Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Legally Married!!!

I have been trying to get another post in here for soooo long! It´s amazing how little time you have once you start working!!! Whenever I get home from work now all I want to do is eat, cuddle with E, and go to sleep early...and there is little time for much else during the busy work week. This weekend I couldn´t post anything because...well...I got married!!! Actually, we had our civil wedding, which for us is not the same as getting married since to us "getting married" means the actual religious ceremony. And I´m not trying to take away the significance and importance of civil weddings. I know many people count the civil wedding as the "real" wedding. I think that whatever ceremony you choose as the moment you declare yourselves as husband and wife is up to you and depends on your own personal beliefs and feelings. The important thing though is choosing a day where you both agree to commit to each other and love each other forever. Since none of my friends and family could be here for the civil wedding, and since we are religious, that big day is in December. However, I´m still so excited about having accomplished this first important step and I can´t help but tell the world! The civil wedding is still a very important ceremony because now in the eyes of the law we are officially no longer single and from now on function as a family unit. Yay!

Would you believe that we actually almost weren´t even allowed to get married by the registro civil! We had a little issue with the judge. Whoever is planning to have a civil ceremony in Chile, read on!

E had received a little card from the registro civil with the date and time of our ceremony and info about what we were supposed to bring etc. For example, did you know that you are not allowed any children in the room since they might distract the couple from fully understanding everything that takes place during the ceremony?! E´s little nieces were there and I guess his sister forgot about this fact so they had to be kicked out for the ceremony along with E´s brother in law who had to sit outside with them. Bummer.

Anyway, when we first arrived at the registro, E went to go sign in. About 10 minutes had gone by and I noticed E was still talking with the receptionist. When I went to go see what was going on, I could see that they were arguing. It turns out, the lady was telling E that he couldn´t show up to get married without wearing a tie! The card they gave us said to wear formal attire and we dressed up according to what we thought "formal" meant! I felt we looked fine! No...more than fine! But this lady went on scolding E about his atire and telling him that the civil ceremony is a solomn event...blah blah blah...and you have to take it seriously...blah blah blah...and how could we be taking it seriously if E wasn´t even wearing a tie!? Oh my god you have got to be kidding me, I thought. After much arguing with this traditional conservative grouch, we came to an agreement that E would wear his brother in law´s nice coat to cover up his blasphemous tieless shirt. Then she moved on to me and said, "Don´t you dare tell me that you´re wearing pants!" (she couldn´t see what I was wearing on the lower half of my body because I was behind a counter). Thank god I wasn´t but initially I was going to put on a pair of nice black dress pants. Can you believe this!??! So apparently, there is an official "dress code" one has to follow if they hope to get married in the registro civil!!! You would think that if it was so freaking important they would mention it somewhere or let us know BEFORE showing up to get married and then ruining our day by making us feel like scum because of our clothing?!?!? And just so you know, E was dressed completely formal in my opinion! He was wearing nice pants and a nice shirt, just no tie. I was wearing a skirt thank god! But the fact that she made E cover up like he had something to be ashamed of totally put a damper on the mood.

Then when we finally got past the stupid receptionist, we get called into the ceremonial room, and tried to forget the b@#ch lady and her silly conservative ways. Imagine our delight when we walk in and see the same lady standing up infront of us! It turns out she was no receptionist...she was the judge! So throughout the whole ceremony I was standing there trembling in fear, hoping she wouldn´t pick a fight about something else like my not so perfect legal Spanish. Thankfully, a switch flipped on in that head of hers and she remained decent for the rest of the ceremony, until the end...where she continued to lecture E about his clothes saying that "you have to look nice so that your future children can look back on these photos with pride...blah blah blah..." I´m like, "Lady! Give it a rest already! You already killed the mood you don´t have to butcher it!!! ARGhghghgh!!!! Anger!!!!

So aside from that little glitch in the road, E and I proceeded through the ceremony smoothly and when it was over, we totally forgot about our crazy judge woman because we were bombarded by hugs and kisses and "congratulations" from our families. We went back home to have a wonderful celebratory lunch with close family members and then all watched the Chile vs Spain game. Though Chile lost, we had a great time watching it together. That night we had a bbq to celebrate with some close friends of ours which went on until about 3:30am, as typical Chilean bbqs do. We woke up with pretty bad hang overs and then booked it over to Cantina California where we watched the USA vs Ghana game with some gringo friends! Though USA lost (sorry my American buddies!) it was great seeing everyone and I was happy E got to meet some of the lovely ladies I´ve come to know in these past few weeks, as well as their lovely partners.

Sunday and Monday were spent on pure relaxation. I love lazy weekend days. Everything was looking up as we entered the work week until this morning....

I got up at 6:45am to go for a morning run before work. I took my usual route and about 3/4 along the route, I was attacked by a dog. Runners BEWARE!!! Take note of your surroundings and the dogs around you! I, like I´m sure most people in Chile, have always thought street dogs were harmless and never even gave them a second glance. This morning I was running past this one dog when all of a sudden, it turned on me and attacked me! It started snarling and barking and jumping on me! I didn´t even have time to think and my instinct told me to just keep running, hoping he´d back off...that´s when he started biting me! Then I finally just stopped and raised my hands as if to surrender hoping the dog would stop. Some street worker noticed and started yelling at the dog and the dog backed off. He asked me if I was bit and I just brushed him off saying I´m fine because I was in such shock and was about to break down and didn´t want to start bawling right then and there. I started to feel like I was suffocating because I was still far from home and I was terrified the dog would follow me. Then I looked at my leg and saw that I was bleeding. Then I thought, shit...what if this dog has rabies or some other disease...That´s when I freaked out even more. I tried to hold it together until I got home but I was still in a state of shock and when I called E to tell him what happend I broke down and he could hardly understand me.

E called his mom, who is a nurse, who said I would need a rabies vaccine since I was bit by a stray dog and you could never be sure. So this morning was spent waiting around at E´s mom´s hospital to get my shot. It turns out you need five shots! Aak!!! I hate shots! Especially when they´re intermuscular shots that make your muscle go numb afterwards! You take them on a schedule so today was day one, then I have to go back every 3 days or so to get another shot. I wish they would have just given them to me all at once...way easier and less pain and anticipation to deal with. Well, I´m sure there´s a reason why they don´t do that. And I guess it´s better getting all those shots than contracting rabies! But anyway, to make a long story short, I am now safe and sound in my apartment and am feeling much better.

And with that I conclude my update! Hoping to post more frequently once things settle down! It still seems like I just got here and there´s been so much happening all at once: the wedding, the new job, the apartment...not that I´m complaining, I´m loving the Chilean life so far! Aside from being attacked by random dogs that is!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Storm

So as you´ve noticed, I changed my blog layout. The new blogger templates were just too tempting! I had recently taken some shots of Santiago so I thought I´d use one of them as my title picture. Here´s some more of the pictures I took the other day. Most of them are of the storm that passed through here. I love watching storms. I especially love the dark dramatic skies against the gorgeous Andes. Enjoy!









Thursday, June 17, 2010

Phew! Made it Through the First Day!

Today I completed my first day as a working girl. Well, first day as a working girl in the professional world. I set my alarm to wake up an hour and a half before I had to be there, just so I could have extra time for getting dressed in the morning and finding my way there. The place I work is only about two metro stops from where I live but still, I wanted to be extra sure I had enough time.

It turns out, it wasn´t enough time. Why do these things always happen when you have something important to do? First of all, the biggest dilemma of the morning was figuring out what to wear. I have never really had to dress up like a "professional" before and thought it would be easy. However, I spent a whole hour ransacking my closet and changed outfits about 5 times. When I finally picked what I was going to wear and left the apartment, all I could think about was how wrong the outfit was! It didn´t help that this gorgeous girl dressed like one of those sexy secretary types came on to the elevator with me to go down to the lobby. That left me thinking that my choice of clothing resembled something similar to what my grandmother would wear. Walking down the street it was all I could think about and I started to freak out even more thinking, "I need some new clothes! I look horrible! Ahhhgg!!!" I know it was just first day jitters, but I seriously do need to by some more professional looking clothes.

Anyway, at the metro stop I needed to get out at, which should be very familiar to me by now, I had another little set back. This metro has a million exits, and I have only used 2 of them. When I came out of the new exit I was supposed to take and resurfaced into the world, I was completely disoriented! I know this sounds stupid but this area has a lot of tall buildings and I couldn´t see the mountains and I had never been in that exact area before. So anyway, I picked a direction and started walking thinking that I would run into something familiar soon. Thankfully it was only 5 minutes later that I realized I had been walking in the complete opposite direction and quickly got back on course. I finally made it to work exactly 2 minutes early! Phew!!!

All my worrying turns out to have been for nothing...as usual. I am amazed at this job I have! I have my own freaking office!!! And it´s bigger than my room!!! I didn´t think people here got one of those until they were higher up on the payroll! Seriously, it´s awesome! When they showed me my office, first of all I was amazed, second I asked, "So how many of us are sharing it?" I was seriously going there prepared to work in some dark room with no windowns on a bench shared by 10 other people because that´s what so many of the jobs in Chile seem to start out as! So yes, that got me pumped. It´s also a bonus that the people at my new work place are all wonderful and made me feel so welcome. AND my boss is absolutely awesome! I´m so excited about the work I will be doing there and can´t wait to get the ball rolling!

So first day on the job was great! I can see that I am going to be loving it there! I can´t wait until next week! I´m not coming in tomorrow because it just so happens that my computer (yes I have my own computer!) isn´t ready yet since I need the internet to work so my boss told me I could just work from home tomorrow since I have internet here. Yay! So, this week was tough...I worked for one day, then went out for sushi with a frend! Phew! I´m exausted! No but really. I´ve had enough of bumming around. I´m ready to start something and challenge myself! I can´t wait until next week so I can really get into things!

And with that I´m off to bed. Good night!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Finally in Chile!!!

Okay so I think it´s time I post something since I´ve been here exactly one week already. I´ve just had no time! Things have been flying by and so much has been happening at once! On top of that, I start my new job tomorrow! I´m so excited but nervous at the same time since this will be my first professional working experience!

Now to recap...I arrived on a beautifully smoggy Friday morning. From the plane I couldn´t even see the actual city because of a layer of fog that was mixed in with the smog. At first I thought it was all smog and was about to cry as I realized I wouldn´t be able to run nearly as much as I used to, but then someone told me that there was mist on the ground so that made me feel better.

In the airport, I had a little fiasco with customs. Usually I don´t even think twice about declaring anything because I thought you basically just couldn´t bring any fresh produce into Chile and I never carry fresh produce. However, after hearing several broadcasts urging people to declare pretty much anything that came from a living thing or to declare anything they weren´t sure about, I became a little nervous and mentally revised what I had in my bags. Then the broadcast went on to threaten that anyone caught with any item not allowed in Chile would pay a fine of at least 200 dollars. That last part really caught my attention and so I thought I better go and check with customs if the coffee and almond desserts I was carrying were okay. I talked to one official who told me to go wait in a certain line. I waited...and waited...and waited. There were about 5 customs officers dealing with this one person for about an hour. When my turn finally came around, of course the customs officials told me that I had to wait in no such line and could go right ahead with my baggage to the screening area where I could declare my things. So...after wasting through an hour of that with E watching me anxiously from the window above, I finally made it through the rest of customs as quickly as possible and ran into E´s arms. Sigh...that was all worth the wait.

Of course in the beginning there was that bit of awkwardness. Most people think that when E and I see each other for the first time in months, we´re hugging, kissing, crying, etc... But actually, what most people don´t realize is that it´s weird in the beginning. We always need a bit of time to adjust and get used to each other again. After months of separation, there are always little changes here and there and you kind of forget how you kissed or hugged each other and even how you talked to each other! Of course this stage passes quickly but I usually need a full day to finally be my old self with E again. Now I feel as if no time passed at all! E and I have talked about this phenomenon various times and we both feel the same. We laugh about it now.

After picking me up from the airport, E took me to our new apartment!!! I couldn´t be happier! It looks even better in person than it did in the pictures! Of course there is absolutly no furniture except for our bed and the apartment is virtually empty, but I have a vision and I can see the potential in this place. I know one day when we finally accumulate enough pieces of furniture and appliances, this place will make a lovely and cozy little home. E made a big banner that he taped across the living room saying "Welcome to Our Home!" in English, Slovak, and Spanish ha ha! On top of that he had flowers and sushi waiting for me! I couldn´t have been happier or felt more welcome!

That first day we spent touring our new neighborhood and just hanging out. Let me just say that I am officially obsessed with our neighborhood!!! I absolutely adore it! This is the kind of place I have been waiting for and dreaming about after living so many years in a small and uneventful town! This area is surrounded by adorable little bars and restaurants! And it maintains a lot of that "old Chile" feeling. It´s got a lot of beautiful old houses and buildings and there are still little local bakerys, butcher shops, and markets all over the place! I just can´t get enough of this place! I want to go into every shop and restaurant to try out everything! That night we went out to look for a place to eat. We walked into about 7 restaurants to read the menu and just check them out. And though I would have gladly eaten in any one of those restaurants, I was still craving sushi. Don´t judge me...I don´t know what it is about sushi that fires up my taste buds so much but it´s just irrisitable to me! We don´t have that sushi wrapped in avocado back home and I absolutely cannot get enough of it! I really am going to have to learn how to make sushi one of these days!

Saturday E and I spent bumming around and relaxing again. We went to our local market to stock up on produce. Going to the market again was delightful! The markets here are one of the things I missed most about Chile! Then we bought some empanadas for lunch because we apparently live close to a famous empanada place! How lucky!

Sunday was family day. E´s family had a welcome bbq for me and so we spent the day there eating good food and finishing the night off with music and singing. All of E´s family is musically gifted so whenever they get together, somebody usually breaks out a guitar or accordion and the singing follows soon after. I love how weekend lunches turns into a whole day event. We didn´t leave until around 7:30pm! I remember times where a weekend family lunch in Chile would turn into once (evening snack) and then into dinner! And somewhere in there everyone would find somewhere in the house to also take a siesta (nap)! Love it! Ah, it´s good to be back!

Monday I finally got around to unpacking and I even got to try out a few cooking recipes! I made some white bean-chickpea-vegetable soup and a buttery apple torte. Don´t even ask me how I managed to create these things with only two pans and no bowls! It was a pretty tough feat but I managed. When I make up my mind to do something, there´s no stopping me. Having said that, we´re desperately in need of kitchen appliances!

Tuesday was a fun day because I had coffee with the lovely Kyle Hepp who also invited me to a gringa get together at her friends. It was so nice to be welcomed to Chile by such a nice group of girls. I really had a wonderful time and I´m hoping these get togethers become a frequent event. The only down side of the evening was that exactly in the middle of the get together I discovered I had a UTI which was horribly uncomfortable and getting more painful by the minute so I had to leave early because I needed antibiotics asap! Lucky E´s dad is a doctor so I can get these kinds of prescriptions quickly but he wanted me to get a urine test anyway just for a confirmation. So today was spent hunting down a clinic to go and get that figured out. Thank god I finally did, but it wasn´t without difficulties. I had some odd experiences at the actual clinic too which maybe I´ll blog about later. They just do things differently here I guess.

So, fastforward to today! This morning I was awaken by the sound of hundreds of cars honking and half the country cheering and screeming. I woke up groggily wondering what the eff is going on. Once I came out of my dazed zombie-like state, I quicly remembered that Chile was playing Honduras and Chile must have scored their first goal! Yay I thought! I turned on the TV to watch the game and something was wrong! I couldn´t get it to work dammit! So after a bit of wrestling with the damn thing and not succeeding, I decided to go out for a run instead to lift my spirits.

Towards the end of my run, the honking and screeming started to get louder and more frequent. That´s when I realized I was heading right for Plaza Italia and all those happy shouts and cries could only mean one thing...CHILE WON!!! In Chile, after every big Chilean victory, everybody goes to Plaza Italia to celebrate. I have never been to the Plaza when Chile won some big game and I was curious to see what it was like so I ran on. Holy shit! It was crazy! People everywhere honking and screeming and cheering! Of course there were police everywhere as well but in general, everyone was in very good spirits and there weren´t any sketchy things going on as far as I could see. There were even families there with children! It was such a nice thing to see and made me feel so fond of my newly adopted country. It´s so nice to see how a sport can unite a country. Everyone in the square was wearing huge smiles and clapping and cheering and hugging and slapping each other on the backs, almost as if it were them who actually played the game. It was really really really nice to see. The euphoria and Chilean pride bursting out of that square was infectious and I couldn´t tear myself away. Of course right when I pulled out my ipod to take a video it died, so I couldn´t capture the moment, as much as I wanted to. I guess CHile is just going to have to win another game so I can go there again. Has anyone else been to Plaza Italia during a big celebration? Seriously, if you haven´t gone, go. It´s a great experience!

And with that I conclude my recap because if I don´t I´m pretty sure it will turn into a book. Let me just finish off by saying that I couldn´t be happier. I feel so content and inlove and I feel so optimistic about my future here. I can´t wait to see what this year brings!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Graduation...Check!!!

I have so many feelings right now and I don´t even know where to begin explaning myself. I feel light because the weight of 5 years of constant stress from school has been lifted. I feel joy and admiration that after 5.5 years of struggling through this hard long distance relationship, I am about to finally be reunited with my soulmate and start having a normal relationship together. I feel scared that I´m about to venture into the unknown, and about to start living life as a real independant adult. I´m heartbroken that I will soon leave behind my beloved family who have cared for me, supported me, nurtured me, and loved me over the past 24 years of my life. I feel optimistic, hopeful, and proud at all that I have accomplished and at the opportunities I am taking advantage of as I make my new life in Santiago. But most of all, I feel excited and ready to start a new era in my life and see where the road takes me!

All these feelings were running through my head yesterday on my graduation day. As I walked across the stage to receive my credentials and shake hands with a bunch of important people whose names I couldn´t remeber, I felt like I was dreaming. It all seemed so surreal and it finally hit me that this is it. I´ve completed my degree and I am about to go into the world to start a new life. Looking around at all my fellow graduates and feeling their happiness and seeing their smiles gave me so much hope for the future and I couldn´t help smiling all day. I didn´t think that day would affect me as much as it did, but it was very emotional for me and for my family. In part because of graduation and in part because of everything else that is happening in my life at exactly the same time. It´s so overwhelming! My mom told me that the night before my grad it finally hit her that I was leaving and she was crying all night! My poor mom! I don´t know how I am going to say goodbye to my parents. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. Why does leaving have to be so bitter sweet!? I wish everyone could just be happy and not shed a tear. Oh parting is such sweet sorrow...

I have so much to do in these next few days and I don´t even know where to start!!! Ahhh!!! The days are going by way too fast now! Before they were going by so painfully slowly but now I wish I could just stop the clock for a bit to get everything done! I´m trying to get wedding invitations figured out so that they will be ready to send to all the Canadians before I go (since it will be more expensive to send from Chile) but that doesn´t look like it´s going to go over very well. Too much work! I also need to start packing at some point, and get all the documents and papers I need to take to Chile with me to apply for visas etc, and visit with friends and family to say goodbye, and get organized...so many little things that just add up and take up the whole day!

The last couple days have been really good days though. I spent all of Thursday with my wonderful mom. First off, we went for coffee...the two of us can´t start anything without grabbing a coffee first. Then we went to buy my veil for my wedding dress!!! Yay! I have a veil!!! AND good news!!! Remember I talked about that whole wedding dress dilemma? Well, when I went to the store, the worker there, who is also a friend, told me they could get the back up seamstress to fix the dress before I leave! I had no idea this was even an option because it was all so quick and sudden and my seamstress didn´t explain to me that someone else could fix it so man was I pleasantly surprised! So now it looks that my dress will be ready before I go! Next week hopefully I´ll have the final fitting to make sure the alterations are okay! It might not be exactly how I wanted it to be but I don´t care at this point, as long as it fits! I bought a beautiful mantella style ivory lace veil which is old Spanish looking and goes really well with my dress! It´s beautiful!

So we left the bridal store quite happy and then went to buy little knick knacks for my future apartment! We wanted to buy a few essential things in Canada since you can buy really good quality things for way cheaper. We bought a beautiful knife set, and a bunch of little cooking things like stirring and serving spoons, garlic press, can opener, etc...thigns that hopefully won´t make my bags too overweight. I´ve pretty much accepted that I´m taking 3 bags instead of the allowed 2 because I just have too much stuff. This once I´ll pay the extre fee of having a third bag. I´m moving for Pete´s sake! I wish airlines had an extra baggage allowance for people moving to different countries!!! How can you pack everything you need into two little suitcases?! Anyway, that day my parents and I went for dinner at a nice restaurant and had a nice time together. Friday after grad we also went out. We´re basically taking every opportunity to do something fun together.

What I´m really excited about right now, besides seeing the love of my life and all the people I care about there, is my job opportunity in Chile. Things have been going really well and I have been in contact with a lot of people at my future work place and it seems they really like me! They even offered me a more permanant type job but I declined because it wouldn´t be the same experience and the first opportuny they offered me. Man it´s hard to talk about work on the internet because I don´t want to give too many details but at the same time, I´m sure everyone is confused and doesn´t have a clue as to what I am talking about! Well, just know that things are looking really good and I am really starting to see a more permanant future at this place! Yay! I can´t believe I did it! I found an opportunity, took advantage of it, made contacts, and now my future there is looking good! And all this from Canada! So on top of being incredibly happy that I´m going to Chile to be with the love of my life, get married, and live in that country that I have come to love, I am going to be bettering myself professionally and taking on a new and exciting career direction! Things with E and his career are blossoming as well and he is doing great! They love him where he works and after meeting with the CEO, they are moving him to a higher position! I´m just so happy about the way everything is going that it almost seems unfair for me (and for us) to be this happy and sometimes seems too good to be true! But then I tell myself hey, we deserve it! We´ve both gone through 5.5 years of hellish long distance and stressful school and now we deserve to be happy and have some good things happen to us!

Alright, now I have to go grocery shopping because I am going to make a delicious dinner for my parents and a couple of family friends who are coming over tonight! I´m so happy to be cooking again!!! I´ve been cooking up a storm this past few weeks trying out new recipes I will use in my new home in Chile! Fun fun fun!

Five more days left in Canada!!! Six more days until I´m in Chile!!!