(this one's for you, lyd). i just wrapped up my first week of interning at catholic university, living in an apartment with a stranger who doesn't speak english, and generally being independent-ish in santiago. i figured it's about time to dust off the good ole interview myself technique:
goooood afternoon, this is cap'n sparklepants - a.k.a. sparkle - on smx radio. today we have christiane in the studio to tell us a little about her chilean adventures. cc, you've been in santiago almost six weeks now. what do you make of it?
like munich in '02, santiago has been more of an acquired taste than love at first sight. my happiness seems to be directly related to a modest amount of structure and finding people i can connect with. i didn't start loving munich until i began taking capoeira classes at martinho's studio and became friends with philip and sara; i really got excited about staying here after enrolling in spanish conversation classes, having an animated conversation with my roomie about the atacama desert, and meeting a family friend who is studying acting and screenwriting here.
so, how's the spanish coming along?
the receptionist at my internship was out sick last week. two staff members stopped by my office to make a request. i thought they were asking me to cover the phones. so i started having a full-fledged panic attack. my heart was racing and i could barely put together a sentence. they seemed thoroughly perplexed and quite insistent. ten minutes later, i realized they were saying that i should call them if i needed anything...so i have a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooonnng way to go. but it summoned my super-competitive spirit and the game is on: me v. chilean spanish. last week i enrolled in spanish conversation classes and started chatting up my coworkers. on saturday, i turned to dad and liz for a little encouragement, then hung out with locals most of the weekend. i'm not going pro anytime soon. and i am not going home without skillz either.
i can see that you're working hard. are you having any fun?
please. before starting work this week, mike and i spent an afternoon at the giant cemetery and la vega - an open air market - where we ate scrumpdiddliumptious fried fish and rice. and, of course, we stopped in at the mini-arcade to spend all our change before acquiring groceries and parting ways. now that i working, i have been taking advantage of long lunch breaks, free evenings, and weekends to scope out centralized neighborhoods like lastarria, bellas artes, and bellavista. new friends have been helping me navigate the less-touristy spots. camila and i have karaoke-and-dancing plans in the works for next friday after her last exam. return trip to the slopes should be happening soon and (fingers crossed) a trip to atacama. so, yeah. the fun is on.
sounds about right. now, if i'm not mistaken, you moved recently. how are the new digs?
much better now that i mustered up the courage to ask roxana about a space heater. utilities are super-pricey here so it seems like most people keep their apartments pretty cold. and by cold, i mean bone-chilling. that said, my roomie is super-nice, doesn't speak english, and i didn't want to offend her so it took a full week to find the moxy (and the words) to solve the problem. fortunately, she has a kerosene space heater so i put it in my room for a few hours tonight and now it's chilling in the commons area so that it will be warm when i get ready in the morning. the apartment itself is cute and we have a lot in common - roxana loves bike riding, nature, and composting. roxana knows i'm trying to learn spanish so she speaks slowly and answers all my vocab questions. i live in providencia - close to the temple - amidst lots of extranjeros and families. it's very cute by day, and dead at night. fortunately, it's a short metro or cab ride from the city center with more lively options for the night owl.
there's a good nightlife then. in what other ways does santiago rule?
first, the metro. there's a train every 1-2 minutes (even on weekends), it's cheap (roughly $1/ride), and there are stops every 3-4 blocks near the city center. and metro vendors. need nylons for work and thick tights to keep warm? no prob, just select 1 of 50 varieties in the metro station. hands were freezing? no prob, just get gloves in the metro station. second, soups. there's a bajillion different words for soup here - creamy soup, brothy soup, chowdery soup, stew...because chile dishes them all up. and fixed menu lunches. brilliant idea. want to sit down for lunch outside the office and get back within 1-1.5 hours? no prob, just answer "do you want lunch?" in the affirmative and your appetizer, entrée, bev, dessert, and coffee/tea will appear. third, raspberry juice. why mix it with other stuff? it is so bomb by itself. and chirimoya is a great consolation prize for the general scarcity of maracuya. fourth (bonus!), independent movie theaters. santiago is no la, but there are 4 places to watch indie films within a 20-minute walking circuit. fifth (another bonus!), the hilly parks. actually, all the parks. like athens, santiago seems to have embraced the notion that high places = holy places. so cerros throughout the city are vast parks, often with shrines or meditation spots near the top. and there are tons of non-hill parks, too. one of my favorite features are the cafés literarios, which rose up in the early days of post-pinochet democratization.
seems like you've acquired quite the taste for it. now tell me, what are you homesick for?
first, black beans. or beans in general. you can't buy them at a standard grocery so forget about ordering them at a restaurant. second, vegetarian food. i know i went carni for this trip, but between limited winter produce and the abundance of animal flesh, my body has been freaking out a little. third, reliable restaurant delivery. it's been my consistent experience that when i order food for delivery, it's going to take twice as long as they predict, and will only arrive (luke warm) after a follow-up phone call.
well, we're almost out of time. thanks for coming into the studio, cc. before we sign off: any parting words?
while i was out wandering with camila and co., a few folks approached us with a banner and t-shirts that said abrazos libres. i did a double take. then threw my arms wide open. we got our fill of hugs and i explained free hug fridays to the best of my linguistic abilities. the only thing missing in santiago these days are my friends and family in other places. so friday or not, please throw your arms open and let someone give you a giant hug for me.
thanks for being here with us, christiane. that concludes our program for the day. join us next week as we learn about new trends in mapuche rock carving techniques. 'til the next time, this is cap'n sparklepants with smx.
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