Digging to Roam

Opposite Seasons, Skipping Autumn

26 September 2013

Living south of the equator means a lot of things, I never paid enough attention to toilets flushing up north to tell you whether the water really does swirl in the opposite direction, but the one thing that is definitely opposite is the change of seasons. As my friends back home start preparing for winter, sipping pumpkin lattes, and applying for jobs at the local ski resorts, Argentina is entering spring.

Having spent the last three autumns in Britain I missed the classic New England fall and everything that comes with it: hot cocoa, breathtaking foliage, and homemade pumpkin bread. Another year is going by of me missing that magical time of year. Ah, yes, so sad missing out on all that lovely autumn weather and fresh apple cider, but instead of dwell on that nostalgia I’m getting excited to get a second spring this year.

The flowers are blooming and the intoxicating scent of springtime fills the air. The smell of the blossoming flowers cuts through the ‘city smell’ and keeps reminding me that I am in a place far from my North American home where the leaves are falling off the trees instead of budding. I’ve never been south of the equator until now and used to wonder what it would be like to experience the opposite seasons. My birthday is October 4th and I’ve always been an autumn girl, well aware that my birthday could either be a hot Indian Summer day or blistering cold if winter was rolling in early. Either way, the leaves would be turning and the nights getting shorter. This year I get a spring birthday! My birthday is just the start of many months of beautiful weather.

 

Argentina does not live up to the Latin American stereotype that many of my friends and family imagine. With most of the Americas considered “Latin America” there are many different cultures, foods, and dialects that coexist among the many countries. Here they speak a unique dialect of Spanish where “Yo” is pronounced “Sho” and “llamo” is pronounced “sha-mo” instead of “ya-mo.” I don’t think it is like Europe, even though many people do call it the Paris of the South. The people here are kind and genuine, there is little hassle as you walk down the street (in the right neighborhoods, of course), and the architecture is multifaceted with no one style defining the city streets.  Their food is sweet, with the people preferring their mate sweet over the traditional bitter taste. True spicy food is hard to come by, unless you seek out a specialty restaurant or cook it yourself.

And chivalry is not dead here. I am most definitely a feminist thinker, I studied feminist archaeology and wrote my Master’s thesis on gender inequity in professional archaeology. I have passionate views about equality, but damn do I appreciate it when someone opens the door for me. I appreciate being given a chair to sit when I’m in a room full of guys, and I like to see mothers with small children being offered seats on the subway. I don’t have any defined job here, I am not expected to clean up after dinner anymore than my boyfriend is. I don’t need to have anyone carry my grocery bags or hold doors open for me but I do like it, it makes me feel included and appreciated, particularly in this foreign land where I still speak very little Spanish. It’s good manners and in turn keeps me aware of my own manners, reminding myself to always offer to make everyone tea when I make some for myself or to offer to help with the dishes or serving dinner. It brings people together to be aware of those around you, and Argentina is all about bringing people together. The people here are constantly getting together just to make dinner, or to grab a drink, or to simply watch some TV. Each meal and tea time includes everyone who is at home, and if you have guests over expect to offer them some snacks and tea or coffee.

It’s not crazy hot here (yet) and the streets are not filled with tango dancing Latinos dressed to the nines. It’s a place full of diverse people, who love to eat, and whose accents make them sound like they’re speaking in singsong, like the Italians. Expect a kiss on the cheek from everyone you meet, when you say hello and another one when you leave. Touch cheek to cheek, purse your lips away from their cheek, and make a kissy sound. Seriously, that’s how it’s done.

And what a way to turn 27! I’m officially entering my late 20s and instead of ushering in this new era knowing that winter is knocking on my door, I get to pull out my flowery sandal heels, smell the blossoming bushes, and open the window to let in the warm spring air…all while living in the Paris of the South.

 

 

Kristance Harlow

you might like

Find help for a crisis by texting, calling, or chatting online with these free crisis organizations. Looking for one outside of the USA? Check out our support listings.

Crisis Text Line
Text: “HOME” to 741741

Suicide Lifeline
Text: “ANSWER” to 839863
Call: 1-800-273-8255

Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233
1-800-787-3224 (TTY)

Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-422-4453

The Trevor Project
Text “START” to 678678
1-866-488-7386

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call your local emergency number. The numbers listed here are the commonly used numbers for the stated region, the numbers can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you don't know your country's equivalent to 911, this wiki page and The Lifeline Foundation have comprehensive listings.

Americas

911

The Americas

Europe

112

Europe

Africa

112 & 999

Africa

Asia

112, 999, 110

Asia

Oceania

112, 911, 999, 111, & 000

Oceania

These online and international resources may help you anywhere you are located. Looking for local support outside of the USA? Check out our support listings.

DV Support Abroad
Call toll-free worldwide
1-833-723-3833

I'm Alive Virtual Crisis Center
Live chat with trained volunteers

Crisis Connections
24/7 crisis support with interpretation in 155+ languages

2 Comments

  1. Rose L on September 27, 2013 at 3:50 am

    I have been having blogging buddies tell me they are beginning spring time where they live and I realized I never thought about a seasonal difference from what I am used to. Soon we enter the colorful realm of fall while you enter the blooming spring! It would be interesting to travel and hit places and always be in spring time!

  2. mplanck on September 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Love those beautiful flower pictures! So many intriguing details of life in Argentina! I like the idea of courtesy and, yes, the gallant gesture of man to woman. It reveals a respect that seems to be vanishing in north American society. Keep writing and have a wonderful birthday!

Leave a Comment





Join the mailing list.

No spam and we will never share your information.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.