Tag Archive | Chile

It’s not the cold, it’s the humidity.

She’d kept going down a long dark hall and turned left so he followed. It was a bedroom and she was closing the windows and pulling the curtains.

“You had the windows open?”

“It’s the only way to get the humidity out of the room.”

“It’s freezing in here.”

She pulled her sweater over her head. “I thought you were going to warm me up.”


My school provided apartment in Chile was the first floor of a building right next to a park with a large pond. There were a couple of swans on the pond which was pretty, but it seemed like every other week the bomberos (firefighters) were there fishing somebody out of the water. The station was only about a block away too, on the way to the nearest pandaria (bakery.) You see why I liked it there so much. Strolling over to the pandaria for amazing pastries and having the opportunity coming and going to ogle Chilian firefighters. All kinds of yummy.

Unfortunately, it was that humid. I had to open the windows every morning to let the humidity out and since I didn’t have a clothes dryer, laundry took two days. Forty-five minutes to wash and forty-seven hours to dry. If I got it up first thing in the morning when the sun was shining through the windows.

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The Library Storage Room

The long, narrow room was piled chest high with boxes on both sides. He had to twist sideways to fit between them. A couple of frosted glass windows provided the only light. She reached around him to knock the door shut giving him an opening to wrap his arms around her waist. Her body melted into his in the dark. He ran his palms up her back enjoying her willing shiver. “I missed you, Tara.”

She moaned, but didn’t say she missed him. This was weird. Wrong. Her body responded just like it always did, but she wasn’t saying her lines.

He kissed her throat, digging under her clothes. Under the huge wooly sweater, he found a thinner sweater, under that was something silky. Why was she wearing silky stuff if she wasn’t expecting him and where the fuck was her skin? “You’re under all this stuff somewhere, right?”


You might be under the impression that South America is warm. You’d be wrong, at least about the part I was in. When I accepted this job I was told it never gets below freezing. Let me assure you 33 degrees Fahrenheit with 50% humidity is cold. I was the full time librarian and so spent all day in the library, which was a large unheated room. At onces, the kids would flood in and body heat would bring the temperature up a degree or two briefly, but the rest of the time it was frigid. To combat that I would wear tights, thermal underwear, wool pants, a turtleneck, my Irish wool sweater and my wool jacket, every day, all day. When I shovel snow in the winter, I only wear the thermals, the pants, the turtleneck and the sweater.

My library, like the library in the story, had been given a huge donation that I was sorting through by a professor from Ohio State University. Whoever made the donation had inexplicably boxed everything up and shipped it to Chile. I found everything from young adult novels to college biology textbooks to a M.A.S.H. trivia book to decades worth of soil analysis journals. I kept the soil analysis journals from the Dust Bowl era and gave the rest to the maintenance staff for firewood. Just because I was cold, didn’t mean that everyone had to be.

My library, also like the library in the story, had a long narrow storage room where all these boxes of books were stored. It was lit only by a window that opened into the bathrooms and the boxes were stacked about chest high. Because these books were decaying every so slowly, they were giving off a bit of heat, and because the room was enclosed, that heat didn’t have anywhere to go. I spent hours in that room sorting books and enjoying the balmy five extra degrees the library denied me.

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Food in Conception, Chile

_0001_udechile Domino Restaurant, Chile

Once upon a time for a brief period, I was the librarian at a bilingual school in Conception, Chile. Other than the weather, I loved Chile. The people were so nice. The food was amazing. The landscape was beautiful.

Unfortunately, the guy who ran the place was a loon and his wife, who was the business manager, thought Pinochet was still in power and she was part of the dictatorial elite. After three months of having my pay shorted, being lied to and threatened, and having the money for the utilities at my apartment that I was required to give to them stolen instead of applied to my bills, I found out that I wasn’t even working legally because my employers hadn’t filed the paperwork. With the help of the parents of some of my students, I fled the country two steps ahead of Chilean Immigration. Good times, good times.

Anyway, in order to get to school I had to catch a bus from my employer-provided apartment to the mall and then walk about half a mile from there to school. After school, I reversed the process. A lot of dinners were eaten at the mall, which fortunately had three outstanding restaurants. Rich’s served burgers the size of dessert plates made with beef that was mooing yesterday. Domino served hotdogs that were like no hot dogs I’ve ever eaten before or since. It is also the place where I learned my first word in Spanish. “Sin.” I had to order my hot dog “sin mayo” or they would put the mayonnaise in with a trowel and I’d feel sick for hours later. The third restaurant was called Schop and served very simple fare that was utterly delicious. I occasionally think about going back to Conception to visit a few of the people I met through the school and who got me out of the country before I was deported, and to eat. Since I’ve kept touch with them through Facebook, it would mostly be to eat.

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