Fake Chilena Part II: What makes me Chilean

What gives me a huge sense of joy regarding this blog is that I can throw things out there and I have the privilege of reading people’s thoughts/opinions about such things. I also feel an immense amount of appreciation for the blog community in general, mainly because it’s perspectives galore! And who doesn’t like third party opinions, I ask you?

Anyhoo, so my list of why I’m not Chilean (in my mind) can go on and on, but it’s only fair to point out reasons why I AM indeed Chilean because there are quite a few. After all, with Pil as a mother, (who ever-so-nicely told me when I was 4 that I’d speak to her in Spanish only or she would never talk to me) – it’s hard to forget where one came from.

1) Believe it or not, I really like Nescafe and I drink it once or twice, daily. Others may argue that it tastes gross, but coming from the U.S., where the majority of coffee tastes like Starbucks (yuck), I’m not really sure what the difference is between that and Nescafe? In fact, I think Nescafe is tastier! … and I blame Starbucks and their gross coffee for this.

2) I grew up reading Condorito. Given that back in the day we didn’t have much money, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t getting the lastest Condoritos to read, therefore, I most likely learned to read in Spanish with the same three comic books – over and over and over. I really liked his nephew Cone and felt like he was my buddy. I liked Yayita too but her boobs and body weirded me out in a “please-don’t-let-that-happen-to-me” kind of way (it did). Finally, I really liked that his dog’s name was Washington. How Shey-lay-no!

3) I’m inclined to dress my salad with either lemon and oil or balsamic and oil. Granted, I’m not sure if this is totally Chilean, but I do know that Chileans more often than not, don’t even have salad dressing in their fridge, let alone dump it on salads.

4) Me gusta chismear. Or, I like to gossip. But “gossip” actually has SUCH a bad connotation, I almost feel bad about lying in such a manner. I like to be “in the know” and like to know what people are doing and how they feel. Of course it’s one of the MAIN reasons I love that my gringa friends have blogs – it’s like being a fly on the wall. Mostly I like to hear about my family and what each cousin (out of 1049) is doing and how he got this or that person pregnant (heard that story about three times) or how he/she flunked out of their year in school (heard that one once, thankfully.)

5) Pisco sours and pan amasado. Yum, yum and YUM! If I could send a care package to all my wonderful friends back home, I’d FOR SURE include these two little concoctions because MY WORD, do they make me a happy Chilean! (Though currently limiting intake of both due to upcoming wedding. My own, I mean.)

6) The smog is slowly becoming second nature to me. I guess this is more of a Santiago thing. When I first got here I remember seeing the layer of smog SO THICK that I thought FOR SURE the knights of the Apocalypse were on their way to my house. Now I wake up, get my day going, see the smog, and carry on. I don’t even think about it! Further, I went to a friend’s house the other night to do our Secret Santa, and I realized that near her house I could actually SEE the Andes Mountain range! From my apt, I simply can’t! With it, the dust and dirt that the smog brings into my apt is actually ALMOST taken for granted. Almost.

7) Family is important. To the point that I talk to Pil not just on a daily basis but about two to three times a day. I talk to my Uncle Pato who still lives back in the States, about twice a week! I have acquaintances back home who talk to their parents once every two weeks. ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS??!!! Not to be morbid, but either person could be dead in their home, being eaten away by rabid dogs with so much time between communication! I’m just sayin…

8) Wine. It’s not just for special occasions or sexy moments anymore. Oh no. This divine nectar of the gods has become a staple at most meals. When Pisco Sour isn’t center stage, that is.

9) Tarjeta BIP. Live it, love it, own it. It’s the electronic card that gets you on the metro and buses. I have two. One has BIP written on it and one is from the days when they were TESTING the cards… seriously, it’s about 4-5 years old. I alternate, depending on which one has more money on it. (you recharge it periodically with more $$$). G has lived in Santiago almost his entire life and he doesn’t even have one! Come to think of it, I just realized that I have NO idea what “Bip” even stands for! I wonder if it’s to mimic the sound the card makes when you swipe it?? Hmmm…

10) I’ve gotten used to the fact that when I want envelopes, I don’t go to a place similar to Long’s and browse their office supply aisle for a box of letter sized, standard envelopes. I go to a tiny, itty bitty, office supply store which sells me the envelope of my choice INDIVIDUALLY. They buy the box and then sell each envelope IN the box, to the consumer. At first I thought this was weird. Now I just appreciate it bc honestly, who needs an entire box of envelopes? This is a GENERAL example of how I’ve gotten used to finding the exact store that will sell me exactly and precisely what I need. No matter how small the object or how cheap.

11) I REALLY, really, really (no, really) like 80s glam rock and I never complain when they play them over and over again at clubs (discos as they say here.) What can I say? I grew up in the 80s so the fact that Chile seems to be stuck there at times is A-OK with me!

Such silliness….As one gringa friend would say, “Oh She-lay.”

And I’m this weird combo of gringa and She-lay-na … so when people ask me where I’m from (and they do about 90% of the time because of this said “accent” I presumably have) I just don’t know what to say anymore. I’m both and I’m neither.

Honestly my life would be MUCH easier if I could just direct all such questions to my blog. The answers are all here, folks. Hence, chileangringa dot blogspot, etc etc…

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2 thoughts on “Fake Chilena Part II: What makes me Chilean

  1. I think that 7 is such an individual thing. I always get really annoyed when Chileans say, oh gringos are so frio and insinuate that by moving out when we're 18 that we don't care about our families. I know both Chileans and Gringos who talk to their parents all the time and who NEVER talk to their parents.

    Seba is more Chileno than pastel de choclo but the man went to the U.S. for three months and talked to his mom a grand total of once. Me, on the other hand, I might be a gringa, but I'm like you and talk to my mom on a daily basis, and I have a lot of gringa friends who are the same.

    And yes, I LOVE blogs for the exact same reason. All our friends should have blogs, it should be mandatory 🙂

  2. All of these things make me miss Chile. I'm not saying I am CHILEAN, but ya know, I feel more Chilean at this point than San Franciscan. And hey, the smog–it's kinda the same thing as the fog here. Your lungs might be cleaner in SF but you still can't see the sun or anything around you. Miss you!

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