Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Putzy Cat

First of all, I miss Kitty.  However, I am sure he has long forgotten about me since he only loved me because he had Stockholm Syndrome.  :(  There was a kitty on the metro the other day, and it reminded me of Kitty.  (Critters ride for free on the metro, don't ya know?) 

Neither of these are Kitty, but they look a lot like him

Putzy Cat is the name of a pet shop I walk by on my way to and from one of my classes.  I 1. Love the name, and 2. Love looking in the window at the pets and pet accessories.  Not to mention the fact that it is really fun to say "putzy cat"- it will put a smile on your face. 

Today as I walked by Putzy Cat, I thought it would be really nice to be a putzy cat in this city.  I would have soft pads on the bottom of my feet instead of having callouses and blisters.  Plus, it wouldn't matter that all of my shoes literally have holes in them (and the fact that I can't afford a new pair) because I wouldn't have to wear shoes.  Today I walked holes into yet another pair of shoes.  So now, no pair is safe.  I also walked my heals into a lot of pain; the skin feels like it is being burnt off.  I don't think I would have these problems if I was a putzy cat. 

Peace

I am currently listening to Kanye West.  Fuck you Kanye.  You just make such catchy tunes, I can't help but listen sometimes.  Especially when you let me download them for free, legally!

Stumbling Across Some Answers

I just got done with a unit in one of my classes about color, personality, and birth order.  We spent a lot of time talking about how certain colors make us feel and what we associate with certain colors.  Two of my students kept talking about how they associate green (and specifically a blueish shade of green) with death.  One student thought about it and decided it was probably because the head stones are painted with that color. 

The other day I was Stumbling, and I came across this website that just has a bunch of random information on it.  I was clicking around, and I found that in South America, the color green is associated with death.  Check out the color wheel of cultural color associations here. 


I initially wanted to share the color wheel with somebody who would find it interesting, but then when I saw that South American Culture associates green with death, I wanted to share it with everybody.  I have no idea why green is associated with death, and frankly, I don't care enough to look it up. 

I love using Stumble, and I love when I learn something from Stumbling. 

Peace

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Do I Look Like I Know What Is Going On?

First of all, I think the answer should be no.  I don't really look like I know what is going on, any more than any other person. 

I want to paint you a picture of what I look like walking around this city.  I normally have my backpack, which does not have Ernst & Young or anything embroidered on it, so it looks strange.  I only have about 3 outfits I rotate around to wear to work, and none of them are a suit.  So again, I look out of sorts.  Add to this I wear my tennis shoes to walk to class.  (I walk at least 3.5k each way, to and from class.  You would wear yo sneakas too, foo.)  No female wears tennis shoes unless they are running.  Especially when they are wearing semi-dressy clothes.  Plop me down (wearing hand-me-downs and sneakers) in a city where women wear high heels all the time and everybody is lookin' super fly and classy.  Would you think I look like I know what's up?

Apparently, people think I do.  Because I get asked for directions and the location of things more often than I ever would have guessed I would have been asked.  Just today I was on my way to class, and this woman asked me if there was a metro close to where we were.  I told her it was straight ahead, about a block away.  I have been asked where the metro is, where buildings are, and things I can't even understand by people speaking neither English or Spanish.  (Some German guy started talking to me in the metro one day, and I just shook my head with a confused look on my face.  I think he got it.)

There are, of course, the crazies that come up to you and try to say crazy things and beat you up and rob you and whatnot.  I stay away from them.  Obvio po.  But why do people think I am a good candidate to give them directions in this city?!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Extranjeria or Cattle Auction?

I would like to start by saying, this story of the experience at the Extranjeria is not just mine, but it is also my friend, Jemma's.  I will start at the beginning.

Early last week I got an email saying the letter came saying I could go get my visa stamp!  I was so excited!  I had Spanish classes last week though, so I didn't really have time to go.  So, I planned on going on Monday morning and getting in line at 7:30AM.  Gross, I know.  But it became less gross when I found out that Jemma also had to go!  I would have a friend to wait in the god-awful line with!

Jemma has had quite the difficulties in obtaining her visa.  Since she didn't make it to Mendoza a couple of weeks ago, she found out (on Friday) that she would get kicked out of the country on Monday if she did not get her visa renewed/upgraded/whatever.  (It is all a bit confusing to me.)  This is only to keep living in Chile.  She can keep working here until the end of December.  Please, don't ask me about this.  Nobody understands why.  It's because it is Chile.

So we decided to meet and wait in line at 7:30.  We got in line, and it finally moved at about 8.  We were herded, literally, like cattle, into the building.  Then we were herded, like cattle, into the waiting room where we were instructed to sit in order in the chairs provided.  It is important to note that you may not sit in any empty seat you find because the man in a suit will yell at you for budging.  You must sit in the same order that you were in in the line.

After sitting for a bit, we got herded again.  This time we had to file back to the entrance, in order, to pick up a number.  Why not just make us wait at the door and then take a number as we come in?  I have no clue.  It's Chile.  Now that we had our numbers, we had to wait.  And wait.  And wait.

Then, while we were waiting some more, we smelled the stench of urine.  I am guessing someone peed their pants because they thought they couldn't leave their seats.

So at about 10:15, Jemma was finally next in line!  w00t!  I watched her go up there and sit down at the desk, and it was kind of like watching my first empanada get fried.  Then the lady got up from the desk and left the office.  That is when Jemma turned around shook her head, and gave me thumbs down.  There was another visa situation. 

When the lady came back, Jemma motioned for  me to come into the office.  Carlos, the wonderful boss at work, had forgotten to change Jemma's contract so it had the correct minimum salary in it.  The lady said that she might be able to use my contract since we work for the same institute.  No such luck because I signed my contract after Jemma.  Jemma now had to wait until Carlos could get a new contract drawn up for her, sign and finger print it, have it notarized, and bring it back to the extranjeria before she could get her visa.

While Jemma was on the phone with Carlos figuring out what was going on (the lady was soooo nice and called Carlos to figure out why it was the wrong salary), the lady hooked me up with a visa stamp.  I feel kind of bad because this process has been relatively beyond easy for me compared to what Jemma has been through.  Hopefully she will have her stamp by the end of the week though.

After getting my stamp I registered with the international police, which was mostly like a faster version of renewing your license at the DMV.  It was oddly efficient.  And next I get to go apply for my carnet!  I gots to get up early and get my hair did so I don't look like a beaver in my carnet picture.  'Cause I looked like a totally doofus in my picture at the international police.  The lady even laughed at it.

So that is my story of the extranjeria and how it is like a cattle auction.  And how someone (probably) peed their pants.  Everybody, please send good vibes to Jemma this week so all goes well and she doesn't get deported.  I can't handle another one leaving this soon.

Peace and Love

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ketchup

Don't worry friends, I have not forgotten about you.  The last two weeks have been busy because I finally got to take my free Spanish classes!  Woo hoo!  I am actually going to really miss having class, despite the fact that it was a slightly higher level than what I tested at, and therefore, a little challenging at times.  It was however, lots of fun.  I now know how to use the pluscuamperfecto and the subjuntivo (kind of...).  My friend and I decided to keep practicing, so once a week we will get together with our books and be nerds practicing our Spanish.

The other thing that has kept me busy this weekend is Clea leaving :(  I am sad to see her go, but I will get to see her again in March!  Horrays!   We had dancing on Friday night, music and move sharing on Saturday, and we went to the airport with her today.  It was like watching my first empanada get fried.  So sweet and emotional.

I went back to Valpo (and Viña del Mar) last weekend, and nobody got robbed!  Horray!  It was actually tons of fun.  They have these big bubbles on the beach in Viña that you get into and play on a pool of water.  Here are my friends having fun in the balls:

video

It was a lot of fun watching them until it started to rain, so we headed to the bus station to come back to Santiago.

I also got to experience Halloween here, and I learned that Halloween is really an American holiday.  Like, seriously.  There were hardly any decorations out or candy displays in the supermarket.  However, it is becoming more popular.  I went to two parties, and I saw some interesting costumes.  There was Freddy Kruger, a ghost, Blues Brothers, grapes, Chilean miners, a pink unicorn, crabs, vampires, the Joker, and a Chilean.  (Keep in mind that most of these people were gringos, or at least friends with lots of gringos.  There were very few Chileans out and about dressed in costume.)  It was really fun seeing some of the things people came up with, especially the poor teachers trying to find a costume on a budget, and the non-Americans that weren't quite sure what was going on.

Speaking of non-Americans wanting to see what all the hype about holidays... Thanksgiving is coming up, and we are going to have a delicious potluck/pool party!  I am sooo excited!  Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday because I love mashed potatoes and green bean casserole.  Neither is quite as good without cheddar cheese though. 

Tonight I get to enjoy some Chilean theatre, and tomorrow I get to stand in line for hours at the Extrajeria to get my visa stamp.  Luckily, my friend also has to wait in line, so I will have a buddy.  Expect to hear some great stories about that.

Peace and Love

Stray in Viña del Mar

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Familiarty is Funny

The other day I was Skyping with my friend (who was in Iowa) when he went through a drive though.  When he drove up to order, the person on the other end of the speaker spoke English!  I was taken off guard and found it really weird, and that is when I realized: Santiago is now familiar to me.

I no longer look at street signs when I am going to class.  I don't have to figure out which direction I have to take the metro to get where I want to go.   Buying leche descremada in a box and leaving it sit in the cupboard until I am ready to use it is completely natural.  Going back to the States is going to be weird, and that is kind of weird.  It will be weird going to Target and being able to buy new socks, a box of granola bars, and new pencils all in the same place.  I won't have to find three different places to make my purchases. 

Ultimately, I have a love/hate relationship with this familiarity.  I love that it is so easy.  I don't have to look at map to get around, and I don't have to try to adjust to new things.  I hate it because it isn't as exciting.  It has become routine.  And that is boring. 

Current Tunes: Speakerboxxx (I really like this album, and I get excited when I rediscover it.  And then part of me gets sad because I remember I have the clean version for some reason.   I am also excited to actually get to listen to Big Boi's most recent album.  I have only heard a little bit off it, but from what I hear, it's pretty legit.)