Wednesday, February 22, 2012

¿Dónde está la gringa?

I'm back! As in, back to living in Chile and, more importantly, back to blogging! I mean, yes I could have blogged while I was home. But come on. Who really wants to hear about how much fun I was having hanging out with friends and family and playing in the snow that one day it was actually winter?

Thankfully, the flight back to Chile was much less eventful than my flight to the US. Here are the highlights:

  • On the way to the airport in Newark, NJ we drove past Whitney Houston's post-funeral gathering. We weren't sure if it really was WH related, but the helicopter hovering overhead and the hoards of paparazzi really gave it away. 

  • I don't mean to be rude, but a certain employee of a certain airline I'll call Air-Shmanada should be fired. While checking in my three suitcases we were told, quite rudely, that the third bag would cost $225 dollars to be checked. Joe, quite calmly, explained to the woman that not only was he given different information when he called to check, but that their sorry excuse for a website listed a much lower price. However, the mean check-in lady didn't care. This, combined with lack of sleep and the overall stress of travel prompted me to have an emotional break down at the airport. Fun times, I tell you.
  • The TSA agent thought it would be amusing to ask me if I was an unaccompanied minor. No, TSA agent, it's not flattering to be confused with a thirteen year old child. To make things more entertaining, as I walked away, laughing uncomfortably, I bumped into another traveler. This prompted the same TSA agent to say, quite loudly, that I shouldn't drink anymore. I definitely received some worried glances from the family with 4 small children walking next to me. 
  • I got to watch Drive on the airplane. Oh, Mr. Gosling, you're so pretty. This entirely made up for the 90 minutes I wasted watching the remake of Footloose
  • I sat in the aisle seat and the couple that was trapped in beside me asked to get up approximately 42 times. Clearly their bladders were not in sync, because ten minutes after one would get up and sit back down, the other would ask to get up. 
  • My aunt and uncle set up a transfer for me to take from the airport to my apartment. So as I left customs there was a man holding a sign with my name: Maggie Slasnnher. (Nope. Not my last name. The correct spelling is Flashner. Nice try, buddy.)
So like I said, much less eventful than my previous travel experience. 

It took me two days to unpack. My room looks like a war zone. School supplies and one-fifth of the Eyewitness Books I bought in the States have taken over the bottom of my Bill Bryson shrine bookcase. In case you're wondering what happened to the other Eyewitness books, they had to stay behind because, good lord, they weigh a lot. 

Can you spot the Koosh balls??

And apparently CVS has vomited inside my dresser.

I like drugs. (The legal kind.)

I have a few days left of summer vacation. I'm not exactly looking forward to going back to work. And the only reason is because it's so freaking hot here! Those of you east-coasters back home may have been having a very mild winter. But here, they are having an uncharacteristically hot summer. My uncle told me it's gotten up to almost 100 degrees. That's about 30 degrees more than I'd prefer. 

Work starts on Monday and the kids join us on Thursday. I am super excited to see where my classroom will be this year and meet all the new kiddos. And I'm equally excited for March to be over (even though it hasn't even started yet) because then the weather will begin to cool down and not torture me so much. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Two Month Hiatus

I've been back in the US for over a month now. With only one week remaining before I return to Santiago, I thought it was time for me to finally write about my experience returning to the US after being abroad for 15 months.

People have asked me how it's been getting reacquainted with life in the US. Have I experienced any culture shock? Not so much.

Life in Santiago is so gringo-friendly that adjusting to life back in the US is quite easy. Things are so similar except for some notable exceptions:

1. English. Duh. This makes everything so much easier.
2. No mullets.
3. No rat tails.
4. Way fewer dogs in the street.

I got so used to doing certain things in Chile that I almost made some slip ups here.

When I first got back I had to resist the urge to greet people with a kiss on the cheek, as is the norm in Chile.
I also had to remember not to tip the bagger at the grocery store. In the beginning, every time I got into line I would rummage in my purse to find some coins for a tip, only to remember that's not exactly customary here.
And of course, I had to remember not to speak in Spanish, at least to those who wouldn't understand.

It's been wonderful being home but I'm looking forward to returning to life in Santiago. I'm eager to get the new school year started and get back into a normal routine.

The one thing I'm not looking forward to? The stifling Santiago summer heat. And the mullets.