This blog is one part an effort to relay my experiences here through updates and pictures and two parts an outpouring of the lessons God is teaching me in taking up my cross daily and following Him.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Random Thoughts on Argentina and Culture

I've really been enjoying it here, but there are some very different things here. Here are a few of my random ponderings since I've been here.

1. On the way down, at the International Airport in Washington D.C. at the gate next to mine there was this huge jet for a Saudi Arabian airline. On the side in huge bold letters it said "God Bless You" or "God Be With You". Why is it that no American airlines say anything like that, but a Muslim nation's airline does?

2. The bathrooms here are dirty. It's just a fact of life. I'm not sure about all Argentina, but here at the school T.P. is not flushed after use but thrown away. This makes for very dirty and very smelly bathrooms - all the time. This is something I may get used to at a surface level, but will still never really be able to get used to doing.

3. I realized today that I'm having trouble staying hydrated. The water here has this weird salty taste. It's not really salty, it just has this very strange taste that makes me not want to drink it. I never thought I would buy water, but I think I might have to - especially since it's about $0.75 for 1.5 liters.

4. I think it's great that the first two days of Spanish class will be spent studying English grammar. Apparently they realize that you really can't start learning another language if you really don't even understand your own, so we spend two days of class studying English grammar. After that, we have a test. Each individual can't begin Spanish class until they've passed the English grammar test.

5. I never thought I'd be so excited to have sheets and blankets! The Hoyts were kind enough to loan me bedding while I am here, which is great because I never would have been able to fit it in my one suitcase. I arrived, however, on Thursday, but wasn't able to get them from Pablo Ramirez until sometime Saturday. I really didn't have a problem sleeping on a bare mattress with the airplane pillow (the kind that goes around your neck) that Rob gave me, but once I had real sheets, blankets, and a pillow with a pillow case I was so excited! I didn't realize how much we take that for granted. You can sleep just fine without them, but they make it so much more comfortable!

6. I love Matte (mah-teh) and the process of drinking it. Matte is an herb made into almost a tea. The cup or gourd used for preparing/drinking matte is called the "matte". The leaves are called the "yerba" (here in Argentina pronounced sherba), and the straw with a filter (it's like loose-leaf tea) is called the "bombilla" (bombisha). One person will be the "host" (whoever has the matte) and they'll fill it up, pass it to someone who will drink it all and pass it back. The host will then refill it and pass it to someone else. This process is repeated throughout the entire time of conversation or whatever the event is. The other day while talking with a Missionary in our room I had 4 cups of matte. Yesterday, while in town I bought my own matte and bombilla. I will try to upload pictures. This is something I've been waiting to get down here since before I came.

Well, enough for now. I will write more later.


Aunt Mary and Uncle Ron said...

It's amazing how fortunate we are here in the United States and how very blessed we are.

Ivan said...

Ben, so sorry about the bedding thing. It wast at Monte by Tuesday but not sure what the mixup was after that. One day to get from Córdoba to Buenos Aires and five days to make it across campus ):
I enjoyed your cultural observations. Keep it up! We enjoy it now and you'll enjoy it over the years.

Anonymous said...

That's so cool! Matte sounds amazing. I hope I might get to try it when you get back. Here all they drink is wine and beer. What's up with that? ;) I know what you mean about the bed. While I was in Germany I had this awful giant square pillow that made me absolutely miserable for two months. When I got here to France I didn't know what to expect. I was SO happy to see when I saw my bed that I had a longer pillow and a normal pillow almost identical to the one I have at home. And on top of it the bed is AMAZING! I have been sleeping like a baby. You are so right, you don't really appreciate it until it's gone, and then when you get it back the first reaction is, "Thank God!"

Parker Coaches said...

It's really neat to hear about your experiences there. Keep sharing! I'm glad you can sleep well now and that you are conscious about staying hydrated. I think that with all the other stresses of "new things" that you have to make sure to take very good care of your body physically, because a lot of other externals that you cannot control will bring extra stress.

Saturday is Noah's birthday. We will miss you being here. We have a great plan for a gift, but won't tell you about it until after the fact in case Noah sees this.

Love you lots! Hugs!!!! Mom :-)

Kristin said...

Great observations, cousin! Trust me when I say that there are many, many more to come! I'm glad to hear you're faring well. Miss you!