Spaghetti and French Fries

Since I will be away at another village this weekend, I won’t be seeing the girls this Sunday, so we planned a weeknight get-together. Last night, a mother came up to me and asked if I could help her daughter with English. Since her daughter was about the same age as my girls, I invited her to join our get-togethers. After school, they all came over. Tonight, I introduced them to spaghetti and treated them to homemade French fries.

looks like noodles ...

Because spaghetti looks so much like regular noodles, I think the girls expected a different taste. They only put a spoonful of the sauce on their bowl of spaghetti noodles, and when I tried to cover their bowl with sauce, they said it was too much. I think they wanted to taste more of the noodles. I don’t think the spaghetti was a hit. The only redeeming part of it was when I grated cheese on top. They really liked the cheese.

spaghetti sauce as ketchup

And they liked French fries a lot. These were surprisingly easy to make, as long as the oil was hot enough. It’s not McDonald’s fries (my favorite), but I must say these fries were very tasty. I don’t know if it was the potatoes, the soaking of these potatoes in cold water, or the fact that I used peanut oil. In any case, the fries were a hit!

practicing English words

Because I wanted tonight to be more productive, I tried to teach them some simple English vocabulary words. Surprisingly, they were very eager to learn and participated easily. Another surprise is finding that they would rather memorize the “character” of the English word rather than use the alphabet to read the words phonetically. This is definitely a study in cross-cultural literacy. What an interesting find.


I thought a good way for them to remember these words is to associate English with something fun, like playing charades. They most likely think of language learning as a useless chore they do in school. When I first met the girls, they had no interest at all in learning English. I guessed they don’t think it useful nor relevant. Tonight, though, they got into it and were even trying out their familiar English phrases with me, like “thank you very much” and “how are you?” and “I’m fine, thanks.” They asked me what “that’s okay” means because they commented that I use the term a lot. And they’ve begun using it now, too.

illustrating the words

Besides charades, we also played a mini-game of Pictionary with some of their vocabulary words. Before the game, I had them draw their words. They took this very seriously, using their special pencils (they had in their book bags) and colored their pictures very carefully. It amused me because it reminded me of myself when I was their age. Before they left, they took these drawings because they were so proud of them. One of the girls said she wanted to give me hers — I posted it on my fridge.

2 Responses to “Spaghetti and French Fries”

  1. emma says:

    your life are so wonderful,i believe you have so much fun with these girls.

  2. mbcohao says:

    thanks, emma! :-) they bring lots of joy to an otherwise empty house! hope you are doing well!

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