A couple of years ago, the Matador Network published an article called “20 Signs that You’re Culturally Chilean.”
I wrote a blog post about it, claiming a few of the signs for myself. I found my old blog post and now I wonder if I’ve adopted any more Chilean peculiarities in the past two years.
The article was written by Elyssa Garrett. Here is her list of 20 signs that you’re culturally Chilean:
1. Using the diminutive form of every word. I’d admit to being about 50/50 on this one. I do tend to order aguita (water, or in this case, “little water”) and give besitos (little kisses).
2. The food pyramid has become a carb rectangle. Less true for me than for the average Chilean, but running out of bread constitutes an emergency here.
3. Tacos have lost their appeal. A taco here is either a traffic jam or a high heel, nothing to do with food. I hate the former and I can’t use the latter.
4. You almost understand the local expression “Weón” and all it’s various hybirds and meanings. I understand weón, but I don’t tend to use the word or its variations.
5. You know the difference between the bus and the micro. Yes, I do. A micro is the bus that stays within the city. A bus takes you from one city to another.
6. You’ve been to a fonda. Yes, I have. Fondas are the fairs that happen around Fiestas Patrias, Chile’s Independence Day celebration.
7. You’re immune to street dogs. Define immune. I’m immune in the sense that I’m no longer surprised to see them, but more saddened than ever at their circumstances.
8. You eat “once.” Sometimes, I do. “Once” is tea time. Though I rarely drink tea, I often eat a larger lunch and then skip dinner, opting for a light snack.
9. You’ve chosen a fútbol team. Nope.
10. Personal space is a thing of the past. Yes and no. I still like my personal space, but unless I’m on a micro or the metro at rush hour, I don’t find it a big problem here.
11. You never show up empty-handed. True. When invited to a friend’s, I’ve learned to always bring wine or a small hostess gift.
12. You don’t trust anyone. Not true. I have many trustworthy, reliable friends here.
13. Avocados are your cure-all. I love avocados or palta, as they’re called here, but no Chilean has ever suggested using them for anything other than food.
14. You go the extra mile for a hot shower. Not necessary. I’ve lived in more modern buildings, so I’ve missed the fun of wrestling with the calefont (water heater).
15. You’ve become overly formal. Not me. In fact, I struggle to remember to use Usted if I’m speaking with an older person or an authority, and if I remember once, I might not remember the next time, even within the same conversation. Even after months, one of my caregivers still uses Usted with me and calls me “Miss.”
16. You get defensive about Chilean wine. YES!
17. You don’t understand what you’re saying and neither does anyone else. Maybe.
18. You’ve learned the precise way to say certain expressions. ¡Puuuucha! Es verdad.
19. You think of Chile as an island. Not particularly. Isolated in the past, but catching up fast. Too fast, I sometimes think.
20. You think you’re better than Argentina. There’s a definite rivalry between the two countries. A Chilean once told me, “If I could buy an Argentinian for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth, I’d be a rich man.” Argentinians probably think the same thing about Chileans.