No country for the anal-retentive

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hlf2888
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No country for the anal-retentive

Post by hlf2888 » Sun May 20, 2012 12:39 pm

All illusion of being in control and life having a sense of order is quickly dissolving into a vaporous memory of that magnificent self-delusion, now that I am actually living in this country. The illusion of control and order was so much easier to maintain in Canada.

For example, the totally dysfunctional mindset of businesses. Long line up in the express line of a large grocery store, perhaps 30 people. Other cashiers with equally long lines but no express designation. So, of course, I get at the end of the express line. First person in the express line has a problem with her card. Instead of directing her to another place and resolving the problem, the management lets the whole line of people stand for 47 minutes and wait until it this one card issue is resolved. Nobody else timed the wait… but I did. :)


And assuming a store has a bathroom is a very bad assumption. And also is assuming that it works or there is toilet paper. So many assumptions are proven insubstantial here.

Here no matter how prompt you are for an appointment, the other person arrives when they get there… and not a minute (or day) sooner.


I clean the small fenced yard of the rental house every day before I leave and every day while I am gone, neighbourhood dogs come in through the bars and poop in the yard. They have the whole street to poop on, but instead, they squeeze through the bars and poop in the yard. Why… because it is cleaner? :roll:

Driving, being super cautious, following the speed limit and before turning left, using the left turn signal with ample notice to all that I am turning left. The idiot behind me thought I was going too slow and decided to pass me on the left when I was turning left. I was able to stop in time and learn not to assume once again.

Noise.. now there is another perk of living here. Every restaurant has a television going with the volume really high and the program is chosen by the waitress… usually a soap opera or movie. The cacophony of people shouting above the television to make themselves heard to their dinner guests and the sounds of bullets or whining women on the television add to the delightful ambiance of the restaurant. Nobody suggests that the volume be lowered. We have, but we are the only ones who have. And chair comfort is not on the menu. One almost has to bring a pillow to sit on.

More noise… there is a neurotic dog on my street who barks incessantly. Well, probably not neurotic, probably hates his miserable life, locked in a yard outside with no creature comforts. He barks for hours at a time. I try to talk to him when I walk by… he just barks. Nobody on my street is bothered by this. Why am I?

Food. Our desire for green salads is regarded with humor by restaurant staff. They deliver a bit of dead white lettuce and slices of anemic tomato and call it a salad. My mother and I have started bringing our own salad ingredients to the restaurant and adding them to their version of a salad. They allow us this strange custom and regard us as quirky extrajaneros.


The food is quite dull, meat and potatoes or chicken and potatoes at every meal and way too salty. Why are we eating in restaurants? I had postponed buying kitchen appliances because I thought the house in the country that I am buying would be ready and I wouldn’t have to move the appliances into the rental house and then into the permanent house. Another illusion, the two weeks of preparation time for the house in the country has been extended to 2 months. Perhaps 2 months. So now am looking for kitchen appliances to make meals at home.

And the smoke. The putrid smell of ovens making bricks permeated the air in April. Now the those ovens have stopped and the acrid smell of smoke from neighbour’s chimneys gently floats into any open window and one has to breathe this toxic air, or keep the windows shut and breathe the stale air. To get around this, I wake up in the middle of the night when the woodstoves have burnt down and there is very little smoke, open all the windows for a precious hour of clean air and shut them again before the stoves are restocked.

Okay, why am I here? There is much beauty of spirit and magnificence of nature… but that will be the subject of another post. For now, the plan is to stay a year, and make a decision after the year whether I can handle the chaos with the beauty. The purpose of this post is to warn those with anal-retentive tendencies that this country will be hard on their finely honed neurosis.

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Red
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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by Red » Sun May 20, 2012 12:57 pm

If you're a guy, px wants to have a beer with you. If you're a woman, he wants to marry you.
"Don't believe them; don't fear them; don't ask anything of them"

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JHyre
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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by JHyre » Sun May 20, 2012 1:06 pm

Ooooooh boy, it'll be like an AA meeting. "My name is PX. I can't quit Chile. I still converse with Chileans. Help me."

Still, not a bad warning for the anal, or God forbid, OCD types. Chile will in fact drive you nuts(er). You will either learn to take things in stride, relax a lo Latino, roll with it and laugh, perhaps create your own little anal sanctum ("living room" for lesser sorts)....or you will blow a gasket and take the Dirt Nap. Good luck!

A few thoughts:

1) Pick better restaurants. Of course they cost more. As do many things in Chile. Want cheap? Move to Peru or Ecuador.

2) Use the nana. Have her shop for you - your time is worth more than hers. Get receipts. She'll take her time and pad the hours a bit, it's OK, because you are not paying her very well by your standards.

3) Use the nana. Have her cook for you. I have had a ball teaching our nana to cook tapas, mafia-style Italian is next on the list, and she loves it. A little gift here & there helps. Try a German chef knife brought from States, gift-wrapped and presented in front of others with compliments on her cooking, along with a penny so she knows you are not "cutting the relationship". Why go out, when it takes effort? Restaurant on the balcony works for me. Otravers is my hero in this regard. The French cannot bear bad food, he taught his nana well. Which is why you should eat as many lunches at his place as possible.

4) Drive as little as possible. I like collectivos & micros. Allows for fascinating discussions with locals. When I am not in a social mood (happens a lot), I plug in the MP3 and read. Reading helps distract you from the potentially fatal consequences of whatever the driver is/is not doing.

5) Drink. The wine is cheap for a reason.

John Hyre

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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by admin » Sun May 20, 2012 1:15 pm

reads like you are just copy and pasting from Px. :lol:
hlf2888 wrote:All illusion of being in control and life having a sense of order is quickly dissolving into a vaporous memory of that magnificent self-delusion, now that I am actually living in this country. The illusion of control and order was so much easier to maintain in Canada.

For example, the totally dysfunctional mindset of businesses. Long line up in the express line of a large grocery store, perhaps 30 people. Other cashiers with equally long lines but no express designation. So, of course, I get at the end of the express line. First person in the express line has a problem with her card. Instead of directing her to another place and resolving the problem, the management lets the whole line of people stand for 47 minutes and wait until it this one card issue is resolved. Nobody else timed the wait… but I did. :)

I call that an opportunity to make a lot of money


And assuming a store has a bathroom is a very bad assumption. And also is assuming that it works or there is toilet paper. So many assumptions are proven insubstantial here.

Your really assuming too much.

Here no matter how prompt you are for an appointment, the other person arrives when they get there… and not a minute (or day) sooner.

It is considered bad manners to be early in Chile, because the other person is not ready for you.

I clean the small fenced yard of the rental house every day before I leave and every day while I am gone, neighbourhood dogs come in through the bars and poop in the yard. They have the whole street to poop on, but instead, they squeeze through the bars and poop in the yard. Why… because it is cleaner? :roll:

They have the same bathroom as you at the stores. Just imagine how many people would come in to the stores, if word got out they had a bathroom that was clean, worked, and had toilet paper. So, they keep it really dirty to discourage use.


Driving, being super cautious, following the speed limit and before turning left, using the left turn signal with ample notice to all that I am turning left. The idiot behind me thought I was going too slow and decided to pass me on the left when I was turning left. I was able to stop in time and learn not to assume once again.

You are assuming the laws of man trump the laws of physics.

Noise.. now there is another perk of living here. Every restaurant has a television going with the volume really high and the program is chosen by the waitress… usually a soap opera or movie. The cacophony of people shouting above the television to make themselves heard to their dinner guests and the sounds of bullets or whining women on the television add to the delightful ambiance of the restaurant. Nobody suggests that the volume be lowered. We have, but we are the only ones who have. And chair comfort is not on the menu. One almost has to bring a pillow to sit on.

More noise… there is a neurotic dog on my street who barks incessantly. Well, probably not neurotic, probably hates his miserable life, locked in a yard outside with no creature comforts. He barks for hours at a time. I try to talk to him when I walk by… he just barks. Nobody on my street is bothered by this. Why am I?

Annoying noise is mostly generated by proximity to people and urban areas in Chile. Stay away from them.

Food. Our desire for green salads is regarded with humor by restaurant staff. They deliver a bit of dead white lettuce and slices of anemic tomato and call it a salad. My mother and I have started bringing our own salad ingredients to the restaurant and adding them to their version of a salad. They allow us this strange custom and regard us as quirky extrajaneros.


The food is quite dull, meat and potatoes or chicken and potatoes at every meal and way too salty. Why are we eating in restaurants?

Don't eat in traditional Chilean restaurants. After a while you develop a radar for restaurants that serve crap food, have crap service, and generally just crap in the kitchen. If it looks bad, it probably is bad. I have never been in 3/4 of the restaurants in the town where i live, and don't need to to know they have crap. That applies to a whole mess of things in Chile, and once you develop a working annoyance radar, that is when you start to really enjoy the country. It is like seeing and avoiding pot holes in the road, before they make your ride uncomfortable. Your car could take the bump, but you drive around them anyway for a smoother ride


I had postponed buying kitchen appliances because I thought the house in the country that I am buying would be ready and I wouldn’t have to move the appliances into the rental house and then into the permanent house. Another illusion, the two weeks of preparation time for the house in the country has been extended to 2 months. Perhaps 2 months. So now am looking for kitchen appliances to make meals at home.

Seriously? 2 weeks? you obviously are not reading the forum as much as you should.


And the smoke. The putrid smell of ovens making bricks permeated the air in April. Now the those ovens have stopped and the acrid smell of smoke from neighbour’s chimneys gently floats into any open window and one has to breathe this toxic air, or keep the windows shut and breathe the stale air. To get around this, I wake up in the middle of the night when the woodstoves have burnt down and there is very little smoke, open all the windows for a precious hour of clean air and shut them again before the stoves are restocked.

pay attention to wind patterns in Chile, when deciding where to live. Bad winds will tear the paint of your house and generally keep an uninsulated leaky house here forever cold. Good winds will keep the contamination away.

Okay, why am I here? There is much beauty of spirit and magnificence of nature… but that will be the subject of another post. For now, the plan is to stay a year, and make a decision after the year whether I can handle the chaos with the beauty. The purpose of this post is to warn those with anal-retentive tendencies that this country will be hard on their finely honed neurosis.
We consider that built in bullshit protectors. The type-A anal-retentive will either learn to relax and adapt, or go away.

Sounds like you are doing o.k.
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hlf2888
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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by hlf2888 » Sun May 20, 2012 1:47 pm

Red : ha
Px : read them all, dismissed much as hyperbole of bored, pampered expats needing to vent.
JH: nutser would be accurate
Admin: Like Thoreau, I have considered myself as a self-appointed inspector of snow-storms and rain storms and have now added student of wind patterns to the curriculum.

john
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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by john » Sun May 20, 2012 8:52 pm

JHyre wrote:Ooooooh boy, it'll be like an AA meeting. "My name is PX. I can't quit Chile. I still converse with Chileans. Help me."

Still, not a bad warning for the anal, or God forbid, OCD types. Chile will in fact drive you nuts(er). You will either learn to take things in stride, relax a lo Latino, roll with it and laugh, perhaps create your own little anal sanctum ("living room" for lesser sorts)....or you will blow a gasket and take the Dirt Nap. Good luck!

A few thoughts:

1) Pick better restaurants. Of course they cost more. As do many things in Chile. Want cheap? Move to Peru or Ecuador.

2) Use the nana. Have her shop for you - your time is worth more than hers. Get receipts. She'll take her time and pad the hours a bit, it's OK, because you are not paying her very well by your standards.

3) Use the nana. Have her cook for you. I have had a ball teaching our nana to cook tapas, mafia-style Italian is next on the list, and she loves it. A little gift here & there helps. Try a German chef knife brought from States, gift-wrapped and presented in front of others with compliments on her cooking, along with a penny so she knows you are not "cutting the relationship". Why go out, when it takes effort? Restaurant on the balcony works for me. Otravers is my hero in this regard. The French cannot bear bad food, he taught his nana well. Which is why you should eat as many lunches at his place as possible.

4) Drive as little as possible. I like collectivos & micros. Allows for fascinating discussions with locals. When I am not in a social mood (happens a lot), I plug in the MP3 and read. Reading helps distract you from the potentially fatal consequences of whatever the driver is/is not doing.

5) Drink. The wine is cheap for a reason.

John Hyre
Wow! I had no idea that you and I are of a similar mind on these matters. :o 8) Me thinks it's the water in the Ohio (Bev. Hills) 'burb you live in. :wink:
P.S.
Currently enjoying exquisite food here in San Francisco, but would relish the opportunity to have lunch at Otravers' house when I return to Vina at the beginning of June. :)
One must care about a world one will not see.
--- Bertrand Russell

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JHyre
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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by JHyre » Sun May 20, 2012 9:40 pm

You and Otravers having a political talk - that is something I would pay to see. And of course all while stealing food from your plates when you are distracted. When in Rome....

John Hyre

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sandrab
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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by sandrab » Sun May 20, 2012 10:08 pm

JHyre wrote:Ooooooh boy, it'll be like an AA meeting. "My name is PX. I can't quit Chile. I still converse with Chileans. Help me."

Still, not a bad warning for the anal, or God forbid, OCD types. Chile will in fact drive you nuts(er). You will either learn to take things in stride, relax a lo Latino, roll with it and laugh, perhaps create your own little anal sanctum ("living room" for lesser sorts)....or you will blow a gasket and take the Dirt Nap. Good luck!

A few thoughts:

1) Pick better restaurants. Of course they cost more. As do many things in Chile. Want cheap? Move to Peru or Ecuador.

2) Use the nana. Have her shop for you - your time is worth more than hers. Get receipts. She'll take her time and pad the hours a bit, it's OK, because you are not paying her very well by your standards.

3) Use the nana. Have her cook for you. I have had a ball teaching our nana to cook tapas, mafia-style Italian is next on the list, and she loves it. A little gift here & there helps. Try a German chef knife brought from States, gift-wrapped and presented in front of others with compliments on her cooking, along with a penny so she knows you are not "cutting the relationship". Why go out, when it takes effort? Restaurant on the balcony works for me. Otravers is my hero in this regard. The French cannot bear bad food, he taught his nana well. Which is why you should eat as many lunches at his place as possible.

4) Drive as little as possible. I like collectivos & micros. Allows for fascinating discussions with locals. When I am not in a social mood (happens a lot), I plug in the MP3 and read. Reading helps distract you from the potentially fatal consequences of whatever the driver is/is not doing.

5) Drink. The wine is cheap for a reason.

John Hyre
Lol number 4 made me spit out my coffee too true jajaja

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sandrab
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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by sandrab » Sun May 20, 2012 10:43 pm

^^^^^ holy crap !!!

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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by Andres » Mon May 21, 2012 2:02 am

hlf2888 wrote:Driving, being super cautious, following the speed limit and before turning left, using the left turn signal with ample notice to all that I am turning left. The idiot behind me thought I was going too slow and decided to pass me on the left when I was turning left.
A common occurrence. On Friday night, the only reason I was not killed by a guy going ~80kph on a 60kph residential road doing that was because I was waiting for someone wearing dark clothes at night riding a bicycle with no lights, no hands on handlebars, no helmet and talking on a mobile phone to pass me on the other side before turning. The presence of one idiot saved me from being killed by a second idiot.

Tonight we had numerous drivers passing us at 140kph to 150kph while driving from La Ligua to Santiago where the maximum posted is usually either 120kph or 100kph.

Defensive driving takes on a whole new meaning here.

Its a pity the Law of Natural Deselection is not more powerful.
Chile: My expectations are low. Very low.
I accept chaos. I'm not sure whether it accepts me.

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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by brian.usa » Mon May 21, 2012 1:10 pm

Patagoniax, I'd like to have a beer with you when your in Santiago! LOL

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Re: No country for the anal-retentive

Post by California South » Mon May 21, 2012 1:17 pm

OP, I'm with you in the A-R camp. Some club, eh?
After living in another S. American country a few years ago, Chile is paradise.
The "lower your expectations" thing is absolutely key to living here in peace. We did, and realized it's not as bad as we thought it would be. All the items you noted are annoying, some way more than others, but compared to the U.S., not important at all. Minor items of adjustment, with excellent suggestions noted in this thread.
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