Cachando Chile: a Year in Review

Writing the landmark 100th post is a bit of a daunting task. I had intended to post this on December 1, which I had declared Cachando Chile’s 1-year blogiversary, but with all the hoopla over the Alienating Chileans post (which hit and passed the 100 comments mark that day), followed by an enormous amount of real-life events—you know the kind—all those things that get in the way of blogging, but that end up becoming “blog fodder*’ anyway. (*Eileen gets credit for coining this extremely apropos term).

In honor of this landmark, I wanted to look back over my first year of blogging. A lot of territory has been covered here (take a look at the Category list on the right hand side of the page), and I’ve gone through the past 99 posts and selected a few that I think merit another go-round. Some have been reader favorites, some have been particularly fun, other controversial, and others just plain favorites of mine. There are plenty more… but alas I can’t choose them all!

Those of you who have been reading for a while will recognize most of them. Others who are newer to Cachando Chile probably missed some of the earlier bits…

I’d love to know your opinions! Please feel free to leave comments on the individual posts or on the overall concept here. Let me know if you have a favorite I’ve overlooked or if there’s a topic you’d like more of in the future.

General Reflections on Life in Chile

The whole blog is about reflecting on life in Chile, but some of the posts hit it more on the head than others…and there are some that I particularly like and think deserve a bit more attention:

The Dance Card’s Full : This is something of a general overview of Chilean culture and my take on why it sometimes seems so difficult to become close friends with Chileans.

I was a Peruvian Dish Towel Smuggler: My unwitting and involuntary foray into an international smuggling incident and illegal alien operation.

SAG and the No-Spice for Chile Campaign: Chile is an island. You may not realize it by looking at a map of South America, but its natural borders make it particularly vulnerable to certain agricultural risks… much to the chagrin and dismay of foodies with a taste for big international flavors.

The Calendar Trap: After nearly 2 decades of hearing it, you would think that I should have learned by now that when a Chilean says “next Wednesday” they mean it literally and not the “next week on Wednesday” as it too often gets translated in my gringo brain.

Santiago Metro: the daily crush: There’s nothing earth-shattering here, but the picture’s worth a couple thousand words when it comes to  a snapshot of a crucial bit of the everyday lives of more than 2 million Santiaguinos.

San Lunes: Chile’s Stormy Monday: A personal favorite of playful writing on an age-old problem.

Language-themed posts & pages:

Language has proven to be a popular topic and over the year we have explored slang, false cognates, embarrassing bloopers and faux pas, popular expressions, and bi-lingual humor.

Glossary & Chilenismos : This list of Chilean vocabulary and expressions has grown over the year into a linguistic guide to speaking “Chilensis,” which surely has little to do with the Spanish you learned in school (or anywhere else, for that matter!)

Chilean Spanish Spoken Here: a Rooster from the Glue : A rollicking linguistic free-for-all started by Canadian comedian Eileen Shea that wreaks havoc on the languages and commits some serious linguistic abuse while engaging in inter-linguistic puns and nonsense for an entertaining look at Chilean slang.

Ya Pasamos Agosto: that most frightful and fateful month of the Chilean year prompted a long series of euphemistic bucket-kicking, farm-buying, daisy-pushing expressions.

Chilean Expression: Born with a Hardroll under the Arm: More odd-sounding expressions that make life and language more interesting.

False Cognates:

Beware those dangerous little words that seem so familiar but that can really trip you up if you aren’t careful! Here are a couple examples:

Cynical or Cínico: Think of the English definition while using the word in Spanish will get you into hot water. Be sure you know the difference!

Flirting with Frugal: Once again, those little language quirks play their tricks on words that seem to be the same but aren’t…

Readers’ favorites:

All things food related, especially anything to do with slapping something between 2 pieces of bread.

Sánguches: written by founding partner “El Viejo,” this is the all-time top Cachando Chile hit, with a good review of Chile’s truest comfort food.

Anthony Bourdain loves Lomitos: Foodie rockstar Bourdain made the front page of the local news when he was spotted chowing down one of Chile’s favorite sandwiches.

A Hot Dog is not a Completo:  As anyone who has ever been in Chile surely knows, the Chilean concept of a frankfurter on a bun has little to do with the good old mustard-smeared variety that is so popular in the US.

Cola de Mono: Who knew that this traditional cold hooch & milk Christmas punch would turn out to be such a hot topic? Curiously enough, it and its sister post with recipe (Cola de Mono: Chile’s true Christmas Spirit are quite a popular duo at Cachando Chile.

Most controversial posts:

When I first started blogging, a friend in the know told me that controversial topics make the best posts. I don’t normally go looking for trouble, but I did manage to stir up a bit here here and there bz pushing a few buttons here along the way.

Dogs are a topic all in themselves. I’ve posted about them three times this year and people’s opinions range from one extreme to the other, represented in It’s a Dog’s World and Quiltros & Hero Dogs.

May I Take Your Purse? Certainly stirred up a lot of opinions on cultural practices, trust, friendships, and even a bit of international debate.

Ways to Alienate a Chilean: This post breaks all records for the number of comments and number of participants in the conversation, as well as the broad range of opinions expressed. Phew! I never dreamed it would provoke such a response, and frankly I thought the discussion was very rewarding. I certainly hope to come up with more like this in the future!

Photo Essays:

When I began this blog a year ago, I had not planned on making photography a big part of it, although it is certainly one of my own greatest interests. That changed with time and photography gradualy found its place and greater space in Cachando Chile. Here are a few of my favorite photo essays:

Concón: Looking Good after 468 years, Part 1 and Concón: Looking Good after 468 years, Part 2: A chance encounter with a local anniversary celebration turned into 2 days of fun and photo op.

El Dieciocho: Chilean Independence Day: Chile takes its Independence Day celebrations very seriously. Here’s a look at a typical home celebration as well as a municipal to-do.

Parada Militar: Gotta Love a Parade: The day after Independence Day is Armed Forces Day, and the parade is a major event.

7 responses to “Cachando Chile: a Year in Review

  1. One hundred, forth-three comments for one post. (And still counting!)

    Some bloggers don’t get that many “hits” in a full year, let alone one full post.

    I’m new, having just started blogging in September, but like how you organized and categorized your materials. May try to “stumble” back to get some ideas and mix them with my Greek heritage and my now Buddhist-leaning beliefs over a lapsed-Catholic religion.

    thanks for this insight. Look forward to number 200.

    michael j

    Conshohocken, PA USA (near Philadelphia)

  2. Hi Michael J!
    Yes, I have to admit that I’m pretty pleased with the way things have gone this past year–and I’m planning on puttin in a lot more effort this coming year! The response has been great and the intereaction truly rewardsing (sounds so cliche, but oh so true)… Feel free to stop in for ideas (or leave some) whenever you like! And good luck with your blog too!

  3. Congrats again Peg on your 1 year and 100th post. It was fun to re-read some of those posts and read a few for the first time. I have been thinking about personal space, chilean friendships and stray dogs all day😉 You do your anthropological background proud. I love the persepctive you offer and how you present it.

  4. Thanks Annje! That’s the best compliment I can imagine!

  5. Felicitaciones Margaret!
    Me encontré con este blog hace unos meses, buscando información sobre unos “sanguchones”, y me quedé después enganchado por los temas que luego seguí encontrando, divertidos, informativos, e interesantes, por la perspectiva especial que pones al tratarlos.
    Me tomé la libertad de escribir este comentario en español, ya que se que lo comprendes perfectamente.
    Sigue el gran trabajo que has hecho, que estoy seguro ha sido también de gran ayuda para tus “fellow gringa expats”. Lectura obligatoria para extranjeros angloparlantes en Chile xD.
    Saludos.

  6. Gracias Marmo! me alegro mucho que encuentres informativo y grato el sitio. Tengo hartos planes para el anyo que viene!

  7. Congrats on your 100th post! I’ve read most of the posts you linked back to. I’m going to look at the others now.

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