It’s Sunday. I am lazing in bed, watching football on my laptop, sipping hot coffee and eating a warm medialuna. Never in my life have I been able to do this combination of things. In the United States, I was either a) at church or b) at work on a Sunday morning. In honor of this life-changing experience, I have decided to write about all of the “Argentine things” that are no less than brilliant.
- People sleep in. How many times a day do you hear someone complain about being tired? How often do you want to watch one more episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix but know that staying up late will lead to a miserable morning? In Argentina, an “early” time to wake up is 8am. “Normal” is more like 9am, and nobody complains if I sleep in until 10am. I have always considered myself a morning person, but I will also be the first to say: sleeping in feels amazing.
- Church is an evening activity. Local churches start around 7pm (I say “around” because most attendees wander in sometime between 7:15-8pm). Instead of dragging myself out of bed at the crack of dawn and guzzling scalding hot coffee in order to try and stay awake through a church service, I can enjoy a leisurely “day of rest.” Instead of catching the last twenty minutes of the afternoon games, I can thoroughly enjoy all of the NFL’s Sunday offerings. Needless to say, I am more energized and eager to go to church after being cooped up in the house all day.
- Eating beef once a day is rare— because they usually eat it twice. I grew up thinking of steaks as this super rare, special meat. Here in Argentina, it’s a way of life. Not only have I learned twelve new cuts of beef, but I have also been introduced to foods like milaneza and choripan. I have literally died and gone to cow heaven.
- Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. While we’re on the subject of food, I thought I’d mention this one. I know the United States thinks breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it might be for farmers and heavy laborers who need a protein-packed start in the morning. However, I am starting to become a big fan of the light breakfast and the massive, hunger-satisfying lunchtime repast. You work yourself up to an appetite, gorge and then…
- National siesta. From 2pm-5pm every day the shops close up, people go home, and they take a well-earned nap. You just ate yourself silly, so yes, you’re going to be tired! That’s always the worst time of day at work, isn’t it? When you’re tired and the minutes seem to drag on to eternity. If a presidential candidate ever runs on the National Siesta platform, they have my vote.
- School starts at 2pm. This might be the biggest shocker. Shouldn’t kids be dragged out of bed at 6am to catch the bus every morning? Not in Argentina. Here, kids sleep in as late as they want, finish their homework, play soccer with their friends in the local park until lunch, then get dropped off at school. Four hours later, they get picked up. Short days mean that teachers aren’t popping in movies to entertain them for hours. They have a lot more homework and school tends to be a lot more difficult (as attested by both Jimi and his brother, Paul) than grade school in the States.
When you’re hungry you eat, when you’re tired you sleep. Why are these novel concepts? Why have we created and patented “the 9-5” workday in the U.S.? Where is this “freedom” and “liberty” we spout on about? Okay, I’ll stop now. You are probably arguing with me about how much more “efficient” the U.S. is and yes, it is. But, is efficiency all we care about? Or are health and happiness part of it, too? Because I could seriously get used to this. Enjoy your Sabbath rest!