I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. There are certain things I think back on with fondness. I can remember playing outside in our yard as a young boy on Friday nights in October and being able to faintly hear the local high school marching band playing in the distance. I share this to give you one very small example of the customs I grew up in. Every nation has different customs. It can be broken down further, into regions (different states, cities, and even towns have unique customs), and even in families (for example, some families have the same meal on Christmas Eve). Our customs make us unique.
We live in Argentina now. We are welcomed by a whole different set of customs. You will not hear marching bands playing faintly in the distance on Friday nights in October. That doesn’t exist here. However there are many new and interesting customs to be learned. Whenever you pass by a car with a jug on top of it, it means the car is for sale. When you greet a friend, you place your cheek to theirs and make a “kiss” sound. When you walk by a table at a restaurant, you may say “provecho”. When you see that 85% of the ice cream flavors include something called “dulce de leche” (a very, very sweet caramel-like sauce). When the biggest part of Christmas is Christmas Eve night when the clock strikes midnight until about 3:00 AM (we will be experiencing this for the first time in just over a month). I could go on, but I think you understand. New customs are not weird or bad, they are different. Perhaps the most important thing I have learned as we continue to adjust is that my attitude determines almost everything.
This is the final post in the series “Living in Argentina”. The truth is we are still learning. There is much to learn. I make mistakes often, and I correct them as I learn what I have done. Living in Argentina is a blessing, but greater than learning the customs of a new and beautiful country is to share the Gospel with others who have never heard!