Suffering from the famous Post-Year-Abroad-Blues, here are a few things I miss from living in Argentina (or things I grudgingly had to get used to whether I liked it or not): It is not just about Immersing yourself in the language but in the culture as well!
- Kissing EVERYBODY
From a friend’s grandmother to your boss, from your landlord to the annoying neighbour with the barking dog next door, you kissed everyone you met. Just once on the cheek, not twice like in Spain. I actually really appreciated having a uniform way of greeting people, because it avoided all British embarrassment of “are we hugging/hand shaking/waving like an idiot/nodding formally at each other like a muppet?” Strange men were acceptable to avoid kissing, but otherwise, that’s just what you did.
- Everything Taking a Very-Long-Time to be Sorted Out
I wouldn’t say I ended up loving the South American inefficiency whilst I lived abroad, but it definitely made me chill out about getting things sorted out immediately, and it one hundred percent made me realise how lucky we are to live in England where a 5 minute delay is a legitimate excuse for complaint. In Buenos Aires I once spent 6 hours waiting in queues and travelling across the city to try and withdraw my month’s wages. I went to three different branches and all had run out of cash, so I had to borrow off friends over the 4 day weekend. Paying bills and sorting out accounts is something that we can easily do online at home, but not something which has stretched in its entirety to South America.
- Food Sharing
“Cuando hay, hay para todos. Cuando no hay, no hay para nadie”, as my landlady told me. If there was food on the table you could take it and didn’t have to ask. Table manners drummed into me from an early age found this difficult to swallow but I did my best to be Argentinian and just grab. Annoyingly it also meant that if you had brought biscuits into the staff room people automatically assumed they could have some too which was NOT the case. Chocolate digestives were impossible to come by in Argentina, and I wasn’t going to share my limited supply.
This music was and is a guilty pleasure, and I’m sure anyone who has spent any time living in a Spanish speaking country will agree with me. Nothing like a bit of Osmani Garcia to bring back memories of fernet-filled evenings, asados, nights in Ferona, Niceto, Crowbar…
- The Argentinian Asado
I should probably have put this at the top of the list. The quintessential Argentinian social gathering which involved the most delicious and tender red meat I think I will ever eat, cooked on the parilla, washed down with copious amounts of Malbec or Fernet, and burnt off with dancing solidly until 7am the next morning. Fantastic.
Check out this guy and his asado channel on youtube for more content!