This Saturday night, as we headed to a friend’s house for dinner, Rayna and her stroller got stuck in the turnstile of the metro. Now I won’t point fingers at which parent caused this situation, but I will note that it was a kindly Chilean women and not Jeff who helped me invert Rayna to pry her loose and free her from the metal wheel situation. Such is the life of a little lady transplanted from easy-living Louisville to fast paced Santiago.
Often, it’s not clear to me if I’m surprised/confused/ignorant about Chilean life or just city living. Jeff and I sometimes talk about Santiago as some sort of future land. This is mostly connected to our experiences in other Latin American countries, where you feel like they paused time in the 70’s or 80’s. Here in Santiago, there are iphones and Starbucks and no shortage of skyscrapers, so we feel like we’re in some weird future place. Really though, I think we’re just not used to living in a bustling metropolis.
Here, women wear high heels a lot and I own a pair or 14 myself, but is wearing them to lunch simply city style, or are women in Santiago just more willing to endure pain for beauty than I’m used to? Conversely, even though it’s been 80 degrees this week, no one is wearing flip flops. This may be to prevent having dirty feet, but coming from Colorado (where people ask questions like, “Is it OK to wear my chacos to the white house?” and “Do these flip flops work for this winter wedding?”) it’s very confusing.
I call our apartment Tiny Town, mostly when I’m envisioning the large kitchen gadgets that will hopefully be arriving with our shipment later this month. I’m actually loving our small space, because it takes no time to clean and it’s harder to lose things when there are so few places for things to hide, but it’s a VERY different situation than we are used to. Recently, I talked to a dear friend about our place, and she was totally able to relate as she lives in NYC. But if you’ve never been in charge of a kitchen where you can touch the fridge, stove, sink and mini-washer all while standing in the same space, it seems like Chilean kitchens are freaking small.
There is smog, which other big cities are also famous for. Shopping is a central activity, and I can walk to the hardware store, multiple grocery stores and Macy’s equivalent all in under 20 minutes. I even walked to the hospital where we would go in an emergency just to check it out. Again, this is probably just a normal city feature, but for those of us more used to running out into green spaces, it feels foreign and strange.
I’m pretty sure having your insurance broker bring fancy hand cream and soap to your house is more of a Santiago thing than a normal city thing (if anyone is looking for a new ISAPRE, we would highly recommend talking to Lorena:). But I’m not so sure that it’s unique to see movies being filmed or clothing shoots happening while on a run (I sorta want to interrupt and offer to have Rayna make a guest appearance in their scene, but then she’d need a work visa and I’m not going anywhere near that trouble!). As this is our first time living in an apartment building, I actually don’t know if it’s just a Chilean thing to not have curtains blocking particular windows, or if people in high rises in every city look out over their balcony and see their neighbor’s backside most mornings. What I do know is that I make sure to wear clothes when wandering near windows in our apartment.
Regardless of whether it’s Santiago-specific, or just us adjusting to the big city, we are learning every day and are grateful for this weird season. Mostly we just have prayers of gratitude for great people and a church welcoming us. Rayna’s cold is gone, Jeff has permission to work for another month, and I’m really enjoying going to a women’s bible study among other activities. We’re expecting our first visitors this month and are VERY excited. Let us know when you make travel plans to come see this crazy place! Love!!!