Tuesday, July 31, 2007

An Ordinary Life but with Pasta Muro

Look, no big hole in the front yard!

For those of you that expected to read fascinating experiences about my life in Chile, it occurs to me that you may be disappointed. My sister asked what my days are like and I gave that some thought. My days are surprisingly ordinary in many ways. We never use an alarm-I love that. We get up, have some coffee, turn on BBC, check the web for news and open our email. Generally, we then drive out to Pirque and work on the house. That depends on whatever needs to be done that day. We recently started our pasta muro project, which is a coating for the interior cement walls before paint. Three thin layers are apparently recommended. Pasta muro is similar to joint compound and dries to a plaster-like texture. So, we have been trying to emulate maestro Tio Victor's style as best we can, but very slowly and with more of a mess! It's quite a workout for the arms and wrists, I must say. So much cheaper than a health club.

Our days will revolve around construction for some time yet. There are rainy days at times, although those are dwindling as Spring approaches. The seasons are still confusing to me. I've been told that September or October is Spring, yet this is the time to plant fruit trees! It seems that you have a very short, mild winter but hard to pin down down times for seasons or planting. Maybe I'll make my own gardening in Chile calendar, like those in the US that tell you what day to plant everything! The guy in the parcela(land) next door has a crop of lettuce and this is still winter, so you see my problem. There is basic difficulty in becoming un-regimented since that's what we've done all our lives. Sure, some of that is easy but the whole day?
We try to utilize rainy days for shopping for materials and supplies at Home Center, which gets us out of the house as well as curb the frustration we have at not being able to work on the house. Michael bought a chainsaw the other day and an English-speaking employee actually gave him her card and said to call her anytime. That will allow us to buy more there without bringing Raul along to interpret. Our Spanish skills are improving but the words become unrecognizable to us when they speak quickly(as in normally).

There is also grocery shopping. It takes a little longer if we're looking for something we haven't found before. (See my post on baking ingredients). But, we improve everytime and gradually collect new things for the cupboard.

And fruit and nut tree shopping! We hope to do that soon. Visions of lemons, oranges, tangerines, paltas(avocado), cherry, peach, apricot, almond, walnuts dance through our heads. We have a list with Spanish names for all. We also want two pineapple palms for the pond in the front yard. Although when I mentioned I liked the pineapple palms, that was thought to be a strange name for them.

There are many ordinary activities more time is spent doing that in the States. Preparing meals(from scratch), doing dishes(no dishwasher and because of the humidity, they don't air-dry!), laundry(the funny little clothes dryer takes 2 hours for a tiny load), etc, etc..

Soon, we have to get our 90-day tourist visa renewed. We can go to a government office or travel across the border to Argentina-which sounds much more fun. I'll write and post photos when that happens.
Other various activities may include practicing Spanish, reading novels, playing on the computer, playing cards, watching TV and taking a nap. Helia, Raul and Valentina come by once a week or so for 4-5 hours which includes dinner and conversation and entertainment by Valentina. And she is definitely entertaining.

So, in many ways, it's all very ordinary. But a horse and cart clip-clopping on the street outside or the unfamiliar voice of a bird reminds me it's not ordinary at all. Laura, you're not in the USA.