Sunday, February 24, 2008

Grand Comedy

Every night Sam and I decide to meet up in front of the OK Market to decide where to go for dinner. It has become a bit of a joke. One of us will say "when and where" and the other will say "OK" and then the other will come back with "ok" and then the other will say "that's what I just said." Lame really but when one is delirious is is high humor.

In honor of this I now post the original.

Friday, February 22, 2008

I wish I could explain

I wish I could come here and tell you what life is like now and give a good reason for not checking in more often. I can't put it into words.The past four weeks have been constant work and today I took my first day "off" in the past month. I tried not to feel guilty but I needed it. I needed to do nothing except relax and I did and I feel much better now.

You know, I got here January 5 and the first couple of weeks it was no probem - and then the shit hit the fan and my 3 weeks extended to almost 5 and then I was home for 4 days and worked constantly the whole time so there was no reason for me to be at home since I had no time and then I was back here and now I am going home again next weekend and will be home a week and then back here . . . so my head is swimming and sheesh - here there is a distinct autumn crispness in the air at night even if it's still summer during the day and I will return to winter hinting on spring and 2 days after I get back the time will change here and HOW THE LIVING FUCK am I supposed to keep up with all of this?

What keeps me going is the people I work with. Sam, of course, who is my dinner buddy and when he is down I can talk him back up and when I am down he can talk me back up. But tonight I want to talk about Eduardo L. because Eduardo L. is just the greatest after Sam.

Eduardo didn't even acknowledge me for the first two weeks I was here and I don't know why he eventually did but turns out he is me only male and younger and God Almighty he has the prettiest curly black hair and will tell you himself in a heartbeat how gorgeous he is and how his wife gets on her knees every night to thank God that he is in her life. It's a Chilean arrogance thing that I love.

Eduardo is the only person on the face of the entire universe who can say the things he does to me and it doesn't bother me. He constantly makes fun of my age which is a bit older than anyone else. He calls me "grandma" and then turns around and puts his entire collection of AC/DC albums on my external hard drive. He tells everyone in the office that I was at Woodstock with my first husband. If I get up from my desk to go get coffee he lowers my chair so that when I sit down I crash. I told him I was going to get a tattoo and he asked me where I would put it and I told him on my ass and he told me it was going to have to be a big tattoo. Seriously no one else would live through a comment like that.

Because of this I sometimes turn around and thwack him upside his head when he least suspects it. He tells me he understands now why I can not keep a husband. I tell him to tell his wife I said hello and that I am sorry for her and hope she does better in her next marriage.

We have been told that we are like 8 year old siblings who bicker at each other all day. He is indeed my South American brother.

Every Friday we go through this thing about how we know the other will miss us so much and how heartbreaking the weekend will be without each other. In so may ways this is the truth for me at least.

Eduardo wants to join the team that does these startups and I for one hope this will happen because I can't imagine being in a strange place for months on end without people like Sam and Eduardo.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Amy Winehouse

Y'all I have been back in Santiago for a week now and I know I haven't even bothered to blog but it has been about 200 miles south of insane here and all I can do to hold on.

Sam landed back here yesterday morning and we got together for coffe and lunch and then dinner later. I am so happy and relieved that he is back. I had great opportunities to handle shit on my own while he was gone and I think it went OK except the times when I had to contact him - but my dinner buddy is back and we can talk and sort through the shit and it makes all the difference in the world to me.

So y'all just listen to Amy Winehouse! Back to Black. Tokyo was Shakira and Gwen Stefani and Santiago is Amy. Amy is a tatooed little drunk skank but a few weeks ago I heard Back to Black in a restaurant here and it is great music that I just want to listen to all day. Amazing voice. Tatooed little drunk skank or not she is fucking amazing.

I'm getting a tattoo next weekend. I swear. I will fill you in.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Home for a while!

It has been a grueling couple of weeks and I will spare you the details but our new customer has given us very bad data to begin our operations and updates it daily in bits and pieces and so it has been crazy and frustrating and I suspect if it goes on much longer I am a prime candidate for an ulcer and blood pressure medication.

But I'm home now. About half an hour before the taxi picked me up to go to the airport Tuesday I got a call from the project manager telling me the customer didn't want me to leave the country but I put my foot down since I had already extended my stay by 10 unexpected days. When I left I stocked up enough cat supplies for 3 weeks and 10 extra days was really pushing it. When I got home I realized that one extra day would have been too much so I'm glad I made the decision I did.

So I'm home and have massive vacuuming to do and right now I have just mopped the kitchen and am waiting for it to dry before I do the mudroom. I walked in the house at 8:15 yesterday morning and immediately began working and worked until about 6 until I got in bed - and yes it was still light out but I hadn't slept in maybe 36 hours and I was exhausted. I slept 10 hours and was up and back at it at 5 am today.

So anyway some observations about South America.

The cheek kiss thing. The folks in the office know it makes me cringe and so they don't do it with me unless they are sure I am going to welcome it. And with them I do because I have begun to adore them even though there are a couple who make me crazy. But when strangers come up and do it it just weirds me out.

I have 2 nicknames in the office - one is gringa loca, which I love, and the other is Queen of Damnation which I love even more.

It is difficult to do what I do, not because of the work which is mind-numbing at times, but because I meet the most wonderful people and then have to leave. Or they have to leave. At any rate it means I have people I love dearly all over this world, some of whom I might not ever see again, and I just say thank goodness for electronics and the internet and instant messaging.

Not a lot of people in Santiago speak English and this means a bit of difficulty but I still believe what I learned in Japan. If two people want to understand each other there is a way even if they don't speak the same language. Don't ever let a possible language barrier stop you from going to a new place.

Packing hints from the Gaga: Put all toiletries in plastic zip lock bags in your suitcase. If they explode during the flight it will protect everything else but even better it makes packing and unpacking easier.

It seems everyone in Santiago has a maid. You see them walking dogs in the morning and evening and wiping off balcony railings in the next building . . . Jorge hired a maid for the office and he told me and I assumed she would be in a few nights a week during the night to empty trash. But Inez is there first thing in the morning and cleans all day almost to the point where it pisses me off because I can't get up to go pee without her wiping down my desk and putting everything somewhere other than where I put it. She puts our lunch trays out on the table for us (in Chile it is required that companies provide lunch - ours is delivered every day) and cleans them up when we have finished. When she doesn't have a floor to mop she walks through the office spraying lavender-scented Glade which makes us all slightly nauseous so I have spread the word to everyone to throw paper scraps on the floor to keep her very busy so she doesn't spray all the time. I wish Inez had come home with me.

Anyway, I was instant messaging today with one of the people in the office and he asked me how everything was here I told him it was fine but my house was very dirty and I had a lot of cleaning to do. He asked why and I told him that 4 cats in a house for a month with no one cleaning made for a lot of cat hair. And he asked why my nana hadn't taken care of it!!! I explained that here very few people in the middle class have "nanas" and if they do it is maybe once a week or every two weeks and he was astounded. The perception is that all Americans are very wealthy and both the Japanese and South Americans assume that since I own a house I am a very wealthy person.

So it seems that working 23/7 wasn't good enough and now I have a brand new company BlackBerry so I can work 24/7. Not really - it was just that my company-related personal cell usage started being crazy what with everyone and me being all over the place so Sam arranged for a company phone. Now I have my cell, a Chilean cell and a BlackBerry. When something rings I have no idea what to grab. The company thing arrived yesterday and I still haven't had a chance to read the directions. I did figure out how to turn it on though.

OK - got to go get the mudroom mopped now.

Monday, February 04, 2008


(Open stupid letter to the cats who can;t speak English anyway)

Dear my sweet ones,

I'm coming home and in 48 hours we will all be curled up on the sofa loving on each other if you will forgive me. I think you will. I'll try hard to come home more often but this job is why I was able to afford Dylan's many bloodworks and Phoebe's knee surgery and I think you can all agree that you are well cared for even when Mommy isn't home. I wouldn't ever do this job if I couldn't make sure you were all alright while I am gone. It doesn't happen too often and I need for you all to understand that even though I love you so much sometimes I have to be away more than I want to be away.

Get ready because we have 4 days of hugs and kisses and wet food and loving. I know you will all pretend to hate it but I know you all will love it and I will too. I need you all so much because this has been a really hard month without my babies!

48 hours and counting down.



Saturday, February 02, 2008

Time Out

I'm taking a short break in my frantic working because I need to check in.

It has been a week, y'all. The first 3 weeks here were busy but not stressful too much but this week was crazy. When last I checked in (Monday night?)

OK. So that you get a sense of what I'm doing here the above was written this morning when I knew I had to do some work but had my bathing suit on and my stuff ready for the pool. Never got to the pool because I had to do the most insane conference call ever in the history of the universe and my brains are now splattered on the walls. The call was half english half spanish.

So anyway. I still love Chile. In Chile there is a lot of slang and so since I am learning Spanish as I am here I am learning Chilean Spanish - and I like that. I like saying things like "cachai" which means "you know?" I try to use it whenever possible. When I use it it makes people laugh because I am a gringa. And y'all know I like to make people laugh.

I am still kind of amazed at how much I understand - I can follow most simple conversations and can follow the gist of higher level conversations. This is entirely due to my high school French. God I love languages. I only wish I was more comfortable speaking. I want to speak at least 4 languages.

I have a couple of friends now at the OK Market. They speak english to me and I speak spanish to them. We are at about the same level but my plan is to go in one day and knock them off their feet with my Spanish. One of them tonight told me he thinks I am always smiling. I wish I could have told him I think he needs to see me in the office!

My apartment washer is on the fritz. Last weekend the dryer part broke down and I called to report it and Wednesday someone came to fix and I had a wet pool towel and it dried successfully. Thursday night I put in a load of wash and flooded the apartment. Evidently when they fixed the dryer they fucked up the washer. Fun stuff. I had to partially say "tengo una problema with mi machina lavenderia" and then I had to act out agua all over the floor which was really pretty. I find that most people are wiling to work with me though and I continue to believe that basic communication is easy because we are all human and we want to understand each other. Today I was on the elevator with one of the housekeeping ladies and I was looking at a flyer for a sushi place and she told me she didn't like sushi and I said "no?" and she told me she liked food cooked and not raw. And I understood her. And shit like that makes me want to cry with happiness. Because I am very very sleep deprived. Also I am a total sap.

Sam as we speak is getting on a flight to the middle east to see his wife and gorgeous daughter and I am already missing my dinner buddy. He came on board as my boss again about 8 months ago and in that time before I came to Santiago we had about 14 hours total of face time. Since I have been here we get together every night for dinner and conversation and when he leaves I really miss that.

I totally have to sleep now.

I am delirious.