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Our emigration: four things that hit a Ukrainian woman in Argentina

Roksolana Gnatyuk lives in Buenos Aires with her husband and three children, writes scientific and popular articles and books. Ukrainka told Voice of America about the features of life in Argentina and their impressions of the country.

Photo: Roksolana Gnatyuk personal archive

I never even dreamed of traveling to Argentina, and certainly did not know that I would live here. But I have been living for some time, and I want to share with you my thoughts and interesting facts about this country. This will be my personal opinion, and it may, of course, be somewhat different from the thoughts of other people who live here or have ever come to Argentina.

New Year - in the middle of summer

I knew from geography lessons that Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, but getting used to the fact that summer is here from December to February is very difficult. For me, it's just summer, and when I start remembering what month it is, my brain tries to give something like “this is mid-July,” but it turns out that this is January.

Фото: Depositphotos

I'm more used to celebrating Christmas and New Years with frost and snow, but here it can be combined with swimming in the pool. You go into a shopping center, you feel the pleasant cold from the air conditioners, you see festively decorated Christmas trees and New Year's garlands and you think: "the holiday is coming to us." You go outside - the sun is shining in your eyes, the heat is intense, and the Christmas-New Year mood quickly disappears, like a gin in a bottle. It seems to me, after all, in winter, Christmas has a special and unique spirit, which is very difficult to feel in summer.

Accordingly, the first day of school in Argentina is not the first of September, but in the first days of March. Elementary and high school students have different start dates for the school year. It's my birthday in early September, and it's hard for me to understand that this is not the beginning of autumn, but the last days of the Argentine winter.

Photo: Roksolana Gnatyuk personal archive

When I first arrived in Argentina, I ran into a “geographic nuisance”. We were going on a trip to the Iguazu Falls, which are located in the north of the country. It was not too warm in Buenos Aires yet, and I took the things I was wearing at that time - jeans, a jacket. Already on the spot, I realized that the north of Argentina is hotter than the south, and I had to buy shorts.

Argentina is a hot country. But due to the high humidity, the temperature sensations here are completely different than in Ukraine. For example, + 25 ° C is quite warm for Ukraine, you can wear shorts, T-shirts, dresses. But for Argentina, this is not enough - you still need to put on a light blouse or jacket on top of the dress. In winter I am very cold here. Familiar Argentines, as soon as the temperature drops, usually ask me: “But you are used to this cold?” ... It is difficult to explain that I am used to a completely “different” cold. And that windless -2-3 ° C with snow look much warmer than freezing temperatures with high humidity.

Hugs and compliments aren't just for loved ones

When meeting Argentines, they do not limit themselves to the words “hello” (Hola - Spanish) or “good afternoon” (buenas días). They hug and kiss without fail. And they keep a fairly small distance when speaking. At first, it was incredibly difficult for me to get used to being hugged by strangers and strangers, especially at crowded parties. But the Argentines may mistake an attempt to avoid tactile contact for bad manners.

Local residents are extroverts - open to communication, they always say “my love” (mi amor), “my queen” (mi reina), “beauty” (hermosa) in everyday life. But these are just nice words. Not necessarily the guy who tells you "my queen" has any serious thoughts about you. Even the words “I love you” are generally considered to be an expression of friendly sympathy.

Argentines also often call the other person “fat” (gordo) or “thin” (flaco), but no one is offended by these words. It is rather an appeal, rather than a description of a person’s appearance.

Men on the streets are actively paying attention to women. They can say beautiful words, look around, whistle after ... Everything that in North America would be regarded as sexual harassment.

Photo: Roksolana Gnatyuk personal archive

Family dinner ... at midnight

Argentines dine very late. The rule is not "after six in the evening" is not working here. Restaurants open not earlier than eight in the evening, and even at nine.

Once, when we were leaving the restaurant at midnight, a family with a one-year-old baby came in there. This is a very typical situation in Argentina, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. No one here will condemn parents for violating the baby's regime. Children are taken with them almost everywhere, many cafes have playrooms, and high chairs are everywhere - from an expensive restaurant to the simplest eatery.

Photo: Roksolana Gnatyuk personal archive

Birthday at 15 is cooler than wedding

Unlike the US, where sweet sixteen is celebrated, Argentine girls are celebrating their fifteenth birthday (Fiesta de cince). I was lucky enough to visit several Fiestas de cince, and I was amazed at their scale.

Parents rent the most beautiful salons, create incredible decorations for the celebration, sew fantastic dresses. The importance and score of this party are equal to the wedding, and sometimes even exceed the number of guests and the size of the wedding. And at the end of such parties, all guests are presented with souvenirs. Often these are cute little gifts, but friends told me that a wealthy classmate of their son gave her classmates laptops.

Sometimes fifteen-year-old girls go on a trip with their friends, for example, to Disneyland. Once, at the US Embassy, ​​I saw a kilometer long queue that consisted only of teenage girls 14-15 for years.

Фото: Depositphotos

Argentina is a friendly and very interesting country. It is difficult enough for emigration, especially now, during the economic crisis, but extremely attractive for tourists. It is here that one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world is located - Iguazu; the incredibly scenic Seven Lakes Road in the province of Neuquen; the southernmost city on the globe, Ushuaia; Los Glaciares Glacier National Park; the resort of San Carlos de Bariloche, which is called "Argentine Switzerland" ... And these are just a few names from a large list of interesting places that can be visited in this beautiful country. Therefore, if you are still thinking about where to spend your next vacation, fly to Argentina.

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Miscellanea Argentina Our people Ukrainian personal experience истории из жизни
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