Monday, April 28, 2008

The Mate & Monday Meanderings

I'm definitely not firing on all cylinders this morning. A long (but good!) Sunday and not enough sleep leaves me feeling a bit anti-social and grouchy. Not my usual persona. Okay, maybe the grouchy part is normal. Oh, that reminds me, we saw a license plate that read CRMUDGN. Isn't that great?!

With Tuesday shaping up to be a busy day with last minute get-togethers, today will require a bit more push on the packing. So glad I got a lot done on Saturday 'cause that takes some of the pressure off today. I need to decide exactly what to take to Indiana with us. Since it's early Spring in the Midwest, that season that hovers between cold and hot, we'll need to take a combination of warm and cold weather clothing.

Definitely taking the computer, printer, different papers needed for putting together our packets, envelopes, prayer cards and other stuff we include, ministry files... And I have to take the sewing machine and some supplies for the next couple of months because creating quilts (or aprons or whatever) is one of my biggest stress reducing strategies. [Bubble baths is the other.]

Bed and bedding. What? You don't take your own bed when you go to other people's homes? Well, as our daughter would be quick to point out, we have never done things the "normal" way. So why start now? And the fact is, their guest bed is the most uncomfortable in the history of mankind. And that's from someone who slept on a 4" thick mattress on a cot in a youth hostel in Ireland, to say nothing of some pretty primitive accommodations in Africa. Just sayin'.

Think we can get it all in the car? So now the question is, do we figure out a way to get it all there this Wednesday, as in asking for help or borrowing a vehicle? Or do we wait and take part now and part when we come back in 10 days? My head hurts justing thinking about it. If we decide to go with plan B I must figure out what we'll absolutely have to have this first round.

And now your head is probably hurting too, with all this meandering. On to The Mate! For those who were interested in what mate means to Argentina, here's the essay I promised to post. Originally in Spanish, this is courtesy of hubby's translation. And since I have NO IDEA how to make Spanish punctuation marks in this program, pretend that the word mate has an accent over the "a" and yes, this is a two-syllable word in Spanish.
On our last visit to Argentina we stopped in to see friends at their tire business, and of course shared mate while we chatted. Hubby has the mate (which refers to both the cup and the tea).

Mate is not a beverage. Well, it is a liquid and it enters through your mouth, but it is not a beverage. In Argentina, nobody drinks mate because they are thirsty. It’s more of a custom, like scratching yourself.

When someone arrives at your home, the first thing out of your mouth is “hello” and the second thing is “Unos mates?” or “Some mates?” This happens in all homes, in those of the rich and those of the poor. It happens among gossipy and talkative women, and among serious and immature men. It happens among the old in nursing homes and among adolescents as they study or hang out. It is the only thing that fathers and sons share without arguments or accusations. The Peronistas and the radicals drink mate without questioning. In summer and in winter. It is the only thing that victims and perpetrators share, the good and the bad.

When you have a son, you begin to give him mate when he asks for it. You give it to him tepid and with lots of sugar and he feels grown up. You feel great pride when your offspring begins to sip mate. As they get older they choose how to drink it: sweet or plain, hot or cold, with orange peel or with herbs or a little squirt of lemon.

This is the only country in the world where the decision to go from being a child to being a man happens on a particular day. It has nothing to do with long pants, going to university or moving far away from your family. Here we become adults on the day we first drink mate by ourselves – the day a child puts the teapot on the stove and drinks his first mate alone.

The soul of Argentina is intertwined with yerba. Yerba is the only thing that exists in all home, always. With inflation, with hunger, with a military government, with a democracy. And if some day there is no yerba, a neighbor has it and will give it to you. No one is denied yerba.

When you meet someone for the first time you drink some mates. When you first meet, people ask “sweet or plain?” The response is “However you drink it.”

Mate is exactly the opposite of television. It makes you communicate if you are with someone and it makes you think when you are alone. It is the solidarity of drinking washed mates because the conversation is so good. It’s the conversation that is so good, not the mate. It’s respect for the opportunity to talk and to listen. You speak while the other sips, and you are allowed the sincerity to say “That’s enough. Time to change the yerba.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey me and Tristan are walking in the March for Dimes event May 3rd in Oak Ridge and we would love it if you would sponsor us! We have set a goal for only $150 and with your help maybe we can get there. Plus your helping babies like Tristan and overall helping fight premature birth!
Click on this link
to go to my March of Dimes page and sponsor us!

Shannon and Tristan