After talking to a few exchange student friends of mine, I met and interviewed young Pierro Genskowsky Lo Presti about his life and what’s it’s like to be a kid in Chile. Pierro is the host brother of my friend Kendra. Kendra is studying abroad in Chile like me!
What is your house like?
I met up with my friend Kendra to walk over to Pierro’s house. We live only about four minutes away so we decided to walk the hilly path to her apartment complex. Pierro lives on the third floor of the complex with his mother, two brothers and host sister.
Like most Chilean houses, his was bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside. The dining room was closest to the door and connected to the lounge and kitchen with only arches to indicate they were separate rooms. The dining room connects to a hallway that leads to all of the bedrooms.
Kendra and I walked down the hall to Pierro’s door on the right and knocked. He answered and then almost immediately shut the door. I was a little confused until he re-opened the door with two small candies in both hands for both Kendra and I, to welcome a guest into his house (he turned out to be a very polite seven year old)! We went to Kendra’s room to interview him, his room was filled with toys and candy wrappers and both of his brothers were on the computer in the living room. Besides that, Kendra’s room has the prettiest view of the sunset and we arrived just in time to watch it. He worked on the wrapper of his lollipop and stared off into the sunset as I began to ask him questions.
What do you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
In my experience Chileans don’t normally eat breakfast, they prefer a big late lunch and dinner with snacks in between, but Pierro told me he likes pancito (essentially bread or toast, but here it refers to small flat round rolls) or cereal and even some chocolate milk in the morning.
I got the feeling that he was very fond of sweets. He had a small juice stain on his angry birds t-shirt and was very preoccupied with unwrapping and enjoying his lollipop. As for lunch and dinner, whatever, anything, Qualquier cosa! The only thing he does not enjoy is a dish called charquican, which has meat, potatoes and vegetables.
What chores do you have?
As a seven year old, Pierro doesn’t have too many chores, but he does have to do homework and make his bed, but only because his mom tells him to!
What jobs do your parents have?
Pierro’s household only has one parent, his mother, and she generally takes care of the house. Pierro said, “she cooks our food and cleans the house.”
When does school start and stop?
At this point of time it may have been a translation error on my part, but he described the time he went to school in terms of weather rather than numbers, “In the morning I walk to school, when it’s cold and cloudy, but sometimes during the bright sunrise.” When I asked what time he got back, he shrugged, “Sometimes almost at lunch, and sometimes later at night.” Chilean school schedules vary greatly, and sometimes they get to have half days off in the middle of the week for no apparent reason.
What is your favorite food?
When I asked him this, he paused, his deep brown eyes serious, deep in thought. He took all of my questions very seriously and each and every answer only came after a good pause and some thoughtful licking of his lollipop. His eyes brightened and a small smile spread on his face, “I love el guiso (chop suey), it has broccoli and mushrooms, everything I could ever want!” he explained to us both eagerly.
What language do you speak at school?
“I only speak Spanish, though sometimes a little English like,” he opened his mouth wide and nearly yelled “HELLO!” I get this a lot on the street actually. Most kids here can say hello or okay in English, just like nearly all American students can say HOLA!
What is your favorite subject, what subjects to you study?
“I have to take science and math and English, but I like gym best!”
What is your homework like?
“My homework is difficult, I only sometimes get a lot, but the only reason I do it is because my mom makes me.”
What kind of music do you listen to?
“I listen to just a little music, and I like rock!”
What do you want to do when you grow up?
“I just want to sit around and play videogames! I really like angry birds, and I have a bunch of Mario games. Super Mario, Mario Cart and Mario Galaxy on my cousin’s Wii, but I don’t like the nun-chuck control, you can’t get him [Mario] to go anywhere with it. And I would also like to have a Mario game where he can fly!”
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
“Mexico!” This was one of the quickest times he answered so I asked, why Mexico? “I like their flag, the image is really cool, plus is has all the colors of Italy.” Kendra and I both laughed a little, and Kendra asked a little teasingly, “So, would you like to go to Italy, too? Since you like their colors?” He shook his mop of curly brown hair, “No, not Italy, just Mexico.”
What do you know of the US. Do you have any questions?
“I don’t know anything about the U.S. I’m not uninterested, I just haven’t learned anything about it in class yet.” I thought his answer was actually quite self-aware, he was practical and comfortable enough not to make up an answer just to please me, and thought it was completely sensible that he didn’t know anything since he had not yet taken any world or American history classes. Since this was the last question, I thanked him and he nodded his head solemnly. I was about to pack up and go when he insisted on writing both of his last names, most likely because I was having so much trouble pronouncing them!