Posts in Category: Repat

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.

Adulting

Adulting is so tedious. And I find myself with so many “adult” things on my To-Do list.

There’s paying the car insurance that is due on March 12. Thanks to an encounter with a motorcyclist that was driving in the bicycle lane, my auto insurance is now $300/year more expensive than last year.

It wasn’t even my fault. How did I know that he was going to try to dash around me in the bike lane just as I was attempting to make a right-hand turn out of a traffic jam?

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 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.

Eye, Aye, Eye

EyeOn May 11, back in the Santiago, I was reading before going to sleep. There was a little gnat-like creature buzzing around my backlit Kindle. I shooed him away and didn’t give it another thought.

That is, until the next morning, when I woke up with two bug bites on my right eyelid. They itched like crazy, but I tried to be good and not scratch at them.

One went away within a day or two, but the other, the one nearer my eyelashes, got infected. My eyelid swelled up and turned red. The area of the bite pooched out like a wart.

Summer in the City

unnamed-14The clouds are gathering again tonight. It’s monsoon season here in New Mexico, the season when the rains come. That’s not to say that it never rains at other times, but New Mexico gets most of its annual rainfall in late July and August.

Here at my condo complex, summer means food trucks. The Powers-That-Be have contracted with food trucks to come a couple of times a week. There are a variety of trucks. One sells Mexican food. One, burgers. Another, barbeque.

5 Reasons Expat Friendships Are Easier

unnamed-15Tomorrow, I will have been back in Albuquerque for four weeks. Seems like yesterday. Seems like a hundred years.

I want to write, but darned if I know what to write about. Do you want to hear about my comparison of bread and cookies? Would you rather hear about how everywhere I turn here something reminds me of Phillip? Can I whine about how miserably hot it is? If I did, would you sympathize with me or tell me to suck it up? ¡Aguanta no mas!

Dare I mention the crazy political climate that makes my stomach churn and leaves me feeling choice-less, voiceless, hopeless, and helpless?

Where I’m Planted

unnamedLast night, I dreamed about my son, Phillip. If you’re new to my blog, I should tell you that my son passed away on May 4. In the past, I’d often dreamed about him as a young boy.

I am a vivid dreamer. My dreams, always in color, tend to be wild and crazy. Sometimes, they star strangers. Usually, they’re centered around people I know. I’ve been dreaming about Phillip a lot since returning to the US three weeks ago.

In this dream, Phillip was an adult. He was helping me garden. With the best of intentions, he dug up most of my plants. There was one in particular that I felt sad about losing. It was a hearty plant, a succulent. He had chopped off the flowering top and left the roots planted in the ground.

Have I Mentioned…

SandiasBack in the US for precisely two weeks now, the one question everyone asks me is “How long are you here for?”

Some people seem to expect a concrete answer to that question, but they don’t know me very well. What I’d originally planned as a visit to the US has now turned into a full repatriation. But it feels temporary.

Those who know me best are not surprised by the real answer, which is “I don’t know.” I can’t imagine not going back overseas.