While I write these words, I am drinking a nice cup of coffee (macchiato, of course), facing the ocean and watching a bunch of surfers having fun in the waves. Even though it is almost November, in this part of world (the Canary Islands), the forecast says almost 86ºF and I am wearing a swimsuit and a t-shirt, as I do every day on the island.
To be honest, my life has been a lot like this for the past six years, ever since I started traveling. First alone, then with my girlfriend. I always had a premise: chasing the sun. Whether it was the right choice or not is not the point of these words. I am happy with my life and that’s enough. If you are happy with yours, that’s enough too. Sun or mountains, it doesn’t matter.
But, you know what? I can watch hundreds of breaking waves, swim in dozens of oceans, eat as many types of food as you can imagine, but I will always miss Argentina: my home country. I miss it even though I know I shouldn’t. How could I not miss Argentina?
How could I not miss it, when my family is there? Those huge barbecues every Sunday, made by my dad. You should be a part of them some day (if you ever visit Argentina, send me a message). My dad starts the fire at around 11:00 am. It takes around two and a half hours for the meat to be ready, which after you can cut the meat with your fork and not with your knife. In the meantime, we all gather around the table, talking, eating cheese, salami, and bread. We drink wine, beer or Fernet, a bitter but aromatic spirit.
Once the meat is ready, we all sit down at a big table and eat for around an hour–sausages, veggies, meat, everything. We eat, and talk, and drink, and laugh. Then we have a coffee and maybe a nap. We repeat this kind of ritual every Sunday. On birthdays, or Christmas, or every single day if we felt like it. For we Argentinians, family and food are sacred.
How could I not miss Argentina if my friends are there? I’m not sure how you do it in your country, but I hope it is at least similar to how we do it in Argentina. Friends are one of the most important things that we have. Spending time over a coffee, beer, or a mate, it doesn’t matter. We always find excuses to hang out with our friends. It may start at noon with a football match and continue on with some beers. Then someone will start a fire. Someone will buy some meat or veggies. Someone will cook it and, suddenly, we will be more than 10 people around the table, laughing. Of course, the night will finish in some disco around the city. For us, the night doesn’t have an end.
How could I not miss Argentina when it is a country full of hugs and love? I know the economy is not that good, that our coin is not that strong and while prices go up, salaries don’t. Our politicians think of their own pockets and not of ours. I was born in the middle of an economic crisis and I will most likely die in the middle of an economic crisis. Because that’s Argentina too. Continuous obstacles, all of the time. But, despite these obstacles, I will always want to come back, at least for a while.
Argentina is truly unique. Buenos Aires, La Patagonia, Jujuy, the north, the south, the west and the east. The people. The food. The language. How we are passionate about everything. If you someday meet me in the street, give me a hug. It doesn’t matter if we haven’t met before. That’s how we Argentinians say hello.
Header photo by Shasha Stories.