>There is a group of gringa ex-pats in Chile who time to time opine (is that a word in English?) on the same topic. And I decided to be very patuda and join in.
So I cheated and read all of the blogs first (which you too can read here!). I wasn’t even sure if I was going to participate in the whole group blogging thing because I’m technically not living in Chile right now, but I can say with certainty that my heart is definitely there, and my body will be soon. So anyway, after reading and commenting on a lot of them, I had to have my own opinion.
I have always been intimidated by Chilenas, and I’m just starting to realize that maybe the real problem is that they’re intimidated by me! I met most of my Chilean friends (mostly male) through my host siblings before classes at la U even started, so I was less inclined to attempt chilena (or chileno for that matter) friendships in the classroom. I did meet a couple girls through a group project that were friendly enough, and have kept in touch with one of them, mostly because she came to work in VT over the winter.
But anyway, I wanted to focus on my host sister because besides my host mom she is the chilena I know the best. Her favorite pastime was telling me what to do. Not in a bad way, though. She was just opinionated and was quick to point out when I was doing something strange (like going barefoot or shaving instead of waxing). Because she was a doctor she also insisted that I brush my teeth after every meal, not just in the morning and at night. One time she even got my toothbrush ready for me. However, the habit stuck and I still brush three times a day whenever I can.
She also liked to generalize about gringas but I always tried (with varying degrees of success) to refute her generalizations. All in all, we had a good relationship. Although I always felt that she knew way more about me than I did about her. In fact, she was obsessed with knowing what was going on between F. and I. Her favorite question was “Están pololeando?” In fact, I am quite sure that when I go back, that will be one of the first thing she asks me. I admit, F. and I do have a unique relationship that is hard for a lot of people to understand. But it suprised me how personal some of the questions were that she asked me! I never felt comfortable enough to ask those questions back, because she seemed to have a wall around her when it came to personal matters. In fact, I learned wayyy more about her from my host mom than I ever did from her!
She also is quite fashionable for a Chilena. Maybe I only think this because I myself have zero fashion sense! But we went shopping together a couple of times and I remember her being particularly picky about a pair of knee-high boots. Also, she would come into my room before going out at night to have me approve her outfits (kind of like the blind leading the blind, but whatever!).
Anyway, that is my (limited) experience with chilenas. I will close this with a funny anecdote. My only chilena friend (besides host sister) is INSANELY jealous. Whenever she goes to the movies with her pololo, she covers his eyes with her hands when a hot girl comes on screen. Ha.