The rain kills my “honeymoon” in #Satiago #Chile

7:51 pm, 17 June 2017, Santiago

It’s said that when you move to a new country, there’s a honeymoon phase. Everything in the new place is, to you, exciting, different, and often magical. This will, however, at some point, be followed by phase 2: Reality.

My honeymoon phase in Santiago is over.

It began raining here about 2 am on Thursday morning. Rain was slapping against my window so hard it woke me up — I’ve been sleeping fitfully anyway because it’s cold here, which is compounded by a lack of indoor heating except with space heaters. It continued raining for a straight 26 hours! Despite experiencing flooding in the past, and regular rain in their autumn and winter, Santiago’s drainage is very poor, so there’ve been streets flooded. It was also very windy last night, and there were broken branches landing on cars. A friend who lives near Salvador metro station had part of her building’s roof fly off.

Today, Saturday, I slept in and went to have a shower at 11 am. The water was off throughout our apartment. I had been warned this happens sometimes in Santiago during winter, because the sewage system gets overwhelmed. Buildings will be told to shut off water to keep from adding to the problem. If this had been a weekday and I had to work, I’d be going there looking and smelling like an angry cat.

The water’s come back on since, but now the power is off in all the common areas of our building. We still have electricity in our flat (thank God), but my flatmate had to rescue three wet loads of clothes from the common laundry room. She’s hanging laundry off the shower curtain rod, on broom handles laid across the tub, off the curtain rod in our living room, off the backs of the stools at our breakfast bar…!

All that, plus buses with plenty of room sometimes not stopping if they don’t feel like it. And transit fares having THREE rates depending on time of travel, rush hour being TWICE as much as off-peak (what’s called “normal” time is only a bit cheaper than rush). There’s the banks closing at 2 pm every day (including, of course, pay day). I find the drinking culture here is on par with Scotland — that is, more insane than France! Sure, you CAN say no if someone offers you another drink… it’s just not DONE.

Overall, I do still like it here. Except when it rains. And this is proving to be an unusually cold, especially RAINY, autumn.

There is never enough time.

I just sat down at my second-favourite Second Cup (my favourite closed), on this Thursday evening, to at long last do the rewrites to a script which I can’t yet talk about. I brought my Macbook with me to work, because I knew if I went home first, I wouldn’t leave: dishes, laundry, washing of bathtub, cat, even cooking my own food would keep me from writing. So I opened my bag…and discovered I was so busy this morning getting ready for work, I forgot the script with the handwritten rewrites I need to make on screen.

This is symptomatic.

I will shortly have a guest post here. It took me nearly a month to finish it. I typed part of this post into Notepad on my iPhone, on the bus, on my way to complete a full day of errands, back on SUNDAY. My every weekend is taken up with visiting my family — I want to, but I also NEED to — and chores, because no matter how often you do them, there are always more. Saturday nights and often Sunday afternoons I must see shows. Again, I want to, but it’s also part of my…”job”. Which doesn’t pay me. (More tomorrow. If I get the time.) I have a day job, and making myself food and going to the bank and paying bills and all the itty bitty things I think won’t take up much of an evening DO, and I’m left with barely enough energy to brush my teeth before I need to go to bed to make sure I’m human for my paying job. And then it’s the weekend again. And I find I have not written anything of my own in three weeks.

There is never enough TIME.

This Guardian article has been making the rounds. It’s wonderful and true. However, it’s not the writing that’s killing me. Believe it or not, even if what I’m working on is utterly sad, I’m happy. Truly. No…what kills me is the research for theatres looking for what I write- which will all reject what I write. It’s nights like last Saturday, which I’m only writing about NOW, when I was so burnt out that I went to meet a friend to see a show…and discovered we were seeing it next week, and I nearly fell asleep on the train ride home. I genuinely don’t know where the obviously brilliant and committed Mr Rhodes finds 360 minutes in a day to do what he needs to. My every minute is spoken for and I don’t even have a family — more later, should I ever find the time. And the time I do purposely book off, like now, is wasted because I’m so strung out for time I forget the bloody thing I needed this time to work on. This Onion article is meant to be a funny read. I cried.

I’ve realized I don’t have time to work, write, take Spanish and spend time with my family and friends. But nor can I give anything up. Because that would kill me too. I NEED to do all these things…and there is not enough time.