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Update

The last post I wrote was about the Constitutional election that was held on Sunday, September 4. The country seemed to be on edge not knowing how it was going to go. “Apruebo” was the “I Approve” and “Rechazo” was “I Reject”. The thinking was there was going to be social unrest either way the election turned out. We, along with others that suggested it, bought extra food items, toilet paper, and water in case the stores had to be boarded up from looters. We also filled up the car with gas to avoid possible long lines at the pumps.

We went to vote even though Chile rescinded our permanent residency for not coming to Chile in 2018. However, there is a website that citizens and residents can put their RUT (ID) number in and it tells you whether you were required to vote. Surprisingly, we were! The website included the location of where to vote and also the table to look for.

Voting information

The voting process was a dream and one that the US should look in to. It was very secure and fast. The line of voters was around the building when we got to our voting place. We were lead in through the building and told what room to go to. We found table 233. Along with our Chilean identification card, knowledge of the proper way to vote (draw a vertical line only through the line beside your choice), a concealed booth, a specifically folded ballot with a detachable ID code, a sticker on the completed folded ballot that the voter presses on himself, and a signature beside the ID number it took us five minutes. It may sound complicated and involved but it truly was easy.

Everything is closed on Voting Day. The malls, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. close because everyone is required to vote. In fact, they impose a fine on you if you don’t. I haven’t found out how they do that yet.

Around 7-8:00pm friends began to text us that the new constitution had been rejected. It was a landslide win 68-32 so the majority had spoken. Some of the issues that supporters of Rechazo were concerned with were the possibility of no more personal property, the ability to have an abortion at anytime, the pension funds given to the government at one’s death, and the giving of special/extra rights to the indigenous people.

I am so thankful for the peace. Our Chilena Spanish teacher told us before the vote that she felt her people were tired and depressed. It has been a long three years for them.

I am pretty sure there is going to be work done on the issues in the future. Hopefully it will be done in a bipartisan way to help the Chilean people.

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The Constitution

A week from today Chile will vote on a new constitution. The choice is either “rechazo” reject or “apruebo” approve.

This current situation started in October of 2019 when Kent and I happened to be here. I was riding the metro and when I walked out of the station there were lots of young people gathering and protesting. I asked a young lady if everything was OK and she told me the students were protesting. Over the next two to three days it turned from normal protests to millions of people gathered together marching in the bigger cities. However, some of the activists began rioting and causing social unrest.

The situation was quite scary for me since I had never seen anything like this before. We were put under a curfew. The stores were all boarded up. There were long lines at the gas stations and grocery stores with a limited number of items you could purchase. Some areas of the city had buildings lit on fire and burning tires put in the middle of roads.

From these events, a constitutional group was voted on and formed to try to solve some of these issues by writing a new constitution. And now almost three years later, the voting day has finally arrived.

Peaceful demonstrators

So far, we have seen signs up and people waving flags on the sidewalks for what side they are supporting. I have only seen peaceful protests with one more week left. However, several friends have encouraged us to fill up on the basics because they believe we will have some social issues next week.

I have an opinion on the constitution and will vote next Sunday. (Kent and I are able to vote since we were permanent visa holders.) And as much as we love this country, it isn’t our country. It’s surreal in some ways. I know the outcome will effect us but it doesn’t seem like it’s real. The effects could be huge because there is an extreme difference between rechazo and apruebo.

Please pray for Chile. It is such a lovely country . Since we started coming here almost 10 years ago it has seen lots of changes. I think the people are tired because covid came right after the unrest and they were under extreme lockdowns. There were months when they were only able to leave their house for food and essential medical appointments. The police would come to check homes and stop people in their cars to make sure they had their pass to be out. They still have a mobility passport that is only available to those who have taken three to four booster shots.

Are there things that need to change? Of course. It’s like that in every country. I wish there was a way to fix every injustice in the world. However, God is just even when we don’t understand and can use everything that happens for His glory. We are just praying that whatever the outcome, He uses Kent, me, and the church while we are here.

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Bible Study

Coffee with friends

Over 25 years ago a group of women started a bible study here in Santiago. It is still meeting today. It used to meet in person at a church but things changed with Covid. When we lived here in 2014 I was part of the group and was happy to come back when we returned.

Now the group meets on zoom. I was hesitant about the online situation at first but after the first meeting I was hooked. It is so well organized and fun. We can login at 9am for social time if we want to and then we start at 9:30. We have an introduction, a group time with a leader, a break, group time, prayer, and a teaching of the text. Sounds like a lot in 2 hours but it is so refreshing.

The women are from all different countries and backgrounds. In fact, one of the “rules” is we don’t talk about the church we attend so we have no idea about denominations. And, of course, we don’t speak about politics.

One of my favorite parts of this study is the women are joining the group from all parts of the world. Most of the women are no longer living in Chile but have moved on to another area on the globe.

The picture above is a group of women that are still in Chile. We met for coffee and for an encouraging time for one of our ladies who recently had a baby. It is good to be online but it’s even better to be together.

We are about to start on Wednesday. We will be studying 2 Timothy and Titus. If you would be interested you are invited! The questions are sent out each week if you don’t have the book and we meet just 2 hours each Wednesday morning for the next 11 weeks. Let me know because we would love to have you!

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Healthcare Part 1

I thought I would share what I have found out about the healthcare and its system here in Chile. I haven’t read formal documents about this but I am sharing from our experiences.

Everyone gets 7% of their paycheck taken for health insurance and they can choose either public or private insurance. Sometimes, if your salary is too low, you have to go with the public. However, I don’t think they are horribly different. I have heard some good things about both types.

When you decide your plan the first choice is the hospital that you want to use. Typically, you choose a hospital closer to your home. Once you decide the hospital you choose the amount of coverage. For instance, 70% of surgeries, 80% of doctor visits, etc. We are fortunate because we live near a fairly new hospital that is only about 2-3 miles from our house.

The employer pays part and the worker pays part of the premium each month. Sidebar: I have also found that talking about wages here are usually in monthly terms. For instance, I was having a conversation today with a Chilean man and I said something about someone making x dollars per year. He replied that he wasn’t used to that and let him take a second to figure that out in monthly terms.

Once the plan is chosen, the agreement is processed and the person places their pointer finger on a small machine to get the print. (They do this at banks too). Then when you go to the doctors office you place your finger on the machine and the computer figures out your percent of the visit you are responsible for. You pay the amount and you are done. No more paper work. No more dealing with the insurance company.

I have only been to one doctor visit which was a yearly exam with a gynecologist. Our friend Valerie called the office of her doctor for me to set it up. I was expecting for it to take a few weeks to get an appointment. Surprisingly, she asked me do you want the appointment tomorrow or the next day? The next day I waited in the reception area and the doctor walked out to get me. I went to her office and we talked at her desk. She spoke English because she had gone to college in California. She had an exam room attached to her office. She did the normal exam and also added an ultrasound of my uterus. She also asked me to get some other tests done so she would have a baseline of numbers for my folder.

The main difference I saw in the visit was I didn’t see any nurses. I think they must mostly work in the hospitals. Another difference in the healthcare is all of my friends have their doctor’s names and numbers on What’sApp so they can text them anytime. I want to ask a doctor exactly how that works since they can’t be on call all the time. I will the next time I go. Also, there is no referring to a specialist here from a primary care physician. You start with the specialist. Lastly, the pricing here is very reasonable as well and I will share with you about that on the next post about my lab experience.

Next post, mammogram and laboratory.

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Durian

Last week a friend and I went in together to buy an expensive fruit that comes from countries like China, Thailand, and Indonesia. I had never heard of a durian before, but was intrigued when my friend from Thailand was telling me about it.

a durian

This fruit reminds me of a hedgehog.

Durians smell. Really bad. I had been told they smell like a combination of feet, trash, rotted food, and more… so I was excited to smell it for myself.

My friend delivered it to me on a Friday, but my “co-owner” couldn’t open it with me until Monday. I put it in the refrigerator, and I admit it did stink up my fridge. However, it didn’t smell as bad as others said but it was a little unpleasant.

the meat of the fruit

The inside of the fruit that you eat is the meat of the fruit. It is the messy white and yellow part in the picture. The brown parts are seeds that are fairly large. There are 4 sections of the fruit that have this meat in it so it’s actually a lot of food.

My assessment- it tasted OK. Inside, the pieces of the fruit had the consistency of creme brulee. I was so confused eating this food. I wanted to like it, and I think I did. However, the smell and the look of the durian was taking away from my enjoyment.

Maybe, you already knew about it? My mom and dad had tried it before in their travels, but I had never heard about it.

I am glad I tried it. I am always open to learning as many new things as I can about different cultures. But, I don’t have to do it again. Have a good week!

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Snow, Kids, and Friends

I have complained a lot this winter but it is beautiful to look up at the mountains and see the snow. It rarely rains here (they’ve been in a drought for years), but we have had a little bit of precipitation. Each time the rain ends there is a larger covering of snow on top of the mountains.

The Andes

I’ve been visiting a children’s home every other Saturday morning. The kids are really fun, and they like me because I’m a gringa. They try to speak a little English that they have heard on tv. I try to speak my spanish with them and they are very patient. We will play games or do art projects together.

He gave me the picture as a gift
Many have not painted before

God has been so kind to us. He keeps me busy so I am less homesick. We have friends that are here with the US Embassy. It’s funny because they lived in the town next to us in Texas so we know a lot of the same roads, churches, etc. when we talk about the Metroplex.

We have enjoyed good meals and conversation with them. And we went to see Top Gun which I really liked!

Texas Friends!

Just a short post to keep learning how to do this!

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The Dentist

Kent and I went to the dentist this month for the first time in Chile. It was interesting to see the differences.

We arrived at the clinic and checked in at the main desk. We were brought upstairs to wait. About five minutes later the dentist walked over to get me to go first. He looked so young! Which he is, but as I get older that seems to be the norm. He introduced himself as Benjamin, and he also spoke English which was very helpful.

Then, we spoke about my teeth, and he did not ask about taking x-rays. I was so glad because I always felt pressured back home to get them and they were so expensive. He cleaned my teeth himself (surprised there was no dental hygienist), and he did a great job in about thirty minutes. I was a little weary when he finished so soon. I had gone to the dentist in Scotland and after 15-20 minutes they said they were done and my time period was over. I did not feel like I had gotten a thorough cleaning then. (Sorry, Scotland friends!) But, Benjamin cleared out the plaque and my front teeth felt clear and defined without the covering that builds up over time.

Benjamin asked me if I had brought my toothbrush with me to the appointment. I had not because I did not know that I was supposed to. He said he wanted to watch how I brush. I told him I knew how to brush with the curve of the brush toward the gums, the circular motion, and the flossing process.

I also told him I was aware that I needed to use an electric toothbrush but I had not bought one. It seems that every dental hygienist and dentist in the past had strongly recommended using one. He responded that he only suggests an electric toothbrush to the disabled or the elderly who could not brush properly. So, then last weekend we were at a dinner party. There was a dentist there so I thought I would ask him about the electric toothbrush and his opinion. He said the same thing- it’s for the disabled and the elderly that need the extra help.

This is Benjamin, a very nice young man who we will see again in December. Oh, and the price was about $70 for the cleaning. I’m not sure how that compares- I can’t remember.

Until, next time!

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Practice Run

Since I am relearning the blog world I thought I would send out a practice post. I’ll just share some random information that is going on here.

I am seeing a lot of posts on Facebook about how hot it is in the US now. I am so jealous! We are in winter (equivalent to December) and I am not enjoying it. It is actually not that cold here, 50’s to 60’s, but the inside of our apartment is that cold. I just got back from a walk and it’s sunny and around 52 degrees and I was quite comfortable. But once I come inside and my body regulates I am back to being cold. Such a first world problem!

Aloe vera plant that the hummingbirds love

This Friday we are starting something new. We have decided to temporarily ditch the men and women’s prayer group time because it was becoming an agenda item that people put on their schedule that felt forced. Instead, we have decided to open up our home every Friday night from 6-9 for food and just time to get together and know each other. We have no agenda and no expectations. If someone wants to come for thirty minutes or three hours, whatever they wish. If they want to come once a month or every week, whatever is convenient. We just want to be available and authentic, and we’ll leave the outcome in God’s hands.

I am thankful for our new grandchildren. I love them so much and I am so glad for the technology we have today. Caroline is almost 2 months old. She’s awake more now and I saw her smile at Robert last night while we were talking. Dimitri is Andrew’s son and he is almost 6 months old. I don’t get to see him as much, but Andrew tells me he’s growing.

I hope your week is going well. Until next time…..

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The rest of the week…

So, I spent the last weekend of my spring break in Lynchburg with the boys.  Kent and Robert were in Texas so Andrew and I drove to Lynchburg.  Friday, I took my friend Helen for a mani/pedi for her birthday.  We had a great time.

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Saturday, Helen’s mom Sarah came to Lynchburg and we visited downtown Lynchburg.  We had coffee at the White Hart Cafe and went to the farmers market.  There’s more to this small city that we need to explore.

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We went to La Carretta to eat Mexican for her birthday dinner then went to see the play “Steel Magnolias” at Liberty University.

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Nice Week

Last week I had my spring break from work so I went to see my parents.  We always have a good time even when I am there for a short amount of time.  My sister Jenifer came over and had a couple of meals with us and Mom and I went to yoga.  Dad raises bees and they died this last year so he was working on getting new ones.

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I also got to see my aunt and uncle who I had not seen in ages.  It was a nice surprise when they stopped by for a visit on their way home that day.  They are Johnny and Jane and he is my dad’s younger brother.  I hope to see more family now that we are living closer than we ever have.

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Next post is on the rest of the week…