Today, I am off on a pilgrimage. I am going to the country where I was born, Argentina. Wish me luck.For me, Argentina has always been magical. It could be because that is where my grandparents were, and in their arms, I felt unconditional and all encompassing love. It could be because my cousins were there. From them, I received not only a beautiful kind of love but also patience. They were tolerant of my cultural misunderstanding and accepting of my lack of vocabulary. They made me laugh and taught me so much. Their children are amazing and talented and open. Culturally, our countries are so different. That created such a huge conflict inside of me. I found Argentina to be a “warmer” country. One in which you were introduced to a new friend with a kiss. You took the time to sit down for a meal. People seemed to know about our country and were open to hearing more. It was always a shock to come back to the states. I realize now that my close friends here have similarities to the culture in Argentina. My friends here tend to hug more, open up more and are willing to have intense conversations.
I always have felt like I had one leg in each country. I “sort of” am from Argentina, yet when there, I am labeled a “Yankee.”
This past June I went and visited my family and experienced so many life-changing events. When I came back I mourned the separation from my family. I decided that I needed to make some changes in my life. One thing I wanted to do was to find something that would blend my two worlds and allow me more space and time to be with them. And that brings me to the Yerba mate.
When in Argentina, one of the things I loved was to go to my cousin’s houses and drink mate with them. Mate is a drink that you “share.” It is quite different from having coffee with someone. With mate, you actually “take care” of another by pouring the water and sweetening the drink for them. Also, you share the same cup. Interesting right?
When I was pregnant and told to get off of coffee, I went on Mate. Mate is a healthier drink than coffee. While it has caffeine, the caffeine is quite different from the caffeine in coffee. It is a healthier drink chock full of minerals and probiotics. More on that later. So, since the pregnancy, I have been fully on mate. The sad part is that I am drinking it alone!!!!! Forget your lattes, your energy drinks, your bottled teas… this stuff is for real.
Back in the states, I realized that Americans might finally be ready to have mate and drink it the real way. Sure, there is Yerba in the stores, but most don’t know what to do with a loose leaf tea. That is because we have not been introduced to the mate (cup) and the bombilla (metal straw). What if I brought it? Would people be open to it? Would Americans get it?
Partnering up with Pamela Saunders, and a few others, we have decided to do this! On my journey, I am going to be buying a ton of mates and bombillas and bringing them back. We are going to see if this will fly here in the states. I will be blogging and sending pictures from there.
This picture? Oh, that is me. This was taken in Argentina, before I left, maybe even before we knew that we are leaving. My father took this shot. I drank mate when I was little and always have. My daughter has also. Wish me luck! Join me on this journey! Let’s bring back the value of sitting with friends and talking. Let’s take the time to be with each other and listen. Let’s give to one another by opening our souls and discussing issues from the heart. Gracias.