Making Chile a Home

A few weeks after I arrived in Santiago, my family came to visit me. It was an incredible experience getting to show them my new home while continuing to discover new places with them. As I have previously mentioned, the spanish, once again, proved to have some challenges. My mother is Colombian and I thought she would have no problems speaking with Chileans. However, to my surprise, she had difficulty following along since Chileans have many slang words they use. They also blur together many of their words, while Colombians often enunciate each word clearly. A few of the new words we’ve been learning are “cachai,” which is simply a frequently used filler word and comes from the indigenous dialect in the country. Additionally the word “sipo” is just the spanish word for yes with a shortened version of “porque” at the end. They call these slang words “Chilenismos.” It was very interesting to see my mom as a native speaker navigate the language in a different country.

On top of experiencing the new language, my family was able to explore the beauty of the country as well. We were able to go skiing in the Andes once again and on the ride up to the mountains, we were able to talk to our bus driver and discover more about the culture around the area. We also discovered that the glacier near the ski mountains has been melting at an incredibly rapid pace and is a clear example of the effects of global warming. We were able to visit a vineyard in which we learned about the european influences on the gardens of the vineyard and on many of the churches in the area. It was fascinating to learn about where the affluent drew their design inspiration from. My family and I also traveled to a beautiful mountain area called Cajon del Maipo. On our way there, we found a very unique house which we discovered was created by a famous Chilean artist. The artist created wood pieces using only materials from Chile, mainly the south.

Being able to share my new home with my family was an unforgettable experience and I am so thankful they were able to experience Chilean culture alongside me.