Now that we have been here just over a month (yikes), we have become rather well acquainted with our host family, the wonderful yet undeniably insane people that have taken us in for our stay here in Chile. A group of personalities that is, no doubt, worth mentioning:
Marisol: Host Mom is your typical mom. She's constantly asking us to make sure we've eaten, that we're warm enough, if we need anything, etc. She took an immediate liking to Andy and, if she had her way, he would escort us everywhere to make sure that we aren't bothered. Every time we leave she warns us to watch out for jotes, a term that literally translates to "vulture" but is actually slang for creepy Chilean men with a thing for gringas. She's always watching fashion shows to make sure she is up to date on what's de moda. Her own wardrobe is wrought with faux leather and sweaters made of a strange material that looks as though it might give off its own wireless signal. Her Spanish is suuuper easy to understand, making everything a little bit easier.
Mauricio: Host Dad is super sweet and loves to tell jokes and give us advice on what places to visit and what to do there. He loves to talk about politics, which is fascinating for me. However, he slurs his words like drunk sorority girl on a Friday night, making him a little bit difficult to understand (I feel as though this would be an obstacle even if he were to speak English).
Fabian: The youngest of the Joui kids, Fabian lives in the house with us. He is really quiet and reserved, but helps us frequently because he can speak some English. Aside from the fact that he is great to look at, it's wonderful to have him around. He loves to talk about music, sports, and parties with us and gives great advice concerning weekend activities.
Talia: The mother of BT (below) and our host sister. She visits on the weekends but lives in Santiago. She has a super important job with the government, dresses well, is very pretty, nice, and on a whole just makes us feel incredibly inadequate and bad about ourselves because she's so great. We can't even hate her for it, which is why we hate her soooo much.
Joaquin: Boy Thunder is absolutely adorable from the hours of 12-5PM. At all other times he is like a wrecking ball to the temple. Luckily (well, that might be debatable) he's only here on the weekends.
Nena: Nena is the family's housekeeper, and probably the scariest human being I have ever met. To borrow a line from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," she has two volumes, loud, and louder. I assume that she speaks Spanish, but it's really anyone's guess. Interactions with her usually involve her yelling and gesturing at us, and us blinking a lot and nervously smiling. Granted, I've never experienced this interaction from the other side, but I imagine our expressions are akin to that of Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Nelson: Our friendly neighborhood Communist, Nelson is a good friend of the family who frequently visits for once or family events. A Kris Kristofferson look-alike, he has a booming voice and looooves to use it. Every time we see him he asks about politics in the United States, the economy, and, occasionally education. His signature move is to come over for dinner, down a bottle of Gato wine and make fun of the gringas.
Mauricio Jr: The most mysterious of our new family members, MJ is the oldest child in the family, and works high up in management for a chain of supermarkets in South America. We have never met him, and there has been very little mention of him around the house. We know he exists due to one family photo, but that is the only evidence we have. Until we learn more, we are entertaining ourselves thinking up imaginative situations in which he was estranged from the family or what he possibly could have done to get himself exiled. Is he actually a spy? Is he shunned for not going into the family business? Does he run an international drug ring? The possibilities are endless. Story still developing.