Wednesday, September 10, 2008

82-90 (of 100 things I like about Chile)

Here are the first 81 things I like about getting around to almost finishing the list...These last were interesting because a lot of them were things I hadn't articulated in my own thoughts before, but mostly walking around the city, and hanging out a bit with friends, living here, I've been thinking about it.

  • 82) The prolific use of tutors. I never, as a kid, had a tutor. My folks answered specific questions I had about homework, but no one sat down with me for an hour or more to explain a subject. But here in Chile it is pretty standard among the people that can afford it. They contract college students or professional tutors to teach math, physics, English, etc. Or often grandfathers (retired engineers, for example) are called on to teach their grandchildren math. Doesn't the thought just warm your heart? I think it's cool because then the kid essentially has two teachers, and is taught the material from slightly different perspectives, something I believe helps the student out.
  • 83) People walk in the street here. In the States, people don't walk much. At least where I lived, it didn't happen a lot. I love the life in the streets. It humanizes a place. And public transportation here, it's not just for minorities. Millions of people actually use it, which makes for a pretty good system (even if its going to run out of money in a few days.)
  • 84) The grandmothers and grandfathers often live with their children. The US system has old-folks homes-which have their appeal-because they hang with their peers, but I like the Chilean family system-everyone in the same house. Plus than grandparents can help out and feel useful and share with their family, as well as save money. And the children can keep an eye on their aged parents and not worry about how they are doing in a home somewhere.
  • 85) The houses are smaller. (I'm talking about middle-class houses here, not the social housing which is too small.) I find the huge gringo McMansions totally unnecessary and I plan on living in a small house for most of my life. Some of the advantages of a small house include: you have to clean less, the house feels more filled with energy, it's less expensive to heat, you have to limit the amount of random stuff you accumulate, entre otras cosas.
  • 86) There's more home-cooked food here. Your average family seems to eat more salads (at least in my experience.) I also love the consomé served before the main course. It's basically just soup broth, but it's tasty. Try ordering that at a gringo restaurant. They'll bring you a bowl of stew toped with a quarter inch of cheese. Normal portion sizes just don't exist in the States. I'm glad they sell mini-bottles of pop, like 4 oz bottles widely availible in Chilito.
  • 87) They don't generally put nasty salad dressing on your salads. I hate it in the US when I forget to ask for the salad without the dressing. Here it's all about the salt, fresh lemon, and olive oil, I actually ask for this at restaurants in the US now. (Although, now and then they put a big gob of mayo on your salad-nasty-but it's easier to get off when it's all in one place.) If I'm going to have salad dressing, I prefer my own home-made French dressing.
  • 88) How Chileans ignore people or cut people off when the speaker is hogging the conversation or getting into a long soliloquy about who knows what. Or they start making fun of a person when he gets too serious in a conversation. In Starbucks one day, a while back, I was comparing gringo conversations and Chilean conversations. The gringo conversations transmitted a large quantity of information and seemed really useful for informing oneself, getting stuff done, sharing personal information. Chilean conversations, on the other hand, are more about teasing each other, joking around, just hanging with the other person "ontologically". The amount of information exchanged is often little.
  • 89) Short term thinking vs. long term thinking, (again). A big change I noticed in myself after being here as an expat for like a year is that, when I was home on vacation, and ran into friends I hadn't seen in a while, I was more likely to ask them what they'd done yesterday and what they were up to tomorrow rather than there life master plan for the next 1 to 5 years. Whereas before going to Chile, I was more likely to ask about their long term plans. One time, while at home on break, I ran into a friend of mine. I asked him what his sister was up to. He told me she had gone back to Spain to teach English for another year because she was sick of people asking her what her plans were. jajajaja. I totally understood her. Hispanic territory seems to be a refuge for those without a plan. jaja
  • 90) The nanas. Class differences suck, I know. But the positive side of that is you can afford someone to cook and clean for you all day, almost every day. Before I came to Chile for the first time as an exchange student, I talked to another high schooler who had just gotten back from Chile. She said the family's nana made fresh natural juices for her everyday. She also spent her first two weeks in Chile with her host family on their yacht, cruising the Chilean coastline. Needless to say, I was stoked I was heading to Chile after hearing her stories. While I've benefitted from the nanas (at friends' houses), I have yet to be invited on a yacht here. jejeje


nyGRINGAinCHILE said...

hi heather, i really like this idea. maybe we can do a group blog on things we love about chile?

Maeskizzle said...

Yeah, I'm up for it. I think it would be cool because it is sooo easy to get down on this country, especially living in Santiago! (I loved living in Valpo.)