Monthly Archives: January 2014

New Friends

We have been very blessed to meet many people so far.  I am very thankful for that.  People reach out a lot.  We have met people from all over the world.  It seems that there is a natural tendency to want to make friends because the ex-pats are all in the same situation in a foreign country.

Santiago is growing so much.  Our attorney told us that in the last couple of years approximately 80,000 Spaniards have moved here.  There are many folks who come here for mining jobs.  Our church is considered an international church and so far I’ve met people from America, Peru, South Africa, the Netherlands, Bolivia, and of course, Chile.

The pictures I posted are of new friends we have met.  We had them over for dinner in our apartment.  The young man was here for an exploratory trip and is headed home to learn Spanish so he can come back and get a job.  The couple pictured loves to travel and they are very adventurous.  They love to be on their boat.

Food

Well, I added captions today to my pictures.  I’m learning.  This post includes the explanation of the pictures.

My neighbor downstairs asked me if I would like to share her maid for a few weeks because she and her husband are house sitting a lot and haven’t been home to need it cleaned.  So, I jumped right on it.  Not to clean our small apartment but to cook!  Even though Chile has a rising middle class they still have many people who serve as maids for families.  I’ve heard that welfare is basically nonexistent here so I’ve also seen men with buckets washing cars in parking lots to make money.  So, the maids here work from 9-5 and it costs about 20,000 pesos which is $40.  I was very excited for this opportunity to practice Spanish and get to try real Chilean food.  The picture of the pretty lady is Patricia who came this week and cooked the casuela which I forgot to take a picture of until we had eaten most of it.  They use cheaper meat with more fat than we do and she also put fresh pumpkin in it.  It also included carrots, fresh green beans, potatoes, herbs, corn on the cob, etc.  She gave me a list of groceries to buy for next week which I think is called pastel de choclo and a very rich drink/dessert.  I’ll take a picture of that next week.

The other pictures are 2 salads- one I made and one that Kent had on his farm excursion.   He thought I would like it and I would have.  I love goat cheese.  Another picture is the fancy bowls I am using to cook.  I just can’t justify buying new stuff just to leave it here when we return.  It’s amazing how innovative you become when you have to.

The other 2 pictures are items I bought at the store.  I went looking for 2 cans of tomato sauce and found this “pourable” container.  Interesting.  Then I searched for the cottage cheese.  The cup I bought was too expensive!  $4.00 USD.   It’s funny the produce is cheap but any imported stuff is too much for me to buy.  I’m dying for a brownie mix!!! I’m hoping when my Mom and Dad come down I can give them a small list of items to bring.

I see that the weather back home is super cold and snowy.  Hope everyone is safe and staying warm.  I can’t believe how cold this winter has been.

Cerro San Cristobal

Sorry guys!  Once again the description comes separately than the pictures.  When my mom and dad visit in March I am going to have her teach me how to do it right.  By the way, my parents are in Cape Verde, Africa now and she has a blog as well.  Go see it!  It’s at judyputudy.com  She also has her India trip on there from last year and it is hilarious.

Kent went on his first trip out to look for working farms to invest in.  He left early Friday morning and got back late Sunday night.  It was very informative which will definitely help him make a good decision.

While he was gone, I was invited by 2 new friends to hike up to Cerro San Cristobal which is where the statue of Mary is.  Chile is a mostly Catholic nation.  They only started allowing divorce about a decade ago.

We met at 9 AM at the metro station and began climbing the mountain.  It was a tough walk up mostly because it started getting hot.  The weather is cool in the mornings so I wore capris, but by the time I finished I wished that I had worn shorts.  When we got to the top there were lots of people up there sitting and walking around enjoying the day.  They had drinks and food to buy.  The pictures are also of the view of Santiago from the top which is sprawling.

We really had a great time talking and getting to know each other more.  I’m glad we did it.

The boys and I ate pizza Friday and Saturday night.  We went to a restaurant about 2 blocks from our place which happens to be beside the sushi place and the Indian restaurant.  We liked it Friday night and took a menu home so we could really see what all they had.  So, Saturday we decided what we wanted before we went, and I practiced how to say it.  Our waitress was an older lady and we ordered “ofreta 2” which was 2 medium sized pizzas.  She said “no,no, no” and pointed to “ofreta 3” which was a large pizza and 4 empanadas.  We pointed to 2 again and she said no.  So, guess what?  We got 3 and it was delicious.  I love the empanadas.  They are so good. But pizza and anything similar is muy delicioso!

I figured out the best way to have people help you is not to ask them if they speak English because they will usually say no because they don’t speak fluently.  They may know some but don’t want to come across like they are fluent.  Now I say “Hablo espanol un poquito PERO….. “.  Then I try to put together any words I know to say what I am trying to say.

We finally paid our bills today.  We had no idea what to do because they don’t really use their post office because it’s not reliable or honest.  (that’s what I’ve been told) plus we don’t have a checking account yet.  So we figured out that we could go to the metro and there was a store to pay all the bills.  It was true.  We just gave them the statement and paid it to them.  The best part was the amount!  For electricity, gas, and water the total was approximately $19,000 pesos or $38USD.  I don’t even know exactly what we paid for but that’s what they said we owed.  We laughed on the way out because even the simplest tasks are hard when you don’t speak the language.

I’ll write again soon.  It’ll be about food and new friends.  Love you all.  Check out judyputudy.com

Picture Explanations

Sorry about the lack of technological savviness.  I couldn’t figure out how to label all of the pictures.  The first one is the head of romaine I bought at the produce stand.  It was so big we ate 5 large salads from it.  I set it beside a peach I bought to get an idea of how big it was.  I sat it right side up on the counter and it almost reached the cabinets.  The other picture is the gym.  The picture of the terra cotta building is just another apartment building I saw on the way to the gym today.  I noticed the huge palm tree in front of it and took a picture.  Lastly, there was a beautiful older home in our neighborhood.  We live in the comuna (neighborhood) Providencia.  It is apartment buildings and stand alone houses like this white one I pictured.  A lot of them are no longer single family homes but have been bought by businesses.  More to come….

A Few More Differences

Of course, I’ve been thinking of differences to write about in my head the last couple of days and now that I begin to write I am forgetting them.  Let me think.  OK.  It’s very European here.  People eat much later than we do.  Lunch is 1-4 and dinner usually begins at 8-9.  They also make it last.  The Warner’s inhale our food so we are working on slowing down and enjoying the dinner.  The servers are attentive, but not pushy.  We have had to look and ask for our check each time we have been out.  You definitely don’t feel like you need to hurry and get out for the next party to take your table.

The culture is more laid back.  The other night we were walking home from the grocery store around 10pm and there were 2 dads riding their bikes with their toddlers in their seats on the backs of the bikes.  I thought to myself “I would never have had my kids out that late because they would have already been sleeping for 3 hours!” Another example I saw last week when we went to the Palestinian Club for a youth group pool party. ( Apparently, there are many clubs around the city for those with similar interests.  They told me there were different nationalities clubs, horse lovers clubs, doctors clubs, etc. ) Anyway, they had a huge slide that looped around 3-4 times and landed in the pool.  Some of the boys were going down and there was no one standing there to tell them when to go.  I thought “We would never do that!  We would have one person at the top and one at the bottom letting swimmers know when to go safely!”

The food they grow here in Chile is plentiful.  We are going to the “Mercado Central” next week.  It’s a huge fresh market and voted 5th best in the world according to National Geographic.  Chile is one of the main exporters of avocados, blueberries, and wine.  We went to a produce stand yesterday and bought some fruit and vegetables.  I have never seen celery and corn on the cob so big.  Their fish is also amazing and the sushi is much cheaper.  We are only a little over an hour from the ocean.  We had sushi last week and we had a huge plate of large sized sashimi (almost 20 pieces) for about 8000 pesos which is about $15-$16 dollars.

Finally, the money is obviously different.  They have Chilean pesos.  500 -550 pesos is equal to $1 USD.  So, we take the pesos double it and drop a zero.  For instance, we bought a prepaid phone with 10,000 pesos included to use for calling and texting.  It cost us 10,000 pesos.  So to get a pretty good estimate of what I’m spending in dollars I double it and take a zero off to get $20.00.  I feel like I do this every time I buy something to see if I am getting a “good deal”.   Diet Coke and chocolate chips are too expensive which should make it easier for me not to buy!

OK I’ll be back soon.  I’m going to try to add some more pictures.  Love you all.

The Differences

IMG_2262 IMG_2286I can’t believe it’s Tuesday already.  I meant to write before.  I thought i would share just some of the little things that are different here.  First they are a very “kissy” culture.  It’s not unusual to see couples kissing on the street, in the park, riding up the escalators at the mall.  They also kiss you on the cheek as a greeting when they see you.  We keep forgetting and have probably offended a few Chileans.  The other day we went to see our attorney and she greeted us with a kiss.  We just finished the conversation in the lobby and left.  I walked toward the elevator and Kent noticed that she had leaned forward toward me to say good-bye and I had already walked away.  I’m just not used to it yet.  I think it’s very kind though and am going to try to remember.  Most of you already know that Diet Coke is Coca Cola Light everywhere else and it is not the same.  But here in Chile they are doing a test product called Coke Life.  It is a low calorie drink (i think 39) and it has stevia and sugar as the sweeteners.  I had a small taste of it and didn’t care for it but I’ll think I will try it again.  I have been drinking lots of bottled water con and sin gas and have had very few diet cokes which is good.  There are no dishwashers in most apartments and the refrigerators are small too.  They also hang their laundry to dry which saves on our electricity bill.  We still have not paid our rent but the landlords are very laid back.  They say it’s the Chilean way.  Our lease barely got done in time as well.  As Americans we are on top of all that stuff but they are very relaxed about it.  I joined a gym owned by an American from NC.  All of the classes are taught by men and they are mostly in the afternoon.  The exact opposite of what I am used to!  I went to my first class yesterday.  It was rather different.  It was a circuit training class.  Douglas was the teacher.  He kicked my butt.  There were 4 other women and 1 man in a smallish room.  There was no air conditioning!  Got my heart beat up!  He didn’t do the exercises with us but told us what to do and danced around.  I wondered how he could teach so many classes in one day on the schedule.  Kent wanted me to add he sees a general respect for each other.  He was at the bank yesterday for a meeting and the professionals and the support staff all greet each other more equally than what he had seen when he was working.  When he was working in NY it was not that way at all.  I’m going to try to download a picture of the church we’re attending.  It’s San Marcos International Church.  It’s neat because there are people from all over the world that attend there.  The pastor and his wife are Americans are retiring this fall so they are looking for a replacement.  There is also another church down the street from us that a lot of Americans and British go to.  We met the pastor and his wife on the street last week.  They are headed back to America soon to care for aging parents so they are in need of a new pastor as well.  Well I’ll close for now.  Try to think of some other interesting information for the next time.  I think I’ll try to put a picture of the inside of the mall too.  These pictures are from my iphone so it’s not the greatest.  Miss you all!