Gladys is our bed and breakfast's housekeeper. She was the first to greet us upon arrival and last night she waited up for us to make sure we got home safely. Something that many may consider little or even a nuisance is the type of thing I love when staying with a host family or locally run bed and breakfast. They take person responsibility for your safety, enjoyment, and give you the opportunity to see, hear, taste, feel, learn, experience the things that "tourist" don't have access to . Local life, a cultural view point on life's purpose, unique customs, like the Chilean "onces" which I can best describe as a late family snack and tea and 11 pm, hence the name.
After our busy day in valparaiso and Viña del mar. We arrived home at about 10:30, meeting Gladys playing candy crush on the living room couch. Her face lite up when entered and she was eager to hear about our day. Did you have any difficulties? Where my directions good? What did you eat? Are you hungry now? Oh, the boys are so precious let me get you some tea and bread now.
We went to the room to wash our hands and faces and kick off our shoes. Just as we were exiting our room Gladys was coming out of the kitchen with our "onces". Gladys chatted with the boys and asked them questions about their day and life. She was excited that they were able to communicate with her in Spanish.
Gladys knows very littlebEnglish and has only the very basic education permitted for poor women growing up at a certain period of time. At 62 years old most of her adult life was under the cruel dictator Pinochet. He was a police state kinda guy and was known for making his rivals "disappear" such to the extent that this group of thousands of people who have never been found are known as "Los desaparecidos" (the disappeared people). Those who fled the country to escape his iron fist rule were often the victims of car mysterious bombings in the country in which they sought refuge. This was not really a time for women to get ahead and live their wildest dreams.
Gladys at 62 years old was sweet but there was no way you could miss her feistiness and limitless energy. She's started working when she was 6. She was a orphan by 5 and was raised by her elderly grandmother. So like many children around the world who don't have the luxury of a free public education, or wealthy parents to pay $30,000+ USD for private schools she started working, at 6.... S-I-X!!!! According to her she has always been stronger than everyone else, physically, mentally, and spiritually. "Yes I am catholic. But don't go to mass religiously. I don't need that. That's for the other people. I have a faith that is unshakable and my trust and faith in life and GOD is all I've ever needed" I came into this world at a disadvantage and I have the things I've needed to raise beautiful children, grandchildren, and to always take care of my husband. I have always wanted to see the world like you people who come here to visit. But that was not meant for me when I think about it. Instead I have it better. I stay close to the ones I love and the world comes through these doors day by day, one by one, to come see me!
By now the boys has already dismissed themselves and were in the room watching Spanish language cartoons laughing at its ridiculousness.
We talked about US politics and things that she has seen in the news about America. What seems to have been playing across the world is police brutality and racism still existing agains blacks. She couldn't remember the names of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and the many others killed for looking "suspicious", but she knew their stories well and shuttered at the thought.
She also asked me about this terrible terrible show about "a fat little pageant brat and her mother who allows her to be rude and disrespectful, like farting and burping all the time without correcting that disgusting behavior". They also ate very unhealthy food and she even saw them deep fry cookies!! Uh, yea that would be honey-boo-boo. How embarrassing right?! She was pretty sure from what she saw of the Americans who passed through the BNB that we really aren't all like honey boo boo's family... But just wanted to verify that with me. She also wondered how that show was on TV? Were people actually watching it for them to still be on the air? Believe me if it weren't for Dude coming to check on me and asking me to come to bed every 10 minutes, Gladys and I could have talked all night. But we managed to squeeze all the good stuff into about an hour and a half. We bid each other farewell because she would be gone by the time we woke in the morning.
We took this pic as a last goodbye.