Category Archives: Everyday Life

Stuff that just bugs me…

Toothpaste and toothbrush

Image via Wikipedia

Maybe I’m just grumblier than usual these days, but for some reason, I’m noticing that certain pet peeves are bugging me more than usual lately. So I thought I’d let you know. Here’s a list of gripes, pet peeves, and stuff that just plain bugs me. Bet some of these things tick you off too! Continue reading

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Coffee for the Road: Your Cue to Go Home

Coffee means time to go homeHow do you know when it’s time to go home? As in before you wear out your welcome? Maneuvering the Emily Post of good dinner guesthood is challenging enough when you grow up with the rules. It gets downright tricky when you’re on someone else’s cultural turf.

We had dinner with friends the other night, and during the after-dinner tale-swapping Continue reading

Gasfiterfobia & How the ark almost made it to the 19th floor

Unfinished plumbingWe all have our monsters in the closet. Things that make us shudder. The stuff of phobias. Maybe yours is a fear of flying (aviophobia), or of snakes (herpetophobia) or even a fear of foreigners (xenophobia), although I hope not. I confess my fear is a Chile-based phobia–which makes it a fobia–and I had to invent its name, although anyone who has lived here any length of time will not only recognize it, but probably share it.

I suffer from gasfiterfobiaContinue reading

Cachivache & Cachantún: Antiques as bits of a life (Photo Essay)

I love antique shops–not that fancy, nose-in-the-air kind with all the fru-fru porcelain and don’t-touch crystal and wax-em-up furniture. No. I mean the little mom-and-pop corner shops with crazy assortments of real-folks stuff that was truly used by someone, somewhere, once upon a time.

Typewriter © Margaret Snook 2011

I mean the kind of shop that has all manner of stuff–the fabulous and the forlorn, the funky and the sublime, the valuable and the junk–all hodge-podged together in an inimitably haphazard arrangement that could never be repeated anywhere else. Continue reading

Santiago de Chile Part II: Of Dogs and Men…

There’s no denying it. One of the things that never seems to attract the attention of foreigners to Chile is the omnipresence of its street dogs (quiltros galore!). Guest poster Kathleen Skoczen is no exception. In Part 1 (Santiago by Bike) of this 2-part post, she described what she saw and thought as she rode her rented bike through the heart of Santiago and visited the Museo de la Memoria. She dedicates Part 2 to the life of dogs and, like the good anthropologist that she is, reflects on the human element that weaves the place of dogs into Chile’s cultural fabric.

The life of dogs…

Another Guest Post by Kathleen Skozcen*

Dog and shop in San Pedro de Atacama

A dog waits patiently outside a corner store in San Pedro de Atacama

My very good friend in the Dominican Republic, Kim, and I had a discussion one day, as we often do when we are visiting together after months and sometimes even years of absence. She is the patron saint of animals in the Dominican province where she lives. Although not a certified vet, she does more for animal welfare in the province than all the other vets—okay, than the other vet. As an anthropologist interested in human health and well-being, I watch her tenderly and lovingly care and mend animals (homeless, flea ridden, mangy beyond imagination) and think, “there are lots of children who could benefit from this kind spirit.” When I finally gave voice to this observation, my friend assured me that taking care of animals is taking care of people.

“How is that?” I asked. Continue reading

Santiago de Chile Part I: Memories by Bike

US anthropologist Kathleen Skozcen recently visited Chile for the first time and left with much to remember—and much to think about. She begins sorting through what she saw, heard, learned, experienced, and felt, forming her own memories while reflecting upon the city from the bike lane… Continue reading

Punxsatawney Groundhogs & a Huemul-ish suggestion for Chile

I’m such a gringa sometimes. Cachando Chile friend Marmo (of Marmota & Marmotita fame) reminded me that today was Groundhog Day (which would be Día de Marmotas, if such a thing existed here), so of COURSE I went to the official Punxsatawney Phil web site and tuned in to the live streaming of Gobbler’s Knob’s biggest event of the year. For those who don’t know (US gringos, forgive them, despite 125 years of history, not all the world is aware of Phil’s utmost importance!)

Punxsatawney Phil, Groundhog's Day, February 2, 2011

The world's most celebrated groundhog, Punxsatawney Phil, makes his 125th appearance at Gobbler's Knob (PA) on February 2, 2011

Read on to learn more about the groundhog that made Punxsatawney famous…AND for a suggestion to add a bit of much-needed national silliness to Chile’s annual calendar…

Continue reading