Posted by: Shanie Matthews | October 6, 2010

Living Abroad in Argentina Teaches Lessons of Better Living

My next chapter in life is starting today.

As this is posted I am high in the sky…flying back to the United States. Not for a vacation at home, but to be back home for good (whatever that means).

I am leaving my adopted home of Argentina.

The joys, lessons and frustrations of living in a foreign land will be exchanged for the joys, lessons and frustrations of living in my birth country.

A dichotomy of feelings drench my heart and soul. Although I am excited to be around those that I grew up with and know so well, although I look forward to the ease of speaking my native tongue, although my taste buds are springing to life thinking about spicy Mexican and Thai food…I know that there are many, many aspects to this amazing country that will cause me moments of longing.

I will most definitely miss the understanding that taking time for self is a given. The siesta has brought about a revelation to my personality that once didn’t exist. I used to think that there wasn’t any time for me to give to myself. There was just too much to do. But Argentina has helped me realize that I have to choose what is most important, and when it comes down to it, nurturing ourselves is the one thing that should be numero uno on the list. If that love isn’t given to self, how is it given to others?

I will also look back and revel in how patience is a virtue that is vital to a calm life. Frustration for things not going the way we want them to doesn’t help matters at all. I can’t even count how many times I stood in a long line in this country and looked around me at the elderly, or the busy business person, or the mother holding her young child’s hand, and saw only that of sincere patience on their face. Their ability to stay in the moment and not worry that they had to be somewhere else, or be doing something else was mind boggling. And their way of handling moments that require longanimity melted into my being…patience is one of my virtues now because of Argentina.

And most of all I will cherish the lessons that less is more. Two of my favorite people that I was able to truly get to know on this five year adventure were our farm’s caretaker, Juan,

picture courtesy of A Day in Your Life Photography

and our vacation rental company’s house cleaner, Betty.

Both come from lives of little financial wealth. Both live in tiny homes with dirt floors. Both have many mouths to feed. Yet, both are two of the continuously happiest people I have ever met. They never muttered statements such as, “I am so poor.” or “Life is so hard.” or “I’m working so hard and don’t have any money.” They are vibrantly happy for what they have in life. In fact, both of them were glowing pretty much every day that I saw them. Their common attitude is one of positivity, continually smiling despite living lives that many couldn’t fathom.

Living in Argentina has made me a better person. This I know to be true. And I am so grateful for those that my happy path has brought me in contact with. Not only Juan and Betty, but many others as well…the people here are a special people.

Thank you so much Argentina for helping me grow as a person. You will always be in my heart. And I will take all of these important lessons of a better way to live and share it with others.

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