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Thursday, January 22, 2004

 
Memory
I was sitting at the table eating dinner tonight, and my mind was ambushed by a memory. For some reason, I looked at my salad and remembered that salads in Chile were completely diferent. They had each of the vegetables rigidly separated on the plate. People in restaurants would stare at you if you mixed them together, as Americans were wont to do. The only exception was ensalada chilena, which is diced tomato and onion in a very light dressing. I remember explaining this to my parents in the little cafe restaurant next to their hotel when they came to visit. And I remember climbing Cerro San Cristobal and riding the funicular down, and watching my dad manage to order everything in restaurants in English no matter whether my mom or I had just told him the Spanish, but it didn't matter, because all the waiters and waitresses spoke enough English anyway, and then watching my mom try to read all the menus without any help, and hearing her comment that my Chilean Spanish sounded all funny the first time I arranged a tour for them on the phone, not at all like what we had learned in Costa Rica those 4 years ago, and going to Mt. Aconcagua, and introducing them to the wonder of Chilean ice cream, and seeing my host mother and parents manage to have a perfectly understandable conversation without really speaking the other's language much at all.

Salad is good for you.

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