I’m leaving in less than two weeks! It’s so bizarre. These days have gone by so quickly. What am I to say? Chileans are so welcoming and wonderful! For me, Chile has been a little rough around the edges, but rough isn’t the end of the world. I think this country has put some meat on my bones and I think I needed a reality check as well. Chile’s uniqueness has intrigued me since the beginning of my journey here, and it makes me sad to think that I am not going to experience it in a few weeks. It’s a real shame. So without farther adieu, here is the list:
Top 5 Things I’ll Miss About Chile
5) Aji and Manjar
These are my sweet and spicy Chilean duo. Manjar, a thick, packaged dulce de leche, is great during Once. Aji, a spicy, bottled pepper sauce is delicious on sandwiches and rice. These are my favorite Chilean condiments. I am planning to bring some back to the US. American customs will have to fight me if they want to take them away. I hope my Chilean host families can send me some during the holidays too!
4) The Currency
The currency here is great. First off, the money has little, transparent holes! It is a small joy: having money you can look through. Also, it comes in many different colors. Chilean bills are either green, blue, pink, purple, or orange. It isn’t just boring old, forest green. Also, the coins are worth something. In America, I hate pennies, nickels, and dimes: I never use them. In my opinion, the quarter is the only useful, American coin. In Chile, I think the smallest bill is a “luca”, 1,000 Pesos, and the largest coin is a thin piece of metal worth 500 Pesos. It’s easy to carry both since the general price for stuff isn’t much. Honestly, I like to have usable change for once! However, they do have a coin worth 1 Peso. One word: useless.
3) El Metro
Where I live in the US, we do not have a subway system. The subways are so clean, safe, and efficient here. I love them and really wish that my city had some efficient way for me not to spend gas money like this. Also the subway cards work on the buses that run constantly in Santiago. It’s so easy to travel (when you’re not in Chicureo)! The subways are so much nicer than the ones in New York, and the riders have Korean subway etiquette! Respectful but bustling – The subways are supreme.
2) The View
1) The Slang
No more “¿Cachai?”, “weon”, or “¡Sí po!” Since Chilean slang is so different and diverse, many Spanish speakers from around the world can’t understand Chileans in normal conversation. For example, I was introduced at a party to a guy who just came back from New York. New York is the world’s capital, so of course, there are many different dialects of Spanish and speakers there.
None of them could understand him. We went through a list: Colombians were confused, Dominicans had know idea what he was saying, and he had to slow down his speech so much when he talked to Mexicans. Yes, I am scared that no one will understand me when I return to the United States, but I am proud of my Spanish. I speak Chilean now. ¿Cachai?
More to come from my last weeks in Chile! It’s weird to think that I will have to say good bye to such a great, unique culture soon. I don’t know how AFS Year/Semester students can do it.