Deja Vu in the Midst of Culture Shock

Most of the time, when you go to a new country, everything seems new. You don’t know what’s going on half of the time, and they call that culture shock. But sometimes, occasionally, you spot weird similarities between cultures and they stand out more than all of the differences in the world. For example, when people start talking about traditional Chilean games, you don’t expect to be familiar with them. Surprisingly, that’s not what happened last weekend.

A Chilean sack race (photo isn't mine, sorry! I didn't take any photos in the moment, but I wanted to provide one for your viewing pleasure. Original source:
A Chilean sack race (photo isn’t mine, sorry! I didn’t take any photos in the moment, but I wanted to provide one for your viewing pleasure. Original source:

Last weekend was the beginning of a full week of Independence Day festivities, and I got the chance to go to the botanical gardens with a couple of my friends, and their host parents. On our way there, Laura, my friend’s host mom, told us that we would get the chance to see some traditional Chilean games that were very common around the Independence Day holiday. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t sack races, tug-of-war, and egg-in-spoon races. These are all games that I played all through elementary school, during Field Day! I knew all of these games! Not only are they considered traditional and very popular in Chile, but they’re also really common in the United States. Amidst all of the Spanish, copious amounts of empanadas(!), and traditional Chilean dances were these really familiar games that I recognized, and already knew! What a great reminder that no matter how different a culture seems or how foreign you feel, when you get down to it, we really are all very similar. You may not have traditional Chilean/Field Day games to remind you, but you’re never as different as you think you are.

Published by Jamie Breyfogle

Class of 2021 SIT Valparaíso, Chile International Studies, Philosophy, Spanish

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