It will be May on Sunday, but this month unlike the two years previous, I will not be partaking in any graduation parades. I also won’t be internally celebrating my progress from the previous academic year, like I had every year before that (because I did not study last year). (more…)
Last week I received a call from the office person at the Chilean embassy informing me that they were ready for me to bring in my passport and pay the fee. Anyone who is in my world at the moment will know that over the past 1.5 months I’ve been fulfilling my sickness quota for the entire year: getting all the flus and colds out of the way (repeat after me, the cup is half full.. the cup is half). Life being life there are still deadlines to meet and things to be done, suffice to say that I’ve been feeling pretty tired… and If you don’t know this already, sleepiness is my blondeness trigger… what am I saying… I’m not unfamiliar with doing embarrassing things when I’m fully rested. Yes, I sometimes make a fool of myself, and I’m making no excuse for it (but really, I only do blonde things when I’m sleepy, cough, cough).
Upon arriving the embassy (haha gate, who’s in control now huh – see my last post if you don’t know what I’m talking about) the lady behind the desk gave me a form and asked me to check that the information was correct and then to sign at the bottom. As I peered down at the form I realised it’s in Spanish!! (que sound effects) Breathe, this is fine, this is no problem, you’ve been learning Spanish, this is the first of many times you’re going to be looking at forms in Spanish, you’re doing fine in your paper and are prepared for this. Just read it. Ok.., nombre: Amanda, yep, that’s right. Apellido: Williamson. Ok ok. This is fine. Everything looks fine. Great, and now I’m signing. Done. Next, thumb prints. (I know exciting right, it’s like I’m a criminal!!). Done!
The lady was so lovely that she allowed me to go to the staff bathroom to wash the ink off my hands properly. I’m already feeling very nervous at this point, so am being extra careful not to break anything… it happens more often then you might think… I happily washed my hands in the bathroom and was ready to move onto the next task on the embassy’s agenda .. then looked down at the basin. Oh deary me. Oh nooo. The beautiful pristine basin was BLACK from the ink on my thumb. I got ink everywhere.
I splashed water on it: nothing. This needed elbow grease. After a good five minutes of cleaning (or should I say moving the ink around) I finally got it clean.
I walked back to the reception quite relieved really, and gave the receptionist a big smile. “Amantha” (I love how my name sounds with accents!), “you’ve signed in the date column ”, and there goes my smile. “Oh gosh, yes, oh I signed where it says fecha”. What can I say really, yes fecha (date) and firma (signature) look very similar, but… nope there’s nothing. “Sorry”. Round two, two new documents, two new thumb prints two signatures and another trip to the bathroom…another go at cleaning the basin.
“Ok, what next” I asked after emerging from another round of basin cleaning. “Amantha, I’m sorry, but I printed the documents with yellow marking on them, and that’s not allowed, we’re going to have to do that again”. After six thumb prints and two trips to wash the ink off my thumb I had it down.
“Finally we’re done. Now all you need to do is take this deposit slip down to the bank on the corner and then bring back the receipt”. Ok that sounds fairly simple. So I walk down to the corner. Where is the bank? Nope, can’t see it. Upon asking for directions (yes, that’s what women do, men take note, there’s no shame in asking for directions) I marched down to the lights I was told the bank was infront of. Then I asked someone else for directions because I still couldn’t see it. “You’re standing outside the bank now, the entrance is just there”. So I walk on in. Surely enough I see the words bank everywhere. But I can’t see any tellers etc. So I walk up to the receptionist and say “I just want to do some banking, I want to make a deposit using this slip, where do I go” The lady’s face goes completely red as if she’s holding her breath, and puffs of air escape from her mouth as she trys to talk with a straight face. “Um” (she says holding back her laughter, chin quivering) “you’re at the reserve bank”. Crap. I turn around and she’s right, that big word in front of bank, ”reserve”. Oh crap.
I swear she was reaching for her phone to make a twitter update about the girl who wanted to do some banking at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand as I was walking out. I could hear her giggles.
The sign says bank!
I eventually got back to the embassy with a receipt from a bank that actually does banking.
I should get my visa and passport from the Chilean Embassy this week or next.
I rushed up to the Chilean embassy in my lunch break mid-march to drop off my visa application. I know, I know, two weeks earlier than I should have – but I’m excited and just want to get everything done!
I made my way across town in my lunch break from Massey University to Bolton street and excitedly walked up to the door.. knocked… rung the door bell… knocked… suddenly panicked at how much the building resembled a domestic house and decided that I should leave.
Seriously though, does this look like a house or an office to you?
Hmm, the gate that I didn’t even notice as I walked in has shut and is securely locked, meaning I’m locked in!! Back to knocking and ringing the door bell with greater urgency it is. After ringing the doorbell and knocking longer than any person under normal circumstances would, I decided that it’s time to look for an escape from this property.
The way I see it I have three options, climb the (tall) gate or wall in my pretty skirt, go down a weedy and scary looking path behind the back of the house or wait it out. An old New Zealand advertisement jumped into my head, maybe this is a test, maybe I just have to be patience to get my visa (defiantly watch the clip below, every kiwi will remember this old commercial)
Finally a man in overalls with the label saying “gate man” (I know, funny right!) arrived and the door of the embassy opened. I handed in my application meet their lovely staff at the embassy and finally got out of the property, one hour later.
But… I still don’t have my visa and managed to make a fool of myself at the embassy on my second visit… I’ll tell you more about that soon.
Song of the week
Love love love, Avalanche City
Transitioning into winter… It takes at least a night of awkwardly cold sleep (where you wake up repeatedly, cold, but decide you’re too sleepy to do anything about it) to realise that more blankets are needed on the bed. I feel this year, like every year previous, I have forgotten what winter feels like and some how miss placed my brain file labelled ‘winter etiquette for optimal warmth’.
This winter a new complexity is thrown into the mix for me, a whole new city with temperatures colder than I have ever lived in (not counting the three times in my life that I have visited the snow). In preparation of this I looked at winter jackets today, and their style, and then their price tags… and decided that I’ll look another day. For now, it’s layered cardigans and a wind protector.
It’s at this time of year people like me, who are generally cold to the touch, that have warm partners are realising why they put up with a whole summer of an annoyingly hot person in their bed, flicking the blankets off and turning over repeatedly . I call these few perpetually warm people the ‘human-heaters’. My friends with partners who vary in temperature considerably to them tend to have more relationship issues in the summer months…. winter however, no problem.
Winter is the human-heaters’ season to shine. They know it, and we (human-freezers) know it, they are the solution to the ‘human-freezer’s’ winter Popsicle toes and fingers issues. It’s the currency of winter.
“…my hands? Oh yeah, they are warm, I’m always warm, I can wear a t-shirt all year round”
is the winter sales pitch for human-heater people wanting a relationship. It may sound like an innocent comment, but we know what they’re really saying – it’s the marketing strategy to human-freezers.
So for me… four extra blankets have been added to my bed. I’ve considered the logistics of short-term animal adoption to cuddle (also known as forcing to stay in my arms) and gain heat from at night like I used to as a kid, but ruled it out.
|Me with Cats… and my sister. Those poor poor cats (and yes, I’m aware of the similarity between how I’m holding these animals and Elmyra Duff off Loony Toons. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiHU7gnLF90).|
Therefore I am considering my options for extra bed-time heat for the winter and am thinking of adopting my flatmate’s strategy, the old fashion hot-water bottle. From what Eileen post (check out her blog here – she is hilarious!!), this seems to be a common place in Chile.
To others adjusting to the winter weather I wish you many happy cups of tea, partner’s who are human-heaters, snugly animals, good jackets, and hot water bottles.
Only six weeks until I arrive in Chile, all I need now is my visa to be approved… but more on that later.
|Me with one of my besties…
I don’t know how I’ll do six-months without her.
|The very fitting birthday cake R got me!|
|Some of my wonderful friends.|
|At Estadio (a Wellington Latin club) dancing the night away.|
I thought blogging could be a great way to keep my friends (old and new) up to date with my trip, plus I’ve found reading others’ blogs about their time in Santiago invaluable not to mention that it could also be a great way for me to keep an account of my adventure… so here goes!