Living in Argentina: Mate

This series of posts are about the different customs and traditions that we are finding here in Argentina. If you ever come to Argentina, I can assure you that you will see people with these little wooden cup-like items in their hands. It will have a metal “stem” protruding out of the top. This is a mate (pronounced ma-tay). We use these to drink…mate! Yes, a “mate” is the cup you drink “mate” out of. Mate is an herbal tea. It is prepared by pouring the dry mate herb into the mate cup and pouring hot (sometimes too hot) water into the mate cup.


The metal “stem” is actually a straw called a “bombilla” (pronounced “bombeesha”) and contains a filter in the lower end to separate the mate infusion from leaves and stems. Sometimes there is sugar, sometimes mint, orange, lemon, other herbs, and sometimes it is just plain or “amargo” (this is the way I prefer it).


It is a social drink, so once you drink it, more hot water is poured in and it is passed to the next person. You drink out of the same straw and use the same mate herb until it has lost it’s savor (then the mate cup is dumped out and filled back up with fresh mate herb to pass around more. I love it! I drink it almost daily as I am out with people practicing Spanish. It is intertwined with Argentine culture.

More posts are coming out soon. Check back for more posts about life here in Argentina.

Living in Argentina!

This is the first post of a series on living in Argentina. We have lived in Argentina for almost six months. We have learned so much in the six months we have been here and we have only touched the “tip of the iceberg”. We noticed differences in Argentina from the United States as soon as we landed in March. Some things are obviously different. Other things have taken more time to notice due to the subtle differences. I am very blessed to have made friends in the church we attend while in language school and around the community that have been very kind and patient and teach me things about Argentina. Here are two quick observations in starting this new series of posts.

  • This country is huge! What is custom in one part of the country may be totally different in other parts of the country. I have two friends (a husband and wife) who have travelled a great portion of Argentina. They have shared with me the differences from province to province. They are from La Plata (where we are for language school), so there perspective has been very interesting. The greatest difference would be from greater Buenos Aires in comparison to the other provinces. Almost 33% of the country lives in greater Buenos Aires. Even so, there are differences between provinces and areas of the country, there are also customs they all share in common. This paragraph could easily be applied to the United States and a big city. New York City is a part of the United States, but people from upstate New York will quickly tell you that they are not like people from the big city.
  • The need is the same! I don’t get this from my the six months I have under my belt. I get this from the Bible. Romans 5:12 is very clear, ” Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” With all of our differences, we are all in the same state until we believe on Jesus for our salvation. The whole world needs the Gospel of Jesus!

I don’t claim to be an “expert” on the customs and traditions of Argentina. I don’t even claim to be an “expert” on the customs of the United States and I have lived almost all of my life there. I do think this blog series will give you an interesting insight as to what life is like in Argentina.

Places to Begin

We are learning Castellano in La Plata, Argentina. I think one of the most common questions I am asked is "Where do you go from here?" We love La Plata! It is a great city with great need! The churches here are advancing the Gospel. There is still a … [Continue reading]