Thursday, December 29, 2011

Aguante Argentina!

The moment has arrived. I knew it would (I hoped it would).

For those of you who are unaware (or have forgotten), 3 years and a month ago (more or less) I was on an airplane on my way down South.  WAAAYY SOUTH. I was on  my way to the blessed land of Argentina where I would spend the next 18 months of my life.  I was serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where I was able to share a special message to anyone and everyone (and when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE... that would listen that is) about the restoration of Jesus Christ's church on the earth and how we can come to know him and follow him better. If you are interested in learning more about what we share as missionaries: Click Here. ORRRR, ask me!! Or your nearest Mormon :).

This is her. Isn't she beautiful! So big and full of land. The light blue dots up North are the cities where I lived (Corrientes, Goya and Posadas). The darker blue dot is the most beautiful place that I have ever been, Iguazu  Falls. We got to go up on a day trip and visit the cataratas (waterfalls) one day and it was breath-taking.

She holds a VERY special place in my heart so I'm warning you now that I will most likely talk about her often, and maybe even the skinny minny country right next to her, that is CHILE. I also got to spend an amazing 4 months down in Chile and can be found wandering down memory lane from time to time. With that said, if you have a grudge against South America, or met someone from South America that has offended you, or just don't like to talk about any other country besides the United States, this isn't the blog for you.

Anywhoooo... the reason behind the timing of this blog post representing a little part of this special part of my life:
Today I felt a special connection to my dear friends down South as my work day mirrored a day in the life of an Argentine. You see, in Argentina, and in many other Hispanic countries, you have something called THE SIESTA. It's a pretty magical thing really. I had heard about this so called SIESTA before traveling down South but I couldn't really comprehend it until I had experienced it. What happens is, everyone wakes up and heads off to work (usually somewhere between 6-8am) (and when I say everyone, I may not literally mean EVERYONE, in most cases the women stay home to prepare food) and then around the middle of the day (usually around 12pm in Argentina) everything shuts down and everyone goes home for lunch and THE SIESTA. Lunch is huge. I mean BIG. This is their equivalent to our dinner. They eat a light breakfast (maybe some bread and mate) and then chow down on a big, hearty, yummmmy lunch, like this:

Empanadas anyone? Ham and cheese? Meat? Chicken? Fish? Alligator? (one of my personal favorites)

Or perhaps some Nouqis?
Pizza?  (Don't worry, it looked odd to me at first too. But this is how it's done. It's all about the olives and the red peppers baby).

Then there is my personal favorite, the Milanesa.

If you are a little less fortunate in the $$$ department, a good Guiso will work just fine.

If you are little MORE fortunate in the $$$ department: EL ASADO (barbeque. And not just any barbeque. A REAL barbeque. Do you see any hamburgers or hot dogs out there? NO. That's because that is not a barbeque, as I was reminded many time...)

MMMMMMMM... doesn't that just make your mouth water!
And don't forget the bread!!!! Don't think I ever had a meal without the pan (bread). I even made tacos for a couple families and they still put bread on the table. I tried to explain that you don't usually eat bread with tacos, but I was laughed at. You eat bread with EVERYTHING.

So, that's lunch. Like I said, BIG. Then after lunch is the coveted SIESTA (which translates as NAP for anyone who is still struggling with that one). And not just any nap.  An entire city nap!!!  It's an incredible thing. Everyone naps. All the stores close, the kiosko's close, even some of the internet cafes close. The only people alive in that 2-3 hour period are a few of the stray dogs and...yours truly, the missionaries!! Not the best time to go knocking on doors to teach people, but leads to some interesting memories.

The point of this post (which was meant to be a short post, but I'm talking about Argentina people!! Is it possible to make it short?) is to say that today I had an Argentine work day. I had a morning shift where I worked from 8-1pm and then substituted for someone else's class and worked again from 5-9pm. My middle day may not have consisted of Milanesa or Asado or even an incredible nap (just a baby one), rather it was filled with cleaning out the storage shed, putting the Christmas decorations away and a quite difficult run with the husband after stuffing my face all week. BUT, it made me think of Argentina. It helped me remember an ity bity bit of what it was like to be down there and what it might feel like to be Argentine, and anything that does that, however small it may be, is worth sharing.

More stories to come, but until then...go find your closest Argentine Restaurant and ENJOY!!

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