So, clearly I am procrastinating my last paper of the semester by trolling the Internet, and I came across this great feature on the English-language website "I Love Chile!" for gringos living here. It's called Solatera en Santiago (Single in Santiago) and I swear this girl knows my life. One of the things I simultaneously love and loathe the most about living here is my inability to blend in. It doesn't matter that I'm basically fluent or if I'm keeping to myself listening to headphones on the metro, I stick out. I am clearly a gringa. Claudia informed me that it's not just my blue eyes and blond hair, it's the way I, (and all gringas apparently?) carry myself. I am so clearly just, not from here.
There are certainly some things about it that are frustrating, like staring (Chileans are really into staring, blatantly) and catcalling (I've been honked at by garbage trucks, student driver cars, school buses, and also dinged at be men on bikes, lol). Or when people assume I don't speak Spanish so they automatically speak English to me, except there English is pretty menial and I have no idea what they're talking about. Aside from that, being a gringa is great.
I've always loved attention and I get it all the time here. People complement my Spanish on the reg and tell me I'm beautiful in line at the grocery store. Kind of annoying, kind of flattering. I get into things for free, random people on the metro practice their English with me, and all in all, people are pretty accepting.
Some other gringas I've met here aren't really into embracing their "gringa" identity. They want to do Chilean things, all the time, with only Chileans. But here's the thing. Chileans love gringa things. Whether it's TGI Fridays or the Gap, they're into it. Also, sometimes it's nice to be able to take a break, speak some English, and when a random man gets in your face and whispers "linda, preciosa hermosa!" and then runs away, turn to the gringa next to you and burst out laughing.
Anyway, back to my point. This list, of "Sh*t Gringas in Santiago Say" is basically my life right now. And honestly, even though they don't have brunch or Chipotle here, I'm not quite ready to stop being a gringa.
Here's the link: