I remember the first time I tried maté while living abroad in Buenos Aires with a host family. The Guzmans introduced me to a number of traditions, and I showed them cheese grits and hot sauce. Cultural exchange just goes better with pepper sauce.
My two daily meals with the family were distinct: breakfast would be toasted pan con miel with long conversations about everything my host father, Alejandro, saw wrong with Argentinian politics. We’d often get engrossed in our chats, and I’d have to make the 25-minute walk to class in 15 minutes. Dinners were pizzas or gnocchi, with three kids and a mom trying to keep everyone in check (my 12-year-old sister loved to spar with my 13-year-old brother about boys at school; I loved to debate Brüno Mars’ musical legitimacy with her). It was a microcosm of chaos. That’s one human characteristic that doesn’t stop at borders.
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