Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Day from Hell That Ended Well :)

Yesterday was one of those days where the entire universe seems to conspire against you. One thing after another went horribly wrong...

I had a very big presentation to give on Friday morning at 8:00am. I had been working on this presentation and studying the topic for two weeks and was quite nervous to present that day. Things started going down hill on Thursday night. Thursday was looking good and by the time the clock hit 6:30pm, I was ready to pack up and go home. Before leaving, I saved my presentation, along with all my supporting documents, onto my flash. I copied the folder I had open on my desktop onto my USB. The only problem was that I didn't realize that I had already been working from a folder on my USB and so I had just copied the old version of the folder onto my USB, wiping out all the work I had done that day including my presentation and all the important documents I needed. F. U. C. K.

I immediately began panicking and didn't know what to do so I packed up my things and got my butt home as fast as possible to see if my computer genius husband could do anything about it. I got onto the metro, and realized I had no money on my BIP card so I had to waste more time standing in line during traffic hour trying to recharge my card. I finally made it to the metro platform...only it was so freaking packed with people, I was predicting I would have had to let about 5 metros pass before I could have finally squeezed my way to the front of the line to get on on. Not wanting to waste more time, I got onto the metro to go in the opposite direction, hoping the previous metro stop might be less full. Thank got it was and so I managed to get on and get home. Imagine me freaking out as the minutes tick by wondering what I am going to present the next morning and how I'm going to fix this. I frantically called E during the ride home trying to explain what happened. I admit I took quite a bit of frustration out on him...and he still tried to help and be supportive god love him. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do to fix my problem.

I got home and decided I would have to redo my presentation the best I could, though I had none of the info I needed. After spending a few hours on it and not getting very far...I randomly opened another folder on my computer, only to find that the current version of my presentation along with all the other info I needed was right there!!! I had saved it in the wrong folder! Hallelujia! So once I had my presentation all ready to go, I practiced as much as I could and went to bed. By this time it was 2am and I had to wake up at 6.

The next morning I presented, but I was so sleep deprived and I didn't practice it as much as I wanted to, that I felt I didn't give my best performance. I also realized halfway through the presentation that I had way too much information for the time limit I was given so I started rushing through it and skipping all the good examples I had planned out. So in the end, though I delivered what I was supposed to deliver, I could have done a lot better. I'm a perfectionist. At least my boss loved it and told me I did a really good job so in the end, as long as my boss liked it, I'm happy.

After my presentation, I was about to get ready to go back to work when I realized...I FORGOT MY COMPUTER AT HOME!!! It's a company computer and it's the one I work with so without it, I couldn't do anything without it! Luckily, my boss had another meeting at the time so I took advantage of his absence and ran back to my apartment to grab my computer. I got to the metro and things were looking good until...at Metro Los Leones, I realized I forgot the keys to my apartment at work! So I had to get off the metro and get back on to go in the opposite direction. I got out of the metro and had to pay again to change sides since there was no bridge to get to the other side. When I went to pay to get on the metro again, I realized I was out of money on my BIP card! I ran to the nearest bank machine...and it wasn't working. I ran to the next one...and it wasn't working either. I finally had to leave the metro, go out on the street to the closest farmacy, take out money, and get back on the goddamn metro.

So I got back on the metro, but in all my anger and confusion, I realized I had just gotten on the wrong metro which was heading in the opposite direction I wanted to go in! Again, I had to get off the metro, leave, and pay to get back on again...this time in the right direction. I finally got to work, grabbed my keys, and booked it back to the metro, having to pay again, to get to my apartment. I think I wasted about 4 lukas on the stupid metro that day!

I finally got to the metro station near my apartment and decided that I didn't have time to walk the 10 minutes it takes to get to my apartment so I took a taxi. I paid the taxi with 10 lukas bill and quickly took the change from him and bolted up the stairs to my apartment. It wasn't until I got to my apartment when I realized that the taxi driver gave me counterfeit bills back in change. I don't know how I didn't realize that before because the bills looked like monopoly money. But whatever, just another thing that went wrong that day. At that point I didn't care, I just wanted to get my computer and get back. On top of that, I was running on 4 hours of sleep and was so exhausted and all this running around and stressing made me feel like I was going to collapse at any minute.

I finally made it back to work in one piece and proceeded to work the last two hours of the day (on Fridays we get out early). By the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted and ready to get home and collapse into bed. Here's where the day started to look up...

An hour before it was time to go home, my boss called me into his office because he wanted to have a chat. He wanted to know how I liked working at the company and how I was feeling. He told me that he has been getting a lot of positive feedback on my performance and told me that I was doing over and above what he expected of me. He basically told me I'm doing a great job and that he wanted to look for new and bigger opportunities for me at the company. Hearing him say these things made the whole disasterous day worth it. It was music to my ears. Getting confirmaton that you are doing a good job, that you are useful, that people value what you are doing is one of the best feelings ever. And hearing it come from my boss, just made it that much more gratifying. We had a big chat about my job performance, the new projects he wanted me to start working on in the near future, and my career development at the company and I left his office feeling so valued, so invested in, and so appreciated and motivated to continue doing a good job. Oh man what a good feeling!

I went home walking on clouds and collapsed into bed with a smile on my face before sleeping for 4 hours straight. That night we went out for Mexican with a couple who are good friends of ours and had such a great time. It was the perfect ending to a not so perfect day.

And now here I am with my Saturday "me" time, with a coffee infront of me, typing away. Only this time, instead of sitting in my kitchen, I decided to go to my old hangout and favorite Starbucks in Providencia. I used to come here all the time during all my visits to Chile while E was either at school or working and so being here brings back so many memories. E went to watch the Europian Soccer Finals with his guy friends so that's why I have the afternoon all to myself. I went for a nice long 22km run this morning so I'm feeling great and I think it's just about time to go take a nice long siesta. Oh I love weekends!

So I'll end this post here since I need to start reading this months book for bookclub. I never have time to read anymore so I have to take advantage of this nice relaxing visit to Starbucks.

Have a good and relaxing weekend everyone!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Just Another Saturday Morning with Me and My Coffee

Good morning and happy judgement day to you all! Sorry to any of you who take the "rapture" seriously and actually believe that the world is going to end today but for me, it's just another glorious day to be alive. I just came back from a deliciously grouling long run and I feel fantastic. There's nothing like using your body and pounding every last ounce of energy out of it to make you feel alive. Now that I work, I only get to run on the weekends since I get back too late during the week (and I'm not a very big fan of evening running), and so I take advantage of my Saturday and Sunday mornings to run as long and hard as I can to make up for the rest of my motionless week. I know eventually I'm going to have to incorporate a more balanced work out schedule into my life but for now, this seems to work.

So here I am, a week from my last post, sitting and doing exactly the same thing. Drinking my warm cup of coffee in my kitchen corner with the view of the city, thinking about life (while E is out playing soccer with his league). I love this cozy little corner of mine and I'm really going to miss it when we move into our new apartment, something that will take place in a maximum of two months (though if we're lucky, it could be a month). E and I are both dying to move into our brand new home. We drive by the apartment every chance we get just to check out our future neighbourhood and drool over our future home. I've even incorporated our future address into my running route just so I can run by and dream. I know, we're geeks right?

So far, everything is looking good, we have the loan approved and started signing papers on Thursday. Next week we should be able to finalize everything. Then the bank has to go in and start doing their investigation and whatever it is the bank has to do before we can finally call the new apartment our home. However, I'm still holding my breath until we sign every last paper at the bank. I've heard horror stories when buying property in Chile and I do not want something like that to happen.

And now to summarize this week:

1.) Work: Still chugging along, working hard, and loving it.

2.) Friends: This past Wednesday I went to my monthly bookclub meeting with my friends. We discussed the book "Blink" by Malcolme Gladwell. We chose our books for the next few months in February and I had never heard of this book so I was quite surprised when I started reading to find out it wasn't fiction. I minored in psychology in university and I loved this book. It really summed up many things I learned at school and opened my eyes to the power of the unconscious.

In other news, a very good gringa friend of mine went and bit the dust like the rest of us and got enganged to her Chilean boyfriend! We made sure to celebrate at our bookclub meeting and the celebrations will continue on tonight as we meet them and the rest of our friends for drinks.

3.) Husband: Though he complains that he never sees me anymore during the week (because I take my job a little too seriously) we make sure to spend a lot of time together on the weekend. It's difficult to find a balance during the week when you're working a demanding job and then get home at 8pm and have to wake up the next morning at 6am. When I get home from work, all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep. Because of this, we decided it was time for an intervention and scheduled a weekly mid-week date night where we do something together and release the stress of work. So we decided to make that night Tuesday since we like going to cheap movie night at the cinema. I admit, it's not easy finding a balance, and I'm struggling with it right now, but at least I recognize that it's an area I need to work on and I know I'll get there.

Oh, I just had to throw this in here, last Saturday E and I went driving around looking for a new place to eat. We went to this awesome restaurant called "Santa Bohemia" on Avenida Italia in Nunoa and it was amazing!!! Please try this restaurant, they have such different types of foods and flavours. For example, I had this salmon dish which consisted of a filet of salmon, smothered in cheese and chorizo, covered by another filet of salmon and smothered in this delicious sauce...I never pictured fish and chorizo going together but the end result was heaven in your mouth. Note to self: Attempt to try this dish at home in the near future.

4.) Family: It sucks because I feel like I never get to speak with my family back home anymore. I feel like their lives are carrying on without me and I'm completely out of the loop. Now that I'm working, it makes it even more difficult to find the time to skype and have long chats with them. As I type this I have skype open, hoping someone will pop up from home and talk to me! I love them and miss them so much and it makes it hard knowing I don't know when the next time will be that we see each other again...

As for E's family, they're all exstatic that we're buying an apartment because, though we've told them that eventually we're going to go back to Canada, they think now that we have the apartment it means that we're going to stay in Chile forever and ever and ever. People are so tied to possessions here. Buying an apartment isn't going to tie us down at all, we bought it for us to have a place in Chile in the future and also as an investment, one that we can take care of in Chile or in Canada. Well, we don't want to burst their bubble just yet. Let them be happy for now.

Tomorrow we do Sunday lunch with the family, something I've really come to look forward to every week. It's great having a full day to just sit around, drink wine, eat, and catch up with loved ones.

And with that I'm off. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Me" Time

It's Friday it's Friday!!!! Oh joy!!! What a great week this has been. Ever since I started my new job a month and a half ago, every week has just been getting better and better. Now it's a glorious Saturday morning and it's just me, my coffee, and my computer sitting at my little kitchen table, looking out at the view of the beautiful Andes and the city below. I love lazy Saturday mornings like this. E went with some of his friends to do the Climing Tour this morning so they're off to climb some mountain...can't remember which one, so that leaves a little down time for me...something I have been craving. Don't get me wrong, I love my husband and love spending time with him, but I have always been very independant and it is absolutely necessary to schedule some "me" time during my week for myself or else I'll go crazy. So here we have it, my very own "me" time! Finally! There's nothing I love better than spending this time sipping a hot cup of coffee and writing, reading, or just thinking. Sigh...what a nice treat to the end of the week.

Ever since I've started working, I haven't had much time to myself at all. I start working at 8 and finish at 6:45 (which usually ends up being 7) so that's 11 hours a day people! By the time I get home it's 8 and then I only have two hours to do something before going to bed. Since I wake up at 6am during the work week, I NEED to get to bed at 10ish or else I will crash during the week. Laugh all you want but I am a person that needs my 8 hours of sleep a night or else I go crazy! However, as hard as I try, I usually only end up getting between 6.5 and 7 hours a night during the week. Also, Thursdays and Fridays I have important presentations I have to prepare for work so I am usually up way later those nights trying to prepare the damn presentations and make them perfect. I admit, I probably spend waaay too much time on them, and on everything I'm doing at work, but I just really want to make a good impression and I really want to do a good job. I've always been an over achiever and it's hard to sometimes accept that I can't make everything perfect all the time. I guess that's something you just have to learn as you adapt to working life.

I never really had a chance to talk about my new job so let me enlighten you. Of course I'm not going to mention where I work, but let me just say that it is a very good company. It's a big international company and it's one of those places that really treats their workers well and pays really well too. I feel so great there. My boss is very very very high up there on the corporate ladder so I am getting an incredible opportunity to learn. You would think that these big bosses have time for squat and wouldn't invest a lot of time in their employees, but in my case, I am so lucky. My boss is pretty much my mentor now. I can't get over how well he runs his team and how effective he is at being a leader. He's got that perfect mix of emotional intelligence and interpersonal and leadership skills that allow him to get things done efficiently but in a way that makes his team feel that he is supporting them and there to help them.

I have never felt this way in a position before where a boss invests so much time and energy into my personal development. He is one of those people that really believes in coaching and knowledge transfer, not only for my benefit, but because he knows that in the end, it will benefit everyone at the company. This in turn makes me feel so motivated to do a good job, which is why I might be putting a little too much effort into my work, but I can't help it. I want to reciprocate this investment and acheive beyond what is expected of me. So for any bosses out there reading this, coaching and motivation works wonders.

Not only is my boss such a great person to work with, but everyone in my area also follows the general trend of being a good leader and supportive coworker, I'm guessing my boss has given them all a good example. It's only been a month and a half and I already feel part of the group and part of the team. We had a bbq yesterday for our area at a colleague's house and that gave me the chance to get to know everyone better outside of the work environment. It was great to see that as soon as the ties and heels came off, everyone was just a kid again, especially the men. I think Chilean men never grow out of that "collegio" phase. Some of the jokes that were told would probably result in sexual harrasment lawsuits in North America ha ha! But we laughed and ate and had a great time and I left feeling like I knew everyone I worked with on a much more personal level. What a great way to kick off the week.

So now to change subjects completely, to update you on our apartment, this week we did some research on banks and we found "the bank" we're going to go with so next week we're going to do all the official bank paperwork to get this show on the road. God I can't wait to move into our new place.

In other news...E is most likely going to be changing jobs. He got an amazing job offer for a managing position to open up a new plant in Santiago for a very good company. He's really excited because this would be a once in a life time opportunity for him and everything about the job description fits E perfectly. He has two final interviews on Monday with the heads of the company and then it will be decided. If he gets the position, he will have to go to Buenos Aires at the end of the month for 4 MONTHS of training!!! So you know what that means...back to long distance!!! Akkk!!! And here we thougth we were done with that forever. Well, I guess that means there's a lot of "me" time coming up in the near future! (If he gets the job that is...crossing my fingers!). But the company will be paying to come back to Santiago to visit at least once a month and I can go there once or twice a month for the weekend too. Though it will be crazy, we'll figure it out. At least it's only for 4 months.

And with that, I'm off to start my Saturday. And by that I mean I'm going to my cozy bed with my coffee to watch re-runs of Sex in the City...a show I just started watching from season 1. Love it! Then I finally get to put my dusty cooking skills to good use and cook up a nice lunch for E and I. With work I never get to cook anymore so by the time the weekend gets here, I can't wait to cook up everything I've been day dreaming about during the week.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

How Life Can Change

Wow! This has to be the longest time I've gone without writing in this blog. How embarrassing! However, I've decided to re-commit myself to blogging and from now on will try to post at least once a week so let's see how my new resolution turns out.

It's actually kind of cool that I haven't posted in so long because this new post will illustrate the very true point that life can change in just seconds. In my last post I was unemployed, broke, and E and I were getting to the point where we were talking of moving back in with the in-laws (yikes!). Things could have definitely been better.

Then, one day in March, out of the blue, I heard about this great new job opportunity (thanks to a certain amazing gringa friend who gave me the dato!). The position was for a very very big international company so I applied...AND I GOT IT!!! The job paid double anything I ever dreamed of getting so that solved our money problems instantly.

From that day forward, E and I have been able to breathe. We have finally been able to just relax and enjoy life. We had a a trip that we planned months ago to go to Buenos Aires at the end of April since our flights were free so when I was negotiating my new contract, I let them know about this one week that I needed off and they gave it to me. So I started my new job, worked three weeks, and then E and I went on an amazing one week getaway which couldn't have come at a better time. We were relaxed, we had money, and we celebrated the entire week by eating out every day (something we had previously done only about once a month) and experiencing all BA has to offer. Then we kicked off the week with 4 glorious days at E's parents beach house back here in Chile.

This week is our first week back from our vacation and so things are back to normal but they are crazy. Ever since I got my new job, we talked about buying an apartment because we could finally afford it and because we wanted to make an investment. We had been looking around here and there before our little vacation but we never found anything we liked...until the Monday we got back...

...We found "the apartment"!!! We saw it, fell inlove with it right away, and recognized it's incredible investment potential being located in a great section of Providencia, near the metro, yet in a beautiful green and quiet neighborhood. It was a very sturdy and solid and was built by a very good construction company. It had everything we wanted: large two bedroom apartment, terraza, GREAT view, and the works. The best part was that it was cheaper than all the other options we had previously seen and it was without a doubt, the highest quality apartment we had seen in our search. It was also exactly in our price range.

So we jumped at the opportunity. The only problem was that there were other people that were looking at the apartment the same time we were and they were also fell inlove with it right away! We were looking at the place on a Monday, and it had just started showing the previous Friday, so a whole two days, and people already wanted to buy it. Our competition gave us the nastiest looks ever and tried to take the agents attention away from us. They kept pulling him aside and at one point we heard them out in the hall and the crazy lady was telling the guy that she wanted the place now and she wanted him to stop showing the apartment asap! She was absolutely frantic!

After a month of full time apartment hunting and not finding anything we liked, we knew this apartment was the one, especially since we loved everything about it, down to every last detail, no compromises (we always had a few doubts here and there about other apartments). So we decided to go the next morning as soon as the agency opened to make an official offer. We ended up beating the other couple and made a date to sign the official commitment to buy the apartment the next morning at the same time.

So finally, we met the agent and the owners at the notary to sign the commitment papers this Wednesday and now we're all ready to buy! The owners of the apartment were wonderful wonderful people. They were a couple so similar to ourselves (only about 10 years older) who had also purchased the apartment as their first home to start their lives. We ended up chatting for two hours that day and really connected with them, which made us feel even better about buying the apartment. These guys really took care of the place and really loved it.

Now that we signed the first round of papers, the apartment is officially reserved for us until the bank credit comes through. We've already been talking to the bank and know our credit is approved, it's just a matter of figuring out how we want to do this. E still wants to check out a few other banks for other options and the process will take about two months, but basically, it's ours!!! I'm so thrilled and excited and haven't been able to sleep this whole week! I can't wait for the day we finally move in and inaugurate it with all our friends and family. We've already been back a few times just to take pictures and drool. Once we went with E's parents, and they were amazed that we found such a great place. I can't believe we're buying our first home!!!

Life is so great right now, it's funny to think that just a couple months ago I was ready to get on a plane and head back to Canada with E if things didn't start getting easier here, but now, I don't know if I'll ever want to leave! I have a job that I love that really values me and my work and provides me with so much room to grow. There are so many opportunities there if I stay and I really love the people and the atmosphere there. The work is so diverse and I feel like I am really contributing and doing a good job and finally using my brain again! I have great friends here, the worlds best husband, and Santiago really feels like home to me now. The only thing missing is my family :( We'll have to come to some kind of solution in that department, but for now, I couldn't be happier. For now, it's smooth sailing for E and life is good. I can't believe how things have changed.