Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Soul Sharing

File:Mate en calabaza.jpg
After exchanging dollars to pesos, I came to the realization that I'm actually leaving the states in a week and a half! I still have a busy weekend and week ahead of me before then (a friend's bachelorette weekend and her wedding). However, I can't help but get excited about the new culture and adventure I am embarking on! It has not fully sunk in, but it probably won't until I'm on the plane next Saturday.

While I am looking forward to the whole experience, I also need to keep researching the Argentine culture - especially because of my internship. I need to understand a good chunk of it before I can start advertising and marketing for a Spanish immersion program within BsAs. Just now, I have been browsing the web - still researching the culture and finding out new things - and I came across a site that talks about food and drinks of Argentina. What struck me most was the 'bebida nacional' (national drink), mate, or cimarrón. A common drink among family and friends, I couldn't help but wonder if my host family would let me share in the ritual/tradition of roda de cimarrón. This is when a gathering of family or friends will pass a calabash gourd (guampa/cuia) around, drink it all through a metal straw (bombilla), and then, usually, the server (cebador) will fill it up again for the next person. It's a very interesting ritual, as is the history behind it, and I hope to be able to participate in it while I'm there. Drinking the yerba mate (herb) is good for the body and the soul, and is a form of meditation and reflection when done alone. But when done in a group of friends or family, those who share the mate join in a kind of bond of total acceptance and friendship. While I will most likely drink and meditate alone, I am still hoping to experience this bond with my host family or friends that I make in BA. My thinking is that if this happens, I will have fully integrated into the culture. When you are finally included in a mate sharing, it should be taken as the highest possible compliment and entered into with great appreciation. Because when you share mate, you are sharing your soul.

While I reflect on this, excitement builds. I can only dream to create the same excitement in others!

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