Enjoying “Once” as a Family in Chile

Our friends have come to the end of their second week of vacation in Chile, taking their 3 little kids and staying with missionary friends and experiencing life with the Chileans. I asked Steph if I could highlight some of their adventures, especially when it comes to food.

Enjoying ONCE: One of my favorite things is that the Chileans eat their larger meal in the afternoon, around 1 or 2 pm. They then have siesta (rest time), and everything opens back up for business around 3 or 4. In the evening, they have what they call ONCE, a light meal of tomatoes, avacados, bread, eggs, carrots. Often times people get together for ONCE, and it just seems so simple, so easy. I am totally doing it when we get back to the States. What is absolutely proven to me is that you do not need to make an elaborate meal–just put out some food items on the table and enjoy the people you are with.

Farmer’s MARKET (Feria): We’ve made it every Tuesday and Friday to the farmer’s market (or Feria). We walk there with empty bags and hoof it home with full bags. It is amazing to have all the fruits and vegetables that you are used to seeing in the summer. The strawberries are just coming to an end, but so good. The first time we went, we took the kids and ate our way through the market. At the end, the kids were covered in strawberries. It’s so fun to interact with the local farmers. One very key ingredient to their cooking is squash; they grow the biggest squash! You decide how big of a hunk of squash you want, and then they get out their knife and start sawing off a piece. It is delicioso.

A new TABLE: The kitchen at the house where we are staying is tiny, with no counter space. My husband and friends spent one day to build a bench. The hardest part was finding a store that would sell them the wood they needed, and stay open long enough to make the boards. They were at one store, ready to buy the wood, but then it closed for siesta. So they had to come back the next day. It is crazy to have the money ready to buy, and then, “Oh you’ll have to come back”. A little taste of Chilean life.

Cerdo Boca: One night at dinner (or Once) our son was telling a story and talking with his mouth full. I told him in Spanish to close his mouth. I said, “Cerdo Boca.” One of our new friends laughed because what I just said was “Pig Mouth.” What I should have said was “Cerrado Boca.” Oh so close! Our oldest daughter brings this up almost every day, she thinks it is so funny.

Our friends dreamed and saved for years to take their family to another country, for their family to experience a different way of living.

For some, even a “better” way of living.

All three of our children have been to Mexico on mission trips to build houses, but not our family of 5 experiencing it together. One day

Have you ever taken your family to experience life in another country? And how does a lighter meal around 3-4 sound to you?

8 comments on “Enjoying “Once” as a Family in Chile”

  1. Pingback: How to Serve Soup to Your Guests | reluctantentertainer.com Reluctant Entertainer I Sandy Coughlin - Lifestyle, Entertaining, Food, Recipes, Hospitality and Gardening

  2. Not yet. Our kids are still pretty young for a mission trip, but I am looking forward to sharing that experience with them one day. An extended stay in another country sounds wonderful!

  3. What a wonderful opportunity to experience another culture! I love the idea of the main meal being during the lunch hours and then a siesta. It seems like the day would be lovely and people are in a better frame of mind after a nap!

  4. I love this post!! What a wonderful experience to share as a family!! I love the Once…my grandparents eat the same way, big lunch…snacky in the evenings! Very European.

    Love it! I

  5. We often eat our bigger meal in the afternoon and have a light meal in the evening. I like it much better that way and so does my husband, We no longer have children at home and are able to schedule this without any trouble. I also like to shop for produce a few times during the week.

  6. We’ve never been overseas but it is definitely a dream of mine. I would LOVE to try living this way…going to the market to get fresh food every day, eating a big meal earlier in the day, and having to take an afternoon snooze.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  7. A couple of our children have experienced another culture…. Our oldest daughter went to Denmark as a graduation gift from an exchange student that lived with her dad in high school and who have stayed in touch all these years. Our middle daughter has been to Jamaica with her dad & I twice on mission trips to the mountain areas of the island. This summer our youngest daughter will join us for this trip. It is a true learning experience and one that really bonds family even closer and teaches so much.

    As for a light meal …. oh absolutely! I don’t like a heavy dinner anyway, but it’s our family time so I am naturally going all out for it! =)

  8. How wonderful to be able to do this. Have not done any type of mission work. But my ex-husband used to do Habitat for Humanity – he goes to Honduras, Haiti and New Orleans (after Kristina) for builds. It’s a worthy cause which I supported when we were married.

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