Have I been in Chile seven weeks already? How is that possible? It must be, because I feel like I’ve settled down into a normal routine. I get up, go to school, get groceries, come home (run every other day, back up to 4 miles!) and repeat the cycle. It’s summer here. I wear dresses every day – who would have thought it?? – and I am loving every minute.
Somehow, I’ve managed to put together a few things for this post. I hope you like it. On Monday, the inevitable happened. With the buses going as fast as they do, weaving in and out of traffic (no, I’m not kidding – the buses WEAVE in and out of traffic) and so many of them on the road, I’m surprised I haven’t seen one hit another yet. Well, my bus driver crashed into someone else as he was trying to make his way around the bus in front of him (really, they should all take up a yoga and meditation practice). It wasn’t a big crash, more of a glancing blow. I could not wait to see what they would do. Would he just keep going? Would there be a Chilean incident of bus driver road rage right there in front of me?
No, of course not. This must happen all the time. My bus driver jumped out, met another man who happened to be standing there with paper and pen (there often seem to be these liaison sorts of individuals at the bigger bus stops) and began speaking with the other bus driver. They took names and information, and we were off again before we knew it. It was all very exciting. Especially because I got to commiserate with the ladies sitting with me. They were talking, and of course I only caught a word here or there. So I mostly just said, “si” with these shocked eyes, and threw in “peligroso” (dangerous) and nodded in vigorous agreement that the bus drivers were all kind of crazy. It was so much fun almost communicating with them.
This almost communicating has become a theme over the past two weeks. Madison and I went shopping again this week. I’m completely changing my look while I’m here, and was keen to find a couple more outfits. The ladies in the store are so nice! And they do their best to chat with us as we try on clothes. Of course, I don’t understand most of it. They don’t hold that against us. Everyone here is so friendly, and ready to coax us through with whatever Spanish we know, it’s very encouraging. The few words I hear, the few expressions I know, and hand gestures all combine for a very fun shopping experience.
We kept trying to convince Madison that she looked great in the dresses she tried on, and that she was beautiful and she should buy it. No sale. She would not buy it. I was trying on different dresses, and could not decide. In her enthusiasm to help, the lady offered to pull the dress off the mannequin in the window so I could try a different color. This has happened twice in the same store. I have to admit, it makes it so much more fun.
I don’t feel like they’re just trying to sell me more, because they never expect me to buy more than one dress. They also don’t tell me that everything looks good on me. They will actually say that they like one dress much more than another one.
It just occurred to me that I haven’t had this much fun shopping since Mom and I used to go. I have only had the occasional shopping partner since then, and I can only think of one or two times that I had as much fun as when Mom and I used to shop. Funny, isn’t it? That I had to come all the way to Chile to remember how much fun Mom and I had.
The friendliness I’ve encountered extends to my companions on the bus. There are no surly looks from my fellow passengers. There are no people that I really don’t want to sit next to. But you could have knocked me over with a feather the first time an older gentleman got up from his seat and offered it to me. This simply does not happen at home. Maybe for an older lady, or a pregnant lady, but me? No way. The next time it happened, I was not so shocked, but instead just appreciated the courtesy I received.
This happens all the time. If there is standing room only, but an older couple, or pregnant woman, or family with children get on the bus, someone inevitably gets up and offers their seat(s). I now wait to see if someone is going to get up so I can offer my seat if needed. I never wait for more than 3 seconds. Everyone is aware, all the time. And I am constantly surprised when someone is newly courteous.
On the way home Wednesday, I had grocery bags with me, and it was standing room only. No one offered me their seat, but that was OK. By now, I was used to maintaining my balance while the bus was moving at high speeds. I feel like such a local! 😉 A lady sitting down next to me reached over and took my grocery bags and put them in her lap. I was flabbergasted. She then proceeded to ask me where I was going and that she was getting off before me and could have her seat. Would this ever happen in the U.S.? Absolutely not. Someone would only take your bags to walk off with them. I love it here. I love the open friendliness I see so often.
No cool new pictures this week, so I’m going to attach some of the wines I’ve tried so far. I’ve attempted to take pictures of all the bottles, but of course have missed a few. This is just a sampling. I’m consistently amazed at my ability to find new varieties of Carmenere to try. I’m so spoiled.