Can you spot the gringa?
Last Monday, September 18, was Chile’s national holiday, Fiestas Patrias. It’s usually celebrated with friends and family. Often, there’s a barbeque involved.
Other than going to doctor visits, I had not been leaving the safety and comfort of my apartment. Considering that I still can’t put weight on my foot, it’s an enormous challenge to get me out and about.
When friends invited me to an asado, a barbeque, I hemmed and hawed, trying to think of an excuse to skip it, but they were insistent. My caregivers agreed with them. It was time for me to leave the house.
It was a cool, overcast day when Carolina, the caregiver, loaded me into the car, with the wheelchair. Off we went, out into the countryside to my friend’s spread, where we ate traditional Chilean empanadas filled with pino, ground beef and onions, complete with a black olive and half a hard-boiled egg inside.
We also feasted on choripan, grilled chorizo sausages inside a marraqueta bun and slathered with homemade pebre, a mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and spicy peppers.
We indulged in red wine and Pisco Sours, and the main dish was grilled beef with roasted potatoes and veggie wraps, which were courtesy of a Malaysian visitor. Dessert was homemade tiramisú, so delicious and authentic that we’d never have suspected that the cook was Chilean, not Italian.
As I looked around the table, I wasn’t surprised that the majority of the guests were Chilean, but I realized that it wasn’t only a Chilean celebration. Including Chile, there were five countries represented that day. Our gathering turned out to be not just a Chilean holiday, but an international grouping of friends.
¡Viva Chile mierda! ¡Tiki tiki ti!