I thought I’d just put on a little story about the ‘fun’ you can run into in a new country on a not-so-typical (but really, kind of typical) day. The only Spanish speaker in our household happened to be on a business trip during all the fun.
6:30am – Go to brush teeth, nothing comes out of tap. No water in any tap in the house. To self : Panic. Who on earth do I call about this? Maybe it will just come back on. Please let it come back on.
7:30am – Still no water, decide to first google for answers before calling husband abroad and freaking out. Cant find anything. Turn to Facebook – thank god for a group that has a post stating that we might be without water for 24 hours. Cant understand the article. Great. To self: Ok, no problem, I’ll just go buy some big bottles of water at the grocery store when it opens
9:30am – Off to the grocery store; no water anywhere to be found. Consult google translate on iPhone to ask stock-boy if there is any “agua sin gas” around. Wait 30 seconds for the translation to come through, and confidently ask the question. He responds, but I do not understand. Smile and nod. Red face, I ask “si or no?”. He says “no”. To self: You must learn Spanish, today.
10:00am – Check a convenience store. No water, decide to spare myself the embarrassment of asking.
10:15am – Whilst driving to the next store, note many people walking carrying large bottles of water. To self: Panic! What if I can’t I find any water? What if the water doesn’t turn back on in 24 hours? Emily will dehydrate!
10:30am – Next large grocery store. Drive in the out-ramp and get confused as to why the entry tickets are BEHIND the barrier. Figure it out and have to reverse out of the ramp, while others stare at the gringa. Ashamed.
10:45am – Made it into store. Bolt to water section to discover no water left. Contemplate checking the carts of other shoppers to steal theirs. In a last-ditch effort go to the “cold storage” section to find a the last few bottles of Evian (expensive as gold, imported to Chile from France) left. Pile the last bottles left into the cart before others can get them. To self: You are a star, you found water, you saved your family!
11:00am – Feeling confident, parading around store doing some shopping with three bottles of Evian in cart. Relieved. Panic starts to abate.
11:20am – Get to long checkout line and halfway through discover there is no wallet in purse. First contemplate grabbing the water and making a run for it. Then contemplate crying. To self: Panic. What the…? You are a fool. Where is your wallet? Did you get pick pocketed? Did you forget it? How could you do this…now you have to forfeit your water to the hungry wolves.
11:30am – Reluctantly leave full grocery cart near door and run to car to search for wallet. Realise then that I cant pay for parking, nor explain why I can’t pay for parking to the parking attendant. To self: Panic. I have nobody to call for help.
11:45am – Find wallet on floor of car. Score! Run back to store and cart still waits with water. Yay! Begin the awkward process of checking-out when you cant understand anything the lady says to you. Repeat several times “no hablo espanol” with a red face. Feel the eyes of everyone around on me.
11:50am – Nearly out of store. Go to pay for parking, cant find parking entry ticket in purse. Line starts to grow behind me. To self: Is this really happening to me? Am I losing my mind?
11:52am – Parking lady gives gringa a break and hands over a new ticket. Dig through purse to find right amount but dont understand bills that are in denominations of 1,000. Takes a few seconds. Annoyed, parking lady hands over exit ticket and waves me away. Others in line release an audible sigh of relief.
12:15pm – Home, exhausted. First drama of the day over. Sit in the car in the parking garage with eyes closed for a few minutes. Decide not to leave the house ever again.