Though we do have our cultural ups-and-downs, we are extremely grateful for our new home, experiences and friends here in Argentina. Here is a list of a dozen things that we are coming to love about this country. These things are new, fun and different for us coming from our American mindset.
In no particular order…
- Delivery Food – Ice Cream & Empanadas
Some of our favorite foods here are empanadas and ice cream. Empanadas are like small calzones, but are filled with different types of meats, cheeses and vegetables. They are the perfect lunch, dinner or snack. They are cheap, portable, and everybody likes them! You see them everywhere, homemade and from restaurants and small empanada shops…And the fun thing is, you can get any type delivered to your home. And … the same goes for most every other restaurant around. So, (for those of you who know Eric and how he loves loves loves ice cream) – Delivery ice cream is a super big treat for us!
When greeting or saying goodbye to someone in Argentina, you give them a “cheek kiss” or “beso.” This is in place of a handshake or a hug. It’s super normal to kiss/greet everyone you see, even strangers and the opposite gender. It actually takes quite a while to walk into a roomful of people and say “Hello” with a beso. We have found this warm and welcoming. It helps us stop to show affection and appreciation.
3. Argentines love babies
We have loved having an infant here in Argentina. Logan’s smile has been such a fun connection. So many people have started talking to us because of him. He is passed around and loved on by all at church. People here love love love babies.
While there are bigger grocery stores here, every little neighborhood also has its own set-up of stores. Within a 5-minute walk of every home or apartment are at least one bakery (panaderia), hardware store (ferretería), bookstore/school supplies store (liberia), & produce store (verdulería) and corner grocery story (kiosko). We can get pretty much everything that we need on foot and quickly. The prices are not crazy high, just fairly normal life prices. We like running to our local kiosko to grab a few things for dinner on the walk home from the kids school at 6pm. It’s super nice.
Everywhere you look here, someone is drinking mate. Mate is a loose leaf tea, kind of like a really bitter green tea, and has a special cup with a metal straw. And everyone shares it (yes, the same cup and straw) and keeps refilling it with a thermos of hot water. It has its own subculture, somewhat similar to the coffee subculture in the Northwest. Mate is a social event. As you drive around the city, there are people sitting in the park, bus drivers, and store keepers drinking it. ALL. THE. TIME. We drink it during social events, Eric drinks it while studying, and even Logan likes it.
10. Weather & Landscape
Argentina is a huge and beautiful country. Eric has had a chance to travel to several cities in the north, and has loved the varied landscapes. And the climate in the city we are in, Cordoba, is a mild climate kind of like southern California. It got cold in the winter here, and it gets really hot in the height of summer. Overall, the winter, spring and fall are really moderate and comfortable. We like the weather.
11. Walking Everywhere
Some people have cars, but Argentina is built to accommodate people who don’t have them. There is a heavily-used bus and taxi system. Even though we have a car now, we still enjoy walking the kids to school or to the neighborhood store. Cars, gas and parking are really expensive and, at times, inconvenient in the city. It’s a great way to stay active and healthy!
12. The Argentine Accent
We have really come to love the Argentine Spanish for its uniqueness. There are Italian, German and Spain-Spanish immigrants here who have influenced the language and culture. The language here is really different than other forms of Spanish with a lot more sing-song and fluidity. For example, a double “ll” takes on the English sound “Sh.” “Calle” meaning “street” or “ella” meaning “her” is pronounced “cashe” or “esha.” Also, there are different vocabulary and nuances that are particular to Argentina only. It’s a pretty language, and we enjoy learning it.
So there you go, hope you enjoyed a quick look into some of the joys of life and culture in Argentina!