The Abisrors have been abroad for three months! And though three months is not long in the grand scheme of things, we want to share some of our initial observations of living here in Argentina. In the past, we had the joy of traveling overseas for a few weeks for vacation and even for short-term missions. But we are realizing that these experiences are much different than living in a country over a long period of time. Being in Argentina has allowed us to start to see what life overseas will be like.
We would like to share honestly with you about some the joys and the challenges. We have several so below we have started with three joys and three challenges, and we will follow up with another blog next week with several more!
Here are some of the joys that are specific to our life here:
1) The Language: Language learning is our priority and job right now. This happens through school, going out to coffee with friends, talking to neighbors, sitting in our church service, and more. We have really enjoyed being immersed in Spanish. There is no question that it is difficult, but we still find it rewarding and a joy. It is fun to learn and have basic conversations in another language. It is also rewarding when our kids come home from school and tell us some of the new Spanish vocabulary that they are learning.
2) Our Home: We are blessed by our home and the neighborhood that we live in.
We are in a quieter neighborhood in a big city. Our home has enough space for our kids to run
around. We have also been blessed to be able to host Argentines and other friends. We are enjoying the layout, including the space we have been blessed with outdoors, an office and a guest room. We look forward to hosting many more people in the future! Please come on down!
3) The Church: Our new church “Iglesia Centro Crecer” has been a true source of joy. Just as church should be, it is a source of encouragement to be a part of the family of God here in Cordoba.
We have really enjoyed meeting and getting to know the precious believers here, and have already connected in many new friendships. We have been helped so greatly by the family at Centro, from those who have helped us with transportation, getting to doctors and dentists, in setting up our house, find a car, and more!
Some Challenges We Are Facing:
1) The Unfamiliarity with Customs & Culture: There is uncertainty and insecurity in not knowing the culture and the customs of those around us. We don’t know how to react or if our normal reactions are actually “normal” to those around us. We don’t know where to find certain products in stores; I’m still looking for washcloths. We have made plans several times in the afternoon to go shopping, only to realize that the store is closed for “siesta.” Most businesses and stores are closed from 1:30-5:00pm. We don’t know what to serve at meals and at what times. Serving peanut butter and jelly for lunch is a new to most of our Argentine friends, and we are the only ones in our neighborhood making dinner at 6:30 pm or putting our kids to bed by 8:30 pm. We unsuccessfully tried to order pizza for dinner at 5:30 pm but failed because restaurants don’t open until 8:00 pm here.
So…We are learning and sometimes it’s hard. There is a tension between making things comfortable and normal for our family, and learning and adapting to new things.
2) The Waiting Game: This without question has been one of the most challenging for us. There is not much in Argentina that can be completed in one day. Usually every step takes several visits and a lot of persistence and patience. As someone in Argentina has put it, You need to be patiently persistent and “poke the bear.”
Trying to get the kids into school was a three week process of going to several different schools, and many times going back to the same school for more information and to ask again. What might take one to two steps online in the States, usually involves multiple steps and a full day of trying to accomplish the same thing in-person here.
3) Language & Communication: Learning Spanish is a blessing, but learning language can also be frustrating at times. When we have to go to an office to take care of paperwork, and have no means of real communication, it can be difficult and challenging. When we go to the kids school to drop them off, and can’t really understand any of what the parents around us are saying or what the kid’s homework assignments are, this is discouraging. And there is a real feeling of loneliness that comes from not being able to communicate. We have many new friends, but it is discouraging that we can’t connect sometimes on a deeper level because of the language barrier.
The joys and challenges of being on the mission field here in Argentina will continue next week…