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Notes from Underneath: March 2010

Notes from Underneath

A California girl in Chilsters (that's Chile to you)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Butterfly, glitches, moths & ex wives

The dark cloud that is G's ex is always looming.

Can we take a minute to ponder that, please? This literally means that it's a forever-present entity that exists to make your life awkward - for sure - and sometimes just plain miserable. So even when G and I are at our happiest, say, at a relaxing getaway in the middle of nowhere, there is always that little glitch of dark, stormy clouds. And of course there's the anxiety that comes along with just waiting for what the next shenanigans will be. And it's always just a matter of time before the shenanigans rear their ugly heads.

A very good friend of mine tells me that in the face of the ugly, dark glitch, when such occasions of misery arise, I should just rise above it. I understand that, of course, but ask myself how does one rise above something that isn't done directly to them? In fact, how does one avoid getting raging mad when they see that the damage is being done to someone they love? I think that most people can handle themselves well enough, even when third parties seem out to get them. Somehow we pull it together for ourselves. But arguably, this is a million times harder - even impossible - when you have no control over the hurt that's coming towards your loved one. My bottom line here is that it's f*ing hard to keep my cool when I know that G is being hurt on PURPOSE, something he doesn't deserve, and there is nothing I can do to protect him from this or defend him from it.

I'm sure I don't know the extent of it. I do know that a grown woman who went through a divorce SHOULD be thankful that the ex-husband is a fantastic and EVER PRESENT father. One who not only does his legal duty by paying child support but who plays with his kids, talks to his kids, tries to understand his kids and is basically one of the best dads I've ever witnessed. I like to think that I put myself in other's shoes quite often. In the shoes of a divorced woman left with two kids to raise, I'm fairly certain that I'd be STOKED that the man I personally couldn't harmonize with, was an amazing dad to our kids. On that note, as a divorced woman I know I wouldn't just stare at my phone as I watched such a dad call and call and call to try to talk to his kids...letting days go by before I finally handed the kids the phone so that they could have a conversation with him. I'm pretty sure that only teenagers pull such stunts, not grown women with two children who, by the way, is also a teacher. Ah yes, education's finest! [Note to self: can I ask for background checks on all would-be teachers my future kids might have?]

I've done this putting myself in her shoes scenario many times. I've imagined being as pissed as she is that I was left alone to raise two kids [there's a story behind that, but for the purposes of trying to understand this other person, I'm thinking along the lines of what SHE would think. HER reality as SHE sees it.] "Left alone" and now learning that my ex-husband is about to remarry, meanwhile I can't find myself a steady boyfriend, let alone a fiancee [wonder why]. Then I add to that the context of having been raised in a traditional Chilean household. One where perhaps the father put up with a whole lot of sh*t from the mother, but, being traditional, there was never any thought of divorce. Misery is part of marriage, didn't you know? You marry for life, no matter how awful the other one treats you! Such is the sanctity of marriage! [her reality, not mine.] So when I married, in my early 20s mind you, I did so after dating probably a total of 2 guys before marrying the one who happened to be with me at the right time for marriage.

G was a different person back then too and this is worth noting. He wasn't necessarily a follower, but his leadership skills didn't have an environment to thrive. He had several encounters in life where he wasn't encouraged to be a leader or encouraged to throw forth his right opinion ... and so she led by default. Not because she's a better leader (I can imagine few people are when compared to G and that's a fact) but probably because no one told her to sit down and shut up ... so to speak. G was a leader brewing ... and his catapult was his career. Through his career and his accomplishments he finally embraced the personality and mannerisms of the leader he was born to be. And truth be told, such leaders - such ballers - cannot stand such mediocre women.

I said that to him once. I looked at him and asked "How can someone as shining and brilliant as you, marry someone so plain, predictable and boring?" The answer is that back then, he wasn't half of who he is now.

He's so amazing, so insightful, SO SMART, SUCH a contributor ... you WANT to hear his opinion and it never crosses my mind to not accept it or ever not want to hear it. And he expects the same back!! He has ZERO patience for people who are boring. People who are ordinary. And that's exactly who he married back in the day ... so it was just a matter of time ... as a butterfly has transformed, so did he. And a butterfly CANNOT keep the company of a moth.

The moth probably looks at the butterfly now and thinks "You are a poser. That's not who you are. I don't even know you." Oh little moth, little moth. This is the real deal now ... and I can see this is one butterfly who is off to bigger, badder things in life because he's allowed to be himself. If this weren't who he truly is, how would one account for all the blessings that surround him now more than ever? Thankfully he is truly blessed.

....oh right, except for the dark glitch who may or may not allow their kids to attend our wedding. The glitch who won the name battle and now the kids don't call me the cute nickname they used to call me, but flatly say "Andrea." [Andreita upset her too much.] The glitch who just stares at the phone when he tries to call to talk to his kids. The glitch who takes them away on weekends when he's supposed to see them.

Rise above it, ANDREITA.

Me and the butterfly are just going to go on with our bad selves. Can we just leave the moth, who repeatedly tries to crash the party, to burn herself against the shining light?

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Spilling beans?

Last night I had a few ladies over for happy hour and I have to admit, I got really excited about showing people my wedding the point that Gonzalo kind of freaked out on me, asking me in an exaggerated tone if I was going to show/talk about all the details to such an extent that nothing would remain a surprise at the actual wedding.


Who else am I supposed to show the actual dress to? The shoes? The table descriptions? The wedding band? My friends aren't here!!! They won't be here! Isn't it part of the excitement - and RIGHT - for a bride to show all the new jewelry she bought to girlfriends who can ooooh and ahhhh over it??

The thing is, I didn't realize how much I wanted to share all this stuff until last night. Actually, I realized it yesterday afternoon. I was on a conference call with work and my mother answered the door. It was Fed Ex delivering my shoes and jewelry for the wedding. It was at that point, when I saw the items I had picked on my own, that I wanted to share with everyone and tell them "Look! Look! This is what I'm going to wear when I get married!" And that's exactly what I did last night with the friends I had over. I may have gone a tad bit too far when I whipped out the wedding band but then again, it was a mere 8-9 women who saw it and of those, 3 are invited to the wedding ... they make up a small fraction of the people we know and a small fraction of those attending ... so I can't stress about having bombarded them with wedding stuff. I just hope they didn't mind! Ack!

The fact is, I've spent the majority of the wedding planning under wraps. Mum's been the word! Gonzalo and I have picked things out together, decided on items, highlights, events, moments and everything under the sun - just him and I. I've chosen to not share many details about the wedding until only recently. It wasn't until my final dress fitting that I even sent pictures to ALL my friends back home and it wasn't until last night that more than two people saw my band, my shoes or jewelry. I can safely say as well that my hair accessories and how I'll wear my hair has been kept mum ... in fact, SO MUCH has been on the DL, now that I think about it. Some things, like my shoes for example, have made cameos on Facebook (as of today) and that's ok with me. Why NOT share it? Again I ask, who else am I supposed to share all this with? And is it wrong to want to share?

Discuss amongst yourselves. Meanwhile, I'm going back to my secret life of a bride-to-be. :o)

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Lovely ladies

Can I rave a bit?

After writing an entry about how no one from the States was going to be traveling to Chile for my wedding and how upset I was about that, last night, three of them got together to throw me a bride's dinner ... just to remind me that though none of my friends could be with me during this time before (and during) my wedding, they were there with me and they are happy to celebrate with me.

And though I've said it before, I'll say it again - I'll look around on April 17th and be SO VERY happy to see the friends I've made here in Chile there with me when I get MARRIED! Married!!! There was a time when I first arrived when I thought I'd never even make friends with anyone, let alone have people care enough to show me that I'm not alone. But this year has proven just the opposite of what I thought when I first arrived. Between having them come out for my surprise birthday happy hour, sharing a joint bachelorette party with two fellow brides, attending their weddings and so many other little things in between, 2010 may be a year with below-par customer service in EVERY WAY, but the friendship category in 2010 is proving to be humbling.

Lovely ladies indeed ... as my life forms in Chile next to the one I love, having a solid set of good girlfriends leaves me asking for nothing more. Mad props to them! Thanks for the pastel de choclo, algae flowers and ice cream!

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Monday, March 22, 2010


$%@^&$^ Chile!!! Really??

Um... so I'm going to make this short and sweet but it would SEEM like our band (which for NOW will remain nameless until I'm ready to seriously f*&k with their reputation here in Chile) is turning out to be quite flaky.

G got this "dato" from many, many recommendations and even after booking this band himself for a work event. Great show! Responsible crew! They were even the first vendor to offer us a CONTRACT - unheard of here in Chile! Well now if they so choose to make the ever-so-incorrect decision of flaking on our wedding, this contract will be enforced to the Nth degree.

The jerks flaked on tonight's meeting. This meeting was meant to discuss final song choices, confirmation of play lists, etc, etc. On top of that, this band was supposedly going to provide us with lighting as well as amplification and generator for the entire event. KIND OF MAJE THAT THEY FLAKED TONIGHT!!!

And the thing is, they flaked after weeks trying to get in touch with them. We finally do get in touch with them and hear an excuse of "oh we decided to get married too" ... and then they don't show when we schedule a meeting. WHO DOES THAT?? I'm so sick of NO ONE taking ANYTHING seriously here in Chile! Even when you offer to PAY THEM, they still don't budge. Even when half their money is riding on just FOLLOWING THROUGH, they do as they please.

The concept of "I'm paying for good service, you better bring it" doesn't apply here in Chile. NOT.AT.ALL. In fact, we have three weeks left until the wedding, and the vendor who provides the tent FOR THE DINNER, hasn't responded with a price quote. HELLO!!! We want to pay you f*&kers ... what does it take to get you interested in $$$?? PRAY TELL!!!!

Oh, don't mind me. I'm an angry, disgruntled bride right now ... further I can't BELIEVE how lame Chilean customer service can be at times. What does it take, people?? What ...does... it...take?

Pray tell.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010


Fun with the scanner

I've had a day to myself today and besides going outside for some needed beautifying, gym and taking Obi out, I've been indoors all day. So of course that means playing with the scanner, right? Right.

I dug up some old pictures of me to document on the blog (for future generations - hee hee!) and spent the afternoon scanning them into my computer. What I noticed is that I started out really cute, then got awkward ... then hit puberty and got MORE awkward ... and then got a little chunky ... then finished up where I am currently: the state of me.

Without further ado ...

This is little Dre with my aunt. Yes the pic is B&W because it's the 70s and we were in Chile. This is before I left to live in San Francisco.

From there, we hit up a few shots of when I was 3ish, the age I left Chile and arrived in the U.S.

This is me at a boat show, probably at the Cow Palace.

This is me at 3 yrs sporting a bikini...meditating I guess. I don't really know what I'm doing but am too distracted to figure it out with the fact that I was EVER so flat chested! Also, no joke, I have the SAME legs now that I did then!

Then I was 4 ...

After that - we jump to 6 ....

And my first grade school pic. Tell me you aren't digging the corduroy jumper ...

Then apparently my mom hacked my hair short for my 1st Communion when I was 7. The only time in my life I'll ever wear a veil. Now I'm thinking I probably should have saved it.

Ok, so now I'm warning you that from here on out, things get a little ugly. Don't feel bad if it becomes a bit hard to spot the cute girl that once was. I totally get it ...

My 5th grade class picture ... I was about 11 yrs old. Please continue to be my friend after this ... I had no control over the hair, I promise! My eyebrows look pretty dope though, wouldn't you say?

More awkwardness followed at 12, 13 and 14 ... within those years I also got a perm which I COMBED OUT every day... so basically I had a triangle on my head. I omitted those pics on purpose as I have much dignity left in me. [Note: the acid washed jean jacket was my prized possession. It zipped up!]

Then I was 15...the age when I landed my first real boyfriend. Apparently the awkward stage didn't help my love life as the second I was over it, someone wanted to date me.

From there it was a quick leap to HS graduation ...

Until the last year of my teens ...

Working my way through college and finally at the legal drinking age!...not that you can tell from this picture as I look 14 again! What can I say? I'll take this opportunity to point out that this is the age I joined a sorority ... and this particular picture was taken at the first sorority event I ever went to ... see below at my graduation pic to note what 2 straight years of drinking does to the looks.

Finished college a little later than most, at 23, but did it anyway. Here it looks like my age caught up with me, tackled me and added a couple more years.

Here's 23 post-college (i.e. not drinking every other day and actually getting some sleep. With my grandfather who passed away in 2005). If this doesn't speak volumes about what drinking does to one's youthful appearance, not sure what does.

Then I was 26 ...

27 ...

And finally jumping ahead to the big 3-0. It's been 3 years since I celebrated my thirtieth and I'd like to think I look pretty much the same. Besides, those pics are already digital so it takes all the fun out of the post!

The moral of today's post is this: one really does some lame-ass stuff when they're home most of the day on Saturday...
Another morsel you could perhaps consider taking home after this post is this: awkward stages hit everyone. So do a 5-10 pound fluctuations.
Finally, drinking every day makes you look haggard.

To end this lovely scan-filled afternoon, I'd like to pop in a pic of my beloved from when he was 3 ... just for sh*ts and giggles! :o) J'adore my little blondie!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


The (pre)kid post

No, I'm not PG.

So while we’re on the subject of kids (from my mention on the previous blog post), I thought it would be a really good idea to officially document how I feel about the little earthlings now that I don't actually have any.

This is kind of like a list I made back in the day on a regular piece of paper that I can no longer find … grrr … it basically listed bullet points of the different things I hoped to accomplished 1 month, 3 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years and 15 years from when I started the list. I was 25… so you can understand why I’m so annoyed I can’t find it! I’m almost at the 10-year point! I hope I’ve accomplished something!

Anyhoosers, my point is that I’d like to document how I feel about the idea of kids and my thoughts on having them or not having them. Someday in reading this entry, my daughter/son might hate me. If that’s the case, err… sorry kid. I can’t help that I have very extreme and sometimes conflicting views on procreating today in March 2010.

Here’s my first thought on the matter: once the kid is here, it’s here for good (barring any atrocious event that I don’t wish on anyone.) In general, the kid is here to stay. That means that FOREVER MORE you have to worry about this other living, breathing thing. I mean, if I have to work around my day in a way that has me home each time Obi needs to eat then I can’t imagine what it takes with a kid! I already feel constricted with Obi and it drives me insane!! Further, you never stop worrying about this being… so it’s like a lifetime of this WORRY you carry around with you. I remind you of my entries regarding G’s kids after the earthquake here in Chile … I mean G was worried sick even though he tried to play it off. For days on end and I wondered how he even functioned!! If that were me, I’d be freaking the F out!! I know myself and I do NOT handle freaking out well. I’m worst-case scenario woman in my head and if I had a kid to add to that equation, I could very well live a lifetime of hyperventilation due to stress. Yeah, that sounds fun.

Putting aside the "WORRY FOREVER" sign up sheet, here's my second thought on the matter: pretty much you're responsible for how adjusted or f-ed up the kid is going to be and if he/she grows up to be a contributing, happy person in society. I mean, how many people do you know that are so screwed up because of their parents? I definitely know a few and may count myself in that group every so often. What if you put your kid in too many activities after school in hopes of keeping him/her away from drugs, only to produce an overachiever perfectionist who is anorexic and much too hard on him/herself and deals by cutting his/her arm? Is that worse than drugs? Ack! And for that matter, what's the right balance of activities? Teach them two languages, put them in a sport and in an art, teach them to meditate and do yoga, all the while taking them to a hill with lots of grass to run wild in, every other day of the week? Will my kid turn out ok then? Should I throw in some Tae-Kwon-Do too? Yeah, yeah, kids don't come with manuals, blah blah. So then of course, more pressure on the parents!

My third thought on the matter is this: I really love Obi. I wouldn't give him away at this point, sell him or try to pawn him off in any way, shape or form now that he's part of our small family. However, I recognize that life before him was much easier and much more comfortable. I realize as well that if I knew then, what I know now, I don't think I would have acquired him in the first place. Having a dog is a BIG DEAL, more than people think ... so I can't BEGIN TO IMAGINE the big deal that is a kid. Yet I take extremely good care of him, train him, love him, feed him and do all the basic necessities necessary, spoil him and cuddle him ... but that doesn't change the fact that I see him and think "Life was much easier and maybe better (still undecided) before." Can you imagine if I feel this way with a human being who relies on me for survival and guidance? Hello, insta-bad parent - just add water!

My fourth thought on the matter relates to G and the fact that he has two children from his previous marriage. The person I love already has kids and has experienced first hand all the joy, excitement and fear that goes along with having kids. In fact, he's even more experienced in basic things like changing diapers and burping (not to mention all the other crap that I can't even think of because I'm not a parent and have NO idea) than I might ever be! He's been there, done that. When I go through the "Holy sh*t I'm a parent" freak out/realization, I'll be alone. I'll basically be going through all those sentiments solo and that kind of sucks. It's not his fault of course. He adores his kids, rightfully so, and I adore him for being a good father to his kids.It makes him a better man and I wouldn't have it any other way. But it does affect how I view becoming a parent, I'm not gonna lie. Any maybe it's my own version of being screwed up by a parent, but I never had a father in my life and the man who IS my father, played favorites with my sister and me. Meaning, he ignored me my entire life and was present for my sister. So in my head I can't imagine that G could love any other kid more than he loves his own right now. Call me crazy - I might be. But it's how I feel at times and it's stuff I think about.

Not all is tainted in such a negative light when it comes to kids, though. I've experienced first hand how much joy they bring to a parent's life and to life in general. I've seen it with my mom and how happy I make HER. I've seen it with G and his kids and how absolutely happy they make him. I've seen it with my sister and my nephews and I've experienced it personally with family friends and their three daughters. Point being, I'm not stupid. I GET how having a kid is SO WORTH IT to some in many, many ways. The stress, the worry, the pressure - all of it is worth it and they'd do it all over again, time and time again. I get that and I totally respect that. After all, without parents who feel just that, where would we all be? And personally, I've never met anyone in my entire life that I'd want to have kids with more than G. He's it - the King Bee - the creme de la creme - Mr. Right and I will look no more. That's how I feel about him and so obviously having a family with him, IF I DISREGARD ALL FOUR POINTS ABOVE, seems like a no-brainer. It's an immediate "duh! Of course!"

Ah, but that's the catch, isn't it? Putting aside all the insecurities, all the pre-conceived notions, all the ideas that your kid won't be good enough. Shelving them and deciding to go on with your bad self. I'll most likely have a kid or two, I'm not gonna lie. Yeah I'll admit already that my life is easier without them ... but with G by my side, can it really be that bad? I think not.

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State of frump being a pseudo housewife

I can't imagine I'll ever be wired to be a stay-at-home mom. I used to be pretty sure this was the case but since I've moved to Chile I'm 100% convinced. It's confirmed now that the housewife role - and even pseudo housewife role I currently live - is for the birds.

Right now I say that I'm a pseudo housewife because I'm the one who stays home, while G leaves the house to go work. Granted, I work too, but since I work from home, I basically set my own schedule. Meaning if I want to work 8 am to 5 pm or 1 pm to 10 pm, it's my call. I think that as long as my work gets done AND I'm easily accessible to those who need me, then I can basically do that. It's a cool gig but it comes at a price as well. I'm the one who's home ... which means I'm the primary caretaker of Obi, our bulldog puppy. I'm the one who works with the trainer and makes sure our dog is forming into an acceptable and agreeable member of society. I'm also the one who does laundry ... why? Again, I'm here. It doesn't take much to just put a load in, come back to my computer, then put the load in the dryer and come back to the computer again. It's either that or the clothes just piles up and up and up until the weekend (or evenings at some point.) Who wants that? I'm also the one who primarily cooks. Why? It's really a last resort because I'm not familiar with take out places in Chile, besides sushi and going out to dinner every day is $$$ and bad for the waistline. And again, I'm the one who's home. I'm here when the nana comes every Tuesday to clean - that's sweet! Less cleaning for me. But I'm also the one who has to direct what needs to be done in the house. Why? Because I'm the one who's home. And in all fairness it's probably best that way since I'm the pickier of the two of us in regards to how I want my home to be/look/feel. In between nana visits, I'm also the one who cleans ... mainly after myself and my dog, but still.

So let's see here: I have a kid (kind of. It's a puppy but it feels like a kid), and do all that's involved with having said "kid," I cook, I clean, I work, and I'm at home almost all day, everyday. And I have the new state of frumpiness to prove it! Honestly, if it weren't for the fact that I'm about to start graduate school and I'm planning a wedding, I could very well be depressed.

Which has me wondering ... will this be my constant state of being forever??

Obviously not...that's just me freaking out with that last sentence. The mere fact that I'm going back to school will certainly snap me out of this state of semi-consciousness. I hope that it helps me be a contributing member of society as well. Nothing is worse than being stagnant and not moving forward.

It's also hard to watch G go out and be the awesome baller that he is, while I am here at home. Maybe it's a case of not giving myself enough credit for the job I do with the company I work for, or maybe it's because he's just in a different reality than me and I kind of envy that. Living here in Chile I'm feeling that it's harder to grab the world by the balls like a man would. Maybe it's because I don't see many of these women around me on a day to day basis and the ones I can think of are gringas (yay! Represent!) I know this is just setting the stage for me to go out and become the youngest female VP for Chile's #1 consumer products company (whatever that is) ... but in the moment, I feel far from that.

If I were to add kids to this mix, I'd take a long walk off a short plank. I know I should feel a little more gung-ho about having kids but let me tell you, I'm not feeling the gung or the ho. But I'm 33 and time's a tickin' ... and I think, well, I don't NOT want kids ... and I kinda do like the thought of kids .... so some point in the next couple of years I"m going to have to walk down that road... but if it means staying at home with all of the above PLUS A KID ... I can't imagine I'll be a happy camper.

Oh well... at least I'll look the part. I'm already uber frumpy, with split ends, roots grown out about an inch, bad toenails, worse hand nails, bad, dry skin and a unibrow anyone would envy. My daily outfit is jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops. Oh, I do manage to put some make up on though, that's a plus. Hmmmm, then I imagine that an offspring would result in me with no make up on my face and about 20 pounds overweight.

Sweet. Can't wait.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010


The thorn in my side regarding the wedding

In yesterday's post I mentioned the two weddings I attended the last couple of weekends. As I raved before, both were fabulous and each unique in its own way. One of the major differences between the weddings was the ceremony itself: one was a "civil" ceremony and one was a religious, more spiritual ceremony.

To give a frame of reference, the civil ceremonies can somewhat be equated to the majority of ceremonies we attend in the States (or at least in California). Many times, a couple's close friend receives special permission from the State/County/Gov't Entity to marry the couple on that particular day. That's how my friend Amanda did it with her husband, as well as my friend Corey. If not this exactly, definitely something similar. There's also the option to have a government officiant marry the couple "with the power granted to [them] by the State of XYZ." These ceremonies may seem cold and rigid but that's because you most likely have no idea what a civil ceremony in Chile is like. At least in the States, the couple is encouraged to state their own vows, tell one another the reason they are so in love and so sure that he/she is the one for him/her. Mucho romantico! All the legal jargon is taken care of in the States alongside the romantic jargon that the couple deserves to share. Love it!

In Chile, the civil ceremony is, in two words, a nightmare. But the thing is, the couple has NO CHOICE. If you're lucky - yes, LUCKY - you will get an officiant who will allow you to state short vows. But the majority of the time, the officiants are annoyed that they have to be there in the first place, could care less that the wedding day is UBER important for both people getting married, and basically acts like a prima donna who's doing you a favor with his/her mere presence!

Our experience so far with the officiant has been less than stellar. In fact, when G first made the trek down to the city hall of the town where we're getting married, the officiant straight up told him that no, she no longer did evening weddings because it interfered with her life and why didn't we consider moving the wedding time to before 1 pm? I swear the b*tch said this. As if my wedding would EVER revolve around a grumpy old woman from the middle of BFE Chile! My reaction would have gotten us nowhere and thankfully I wasn't there when she said this. My wonderful husband-to-be is a TOP NOTCH schmoozer and not only did he get this b*tch face to ok the 6 pm ceremony but also agreed to do it on site. Mad props to G!!

On the other hand, when someone has a religious ceremony, it's exactly as you see in the movies. The priest/pastor/rabbi/what-have-you marries you in a church/temple/again what-have-you, says spiritual things about the sanctity of marriage and marries the couple under God. Yes, the couple also has to do the civil part as mentioned above, but this is usually done the day before, either alone or with close family friends. The wedding itself, with party, reception and all is done via the Church because this is when Catholics consider themselves to be TRULY married.

Since I'm Catholic and so is G (along with about 98% of Chile) I'm going to refer to a Catholic ceremony from here on out. The couple who marries in the Church, marries after going through a series of "classes" to prepare for the sacrament of Marriage. For those who don't know, the Catholic Church has Seven Holy Sacraments which are: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist), Confession (also known as Penance or Reconciliation), Marriage, Holy Orders (becoming a person of God such as a Priest), and Anointing of the Sick (a rite done by an ordained priest or above). As a Catholic "ordinary" person, from the list above, I've gone through almost all the Sacraments I can achieve without being a "holy vessel" of God. Marriage is the final one since I've completed all of the above, as required, by the Catholic Church.

But I can't receive/go through the Sacrament of Marriage.

The reason is simple and though I fully accept it, I can still state and write that it's a thorn in my side. G was married before and was so via the Catholic Church. This means that he can NEVER again marry in the Catholic Church because he is already considered "married" in the eyes of God and also because, of course, the Catholic Church doesn't believe in divorce. In fact, because Chile is a Catholic country, in 2004 Chile became one of the last countries in the world to grant married couples the right to divorce. 2004!!! I mean, that was like yesterday!!

Three things make me sad about not having a Catholic wedding: 1) the Priest actually blesses the couple and blesses the rings. God is thoroughly mentioned as being present in the union and further, APPROVING the union. 2) the fact that the Priest says something to the like of "What God has joined together, let no man separate," tugs at the heart strings. Does that mean that God sees the previous marriage as real and ours as fake? 3) Though to some, maybe to many, this may seem ridiculous but I was raised Catholic. Though I am not as devout as perhaps I should be (I haven't been to Mass in eons), I pray almost every night and thoroughly believe in God and the fundamental teachings of the Catholic faith (not all, but most).

And G knows that this is important to me and God love him, one of the times he was in the dinky little town where we're getting married to take care of the civil business, he stopped by the Church to talk to the Priest to see if he would at the VERY LEAST bless our rings ... and sadly, the Priest said no.

So what can I take away from all of the above?
First and foremost, I am in love and completely adore a wonderful man who also loves and adores me right back. I also believe that just because the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church won't allow me to even have a Priest PRESENT at my wedding to say "God is with you," doesn't mean that God himself doesn't look upon us with blessings and approval. I realize this just as much as I realize that I won't be walking down the aisle with a long veil, approaching the altar to receive the Sacrament of Marriage. I can be bitter and wonder why the ex gets to have married him in a Church and I can't but I've felt that before and it's a useless feeling. Besides it never lasts look, one moment with G and it doesn't matter anymore. He's with me now, he chose me and I chose him back.

The Priests don't want to bless us but that's ok -- we're already blessed. We feel it together, in our hearts, in our home and in every second of our story together.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010


One month...and counting

It's March 17th. And yeah, it's St. Patrick's Day too but it's also officially one month until my wedding. When did THAT happen? You know, it's totally cramping my anti-bride style to have this wedding sneak up on us the way it has.

Ah, but the one thing that has propelled me to whittle away at the planning is a friend's wedding. Or actually two friend's weddings.

I arrived in Chile last July and my friends Emily and Sarah were both engaged and planning their March 2010 nuptials. In the beginning they were just two girls, nice girls, I had met who were planning on getting married. Cool, I could relate. Then as the months passed and we hung out more and more, their wedding and my wedding were always a focal point of discussion. "What does your dress look like?" "Did you find a hair and make up person?" "What was the name of that videographer you found?" "Oh - I got your invite! I love it!" Other friends here even planned co-bachelorette parties for the three of us, which was all kinds of a good time. As my life began to take shape here, so did my friendship with them and as such, the wedding planning paralleled and weaved in and out of our everyday encounters. So when I was there to actually WITNESS their marriage and see everything they had worked hard on planning (in terms of the actual event) it meant a lot more to me than I had previously imagined.

And both Emily and Sarah, were stunning brides.

I have to say, the good thing about being the last of the three to get married is that I have had two weddings to learn from and to get ideas from. In fact, just from attending Sarah and Pipe's wedding, G and I completely shifted around the actual setting of where dinner was going to originally be held. All three of us are using the same photographer and hair/make up guy and based on what I've seen with Emily and Sarah - me likey!!! And it also confirmed for me all the beliefs I had about brides: it's our day to shine, to be happy, to be nervous, to be pampered and to feel like the center of the universe next to our husbands.

So that's my wedding wrap up on those I've attended in the last two weeks (yes, do the math... back to back wedding weekends!) Two very enthusiastic thumbs up! Fine holiday fun!

And I'm left looking around asking "Ok, who's next? Where am I off to now?"

Oh. It's me. :o)

All righty then let's bullet point the list of accomplishments thus far:

- we have a theme (It's a surprise for now but will blog about it post event.)
- we've sent about 95% of the invites
- we've registered for gifts at Falabella
- I've had one dress fitting, will have the second one in the coming week
- have bouquets
- have shoes and jewelry
- tasted our food choices and reserved the cake (yum and yum!)
- figured out our table names/descriptions
- have sent the "guest book" to be made (not the traditional guest book, mind you)
- have my hair accessories
- had first meeting with our fab-u day-of coordinator (the good news is that she's organized and totally gets our style! The bad news, she's more organized than we are! But that's good too!)
- oh and picked out the music for the main 'events' of the wedding

Absolute need-to-do's:
- confirm the tent size, price and layout
- confirm the music with Band/DJ
- confirm random shiz-nat which are far too many to write here but just know that we have exactly one month to get all our ducks in a row and right now it feels like these dumb ducks aren't ducks but rather, wriggly little pigs that are running away from us. In other words, chaotic.

Oh but who cares?
We're almost there!!
And let me tell you - it will ROCK!


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Five more minutes & a blog post later

When I lived in the U.S. and used to wonder when and if I'd get married, I worried that the majority of my family wouldn't be able to make it to the iconic event (iconic in my life, that is.) After all, I'm by NO MEANS from a wealthy family and most of my relatives are lower-middle class who can thankfully afford to live their everyday lives but who unfortunately can't afford to live beyond that. Meaning, had I lived in the States, they most likely would not have been able to attend my wedding there.

Now that I'm in Chile, I'm seeing another side of this coin materialize. I'm going to get married without ANY of my good friends present. I'm serious. Zero. I'm talking college friends, post-college friends, best friend, family friends who are like blood relatives and those who have known me (and vice) versa since I arrived in the U.S. back in 1980 when I was 3 years old. Not one of them will be present on April 17th when I finally get married to the awesome guy I get to love forever more.

In short, I'm sad.

I'm not saying this in a "woe-is-me" fashion but in a very matter-of-fact kind of way. It saddens me that my closest friends won't be here and that I can't share this wonderful day with them. And while I'm not the first bride who isn't going to have everyone she cares about present (hello - I've had to miss many weddings of people I consider myself very close to), I do think (perhaps incorrectly) that most brides have at least SOME of their friends present, if they can't have them all. In my case, NONE of my U.S. friends will be there. So I'm here writing about it, as I drink a glass of vino, and in about five more minutes, I'll move on from this sad realization and carry on with all that's good about my wedding and life. That's all I'm giving myself, people. This blog entry and five more minutes to feel sad about it.

The fact of the matter is that none of my friends are purposely NOT attending my wedding. There is so much that comes into play when a friend chooses to get married outside city limits. First, it's time. Their time is as valuable as mine and of course coming to Chile automatically means at least 4-5 days of their time that they have to peace out from their lives. They might have a whole lot going on that just doesn't allow for that kind of check out from their every day. I completely get that. Then there's the earthquake. If there was anyone who was remotely considering coming down, the earthquake and all they hear about it on tv surely deterred them from acting on travel down to Chile. Finally, the all-encompassing issue about money. We all get that. I get that completely! One of my close family friends got married in Scotland and I wanted to cry when I couldn't attend!! Why? Money of course! A ticket to Scotland, hotel in Scotland, food and other miscellaneous outings would have put my cost for that wedding upwards of US$2,000. At that point in my life, I just couldn't do it even though there was nothing I wanted more than to see this person get married.

Cognitively I completely understand all of the above. Further, I've been on that end before and have lamented not being able to attend a couple of very important weddings. Logistically I TOTALLY get the reasons why travel to Chile is short of impossible at this point in time. In fact, it used to be that I was going to get married over Thanksgiving holiday this year. Then G and I decided "Why wait?" I know for sure that the change from November to April threw a good handful of people off. People who might have otherwise attended.

But I'm still sad (for the remainder of this blog entry plus five more minutes.)

For a second I even thought about doing a type of "reception" or "party" in the States in June when I'll be there for work. But then I thought "Why?" My wedding is in April and that's when I'm going to celebrate it. Yes, I'm sad that people who are very important to me can't attend, but that's just how the cookie crumbles. I'm not going to do one thing after another just because they can't come down here. My wedding is April 17th 2010 - that's how it will stay.

Alas - life goes on. And my life, in light of recent events here in Chile, gives me little reason to complain. I'm fortunate through and through. I've met great people here and I'm happy to know they will be there when I get married. After all, my life is here now and they get to embark on that new part of my life WITH me. I'll be happy to look around and see their faces - I really, really will be. And my family will be there, not all of them, but the ones who matter most to me, will absolutely be there. How awesome is that?? Two of the three family members I have who still live in the U.S. will be traveling down to be with me - how can I complain?

It's all good in the hood. I'm just a wee bit sad to think of my special friends who won't be here ... but starting now, that sadness is fleeting ... five more minutes and it's gone.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Big Pictures - Extent of Earthquake

My cousin had this link on his Facebook page and for some reason looking at these images just really made me realize THAT MUCH MORE the extent of this earthquake. There are images from Santiago that I had no idea existed ... areas where the earthquake really did do damage.

And once again, all I can do is thank God for how lucky we are ... the Santiago pics are things I haven't seen around me at all. Thankfully where we live, this is not what we see when we step out the door.



Monday, March 1, 2010


Deviation (from the chaos) post

Just a quick post not related to the EQ and the stress it's causing (to say the least) both here at home and in the country, I thought I'd share some pics of Obi's life with us ... he's too cute for color tv!! (though I myself will call myself out in that he drives me nuts, puppies can be a pain in the behind and the allergies I have to him have me at wit's end.) Other than that, j'adore our bulldog.

Obi coming home

Obi's first car ride

First night at home with us

Little nugget

Sleeping ...

Hanging out with me...

Little paws ...

In his toy basket ...(trying to get his toys, he found himself inside)

Looking oh-so-cute on the pillow my mom made for him

We got some great pictures yesterday afternoon of Obi running around the grass in our building's backyard ... so great because he runs sideways, like a crab! I'll post at some point. For now, just thought I'd lighten up the blog posting ... note that at this very second, I'm having a "my dog annoys me" moment so I need to hurry up and post this!!!


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