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.

1 comment:

Suerk said...

I'm so glad your home healthfully and wealthfully, baby. I have been loyally following your adventures in Chile. You are a Red Hot Chile Pepper. I am in Mercersburg this weekend for Stony Batter's production of Sondheim's "Into the Woods." Sondheim & Mercersburg seem oxymoronic, but I saw the final run-through of Act One last evening and it's the real deal. Couldn't believe that this was the same school where I spent 31 of my years. Transcendent! Luv U!!!