Back to the point about always talking about the downside of the foreign country where one is located—I think another factor that greatly attributes to this frequent behavior of expats are all of the little things that we miss from our home countries. For example**: sloppy joes, unlimited cell phone minutes & text messages, my family & friends, having free bank accounts, efficiency, etc. Sometimes the smallest thing—that would normally not bother us—can have the biggest impact and completely spoil our day.
Another cause relates specifically to studying abroad—it is never the same place the second time around (unless perhaps you are travelling with your friends from study abroad). I remember when Bethany, Claire and Kathy left after the first semester my life in Chile completely changed. But for example, when Bethany came back in May of ’07, it was just like the “good ole times”. So living here, even though I’m in the process of making new friends, will never be the same as it was those last 6 months of 2006.
So I wanted to take a minute to write a bit about the things that I love about Chile, all of those things that I so dearly missed when I was back in the States for 10 months:
- My husband! (of course)
- Empanadas de pino (minus the olive): really I don’t think there is anything like an empanada de pino that just puts the taste of Chile in my mouth
- A damn-good pisco sour (and yes, I vote it is Chilean!)
- Speaking Spanish 100% of the time....well maybe about 90% of the time
- The importance of family in this culture
- The fact that the beach is 1.5 hours from me all of the time—meaning I can go whenever I want
- SAHNE-NUSS...need I say more?
- The beauty of the Andes mountains (when you can see them that is thanks to the smog)
- Charquican: another one of my favorite Chilean dishes
- The fact that life is slower-paced and more relaxed in general
- Saying “sípo, nopo, cachái”, etc.
- The facility of travelling wherever you desire—either by a cheap flight, or an even cheaper bus pass which is typically sin problemas (without problems).
- Ceylon tea
- Jamón de pavo (similar to turky lunch meat) and cheese sandwiches
- Delecias from Castaño: type of cookie with a fruit jam in the center
- Buenos Días a Todos & Casados Con Hijos: Chilean television shows
- Not being considered short (thanks to the face the Chilean cultura is overall very short)
- Being able to photocopy an entire book at a photocopy shop without getting in trouble
- The fact the news here takes into account WAY more international news than in the States, where most news shows are focused solely on the U.S., thereby furthering the ignorance its citizens
- The ferias artesanías
- The fact that you can get most things at a pharmacy without a prescription and that medications are MUCH cheaper.
I'm sure there are more profound reasons for why I love Chile, but the truth is it is the little things that make life sweet.
*any time you leave a country and go to another (typically for long periods of time) there is a period of re-adjustment even if it is your native country.
**in no particular order