One of the best things about our time in Argentina is the perspective and lessons we have learned during our time away from North America.  Being put into a new world where nothing is familiar, gave our family cause for a lot of personal reflection over the past year. So before we left Argentina for Christmas break, I gave everyone a piece of paper and asked them to write down what Argentina has taught them over the past year and I included their responses below. But as I was looking over my personal list today with our second return visit to the states almost compete, I find I am a little disappointed.

I am disappointed that some of my valuable lessons are not translating so well into my American lifestyle……why?  When I am in Argentina it all makes so much sense, everything is so clear. I can see so vividly the overwhelming benefits to my family of a slower pace, more tranquillo (relaxed) way of live.  What is it about our American culture that has us running crazy, constantly striving for perfection while squeezing the life out of every minute of the day? And why do I so easily fall back into this routine?

Argentines do not sweat the small stuff and achieving performance excellence is easily forgotten when it is time for afternoon coffee.  This very Argentine characteristic trait that drives me insane has me now questioning if they have it right.

Why are we pushing ourselves and our kids till it hurts while they are kicking back enjoying their days and each other just the way they are, and  shrugging their shoulders at perfection. The Argentine society often leaves so many with so little, but they look so content playing soccer in the dirt with no shoes and a worn out ball. They are not striving for perfection and scholarships; they are just living day to day, finding joy in the little things.

Of course it is our drive for perfection that makes our country the most powerful on earth. It is why people are dying trying to cross our borders everyday and why they would give up a kidney for a US passport.  There is nowhere else in the world I would rather live and I love our country and our ambition, but for our family somewhere between the two cultures is a balanced lifestyle I would like to capture.  So although I am disappointed I have not yet incorporated my ideal balance, I am thankful for the perspective and knowing where I hope to be someday!

Happy New Year!


2010 Parker Family Argentina Lessons!

Lyndsey

  1. Be thankful for what you have
  2. Meeting people from different countries and cultures is cool, you can learn a lot from other cultures
  3. Appreciate your country
  4. Learning a  language is tougher than I thought
  5. You have to be careful Living in a in a big city

Lauryn

  1. Always be careful
  2. Be educational, be smarter, you don’t want to live on the street and not have a job.
  3. Play soccer for fun
  4. Give money to people who have less
  5. Be with god
  6. Eat empanadas, Milenesa’s and meat
  7. I am better at math
  8. Argentina is not like anywhere else
  9. Learning to play the piano and a new language is fun
  10. Enjoy Life!

Dad

  1. Family first
  2. You have to  be very creative in Argentina if you want to get anything done
  3. There are good people everywhere you go
  4. Having less “stuff” in your life is more!
  5. Thank goodness god is in control
  6. Government control over business is not a good thing

Kelly

  1. No matter how hard you might try or how badly you want to be in control, you are not
  2. Give kids lots of play time and less structure, it enables them to find out about themselves and the world
  3. Besides family, God, and Tuggy, the thing I value most in the world is my US Passport
  4. Balance, Balance, Balance!
  5. Kids are not perfect, take a deep breath before the competition and celebrate the positives.  Let them have fun and enjoy their youth
  6. I am better at tennis than cooking
  7. No matter how terrifying it might be taking risk is a good thing
  8. Listen more talk less
  9. Lock your doors
  10. So many people have so little, give more
  11. No matter what the Argentines say eating red meat three times a day with a glass of Malbec is a not always the best dietary choice
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