Sunday, June 26, 2011

Update of the Month

And now for the update portion of the post. Two posts in one day, man I´m on a roll!

So this week took a serious toll on me since work was really busy and I went out with friends every night. Basically my week involved me working from 8am to 7pm, then meeting up with a friend(s) at a bar, drinking and eating late into the night, getting home late and sleeping 5-6 hours, waking up at 6am feeling like crap because the food I had just eaten 5 hours ago at the bar was still being digested (god there is no worse feeling than that!) and then going to work and doing it all over again. The good thing about this week though was that I was finally able to invest in my social life again, something that is hard to do when you´re working 11 hour days.

Monday I went to the bar with a good friend of mine, Tuesday E and I met a couple of friends of ours for drinks, Wednesday was bookclub, Thursday was my only day of rest, and Friday was my good friend´s going away party (Still so sad about that by the way! Sarah, if you´re reading, I love you and I´ll miss you so much!!!). Saturday I was dying to sleep in but since I felt like crap after a week of too much eating and drinking, I seriously needed to go for a I did. After the run, E and I had lunch, and then we both took a siesta that lasted 3 and a half hours! We were both dead tired (E had gone to a birthday party the night before and came back at 6am). Then, Saturday night we met up with a group of friends of ours in Bella Vista. Such a social butterfly I have been this week!

Now today, I am so happy to be sitting here and having some "me" time since I did not have one minute to myself this entire week. I´m even happier that it´s a long weekend which means I don´t have to think about going back to work tomorrow...oh what a great feeling! Today and tomorrow is "E and me" day. Today we´re just going to bum around and relax. Once he gets back from his game we´re going to have lunch, take another siesta, then we´re going to hit the mall (I desperately need a warm coat) and go to a movie and probably even go to chill at Starbucks somewhere in there. Tomorrow we´re going to the Cajon to climb a mountain, something we´ve been wanting to do for so long but never had the time. It´ll be the first time we´ve been back to the cajon since we got married there in December and so we´re looking forward to reminiscing. After the trek we´re going to have lunch at the place we got married at, the beautiful Casa Bosque. I´m looking forward to it, but more than anything, I´m looking forward to just relaxing today, we really need it. I have been waiting for this long weekend for waaay to long. At least we now apparently have one long weekend a month until December, that sounds good to me :)

Also, this week is the week we sign the final papers for our new apartment! Once we sign the papers, it´s going to take about two more weeks and then the apartment is ours. We will be moving in sometime around July 15th. God we´re both so excited! All our good friends and family are going to help us move and then we´re going to have an asado in the beautiful bbq area the apartment complex has so it´ll be a nice informal inauguration celebration.

Now let me just finish this post by saying how lucky I am to have such an incredible husband. Yesterday we celebrated one year of being legally married and every day I thank God for having such a wonderful husband. He truly is an angel. For example, since I was a little stressed this week, I would come home flustered and angry and would complain about random stupid little things. What does my husband do? Instead of reacting and getting pissed off, he patiently goes on with what he´s doing, gives me my space, and when I calm down and am ready, he comes and hugs and kisses me and tells me he loves me. On Friday I came home in a particularly bitchy mood and started getting mad at him for all these silly unimportant things (like not having boughten the lettuce I asked for...yes I know, stupid...when I´m stressed I can be a bitch). So anyway, here I was making a scene, throwing my coat down, stomping around finding more things to get angry about...meanwhile, E is just sitting at the desk, smiling at me and looking at me with so much love in his eyes and he says, "Cosita, I´m going to love you no matter what you say and do so just let me know when you´re finished so I can come and give you a hug". Hearing that ended my bad mood immediately and I went over and hugged and kissed him and held him tight.

How lucky am I? I don´t know anybody that wouldn´t put up a fight when a bitchy girlfriend/boyfriend or wife/husband arrives home and starts complaining about everything. His patience and his ability to not react to things fabbergasts me to no end. Besides that, he cleaned the whole house before I got home, and then since my friends were coming over that night, went out and bought us wine and champagne and gas since our gas supply was dwindling and he wanted us to be warm. Then, the next morning, after coming back from my run, I enter the apartment to find it is totally clean again after the big mess my friends and I made the night before. He had cleaned everything. Seriously, how lucky am I? God love him for putting up with my occasional mood swings. He´s going to be such a good dad with all that patience he has :) I love him soooooooo much and I can´t imagine my life without him!!!

And with that I end this post. Hope everyone has a great long weekend!

War at Paris we are again, a nice weekend morning with my coffee relaxing after a nice long run while E is playing soccer. I finally have a chance to blog again! I realize I haven´t blogged in two weeks but these last two weeks have been crazy! Especially this last week.

First of all, let me tell you the highlight of last weekend, I´ll do another general update in another post. In Chile, customer service is non-existant. Whenever I shop, I have problems, especially when I try to return something. For some reason, I let the sales people trample all over me and I never get my way. E explained to me many times that when you want something in Chile, you have to fight till the death to get it. It´s all a game and the most confident person wins. So last Friday I went to go return a pair of boots I had purchased at Paris because I realized they were not comfortable. I was within the 10 day limit to return an item so I went to Paris after work to return them. Boots are important to me and these were quite expensive so as I walked to Paris, I mentally prepared myself not to take "no" for an answer and I swore I would leave there with a new pair of more comfortable boots.

After waiting in a rediculously long line at customer service, the lady looked at the boots, and told me they were used and wouldn´t let me exchange them. My mind went into war mode. I told her I had never wore them and they were sold to me like that (which was true!). She insisted they weren´t. I asked her if she wasn´t there when I bought them, how could she possibly know the condition they were in when they were sold to me. After a bit of bickering, she dragged me over to a sales manager who also insisted that the boots would never be sold to a customer in that condition (they were in perfect condition by the way, there was just some dust on them which made them look used). Again, I insisted they were like that when I bought them, again, the sales person shot back insisting they weren´t.

This went back and forth for quite sme time until I realized this was going nowhere. However, I stood my ground and did not back down. I told her, "Okay, let me talk to your manager because I am NOT leaving here until you let me return these boots". Then I went into a huge speech about customer service in Chile and how many problems I had previously experienced in Paris and how they can´t treat customers like this...etc..." By now we had a crowd circling around us watching the show but I didn´t care because I was so focused on the irrational sales people infront of me. By now I was very angry because after every comment I made, the sales person would respond with some silly answer and kept insisting that they don´t sell boots in that condition in Paris. That was pretty much her only line of defense. I would really like to know how a store can insist that they are right and the customer is wrong with no evidence Often times sales people in Chile give you some answer without really thinking about it and without really trying to solve the situation. They follow the same old robitic routine based on the logic that, "that´s the way we do it" without really knowing why. This drives me and E crazy. Sometimes they need to stop and think about a situation before giving a response that they don´t even understand.

So anyway, after fighting with the customer service representative and the sales manager for about 30 minutes, I asked, "Okay, what´s it going to take for me to return these boots because I am not leaving until I do". Finally the sales people realized that I was never going to back down and so the manager told me, "Well, if you can wipe off the dust (or what she thought was dirt) from the boots and make them look new again then we´ll let you exchange them". ARghghg!!#" We could have saved so much time if we would have reached this compromise earlier. So, right there infront of the illogical sales people, I quickly wiped the boots on my pants, and thrust them at the manager. She nodded, took them, and issued the exchange. I felt like screaming and pulling my hair out. This is part of the reason I hate shopping in Chile.

Well, though it was a torturous experience, it was the first one in my Chilean history where I attempted to go up against a sales person. I usually let people trample all over me. When they say I can´t return something or can´t do something or other, I just take it and accept it. This was the first time I took a stand and didn´t back down!!! I got what I wanted! All the coaching E has been giving me about how to deal with sales people in Chile has finally gotten to me! I used to be so embarassed when E would fight with them about something to get his way (only for a good reason and when we knew we were right) and I used to tug his shirt and just tell him it didn´t matter, lets go. But NO MORE! You really have to be tough when it comes to standing up for yourself here or else people will walk all over you. Many sales people don´t even know why they do the things they do and so when you confront them, eventually logic shines through and they back down once they think about it a little.

So I did it, that´s one more point for me and one less for Chile. I guess the process of Chilenization is taking it´s toll on me :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy 6 Months of Marriage and 1 Year in Chile!

We went to an excellent restaurant today called Santa Bohemia. This was our second time there and everything was delicious yet again. They have the most unique meals. Our first time there, I had grilled salmon stuffed with sausage and cheese, it was soooo good. This time I had salmon with avocado sauce with a side of something that looked and tasted similar to pastel de choclo. Can you tell I´m a salmon fan? I really should try something new for the next time. For dessert I had leche asada cooked in beer. Strange I know, but so good! Anybody that is up for trying something new should definitely check out this place. Apparently they are famous for their ceviche though we´ve never even tried it. It´s on our list of things to try the next time we go back. And we will be going back...many more times in the future :)

The restaurant itself is in Nunoa in a very adorable bohemian quiet little neighborhood and it has a really nice little patio for sitting out on. Today was one of those perfect slow sunny days for lounging around on some nice patio and eating and drinking wine. Though I´m getting sick of this non stop 20 plus degree weather when it should be winter, I was able to enjoy it today as E and I sat outside sipping our wine and celebrated 6 months of marriage and one year that I am in Chile. My goodness how time flies by...

This weekend was a quiet one, E went to the beach with his friends until Saturday night which left me with some quiet time all for myself. I was planning to go to the bar on Friday night to watch the NHL playoffs and watch my dear Canucks win, however, I got home from work exhausted, took a nap, and woke up to find the game almost over. So, there was nothing left for me to do but go to the supermarket, buy a bottle of wine, popcorn, and chocolate, and cozy up in my bed to watch some movies. Ahhhh....pure bliss. I´ve been dreaming of a night like that for a looong time! I feel like I´m constantly on the go and my brain is always over active so it was nice to just think of nothing and enjoy some cheap entertainment.

Saturday and Sunday morning I went for my usual long runs, and Saturday night I went to have some drinks with some dear friends of mine, one of which is leaving to go back to the States in just a few sad I know...Slowly but surely, all my close friends are starting to find their way back home, leaving me here all alone :( But that is life, and though we´ll be separated, I´m sure we´ll all meet again in the future. Until then, I´ll have to find some new friends here in Chileland.

And now E and I are off to watch a movie we just rented. Why are there no good thrillers in Blockbuster nowadays? I love a good scary movie and haven´t been able to find a good one in a long long time. It seems that the only movies they´re making these days are chick flicks. Not that I have anything wrong with them, I do enjoy a good chick flick every now and then but I loooove scary movies!

Have a good week everyone! Until next weekend :)

Group Post: Bad Menu Translations

Margaret over at Cachando Chile decided to revive our old group post tradition here in the blogosphere, a great idea I must say and long overdue. This time the topic is "Bad Menu Translations". After reading over some of the other bloggers thoughts on this topic, and feeling a little depressed that I couldn´t remember any of my funny menu experiences, I decided to go look online for some funny menu translations to revive my memory. I had quite a good laugh, here are a few bad menu translations I found on an online forum:

1.) Conejo asado - roast Rabbi
2.) Gazpacho - cold andaluz refresh men
3.) Brocheta de cerdo - pig spit
4.) Fritura variada - variety fried
5.) Choto en su jugo - a baby cooked in its own juices
6.) Huevas aliñadas - Tidy spawns
7.) Pechuga de pollo a la plancha - Breast of chicken to the plate
8.) Palometa con queso curado - Wing nut with cured cheese
9.) Choco frito - Shock doughnut
10.) Almejas a la marinera - Clams to the sailor's blouse
11.) Choco a la plancha - I hit to the plate

12.) moule mariniere - mussels in a seaman sauce

Check out some of my fellow blogger´s thoughts on bad menu translations:

Margeret at Cachando Chile
Isabel at Of Heart and Mind

There will most likely be more to come. By the way, we should start doing a monthly group post where we each take turns picking a topic. I think it would definitely inspire me to write more and allow me to focus on writing more about different topics. Sometimes I feel like I don´t have enough material to write about! What do you all say?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Rain and Running and Starbucks

I have been waiting for a REAL Fall day like this for so long! And now it´s finally here. This is heaven. Sitting at my favorite Starbucks (soon to be just a few blocks from our new apartment) cozy and warm, drinking a nice hot coffee, watching the rain fall outside while my husband is out playing soccer. Pure bliss. Here in Santiago we have been waiting for the rain for quite some time. All I can say is thank God! If it didn´t come soon, we would all end up dying of toxification from this permanant nasty plume of smog that´s been hanging over the city since summer came to an end. As a person who prefers the rain over sun, the fact that it´s raining for the first time in months, makes me very very happy and relieved. There´s something so calming and peaceful about a good rain. And when it´s over, the world is fresh and new again, a transformation that is most notable here in Santiago. After the rain, it seems that everything is rejuvenized. We can finally breathe again and everything is clean and shiny once more. Of course that doesn´t last long but it´s a healthy change that those of us living in this dirty smogy city desperately need to see once in a while. And of course as I´m typing this, the rain is beginning to slow down. Perhaps I became too excited too soon...hopefully this little sprinkle turns into a full out downpour soon.

I was trying to think about what topic I would discuss for my weekly post and I couldn´t think of anything in particular that was too important but just a minute ago I was daydreaming about my morning runs and thinking about how good they made me feel after a long hard week and so I thought I would share my joy of running with you for just a moment. This weekend I wasn´t able to run, since E and I were sick, which would explain why I´m daydreaming about running now. I miss it, even after a week.

Normally, Saturday and Sunday morning is my time to go out and run a nice long run. It´s become such a ritual that if I don´t go on my weekend long runs, I can´t start the week out properly...I end up feeling grose and lazy and tired the rest of the week. Running for me is such a spritual and physical rejuvination and it´s a way to remind myself that I´m alive and that life isn´t just about going to and from the office every day.

The other reason running is so important to me, especially here in this crazy city of Santiago, is that running in the morning on the weekend is virtually the only time I can get a chance to be out in the city without hoards of people everywhere. Living in this overcrowded city really begins to get to you after a while. Everywhere you go there are people pushing and shoving and screaming and yelling. On my morning runs, there is almost nobody out. Especially on Sunday mornings, those are the best days. The only people I run into are the occasional runner, biker, or dog walker, but the rest of the run it´s just me, the road, and what appears to be a deserted ghost town. I can actually hear the birds during these mornings and even hear the wind rustling the leaves, sounds I almost never hear during the week.

Morning running on the weekend is a way to remind yourself of all the sights and sounds you forgot even existed. It´s a way to reconnect with nature (even the little nature exists in Santiago) and meditate. I think about things during my run that would have never occured to me when I´m so focused on work and other things during the week. I think about life, why we´re here, if there´s a god, what that old man on the corner asking for money has been through, if he has family that love him, and thousands of other irrelevant things I don´t usually have time to think about during the week.

There´s nothing like the feeling I get after finishing a long run, walking back down the quiet deserted street to my home, feeling my muscles aching and my heart racing, drooling over the hot shower I´m about to take and the delicious oatmeal I´m about to stuff my face with. There´s nothing like the feeling of using your body to make you feel alive. I know not everybody is a morning person like myself but even so, for those of you living in Santiago, I highly recommend once in a while getting up early, and going for a run or even a walk to see how calm the city can be. The transition is unbelievable.

So before I end this post, I´ll give you a brief update of my life. Work is going great but it´s getting more and more challenging as my boss starts to pile on the projects and give me more responsibilities. The other day at work I went to a meeting with him and he randomly decided that I should give a presentation on a topic I didn´t know too much about right in that moment as the meeting was starting. So I was freaked out but I did it. Damit, I hate these last minute, on the spot presentations! I need time to prepare people! I´m a perfectionist and am used to having time to make things perfect. But, I guess at work one doesn´t always have time to prepare things exactly the way one wants, something that is hard for me to get used to.

We´re so close to getting our apartment! Last week the bank said they were going to go and do their investigation into our apartment so it should be done now. We´re going to call on MOnday to find out how it went and if they actually did it. But if they did, then we could be moving in as little as 2 weeks!

Oh, I almost forgot! E just got a really good new job in a very good company. He´s moving up in the corporate world so we´re pretty happy about that. It´s especially nice to have the higher income he´s now getting since we´re buying our first apartment. God I can´t believe how different things are from just a few months ago when we were so poor. Now we´re more comfortable than ever, it seems like a dream. How this happened and who is looking out for us, I don´t know, but I am so greatful. Yesterday we had lunch with the family to celebrate, everyone is so happy for us. Especially E´s mom. It´s no secret that E is her favorite and she was absolutely beaming about her smart successful son and bragging about him to everyone ha ha. It´s cute.

Alright, so for now I´m done with this post and am going to enjoy my coffee sitting in my favorite place and just relax until my hubby is done with his game. Then we´re off for lunch and then maybe a movie. Ahh, what a great way to finish the weekend :)