May 25, 2006

Itchy Feet or Homesickness?

It´s been a few weeks since I touched the blog, but tonight I find myself with some time to spare for the first time in a while. It´s been GO, GO, GO for the last while running around (in my only pair of respectable shoes) doing interviews and sitting in (like a big plant) on demonstration English classes and the like. But, at last, I am working - boring the pants off (i.e. teaching English to) executives in various companies around the city. So far, I´m enjoying it even though it´s pretty demanding. It involves a lot of hopping on and off the Metro, preparing classes and writing up reports. Also, I love the students I have. They are really lovable, and I thought I´d explode laughing when one of them gave me a little present of an alarm clock during the week. It was so nice! (and I really DID need an alarm clock...) So, all in all, it´s going well, and the Institute I work for are very pleasant to deal with and very encouraging.
Atfer all that, after happily having made up my mind to settle here for a while, two things have happened.
1) It seems that $100ish a week isnt enough to live off here in Santiago. Iif I stay, the rest of my travel kitty will be gone in a matter of a few short months. If the Institute feel that I dont suck too much at the whole teaching thing, there is always the possibility that I may get more hours...but ´taint a certainty! So...Im faced with a dilemma....Do I love Santiago enough to dwindle all my savings here and simply return home having not seen NZ, Australia, etc.....?
2) I have suddenly become the victim of a SEVERE bout of homesickness. It´s Ennio Morricone´s fault, so I´ve boycotted his music in future. I was wandering around Santiago last Sunday in super form until "that song from the Aer Lingus ad" (Gabriel´s Oboe) came on my MP3 player. As I walked, I thought nostalgically of our national carrier, it´s sad decline into low-faredom, my family´s various employment histories with the company, the beloved members of my family, our faithful dog and cat, my bed at home......(you get the picture). Since then, I have been on a major DOWNER...tearful...checking out airfares....staring for hours on end at pictures of Aer Lingus aircrafts....
However, if it came to actually booking a flight home, I´m pretty sure it´s not something I want to do yet. And so, I started thinking that maybe I just have a dose of itchy feet again. Staying too long in one place causes you to make too many comparisons with your life at home, and maybe the homesickness would be easily cured by just getting back on the road again. I have until August to get to NZ before my working visa becomes null.....and I have yet to see Buenos Aires and Rio de J. before I have completed my SA leg...
What to do......what to do.....I really dont know.
Apparently, getting work in NZ is effortless, and I could earn pretty good money there, which would fund the rest of the trip back home...
HELP!!!!!!!!! Advice/suggestions appreciated........
Confused Ev.

May 8, 2006

My First Flirt with the Law

Well, it finally happened! After four careful months of watching my back and never leaving my belongings out of my sight, my bag finally was nicked in probably the safest area I have been in yet. On the same day of my last blog entry, as I sat gassing on the phone in a very respectable looking internet cafe surrounded by suits, some fiend managed to manoeuvre it right out from under my leg. That horrible sick feeling came over me when I looked down and slowly realised that it was gone.
Luckily, I had gotten into a habit in Peru and Bolivia of never carrying more than one card with me and usually very little money. So, on this occasion, there was only my Mastercard and about the equivalent of US$3. Unfortunately, by the time I got to cancel the card it had been used in a department store, but thankfully not for a huge amount. Here in Chile, when you offer a credit card as payment you are required to show some form of photo ID, so that probably meant that the thief had trouble racking up sales on it.
There was little in the bag that cannot be replaced. What I am the most upset about is the fact that my camera was in there. Usually, I never have my camera around Santiago (mainly because I live here now and have just stopped taking photos) but this particular day I brought it with me to download the photos from the memory card. Anyway, the camera is covered by insurance, but I have lost all my photos from the last few weeks. Those, i can never get back. So, the thief got almost nothing from taking my bag, while I lost all my personal belongings (he/she will no doubt just toss those somewhere without a care).
Surprisingly, I wasnt as upset as I thought I might be in such a situation. Its more of a bother than anything else, havng to go and make a police report, source receipts for insurance claims, etc. Pain in the ass.
Ian, the owner of my hostel, very kindly came with me to the police station downtown to file a report. We were met with a boorish sullen looking tub of a guard who had ZERO sympathy for me or my loss. He looked like he positively loathed his job and sat hammering away on his keyboard, pissed at all of humanity. Ian and I beamed at him continually and in the end, he cracked a smile of sorts as we were leaving. Off we went to drown my sorrows in fits laughing at the state of him.
Today, I am back at said internet cafe with my bag welded to the chair beside me, killing time before my English teacher training begins at 3:30pm. I have 2 hours of training before I hve to give a demonstration class. I am NERVOUS! Wish me luck!