Monday, January 31, 2011
Then, in order for my debit card to work I had to wait 24 hours after picking it up before going to an ATM where I was instructed to change my PIN. Another 24 hours later and I was finally able to withdraw money.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Yes, for free.
Like I don't have to pay anything.
So in the mean time, I've had to resort to recording my blogs the old fashioned way: with a pencil and paper. As soon as I get my computer back I will shower you with frenzy of posts with topics ranging from Lost connections, to instructions for consuming snack foods, to 4am police visits. But not necessarily in that order.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
We certainly seem to live in the age of total computer dependency. Well it appears I do at least. While I could go without a computer in the US for say, 3 days, before going crazy, here it is a different story. My computer is my only means of communication with family and friends in the States. So to put it not so eloquently, it sucks.
Still no word on what is wrong with my computer, when I´ll get it back, and even more importantly how much it will cost. Luckily my roommates have let me use theirs. Today has been the first time I´ve had a good chunk of time to update my blog. I´m going to separate each story into its own post otherwise it will be a four page long post, and that seems a little too long. I´ve also posted them backwards. So not including this post, there are four more new posts (yes, I expect you to read them all).
So without further ado, here are just a few things that have been going on with me.
I started my Christmas celebration at my Uncle´s house in downtown Santiago on the 24th. It was a fun evening filled with family, good food, and presents. Once the clock struck midnight we began the exchange of presents. I stayed at my Uncle´s house until 1:30 or so. I was exhausted but eager to get back to my new apartment. My roommates were hosting a party for locals and foreigners they have met through Couch Surfing.
Quick side note: For those of you who are not familiar with Couch Surfing you can do one of two things. First, check out their website, conveniently named CouchSurfing.com. Or, you can continue reading and I´ll explain it to you because I am just that nice. The Couch Surfing community is composed of a few types of people.
1) Travelers from around the world looking for a couch to crash on while in a new city.
2) Wonderful locals who are willing to take in the above travelers for the night.
3) People who are interested in meeting others from around the world.
Additional side note: I once read a blog about a girl from New York who couch surfed across South America for several months.
Okay, back to my roommates. Paula is involved with couch surfing. Through her involvement she has met a group of people living in Santiago, both Chileans and foreigners. They plan get-togethers, parties and other excursions across Chile. It´s quite nice really.
Anyway, Paula and Julia (my other roommate) were hosting a Christmas party for locals and foreigners, many of who are a part of the couch surfing community. So that is how I found myself spending the wee morning hours of Christmas (until 5am!) with people from nine different countries. Which countries? Well I´m so glad you asked.
And of course I was there to represent the US, making a grand total of nine countries in one apartment. I´m not sure I can remember the last time I had that much fun. I really enjoy meeting people from around the world. And it definitely helps being around people during the holidays who are away from their families as well.
*In case you´re wondering, like I was when I heard the name of this country, Eritrea is in Eastern Africa. It is bordered by Sudan to the west and Ethiopia to the south, with the Red Sea running along its northeastern border. You´re welcome.
Now that I have my Chilean passport I can finally open up a bank account. I worked at a bank in Rhode Island for just over two years, so I am very familiar with the process of opening up an account in the US. Trying to open one here has been exactly the opposite of what I´m used to. This story is three-fold.
Fold one: I arrived at the bank with one of my coworkers who came to help with the language issue. After I filled out all the paper work, signed ten different pages (for once I am not exaggerating), and gave my thumb prints on half as many pages, I learned I was still not able to open an account. Why? Because they needed a copy of my teaching contract. Mind you, this has nothing to do with the fact that I am a foreigner. I have dual citizenship, so showing proof of employment is the case for all Chileans. Of course I didn´t have this with me. Additionally, they needed receipts showing the school had paid me. This one baffled me a little. At the top of my paychecks it clearly says the name of the school. But they needed more proof. So, we left. I told the banker I would return with the paperwork the next day.
Fold two: On my second trip to the bank I turned in all the necessary paperwork. This time I was without my trusted translator, so when the banker returned from making copies and told me I was all set, I was once again confused. In the US, or at least in the bank I worked at, you can´t open an account with no money in it. So when I explained to the banker in broken Spanish that I had cash and checks to deposit, he told me to come back in 2 days. I said thanks and left but in my head I was screaming ``WHAAAT?!?!´´.
I know I told you this story was three-fold, and that you´re eagerly waiting to read the final fold of the story. But you see, the last part has not happened yet. My third, and hopefully final, trip to the bank is scheduled for tomorrow. The only frustrating thing is that each time I have gone to the bank and not been able to deposit my money, I have been forced to return home with two paychecks and pesos in the amount of the equivalent of $1000 USD. Not exactly the kind of things you want to be carrying on the busy Santiago metro. But hopefully tomorrow I´ll finally be able to make my deposit.
When speaking a foreign language obviously mistakes will be made. Sometimes these mistakes are more comical than others. I heard two such examples in one day and knew immediately that I must share them with you good people.
Before I tell them to you, I want to point out how grateful I am that I have met people who are more than willing to talk to me in English.
Okay here´s the first one.
``I need to make sure there are 30 hookers in my classroom´´
Perhaps I should explain a little. In our classrooms there are hooks, not hookers, where students can hang up their backpacks. Funny how changing the ending of the word drastically changes its meaning.
Okay and the second one.
``The river has turkey colored water.´´
This one really amused me. Like a lot. Mind you, he meant to say turquoise. In his defense, the words are incredibly similar.
Anyway, I am sure that I will make many mistakes. I´m sure I already have. However, none of mine have been even remotely as amusing as these two gems. And yes, of course I will share with you my mistakes as I make them.
When I was in Spain four years ago I found a Dunkin Donuts in Barcelona. The donuts there were frosted with neon colored goo. I don’t know about you, but fluorescent green and vivid pink are not colors of food I find particularly appetizing.
Every time I walked past a Dunkin Donuts here (every morning on my way to work) I convinced myself the donuts here were going to be covered in obnoxiously bright colors and therefore inedible.
Oh how wrong I was.
I finally caved and went to a Dunkin Donuts. In all honesty, I only went because I was out walking around with Paula and she wanted a coffee. Of course, once we were inside it was impossible to say no to a donut. First off, the donuts are decorated in normal frosting colors. And the decorations are sometimes on the verge of being miniature masterpieces. Okay maybe a bit of a stretch, but they are certainly pretty, with swirls in coordinating colors.
But once I found out that there were donuts filled with manjar (dulce de leche) I stopped caring about the frosting. While there are many choices of donuts with manjar, I opted for one that was sans-frosting, but rather rolled in cinnamon sugar. Unfortunately, it was insanely delicious.