How Culture Can Change your Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 27, 2017

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Submitted: October 27, 2017

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How Culture Can Change your Life

"Alejandro! How are you?”  my uncle exclaimed while rushing toward me for a hug.

I smiled, while taking in a breath,

“Good, it’s great to see you, I can’t wait to see Simon,” (my cousin, whom I’d never met before, Simon was two and one half) “and see Rosario for the first time in five years! I’m excited beyond belief!” I was a bit overwhelmed, for many reasons. Not only in a different continent. South America. Not only tired from 18 hours of travel. Plus three hours of jetlag. Not only meeting family members I hadn’t seen in a long time. Not only in Argentina. A country speaking a language different than my home country (the United States of America). And. Much. More.

I knew this trip would be amazing, though also overwhelming. I wanted to say I couldn’t wait to see my uncles, aunts, grandparents, and cousins. In truth, though, I could wait a day or two to get adjusted to Argentina, without question.

Traveling didn’t scare me, I had visited four out of the six inhabited continents, 17 different countries, but it still was extra special when there was family, even more so with family I hadn’t seen in years. I liked playing soccer, found middle school not as hard as they showed in movies. I was 12, and spoke three languages, thanks to my mom being Italian, my father Argentine, and living in Colorado, part of the fifty states of America. I am Jewish, which brought me to learning Hebrew, for my Bar Mitzvah coming in November.

Though I’d seen photo’s, I’d Skyped, Whatsapped, I hadn’t seen them face to face in a long time, some I had never met in my 12 years of life. My uncle, aunt, and cousin, Tio Dario, Tia Laura, and Emma. My other uncle, aunt, and cousin, Tio Andres, Tia Analia, and Simon. I would be staying in their house. My grandfather, and grandmother, Nonno Luis and Nonna Martha.

The next few days rushed past, like the Metro. Meeting family was definitely the best part, followed very close by the food, meat, fish, grilled to perfection, gnocchi (a type of pasta), and much more. Seeing the culture was amazing, close to life-changing, it had shaped me forever. The bus ride I had just taken to Buenos Aires (Argentina’s capital) made up the four worst hours of the trip so far, with boredom, heat, and boredom. Buenos Aires had my expectations up as high as Rosario’s, except for the family part, there would be my dad’s old friends, not family.

According to my mom, there wouldn’t be much sleep. My dad would have to work (that’s part of what got him the plane tickets), but my mom, and my brother and sister and me would be tourists, visiting this great city.

We visited the Casa Rosada, Plaza De Mayo, La Recoleta Cemetery, Teatro Colon, the Obelisc, Plaza San Martin, Belgrano, and much more. We were going to go to Boca, but an Uber driver told us that it was dangerous for kids after five, and it was already four thirty (it took about an hour to get there), that he couldn’t cancel the drive from his phone, so to cancel it from my mom's phone. He told us it was free to cancel. The truth, it did cost, and it wasn’t as dangerous as he said. My guess is he realizing he did not want to drive an hour, after a whole day of driving, all with strangers. He did manage to get money off us, though.

Argentina was truly beautiful, a delicate culture that stands out, going there would show you. With cities, the ocean, huge rivers, mountains, farmland, it stands out through the world. Other than family, there was culture, well, there was also great food. In Argentina there was much more of an open culture, you would kiss someone when you met them, even when they were just acquaintances. Unlike Fort Collins (Alejandro’s now home city), Rosario and Buenos Aires were huge cities, and had homeless, thieves, much more in Buenos Aires than maybe even New York, Chicago, and other vast American cities. If you were near your things but looked at something else only for a second, you would wonder how they were stolen, how much it would cost to replace them. Now for Uruguay's beaches; let’s see the Atlantic.

An hour-long boat drive, not as good as I imagined, definitely worse, horrible seats, underneath the boat, the inside, seeing the ocean not possible. Then a seven-hour bus ride! Finally, I would meet with Tio Andres (there would be family, Tio Andres’s family, Tio Dario’s family, and my Grandma in the house we rented) who would take us in his small car for the half hour till we got to the house we rented.

The house was beautiful! With two floors, my brother, my sister and I had a room on the second floor with two bunk beds. My parents shared a room, Tia Analia, Tio Andres, and Simon shared a room, Tio Dario, Tia Laura, and Emma also shared a room. Nonna Martha had a room that was connected to the house from outside (with a fence). It was spacious still, with the kitchen airy, a brick grill that was very wide that would provide miracle food (with great asadores [argentine barbequers], my dad, Tio Andres, and Tio Dario). It also had a pool, which at first I couldn’t wait to get in. The first time I went in, though, I realized it was frigid, I felt hyperborean. Oh well, I still had the ocean.

The next day we went to the ocean, but there was something waiting for us there… “Yay… wait, what are those?!”

“Beetles, I’m pretty sure they’re dead, though.” Tio Dario replied.

Lines and lines of dead beetles, “ wait, that one's alive!”

My sister was freaking out, but if you looked out to sea there weren’t any beetles once the sand got wet, you just had to be careful at the beginning. Other than that, the beaches were great, and one day there were waves so big that I couldn’t go past where my ankle would be normally, water higher than me still there.

Punta Del Este (the city we were in, it meant East point) was a great city, a lot like Argentina. People spoke the same in general, with very small details in the accent being the only change. The food was also the same, amazing asados (Argentine barbecue), Dulce De Leche (a caramel spread, only a thousand times better; try it once, you’ll love it), and other delicacies.

It really surprised me when I compared similarities and differences of 17 different countries. Out of everywhere I’d been to, one idea struck me, when I was 12, in Punta Del Este.  Every country had similarities, some more than others. Location matters, but I noticed that it is original culture that changed everything, Latin, Germanic, religion, etcetera. Every country had its indigenous culture, and yet countries that influenced other countries (like Great Britain, Germany, or even earlier, Italy [the Roman Empire]) had countries that influenced them. Though Italy and Argentina were both Latin-influenced, they had different cultures inside that made them what they were. I saw that especially in Uruguay and Argentina, because Uruguay used to be part of Argentina, yet in truth was most influenced not by Argentina, but by Argentina’s influence.

 


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