After nearly two month of waiting, I’m finally studying abroad! I arrived on Wednesday after a nice flight from Philadelphia to Santiago via Toronto (don’t ask). Seeing as how Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s summertime in Santiago. Normally, this wouldn’t thrill me. I know it’s weird, but I’m not the biggest fan of summer. The heat, humidity, and cruel sun have never agreed with me, my curly hair, or my fair skin. However, I think I can make an exception just this once because summer in Chile means fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal. You may have seen Chilean fruit in your local supermarket and, let me tell you, there’s a reason we import it to the US: it’s amazing. The strawberries, melons, and oranges that I’ve had in the few days I’ve been here have almost been enough to completely convert me to a summer girl (almost).
When my host mother offered me tuna after dinner, though, I thought it was odd. We had just had a delicious meal of chicken and rice – why would I want to eat fish now? She reached into the fridge and pulled out a green fruit that I had never seen before. Now, I know the names of basic fruits in Spanish (like manzana means “apple”) and the ones that I didn’t know I could figure out because they just have fruity sounding names like frutilla (“strawberry” in Chile). But tuna wasn’t something I prepared for. After explaining to me how to cut and eat it (just peel off the skin and have at it – seeds and all) I had my first experience with tuna that didn’t come from a can and, let me just say, Chicken of the Sea just won’t cut it for me anymore. My host brother tried to explain what it was, telling me that it comes from a cactus. I just smiled and nodded a lot like I ate cactus fruit all the time. After dinner, my addiction to WordReference.com reared its ugly head and I found out that I’d eaten prickly pear. Tuna, cactus fruit, prickly pear, whatever you want to call it, it means that summer in Santiago directly translates to “delicious.”