Later tonight, we´re going to go see a movie and then go out for sushi if our stomachs allow it! We figure sushi is probably the easiest meal for our stomachs to handle right now since it´s just rice and fish. Hopefully our stomachs agree! So in the end, things aren´t so bad. At least we don´t have some horrible flu that has us stuck in bed all week on this last week of mine here! Man, I leave in exactly a week today...where did the time go!?

Though the New Year didn´t start out as we expected, I know this year is going to be a good one. It´s the year I finally graduate from my undergrad, it´s the year E and I get married, the year we buy our first car and apartment, and the year I finally come to Chile for good! I´m really looking forward to what this year brings and can´t wait to get started! I don´t usually do resolutions but if I did, they would be as follows:

1.) Try to be more positive about Chile and immerse myself more in Chilean life. I´ve already started this blog way more positive than I was when I actually live here. Part of it is because I´ve been away for so long and I also feel really guilty about my last time living here where I was way too miserable and negative and complained way too much about life here. If I´m going to live here and be happy and sane, I´m going to have to accept certain things and not let so many things get to me. So this year as I begin my life in Chile, I´m going to make more of an effort to integrate myself fully into Chilean life and not bitch as much. Don´t get me wrong, there will be bitching, just not as much as last time...at least that´s my plan! I also want to find my own friends and find my own way here. Most of the people I know have been E´s friends, but I need to branch out and find my own. Part of this was because I never lived here long enough to actually establish myself and grow roots. Come June, I´ll finally have the opporntunity to do that. Hopefully I´ll find a stable and well paying job and that my Spanish will improve as well. I also want to do more activities while I´m here next year like do yoga, join a dance class, and join a running club...which brings me to resolution number 2.

2.) I have been running seriously for about five years now and have come to love it dearly. However, I seem to have hit a wall and have never taken myself to the next level. In all these years, I have only run up to about 21 Km and usually only run from 10 - 15 Km on a normal work out. I´ve done a lot of 5Km and 10Km races, but never a half marathon. My future goal is to do a full out marathon, but I have always been putting training off until the next year...and the next year...and so on. I think now is the time to put my foot down and start working towards a marathon. Talking to Kyle the other day about her goal to run a marathon next year really gave me the kick in the ass I needed to get this show on the road and plan to run a damn marathon already! Kyle was injured in a car accident last year and is planning to run a marathon this year so if she can recover from an accidnet AND train for a marathon, I most certainly can train for one too. However, I am not quite as brave and I think I need to take things a bit slower. Therefore, my running goal for this year is to run a half marathon, something I´ve never done before, but to start training for a marathon. I can do it! Now I just have to put up with running in the land of excessive smog and piropos.

3.) Experiment more with food. I love food. I love to cook. The problem is, I never find time to dabble in the art of cooking, and when we´re busy, I usually find myslef resorting to simple and easy recipes. This year I plan to make time for cooking more interesting and exotic recipes. For example, I love Thai and Indian food. I also love Sushi and Chinese food. I love so many international recipes but I have never tried them at home. So my goal is to cook at least one unique recipe per week. I think this is doable and it will increase my recipe database so that for the future, I´ll be able to cook a wider range of meals more quickly and easily.

4.) Not go bridzilla. Our wedding is still far away and so we haven´t done much yet except for book the major venues, but I know as the wedding gets closer, I will get more stressed out, especially in the last couple months and at the wedding itself. I am really going to try not to take it out on E and not to take over the show.

5.) Not fall into the Chilean norms. I love being unique and doing my own thing. The problem is that I also try to please everyone. In Chile, there are norms for everything and everyone fiercly abides by them. Therefore, sometimes I feel pressure to fit in and do as the Chileans do. For example, though I absolutely adore my wedding dress, I am now officially freaked out that everyone will hate it. I´m also worried people won´t like other things about the wedding because they are considered different from a traditional Chilean wedding. I know this is going to be hard, but I´m really going to try to not stress about what everybody else thinks I should do and focus on what I want to do. I am from Canada, I have different tastes and often my ideas differ from those of the Chileans I know and love. This is not likely to change and therefore, I am going to try to come to peace with this fact and accept that clashes might result because it in the future. This is my life, and I´m going to live it the way I want and love.

6.) Make more time for the important people in my life. During the semester, I am a complete basketcase and tend to shut myself off from the world in attempt to study my ass off and ace all my classes. I know I don´t make enough time for the people I love during these times. This semester is my last year in Canada and because of this, it is more important than ever to spend time with my loved ones, no matter how busy I am. I´m determined to make my last few months in Canada as memorable as possible and spend as much time with my family and friends as I can.

7.) Make more time for the artist in me. I used to paint and draw and sketch using a variety of mediums and pigment types but in the last couple years, I have seriously drifted off from this beloved hobby of mine. As usual, the main culprit for this is school. I keep telling myself that once school is over, I´ll finally have time for the things I love in life. However, this really isn´t a good motto to live by because you never know when you´re life is going to end and how much time you have left. It is therefore important to always make time for doing the things you love, no matter how busy. I know it´s going to be a big challenge, especially in this last semester, but I really want to pick this long lost past time of mine again. Though I might not get around to it before June, once I´m finally in Chile, I definitely plan to paint and draw again!

So, for now those are my top 7 goals for 2010! Lets get ´em done! Good luck to all the rest of you as you strive to accomplish your resolutions and I hope you´re start to the New Year was better than mine! Bring on 2010!