Fortunately, Unfortunately

Every place has its upside and downside. Now that I’ve been here for almost two months, I can reflect on some of the things I love and some of the things I don’t much care for here in Chile.

I’m going to use a little improv game to help me along.

FORTUNATELY,

The vegetation is so lush here in the city that at times you don’t feel like you’re in a city at all. In fact, now that we’re into late spring, you can practically walk down the street, plucking a variety of fruit from the trees you pass in a single block. I am not exaggerating.

 These are Nisperos, a sweet plum-sized fruit with multiple stones. A nispero tree can produce thousands of these fruits. (source; pinterest)

UNFORTUNATELY,

With abundant flowers and fruits, comes abundant allergies.

FORTUNATELY,

Pharmacies are also abundant and you can also likely find them on every block as well.

UNFORTUNATELY,

Pharmacies usually have long lines. The medicine counter is the same as the check-out counter and you need to take a number and wait your turn to either pick up some drugs (both prescribed and over-the-counter are kept behind the counter) or just buy a bottle of water and a hairbrush.

FORTUNATELY,

Medicine is pretty inexpensive when you need it.

UNFORTUNATELY,

Pretty much everything else is expensive, including jeans, shoes, and especially books. Malls are usually grand multi-story affairs that are exhausting to peruse, especially with a 5-year-old.

FORTUNATELY,

There are street markets everywhere and these are pretty inexpensive and quite colorful.

Penanolen Sunday market

UNFORTUNATELY,

These are pure chaos with a 5-year-old and it’s far too easy to loose track of little hands.

FORTUNATELY,

There are parks everywhere and playgrounds in Chile are the coolest I’ve ever seen. They include lots of interesting climbing equipment and rope structures.

UNFORTUNATELY,

There is also trash everywhere. And young couples making out on every available plot of lawn.

FORTUNATELY,

My daughter isn’t old enough to make out with boys yet. She’s more interested in all the wild cats and dogs everywhere. Chileans, it turns out are softies for animals and almost everyone we know has a dog.

UNFORTUNATELY,

There are lots of wild cats and dogs everywhere. Although they are generally friendly, they run rampant in the streets, tearing into trash cans and occasionally getting hit by cars. I guess there is no group of charitable vets here to do stray spay/neuter.

FORTUNATELY,

They aren’t starving. Many people give strays left-over food.

UNFORTUNATELY,

Neither are the spiders and in Chile, there are lots of spiders. No poisonous snakes or large predators, only quarter-sized venomous spiders that evidently live in every house in Chile.

These are colloquially called “Arana de rincon,” which translates to spider of the corner. (source: a public service article on how to identify these nasty critters)

FORTUNATELY,

There is an anti-venom for these suckers.

UNFORTUNATELY,

There may be a chance that when you actually need it, the agency dispensing it may well be on strike. Government offices often go on strike. When I asked a Chilean what that accomplishes, he replied “Nothing.”

FORTUNATELY,

Jobs don’t seem to be a problem for the Chilean people. Every store seems to employ 5 times the amount a U.S. store would.

UNFORTUNATELY,

Chilean businesses generally suck at customer service. From what I hear, job descriptions and behavioral expectations are not the norm.

FORTUNATELY,

If you know someone, you get excellent customer service.

UNFORTUNATELY,

Regardless of customer service skill level, most businesses and houses aren’t kept up very well. Keeping a business’s exterior clean with legible signage is unheard of here. It can be difficult to tell which place is in business or which is abandoned.

FORTUNATELY,

This makes the job for household Nannies that much easier. Employing a Nanny to help with the household chores and children is a common practice here. Nannies generally work with a particular family until the children are grown up.

UNFORTUNATELY,

This means that Nannies can become territorial and not be particular fond of long-term guests.

FORTUNATELY,

Sometimes they cook dinner for the whole family. One of my favorite stews was made by our household Nanny. Pancuetras is a dumpling soup with beef and vegetables.

Pancuetras or pantreucas

UNFORTUNATELY,

With six people, we run out of food fast around the house.

FORTUNATELY,

There is an awesome bakery down the street. Bread is plentiful and inexpensive in Chile. Plus, there are many many more kinds of artisan bread to choose from than in the U.S.; here it’s the norm.

UNFORTUNATELY,

Although lunch and dinner restaurants are plentiful, there are practically ZERO places to eat breakfast out of the house. Most Chileans only have a cup of coffee and a piece of toast for breakfast.

FORTUNATELY,

Lunches and dinners are much more substantial. And there’s a great abundance and variety of seafood available.

UNFORTUNATELY,

Sushi here is terrible. Not only do you often find cream cheese on every roll but you can purchase sushi practically everywhere, especially places you probably shouldn’t. We see signs everywhere: “Pizza & Sushi,” “Comida Arabe & Sushi,” “Aspiradores & Sushi.” Those are real signs I’ve seen. Okay, I admit it, the last one – Vacuums & Sushi – I made up, but I certainly would not be surprised if I saw the real deal.

FORTUNATELY,

The wine is amazing and easy to find. If all else fails, I can grab myself a cup of wine and call it a day.

(source: pinterest)

One thought on “Fortunately, Unfortunately

  1. You are delightful as a writer! And as an explorer 😃 I remembered you planning to make this big change, but somehow hadn’t realized you were writing your experiences down! I use WordPress as a journal, and now that the connection has been made, it will notify me when you have been writing and that is wonderful! Having visited Colombia, S.A., my husband was horrified when I came home asking if we might pack up and finish raising our children there, instead of here. I didn’t win. Which may have been for the best. Olivia is nice and young, where my 3 were teenagers with opinions and it would have been a nightmare having to listen to all those opinions and complaints! Thank you so much for sharing 💗

    Like

Que piensas? Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s