Sky as a Kite

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Community spirit

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In my new neighbourhood there is a printed out sign hanging on many houses, which reads:

Cuidado la casa de mi vecino.

I guard my neighbours house

It has been said that the experience under Pinochet and the embrace of a market based ideology
has led to a social coldness in Chilean society. I can not speak for the overall political climate, only for my own experiences.

I spent a lot of time selling bread and knitwear on the street. There was a community spirit among us street vendors, we would watch each other stands while one person went on coffee runs. Goods and even money was left open on the street and we would warn each other of the police, who sometimes felt they had to show their authority by chasing us away.
Even when sitting next to another lady selling knitwear, rather than seeing me as competition we would exchange recipes and she even randomly gave me a ball of wool as a present.

One afternoon the local homeless drunk person begged a pedestrian a little bit to aggressively, who lightly pushed him. Unfortunately due to his intoxication the homeless man lost balance and fell over. His head landed with a big clonk on the sidewalk. Immediately all the street vendors around sprang into action, berating the guy who had pushed him and checking if he was ok. They tried to call an ambulance, but the homeless man was protesting. In the end they helped sit him up and he saw his chance for "borrowing" a cigarette.
Pedestrians walking by and seeing him sitting on the ground stopped to ask if everything was ok, in the end he retired to a bench to smoke his ciggy in peace.

Posted on - Categories: Valpo

Sparkling wine interruption

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I wanted to write a blog post about the 5% rule, government stability and the craziness happening in the USA after a theory I spun yesterday with the help of Margaritas.
I went to my favourite café here in Valpo, Vive Café, I like them because they have Belgium Waffles with cream and strawberries, which is one of my favourite food and they have an amazing view.
While here the nice owner, who is from Belgium, has lived in Aachen treated me to a glass of sparkling wine, which means I'm now slightly tipsy and therefor any chance of a serious blogpost has been rendered improbable.
Posted on - Categories: Valpo

All I wanted was pasta and a beer!

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Yesterday I went out to buy some Parmesan for my pasta, the obligatory cookies and a beer. Then I noticed that I was 150 pesos short in the shop. This was a hard choice, cheese, chocolate or beer what to give up. I decided I can do without the beer, but the shop owner, after witnessing the silent epic emotional struggle leading up to that decision decided to let me have the beer anyway.
My emotional turmoils were not over for this evening however. Coming home hungry I turned on the stove, the gas flame flickered pathetically for two minutes and died. We were out of gas. I informed Marie and we tried to alert the building manager, who was not home. Due to previous frustrating encounters with my landlord (his sister) I had planned to avoid meeting him until I moved out.
I went to get a kebab and when I came back Marie had talked to the manager, who had agreed to call for gas. In the middle of my beer sans pasta I got the inevitable call from the landlady refusing to pay for gas, as we were using it up too quickly in her opinion.
I passed the phone to Marie, who was talking to the building manager in the kitchen. After some guessing on what could have happened with the gas I was surprised to have him back us up. He agreed that there we were not to blame on the mysterious vanishing on the gas and this morning a new gas tank had appeared.
I guess our landlady is going to complain for the next few months about having to pay for it, but this is not going to be my problem anymore.
I'm just glad for Marie that her brother agrees that she is being ridiculous.
Posted on - Categories: Valpo

Still here

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Erin is gone and I should have time now to write more posts, but I have been knitting diligently as I was close to running out of gloves to sell. (Un)fortunately when I set down my stall today the just finished gloves where ripped out of my hands, which means a) I had money for a nice bottle of wine and b) that I spent another evening knitting. Anyway, tomorrow I should finally release a beta version of version2 of the blog *proud*, and sometime this week there will be posts on the travel blog about Erin's and my journey, highlights include us sitting in a wooden boat on the pacific with Orcas playing around us and me not throwing up.

I'm currently all alone in the flat , yesterday the guy who always randomly shows up showed up to clean the apartment as someone was coming to look at a room, but they didn't. But I have a clean kitchen now, so no complains. Sra Luz also happened across my small and beloved electric heater, which means now there is a paper with house rules on the wall forbidding the use of electric heaters, which I make a point of ignoring.
There is still the possibility of Spiderman becoming my new flatmate.

A phone call for lessons

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The other day I got a phone call, a person asking for lessons. I was very exited, maybe my first German student, ever! The conversation was difficult, there seemed to be several things lost in translation, I finally asked him when he would like to start and he said right away. I was a bit confused and asked if he were anywhere close to Cerro Alegre, which seemed to confuse him. He asked where I was based and I named Cerro Alegre again, then my street, then the name of the plaza at the end of my street. He seemed to not know any of them, which is a bit weird as they are well known places in Valparaiso. We spent a few minutes being confused with each other, until he thought of asking me in which town I live. I said Valpo, he lives in Atacama desert. Strange. Even stranger was that he was not calling for German lessons at all. He seemed to be as confused about the whole thing as I was, therefore I don't think it was a prank on his side. Is someone using my phone number for questionable purposes? Did he miss-dial? I did distribute my phone number in Valpo when I advertised for German lessons, it is also available on the internet, but this is the only call I have gotten. Now I decided to keep my phone number open on my blog, just to see what might happen...
Posted on - Categories: Valpo

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