The British-Chilean Connection

Naturally I have a pretty strong tie with Chile: Cristián is Chilean, Sienna is half-Chilean. It was home-from-home for me for over two years and I really grew to love it out there, despite consistently yearning for my roots. Now back in the UK, life's good, yet I still feel this curious magnetic attraction* to Chile. I am not Chilean (Chileans would relentlessly remind of what a Gringa I am!), but I feel something right there under the surface that I can't quite put my finger on. Is it a destiny-calling, as if I were always meant to end up there? Or have I just been Chileanified, am I a Chilenista?

In exploration of this strange sensation I have compiled a list of fun facts, uncanny coincidences and my personal (and perhaps relatively insignificant!) Shine A Life experiences and parallels between Britain and Chile:

1. John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, was an 18th-century English aristocrat. He was an avid gambler and used to order his valet to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread as it allowed him to continue playing cards while eating, without using a fork and without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands! Others used to order "the same as Sandwich" and so the sandwich was born. Today, popular Chilean fast-food and arguably the best sandwiches in the world (many have so argued before me!) are the Churrasco and Chacureo. Here is one of many recipes so you can see for yourself!:

Churrasco Italiano (because it has the colours of the Italian flag):

Use enough for one bread roll: Grilled Beef Tenderloin, sliced avocado, sliced tomato, deseeded and sliced white chili, mayo.

2. "Robinson Crusoe", a novel by British author Daniel Defoe, is the story of a castaway on an island off the south Pacific coast. Today that island is called Robinson Crusoe Island, or Más a Tierra, which is actually on Chilean territory.

3. In political history, England and Chile have also been significantly linked. Dictator Augusto Pinochet and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were allies and even very close friends. Pinochet aided Britain during the Falklands War, and later, Thatcher did everything in her power to ensure that Pinochet would not be extradited to Spain.

4. British and Chilean cuisine have some uncanny similarities... Pastel de Choclo and Shepherd's Pie are basically the same thing, the main difference being that one dish is topped with puréed corn and the other puréed potato. And what about Empanadas de Pino and Cornish Pasties? Am I wrong!?

5. Alexis Sánchez - yes he definitely deserves his spot on my list! Back in May of this year, Sánchez was the second Chilean of all time to score a goal in the FA Cup final and his goal from a distance of 30 yards made Arsenal the 2015 champions. Less than two months later, back on Chilean soil, Alexis scored the winning goal in penalties against Argentina in Copa América 2015 making Chile the champions for the first time in history (and beating Argentina for only the second time ever). Did I mention how much I love this guy!!

For more cute (and sexy!) pics of Alexis follow him on Instagram @alexis_officia1 !

6. An old, and very strict, geography teacher of mine used to drill into my class that Chile is not pronounced "chili" as most people would say it but "tchee-lay". This memory resurfaced years later when I met Cristián for the first time and had to lookup Chile on google to find out where this guy I was dating had come from! I then recalled having learnt about the regular seismic activity in Chile and how the infrastructure is built to withstand it.

7. Not many people know this (and maybe it should have stayed that way!) but when I was sweet 16 I used to dream big of being a runway model. I went to the Birmingham Clothes Show for inspiration and I used to religiously practice walking in heels (hahaha)! Years and years later when I moved out to Chile, that distant dream became a reality with my first catwalk for Wella Professionals. Alas it was a short-lived career as I fell pregnant soon afterwards, but a dream conceived, believed and achieved all the same.

8. In my post Wrinkle-Free with Rosehip Oil, I talked about the amazing benefits of this amber-coloured oil and how it has been a significant part of my daily skincare regime postpartum. The rosa mosqueta plant is most commonly found up in the Andes in Southern Chile but also in England as it thrives in rainy climates.

9. Longtime ASOS-aholic, soon after I moved to Chile they introduced FREE international delivery out there! Also, as one of my personal favorite brands Miss Selfridge disappeared off the British highstreet (the brand is now only sold in places like Debenhams or as part of Topshop), it simultaneously popped up in one of Chile's leading department stores, Paris.

10. With Street Pianos being a relatively new phenomenon, literally the only places I have ever seen them is in London's St Pancras International Station and Santiago de Chile's first self-sustainable Mall Plaza Egaña (I have been told they are also in Santiago's arty neighborhood Barrio Lastarria too).

*THE best trip I have ever been on was to the mystical Atacama desert. During one of the guided tours we were made to lie down at the side of the road on the dry desert floor in silence. Within a minute I could feel this strong pumping sensation particularly in my hands and chest. The guide said this was due to the magnetic energy below the earth's surface and that our bodies were being recharged with the energy.

Desert life in San Pedro de Atacama. A MUST-visit if you ever travel to South America!

Have you had a similar connection between Chile and another country? Or two different countries? Can you think of anything to add to my list? I would love to hear about your experiences! Share your story. Spread the love! ♥