Lo’s Kitchen: Biscotti and Memory Games.

October 31, 2012

Paraguay has seen some really hot days recently (okay, so what else is new?). Sometimes as roasty as it is outside, it can be worse inside, so we pulled a table out into the courtyard and dined on the fruits of our latest cooking class creation al fresco. Someone had also dug out a memory game box from the Sunday School closet and begged me to teach the group how to play.

You know that game with a million cards flipped facedown where you try to find the matching pairs? The one you played as a five-year-old at the dining table with your parents who usually let you win? The one with cardboard pieces thick and sturdy enough that even two-year-olds are able to grab and participate? Yes, that one.

Considering Lo’s Kitchen: Biscotti Edition was a group comprised of a majority teenagers, I was dubious of their desire to play. I assumed they would bore of the game in minutes and quickly resume their noisy shenanigans, but when they persisted, I relented. After explaining the rules and meticulously setting up rows and rows of cards, we commenced what became a very competitive game of Memory.

Critical thinking and logic do not appear to be essential tools used and mandated by the Paraguayan education system. So initially, the kids kept haphazardly flipping cards at random, not taking care to memorize card placement at all. Again, I encouraged them to make mental notes of card locations in order to facilitate the actual completion of pairs. When they finally caught on to the “strategy,” the excitement level rose exponentially.

An hour and two demolished loaves of biscotti later, the adolescents chorused, “That was sooo fun!” as they counted their stacks of matching sets of mothers, fish, balls, and trees. “I love that game!” chimed one kid, nevermind that the box states a target age of 2-5 years. We played it again several times the next day at La Ruta, our youth group for teenagers, with many more eagerly joining in.

Sometimes I forget that I come from a completely different world. Still, there are moments aplenty–like this one–that remind me of my roots. I have an extremely privileged life.

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