Filo! You’re in Chile, throw caution to the wind

On letting yourself have adventures:

Warning to my parents, and other parents, this entry may make you worried for my safety or the safety of all students abroad.  Please know that 1) just as how the entry about being unknown probably made me sound really depressed while I am not, this will probably make my life sound more dangerous than it is 2) I always have my safety in mind and do not go on such adventures alone and 3) I don’t indiscriminately hang out with stranger, I get a sense of their creepiness level and then hang out with strangers.  That’s better right? That being said, here we go.


There’s something about being “abroad” that suddenly makes it more acceptable to do things that in the US would be considered very risky, mainly hanging out with strangers.  Every time we meet other Americans it is for some reason completely acceptable to go places with them and hang out with them as if you knew them, even though you don’t.  In the name of adventure, living in the moment, and not missing out on the opportunities presented to you in your foreign home, it’s okay to “befriend” random people and trust them a little more than you might in the states.  For example it’s okay to let Jewish boys drive you and your friends to their house at 4 am even though you don’t know where it is because you know someone who knows someone who knows them and, they’re Jewish.  Or, there’s the way I spent last Sunday evening.


My friend Dana and I went to a pickup frisbee game we’d heard about in Los Condes, a richer municipality that’s “in Santiago” but to anyone from the US looks like an upscale suburb.  It was about half and half gringos and Chileans, and everyone was at least four years older than us.  At the end of the game someone offered us a ride to the metro.  We would’ve had to walk to the bus and then take a bus, so we gladly piled in the car with two Chileans, a Mexican, and an American (all young men).  First we sat there in the car for a few minutes, Dana on my lap, and wondered why we weren’t moving.  Still don’t know.  Finally the driver stopped fiddling with whatever he was fiddling with and we were off.


He parked in a grocery store parking lot next to the metro and one of the Chilean dudes left.  The other three huddled in the parking lot while Dana and I contemplated buying some dinner, we were starving and I figured the only food in my house was probably cheese.  Finally the guys turned to us and say they were planning a barbeque for that night.  Cool.  We stood their awkwardly.  “So we’re going into the grocery store” they said.  Okayyyy.  “Do you speak Spanish?”  YES!! We speak Spanish, we just don’t speak whatever language you’re speaking in which “we’re going into the grocery store” actually means “would you like to come to our barbeque” but apparently it did and we eventually cleared up the misunderstanding.  Basically we agreed to go to this guy’s house, with two other random guys, and we didn’t know where his house was (other than “close”), and we didn’t know how we’d be able to leave or when, but filo, we’re in Chile, we should do these things.  Did I mention the American and Mexican guys were very attractive?


The guys were buying beer and meat (duh).  Should we buy something? We asked them.  Yes.  Great, that’s really helpful.  What do you want us to buy!! But instead of actually asking them that, we went off in search of something to contribute and settled on chips, salsa, and avocados.  We forgot to go get the avocados weighed before checking out, a function of Chilean grocery stores that tends to get me every time.  Oops.  I told you I feel stupid every day for not knowing the system.


The following scenes occurred once we got to this dude’s house:

1)    We walk up to the gate and a huge white cat approaches us.  Dana: I hate cats.  Thirty seconds later, owner of the house (named Gonzalo): That’s my cat, his name is Casper.  This cat made the strangest noises I’ve ever heard.

2)    Dana and I, in the kitchen, making guacamole while the attractive guys are outside cooking meat.  Gonzalo asks us: so what are your names again?  Then we gives us tips on guacamole making.  We also sing an 80’s Chilean song called Sexo that we learned in class.  He knows all the words.

3)    We’re sitting outside having finished eating and Gonzalo disappears.  He comes back with a clipboard and says: Since the three of you are Americans I need your help.  He turns to me, Dana, and Tom (the American guy) and hands us his clipboard.  On it are song lyrics he has written for his band in English.  We were unaware that he spoke English.  From the lyrics, it appears that he doesn’t really.  He asks us to edit them.  We cannot stop laughing, which is awkward because he’s right there.  Some of the lyrics were good, one was “your body on stage makes me high”.  We tried our best to help.

4)    Back inside Gonzalo passes around his computer set to the site of his band.  When it comes to me I read a little and pass it on.  Did you type in your email, asks the Mexican dude.  No, I did not, because I had absolutely no idea that was the point of passing around the computer.  Great, more awkwardess.  Also Gonvatto tried to sing “Drive” by Incubus while playing guitar, but he didn’t know the words at all.  Then he sang his own song and we sang along because… we knew the words.

5)    We finally figure out how to leave without being rude, and the Mexican guy decides a picture is necessary.  We set the self timer and take one on his camera and one on Dana’s.  Dana and I can barely contain our laughter as we all walk out the door and finally get our promised ride to the metro. 


I’m still kind of note sure if I believe that that actually happened.  But Dana claims it did, and I remember it pretty clearly.  And it never would’ve if we’d followed the American norm of like not getting in a car with a stranger and letting them take you to an unknown location for “a barbeque”.  But I mean, they had beer and meat, so it was a believable story.  Plus, there was another American around.  You see what I mean?  The logic’s just different here.  


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mom says:

    So…. I read this from a couple of perspectives (as you might imagine I would) and — from the perspective of being your Mom…. I trust that you were and ARE safe! I hear the moral of the story being — you took a risk you might not have taken here and were not only safe but have a funny story to tell? I look forward to your assurances that I “got ” it.

    I love you — mom

  2. Cheryl Wasserman says:

    Ok, thank you for sharing your wonderful self with us who follow your blogs, but most of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, to a wonderful niece, person, and that is not said lightly. I am so proud of you, and yes, when I have been adventurous and traveled abroad, I had to trust my instincts, which were always right about who to trust and not to trust, and yes, there is a bond you feel for the right persons at a very deep level. Rebecca, who is also a LIBRA! yeah LIBRAs! remarked at how surprised she was that the 12 people…half male, half female, who took her out for her birthday seemed to know her so well….they went around the table saying one thing that they liked about her, and not repeating themselves. She, like you, is a person who values friendships and gets to know people over a long time…and I know it is surprising when you can seem to size people up quite quickly now and who you are is more open…but that is how we start to cull out those who are similarly inclined. The folks you meet in Chile are usually, but not always, educated, committed and reaching out to the world at large and that in itself is self selecting. SO GO FOR IT GIRL, but take good care of yourself because you are cherished, lovely, unique and wonderful and the world and your family need you! When you return we can have a delayed celebration????!!!!

    Love, Aunt Cheryl, Uncle Ron, Rebecca and JOnathan

  3. Nina Cummings says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! I am enjoying reading your blog- what wonderful adventures you are having. We have known and loved you for 21 years and look forward to the next 21. We will celebrate your coming-of-age together with Alexis when you come home. All our love, The Tannenbaums ps GO OBAMA!

  4. Mary says:

    Hey! I’m finally catching up on your blog, and it’s awesome! I know exactly what you mean with this post — me and my friends have gotten in cars with strangers twice since we’ve been here, and each time it was an awesome (and safe) adventure! It really is different when you’re abroad.

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