>So last night F. came up with his own get rich quick scheme after he learned how much I make an hour working at my current job.

“Weon! Estoy puro parando el dedo aquí!” he exclaimed and then decided he would abandon his job (doing what he actually went to school for) to come work at my entry-level seasonal job dealing with tourists.

He asked me if he would be able to do my job. I replied that yes, as long as he practiced his English a little bit.

Then I added, “Oh, you would have to learn some customer service skills too.”
“Customer service? What’s that?” He replied.

(Okay, so that last part didn’t really happen but it would have been funny if it did. Haha.)

He told me that the money I make now is as much as R. (who is a civil industrial engineer) makes. That is sad. I told F. that here, my earnings are not that much and that in fact I qualify for the poor-people’s health insurance plan. I then told him that poor-people’s insurance requires me to pay $60 a month. He didn’t understand. Heck, I don’t even understand.

It is so mind boggling to me that in Chile the salaries are so low but most everything costs the same as it does here! I just don’t understand how certain parts of Santiago appear so prosperous, with new apartment buildings going up on every block, huge shopping malls teeming with people on the weekends, etc etc, but a college-educated engineer is making $1600/month! Who is buying these apartments? Who is shopping at the mall? Does everyone just go into debt to pay for things?

I think it’s going to be an interesting lesson in frugality for me to survive on a Chilean salary. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Either that or I’ll have to start growing that money tree in the back yard…


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