Peg at Cachando Chile posted today about annoyances one has to deal with living in Chile. I have only been here for 9 months (Can you believe it has been 9 months already?!) and I have tried to be flexible and positive. There have honestly only been a few moments where I have been very irritated. Besides the example I added in her comments (about the inappropriate use of emergency lights) there are not very many general irritations.
The only other one I can think of is this:
I HATE artificial Sweeteners!
Is that too emphatic? Well, it is worthy of emphasis. I hate'em!
In the U.S. they seemed fairly easy to avoid, in Chile this isn't quite the case--they are nearly impossible to avoid and products that contain them are not always labelled as "light" or "diet." I was excited to find greek yogurt at the supermarket and was then dismayed at home to find it has sucralose though it doesn't say "light" anywhere... GRR!
I drink pop every once in a while, and when I do, I like regular Coke. I put regular sugar in my coffee. Occasionally, at a party, if there are only diet sodas, I'll break my general rule and drink some, but I try not to break that rule with foods and drinks my kids ingest, but it is nearly impossible: sucralose and aspartame are in everything.
Kids here, like kids everywhere (and adults everywhere, I guess), have problems with obesity--it's a combination of being sedentary and the low cost/easy access of fast food. These issues coupled with the odd cultural fact that Chileans just don't drink water. There is a low-no calorie alternative for every drink available, and they are almost more common than the real-sugar option. There are drops and little tic-tac-like balls and bottles and packets of all kinds and combinations of sugar alternatives.
But when they start making children's juice and soda with alternative sweeteners, I go a little mad. The hardest part of our entire-family vacation in February, was the head-on collision of different feeding criteria. My kids wanted to know why they couldn't drink Frutix--the bane of my existence! whenever they were thirsty (Frutix is an insanely bright colored kids' soda with very low calories thanks to sucralose... and 5% real fruit juice! ps--that last part was sarcasm). I was wildly unpopular for a few days for limiting them to one very small glass with lunch (a painful compromise) and my daughter even requested a different set of parents. My poor kids! I guess I am old-fashioned that way--soda is for special occasions. It is bad enough to see very small children with a baby-bottle full of coke and a bag of potato chips -- for me, the fact that it is probably diet coke makes it worse, not better.
If your children are ingesting too much sugar, cut down. If your children are drinking too many calories in juice and soda, give them water. Why would you give them something that has a limit for acceptable daily ingestion?
Lecture ends and Annje steps down from soap box
p.s. I finally found a vitamin for the kids that doesn't have an artificial sweetener--so excited!
p.s.s I'll try to post more often