Making endearing relationships abroad

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Chuby and her novio Cristóbal Eduardo light the candles on her birthday cake.

 

My dearest friend (and Zumba teacher) Chuby Andia Gonzalez just celebrated her birthday on Monday and invited me to join her friends and family for he cumpleaños.  My presence (according to her Facebook post) made it an international birthday celebration.  How cute!!  I so hope upon my return to the US, and after I have graduated to begin my next career phase, to have my Chilean friends visit with me.  Living abroad in Chile  has been a life changing experiences that I will treasure forever. ❤

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These little biscuit-like cookies are common in the bake goods sections in Chile.  the have a creamy sweet milk filling that to me are a bit too sweet.  Nevertheless, folks here love ’em!  The other thing that is really big in Chile is mayonesa (Mayonnaise).  I never liked mayonnaise growing up as a child and only can tolerate Miracle Whip when its the dressing or chicken, tuna salad, or deviled eggs.  I was smart enough to bring me some sweet pickle relish back and am going to try an make some tuna salad and deviled eggs while here.  At one time I saw a bottle of miracle whip at the grocery story, but it wasn’t there when I visited this week.  A lot of imported American foods and products will surprising pop-up on the grocery store shelves here in Talca.  However, there is not guarantee you’ll see it in the grocery store on a regular bases.  Kinda frustrating at times for a woman who likes to make home-cooked meals like mía misma (myself).

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Chuby is such a sweetheart that she asked me what “I” wanted to eat at the party.  Of course, I requested empanadas, but only  if it wasn’t too much of an imposition.  Her mom made some especially for me (she lives in another city) and sent them to the party.  They were the best that I have tasted so far here in Chile.  ¡Muy rico!  Oh yeah, going back to the mayonesa.  Well it not only serves as a dressing for sandwiches and hotdogs, it is also a stand alone chip dip.  Our hosts Eduardo and Chuby were serving hotdogs (I had already had a bad experiences with some when I first arrived) to everyone.  Fortunately, for some reason, mine only had guacamole and diced tomatoes (no mayonnaise).  It was on a toasted bun and just tasted delicious!  I was so nervous as I didn’t want to insult my host by refusing the hot dog.  I certainly dodged a bullet on that one for sure! Ha ha :p

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Chuby told me that a lot of Universidad Católica del Maule (UCMaule) students at our university rent these apartamento during the time they are working on their degrees in Talca.  They reminded me of the types of apartments you would see in big city like Chicago, Cleveland, or New York.  One of the biggest surprises for me, when I arrived to Chile, was the fact that there were no on-campus residence halls or university managed housing that catered to undergraduate (or graduate) students.    So many things we just take for granted as common in the United States, simply are not true or the reality of another context when you travel abroad.

I recently submitted a manuscript where I make mention of this difference.  The research for the article allowed me to do a more in depth search about the history of residential college living as part of the US higher educational experience.  It was quite fascinating what I learned.  I hope that I will be able to post on this blog later that the manuscript was accepted for publishing.  I’ll be sure to provide the reference for anyone interested in reading it here on the blog when that happens.  🙂

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Wanna see a dead body?

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I know that probably seems like a pretty odd title for a blog post. It’s from a scene in the movie “Boyz in the Hood”. The the price of this coffee in Chile struck me as a scary, mysterious, and seemingly (should be) a forbidden phenomenon (mirroring the reaction of the children in the movie) from my American perspective. It’s so interesting and sometimes shocking to the note the intercultural differences you find by living abroad. The price of this coffee in Chilean pesos (CLP) would be similar to paying $14 for this jar of coffee. Now, Juan Valdez instant coffee is delicious and I was fortunate enough to bring my partially used jar with me. I’m going to be drinking it like it’s a holiday treat while here. Ha ha.

I think I read at some time prior to arriving here in Chile, that there was a historical dispute over northern land with the neighboring country of Peru which effected access to coffee in Chile (I’ll have to research that more). Nevertheless, this is Nescafe and instant coffee land here in Chile. There is a lovely coffee shop in the local mall near my home in Talca that appears to serve fresh brewed, but I’m not for sure. I’ve only been there once. I am so spoiled by having purchase a French press back home in the US, I typically just suffer through my coffee cravings during the time I’m in Chile. I’ve never seen a back of fresh coffee (or ground) beans in the stories, so I didn’t waist my luggage space packing my French press.

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Seems no matter where I go, I always find some favorite food spots.  Here in Talca, near the university, there are a number of small business that are restaurants or take-out places.  There is a sushi place with small dine-in area outside that makes these wonderful fried sushi rolls.  This one is called EBI Tempura and I ❤ them!!  They are so good and it seemed like the owners were so happy to see that I had returned to Chile, they gave me some extra rolls with my order. 🙂  Yummy!!

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I know I had mentioned in an earlier blog post about all of the economic development taking place in the country and particularly in my providence. Above is the picture of the housing development near my house that was going up when I left last March. Tomorrow I will post and updated picture of the progress they have made.  We can not longer leave the bathroom window open on the second floor because the construction workers can see right into the house.  That is not the room that you want to be giving free peak-a-boos from…YIKES!!!

Nevertheless, below is a projection of the types of homes that will be available for purchase in the new development soon. They are much larger than most of the homes in the neighborhood. It sort of reminds me of the big housing boom that took place in the US during the late 90’s to early 2000s. Hopefully, they have introduced better financing practices than what was witnessed in the US with predatory housing contacts that left many lower-income Americans worse for ware. But generally, Chile has not struck me as a country interested in a lot of decadence. However, sometimes we can’t always project how new prosperity can affect a nation. I will be monitoring and hoping for the best in terms of the new President Bachelet’s goals and efforts to improve social mobility among a greater number of Chileanos.

 

Here are the two models of the two future home options.

Here are the two models of the two future home options.

 

As promised; here is the updated housing development picture.

As promised; here is the updated housing development picture.

Super Monkey brings joy to everyone in the office.

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This is the best work stress relief gift every made. Ha ha!

 

I saw this “flingshot” toy on Amazon.com when I was in the US and said to myself, “José must have this!!”  I love the folks in my office.  They are so wonderful and everyone is always willing to help me with my research activities.  José is the office technical genius and we work in the same offices space.  We share the same sense of humor so I knew he would like it.    José has named him “Super Money” because of his cape.  Watching Super Money sore in his cap and mask, as he flies through the air screaming, until he crashes is indescribably hilarious. 🙂  Below is a video of how it work:

 

José and his office therapist Super Monkey.

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Dean Coffield at the UGA Graduate School also gave me so cool UGA “swag” to take with me back to Chile.  I have been given office space and much research support by the Director Ricardo Chacón in the department  of Stategic Planning and University Development.  I have him some of the UGA materials I received from Dean Coffield  and now are being proudly displayed.  All who visit the department at Universidad Católica del Maule will see some UGA swag.  We made “The Rack” in DPDU. 🙂

Tercera Misión a Chile (Third Mission to Chile)

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This little space in my storage unit was just enough to get Hondura (my motorcycle) into. I am relieved she will not have to brave the winter elements when I’m gone.

I have packed up my US life for the next four months in order to return to Chile.  The survey data collection has been slow going, but I have plans to “turn-up” in Chile and get my data.  I am so excited about seeing my old friends in Chile and excited about revisiting mi otra país.  Today’s last minute moving plans were a nightmare and the airport shuttle is not over one-half hour late.  However, I’m not going to freak-out yet since my flight doesn’t leave until almost 11pm.  I just wanted to get my October blogging started and to let followers know there will me more to come.  ¡Qué te vaya bien amigo! 🙂

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Our flight got diverted to Antofagasta, Chile to a military airport for more than 6 hours.

So our flight got diverted because of fog in Santiago. Things got a little tense for some passengers as we waited in Antofagasta, Chile for what seemed like an eternity (or an episode of Lost) when the Captain started arguing with some travelers on board.  I was like yo’ where is the Sky Marshall?  Found this email in my inbox when I finally got home tonight in Talca about 10pm this Thursday evening.  I departed Atlanta at 11pm Wednesday night:

Hello Lisa, 

RE: Case Number XXXXXXXX

I want to send my apology for Flight 147 having to land in Antofagasta and for the length of time you had to wait there due to the fog in Santiago today. While we can’t control the weather, I know it had an impact on your travel I know this must have been frustrating.

We Appreciate Your Business

As a goodwill gesture I’ve deposited 10,000 bonus miles to your account. Please allow three business days for the mileage to be posted.

Thanks for Flying Delta

Thank you for continuing to choose Delta. We look forward to seeing you on another Delta flight.

Regards,

Jason Hausner
Director, Customer Care
Delta Air Lines

Well that took the sting out a pretty anxiety generating day. 😉

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Clearly, we weren’t the only ones rejected for landing in both Santiago and at the nearby Argentinean airport.  Hello Poland!

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There is another lovely silver lining to this adventure.  Carmen had these three fresh cut lilies in my room when I returned to the house.  Aren’t they beautiful?  Lilies are among my favorite flowers.  They are so classy looking. 🙂  Thank you Carmen!

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