Sunday, May 27, 2012

When dogs attack, Mistaken for a Mormon, Becoming Chilean, and Grammar Answers

So about 2 weeks ago I was bitten by a dog.

It happened in Las Condes, which is a well to do neighborhood of Santiago.  I finished a class and was on the phone calling a student and passing by a woman talking with a friend and her dog, and the dog started barking at me.  Then it bit me in the back of my leg.

I looked at my ripped pants that I had only worn twice and called out to the woman.  She didn't even notice what happened until she came over. She apologized, and when I asked what she was going to do about my pants she told me she'd pay a maximum of 20.000 pesos, which is about $40.  When I told her my pants cost more than that she started saying I was taking advantage of her.

After trying to reason with her for a few minutes I gave up, telling her I didn't agree but didn't have the time to settle it then.  I got her name, ID number, and phone numbers.  I also gave her my business card.  My student was waiting for me for my next class.

So my student for my next class picks me up on the way out of his office and we then drive to my place for the class, and when he saw my ripped pants he insisted that we go to the police right away.  After 4 hours of driving around between the police station, hospital, back to the police station, and home, I was exhausted and wanted the whole ordeal to be over with.

To make a long story short, I had black and blue marks on my leg where the dog bit me and that I now have to get a series of 5 rabies shots. (Luckily it didn't draw any blood.)   I was also mistaken for a Mormon at the hospital.  (I was wearing black dress pants, a white dress shirt, and a black tie that day.)

After getting home at 11 that night I went to sleep but was waken up by a phone call at 12:30.  After filing the police report the police forgot to give me back my ID card, so I had to go get it.  I waited until the next afternoon, and after talking to multiple people in the office and being told to sit and wait I finally got it after being persistent and asking again and again (which included a half hour wait).

So what's happening with it now?  The woman was truthful and gave her real name, ID number, and phone numbers.  I'm buying new pants in the next few days and am compiling documents showing the classes I've had to cancel to get the rabies shots (on specific days between 9 and 11 in the morning) as well as the class I lost the night of the incident.  I'm going to ask her to pay me the full amount of the pants as well as my lost classes.

Here´s what the rabies shot paperwork looks like:

No matter how many times I tried, I was unable to rotate the pictures above.  To save you from craning your necks sideways here´s what the gray box says:

No olvide que usted ha sido mordido por un animal sospechoso de rabia.  La rabia siempre es mortal.  Ud. está en peligro.


Don´t forget that you´ve been bitted by an animal suspected of having rabies.  Rabies is always deadly.  You are in danger.

It's a frustrating situation, and I just want to get it settled.  I hope that she'll cooperate with me and take responsibility, but given her attitude I'm not hopeful that it will happen.

On a much happier note, I am now a permanent resident of Chile!

My letter that let me legally stay in the country for 6 months while the government processed my paperwork expired on Friday, so I went in on Tuesday to file for an extension.  While looking around I noticed a friend of mine was also there, and so after we got our numbers we got to chat and catch up.

After about an hour wait my number was called, and when I went to the desk the woman pulled out a small but official-looking document.  She gave me a half sheet to sign acknowledging I was getting the paperwork from her, and she gave me another half sheet with instructions on what to do next.

Here's what it looks like:

Looking at it, my residency was processed and approved on April 13th.  I got this on May 22nd, and I still never got the official letter in the mail that it was processed.  (Chile is notorious for taking a long time to mail out the letters to people).

I was a bit surprised that I didn't need my passport or get any type of stamp in it, but apparently my new ID card will indicate that I'm a permanent resident.  Permanent residency will allow me to get a credit card, a more comprehensive bank account, vote in elections, and pretty much do anything that Chileans can do.

I'm just a few steps away from completing the process.  I registered with the International Police and they took my photo and gave me a new registration card, and after that I went to the Civil Registry to apply for my new ID card.  Once there I found out I needed photocopies of particular documents which I didn't have at the time, and I didn't have enough time to get the copies and return to complete the process, so I decided to finish that part another day.

And I have taken another step towards becoming "Chilean".  I ate not only my first but my first AND second  completo on Friday.  For those of you who aren't aware of what they are, here's a visual aid:

What is that, you query?

Well, it's tomatoes, onions, mustard, mayonnaise, and a hot dog bun.  Oh, and under all of that is a hot dog.

I have seen plenty of completos in my time here, but I've never had the desire to eat one.  So how did I manage to eat TWO of these in one day?

I have a Friday class at lunch with a great student, and he always orders us each a sandwich from Dominó, a  famous sandwich chain in Santiago.  Instead of the usual sandwich this Friday, however, I was greeted with 2 styrofoam completo-shaped containers.

I´ll be the first to admit that I´m not the poster child for eating healthy.  I enjoy pizza, cakes, cookies, and things like that.  Seeing people eat completos at 10 in the morning (with a Coke to drink) however, makes me intestines start to cry just at the sight of what they´re doing.

So I dug in and ate them.  Some mayo and tomatoes fell off when I ate my second one.  I didn´t really enjoy it, and my intestines protested for the next 24 hours.  I don´t think I´ll ever willingly eat a completo again, but some people have told me that eating one is a key ingredient to becoming Chilean.

Last but not least, what are the answers to the grammar puzzle from my last post?

When using adverbs in English, there is not only one correct word order.  I´ve sorted them into groups with the adverbs in boldface:

Group 1  Subject Adverb Verb

Daniel sometimes takes the bus to work.

Some people always need to drink coffee in the morning.

She almost had a car accident.

Group 2 Subject Verb to be  Adverb

I am rarely sick.

They were both late to the party.

She is usually on time.

Group 3 Subject Verb 1 Adverb Verb 2 (perfect tenses, auxiliary verbs, future, and passive)

My brothers have never been to Chile.

You should always eat breakfast.

Exception 1: Sometimes can be at the beginning of the sentence.

Sometimes Daniel takes the bus to work.

Exception 2:  Probably

Subject Verb Probably

Homer is probably at Moe´s tavern.

Subject Probably Verb in Negative

Homer probably isn´t at work.

Well, that´s all for now.  It´s 10 AM and I figure I should go to Dominó to see some people feasting on completos.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The 2012 Census, a Submarine, Spanish Classes, and Adverbs

It´s mid May, and the weather has been changing slowly.  I've had flannel sheets on my bed for about 2 weeks now, and I recently changed over my comforter from my regular one to the down one.  The mornings are cold with temperatures dipping down to 40, but by mid day it has been getting up to 70 or so.  The temperature change makes it difficult to dress for the weather, at least for me.

Well, this year they're counting the people here for the census.  On some students front doors I've noticed stickers showing that they have taken the survey and answered the questions.  I was wondering if I'd get to take part in the process, and earlier this week I got the answer: Yes!

The doorman rang up to my apartment letting me know that someone would be coming around, and so I sat and waited anxiously.  After about half an hour, a woman rang the doorbell.  She wore an officially looking blue apron and carried a packet of questionnaires with her.  I stood at the door and answered a variety of questions, which included my job here (for the purpose of the survey I'm an independent contractor), asking if I have any disabilities (deaf in my right ear), the energy used in the building (I named the electricity and water companies), where I lived in April of 2007 (Lake Balboa, CA), and more obscure ones such as the materials used to construct the walls and roof of the building (I just shrugged my shoulders).

So after about 20 minutes of questioning I got my sticker!

I have it proudly displayed on the front door of my apartment.

When I was at McDonald's the other day I got a submarino.  With that being said, let me clarify two things:

1. The only reason I usually go to McDonald's is because they are located near one of my classes and have free wifi.  If I get something there it's usually just fries and a soda or some tea from the McCafe.

2. No, I didn't get a full sized submarine there.  I got a mini one.

So here's what it looked like:

You take it and submerge it in a glass of hot milk, and it eventually melts and gives you a yummy glass of hot chocolate.  Here's what it looked like before:

And after:

They actually get a bit fancy too.  In the before picture you'll notice a small cookie and glass of carbonated water to go with my order.  It was something nice for a change instead of the normal tea that I order.

Since I got back to Santiago in March I've felt like I haven't been doing much to stimulate myself intellectually (outside of preparing materials for my classes), and so I decided to start taking Spanish classes.  

Those of you that know me and my level of Spanish are probably wondering why I'm doing so.  I'm fluent and credentialed to teach it, but I still want to brush up on the finer points of grammar and improve my accent.  Besides that, it gives me something to look forward to each week.  I'm taking classes with a university student that is studying linguistics and English, and so far they are going well.  I want to really master pronunciation and be able to roll my r's like native speakers do.

To wrap up this post, I'm going to leave you with a grammar puzzle.  Here are a variety of sentences that use adverbs in them.  The adverb is in bold.  What are the rules of English to determine word order in sentences with adverbs in them?  Can you change the word order of any of these sentences and still have them be grammatically correct?  If so, how?

            Some people always need to drink coffee in the morning.

            Some Chileans probably won’t go to work on Septermber 20th.

            Daniel sometimes takes the bus to work.

            My brothers have never been to Chile.
            She almost had a car accident.
             I am rarely sick.

            Homer is probably at Moe’s Tavern.

            She is usually on time.

            They were both late to the party.

             You should always eat breakfast.

Post your ideas and comments, and in a week or two I'll post a response and explanation so you're not all left in suspense!