If You Give Chileans Macaroni and Cheese

I’m sort of caught up now, chiquillos. Yay!

So, on Saturday I went to the institute for the kids’ classes. I was put in a teen class for the whole time and I swear to you, all I did that day was scare the crap out of teenagers. Let me explain.

The class I was placed in was having an oral exam, so they had to come in and face me for that. That’s brutal. Like, I’m a stranger to them and I’m a native English speaker, so that’s pretty intimidating. If I was them, I’d be terrified too. I made them so nervous, but there was really nothing I could do to make that experience less horrifying for them…

Later, I was put in charge of making a game for the class, so I recruited the help of the students that weren’t taking the exam. They were all sitting at a table in the hallway, so I just sat with them. There were groups of other teens sprinkled throughout the little lobby area that we were in too. I have no clue if they were actually part of my class or not…

But, at one point, I looked over at one of the groups and these two girls were legit wrestling. I could tell they were joking around, but I knew if one of them made a wrong move it could turn into a real fight real quick, so naturally I stopped them. All I did was yell (well, not really a yell. More like a stern teacher voice.) “Basta!” (“Enough!”) And they stopped immediately. They were so terrified that the gringa yelled at them. I’m pretty scary, I guess. Who knew?

Later that day, they had the celebration for the 4th of July, so I got to watch my other class do the Hoe Down Throw Down. They even braided their hair and wore flannels. I was so proud.

 Hopefully this video works:

Sunday was big day for Chile. It was election day and there was a soccer game, so the whole country came to a screeching halt to see what would happen. My host family went and voted early in the morning and then came back to watch the game.

I bought a Chilean soccer Jersey a couple weeks ago, so I wore it for the game. My host mom just thought me wearing a Chilean soccer jersey was the cutest thing in the entire world. She even made Nicole take a picture of us. (I look gross in this picture, but she loves it and has posted it everywhere. It’s also her new profile picture on WhatsApp.)

 For game day food, Nicole asked me if I knew how to make Mac and cheese. Of course I can make Mac and cheese. That’s like the easiest thing to make in the entire world. Mac and cheese is not a thing here, so when they get to eat it, it’s like a special occasion. 

The macaroni that I made for them was a little different than normal because the cheese here is different. The type of cheese that they normally buy tastes like straight up butter, so I had her buy cheddar cheese also. But, the “cheddar” cheese was actually not cheddar. The cheese that was labeled cheddar was actually American cheese. There’s no doubt in my mind. So I mixed the two cheeses and added lots of milk because the buttery cheese was not melting very smoothly and was making it a sticky mess. But whatever, they loved it.

Nicole made sloppy Joe’s to go with it, so our game day meal was pretty gringo. Also, I love the way she says “sloppy Joe’s” with her thick Spanish accent. It’s so cute. It’s like, “slopey shows.” We ended up picnicking in the living room in front of the t.v. for the game with our slopey shows and macaroni and cheese.

Another food that is not a thing here is pretzels. I was having this conversation with one of my friends from the institute. She’s never eaten pretzels and that just shocks me. Honestly, they’re not missing out on much with the pretzels, but it’s just strange to think about.

-Robyn

P.S. I had the children’s book “If you give a mouse a cookie” in mind when writing the title. Hopefully someone understood that. Also, if you have no idea what book that is, you should go to a library right now, sit down, and read the whole thing. Even adults need to read a children’s book every once in awhile.

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