We’ve mentioned how everything in Chile seems to be a multistep process. Even going to the grocery store requires parking in a deck and getting a time stamped ticket. They you have your temperature taken and hands sanitized before entry. You complete your shopping, sometimes having items unlocked or brought to you. Sunscreen and makeup are kept in a lock box. You interact in several ways with the cashier at check out. Bag your own groceries – in your own bags that you remembered to bring. You pay for your parking in the store before you exit, and you scan your receipt. You then scan your parking ticket on exiting the lot. We still don’t know yet how to pay the tolls we’re accumulating when we drive the highway to some stores.
Everything seems to be this way. And if you don’t know about it before hand, you can get caught in a pickle just like Mark and I did when buying our bikes.
The entry requirements for Chile alone were complicated. I was by chance told to check out the Discover Chile facebook page, and I’m so glad I did. There are so many up to date, helpful posts about all kinds of things there. I’ve received guidance for everything from potential schooling options, the latest entry requirements, what to pack from the US that I will want but not be able to get the exact same option here in Chile (mostly medicines), where to track down 3×5 index cards for flashcards (they don’t have them here), and if anyone was selling bicycles or a crockpot. The list goes on. Sure there’s the same strange, occasional ramblings of any large facebook group, but it’s still a wealth of knowledge.
Our Santiago Community Church has been so wonderful for hiking suggestions, a violin teacher for Wilson, where to find obscure school supplies, and just overall guidance to living in Santiago. Last week, the most lovely woman handed me a little bag with a treat (sort of like Oreos) for the kids, a brand of actually good dark chocolate, some different teas, candles, and what she called the best protein bar they sell here. She insisted that she had tried them all and these were indeed the best. She asked me about our families interests, and she connected me with several people who seem to be good resources for music and dance classes. Almost all extracurriculars are done through schools here, so the options for kids activities are pretty limited for Jane and Wilson. She even went as far as emailing a friend who worked at a local private school to inquire if my kids could pay to do after school activities there. The answer was no, but how nice was that?
She also connected me to a whatsapp group called “gringo spouses”, which is just what it states: a group of spouses that are married to Chileans. They nicely let me into the group and I’ve already been invited to an English book exchange! They also meet occasionally for hikes and other outings and have been very informative (earthquake info) and welcoming.
It’s these interactions that help restore my faith in humanity. The willingness to connect and help each other reminds me to do the same for others in all areas in my life. I’m so grateful for these virtual and in person communities on this journey.