In the past I have heard missionaries talk about cultural adjustments and sometimes it has a negative connotation. I want to make clear that not all cultural adjustments are hard. I present to our readers the “merienda”. While in the United States we are accustomed to 3 meals a day, in Argentina we have 4! Breakfast, Lunch, Merienda, and Dinner. Breakfast is at a normal time, lunch is usually around 12:00 – 1:30 or so. But Dinner is not until 9:00-10:00 PM! So around 4:00-5:00 PM we have a merienda. The merienda consists of coffee or mate (mate is a local tea, but that is for another post), and cookies, pastries, or perhaps a toasted ham and cheese sandwich or some other time of small sandwich. I do love merienda! On Friday nights I disciple a family at 6:00 PM. We will start the time together going over some of the material, and in about 45 minutes in we have merienda together. I never know what it is going to be, but I know it is something we will enjoy. Last week we had coffee and something like a cookie sandwich with ricotta (sweetened) in the middle. If I am out I may get a coffee and a croissant (we call them “medialuna”). Yesterday I was with one of the pastors for merienda and I had a coffee and a croissant. Tonight we will be together again for merienda. It is a beautiful (and delicious) part of the Argentine culture. This is an easy adjustment for us as a family to make.
Next week we will publish another post on the cultural adjustments. Check back soon for more.