Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tough Days Lead to Chilean Cooking

A beautiful Spring day in Santiago
This is the Bellas Artes Art Museum
Hey Y'all!  (I say that because Britney Spears recently performed at the National Stadium.)  Sara here on the mic, or should I say keys.  Matt and I have finally gotten off our high horse about the Maquinaria Festival and have been living pretty low-key the last week or so.

I wish for (insert what you think I wish for).

Work has been keeping us both busy.  Currently, I'm teaching seven different courses to a variety of folks.  Here's a breakdown: I teach a young business entrepreneur who will be traveling to Korea in a couple of weeks.  The main language for the conference he will be attending is English, so he's brushing up before he goes off.   Secondly, I teach a very cool and very smart 10-year old who knows everything there is to know about Pokemon and loves to tell me jokes from his comic books.  Unfortunately, the jokes don't always translate, so I'm left to make up my own jokes in my head and laugh at those.  Next, I teach a group of 4 accountants at a brokerage firm in Los Condes, which is one of the fancy parts of town.  This class is definitely a challenge because none of the students speak much English and are very tired after a long day of work.  I speak all Spanish during this time which is hard, but it helps me practice!  Directly after that class I go to a TOEFL tutoring course with an extremely motivated lawyer who will be moving to Florida to complete an American Master's.  This class includes a lot of test-taking, which I am well-versed in from teaching in the public school system (sadly).  Twice a week I teach a computer designer who is preparing to move to NYC (!!!) in the next few months.  We meet in a really cute coffee shop and always end up talking about New York.  Only once a week, I work with a lawyer who is very fluent in English.  This class is fun because I bring music or sports related articles to read and discuss.  I even get to teach him some of the knowledge I picked up in my Urban Studies classes (who knew that would come in handy?).  Lastly, I teach a manager at a construction company who travels extensively out of the country.  Teaching English to adults is fairly new to me, but I enjoy the work.  I've learned a ton about Chilean culture and it has definitely helped me practice my (slow-going) Spanish.

New friends at our local bar.
This last week, we've had the opportunity to speak with many family and friends, either on the phone or over Skype.  It is such a joy to see your faces and hear your voices.  I have been Skyping into my book club meetings each month, which occurred last Thursday.  It's great to be able to continue to contribute to the discussions (even though Matt claims we only talk about the book for 15 minutes - not true!  It's more like 30...)  Saturday was a day packed with Skype dates!  Matt's baby nephew, Nate, was baptized and the Uphams/Hubens were able to plug us into the celebration!  We loved seeing everyone's faces on such a happy day!  Also on Saturday we had plans to Skype into our "Friend Thanksgiving" taking place in Queens.  Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties and we were only able to talk on the phone briefly.  As short as it was, we were happy to hear that the party goes on!  Lastly, I was able to talk with Lauren and Roe in Montana.  Though we are thousands of miles away, it felt like we were sitting on the couch together chatting.  I guess it doesn't matter how far away your good friends are, they always feel close.
Chorrillana Prep!
These electronic connections with family and friends are wonderful, but also remind us of how far away we are for special events and holidays.  It has definitely been hard coping with withdraw from our friends and familiar surroundings.  I suppose this is the plight of an ex-pat.  So, to deal with these tough days, I experiment with my Chilean cooking!!!  In between Skype dates on Saturday, I made a common Chilean dish called Chorrillana.  This is a popular dish for bars or pubs because it's perfect to munch on with a group of people.  Here are some pictures and the recipe for Chorrillana:  (Disclaimer: this is my adapted version, not officially Chilean)

You will need:
-Potatoes (or a bag of french fries)
-MEAT!  (I used beef cubes, chicken and sausage- usually it's just beef and sausage)
-1-2 eggs
-Spices (salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic)

Meat and onions: delicioso!

The final product!

1) First you will need to make the french fries.  You can make them with regular potatoes by cutting them into slices, seasoning them and baking them in one layer in the oven (357 F).  Make sure they are crispy.  If you are using a bag of french fries, follow the directions on the bag (duh!)
2) Saute the onions (in thin slices) with some spices.  I added some garlic here.
3) You want to cook the meat now.  You can do this with or without the onions in the pan (I kept the onions in).  Make sure everything is cooked through and spiced to your liking.
4) Scramble the eggs.  I like to add milk, salt and pepper when I scramble.  NOTE:  With Chorrillana, you can also use over easy/hard eggs as well.  However you like your eggs the best.  
5) Assembly time!  On a serving dish, layer the french fries, the meat and onion mix and the eggs on top.

There you have it!  Chorrillana, an easy to make dish that's great for pickin'!

Happy boyfriend.
Full boyfriend.

 Today, being Thanksgiving, is another tough day for us.  We, of course, wish we were stuffing our little faces with turkey, potatoes, stuffing and cranberries with our families rather than running around Santiago teaching English.  But, we only need to wait a day, since our good friend Charlie and his family have invited us to a 'Chilean Thanksgiving' at their house tomorrow evening.  We are so grateful and lucky to have the Walbaums as our friends here in Chile.  We can't wait to bring some American flava to their Chilean Thanksgiving.  Matt's biggest dilemma: Should he stuff his face until the point of bursting, as is tradition?  

Last, but definitely not least, I received a wonderful Thanksgiving gift today:  I was offered the teaching position at Santiago College I was so eager to get!!  I couldn't be more excited to get back into the classroom with young people.  I start on March first.  I am waiting to hear the grade I will be teaching, but I suspect it will be third.  I never thought I would be so happy to get into the classroom, but I can hardly wait!  

To close this blog post on this very special (and different) Thanksgiving, I would like to say I am thankful for all the important people in my life who have supported me throughout this and all my adventures: family, friends and especially Matt, who if it weren't for him, I would have high-tailed it out of here a month ago.  Gobble!  Gobble!  

Yes, this is the afternoon view from our terrace.


  1. Hooray! Congratulations on the job, Sara!!! That's so awesome -- and they are so lucky to get you. It is seriously so inspiring and impressive to do what you guys have done (move to a new country, find an amazing place to live, find work, have adventures, make great food) -- and you've only been there a few months! You should be so proud.

    We definitely missed y'all at Thanksgiving, but Skype/G-chatting has been awesome!

    Also that chorrillana looks delicious. xoxo

  2. Congrats to you and Matt. Good luck with your third graders and keep feeding Matt. I see he gets truly happy after a delicioso plato de comida!

    Sending you lots of regards,
    From Zulma, Yankee and Raya.