Tuesday, September 24, 2013

That One Time I almost Became a Vegetarian...

So, I like meat. Like, a lot. Steak, prime rib, a good burger, you bethca! Though believe it or not, there was a point in time this past week when I swore I was never going to eat a piece of meat again. It started back in Peru….

Our last day there, we went to this beautiful restaurant where we were served a 10-course meal. I don’t actually know if there were 10 courses, but they brought out bread and peanuts to start, then salad, then a potato dish etc etc etc, and then they brought out the MEAT. First beef kabobs, then chicken, then the steaks. Naturally, I ate them all. But these steaks… They were juicy and cooked just right. I thought maybe Ruth was in the kitchen! So we left the restaurant very full and satisfied and ready for our pisco vineyard tour. Pisco is a grape-made brandy that is produced in many regions of Peru and Chile, and pisco sour drinks are very, very popular here. It was pretty cool to see how it was made and to get all the special tips on how to tell if it’s good pisco or not.

We returned to Chile later that night just in time to finish celebrating Chile’s Independence Day with our host families. We ate more delicious food, had a few delicious drinks, and danced the cueca all night long. The next day, we had a big asado (braii,/grill out) with the fam, and then my host dad took me and my host sister Noemi out for dessert in the desert (but actually. see photos below). We drove to the other side of the sand mountain to this adorable little restaurant where they had very traditional Chilean food. Afterwards, we returned home, napped, and then headed out to our cousins house to celebrate Independence Day again! (It’s kind of a weeklong deal).

However, as soon as we got to their house, my stomach started churning and turning, and I no longer wanted to eat more delicious food or dance the cueca. I’ll spare you all the nasty details, but let’s just say that about a half hour later I was back at my host family’s house, chillin’ by the toilet, and I stayed there for the next few hours. And it was in these hours spent bent over the toilet that I thought I would never touch another piece of meat again, because that was all I could think of that had caused this.

Eventually it got to the point where my fever was so bad and I was feeling so extremely weak and dehydrated that an ambulance came and set me up with an at-home IV.

When the doctor came back the next morning to take out my IV, he told me that he was just at the house of one of the other exchange students giving her the same treatment! So I wasn’t the only one! Turns out, 5 other students ended up getting the IV treatment, and all but 6 (out of 23) got sick over the weekend. Our director thinks that we got some virus in Peru, but a lot of us think it was something we ate at the restaurant on our last day. We may never actually find out. But five days after the incident, I’m feeling much much better and am hoping to soon be back to my normal eating habits! My host parents were extremely caring and helpful through the entire thing, and they’ve kept me on a strict diet so as to not upset my stomach while I’m recovering. They were glad to know that all of the other students got sick as well because they were worried it was something that they had fed me. I assured them it was Peru’s fault.

Unfortunately, since I was sick all weekend, I didn’t get a chance to experience all of the fiestas patrias for Independence Day, and I missed the big market in town and the parade that my host parents were a part of. I guess I’ll just have to come back next year ☺

At the Pisco vineyard

I wasn't a big fan of the pisco...

Fiestas Patrias

Driving out to the desert

The restaurant we had dessert at

What my meals have consisted of lately

My weekend

All for now,


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