Time to talk about Francisca.
I am a guy kind of gal. I like the guys and I bond with them better and I really can't say why this is true but honestly it has always been true. I think the main reasons I have had so many bad relationships is because I loved my guy friends so much that I thought it was only natural to get romantic. In doing so I lost not only the (as it turns out very bad) lovers but I also lost the friends. It took me a long time to learn and I learned mostly the hard way but now my guy friends are the ones I cherish most and I would not touch their pee pees with a ten foot pole. Which is best for all concerned, especially me.
I get along with women but I strongly prefer the company of men. Which is weird considering I am kind of a feminist. Maybe it's because they don't spend 3 hours a day at their desks looking into little mirrors to fix their hair and makeup so they are frsh and pretty when there is work to be done and no one gives a shit what anyone looks like as long as the work gets done. Maybe it's because they are more simple and straightforward (and I mean that in the best way). Not complex. I don't have to do a lot of figuring them out unless I make the mistake of getting into a romantic relationship with them and then they become impossible to figure out which is why I would rather have them as friends.
But Francisca is on my love list lately. I almost want to be her friend. She is a scrawny, skinny little thing and very naturally pretty and she wears nice shoes with heels without looking like she is trying to prove something. She is sweet to everyone and while almost everyone else in the office has realized that the cheek kiss thing isn't my cup of tea Fran still does this every morning with me and I admit it makes me happy when she walks in - like a breath of fresh air. So basically she has stood me down on the cheek kiss thing which I respect. She remains cheerful all day every day despite the challenges. In other words she is a woman who should be on my "I despise this bitch" list but Fran is definitely on the love list.
Francisca speaks about as much English as I do Spanish but she also understands as much English as I do Spanish which is a lot more than either of us speak. We keep our communication simple and in plain straightforward words. When she emails me or speaks to me she uses Spanish and lots of screenshots. When I speak to her or answer her emails I use English and lots of screenshots. And there has never been a moment of confusion. At leasts not for me.
Today our office Nana talked to me (in very fast Chilean Spanish *sigh*) about some things we need in our kitchen like coffee and creamer and balsamic vinegar. I understood her because I understood coffee, sugar, money and the name of the finance guy who keeps the petty cash but is never in the office. It has been determined presumably by some idiot that we have a 20,000 CLP per month budget for these things. These people (there are I think 12 permanent local staff members and an additional 3 or 4 temps/ex pats at this point) work 10, 12 and sometimes 14 hour days and 20,000 CLP is less than $40 USD per month for coffee, creamer, tea, sugar and lunch condiments (in Chile it is law that the company must provide lunch. Ours is slop not fit for pigs to the point where the few with expenses accounts with the exception of me refuse to eat it. I eat it only because I insist on hanging with my peeps). Anyway we need simple condiments like salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar. And coffee. But add this all up and it is more than the budget can support. So anyway today our Nana asked where our financial guy was because we were out of so many things and she needed petty cash to go to the store. Inez rides the bus. She has no car. And I can't live with the thought of her cleaning her ass off all day for us and then taking her own time to ride the bus to lug several bags of office things to us the next day so I told her to write me a list and since I have a car now I would go to the supermercado after work and pick it up on MY expense account and bring it with me in the morning. Maybe when I leave they will have to deal with the monthly coffee/condiment budget but God as my witness as long as I am here and my Visa card holds out until I get reimbursed these wonderful hardworking people will have the coffee and vinegar they need to get through! I would never compare them to the dog but it's kind of the same thing. When I leave Cholo might be back on the street but as long as I am here he will eat and hopefully when (IF) I do leave he will be stronger and healthier and better able to fend for himself than when he was a starving pup. (more on this in a couple of paragraphs).
I've digressed again. So I am in the grocery store after work picking up the tres bolsas de Cafe Haiti and the azucer and the crema and the limon and my crackberry jingles and it's an email from Fran - in Spanish - asking me what the atteched error message means. I wrote back and told her - in mostly English - that I was at the supermercado and would be back a mi casa en 20 minutos and would answer her then. She wrote me back - in Spanish - that it was not a problem and could wait until tomorrow. When I got home I looked into it and told her - half in English and half in really poor Spanish - that it was just a temporary system problem and she should instruct everyone to wait 15 minutes and try again. Also I mentioned that I knew I was a gringa loca for writing half in English and half in bad Spanish. She wrote back - in Spanish - and told me she was laughing so hard.
I love Fran. Even if she is a girl.
Which brings me back to Cholo and the dog(s). I have a disturbing update. Cholo and his big sister the fat lazy "Girl" are now excellent playmates. Especially in the morning when I first arrive they are tearing around the place chasing and playing with each other. Girl, despite being a fat lazy old lady, holds her own and I have seen her take Cholo down! But these are warehouse dogs who, despite their excellentness, are street dogs. They are loving and attentive but they are street dogs. When I go outside Cholo sees me and he comes over to nip at my feet and slacks in a playful way and he keeps it up util I am laughing so hard. He has such a good sense of humor and I know he knows it amuses me.
Yesterday morning I went out for a smoke and saw what I thought was a grey sweater lying outside the fence. Having nothing better to do while I smoked I walked closer to check it out and it was a dead cat. A dead mauled cat to be precise. I turned and walked away and went back to the office upset and told Lazo about it. He has a different attitude and said that's the way things are. I told him we needed to find a shovel so we could bury it since any living thing deserves a proper burial. He told me I was crazy and I decided at that point to give up smoking so I would not have to look at the poor thing. It might not have bothered me so much but it was grey and white like Phoebe and it was small and tiny unlike Phoebe but when I saw the body all mangled the only thing I could think about was Phoebe and how this poor little cat was born on the street like Phoebe but unlike Phoebe had not had care and love and so I was very sad. I knew the street dogs outside the fence had gotten the cat and mauled it.
Today I went in and as the staff came in they told me (in Spanish and with sign language) that MY dogs had killed another cat last night. I am not sure how to feel about this. They do not know better because they have not been taught better. I have had dogs and cats in the same house all my life and the dogs loved the cats and the cats would curl up with the dogs. I can't hate Cholo and Girl for what comes naturally to them any more than I can hate a cat for killing a bird or rat or mole. But I don't know how to teach them that this isn't OK.
So that is my problem for the day. I need to figure this one out. I can'thave cats killed for the fun of it by dogs I have grown to love.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Time to talk about Francisca.