Going back home, then coming back to Argentina always puts some things in perspective.
We loved being home and seeing everyone. What we didn’t miss was all of the other scheduled things–doctors appointments, lawn guys, and a million other silly little things to do in a short period of time.
It was wonderful being able to just flush toilet paper–which they do not do in Argentina. (The ugly American inside me shudders.)
We had so many foods that we desperately missed (Mexican food, Chipotle, hot wings) from the USA that we gorged on all week. But we missed our nightly fresh veggie plates and simple cooking.
But what struck me the most this trip was the difference in time and urgency. If we are late 15 minutes to something in the States, we know to call ahead and tell the person we’re meeting we’ll be late. Down here, it’s different.
Case in point: last night we were invited to the local club for a special promotional night. We asked what time the party started, and were told 10:30pm. Late for us boring people who work on Saturday, but not bad! So we got all dressed up, drove to the venue, and…. no one. Not a sign of a person in sight. We texted our contact, who said they were running late, and the earliest they would be open for business would be 11:15. We texted again at midnight to ask if the party was going yet, and they were still trying to get the venue open. Shortly thereafter, we fell asleep.
We had a good conversation about everything down here is a very mañana type of experience–it’s customary to arrive one to two hours late to a party in a person’s home. No one thinks to call if you’re 15 minutes late (unless they recognize that we’re the Americans, and we clearly value that sort of thing). In some ways, it’s liberating–but in many ways, it’s incredibly frustrating. Transfer the same attitude from social engagements to work life, and it’s even more frustrating. We often spend a decent amount of time explaining to our coworkers in the States that things move slower down here–so we need to accommodate that distinct possibility when planning.
On a completely different note: WordPress has informed me that someone found my blog by searching for “Patron Saint of Guinea Pigs.” Whoever you are… that’s awesome. And apologies, to the best of my knowledge, there is no patron saint of guinea pigs.