A few weeks ago, I moved to Argentina to begin teaching English for a six month period. I am from London, so it is no surprise that I have encountered some cultural differences between English and Argentinian ways of life; after all they are almost 7,500 miles (roughly 12,000km) apart!
Generally, I have settled in well here - the people are wonderful and have made me feel extremely welcome, and I am really enjoying my new teaching job. There is one aspect to life here however, that I am particularly struggling with: the organisation of the day, the 'timetable' if you like! I am finding it a little bit difficult to adapt to...
Some things are familiar to me: I begin the working day at 8am and eat my lunch on return home around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, so nothing unusual there. Then there is a siesta period, which I like the idea of, but I don't always feel like sleeping. At around half past 6 or 7pm, we tend to have what is called a meriende, something similar to what we in England would call afternoon tea (although we would have this much earlier in the day!). Dinner doesn't get eaten until around 10pm, or sometimes even later. That's bedtime for me on a school night, I like to get a good nights sleep!
I just can't quite adjust to eating at these hours, but it is really interesting to experience a different culture and to see how having a siesta period as part of the daily routine, can really change the pattern of the day. People also seem to stay awake until very late at night - perhaps this is because dinner is so late and they need time to digest their food, but I have noticed that there is a lot of night time activity here. Many shops and restaurants are open way into the night and people party until 7 or 8 o'clock in the morning! I have found myself feeling very tired indeed! My friends are helping me to become more Argentinian and I am getting there slowly - going back to the UK in September may provide culture shock the other way around ... People sleep during the night back at home! Argentina is a fantastic country and I am looking forward to what's in store for me over the next few months!
Have you ever experience another culture? What did you find challenging if anything?