I have more things to update you on but first, as promised, Chapters III and IV of the Week-Long Saga in Four Parts! Plus… another paint drawing. Just what you all were waiting for!
CHAPTER 3 or Mexican Food and a Spice Craving Satisfied
So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but Argentine food is bland. Seriously. People have no spice tolerance here– sometimes it’s like living in a world with the relative spice-content of baby food. A few years ago, I would have loved it. Adored it, even. Because even though my family has always gone crazy for spiced-up foods that make your nose run and your eyes water, I only started appreciating it within probably the past six or so years.
Once I finally discovered how much I was missing out on by skipping the spice, I quickly built up my tolerance and pretty much took spice for granted as a common, delicious addition to food. Which, as this Argentine experience has taught me, it is not.
So last weekend (well, two weekends ago, now), a bunch of kids from my program and I got together and cooked up some spicy Mexican food. We had guacamole, salsa, chicken and beef fajitas plus all the fixins’. We even made some sangria (which isn’t Mexican, I know, but it is sure darn tasty).
The most satisfying parts of the meal? For one, the fact that we found legitimate hot chilis in one of the verdulerías (vegetable stores) nearby. We also found awesome spicy hot sauce in the grocery store!! Which was spicy enough to make all our noses run, a bit.
It was also just nice to get together with friends and all cook together. Miss Roomie and I did that all the time last year in our apartment– we were kind of queens of throwing dinner parties– and I seriously missed that. Friends and food? Instant fun. And overall, a smashing success!
CHAPTER 4 or Part of the Family
As you guys know, I live in an apartment with a mom, dad, abuelita, and two host brothers. In case you don’t remember, I also have two other host siblings who both have their own kids plus a host uncle who lives about an hour away, a host aunt who lives close-ish to us, and another abuela who lives about five minutes away plus a bunch of other parientes (extended family members).
It’s a wonderful, big family and reminds me a lot of my own… but somehow they manage to be less crazy! Haha, to all my actual family reading this– don’t worry, I love you. You have all prepared me to adjust easily to living with another family who thinks they are ridiculous and weird but are really just right. You could say they’re the perfect bowl of porridge to my Goldilocks. But whatever.
Anyway, (almost) every Sunday a significant portion of the family gets together for a big midday meal. It’s usually at my house– I’ve been to a few but feel kind of weird invading their space all the time, and Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to go exploring and sightseeing, so usually they invite me to come only if I don’t already have plans.
Last (two) weekends ago, I woke up to find my abuelita, Yolly, cleaning strawberries in the kitchen. She gave me some really red ones to eat while she told me about their plans to go to my host sister Paula’s house for lunch. I didn’t really have plans for the day, so I figured I would hop in the shower and then enjoy having the house to myself for a bit before going out and reading in the sun.
Almost as soon as I got out of the shower, though, and was walking around my room in my towel, my host mom knocked on my door to tell me that they were leaving, and that they would wait for me to get dressed so I could come with them! So I threw on some clothes while they got the car out of the garage.
Paula’s house is beautiful. She lives near the outskirts of the city in an area that’s not as built up as where we live. Out there a lot of the houses have patios as part of their property; Paula even has a little backyard with grass, a parilla (grill) and a little pool! The inside of her house is also wonderful– everything had a very clean aesthetic and was just gorgeous, which was especially surprising because she has two kids!
It was a really nice lunch. We grilled some meat and veggies on the parilla and sat outside enjoying the wonderful weather. It was the first time that I met my host dad’s mom, as well, so it was great to sit and chat with all these incredibly interesting people. It’s not that I haven’t felt welcome in the house. I love my host family like my actual family. But there was something about the atmosphere, the way we all sat down together at the table and chatted, that made me feel like I was actually their youngest daughter. They were so inclusive and so welcoming that I truly felt like I was a part of their family.