New Chilean Senior is ‘Chill’-ean, as Expected

Where have you lived?
Francisco Ortega: I just lived in Santiago, Chile for a year and a half. I also lived in England and Bolivia, as well as Maryland for five years because my dad was working in the Chilean Embassy in Washington DC.

How are teenagers different in the areas you’ve lived in?
F: In Maryland, since it was so diverse, you would have really smart kids, really stupid kids, really smart kids that would do a lot of drugs – you would have different kinds of people. Over here I don’t really know much, but I’ve realized that people are mainly concerned about academics only. And I would say that Chilean people are a lot more conservative than they are around here.

Describe your family.
F: My dad is a diplomat; he works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile. Right now, he is Consul of Chile in San Francisco, meaning he is the representative of Chile in the area. My mom is a landscape designer and a journalist. My sister, Victoria, is a sophomore at Miramonte. My other sister, Sophia, is a freshman.

What do you do in your spare time?
F: I have high standards for myself, so during the weekdays I don’t have a lot of spare time. I study a lot; I get all my homework done. Right now, I’m on the cross-country team, and I’m thinking of trying out for soccer during the winter season. For the spring season, I’m undecided between track, tennis, or swimming. I find the traditional American sports pretty boring – especially baseball because there’s really not much action. Football is all right, but I like rugby better. I also like to run, bike, hike. I like to surf – even though I’ve never done it, I know I would like it.

What do you think of Miramonte so far?
F: It has a very smart student body with high standards, a lot of talented people, good athletics. It’s a really nice community. I’ve realized that parents have a lot of involvement in the school, which is good for a kid’s development. The only drawback is it’s located in a kind of bubble, so there’s not much diversity. You can notice how people don’t really know or understand the outside world.

What do you think of the Bay Area so far?
F: I really like the Bay Area because there are so many different ideas and philosophies, and everyone can speak out their mind with no problem. The whole emphasis on literature, the arts – it’s amazing how the hippie movement took place in Berkeley.

What’s the best place you’ve travelled to?
F: There are so many good places. For nature, I’d say Bariloche, Argentina or San Martin, Argentina. But culturally, I’d say Paris.

What are your post-high school plans?
F: I want to go to UC Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, Georgetown, or NYU. If none of that works, I would like to go to UC Santa Barbara because it’s just a chill college. I would like to pursue the scientific route. Hopefully I can get into medical school and become a plastic surgeon.

Did you follow the Chilean miner story?
F: It was amazing because at first I thought that they were all dead. When I jumped onto the airplane to San Francisco, the person next to me told me that they were all alive, which was really surprising. But they said it was going to take about six months to get them out, and I couldn’t understand why it would take so long – then I realized how delicate mine rescues are. Now that I’m in San Francisco and the rescue has been successful, I was interviewed by KTVU since my dad represents Chile. I thought it was pretty funny because I had never felt so important.

What’s it like to be bilingual?
F: I like it because you can think at the same time with both languages. You sometimes get a better word for a situation and you can express yourself better. If I had a girlfriend that spoke Spanish and English, that would be even better because we could understand everything we expressed to each other.

What kinds of music and movies do you like?
F: I really like reggae, a bit of hip-hop, electronic music – basically anything, except for country music. And for hip-hop, I mean old school hip-hop, not the new, annoying rap that’s going on right now with the same beat for every song. For movies, I love Into the Wild, Requiem for a Dream, American Beauty, Dazed and Confused.

If you had to sum up your philosophy on life, what would it be?
F: This is hard. To be open to every single thought – not to follow each, but to be willing to hear different ideas and pick up the good bits and pieces of each one. And to be accepting and nice to people, and live to the fullest.

What are your most embarassing moments?
F: I’ve never had an embarassing moment.