It’s always interesting and worthwhile to have a little reflection time. So, when Sarah from Endless Distances answered these questions and tagged me, I thought I would give them a whirl.
1.Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?
I was born and bred in South East London where I lived in my first home until I was one, then we moved to another house very close by where I spent my whole childhood, and a few years of my adult life too. Just last year my parents moved house after 27 years in my childhood home. My parents aren’t originally from London, they both grew up in the north of England and met at uni in London. They then never looked back and have made London their home ever since ~ they definitely passed on their love of London to my brother and I!
Since November 2015, I have lived in Santiago, Chile. This is actually my second time living here, I spent ten months living here in 2010/11 too.2. What made you leave your home country?
Love! It was never a dream of mine to live abroad. Travel, yes, but I didn’t have any plans or desires to move away from England. That all changed while I was travelling around South America in 2010, when I met my husband, Carlos.
3. What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?
People are generally very curious! They usually ask me the second I open my mouth where I am from, I obviously haven’t nailed that perfect Chilean accent just yet 😉 As Chile really is at the end of the world, it isn’t the typical place that people decide to move to, so I find that people just want to understand why.
My friend and I always laugh about how we then get asked a string of the same questions by every person we meet. How long have you lived in Chile? Do you like it? Have you adjusted to life here? Is it really different to England? Which parts of Chile have you travelled to? etc…
4. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?
The easiest would be that Chilean people are very very welcoming, hospitable, friendly and kind. When you are so far from home, that’s the most important thing.
The hardest was the language. Chileans joke about how other native Spanish speakers often don’t have a clue what they are saying since it’s known as being the fastest type of Spanish where lots of letters are omitted. However, with time and patience, language isn’t a big barrier for me now.
5. Images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.
Words: Cachai? (You know? or Did you understand? in Chilean slang)
Sounds: Reggaeton music, all day everyday.
6. Your favourite food or drink item in your new country?
Chilean food is generally very meaty, which means that as a pescatarian, I can have a bit of trouble. But the seafood here is just delicious as are porotos (beans). I would say that my favourite dish is probably porotos con reindas, a dish of white beans, pumpkin and spaghetti cooked in a broth. It’s delicious, especially when cooked by Carlos.
7. What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home?
Climbing mountains! I live in a country with some of the most amazing in the world so I say “yes” to climbing them at any given opportunity. Nature in Chile really does blow you away and I try to take advantage of it as often as I can.
8. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?
Being late! Chilean time is often referred to a as a thing, and I know that it’s common all over Latin America. That’s not to say that all Chileans are late all of the time. But there is definitely a more relaxed approach to time, and one that I cannot get used to as a very punctual person from a very punctual country.
9. What do you enjoy doing most in your new country?
Exploring nature. Chile really does have everything to offer in terms of nature; beaches, mountains, forests and deserts. You can’t really beat a weekend away or a longer trip to really appreciate all of the nature that surrounds us.
10. Do you think you will ever move home for good?
I get asked this question all the time. And, my answer: London is where my heart is, and will always be ❤
I’d love to hear your answers to these questions too!
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