Tag Archives: chile

Relearning How to “High Five”

4 Jan

After an incredible experience in South America, I am now back in the good ole U.S. of A. and going through reverse culture shock–again. It’s funny how every time you reenter mainstream US society after being on the outside for any length of time, you are struck by little things that you never gave much thought to before… like the “High Five.”

I just returned yesterday from a ski trip in North Carolina with my co-conspirator and some other friends. It was strange being surrounded by so many native English-speakers again–playing board games, watching our country’s version of “football” (a sport virtually unheard of in Chile), eating good old American foods like pancakes and spaghetti, and, obviously, skiing–and it was also strange that at random intervals during the trip Mr. Joe the Scholar would extend his opened hand to me. I assumed this was an invitation for a congratulatory handshake, a gesture not unheard of outside North America, and thus graciously took his hand each time in the firm, powerful way that I’ve been rehearsing ever since the third grade (when my teacher, Mr. Jennings, accused me of a “spaghetti-arm” handshake that demonstrated a weakness of character). Apparently this was not the expected response, but Joe managed to conceal his disappointment until our final day together. “So what, do they not give high fives in South America?!” he finally exclaimed, and suddenly CLICK! I was almost knocked over by the force of the high-five-related memories that came flooding into my brain.

Of course! The “high five”! How could I have forgotten that beloved gesture, which transcends all differences to express concisely the ideas of success, victory, elation, and/or recognition of a well-placed or well-performed “burn”? My hand trembled slightly as I extended it, palm down, fingers uncurled in the motion of my very first High Five of the second decade of the third millennium. And once again, all was right with the world.

Terry Tate, Condense the Nonsense.

12 Oct

I realize that this blog has started to become just a haphazard collection of youtube videos, and that is certainly not the intent of the authors. The authors, in fact, wholly lack any intention. The reality is that law school is a bit mundane. While there are interesting cases and such, I don’t want to bore you with rewrites of my case briefs. It’s bad enough that I have to write them once. So, I’m busy. Youtube isn’t. Go talk to him.

The only excuse I can offer for Intern Derrick is that he is busy grooming his Col. Sanders mustache and pretending he is an English expert in a place where nobody knows better. That is only a slight burn because I couldn’t pull off the majestic mustache. But then again, I’m not sure whether he can pull it off either (nice, a follow-up burn that mitigates my mitigation of the original burn).

Your mom.

(that was a pre-emptive burn for the anticipated burn which Intern Derrick will be thinking of posting but will undoubtedly decide is too anemic and sickly to ever stand up to the might and strength of my incendiary greatness)

(I feel comfortable using this space as a locale for petty insults and jibe because I am quite certain that the only other person that reads this blog is, in fact, Intern Derrick. And it is quite possible that he doesn’t even bother with that)

(Self-burn, I’m even good at that)


So Terry Tate, office linebacker is one of my personal favorite bits. It came out a few years ago, and was unadulterated awesomeness. Now it seems that there are a few sequels to the initial greatness, so that gives me an opportunity to post the videos and still maintain an illusory appearance of relevance and modernity.

The Original

“I’m a firm proponent of paradigm breaking”

Sensitivity Training

“As I’ve always said, if it ain’t something that is broken, then there is no need to repair it.”


“Oh, we were aware that Mr. Tate was a discerning guest, but, it seems were weren’t aware just how discerning he really was.”

Draft Day

“You got mailed baby! Woo!”


Dogs, Dogs, Dogs.

9 Aug

In all of the Chilean cities I’ve visited so far (a grand total of 4 now), I have been struck by the presence of large numbers of stray dogs. From the beaches of Valparaíso and Viña, to the smoggy streets of Santiago, to the quaint downtown area of rainy Osorno, the overabundance of this untapped resource cannot be ignored. They stretch out across sidewalks; they romp in the park; they bark menacingly at Emo kids clad in black; they wander aimlessly up and down hiking paths.

Their care seems to be a matter of public concern. The other day in Santiago, I saw an old woman laying out strips of cardboard on the sidewalk for a stray dog to lay on during the cold winter night, and I’ve seen several dogs sleeping on such beds in other parts of the city. On another occasion I saw a large bowl full of what appeared to be dogfood left on the front step of a downtown apartment building. I’ve even seen stray dogs wearing old, de-sleeved sweatshirts that some compassionate stranger must have donated… I arrived in Osorno just today, but I have already noticed a plethora of stray dogs curled tightly in balls against the exterior walls of grocery stores and apartment buildings in the middle of the cold, rainy day.

I haven’t really investigated the matter closely, but I can’t recall seeing a single pet control facility or officer in my travels around the country thus far. No SPCA, no Humane Society, no dog catcher, no Animal Shelter. And I guess without a Bob Barker figure in their culture, Chile’s dogs go largely unspayed and unneutered, allowing them to multiply and multiply and multiply… I haven’t seen very many cheap, sketchy Chinese restaurants in the country either.

But speaking of dogs and food, I was surprised to find that Chile’s favorite fast food item is none other than the hot dog. They have chains with names like Doggi’s and Schopdog, as well as independent street vendors, that specialize in what they call “completos” (see Wikipedia’s article on the dish at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Completo). These hot dogs come in a variety of sizes and are generally topped with some combination of diced tomato, mayonnaise, and “palta” (avocado). You see them everywhere, just like the stray dogs, and they’re dirt cheap–the perfect meal for a starving teacher still awaiting his meager stipend. Just think of the possibilities if someone could find a sanitary, “humane” way to combine these two types of “dogs”… It would really be a thriving business, provided that the flavor of the avocado and mayonnaise could compensate for the assumed blandness of this low-grade meat (not speaking from experience, just considering the nuances of the canine diet and the loss of energy and nutrients when consuming from higher trophic levels…). Yet I can already hear the horrified gasps from some of our readers (“How could he even suggest such a thing? What a cruel, heartless barbarian!”), and I admit that I would probably have a hard time bringing myself to eat such a dish if I knew what it was, but as long as no one told me what was in it… what’s the worst that could happen?

The Completo Italiano

The "Completo Italiano"

Chapped lips smeared with yellow mayonnaise on the 29th of July

29 Jul

I have found that a sudden shift from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern is hardest on one’s lips than on any other part of his body. Less than one week ago, my lips were basking in the warmth of summer, lathering themselves with cold ice cream and sweetened iced tea during moments of much-needed respite… They laughed effortlessly at the passing fluffy clouds and blew jovial bubbles in any swimming pool.

Then, suddenly, they found themselves, through no fault of their own, gasping for air and moisture on the cold, dry asphalt of the Chilean capital city. They quivered in frigid fear as they were carried out of the SCL airport, blowing clouds of water vapor into the sky, and they began to feel themselves contorted in ways they hadn’t for a long time in efforts to utter a language not their own. The chapping began almost immediately, and even an occasional application of Chap Stick was not enough to reverse their decay…

As they sought familiar foods in this foreign landscape, they were shocked to find that even their old amigo mayonnaise was not what they expected. She  was completely yellow, almost like mustard, and her flavor was different, although they couldn’t describe how. They began to crave warm coffee, instead of iced tea, and no relief was found in their beloved ice cream.

But as the days passed, the contortions grew easier; new friends made them smile; and “pisco sour” made them pucker.  And as they adjusted, these lips  began to prepare for a new assignment in this unknown land, that of dancing their native language much more slowly and clearly. They were to serve as models for younger lips that wanted desperately to be able to use these dance moves on their own… But as the days past and July approached its end, they were still chapped and cold, longing for the warmth of their home.

The June Post

28 Jun

It has occurred to me that my Atlantic amigo (I assume an inhabitant of the city of Atlanta would share the name of the second largest ocean in the world… but I could be wrong) and I have almost completely neglected our blog during the month of June.  I apologize sincerely for this oversight. Rest assured that we have not forgotten that a blog is like a fragile plant that needs to be watered regularly from the springs of knowledge that pour out from our keyboards…

And what a busy month this has been for the world! WARNING: For those of you using this blog interactively as part of the Derrick Game (the rules are simple: drink every time Derrick says something cultured or international, while groaning in an attempt to cover up your jealousy), this entry will likely leave you with a headache…

Not only has the US soccer team beaten Spain and been beaten by Brazil in the World Cup games in South Africa, but I just found out that (1) one of my good friends in Spain, Malte (originally from Germany) is getting married shortly to a Argentine woman he met at a Christmas party in Madrid that I had attended with him back in December, and (2) another of my friends that I met in Madrid, Marcos, and with whom I travelled much of Europe just left Friday to return to his homeland of Brazil. I just found out about both events through another friend who is the brother of the Argentine bride-to-be in a casual conversation on Facebook Chat. [Update: Marcos had told me about his return to Brazil, I had just misread “26 de junio” as “26 de julio” in a recent e-mail. What a dummy, haha.]

It was a shock to realize just how “out of the loop” I’ve become in the month of June; with my return to my rural home in the woods outside of a tiny town in Virginia, I have been separated from my greatest means of contact with the outside world: reliable internet. At my parents’ house I have access only to dial-up internet, which means I cannot use Skype to call friends abroad, I cannot use Google Chat, I cannot load more than one web page at a time… I guess it’s better than no internet at all (I believe Joe knows someone who can personally attest to that horror, we’ll see if he can get an exclusive interview with her and publish his shocking findings here), it just compounds the feeling of disconnectedness that has resulted from recent transitions in my life–leaving the largest university in the largest city in Spain to return to a small college in a small city in the United States, then leaving that small college and city to return to the microscopic town where I was raised–simultaneously leaving the communities of scholars, decent-sized libraries which participated in InterLibrary Loans, and limitless internet networks that characterized my college years… With each step I feel like I’ve become more and more isolated from the huge, exciting, boundless conception of the world that I had developed while studying and living in Madrid in the fall of 2008…

But thank the Lord that in less than a month I will become an international traveller once again! On July 23, 2009, I will venture to a new corner of this planet, Chile, to begin a job teaching English as part of a teaching certification program in a university there. Look out world, you’re not rid of me just yet!