Why I Love Chilean Cab Drivers, and other short stories

Chilean Men

…suck. No I’m not in 6th grade, all boys don’t suck. But the Chilean guys I’ve met, aside from my wonderful roommates and super nice boss, suck. It’s probably because I’m a gringa. Every Chilean guy in my age range that I meet is fascinated that I’m from the U.S. but would much rather dance with me than have an actual conversation. Don’t get me wrong I love to dance, especially in Latin America (but please don’t think that means I have any skill whatsoever in the area, I’m actually so embarrassing). However, I want to meet people to form like actual relationships with not just to dance reggaeton with. Chilean cab drivers are another story. Those 50 year old men keep me going I swear. Whether they’re asking where I’m from and assuming it’s France rather than the U.S., or being absolutely shocked that I’m not dating right now, they are my favorite kind of Chilean man. I’m also a fan of the homeless man who lives outside my building and calls me la reina. But actual regular guys in their 20s, mega pass. I was not meant to date a Chilean.

Unneeded Explanations 

Last night, there was a going away party for one of my friends (Chao Ari!) at this house in Las Condes. While I was standing and talking with a few other ladies from the U.S., a Chilean woman (and I say woman because I’m pretty sure she was 40) came up to give us all big hugs and proclaim her love for gringas. She proceeded to tell us why we’re called gringos, an explanation I am very familiar with and don’t necessarily like. I’ll fill you in- apparently in some Latin American country a few years back, the citizens didn’t appreciate the presence of the American soldiers (crazy ik), who were wearing green, and would tell the soldiers “green, go.” Like leave. It’s is an interesting origin for the word, which now represents anyone from the U.S., but telling a gringa that story at a party will only serve to annoy her. Probably only if that gringa is me but still. I know the term isn’t deragatory now, although it can be in the right context, but it’s still like wow I hope you don’t actually still want me to leave because I really like this country. This is why I’m flattered when someone asks if I’m from Brazil (lol r u blind) or France or Germany. There’s still such a negative view of gringos in Latin America by some and that’s so rough but all you can do is keep representing yourself, and the U.S., in the best way possible.

The Smallest World

It’s a small world. Last night, when we were saying goodbye to Ari and hello to the new CIEE exchange students for the upcoming semester, I met this girl who was so nice. After talking for a bit, I told her I went to Drake (which 50% of the time leads to a blank stare and polite nod), and she informed me that her 2 best friends also went to Drake! SMALL. WORLD. We continued to talk and she had actually been to Des Moines a few times, something maybe 2% of the U.S. population can claim. After we laughed about our commonality, she asked if, by chance, I was related to any other Wheelers in Iowa. Wheeler is a super common name so I said yes but wasn’t expecting a connection, until she asked if I was related to Nic Wheeler. To which I replied by spelling his name, because how many Nics do you know, and she freaked out. Her sister had actually dated my cousin Nic, for an extended period of time, and I had definitely met her at family gatherings. My new friend was shocked and we talked about the family and how both her sister and my cousin are now married (to other people but everything works out how it’s supposed to) and how she had met my cousins before and how it is absolutely insane that we were meeting for the first time in Santiago de Chile. Small world. You might not find that interesting but my family will.

Translation Nation

Aforementioned family- I did not let you down this time. The postcards are in the mail. (hold the applause, thx) Last year I brought my family and friends post cards and personally delivered them, which I still considered a thoughtful gesture but I gues kind of takes away from the excitement. I was just way too busy last time (read: scared to go to the post office). This time, I braved Correos Chile, ready to use hand signals and broken sentences in order to send my postcards off. I was surprised to walk in and have the woman behind the counter immediately recognize that I was a foreigner. She asked if I could speak English and I said yes but you can speak to me in Spanish I can take it. And she told me this gentleman next to me at the counter spoke only English and would I maybe be able to help translate for them? Suddenly, out of nowhere, I could understand Spanish and was able to translate for this nice gringo man, who was sending a postcard to his daughter at camp. Proudest moment of my time in Chile. I was taken down a few notches when I purchased my stamps and couldn’t figure out how to attach them to the postcards (that’s right family, I licked all of those stamps, enjoy). But it was still a very proud moment for me.

Why I Can’t Diet

How rough is it gonna be when I have winter weight going back to the end of Iowa summer? Rhetorical question. I need to be eating healthier but you do understand the abundance of avocado and carbs here? It’s all I eat. And I’m not that upset about it. Maybe I throw in a yogurt if I’m feeling ambitious. So I decided yesterday I really do need to start a diet. Not ten minutes later I sought out (and obtained) the largest burger in Chile. No regrets. Diet’s aren’t my thing. I’m just gonna accept the love handles for now, maybe I’ll work out when I’m back in my clean-aired home state. Maybe not, I’m good with the way I look and I think I completely avoided bikini season anyways so I think I came out of this situation on top.

I Met a Girl from Iowa

That’s basically the start and end of that story, but she loves the state as much if not more than me and that is so exciting. I love Iowans. She said she’d go to vineyard with me so she’s already my fave Iowan in Chile.

Other relevant updates…

-Desperate Housewives is going well

-Work is going slow

-I’m missing my friends and family

-I might actually be learning to cook

-I’m excited to return to the U.S. briefly next week

-I’m excited for Buenos Aires in less than a month



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