once a runner

this morning i ran before work. i am trying to get back into the habit and really getting up at 7:20 isnt that early. my poor little sister has to get up at 5:45 every morning to get to her internship and goes for runs after she gets home in the hot summer heat. its just hard to roll myself out of my toasty little bed to freeze my buns off and risk life and limb crossing the street, pasarela 1, street, pasarela 2, avenida españa and finally being able to run safely on the boardwalk next to the ocean.

so anyway, after a motivating conversation with my sister who is a much more motivated and just a better runner than me in general (19:26 5k, 1:50 25k, 3:30 marathon) i decided to get my butt back in gear. all humbleness aside, im better than your average jogger and when in shape i can perform decently in road races and on a rare occasion triathlons. last year i did pretty good here (pretty good compared to this year running an average of 2 times a week for about 30 minutes) and even won an mp3 player and got quoted in two newspapers (mercurio and las ultimas noticias) for finishing second (woman) in the Valparaiso hills 5k last year. my sister told me, emily seriously. you know that getting the run out of the way in the morning is the best way to go. you will feel better all day and can relax because you already got a workout for the day. just tell yourself that you have to do, its an obligation and nike yourself into it. (just do it? duh)

so, i got myself out of bed this morning without too much complaining and got out the door before 7:30.  i went through the aforementioned obstacle course to get to the boardwalk and was instantly glad. above the hills in front of me i watched a gigantic full moon quickly fall behind the city. it was absolutely incredible. the entire sky was cotton candy pink and all swirly in between the time that the sun fully rises and the darkness falls away. as i ran the day became brighter and brighter and the moon disappeared behind the hills.

i ran back home happy, awake and ready to start the day. my sister was definitely right about her motivations for getting out the door but the reason ill be back out tomorrow morning is that gorgeous sky, smooth sea and beautiful colors that disappear before most of the city takes notice of them.

once a runner, always a runner


paco incident

no, it wasnt me that had paco problems this morning but i did witness an incident where i just had to sit there and gawk and say, are you freaking kidding me?

i was walking to work today among a zillion more cars than usual due to a water problem on Avenida España. if anyone that lives in Viña and works in Valpo or vice versa they are im sure well aware of this problem since España is the main route linking the two cities. i was just an innocent bystander in all of this because thank my lucky stars i do not have to trek between the two cities anymore (well not during “rush hour” anyway). so anyway im walking along and the police are directing traffic and driving around attempting to control the situation. two cars are driving down the road and a police on a motorcycle decides to pull out in front of them to turn into the other lane. they patiently let him out but then he proceeds to face the wrong way into a lane of traffic coming face to face, well in this case bumper to motorcycle with a car and they nearly collide. oops right? well somehow, the cop decides that the car minding his own business travelling the correct direction down the road was in the wrong in this situation, stops him and gives him a nice lecture about driving and traffic laws and im guessing police having the right of way time. the pobre gallo had to pull out his carnet and pretty much fight his way out of a ticket. a ticket?

i just watched all of this in awe. no wonder everyone speaks badly of the pacos. bastards.


so i was doing a great job at work today being busy and productive (it helped that it was the first friday in 3 weeks that i have come in not hungover) but at 3 everything just kinda went downhill. for the last 2 hours i have been reading random blogs since i already read all of the chile ones this morning 😉 newspaper articles, gmail chatting with friends and my cubicle buddy and the like.

i didnt participate in the group post about first impressions of chile, although i thought it was a great topic and loved cachando chile´s post about it. i just didnt feel like motivation or something to contribute mine.  so i am blogging, although i have nothing intelligent or funny to contribute today. just passing the next 50 minutes until i am free for the weekend. yay! one thing that has changed since i made the switch from teaching english to working a normal full-time schedule i appreciate the weekends a lot more. its nice looking forward to 2 days and 2 nights of doing nothing/having fun with friends and the pololo. i guess i will make this post a list (since that is what i do) about random events from this week.

Monday: woke up motivated and went for a 30 minute run at 7:15 (dont comment on how short it was, im out of shape, i know. trying to do something about it)

Tuesday: woke up motivated and went for a 25 minute run. fell and twisted my ankle after about 2 minutes (concha de su madre, puta la weaaaa mother fuckers build a normal sidewalk g damn it!!) but didnt think it was too bad so hobble ran for a while. went to work, came home for 20 min, went to teach a class at pucv 7-9 met hitomi and victor for drinks at 9:30 all the while realizing my ankle was getting more and more painful

Wednesday: woke up in lots of pain, emailed work to tell them i wasnt coming in, started getting flooded with “you should really go to the doctor”´s about a hundred times over. murphy´s law: in the past year and a half that i have been in chile, i have NEVER had to go to the doctor. and all of that time, although covered under my parents insurance in theory had yet to need to try it. a week ago i am forced to sign up for fonasa (health insurance here) to get my new contract. thinking that i now have this insurance a give in and go to the doctor only to find out that i am not officially in the fonasa system and instead of 4000 pesos it will be 25000 for a consultation. dont f-ing think so. i know i strained it or whatever, not going to pay to have them tell me that.

Thursday: go to work, get asked a hundred or so more times if indeed i took their advice and went to the doctor. i explained what happened and was sent to the university doctor (see free) here on campus. nothing is broken, i will live (in case you were worried). teach a class at wallstreet (yes, really. still trying to explain this to myself as well) watch the Changeling with paula and eating toblerone chocolate yay for pajama parties 🙂

Friday: go to work, do some work, eat lunch with a very nice gringa that works here at the university but in another department than i do, fiddle with things at my desk and then decide to write an uninteresting blog post detailing my week. thrilling im well aware.

ok so that wasnt really a list.  but oh well, it occupied a little of my time. and i will be off soon. off to kiss my cute boyfriend and hopefully go to bitacora our favorite pub in valpo for a terremoto. have a great weekend everyone. ok and good luck to my friend nicole, who is participating in the NCAA finals in the steeple chase in about an hour!!

Boiling point?

last week i went on a mini-trip to Temuco, Villarrica and the hotsprings (Termas Vergara is the specific one we went to) which was my first ever trip to the south of Chile. Now I can finally say that I have ventured beyond the the fifth region. I went with Jill and Pancho and Pancho´s parents. His family is originally from there so we stayed with his Tia Nelly and had LOTS of family time during the sandwich (holiday plus a work-day and then saturday, sunday) i was there for.  now, i had a great time when we were there but this post is really about the trip back. we rode down to Temuco together in Pancho´s parents truck, but I had to come back early to start my new job so I came back alone on the bus saturday night.

i was scheduled to depart at 11:59 pm on Saturday. i was exhausted after a day of travelling to and from the hot springs as well as eating and basking in the wonderfully hot water (in the rain too!) and so i was very prepared to sleep on the ride back to Valparaíso (10 hours).  i was on the second floor of the bus in the second to the last row. the guy next to me had been on the bus since valdivia so he was already sleeping when i got on. perfect i thought. i denied whatever kind of box dinner they offered me (in the previous 3 days i had eaten my weight in cheese, chorizo, home made empanadas and bread) so needless to stay i was pretty satisfied, accepted the pillow, tilted my seat back and prepared for the long nap. well, as soon as they turned the lights off, the couple behind me decided to have an all-night slumber party. the man and woman, probaby mid-fourties talked loudly, sighed/groaned even louder, rotated taking trips to the bathroom every 15 minutes or so. at the beginning of all of this i kept waiting for someone to jump out with a video camera and tell me i was on the chilean equivalent of mtv´s boiling point. they never did….now, being in the back of the bus also means being directly next to the bathroom. for me on saturday it meant the door swinging open, almost hitting me each time. plus the woman would grab onto the back of my seat to steady herself whenever she got up. she knocked me in the head twice, and somehow managed to land a swift kick to the back of my seat, startling me awake in the few minutes i was actually able to drift off. at about 4 am the couple rummaged through all the plastic bags in the overhead holding space, got out some sausage and pan batido and made choripanes. as if eating during the day, the dinner on the bus and then the bus serving breakfast at 7am wasnt enough for them.  they settled down a little bit between 4 and 7 am but then the constant movement of my seat and slamming of the bathroom door started once again. needless to say i was pretty frustrated by the time we got to the terminal in viña del mar.

however, once we got to viña, i stayed the extra (what i thought would be) 15 minutes to get off in Valparaíso. i called javier to come pick me up at the terminal and so he headed down to meet me. well, avenida españa was closed or something (the street that runs between the two cities) and so the two story monster of a bus was sent up in the recreo hill to get to valpo. well, as you may expect, the small roads in the hills were not constructed for massive busses to pass through and we got stuck. in a hairpin turn the bus couldnt turn and it was like the scene in austin powers when he gets that golf cart stuck inside the building (anyone remember what im talking about??). it could possibly be humorous if i hadnt been kept up all night by mr and mrs “i thought we were in our own private hotel suite”. i was not amused. 30 minutes and a long taco behind us later, the carabineros came to control (watch) the situation and someone figured out a way to maneuver the bus through the corner. at this point avenida españa had re-opened and we went on our merry way for the duration of the trip, all of 8 more minutes.  i pretty much kissed the ground at the terminal once we were allowed to get off.

new jorb

its not a typo…dont/didnt any of you watch strong bad or homestar runner?

i am sitting at my desk starting day 3 at the new job.  so far so good i would say. my cubicle buddy is the accountant and he is young and really nice.  also, he always answers the phone which is good because in any country im not a big fan of doing so. i still dont really know what im doing, although i definitely got a head start from jill who, if i may add is mostly the reason i got this job. im not too proud to admit, without her i really dont think i would have landed this position. like i said in the last post, its all about who you know (true around the world im guessing, although i dont have any experience in the real world in any country except chile….strange..).

so what do i do? well i work in a company that will remain unnamed (because all of you have taught be to not put that stuff on here, although i still use names of people) as the executive of internationalization. this means that anything that has to do with english, translating, networking and the like, i do. if we have a visitor coming from another country, i organize their stay, meetings etc. which i like the idea of. next week i will be going to a conference in santiago to learn more about what these type companies do and how they work. im looking forward to getting a bigger picture. im sorry im not being more specific with all of this. its just that others have made me paranoid about what i write in the blog. oh well.  basically, this will be a good steady job for me. one thing i hate about teaching english is that you are always looking for more work. one class lasts a few months, or people cancel on you, or whatever and it is never very steady (unless you work for an institute that does all their classes their like wallstreet). i made enough money teaching, but the constant job searching is not what i want to be doing here. or spending all the time and money on the micro (i have a 15 min walk to work now!!). plus here they give me free lunch! its not spectacular but i dont have to cook, grocery shop, or buy it myself so im more than content.

i dont know everyone yet, and am slowly learning what my responsibilities are and whatnot but i think this will be a good fit for me, a great learning experience, good for my CV (if only because it does not have the word TEACHER in the title) and a way for me to take the next step in my life.  i will keep you up-dated on how it goes.

bank accounts

we had a fantastic gringa get together at Barlovento in Vina last wednesday. it was so much fun and if you missed out on it dont worry because i am sure there will be a repeat. about ten or so of us got together and the fun part was that although each of us had one of two connections to the group we all met a bunch of new people and got to hear about all of their interesting stories, lives and how they ended up at the end of the world and more specifically, why Valparaiso/Vina del mar/Quilpue and not Santiago. i could go on about all the fun we had, but that isnt the point of this post. the connection to the title of this post is that while we were talking, the subject of how difficult it is for ex-pats to get a bank account here came up. in fact, the owner of the bar, an expat gringa who has lived here for over 15 years told me that within the last year she opened her very first checking account. not only was it difficult to do so, at the bank of choice she was signed up for a Cuenta MUJER. who has heard of such a thing?? talk about gender equality issues. but im getting off topic.

last september, after being (back) here a little more than 8 months i opened a chequera electronica. at the time (and until last week) i thought nothing of it. a bank account. big deal. quick process, no hassle, and i had my debit card the following day. as the girls at the table shared their frustrations at being rejected when trying to open an account after being here much longer than i, i started to wonder….

back in september when i was tired of cashing checks, and finally had my visa processed and carnet in hand i decided to open a bank account. at the time i was teaching an english class to a group of guys who all worked at the bank Banco Estado. in class i mentioned to them that i didnt have an account here and they said, oh! come in tomorrow and we can help you. they are all super friendly and i thought, well obviously i will do that so i wont have to stand in any lines at least. so the next day i mosied on down to the bank, they all greeted me (and proceeded to introduce me to literally ALL of the other employees) and then sat me down in an office to open my account. 10 minutes later i thanked them all for their help, said my goodbyes and moved on. i mean, i guess i didnt really expect to have much trouble opening an account here, although thinking back has any process been that simple here? dont think so…

so after my conversation with the girls i started to think that they had pulled some kind of special favor for me, but i wasnt really sure. so a few days ago, i was in the bank with jill (who is leaving soon….buuu) and she wanted to open a checking account so that she could take out money in the US after she leaves instead of writing a travelers check or something. so i was like yeah its no problem. we will just talk to luis (my bank buddy) and he will tell us what to do. so luis says oh yeah, its super easy. just go down to the chequera electronica lady, get a number (we are in chile of course) and she will sign you up. so we went down, pulled our number, waited and then sat in the booth to get the account. as soon as the words chequera electronica came out of jills mouth, the woman started asking for countless documents accounting for the last 12 months she worked, y no se que mas. and so i told the woman that i had this type of account and had not done any of those things. she told me that was impossible and so we just scooted out of there. i went back to luis, who said, huh. thats weird what did we have to do for you to get an account last time? we must have really done some kind of truco (trick). apparently. so he told jill to come back the next day super early so that other customers wouldnt be there and he opened her an account sin problema, as he had done for me.

moral of this story: in chile its all about who you know. i realize some things are that way in other countries, but i really feel like in chile there are “rules” set in place but that if you know someone, these rules are very easy to bend. even if you arent doing it on purpose. i guess in this case, teaching english did have a plus for me. but im still glad to be moving on. (more job info to come! i just dont want to jinx it before i start. i have been training this week but i dont officially work there until monday so ill keep you posted. )

have a good weekend! i know its not actually the weekend, but i am taking advantage of being ‘between jobs’ and am headed to Temuco with my roommates today until sunday. 🙂

the big 3

this week i have had 3 firsts. one im excited about, one was crazy and scary yet fun, and one was just unexpected and gross.

1) After i read Lydias post, I knew i had to ask my class if i could go up on the crane too. i teach a class to crane operators in the port and thought lydias pic of her way high up was pretty f-ing sweet. so i casually mentioned it to them on monday and wednesday they showed up to class hard-hats in hand. so, up we went in an elevator to the biggest crane in the port. we got up there, walked around, snapped some pictures (photos to come) and then waited for permission, for…something. i had no idea what we were doing but i was having a good time seeing the view from that high up. i was then ushered into the cab of the crane, taught how to handle the controls and then all of a sudden they were instructing me to “push that joystick forward” and “push the red button” and i was driving this insanely tall crane used by trained professionals to move containers onto vessels in the port. right…like this is safe or legal. after that, one of the pro’s took over and we proceeded at full speed out over the ocean. the cab has a glass/plastic floor to raise the fear factor just a touch more. the people and sea lions below looked like ants. never in a million years would i imagine myself doing something like this. (i havent mentioned it to my parents. i guess i will wait to show them pics to prove i survived). ok so that was thing one.

2) i was hired for my first ever full-time job. in any country. i am very proud of myself and excited to not be teaching anymore and cant wait to have a schedule, be able to walk to work (only 15 min!) free lunch, co-workers, and many other things. so today i started training and will begin early next week. yay!

3) i ate a piece of mystery meat and found out later it was tongue. ick ick ick.

so that was my week. last week i wrote a long post about how content i am with my life in general and feel good about things but i am bad at computers and it got deleted. but those feelings have only improved this week so thats good. looking forward to a good night with my favorite people and a relaxing weekend. today is pisco day in case anyone wants to celebrate. i bought 2 bottles at santa isabel on the way home from quitting the institute.