Sarah’s Snapshots: Argentinian Life

I’ve been here in Argentina on my AFS student exchange for about 2 and a half months now, and life is starting to settle down. Argentinian life is more relaxed than New Zealand, and food is very important. A common drink here is mate (pronounced maht-tae), which is hot water poured into a cup full of a type of leaf called yerba (pronounced ‘sher-ba’). It’s drunk through a metal straw called a bombilla, and is passed around the group. A different type of the drink is tereré, where the hot water is replaced with juice. It’s very common to see people walking around with a thermos and a cup full of yerba. I’ve become a huge fan of mate.

A bag of churros. My favourite type of churro now is with dulce de leche, which is sort of like caramelised condensed milk.

A bag of churros. My favourite type of churro now is with dulce de leche, which is like caramelised condensed milk.

Recently, I had my birthday! I had a small day party with a few of my friends from school and nearby, and it was really fun. I made a New Zealand cake (pavlova) for it. I’ve made a few other dishes from New Zealand, but mostly I’m learning how to cook Argentinian recipes. One of my favourites is milanesa, a type of meat covered in a layer of bread crumbs.

A few of my school friends and a cousin at my 16th birthday party. In Argentina, parties normally occur from about 9:30pm till dawn, but I decided to have an afternoon party as I didn't feel up to hosting an all-night party just yet. The cake in front of me is a pavlova - a traditional New Zealand cake made of eggs.

A few of my school friends and a cousin at my 16th birthday party. In Argentina, parties normally occur from about 11pm till dawn, but I decided to have an afternoon party as I didn’t feel up to hosting an all-night party just yet. The cake in front of me is a pavlova – a traditional New Zealand cake made of eggs.

It’s autumn here, and quickly getting colder. The leaves are all changing as well, which is new to me as it’s not something that normally occurs in New Zealand. It’s also colder here than I’m used to in NZ – in winter here it’s normally around 5°C or 6°C.

A street in Santa Fe, Argentina - Argentinian life. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

A street in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina, where I’m living for the year. The streets are designed to be square, making it hard to get lost.

Sunrise over the Santa Fe river in Santa Fe city, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Sunrise over the Laguna Setúbal, the river alongside Santa Fe city. At the time this photo was taken the sun rose at 7:35am. With winter getting closer the temperatures early in the morning are normally around 12°C, with a cold snap a few weeks ago going as low as 6°C or 8°C.

Argentinian life style, along with being relaxed, is about family and friends. Public places around the city have been made for people to be able to gather, whether to drink mate or just talk. While siestas are beginning to lose their influence as Latin America starts to take on more of Western Culture, most stores close between about 1pm and 5pm, and the streets are also deserted around this time. Parties here start around 11pm or midnight, and last till the next morning, and on weekends everyone stays up late. It’s common to see 6-and 7-year-olds awake at 2 or 3am. Dinner is eaten around 10pm, and lunch is the largest meal of the day.

Costanera in Santa Fe, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Santa Fe is situated along a river, and there is a walking path that runs along the costanera. Normally, people on it can be found jogging, walking with friends, or sitting on the railing and drinking mate.

Argentinian Life - city centre in Santa Fe, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

El Centro, or the city centre of Santa Fe is a several-street-long boulevard with shops and cafes. It’s easy to see the Argentinian life style here as many of the shops close in the afternoon for siesta, and open again in the evening.

The Redonda is a local gathering centre in Santa Fe city. Made from an old train station, it now houses a variety of activities for kids and areas where people can get together, drink mate, and chat.

The Redonda is a local gathering centre in Santa Fe city. Made from an old train station, it now houses a variety of activities for kids and areas where people can get together, drink mate, and chat.

Kiosk in Santa Fe, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Kiosks, small dairies, are very common in the street. They normally sell a host of different types of snacks.

Argentina is also very catholic, which influences the culture in a variety of ways.

Basílica de Guadalupe, Santa Fe City, Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

The Basílica de Guadalupe is a local catholic church. Much of Argentina is catholic, and the influence of the religion can be seen everywhere.

School here occurs in two segments – in the morning, or in the afternoon. Some schools have both. For my school, the students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade go in the morning from 7:45am to 12:45pm, and the students in 1st and 2nd grade go in the afternoon from 1pm to 6pm. We also have gym for an hour in the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday.

Public school in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

My classroom at school. I go to a public school and am in a humanistic course, which means I have subjects like physiology and science of communication.

Hats in a stall at an Argentinian market. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Hats on display at a street market stall. Street markets are common here, especially on the weekends, and normally sell things such as clothing, art, trinkets, and toys.

What do you think about Argentinian life? How does it compare with your own culture?

This post will link up at Weekend Blog Party at Sincerely Paula, Saturday Snapshots at West Metro Mommy Reads, and Sunday’s in My City at the Unknown Mami.

Skydeck Chicago: I Walked Out on the Ledge - Would You?
Photo Tour of the Art Institute of Chicago

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for this update Sarah. I am so happy you are enjoying your life in Argentina, and sharing it with the rest of us. As always, your photos are stunning. I miss you and love you very much.

  2. Serenia from Squidoo says

    The classroom is very bare looking for a high school. Don’t they decorate their classrooms? Was Sarah given a choice of her high school courses. What were the other choi8ces? I’m thinking perhaps Science or Technology and maybe even Vocational? I dont know what kind of courses are available in Argentinian High schools, but I would like to know.
    Did you know that in Canada, and I am assuming in the USA as well, they actually make BAKED pavlovas as opposed to the unbaked ones that my mother used to make when I was a child growing up in NZ?? I see that Sarah had some kiwifruit on her pavlova. So are Kiwifruit grown in Argentina or are they imported? Apologies for all the questions, but I am CURIOUS!!
    Thank you.

    • Sarah E. Albom says

      Hi Serenia! Don’t worry about it I love questions. I think they decorate some classrooms, but not mine unfortunately (I’ve been into a few where there are posters on the wall). I don’t know why, but I’m guessing one of the reasons is that they’re afraid the students will graffiti it too. I was given a choice – there are three courses you can take here: Humanistics, Economics, and Biology. I chose humanistics because it’ll give me a better understanding of the Argentinian history, and the language is a bit easier to understand than classes like Biology or Physics. Chemistry and Maths are compulsory in all the courses. I’m not sure about the kiwifruit, but I assume it’s grown here. If you’re still interested about my school I’m planning on writing my next post about it 🙂 hope that answers everything!

  3. says

    Hi Sara – wonderful photos and notes on your life – it must be a different culture …

    Happy Birthday – and yes I don’t think I could have a middle of the night birthday either … well done on making the Pavlova cake .. and good for you learning how to cook the Argentinian way …

    Congratulations on all you are doing … cheers Hilary

  4. says

    Great photos Sarah, I have not been in Argentina, I have a cousin living there and some friends from Argentina, its a country that often is chosen from Spanish honeymooners,
    I would love to visit it, specially Iguazu waterfalls 🙂
    xxx
    http://www.travelera.es

  5. says

    Being Spanish I recognise the way of living. In the Netherlands for example we eat lunch at noon while in Spain is around 14:30.
    Each time I’m in Spain I eat churros for breakfast! Probably the food I miss the most 😊

  6. says

    WOW! I’m now moving Argentina further up my list of places to visit. When I was 16 I spent one year in the Netherlands and it was such an amazing experience (not quite as far from home as you are now, though) that still continues to shape my life 20+ years later! Although back then we didn’t have the internet or blogs or digital cameras so my time is not as well documented as yours. Enjoy it…all of it!! It will be with you forever!

  7. says

    Sounds like you’re having a great time in Argentina. Good for you.

    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday Dear Sarah,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.

    Have a fabulous day. 🙂

  8. says

    If me and Cez lived in Argentina, we would have a bag of churros every morning with our coffee :-). This country is too dangerous for us!!! 🙂 Your experience seems amazing, so good luck!

  9. says

    I love these pics, Sarah! Your party looks fun, and I don’t blame you for having it early. 11 seems very late to start a party… What a great idea to turn an old train station into a community center for kids and activities! More places should do that. Thanks for sharing!

  10. says

    I’m sad to learn that siestas are going out of fashion. I’ve often thought one of the biggest things wrong with western culture is that we don’t do siestas. The natural rhythm is to rest in the afternoon. How much more productive might we be if we took a long break after lunch? Wonderful photos. Thank you for sharing your immersion in Argentine culture with us.

  11. Lisa Ross says

    How interesting Sarah. The leaves are definitely changing here in Dunedin. Maybe our temperatures are similar to Argentina xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.