Wisconsin For the Win

Is it bad that I am somehow managing to Americanize parts of my Chilean life without even trying to? I swear I am trying to blend in and merge with the Chilean culture, but sometimes it seems like things go the opposite direction: the Chileans themselves change to become more like me! Take, for example, my experience cooking with my host family in Chile. So one day my host brother and I were super hungry and there was pretty much no food left in the house. The only things I really recognized were bread, eggs, milk, sugar, and cornflakes (and the ever-present mayonnaise, of course). Conveniently enough, these are all the things (minus the mayonnaise) that you need to make Heather’s specialty French toast with cornflakes! So, naturally, I decided I would teach Felipe how to make it. Even though the stoves here are probably even more complicated than the ovens, we had no major problems and the final product turned out pretty well, I would say! In fact, I might have done too good of a job making it the first time- now my family is hooked! My younger host brother literally asks me at least twice a week if I will make him French toast. Apparently in his mind, it makes no sense to eat the huge plate of Chilean food set aside for him at night if he can convince me to make him a French toast feast! I feel like I am being used for my cooking skills….

It is not just the food that has been becoming more and more like what I am used to back home. It seems somewhat crazy, but people here like to talk about the same things as they do 5,000 miles away. The other day I had a conversation with a Chilean guy about American football. When he heard I was from Wisconsin he started rambling off about how the Green Bay football team used to be led by a great player, Brett Favre, but how he had left and been replaced by an even BETTER player, Aaron Rodgers. It made me laugh because: #1. He actually knew the names of the last two Green Bay quarterbacks and knew ridiculous amounts of information about then, and #2. He assumed he was teaching me something that I had never heard before! Wrong. My Packers support is going strong- one of my Chilean friends asked me if the people in Wisconsin actually wear cheese on top of their head. Apparently he had seen a TV episode with cheeseheads, but he had assumed it was a joke. I told him that people in Wisconsin do indeed wear big hats shaped like blocks of cheese, and I also tried convincing him it was so cool that he should support the Packers instead of the Patriots (the only team he had heard of). I think I had him convinced for a little bit, but 20 minutes later he had already forgotten the team’s name, so I don’t know how successful my attempts were…

One last Wisconsin-based story: In tennis, the class was split into two teams for an intense competition—aka the winning team didn’t have to run and received credit for one class that they had missed. With stakes like that, obviously the battle was fierce. Following pee-wee tennis protocol (of course), each team was required to pick a team name. Guess what my team ended up as? Team Wisconsin. No joke. I wasn’t even the one who suggested it! AND I wasn’t even wearing a Wisconsin shirt or sporting any type of Wisconsin gear. Just goes to show how awesome Wisconsin is- even people who have never seen it or heard of it love it! Who cares if the Badgers and the Packers lose- at least Team Wisconsin is still representing our state well with an international victory in Tennis 1!

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