>I think one of the most rewarding parts of teaching English are the students. Therefore, one of my favorite times is when classes start, and I get to meet a whole group of new students. Very occasionally, this turns out to be a bad experience, but as a whole, I’ve been very lucky with my classes.
I almost always get asked the same questions the first day of class:
1) How long have you been in Chile?
Despite saying more than a year and a half, I always get tips and advice like “You should try pastel de choclo” or “Have you been to Valparaiso? You should go there.”
2) Do you speak Spanish?
Some people have said that I should lie and say no so that students work harder to speak to me in English, but I’m a bad liar.
3) How old are you?
I always tell them to guess, they always guess older than I am.
4) Are you American?
Sometimes I say “No, I’m Chilean” just to see their reaction.
5) Where are you from?
No one ever knows where Vermont is, unless they know someone who has gone and worked at the ski resorts there. Sometimes I draw a very rough outline of the US and try to point it out.
And only the bold ones dare to ask…
6) Do you have a boyfriend?
I actually haven’t ever had this question (before tonight) when I have been single. But like I said, I’m bad at lying so of course I just said no. Then they all looked at me with pity and asked, “But miss, WHY NOT?”
Which brings me to my point. Along with wet hair and living alone, not having a pololo (boyfriend) is cardinal sin according to the Bible of Chile. Maybe it’s because it seems like everyone in Chile has a parjea (partner). It’s a very couple-y country. There’s a belief (and correct me if I’m wrong) that after you get past a certain age, if you don’t have a significant other, life is kind of the pits.
I’m not going to lie, it would be nice to have a boyfriend, but I’m 24. I am young. I have time to find the one. And maybe (probably?) the one won’t even be Chilean. So calm down, the general population of Chile, I’ll be fine.