Monday, March 29, 2010

The Long Distance Relationship

It is with great sadness that I report that one of my closest friends has broken up with her boyfriend. You´re probably thinking, big deal, right? Well, this relationship was special. This breakup affected me quite a bit.

My friend, we´ll call her A and her boyfriend R, were in exactly the same relationship that E and I are in now. R is Chilean, my friend met him on an exchange to Chile almost 4 years ago and they have been together for more than 3 years. Like E and I, they seemed to be a blissfully happy couple, making the huge effort and sacrifices one makes when undertaking such a grueling long distance relationship. Like me, A went back and forth from Chile to Canada and did her share of teaching English to make it in Santiago. I came to know R well and as my relationship with E progressed, so did A´s relationship with R. A and I had each other to fall on when we were desperately missing our boyfriends and feeling depressed and down. We had each other to talk to about all our problems regarding our long distance relationships and we had each other during the times our paths crossed in Chile.

Watching this perfect relationship fall apart just like that got me thinking. What is it that keeps a couple together, especially those couples experiencing long distance relationships? In my life I have met a lot of people who have experienced a long distnace relationship but out of all those couples, only one is still going strong. Well, this is excluding the girls I met on my last trip to Chile whose long distance relationships were successful in every way and are now married or getting married, but it seems that normally, this is an exception. So what makes a long distance relationship work? A and R did everything that E and I have been doing...the daily skype calls, the trips back and forth, the working in the foreign country, etc... I really don´t know what went wrong because the last I saw them they seemed as madly in love as ever and A and R have both talked openly numerous times about getting married and their futures together...

It made me kind of scared to think that a relationship can just spontaneously fizzle out just like that. I mean, who knows, maybe there were problems with A and R that A never told me about or that couldn´t be seen by the outside observer. But their breakup really made me analyze long distance relationships and why people undertake them. It made me gain a deeper sense of respect for those who were willing to give long distance a shot, whether it works out in the end or not.

The torture of a long distance relationship is undescribable. The decision to venture out into this dark world of Skype and not knowing when you´ll see each other again is truly comendable. And I´m not trying to toot my own horn here, I´m just so amazed when I see what people like A and R and other people in the same situation have gone through to follow their hearts in the hope that this person might be the one. What people are willing to do and sacrifice for love just astounds me. And I know this doesn´t only include long distance, it just happens to be the topic of the moment. There are many couples out there in various situations doing whatever it takes to make it work, standing by each other through thick and thin in the hopes of having a future together. Love is amazing.

Whenever I get weak, whenever I get depressed, whenever I feel like I can´t bear this relationship anymore, I think of my parents. Their long distance relationship truly inspires me. Both my parents were born in what was then known as Czechoslovakia. My mom was lucky enough to immigrate to Canada with her parents before the communist takeover but my dad was not so lucky and ended up growing up in the communist country. When my mom was about 20, being the rebel that she is, her and her friend worked to save money for a year, sold everything they had, and booked it to Spain where they bought motorbikes and travelled around Europe tenting and sleeping in other people´s farm houses. Yes she is an amazing woman. She was the Che Guevara of Europe. Anyway, it was on this trip that she met my dad. She met him visiting relatives in Slovakia and that´s where they fell inlove. They were together a total of 6 weeks before they decided to get married, just as my mom was forced to go back to Canada. They then began a two year long distance relationship WITHOUT SKYPE!!! Gasp!!! Can you imagine?!?! Not to mention there weren´t even any visits in between that time to see each other. This is because my dad had to serve the manditory 2 years in army since he had just graduated from university.

During these two years they only had a few phone calls because calling long distance at the time was like 2 dollars a minute! I really don´t know how they did it. How did they hold out waiting for each other for so long without seeing each other, without barely having any communication....I don´t understand it. Is there a certain set of qualities one posesses in order to be sane and patient enough to withstand such a torture? Is there a certain degree that two people have to love each other for them to bear this pain and make it to the end?

These are the thoughts that have been flowing through my mind since A and R broke up. Right smack at the end of the semester when this is the last thing I should be thinking about! Whatever the answers to these questions are, I know one thing for certain. Though long distance relationships can be brutal, no matter if they work out or not, I think they really do force you to grow and learn about relationships in a way that no other experience can. Through long distance, the boundaries of your sanity and your emotions are severely tested. You come across challanges that are unique and hard to find in other more normal situations. All in all, I think that having undertaken a long distance relationship, even if it doesn´t work out, is never a waste. Facing and dealing with the challenges presented during this tough time helps you grow as a person and gives you a very deep appreciation for what it means to be a couple and what it means to be in love. You learn about yourself in a very unique way and you learn about what it is you need and want for yourself. Sure you learn this after every relationship, but long distance really forces you to think about these things from a totally different perspective.

Though A and R are both crushed right now (I know because I´ve talked to both), I know that they took this decision together and don´t regret a thing about having undertaken these hard three years together. I´m sure they´ll both come out of this with a deeper understanding of themselves and of what they want out of a relationship. To all those who have suffered through a long distance relationship at some point in their life, give yourself a pat on the back! To those who are currently in the situation I´m in, trying to make it work from a far, I wish you the courage and strength to push through and fight till the bitter end! You can do it!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Life in Numbers

Okay I know every post I write is written about the future and about Chile and how much I miss it but bear with me here...it´s how I make it through the day. My head is always in Chile and I just can´t seem to live in the present. Those of you who have done this hellish long distance relationship thing probably have a good idea about what I´m talking about...especially this being the home stretch and all. Here is a little breakdown of my life for you right now in numbers:

-10 days left of classes!!!
-30 days until exams-honors are over and am officially done school!!!
-30 days until my Canadian bachelorette party!!!
-45 days until my bridal shower!!!
-50 days until roadtrip with mom to Seattle WA!!!
-70 days until I graduate!!!
-75 days until I am in Chile!!!
-90 days until our civil wedding ceremony!!!
-258 days until our wedding!!!

As you´ve noticed, E officially booked our civil wedding ceremony date and though I keep telling myself not to make a big deal of it, I still can´t help feeling so incredibly excited! It´s the first big step in our marriage! Though we´re trying to downplay it since we consider the real wedding to be in December, it´s still an important step and I secretly can´t WAIT to do it! One of the main reasons I don´t want to make it into a big deal is because my family and friends can´t be there to celebrate with me. My family is pretty crushed about that and I hate to think of celebrating anything this major without them. So, we´re really not going to make it into a big deal and I¨m not even mentioning it to my friends or extended family because I don´t want it to take away from the real thing. But we´re still going to have a nice lunch with E´s family afterwards and his friends are already planning to come over that evening for a bbq so I guess it´s not going to be as downplayed as I´d hoped.

Since my family can´t be there, I asked E´s brother, we´ll call him G, to be my witness. He´s probably the person I´m closest to in Chile after E and he was so happy when I called him to see if he´d be up to it. When I first came to Chile, G was the first person I actually interacted with. At the time he was still living with E at his parents house and so we spent a lot of time talking and getting to know each other. G spoke English really well and since he was home a lot during my first few months there, we got to know each other pretty well, especially since E was always gone at school and E´s parents were at work. Anyway, the point is that from the beginning, I have always felt that G is the brother I never had. I have always wanted a brother. Though I love my sister, we all know how girls can be once in a while, and sometimes I just really wished I had that extra masculine presence around the house.

It´s amazing how wonderful it can be to gain a whole new family when you get married. Now that I´m joining E´s family (and he´s joining mine) I´ve gained two new sisters, a brother, three nieces, and a set of parent-in-laws! Not to mention the huge network of extended family members! It feels great to expand my family that extra bit because I have always wanted a big family. Being only my mom, dad, sister and I back home has been so lonely. Especially since we have no extended family anywhere near us! So it´s amazing for me to go to Chile and be a part of this big huge family I have always wanted for myself. Someday I hope to be able to have at least 4 kids so that my children can enjoy a big family too. That is of course if we can afford to have that many kids, and if we are able to have all of them before I´m too old because we are not having kids until we´ve travelled extensively and completed all of our goals. Maybe by the time we´ve accomplished everything I´ll be 40 and it´ll be too late! Who knows! So being realistic, I´ll be lucky if I have three lol.

Alright so that is my random post for the day. I´m sorry but the majority of these posts, until June, are probably going to be focused on Chile and how much I miss it and want to be there. I just do not have the inspiration to write about anything else right now. I promise once I´m actually in Chile I´ll get more into the details of my life there and this blog will hopefully take a completely new direction. Until then...Chileeee and everyone in Chile...I misss youuuuu!!!

P.S. Still haven´t heard back from dream apartment. Also haven´t heard back from about 5 other potential dream apartments either!!! Aght!%#"#%/#@@!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home is Where the Heart Is

I am so choked as I write this. I found the most perfect apartment ever. EVER!!! I have been looking for apartments for the last month and a half now and haven´t come across anything that screams, ¨Live Here!¨...until now...About a week and a half ago, I stumbled upon our dream apartment...

This apartment is freaking unbelievable! It is EXACTLY in the location I have been dreaming of. It´s more than 80 meters square which is almost unheard of for apartments (well, it has a huge patio that´s like 15 meters square). It is huge. Beautiful. Two bedroom. two bathroom. Spectacular. Almost too good to be true!!! I saw pictures of the whole place online and it´s absolutely glorious! The price is a bit steeper than we wanted but E saw the place (advertised online) and he agreed right away that paying a bit extra was completely worth it. Especially for all that space! E told me that if I could contact them, I could tell them that he would go over right away to see it and be ready to sign a contract if he liked it. E has been crazy busy with work and doesn´t get back until late so he can only go apartment hunting on the weekends or in the evenings. So anyway, E left it up to me to get ahold of the guy.

The only way to get ahold of the owners is by email. There is no other contact information. So...what have I been doing for the week and a half? Emailing these people every. single. day...And what do I get? No response whatsoever! This makes me angry. I do not like to get angry. I have read a lot of posts about this sort of thing in Chile where even when you throw money at some buisnesses faces, you still have to beg them to take your money in return for whatever service it is you are trying coax out of them. I´ve never experienced thist before but now I am starting to understand how this could happen. I´m here ready to rent this apartment from them right now! In fact, if they would have answered me already, I´m sure E would already be living there! Wouldn´t that be considered a good thing from their point of view? Getting renters in asap?

These last couple days I have sent two emails a day. Still no answer. I don´t know if it´s just because they are so completely annoyed with me for all the emails I sent, or if they really just could care less about who rents their apartment. Why put up a posting to rent out your apartment if you´re not going to pay attention to anybody who is actually interested? It just doesn´t make sense! Or maybe they aren´t responding because they already found someone and aren´t bothering to put me out of my misery by letting me know. However, I doubt they could have found someone so quick because I have literally been scouting El Mercurio and Portalinmobilario every single day and I emailed this guy the day this apartment was posted. By now I pretty much have every apartment that is up for rent memorized. Sad but true. Hey! Looking at apartments makes me happy! This will be our first home together so looking at apartments makes the big move to Chile seem so much more real and I love to imagine E and I living together happily in one of those places. So yes...anway...

I am so frustrated because I thought we finally found THE place and not just that, the PERFECT place, and now I am stuck here absolutely helpless, biting my fingernails in anticipation, wondering if somebody already took the apartment or not. There´s not much E can do either because until they respond and send me some kind of a number, there´s no other way to contact them. Argghg! Frustration!!! I was so pumped because I actually thought this was going to be it, and all I had to do was pick up a phone or write an email and it would be ours. Ha! Also, I´ve been looking for a month and a half now and this is the first place that actually stood out to me as somewhere I would like to live, and it is relatively affordable and is everything we wanted!

Sigh...oh well. Sometimes life doesn´t work out the way you want it to. I just hope in these last couple months we´ll find something we really like. Maybe it´s selfish of me, but I would love for our first apartment together to be something awesome. I would love to find some place where we can really feel at home. I want this first year back together to be a great year for us...especially after these 5 years of hideous long distance. It will be the first time we are together permanently. It will be the first time where we don´t have to think about when the next good bye will be. The first time we can finally start living our lives together as husband and wife!!!

In the end, I know I would be happy living with E in a box, and I know we don´t need to have that nice apartment we´ve always been dreaming of (or rather, that I´ve been dreaming of. E would be happy living in a shed...). I know there are more important things to think of, like paying for our wedding and saving money to travel. But I can dream can´t I? Really, when it comes down to it, I know I´ll be happy living in anything we can call our own. Because home isn´t really about having a fancy shmansy apartment. Home is walking in the door after a long work day and collapsing in the arms of my sweet adorable smiling man who is there waiting for me, always ready to tell me how much he loves me. E is the only home I´ll ever need.

Wow, I totally just made myself feel better! Thanks blog!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Little Lesson In Love

I´ve always known how incredibly lucky I am to have found E, but every once in a while, I stumble across something that really makes me realize that I´ve struck gold.

Today during our daily Skype chat, he started talking about this Argentinian Sociologist named Sergio Sinay, who did research on relationships. E then proceeded to tell me what he had learned from this guy´s research and how be in a successful relationship...

That´s right. Today while I was studying microbial physiology, my darling precious man was studying how to be a good husband.

He gave me the link to the article which discussed Sergio´s research and I had to hold back a chuckle when I saw that the link was from www.emol.mujeres. By this point I was grinning ear to ear, yet trying to remain as serious as possible as E discussed Sergio´s research and the many ways to maintain our awesome relationship for many years to come (My sweet adorable man! No machista here!).

So incase anyone else is interested...According to Sergio, the most important element to having a successful relationship is knowing yourself. I guess this makes sense. When you first hear this, you think duh! That´s so obvious! But I wonder...how many really do know themselves? How do you know if you know yourself? This isn´t as easy as it sounds. Well, I really hope I know myself pretty darn well because I plan on having a very successful relationship.

Then, also according to Sergio, to maintain that successful relationship once already in said relationship, there are three important things to remember. Sergio says that out of all the couples he´s studied, all the relationsihps that were still intact and happy included these three additional elements.

1.) Believing in destiny: Knowing that you and your partner are meant for each other and thus need to stick together and get through the rough stuff, adapting to each other naturally.

2.) Complementary differences: Though differences exist, they shouldn´t come between you too much and there are ways to make these differences work together or ¨complement¨each other.

3.) And finally, number three...I didn´t understand this point...and so it remains a mystery! Muahahhaha! I´ll leave that up to the imagination. What do you think it is?

Okay fine, if you´re really dying to know, you can find the article here:

http://www.puntomujer.emol.com/hombre_y_mujer/noticia/detallenoticia.asp?id={F17DB49C-4CA7-45CF-9745-94E1FD50723C}

Yes I still need to work on my Spanish. E tried explaining it as best as he could, but when I didn´t understand, I went to read the article itself and I still don´t understand. So if anyone wants to enlighten me on this third point, it would be greatly appreciated! I really wouldn´t want to have an unsuccessful relationship for lack of not understanding ha ha!

So anyway, I´m pretty stoked to be marrying such an awesome guy. A guy who is willing to go browse through women´s magazines to find out how to be a better partner. A guy that is not afraid to communicate and discuss his feelings. A guy that wants to work at our relationship every day for the rest of our lives. To me that says a lot!

P.S. 85 DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHILEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Baby

Yes, I am going to spend an entire post writing about my dog. The time has come for me to introduce you to Cuzko. For the record, I never wanted this name...but being the brat that she is, my sister sneakishly named him while I was away in Chile and used Cuzko for all his official records so it´s a done deal. Grrr....sisters.... The reason she picked Cuzko is because of the movie ¨Emperor´s New Groove¨ where the llama Emperor is named Cuzko. However, when I say his name to any Latin American, they just get confused. Most North Americans associate his name with the movie, since almost nobody knows where the actual city is, while all the Latinos think of the city and find it odd to name something after Cuzko.

Some cities sound good as names but Cuzko just sounds weird if you ask me...it´s too hard to say. Try yelling out CUZKO COME HERE!!! There´s just too many harsh ¨K¨sounds and so we end up calling him something like ¨Cuzo¨ which just sounds like ¨Cujo¨. So now people think our dog is named after the wild beast from the horror movie ¨Cujo¨which doesn´t leave a very good first impression. And since my dog is huge, the name plus his size results in people being terrified of him upon their first meeting. So, THAT is my issue with his name. However, now that we´ve named him, or should I say, now that my devilish little sister forced the name upon him, we can´t really change it because he got used to being called that for the months I was in Chile while he was still a pup. Too late...

Anyway, without further adue, I present to you the one and only Cuzko!!!!

Yes I know, he is a horse. He´s huge! We adopted him from the SPCA. Somebody abandoned for couple weeks with nothing but a few buckets of water and took off from their apartment for some reason. They never came back and the poor thing was scared shitless, starved, and alone. Poor thing. So we took him in and he has been a beloved part of the family ever since. God I´m going to miss this precious guy so much! We don´t know what he is...some sort of lab boxer mix they guessed. Any other ideas? Some have guessed he´s got a bit of dane in him too because he´s just so long and big.

The poor guy. His body proportions are a bit off and he´s too long for his arms which results in him having to sit on his hip with his legs thrown out to the side making him look like a little princess ha ha! We all get a kick out of how he sits. When he tries to sit like a normal dog, his bum doesn´t touch the floor!






I love it when he does this. He´ll take a nap on our patio and rest his head inbetween these wooden things and just chill for hours ha ha!

He always has to be touching someone. We think it´s because he was abandoned so he feels the need to always be in contact with people to ensure that he´s never left alone again. If there´s people around, he has to sit so that he is at least brushing up against somone. He´s never happy just being on his own. He can´t even sleep on his own and so he comes into the house in the evenings to chill with us.

Wild and free. This is him at the river by our house. He loves the water.


Oh dogs, they´re so great. Cuzko will do all sorts of halarious things. He loves rolling around and stretching.


My little horse.


Whenever we take him for a walk, he´ll find the biggest stick, or should I say log, which he can barely carry, and drags it all the way back to the house. It´s halarious watching him carry a log three times his size back to the house and struggle with it every inch of the way until he reaches his goal ha ha! He´ll drop it many times only to pick it up again and continue. My dad tries to take them away and hide them but he´ll always go back and get it. So determined.

I am going to miss this dog with all my heart when I´m in Chile! I love dogs and it´s definitely going to be a while until E and I can get a house where we can have room to have a dog again, so it´ll be sad not having that presence for a long time. Whenever I miss him in the future, I´m going to come back to look at this post. Hopefully it will help! It´s amazing how attached one can get to an animal! I love you Cuzko!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Things I Will Do Once I Am In Chile

I could also entitle this post, ¨top things I will do once I have a life again¨. The reason I got to thinking about this was because lately I´ve been thinking so much about painting...a beloved hobby of mine which I haven´t had time for basically my whole university career. Lately I´ve been feeling this incredible urge to paint and draw and do anything else creative. Once I started thinking about that, I started thinking about all the other things I would love to do if I didn´t have to be constantly thinking about school. It made me happy to think that once I´m in Chile, I´ll actually have time for the things I have always wanted to do but couldn´t because of school.

Now I know that once I find a job in Chile, it will require a lot of time, especially since Chilean work weeks are generally longer than Canadian ones, but still. For me, working 60 hours a week in a regular job would be a holiday from the situation I´m in now. At least with work you can get home and shut your brain off most of the time while in school, your mind just gets so mentally worn down with each passing day. When I first get to Chile, I´ll have a lot of free time, mainly because I don´t think I´ll be that lucky and get an awesome job right away. I´m also going to start off teaching English (again) just to be able to bring in some form of income until I find a better and more stable job. But even teaching English will give me a lot of free time since the busiest I have ever been being an English teacher was 4 classes in one day, and even then, at least one class was usually cancelled.

So I´m looking forward to at least a few months of a break when I get to Chile to just recover from a brutal semester and enjoy life. E actually suggested that I just teach English until after our wedding so I can relax and enjoy life for longer instead of jumping into a work routine right away...Aw, I love him! Though this would be nice, I would feel bad because in the end I would end up contributing barely anything and we really need the money. I´m also actually really looking forward to being an adult and having a real grown up job and all that comes with it!

So, back to the list of things I want to do when I´m in Chile:

1.) PAINT!!! This involves my two favorites: watercolor and oil. I also want to get back to just drawing and sketching. I love working with pastel too. I´m determined to make painting a part of my routine because I love it! It´s been so long since I´ve been in touch with my creative self and I always found it so relaxing and liberating.

2.) Run. Though I run a lot now, I rarely have time for a big run like a 20K or more because of time. Once in Chile I want to do a long run once a week and not have to think that I should be studying instead of running.

3.) Explore the Culinary World: I love to cook. Again this goes back to my creative self. Cooking really is an art and I love experimenting and trying new things. In Chile I am going to cook at least one new recipe a week and spend hours in the kitchen! The kitchen is my favorite place in the house...it is my happy place.

4.) Be more in touch with mother nature. Okay I know I run a lot, but I´m always running in the same area in the city. I would like to do more activities that involve leaving the city such as hiking or just going on a day trip somewhere out in the country. I don´t really know much of anything outside the Santiago region except for Vina and Valpo. I would love to explore more parks and areas outside of the city.

5.) Volunteer: I volunteered occasionally here at home but it kind of revolved around school. One semester I would volunteer, the other I wouldn´t etc. I would like to pick a volunteering activity and stick to it. I used to volunteer with Techo Para Chile and loved it. They´re a great organization so I think I´ll try them again. I´m also hoping to go to the South for a couple weeks before starting a job to help out with the earthquake relief efforts.

6.) Have fun! It will be so great to go out and do normal fun things like going out for drinks, dancing, parties, and gatherings without feeling guilty, thinking I should be studying for that midterm in two days. I can´t wait to just go out and enjoy myself without school always at the back of my mind! I also can´t wait to have more time for friends and family in my life.

7.) Spend quality time with my soon to be husband! I just can´t wait to be able to do simple things together like going out to eat, taking a nice walk after work, sleeping in and cuddling on the weekends, grocery shopping, and doing all those normal things couples do! I´m going to have to pinch myself when we´re actually living that life together because it will be like a dream!

So these are just a few things I was pondering on my morning run today and it made me happy. That´s what keeps me going right now, focusing on the positive and knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. A big bright beautiful light!

P.S. Went for official wedding dress fitting today...fell completely and utterly in love with dress all over again :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thank-You Fellow Bloggers!!!

I just want to take a moment to thank all you bloggers in Chile for your great blogs! You have no idea how much they are helping me get through this shitty time in my life being stuck here at school and away from the love of my life and Chile. Whenever I´m feeling down in the dumps, I read some of your blogs and I think, ¨Hey, that´s going to be me soon!¨. Reading your experiences and knowing that soon enough I´ll be in Chile having similar ones really helps me forget the dark place I´m in right now. Reading your blogs and all the adventures they contain, allows me to live through you and for a while I imagine that I actually am in Chile. You have no idea how much they lift my spirits...it can be the simplest blog, but it´s just so nice to remember what life is like there and to imagine that soon I will be living there happily with my soulmate doing some of those same things everyone blogs about. For example, one blogger blogged such a nice post about having a glass of wine out on the balcony with her fiance and just enjoying the evening. It´s simple things like that that I just can´t wait for...finally living with my hunny and enjoying the small things in life! So thank-you for making me smile during these difficult times of mine.

Anyway...a quick update...Nothing too special. I´m just not even going to mention school anymore because I´m sure you all have a pretty good idea of how much I hate it right now and how much I just want to be done. So besides that, I´ve been doing a lot of running. Getting ready for that half-marathon in September! So far I´m running abut 15K and have even run about 17 or 18K a couple times so I´m getting there!

I don´t feel like a slob anymore! That was a very low point for me. I finally shook myself out of it and have stashed my sweatpants! I am now wearing cute but comfortable outfits everyday which has seriously helped to lift my mood and boost my confidence (Thanks Lydia! You were right!). Take THAT Sweedish goddess!!!

Friday I have my first wedding dress fitting for alterations!!! I´m so excited to put that dress on again because I am absolutely inlove with it! The seamstress is actually Chilean and a really good friend of E´s and mine so I totally trust her and know my dress is in good hands. I´m making some slight alterations like turning the neckline into a sweetheart cut and adding halter type straps. It also needs to be taken in a bit because it was a little big. Then again, I haven´t tried it on since September so here´s hoping I haven´t gained weight! Though with all this running I´ve been doing, it´s likely that I´ve lost weight without meaning to.

Bad news with the apartment hunting...Remember how E and I were going to start looking for apartments in Chile this month? Well, after the earthquake, apartment prices went up 30%!!!!!!!! This is insane!!!! The reason is that all those people who live on floor 20 something and those living in old and damaged buildings are out looking for a new apartment and everyone has the same criteria: nice apartement, not too high up, good quality, etc... So, this has made looking for an apartment very difficult. After talking it through with E, we have decided to wait it out a bit and try again next month and the month after when things start to settle down a bit. Hopefully prices will go back down! We´re not exactly loaded and are looking for something relatively low in price but in a good neighborhood. A 2 bedroom apartment anywhere in Providencia relatively close to a metro or in the Parque forestal area for under 250,000 is our goal. If that wasn´t hard enough to find to begin with, now it´s pretty much impossible, so we´ll see. We might have to give up our dream of living in Providencia for now and go to the Center...sniff...

As I mentioned, money is tight with us right now. E just started working for this new company and is taking part in a year long training program where they pay him ¨training¨ wages so he´s not making a ton of money. Throw in paying for the new car we bought and paying for our wedding and you have a very broke couple! Plus, who knows how long it´s going to take me to find a job when I get there so until I´m contributing, things are going to be very tight. Because of this, we might have to lower our standards in apartment hunting...bummer. Luckily, E is only going to be getting these low wages for the first year, after which they will substantially increase his pay so that´s a good thing. Hopefully things will get better on the money issue when E starts making more and when I finally get a job!

Other than that, though time is going by so annoyingly and painfuly slow, it is still going and I only have about 90 days left in Canada and only about 60 days left of torture at school!!! My parents have a bunch of fun things planned once I´m finally done with classes and I´m really looking forward to it! At the end of August my sister is throwing me a semi-bachelorette party! Then on May 14th my mom is throwing me a bridal shower with all the close women in our lives. I think it´s great to do a bridal shower because the bachelorette party is usually just for the younger friends and it´s an experience I´m sure most wouldn´t like to share with their mothers and other family members. However, at a bridal shower, women of all ages can come and share your bridal joy! A bridal shower is especially necessary in my situation because all of these women that are close to me and my family will not get to be there on my big day and they still really want to celebrate with me in some way. Then, in June, the day after I graduate and the weekend before I go to Chile, my parents are throwing me a grad/going away party! God I´m so spoiled! Oh and I forgot to mention that my mom and I are doing a little roadtrip in June to go visit my aunt in Olympia WA so that should be fun! We´re going to take a detour and spend a couple nights in Seattle for some mother-daughter fun!

So this is my life right now. Working hard and dreaming about the end of April when I will finally be done school and will finally be able to enjoy my last month here with family and friends!!!

Just to clarify, when I say I am happy reading your blogs, I don´t mean the earthquake posts or other horrible experiences. I am definitely not happy when I am reading about someone´s pain. I´m just talking about your generally neutral or happy blogs that I have lately began reading from various parts of your blogs. Definitely don´t like to bask in other peoples misfortune!!! Oh, and I´m not a blog stalker...I promise! I just really enjoy reading blogs!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Effects of the Earthquake on the Planet

I was just reading this article and had to share because it´s so interesting. Apparently the Chile earthquake was the seventh strongest quake recorded in history. Wow! Because of the magnitude of the quake, scientists have calculated that the axis on which the Earth rotates has changed slightly! In addition, the quake also shortened a typical Earth day! Well, only by a couple microseconds but still! I didn´t know earthquakes could do this! So I thought I would share this article with other people who might find it as interesting as I did. You can find the articles about this phenomenon here and here. The immense power and destruction of an earthquake just blows my mind...

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Mind and Heart is in Chile

It still all seems so surreal to me...I just can´t get over what is happening in Chile. After the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that ripped through Concepcion and destroyed towns all the way up to Santiago, the news started pouring in and I began to understand the gravity of the situation. The death toll is already past 800 and is expected to rise even more. Though a certain number or deaths in such a large earthquake is inevitable, many of those deaths could have been avoided from what I hear.

Last night I talked with E who was explaining the controversy in Chile to me over the earthquake. I didn´t realize that many of those deaths were due to a tsunami along the coast closest to the epicentre. The only thing the media has been portraying to us so far are facts about the quake and what was destroyed etc. But the tsunami that ravaged the coast didn´t get much attention as people related all the destruction primarily to the earthquake. Anyway, yesterday E was telling me that the tsunami was the most destructive part of the quake and because a proper warning system wasn´t in place, many of the people that died couldn´t be alerted on time, thus resulting in their unnecessary deaths. Now there is a huge outcry in Chile over this issue. Chile has been becoming more developed over the years, their economy has been growing, money has been flowing...so why has Chile been spending most of their wealth primarily on things like military, and expensive buildings when one of the most basic things they could have devoted a portion of that money to is an adequate warning system...especially in a country where earthquakes and tsunamis are a part of life.

I haven´t read up on this issue much since yesterday was the first I heard about this. E and I haven´t been able to communicate often because the telephone networks are still sketchy and his internet is down which means no skype. But this issue really irks me. Chile prides itself in becoming more stable and more developed and is doing a good job, but basic things such as warning systems, investing more in social programs, and other things that help increase the quality of life in the country remain somewhat untouched. It really infuriates me how in most underdeveloped countries, as soon as their economy starts booming, the money starts flowing...into the pockets of the rich while the poor never see that money at all. Take Brazil and India for example. In the last few years their economies have boomed, but the socioeconomic gap between the rich and the poor remain the same, if not worse.

From what E tells me, in one part of the South (I forget where...the San Fernandez Islands perhaps?) the only warning the town had was a cell phone call from a teenage girls friend in Vina. The girl apparently went to sound the towns alarm which was some bell that barely made a sound. Sure in Vina and other richer cities, the warning systems are fine, but in Southern Chile where you have more poverty and less infrastructure, the warning systems are severely inadequate. Towns destroyed in the South by the tsunami didn´t even have satellite phones so that they could be warned!!! I just can´t wrap my head around this because obviously in a big earthquake, telephone and internet communication is likely to be compromised, so a satellite phone is absolutely essential! The government could at least invest some cash in one satellite phone per city couldn´t they?! I know I don´t have all the proper facts and information, but from what I hear, or at least from what the media portrays, the government really screwed up on this one. If anyone cares to enlighten me on this topic or correct me in any way, it would be greatly appreciated.

Much like I would imagine the earthquake has united everyone in Chile, it has also united all of us that have loved ones in Chile. The day the earthquake hit I was on the phone with all my friends here who have family or pololos or friends in Chile. We´re constantly in close contact and helping each other cope. Nobody else here understands what it´s like to be separated with your loved ones during a huge natural disaster and see your adopted country (or home country) suffer so much and not be able to do anything about it. We feel so helpless and so full of pain for what is happening and we all just want to get on the next plane and go help in any way we can. I know a lot of things bug me about Chile, but after watching my beloved second country go through such a disaster, I can´t help feeling more connected with it and I realize how much I love that place.

I talked with E and I have decided that when I get to Chile at the beginning of June, I will stay with E until the end of June, and then in July go down to Concepcion or wherever needs help the most and help out directly in rebuilding or in whatever they need. July will be the perfect time to go down there and help because from what I hear...right now, as well as the next month or two, is a bad time because it is full of chaos. Many people still don´t have food and water or a place to sleep and the extent of the damage, as well as the best way to help out, is still being analyzed.

So I figure that by July, things will be more organized and people will actually know what´s going on and have a plan about how to help out. I was originally going to start looking for work right away but I´ll just push that plan back a few weeks. It´s perfect because I won´t be tied down to a job and can go as long as I want. I was thinking about 2 weeks. Anybody else up for joining me? I´ve volunteered with Techo Para Chile many times in the past and have gone North with them on expeditions building temporary houses for underprivileged people so I know how they roll. They´re a great organization and I know a few of the directors so it will be easy to get on one of their teams to go help. Since providing shelter for the poor is the foundation of their organization, they´re probably one of the best equipped organizations to go South and start building shelters for people that lost their homes. They´re going to have a lot of work ahead of them! And, I´ve helped to build many mediaguas (temporary houses) in my time in Chile so no training needed for me! Just talking about it makes me feel better knowing that eventually I´ll be able to help out in some way. I just hope it works out!

I really can´t wait to get the ball rolling. I feel so useless right now watching the news and watching all that is going on. It´s so sad to see that some miserable people are taking advantage of the situation and robbing and looting. They are making Chile look bad and I can´t stand hearing about it! Do they have no sympathy for what happened?!?!?! Ahrhggh!!! People like that just make me want to scream!

So that´s all for now. Unfortunately, the world keeps going and I must go to class...But my mind and heart is not in school and it is not in anything else that I do here. I just can´t get Chile out of my mind. My thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Chile and all those foreigners who are in the same situation as me, waiting on loved ones...watching their home suffer.

If anybody wants to help, here are some bloggers in Chile who have information on the best way to do it.

Clare
Leigh
Kyle
Tyffanie