Thursday, January 29, 2009

terribly terribly cynical. so cynical I'm laughing

I think Chile is REALLY getting to me. Because I now find morbid things HILARIOUS. That is the trademark of the Chilean sense of humor, cracking jokes at funerals (even if it's just a light one), breeching topics unsuitable for your grandma's ears, right in front of her, humorously subtitling the most dramatic part of a movie about the fall of one of the (if not the) most notorious people of contemporary history. I swear they have a BLACK sense of humor. Basically it's all about making fun of anything and everything that you shouldn't. P.C. is non-existent. In fact, its almost like the less p.c. you are, the funnier it is. (I'm going to be a pc-wreck if I ever go back to the States. My family and friends will shun me.)

Anyhoo, I saw this article on the Santiago metro news station and then googled it to find out if it's true. So I'm going to end this blog right now. Bye.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

EFL/ESL Question

Has anybody found a lesson plan that helps your Spanish speaking students stop using "a personal"? I have a couple students who use the article "a" prolifically in front of people's names. While this is normal in Spanish, it's not in English. I'll probably just end up looking up the rules to using "a personal" in Spanish and then unteaching them to my students. But thought I'd ask any of you if you've found (internet) material on this.

Monday, January 26, 2009

my thought on Obama's "beauty"

I've heard and read a lot of people mention that Obama won the presidency because he is black. Or that's the first thing they say or notice about him. The people who think that or have nothing more to say about Obama [than that he's black] are missing the beauty of Obama's campaign: his intelligence, his innovation and his ability to bring people together and create a vision that includes all Americans, and probably non-Americans as well. (Because the rest of the world is influenced by the U.S. president.) He used innovative campaign methods which, it seems they are trying in his presidency. The "fourth" power of government, the media is being democratized and Obama's government wants to take advantage of this, in his Youtube presidency. That's part of the beauty of him being president. Who cares he's black?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Food and diet: I'm a flexitarian!

I have a name. According to the Mayo Clinic website, I'm a flexitarian. Flexitarians are defined as people who "primarily follow a plant-based diet but occasionally eat small amounts of meat, poultry or fish." Although "occasionally eat small amounts of meat, poultry or fish" translates into a couple times a week (when V cooks), and then gorging on a potpourri of animal cadavers when I stumble upon a Chilean barbecue. But I cook primarily veggies and grains and I eat lots of fruit, chocolate and coconut milk, too. Ñami.

Check out this tool! This is really cool. I did it and found out my daily calorie goal is 2000 calories. Pretty cool.

And here are five different food pyramids, depending on your taste/culture.

The Mayo Clinic rocks.

But my fave food pyramid is this one, from the integrative nutrition catalog:

Perhaps the most complete food pyramid known to mankind.
If I were to formally study nutrition, I would do it with them, integrative nutrition.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Aphoristic thought

I always get lost in the anecdotes.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Inglés con piernas: an impossible market

So I've been teaching English in Chilito for a bit and have gotten the feeling from time to time, from potential students that they don't want English class per se; they want an English class with a pretty, young rubia...which they hope could lead to more. The other day, one of the street vendors who sells me fruit asked how much I charge for an English class and told me he would pay me five times that for just one class with me. The proposition sort of amused/shocked me. I just said "que va" and went on my way. Honestly. If I wanted to be a prostitute, I would have chosen that profession and what's more, I would shoot for earning more than $100 an hour because soon enough you are old, and then what?

The type of clientel that want Inglés con piernas are pretty easy to distinguish after a couple weeks in the English-teaching business. And there is such a demand for English in Chile that it's really unnecessary to teach these kind of students unless you choose to. I avoid them because they are a pain in the butt and trying to teach them only leads to misunderstandings, because they are not in it to learn English.

But anyway, there seems to be a HUGE market here in Chile for Inglés con piernas. Unfortunately for the potential customers, I don't know any gringas who are interested. Huge demand, no supply.

So here's a good challenge for any creative businesswomen/men out there. How do you provide this service? And more specifically, who do you get to provide this service? Perhaps a café con piernas could offer this to distinguish itself in the market?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Another year or two in Santiago...cuak!

So looks like we'll be in Chilito for awhile longer. Our plans had been to move back to the States sometime in the upcoming months, preferably at the beginning of the Northern Hemisphere's summer, but that won't be happening. I went to the U.S. Embassy today to apply for V's immigrant visa and was shot down, because you need to be a permanent resident to apply. I feel like a permanent resident in Chile. After all I've been here for almost five years. Unfortunately, feeling like a permanent resident and being one aren't the same thing. My Chilean carné needs to say "permanent resident" or something to that effect on the back of it. Así que cagué! And I could have applied for permanent residence in September, because after having two consecutive years of student visas and finishing your studies here in Chile, you are also eligible to apply for permanent residence, but you have to do it before your student visa expires. Mine expired September 12th, so I traveled to Mendoza to get a tourist visa because I didn't get all the paperwork together before the 12th to apply for my temporary visa. But I didn't know all of this was going to be so complicated, so I didn't even look into the details of it all. Plus I've had a hyper-busy 6 months: I finished my thesis in September defending it on September 11th, then V, C and I went to Diaguitas for el dieciocho. Then I went to the States for a week to get some paperwork done there, came back to Chile and started teaching English, planning our wedding our honeymoon and my family's trip to Chile. And we just got back from our honeymoon the other day. So just today I finally got the paperwork together to go turn it in and was met with a bit of a surprise.

Bang. Bang. She shot me down.
Bang. Bang. I hit the ground.
Bang. Bang. The embassy official shot me down.

A friend of V's had told us in October I needed to have permanent residence to apply for the immigrant visa from here, but other people had said I didn't, which may have been true back in the day, but isn't true now. Anyway, by October it was too late to apply for permanent residence anyway, because my student visa had already expired. I also could have applied for a temporary visa years ago, but didn't know it would have been easier that way.

Un año más, qué mas da?
Un año más, cuánto se han ido?
Un año más, qué más da?
Cuánto se han ido ya?

So anyway, it takes me a while to digest things. I'm not exstatic about being in Santiago another year. Probably if I still lived in Valpo I wouldn't mind being here longer, at least not as much. It's especially annoying since they've started constructing a building right next door and the drilling sound hasn't stopped all morning. I thought we were in economic crisis?!?!

...but on the good side, now that I'm done with school and the marriage-planning is over, I will actually have time to hang out with friends more. Yay! Some of the best time spent in life is hanging out with friends. It's been quite the introverted last four years, having soooo much to study and I've spent most of the little free time I've had with V, obviously. So I've seen much less of my friends then I'd like to.

I finally am working again in what will probably be one of my main careers in life (teaching) and will actually be excited to work for a year without having to uproot and move back to the States. I must admit I was not looking forward to leaving my capoeira group, which is actually planning a trip to Bahia, Brazil this (Southern Hemisphere) winter. Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! I missed the last one because I had to study... but we'll see if a trip to Brazil pans out for me. I do have more important priorities like spending time with my hubby and establishing a career path for myself, as well as making money to fund the trip.

I also very much like Chile, and to be honest, even Santiago. (Although Valpo's way better.) I think my biggest disappointments are 1) I won't be hanging with my family as soon as I had planned. 2) I think it would be so great for V to get to know MY country and especially to get an outside perspective on his own culture. In general, I think living abroad is really healthy for people because it gives you the chance to see that culture is relative, even your own, especially your own. This is really hard to see when you've never lived within another culture. It's such a great opportunity, but it will have to wait awhile. Good thing V's not been too interested in studying English. Looks like he won't need it for a while.

The visa track I am now on is waiting for my temporary visa. Once I've had that for a year, I can apply for my permanent residence. Then I can apply for V's visa. But who knows? Perhaps by then we'll have two babies, a dog, a couple cars, a house and decide to just stay.

The lady at the embassy said I could go to the States and do the paperwork from there, but we'd have to be apart. Plus I heard that's a large pain in the butt, and takes even longer.

Meanwhile, I spose I'll keep blogging.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What would Jesus do?

Dude, the SuperChristians who get together on Paseo Ahumada to preach the word of God should be arrested. Their sound system sucks, so walking by them means declaring war on my eardrums. They yell puras weás into the microphone, polluting public space with the terrible sound waves they produce. They should be forced to get rid of their sound system at the very least. I think its so stupid that these superchristians go to only poor neighborhoods to stand on the corners and rant about salvation. As if the rich were all perfect Christians. Of course if they did that in the Barnechea the police would be called and they would be gone in no time at all. I wonder if complaining to police would help. Or maybe I should just approach the superchristians and tell them how I feel. Since they are soo approachable psychotically screaming into the microphone. What would I say?..."Could you please shut up? I lose my faith just coming within earshot of you guys." o algo por el estilo...

while I'm on the Christian Iguazu Falls I saw a superChristian wearing a t-shirt with a quote from the book of John. While the Bible has some pretty good verses, this wasn't one of them. It said something like, He loved you before you loved him. And then there was a logo about some Christian sports league on the front of the t-shirt. And I decided it would be fun to print a t-shirt with a quote on the back of it from the book of Revelations, a book Hunter S. Thompson periodically quoted. And of course, the front of could have a sketch of this popular American writer. If I remember correctly, he quoted dark, apocalptic verses as well as very dramatic literary ones kind of like this one in Revelations: "17And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone." He found some good ones, the bible is probably plumb full of them.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Politics and Self-esteem

The election of Obama made my self-esteem go up. hahahaha. I was very surprised with myself when I realized this. It's hard being abroad and being from the States, (in some ways). I spent most of Bush's two terms abroad. During his first term, I was in Spain a year where many Spaniards personally blamed me for Bush's election. I AM that powerful. It was all my doing.

Then I came to Chile. I actually voted against Bush from Chile (I did my part), but he was re-elected and I've spent all of his second term in Chile. Chileans realize most Statesians abroad don't like Bush, so I haven't been personally blamed for him being in office, but I still have felt I've had to explain that half of Statesians are freaking idiots for electing him a second time. Duh. But now, Obama is president-elect. I don't have to explain a thing. I'm actually content with our president-elect, as is most of the world, (or so it seems). And while he only got like 50% of the vote, he won!!! And that's what counts. I'm looking forward to him taking office.

And I still can't get over that my self-esteem has gone up. Really, this shouldn't affect that since I'm not personally responsible for either presidents' elections.