Sometimes I just love being a foreigner in Chile. I feel like I can get away with a lot of things just because I’m a “gringa loca“, as in, we’ll ignore her less than normal behavior because she’s a gringa and maybe that’s normal where she comes from.
For example, a lot of times when I go to the grocery store I bring my backpack and ask the baggers to pack my groceries there. The first time I did this I forgot to specify that I didn’t need them to be packed in a plastic bag first. Oops, my bad. So now, I specifically ask, “Please put my groceries in my backpack, without plastic bags,” and they look at me as if I had two heads. “Are you sure!?” they always ask, and I say, “Yes, I’m sure, here’s my crazy gringa card. Please accept my less than normal behavior.” The same thing happens when I don’t put all of my vegetables in separate plastic bags or insist on putting my lone agua mineral (bottled water) in my purse instead of a small plastic bag.
This morning I was really excited because it was sunny out, and the last few Mondays have been gray and cold. The only thing I dislike more than Mondays are dreary Mondays, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the sun. Also, I happened to send my spring jacket to the cleaners (haha, that’s so misleading…I actually just put it in my dirty laundry bag so I can wash it later) so I left my apartment with just a light cardigan on. I was met with more than one strange glance, as it was actually quite chilly out this morning and all the Santiaguinos had at least a warm jacket on, if not a scarf and even gloves. I indeed was a bit cold, but as I entered my first class and the secretary commented on how I wasn’t bundled up enough (andas tan desabrigada niña por dios!) I just smiled and said, “I’m used to the cold. I’m from the North. Here’s my crazy gringa card please accept my less than normal behavior.”
I said the same thing to the passers by who were staring at me as I took a picture of the large Sebastian Piñera cut-out on Apoquindo this morning. Who wants to come back later with me and steal it for my apartment? How cool would that be to have a cut-out of Piñera?? We could all pose with him and take funny pictures. And if anyone catches us stealing it, we can just present the crazy gringa card. “What? Are we doing something wrong? You see in our country it’s tradition to steal large cut-outs of presidential candidates. Here are our crazy gringa cards, please accept our less than normal behavior.”