International relationships mean that you are not only getting to know somebody but you get to know their whole culture too.
Carlos and I have had a long while to get to learn about each others cultures over our seven years together; Carlos lived in England for four years and I’ve lived in Chile for a total of almost two-and-a-half years (across two different times). So, I thought it would be fun to think about our most favourite and least favourites things about Chile and England.
I wrote my answers first and then asked Carlos for his, so we didn’t influence each other 😉
Favourite thing about Chile
M: Without a doubt, the natural beauty. Chile has to be one of the world’s most beautiful countries and the nature is so accessible. We are making the most out of all of Chile’s natural beauty by exploring it as much as we can.
C: The climate and landscape diversity. If you want to go to the beach and eat seafood you can, if you want a mystical experience in the desert you can, or you can go on a peaceful trip to the lake or an active trip to the south; a day trek or several days. Also the health & safety is not as strict in Chile compared to England so you can use that at your advantage and probably explore places that wouldn’t be allowed in England.
Favourite thing about England
M: Diversity! Growing up in London, diversity was a very normal thing to me and it’s something I love!! I think it’s the best thing about England as it has given so much to English culture; it influences the arts and food as well as hopefully creating a tolerant and diverse place to live. I just hope in this climate of Brexit, Trump etc, that that doesn’t change.
C: The train system. It works well, you have a range of options from the urban trains to night sleepers. Despite what British people say, I think it is very reliable, apart from when it snows! The service is good and you can eat and drink onboard (I rather enjoy the drinking part hahaha). I also like the history and heritage of England, there is nice old architecture. We don’t have that in Chile because it’s such a new country and often the earthquakes reduce old buildings down to ashes.
Worst thing about Chile
M: Inefficiency. Paperwork and errands can take so so much longer than they need to. Often you can’t do simple things online or on the phone, you have to go to the office which tends to only open Monday to Friday until 2pm, making things frustrating.
C: Wow, I have a long list. Customer service is probably among the top 3. Even though Chilean people are really friendly, customer service is really bad. I didn’t realise it was so bad until I went to England! Another problem is that because we are a relatively small country in terms of economy, the offer for services (from mobile providers until airlines) is quite reduced, which means in the end you can’t choose what you want but what you can get instead.
Worst thing about England
M: I would probably have to say the unreliable weather. It’s hard when you don’t have a clear cut season of summer and the grey days make the winter hard! Having said that, I couldn’t wait to go home to London in December when the weather hit 36 degrees here in Santiago!
C: The weather, by far. It’s grey!… I mean always grey hehehe
Favourite place in Chile
M: My favourite place to live is definitely Santiago as I am a big city lover. As for a city to visit, it would be Valparaiso for its colour and art. It’s hard to choose a favourite place for natural beauty, but so far it would be Cerro Castillo as I loved our 4-day trek there!
C: I don’t think I have a favourite place in Chile. It would be any place in the mountains with a lake.
Favourite place in England
M: This answer is so obvious for me: London. It was my first true love, and it always will be.
C: Probably London. It’s a very lively city that has everything. The only problem is, it’s so expensive!
Favourite food in Chile
M: Avocado, avocado! It’s the best here in Chile, it’s so fresh and creamy… I am actually eating avocado on bread right now.
C: Pastel de Choclo – a sweetcorn pie made with sweetcorn, ground beef, olives, hard-boiled eggs and onion.
Favourite food in England
M: Indian food is my very favourite! I have found a few places here in Santiago, but I’m used to having an Indian restaurant on almost every road in England!
C: Fish and chips of course with a pint of ale.
Favourite weekend activity in England
M: My most favourite way to spend a Sunday in London is to go to Brick Lane, wander around and admire the street art before heading to The Sunday Up Market to eat food from around the globe.
C: Going to the countryside or an old town and trying a local beer.
Favourite weekend activity in Chile:
M: Every Sunday, Santiago closes 37km of road to cars, opening it up to bikes, runners and skaters. Carlos and I love to cycle around on Sundays and it has such a community feel to it.
C: A day trek to the mountains or a sunday barbecue with friends and/or family.
So, there you have it! Which other questions would you ask? And if you are living abroad, what have you learnt from the experience?
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