Two weeks visiting Villa Maria Academy and lessons learned from its fabulous teachers. Santiago, Chile.Read More
Whenever I travel, I avoid going to local doctors unless it's an absolute emergency. Usually, I'll wait after my trip and I'll go to my doctor in the States.
A few weeks ago, a piece of tooth filling came out. No big deal, happened before. Thinking: will take care of it soon. That "soon" turned into about three weeks.
Yesterday, on a complete whim, I called a dental clinic and they said "come on down! 4:30PM." Great, now I can't turn back, I have to show up.
So I show up. And here are the major takeaways from a visit to a Chilean dental clinic.
1. In the States, they sit your behind down in a chair and you get out when they are done with you. Then you pay your deductible and the like. In Chile, you sit down, they evaluate the work that needs to be done, then you meet with a clerk that clearly outlines the amount of work and the price, then you pay, and only then you sit down to get your tooth fixed. I liked it, there were no surprises.
2. During the treatment(and I'm talking drilling, spackling, etc.), a Chilean dentist takes a mirror, yes, a mirror and actually shows you the progress of his work. OMG. It's not for the faint hearted. I have good teeth but to see my tooth all drilled out with an opening glaring back at me and listening to the dentist explain how he will fill it, from which side and how he will continue drilling is a bit too much. Mine did it for a total of three times as he continued working on the tooth.
3. Chilean dentist really took his time, and he did a phenomenal job. I was in the chair for about an hour and a half- for one filling. I feel like with my doctor in New Jersey I'm in and out. With this dentist, I definitely felt like he was taking his time. He also wasn't "sliding" between patients like my American doc does. So, very happy with the attention I received.
4. I have been patting myself on the back for going soon. And here is why (here come the gory details). The cavity was forming under the filling. A piece fell out and I saw a small hole. The dentist discovered that the damage is underneath and he needs to clean out much of the tooth before reconstructing it with a new filling. Bottom line, I came scarily close to having a root canal. I have never had a root canal in my life but know people who did and they say it's not fun. Not fun at all. So, kudos to me for taking care of it before it's too late.
5. Price: very reasonable. I need to check whether my Fulbright insurance covers dental but if it doesn't - it won't break the bank.
6. Anesthesia. In the States, when you get a filling you get a numbing shot. In Chile, it goes like this:
Me: "Please make sure I get a numbing shot."
The dentist: "Usually we numb only if it's a deep cavity."
Me: "I don't care how deep it is. I need a numbing shot."
Bottom line: they numbed me for hours. And I'm grateful.
I have been in Santiago for the whole THREE days ;)
It's incredible to see how slow time goes when you don't have a lot of things to do. In the American culture busy often equals successful and I sometime epitomize that idea with everything I do. For the past three days I had so much free time! As I was reflecting on it, I realized that having free time is an uncomfortable feeling for me.
On my first day [a Friday] here I was as productive as I could be [see, told ya]. I barely flew in and I started thinking what I had to do. So I went shopping, got a wifi plan, roamed around the neighborhood, had lunch, went to the bank, worked on my dissertation proposal... Turns out I still had time left over! So I went to yoga! Yogis and yoginis, get ready, yoga here is really cheap of of high quality: about $3 per class. Yep.
Second day -a Saturday-oh my god, MORE FREE TIME! As an early riser, I was up at 6AM[ and that's late for me :]. Of course, went to yoga first. Then made my way to see a potential apartment in Providencia, met the landlady, loved it. Walked to Providencia from Barrio Dieciocho - took about 50 minutes. Great! That took some time! Had lunch, 40 minutes (!). Walked back, another hour. Good! Still time left over! Worked on my proposal for 2 hours. Anyway, you get the idea.
Third day. A Sunday. On Sundays, Santiago is quite deserted. Especially for a person who woke up before 6AM [me]. Yoga is closed. Banks are closed, everything is closed! Work-life balance in action. For an American, such slow way of life could be intolerable. So, today I was out by 8AM and making my way into the center of Santiago. My plan was to see CicloRecreoVía. CicloRecreoVia is "a network of streets throughout Santiago that are closed every Sunday morning to motorized traffic and open to the public". Can you imagine the city government closing the streets in New York so residents can cycle, walk, and jog? Ha!
I then wanted to go to a Museo de Bellas Artes. Turns out, it doesn't open until 10AM. [inhale, exhale]. Sat in the neighboring park for a while watched Santiago residents and tourists wake up and crawl out of their apartments. The roamed around the artsy neighborhood and snapped some pictures of a - very creative - graffiti.
Done with the museum [by the way, free on Sundays]. Stopped by the museum store. Children's books everywhere! Score! Bought quite a few [thank you to the Department of State and Bernards Board of Education for the funds]. I think kids will LOVE them :]
It's only 11:30!! Googling "surviving Sundays in Santiago"... Yessss. An article! Yoga in Parque Forestal at 12PM and I am 5 minutes away! Except. No yoga mat. [inhale, exhale]. Googling "where can I buy a yoga mat in Santiago?"
Making my way to Lastarria neighborhood-think Greenwich Village in NYC mixed with New Hope in PA. Lovely, lively, and artsy! Cafes, bakeries, arts shops, and street vendors. Go into Cafe Berlin and sit down with a cappuccino. OMG. It's barely 1 o'clock.
Heat gets to me. Slowly make my way back to the apartment. On my way, I stop by a department store and splurge on a yoga mat.