FIRST of all, before all of the angry South Americans storm in and start cussing me out for using the term “American”, they should read my post about what i learned in Argentina. I know that calling yourself an “American” is leaving out all of the other countries in North, Central, and South America, and I am normally very cautious and careful to avoid using it. But “8 Things People from the United States of America Could Learn from Argentines” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. ALSO, this is an article written for all my yanquis out there–all those gringos who have already been or haven’t yet been to Argentina. There are a few aspects of their culture that I think we should try harder to adapt to our own. I miss Argentina every day, and wish we could learn a thing or two from Argentines, and I’m not talking about tango or how to eat empanadas, either…
1. How to be a good friend.
There is something so special about friendship in Argentina. It almost seems as important as family, and for some people, their friends are their family. Friends in Argentina will accompany you to the bank, the dentist, the bookstore, your nephew’s birthday party… it really is incredible. Friendship is so important in Argentina that they even have a National Friend’s Day. Americans probably have one of those too, but it’s probably on par importance-wise with other “holidays” like National Pancake Day or National Hug Day. No one really cares, and no one celebrates it. But in Argentina they take their friends out, they spend time with them, they buy them presents. If you want to know how to be a better friend, go to Argentina and learn from them, because they seem to really have it figured out.
2. How to have a real cookout.
In the States, barbeques or cookouts usually consist of hamburgers, hot dogs, and the occasional slab of ribs or steak. Then you’ve got your deviled eggs, your salad, your fruit, your grilled veggies, and all that other healthy crap. In Argentina your asado, or barbeque, consists of two main things: meat and booze. Meat, meat, and more meat. And fernet. And wine. And sometimes some potatoes smothered in mayo or a salad. Even though you will still be digesting well into the early hours of the morning after eating a good ol’ fashion Argentine barbeque, it’s worth it, I promise.
3. How to party.
I feel like I should get a gold medal, or at least a silver one, every time I stay awake past 3 AM. It boggles my mind the way I was staying up in Argentina, not even leaving the house until 1 AM sometimes. Several times we got home at 9 in the morning, straight out of the party (with a little detour for some snacks). Crazy. And I’m not saying Americans need to adopt that aspect of Argentine culture–but if I hear “ohhh, well uh… I’m kind of already in bed for the night” at 8 PM on a Friday, I’m going to scream (yes, I’m guilty of this, too.) But come on, guys–rally! Get up and go out and have fun. Stop coming home from work and changing directly into your pajamas!
4. How to take advantage of a pretty day.
Every nice day people are out rollerblading, walking their dogs, sleeping in hammocks, trying their luck at slacklining, making out with their significant other on a blanket, riding bikes, drinking mate with friends, and playing soccer in the park. Everyone is out! As soon as it gets warm enough to tolerate it, people are out sunbathing in the parks. The point is that no matter what they’re doing, when the weather is nice–they’re outside enjoying it. Some cities are better than others, but I think for the most part we don’t completely take advantage of beautiful weather here in the States.
5. How to dress.
Ugh, I swear Argentines are like 3 seasons ahead of us here in the States. Everytime I go over, I take note of their latest fashion. Once I return it usually takes a good year for us to start selling the same stuff. And it’s not just the girls who seem to take an interest in fashion and style, the men are equally stylish.
6. How to curse colorfully.
If you’ve ever heard an angry Argentine–or a happy, sad, or even excited one for that matter– you know how colorfully they like to talk. They have some of the most ridiculous curse words and insults that you’ll ever hear. “La recontra mil puta que te parió”, “la concha de la lora”, “andá a cagar”, “pedazo de pelotudo”… I’m not going to translate those for you, but believe me, they’re uh… colorful.
7. What ‘delivery’ really should mean.
ICE CREAM DELIVERY, GUYS. Ice cream! And also empanadas, chinese, steak, italian, and alcohol. Argentina has got the delivery game on lock. With all of these options, there’s almost no reason to even leave your apartment. (Besides growing too fat to fit in its ridiculouly small 25 square-metered space.)
8. How to live life in the moment.
The news makes it seem like Argentina is constantly on the brink of collapsing economically. And while this may or may not be true (I didn’t get a very good grade in economics in high school), you would never be able to tell by visiting Argentina. People are still out eating pizza with their friends or walking around downtown or going out for a beer. If something similar was going on here, we would probably be going to the grocery stores and buying up all of the powdered milk and bottled water from the shelves and constructing our own bunkers in our basements. But they’re out living for the moment, not overly concerned with the economic future and strength of the Argentine peso. They’re living for the moment..
Argentines? Gringos? What do you guys think–any other things we could learn from each other?