Wednesday, November 3, 2010


After a long over-night flight trying to make the kids comfortable enough to sleep, hence without sleeping much ourselves, we are here, in Chile. It almost doesn't feel real yet.

Our first few days we spent recovering and having long lunches, full of welcome speeches, with my husband's family. The kids have loved having all this new attention, they love their new room and new toys, playing with their aunts and uncles and cousins and Tata (grandpa). They don't seem to be having any problems living in a new country.

oh, except G REFUSES to speak Spanish. She understands, but she won't answer or repeat... I am sure that will change, but for now I think it is important to respect her process.

These first few days have been vacation-like, but I know the complicated part is just about to get started. After a few days of rest, we started "tramites" (errands), bureaucratic steps, like getting ID cards and practical matters, like getting a cell phone.

It is odd to be back in a country, a city that I knew much better at one time, but now only vaguely remember. So much has changed and so much has remained the same, it is both disconcerting and comforting.

It is a re-encounter with many things, some positive, like the view of the Andes, the corner stores where I ran to get bell peppers and then 10 miuntes later returned to get oregano while we were in the middle of cooking lunch and others negative, like the ambiguity of all bureaucratic processes which result in standing in line at the registro civil to get my carnet (ID card) discovering that I am missing a step, making a trip downtown and standing in line at International Police to register my visa, a step that the consulate failed to mention and that wasn't specified anywhere on the website, and now I get to go back to stand in line again to get my ID or going to the supermarket (Jumbo)--OH MY GOODNESS! the number of people they can fit in a store here!.

I took the metro (subway) downtown today to run some of these errands. The subway system is awesome and would totally be awesomer except for the herds of people that make it intolerable at certain times of the day at certain stops. But it was lovely to walk around my old stomping grounds (I used to live and work right down town, a few blocks from La Moneda--the presidential palace).

I had to change dollars into pesos, so between that and carrying some important documents, like my passport, I was a little nervous. My husband says I am too cute to rob, but I am not sure that is a good enough deterrent ;-) haha. That is another thing that will be hard to get used to-the sense that you have to be cautious and aware at all times.

We went to the cemetery today to visit my mother-in-law's gravesite (my husband hadn't been back here since just before she passed away four years ago this month).

I saw so many interesting things and didn't have my camera

... next time, I promise.


mosey said...

It's just beyond strange that here you are, but so much further away. I'm so glad that you are feeling happy and welcomed.

I'm interested in every single detail so don't leave a thing out! (well. you know. within reason)

Danielle said...

Yes, agreed. Don't leave out any of the interesting details! I think you're super brave moving to Chile. I want to hear all about how different it is there and how your family adjusts. Good luck to you!

Marmo said...

Welcome back to Chile!
At least the "tr├ímites" part, some day (soon I hope) will end, and you won´t have to do them again for years. The metro crowds... that´s another story xD

Lou said...

Welcome back to Chile! I feel for you as you tackle all the paperwork you have to do as you start your new life here. The other day I went to the extranjeria for the second time (the first time they sent me back after waiting in line for hours because the bank forgot to stamp one part of my form) and waited in line for 5 hours before they closed down without having gotten to my number :( I was so angry I cried. On top of that I was so upset that I got lost trying to find my way back to the metro and then had to face the herds of people on the metro to get home fighting back tears the whole time. I cry when I'm angry and I hate that! Anyway, good luck with the rest of your things and I hope the transition to life in Chile is smooth and enjoyable for you and your family!

KM said...

having lived in chile (3 times, actually) and now having been back living in the US and adjusting to what it means to live here (about, jeez, maybe 9 months back?) and always having the conversation with my chilean hubby about whether or not we will end up in Chile (we are leaning towards probably no BUT, who knows?) i will be VERY interested to hear how you and your family adjust. i wish you all the best and keep up the blogging - i love all these chile blogs, such a nice way to keep up with what's going on in chile linda.

Abby said...

Welcome Annje!! Tramites are no fun. When I have to carry around lots of money or my passport I use one of those under-the-clothes fanny packs that they sell in Samsonite. I feel so much safer. Good luck settling in.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

You made it! A little celebration and now time to get settled. Beginning is always a little bit of a pain. You'll adjust quickly. You're too cute not to adjust quickly. Right? Welcome to your new home :)

sarabeck said...

I just read an article about raising bilingual kids and that is one of the problems that they refuse to speak. I hear it's also hard for them to switch between the two.

Well, welcome back to Santiago! We missed meetin up, but maybe in the future?

I thought after only be gone about four months the city had changed a lot while I was MIA, so I can only imagine what you are experiencing.

Kyle said...

Welcome back Annje, glad you and the gang made it!

Oh, and if you think the Jumbos are full, try going to a barrio bajo Lider one day and you will have a whole new concept of what full really means :) Honestly, it's impressive.

mrs.notouching said...

You did it. You are in Chile! I'm weirdly excited :-)

Annje said...

Mosey & Danielle--I'll try to be good about details.

Tramites are still relatively bearable... I am sure it'll get worse... bank accounts, getting my permanent residency, etc.

KM-I think in an international marriage, that conversation is never really over--we are in Chile now, but I am sure that we'll bring it up again for discussion at some point.

Abby--yes, underpants fanny pack--used it--looked bloated ;-)

Denise-def too cute not to adjust-I think I'll be fine.

Kyle-I live right by a barrio bajo Lider--I went the other day and it wasn't that bad--maybe because of the time of day?--it used to be WAY worse though-maybe the Walmart (devil) buy-out brought some order.

Eileen said...

uff, the frustrated tramite, the worst! I find it's best to wait until I'm in a very placid mood to do some of those things. Glad it worked out ok, and I don't mind not seeing pictures. After all, you were only three blocks from my house :)

Are you going to do in/out of the house with languages or one-parent one-language?

talk soon!

Dee said...

Glad you arrived and are getting a bit settled in. We have the Chile (live there or not) conversation at our house quite often. I would like to hear about how your little ones adjust as time goes on (I am sure they will do fine). Good question from Eileen about language. How did you do language with the kids in the US and how will you do it there? Also, what language do you and hubby speak to each other?