It has been a while since we have posted anything from the series “adjustments” but we are back at it with this one. Cultural adjustments must be made by missionaries. The culture of a country is beautiful but can be quite difficult to understand. As I work on this post, we have a new missionary family in Argentina. They are going through language school and are doing a great job. They have been in country for over 5 weeks now. We communicate by phone often. It is humorous at times to hear his frustrations or lack of understandings, or sometimes confusion because I was having those same feelings not so long ago. Please don’t get me wrong, he is not having these times very often, but every once and again something takes place and he doesn’t quite understand. That is exactly why we must make these adjustments.
Holidays. Don’t you love holidays? I do! I remember being in school and looking forward to the holidays that would come up so that we could have the day off. Holidays are special. As I got older, I began to understand the purpose behind each holiday. As a child I didn’t care, as an adult I have grown to understand and appreciate each holiday. We arrived in Argentina and found that there were a whole new list of holidays! Not knowing the language made this difficult, because we would wake up, go about our day only to find out that some stores were closed because of the “feriado” (holiday). “What holiday?” I would ask. Most of the time people would know, there were a few times the Argentines I spoke to did not know exactly which holiday it was. On the other side, the day before a holiday brings long crowded lines at stores. I went into a large supermarket the day before “Kid’s Day” to buy one item and found lines 30+ people deep waiting to check out! The most frustrating time for me was when we tried to go to a store and found every single store closed. It was not Christmas. I believe it was September. All of the stores were closed! We were trying to buy milk, bread, and a few other things but we could not find anywhere that was open and it blew my mind! I was so aggravated! After some time, we learned that this holiday was the “holiday of the commercial worker”. What?!?!? What is that? We don’t have that in the States? (that statement is one of the worst you can make on the mission field).
If we are not careful, we see these holidays more has hindrances than celebrations. This is another cultural adjustment that must be made.