View from my window. One of my favorite things to do is catch the sunset everyday. :D
These are two phrases that technically exist in English. Those along with, "I told you so", and "Your face looks like sewer". But if one appreciates having friends, it is advised NOT to say them. Apparently not here. Chileans are terribly blunt and I've had my definite share of *gasp* "Did he/she actually just say that?!" moments. My host brother got mugged last night. The family and I were eating once
when he entered the kitchen obviously downtrodden. He then proceeded to tell us that after he gave a tour, some boys stole his backpack which contained some blockbuster movies Pablo (a family friend) had rented, cash, and a VERY expensive medication that he must take every day. I sat there with my mouth open and took in the irony of the situation. Cassandra and I take extra precautions with our belongings. I have a cross-body bag that I tote around and I make sure that it's on the front of my body and not behind me--ever. ISA advises this because we're foreign and therefore more of a target due to the assumption that all foreigners have money. At seeing Cassandra and me take these precautions, Isaac has sneered on more
than one occasion, "You have to be stupid to get robbed". Then look at what happened! He wasn't eyeing his bag and it got snatched. Does that make him stupid? I was itching to throw that tidbit at him but one look at his pitiful face and I didn't dare. Maybe it's called tact. Or maybe it's called, not kicking someone when they're already down. I don't know what it's called but Chileans do not play by the same rules. It was obvious that he already felt like crap and him getting mugged was punishment enough for whatever he possibly did wrong in that situation. But nonetheless, his family lit him up! After he told how it had happened, they stared at him blankly and then Priscilla said "It's your fault. That's all I have to say." Technical knockout! "It's your fault".
Then his mom began yelling at him! She kept asking him, "Why did you bring your backpack??", "Why would you have Pablo's movies in there??" "Why did you have your medication with you??" and proceeded to blame him for getting robbed. I sat back and thought, "Daaaaang. NO consolation whatsoever".
I used to think that
Super nice and gentle. But when Issac got robbed, she was gettin' krunk! Haha!
Americans were blunt. In comparison to others like the Japanese culture, we ARE blunt. In Japan, the word "no" hardly exists and they'll lie to you before telling you no because politeness, at all costs, is extremely important. But I see that we are not the farthest on the spectrum of frankness. Yes, people from the United States are honest. But where Americans typically try to comfort, and soften the blow, Chileans don't. This all out honesty can be harsh and reflects a socially accepted insensitivity for others' feelings. It doesn't matter if it's going to make someone go home and cry, they say it anyway. I'm still trying to get used to this. "Your fat".
A few weeks ago, Lauren's host family told her she was getting fat...repeatedly...at every meal. And just to clarify, she's tall, red headed, thin, and very beautiful. She's not fat by any means. While she was traveling in Bolivia before coming to Chile, she got sick and could barely eat. As a result she lost 5 or 6 pounds. She regained that weight now that she's feeling better but her family insists that she's getting fat and revels in telling her as
often as they can. She started getting a complex and is now scared to get anything out of the fridge. My host dad, while looking at pictures from a couple of years ago, told my host mom that she used to be much skinnier in those photos! Priscilla mentioned that she's getting fat one night at dinner. Her boyfriend's response--"Yes." Haha! In the States, he would totally be in the doghouse! "I told you so".
I can't express how quick people are to rub ANYTHING in your face. Anything. I tried going to Mendoza Argentina 3 weeks ago but the pass on the Andes closed due to snow. Long story short, I spent 15 hours on a bus for what should have been an 8 hour trip, only to have the bus turn around!! My host parents had told me that there was a possibility
that this time of the year (Autumn) the Andes pass would close. They said I should go by plane. That's more expensive so me and my friends opted for the bus. Well, the next day when I came trudging home, thoroughly upset, the first thing my host parents said to me..."We told you."
Oh, I was steaming! But then as more time passed, I caught them saying that nasty phrase to each other! Any little thing that happened, "I told you so." There's this underlying ego that Chileans have. This assumption of "If I tell you something, you better heed, because I'm never wrong." But of course all the times where they AREN'T right about whatever was supposedly
going to happen, they don't say a word or admit their warning was wrong. "You're face looks like sewer".
Papa Samuel was educating me on nicknames here. I was stunned. He said it's common for people to observe a negative feature that someone has and then emphasize it! He told me of this man who is really ugly. You want to know his nickname?...Sewer Face! How horrible! I bet that man has terrific self-esteem. But my host dad said, it's not so awful here because almost everyone has an incredibly insulting nickname. Mama Sussy calls Papa Samuel Moni
which is short for mono
(monkey) because they say he's hairy like a monkey. I know that Latinos often call chubby women gordita
(fatty) as a term of endearment. I wouldn't feel so "endeared" if
everyone was walking around calling me Fatty all day! Haha! However, I still don't think any of those are as bad as Sewer Face, especially since the man actually IS ugly. Even worse, Papa Samuel told me no one knows his actual name. He's just Sewer Face and they address him as so. The end. How demeaning! In my opinion this definitely reflects a cultural difference. How is addressing someone so disrespectfully ever okay? Wow.
Yes, Chileans are blunt. Maybe I should just get on the bandwagon? Watch me go home extra frank and insult everyone on accident. Haha that better not happen! Eeeek! Rudeness stays in Chile. :D
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