Some thoughts that have passed through my head in the last couple days:
I will never understand platinum blonde hair.
I met a Chilean named Jonatan on Monday. He told me his name, quickly informing me that it was missing an ‘h.’ He then pointed to his name tag where there should be an ‘h’ and said, “FAIL.” I died laughing. He later used “EPIC FAIL.” We talked a little about Starcraft.
Chocolate and basil is a great combination.
Latest Chilean bagged item: juice concentrate.
I’m not sure how many times watching A-ha’s “Touchy” in the Metro station is too many…
Good idea: fans in the Metro. Dumb idea: to have those fans mist you with water so that you feel grossly cool for 1.7 seconds before hitting the thick wall of hot, sticky humidity in a train that forces skin-to-skin contact on you. Santiago is fairly dry; keep it that way.
Lessons in Chilean:
Andar a pata pelada—literally, going around with peeled paws. I’m always barefoot, and my host parents always think I’ll be cold. It’s summer here.
Te fijaí—(frequently used at the end of a phrase…like cachaí) You know? Did you catch that?
Ponte tú—basically another way of saying, ‘you know,’ or ‘you realize’… I think of “doncha know” in Minnesota for any of the three “you knows” listed above.
Banano—Fanny pack. It’s what all the cool kids here do. I’m getting one. Probably today, even. Don’t judge me.
Funny story about fanny packs: a Chilean friend in Oasis (Ricardo) was explaining how he avoids being pickpocketed to another gringa and me. His advice was basically, “See, I just wear my banano here,” indicating with both hands the area where he wears it… I’m not sure I have to go into much detail here, but I will say that we gringas were scandalized.
Pega—work… other meanings of pegar: to stick or glue, to hit or kick. Also, pega apparently means magpie. But in Chile, it means work. Like, trabajo. Good job, Chile.
Penca—I love this word. It can mean many things, though… and I have made the mistake of leaving the meaning up in the air before. Here are some uses: boring/fome, shoddy/low quality, I guess it can mean the stem of a plant or the salad of that plant, or …ummm…
Some stories involving “penca”:
A friend of mine was describing the most penca situation he’d been in, which was crashing on a couple of couches at a sold-out hostel in Buenos Aires. I talked about a leaky, super-penca hostel I stayed in Viña del Mar.
A couple of days later, Ricardo asked me what my favorite Chilenismo was. (How could I chose??) I said a couple of things and then, “Me gusta ‘penca’.” Laughter and an exclamation: EPIC FAIL.
Apogón—blackout… they happen here. Twice in the last week, in fact. That means no electricity, no internet, and no cellphone service. But don’t worry; I just light a mosquito repellent candle in my room. And now I can pull out my charango.