Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My New Boyfriend

The end of fall and the beginning of the Chilean winter has arrived. Leaves that changed colors a month ago have started to fall to the ground and each morning brings a cold breeze and frost on car windshields. Under normal circumstances, I would say that it is mid-October or November in the United States. Instead, however, it is the end of May in Chile and as many Americans have just spent their Memorial Day weekend outside, I am inside huddled around an electric heater.

Unlike many houses in the United States, most houses in Chile do not have central heating. This means that typically, houses are the same temperature inside as they are outside (or colder, as demonstrated by the Ictinos house). As Winter progresses, I am finding it a growing task to escape from the cold.

My fellow Chile Associates and I have found many ways to keep warm. Natalie learned to knit back in August and has advanced to knitting each of us head/ear warmers that we always wear in the house. Scarves have been a must for us when walking out of the house. We have certainly got our money’s worth out of the tea kettle and despite the dental effects, I can always be found with a cup of warm tea in my hand. Wool socks have also become my new best friend. Bed attire is not complete without a thick SMC hoodie and flannel pajama pants. Those who know me well know that my natural body temperature is higher than the average person, and thus, I am a cold sleeper who needs several blankets on my bed regardless of what season it is. I jokingly laughed the other day as I realized my bed now contains two fleece blankets, a down comforter, a sleeping bag, and my t-shirt quilt I made and brought from the U.S. in order to combat the chill in my room.

Despite all of this, I have found that my salvation from a chilly night is the presence of my new boyfriend Guatero (pronounced wa-tair-o). No, this is not a public announcement of a new relationship nor an attempt to discredit my claim that I will never date Chilean men. Guatero is the Chilean term for “hot water bottle” and my Guatero has developed a life and personality of his own. It all started when my housemates realized my ritual of boiling water before bed symbolized my attachment to the object and my inability to go to bed without it. The joke is now that I am going to bed with my boyfriend and all subsequent jokes about my boyfriend providing warmth, etc. follow. In response, I tell them that my boyfriend is continuing to serve his purpose as any good boyfriend should. ;-)

I am told that the cold has just begun and this is nothing compared to what I will experience come July or August. If this is the case, my thoughts of Guatero make me feel like Rick Blaine at the end of Casablanca: “this is the start of a beautiful relationship…”

My new boyfriend, Guatero, and me


At 5/30/2007 3:30 AM, Anonymous Chileno said...

Good call with the guatero I hadn't thought of that. I survived last winter here. The cold only gets worse when the Andes snow over and create a freezer wall that blasts cold air relentlessly into the valley. You ain't seen nothing yet. You're gonna want like 10 new boyfriends, throw in a few Chileans even. It gets COLD in Santiago!


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