Weekend Trips, Host Families and Brian Wilson-related heart attacks

I realize I haven’t really been writing lately, other than posting my articles from the Santiago Times or griping about food/tear gas, and I think that’s because I’ve settled into something of a routine, full of wonder and splendor and lots of other things that end in “der,” but I figure that the fact that I’m in such a routine is worth a mention of its own.

My weeks here are basically full, and my weekends are filled with either trips, sleeping in, or some combination thereof. I work Sunday, Monday and Wednesday at the newspaper, from 11 am to roughly 5, whenever I manage to get my article done for the week. I have long days of class Tuesday and Thursday, with classes at 8:30 am on the opposite side of town, class at 2:30 pm on the other opposite side of town, and a class at 7 pm a few blocks from my apartment.

Working at the Santiago Times has its ups and downs, but I’ve been working on picking up the politics beat from another staffer who just left, and that’s pretty interesting, learning about a foreign political system and seeing the similarities and differences as compared to our own. To be a bit cliché, I really do seem to get out of the paper what I put into it: sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. But as long as I fight for the stories that would interest me, I think that it can be well worth my time.

On the radio front, that’s much less exciting. After several weeks of canceled shows, messed up shows, rescheduled shows, and everything going wrong that could go wrong, it seems that the publisher of the Santiago Times and the owner of Santiago Radio had a bit of a falling out. So where does that leave us? Off the air. Still, my editor is pretty psyched to start our own in-house podcasts, that we’d produce and record ourselves, which would give us a good amount of autonomy and freedom to mix it up, as far as frequency of recording, length, subject matter, etc. I think she’s looking to me to spearhead this, as with the radio show, and they actually seem a bit willing to spend some money on equipment, so I am pretty excited to be here at this time. I’ll post about this as it starts to come together.

I seem to have hit my monthly limit on bandwidth again, as conservative as I was trying to be, so it’s dropped me down to the slower speed, causing some random websites to simply refuse to load, including my blog website, which explains why I’m writing this update in Qumana again, despite my earlier vow to avoid the blog post-eating monster that it is.

I’ve also made the decision to stick with my host family, at least for the time being. I wrestled with the idea of moving out for a while, but I think that this is really the best thing right now for me. I’m paying them $240,000 (pesos) per month, which is roughly ~$450 US, including food, laundry and utilities. It’s a bit more than I could probably find out there, in a dirt-cheap apartment, but it’s helping me greatly with my Spanish, and somewhere along the way I’ve lost 1-2 belt loops with Luz’s cooking, so it’s nice to have good, homecooked, healthy food.

Which doesn’t mean it’s not quirky, living here. Both Luz, my host mother and Andrea, my host sister, are incredibly sweet. When I’ve been sick, like today, they bring me hot drinks and soup and take care of me, over my protests that I really can get up and help. Luz is a great cook, and enjoys having my friends over and getting to know them, and Andrea has several friends who want to come over and meet me. This puts me somewhere between flattered and circus monkey, but whatever, attention is attention.

They are, however, border-line alcoholics. While I’m all for share-and-share-alike, it’s a little disconcerting to buy a big double bottle of wine on Thursday, go away for the weekend, and try to find a glass of wine on Monday, only to see Luz standing there with a guilty, sheepish look.

“You drank the whole thing?”

“Well, the weekend has so many days! Friday, Saturday, Sunday…”

Keep in mind that Andrea does not drink red wine, so this is all Luz’s handiwork. Also, they encourage me to drink, which is all well and good, because I know my limits. It’s just different. For example, a couple of weeks ago, we had our neighbors over for lunch.

• Wake up at 1 pm.

• Neighbors are invited for 2 pm, arrive at 2:45 with wine.

• We sit at the table, each person is poured a Pisco Sour, we eat hot dogs.

• Soup is served. However, you can’t drink Pisco with soup. Red wine poured all around.

• After soup, they distribute the beer. By the end of this, each person has had something like 3-4 drinks with lunch. We say our goodbyes, and Andrea and Luz go to lie down and sleep it off.

This wouldn’t be that weird if it didn’t describe our typical Saturdays, which usually involve getting up late, boozing with lunch, and them sleeping it off for the next 5-6 hours.


The Giants have been disappointing recently, but they’re just about the streakiest team I can imagine, and it’s hard for me to believe that they’re really out of the running. We just need to go Jeremiah Springfield on some D-Backs, get a bit of momentum, and (as much as it hurts to say), the Dodgers need to win. And then as soon as this series is over, go back to losing. That’d be nice. I’ve been missing out on games all year, but there’s a bar here that shows the games, and I’m going to try to get a good group this weekend to go watch me some Giants, and I hope to be playoff contenders again by that point. You hear me, Giants? Do it for me.


But now, I really need to finish this article I’ve been avoiding. I’ll write more about the weekend trips soon, including Papudo/La Ligua, which was months ago.


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