Posts in Category: Expat

¡Salud! The Pisco Sour

Today’s post was originally posted on my previous blog back in March of 2011.

I’d been living in Chile less than a week when I took some cooking classes. Included in them was a class explaining how to make a Chilean cocktail, the Pisco Sour.

This drink is not easy to reproduce back in the US because pisco, a grape brandy produced in Chile and Perú, is not readily available there.

Beware of Elves

I’ve been here in Chile almost three weeks now. It’s been a quiet time of visiting with friends and getting my feet on the ground.

When I say quiet, I mean mostly “silent.” Compared to my old apartment, which is just a couple of blocks away, this fifth-floor apartment is like a monastery. It took me two weeks to realize that I was hearing the bell and siren from the nearby fire station. All that noise used to rise up to my 16th floor apartment. Now, I barely hear it.

Here, I’m surrounded by other buildings. Outside noises are muffled, and I never hear the cacophony from the street that used to keep me awake at night.

Dear Anita: Advice from a Returned Expat

After last week’s blog post, I received the following message from a friend. She’s a repatriated expat, who lived in Turkey for two years.

Like me, she has many doubts about being back in the US. Many “Is this where I belong?” questions. Many moments of “The grass is greener” somewhere else…or is it? What’s it like to go back to find out?

Here’s what she wrote:

Foreign, but Familiar

Dateline: Santiago de Chile

It’s Saturday night. I’m watching a cooking show on Chilean TV and catching about every third word. My Spanish is a little rusty. The show’s hosts are down in southern Chile, in Puerto Varas, sampling Torta de Murta. It looks pretty darned good. Not sure that I’ve ever tasted murta berries, but they’re as Chilean as Pastel de Choclo, which was yesterday’s lunch.

I arrived here last Wednesday, early in the morning. With only a 30-minute connection in Dallas, I barely made the second plane. My suitcase wasn’t so lucky. It was delayed in transit. After some drama, I finally received it on Thursday evening.

Wheels Up

Two more sleeps and it will be “wheels up” for me. Buh-bye, New Mexico. I’m returning to Chile, two days after my permanent residency visa has expired.

I’ll be entering Chile as a “tourist” for the first time in six years. Whew. How’s that gonna feel?

I guess I’ll find out on Wednesday morning. Since there’s no one renting the AirBnB apartment the day before my arrival, the owner is graciously allowing me to check in early that day with no extra fees.

Revisiting Re-Entry

It’s snowing here. Ever so lightly, but snowing. The sun’s trying to peek through, but the clouds are winning. I’m watching the fat flakes fall as I eat lentil soup, bought at the deli over on Nostrand. I will miss being able to walk a couple of blocks to the deli. And the grocery, the bagel place, the bank, the health food shop, the nail salon, the hipster coffee shop.

Next week, I’m going back to the Land of Enchantment, where it’s sunny 280+ days per year and you have to drive everywhere. I might call it a trade-off…if I were a sun-lover.

The Best Problem in the World

I have the best problem in the world. What’s good about it? I have many, many friends.

So what’s the problem? They’re scattered to the four winds.

Last week, I read an article about how difficult it is to say goodbye to friends. The article was referring to the life of an expat who was preparing for a move to a new location. The author was concerned about “losing friends” in the move.

Customs and Choices

unnamed-20The other night, I went to a new wine tasting group for the first time. When I arrived, there were two women sitting at a long table.

I sat down next to the younger one, and she immediately stuck out her hand in greeting.

A long time ago, back in my youth, someone, somewhere, maybe the home economics teacher, taught a class in social etiquette. There were many rules of behavior. Some of them had to do with dating manners, such as men walk nearer the curb when escorting a woman down the street. Sounds quaint now, but originally, it was meant to protect her from the street muck in the horse and buggy days.

The Happiness Factor

mural-braids“¿Estás contenta aquí?” My Chilean friend asked me. “Are you happy here?”

I responded “Yes,” but then I started to think about why she didn’t ask me if I were “feliz.” Happy. What’s the difference?

The word “happy” is frequently thrown around among English speakers, but we generally don’t ask people if they’re “content.” Compared with being “happy,” which is defined as feeling delighted, pleased, or joyful, “content” feels less-than, like meh, pablum.

In Chile, someone loaned me a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. Gretchen was a New Yorker who wanted to change her life. She wasn’t a scientist or psychologist, just a wife and mom looking for more happiness out of daily life.

Tiki, Tiki, Ti

unnamed-8Today is the celebration of Fiestas Patrias in my adopted country, Chile. I found this article by blogger, Yeni Oyanedel, which explains why and how Chileans celebrate the holiday, Why Chile Shuts Down on 18 September.

I’m missing out on some of my favorite things, choripanes, asados, Pisco Sours, luscious Chilean red wine, and my beloved Chilean friends.

Here in New Mexico, it’s State Fair time. I didn’t make it there this year, but I’ve heard the announcement of the winners of the Best Green Chile Cheeseburger competition.