Up to now, I have posted about Mendoza from my own point of view. I have described places, moments, activities in my own words. In this week’s post, I decided to talk to Julia Roberson, a senior student at Dickinson College, majoring in Psychology and Spanish, who travelled to Mendoza last semester. In this interview, she describes her time in there, her favorite places, and her perception of people from Mendoza.
- Why did you decide to go to Mendoza?
I decided to go to Mendoza because my Spanish classes in college have mainly focused on Spain and I wanted to see another perspective on Spanish, its uses, and the places in which it is spoken. Additionally, I feel like often South (and Central) America are ignored, even though the US has important relationships with them, which often, at some point, have been troubled.
- Where did you stay in Mendoza?
I lived in the city, but right on the edge, close to Godoy Cruz. I was within walking distance of the park, a university (not the one I attended), and Aristides.
- What was your favorite place in Mendoza? Why? What made it special?
I think my favorite place in Mendoza has to be the park. It was really beautiful there and it was fun to see everyone out and about. The exercise classes they held in the park were great as well! However, I was a bit behind in my dancing skills compared with everyone else. They also had a Green Market at the park I think once a month and it was cool to see all the different alternative foods and items that were for sale.
- What were the activities you enjoyed the most while you stayed in Mendoza?
I enjoyed watching the World Cup soccer matches, attending the music and wine events on top of a governmental building, sharing mate with others, backpacking on the Incan trail (I just went on one trip), visiting wineries, taking hikes, visiting the desert in Lavalle, seeing the sites in the high mountains, zip lining over water in San Rafael, and, of course, running towards school after I missed the bus.
- What was your perception of Mendoza’s people and their culture in general? How would you compare it to the USA?
In general, people were patient and welcoming to me when I was in Mendoza. I felt like many people I met took me under their wing if they saw that I was a foreigner who looked lost (all I had to do was say “Hola” for people to know I wasn’t from Mendoza).
I think my Ieast favorite parts of living in Mendoza were the absence of toilet paper and soap in many bathrooms, catcalling, and the uncertainty of school schedules due to all the strikes.
One of my favorite parts of the Mendocino culture was the emphasis put on relationships with both friends and family. This was highlighted by asados, family gatherings every Sunday, and mate drinking. Here in the US we often are so busy that we don’t have much time to spend with each other (although in college we usually make time at some point), where in Mendoza spending time with each other is paramount. Coming back to the States the emphasis on relationships is one of two aspects of the Argentinean culture (or at least of Mendoza) that I am trying to keep in mind and apply in my life.
Another aspect of Mendoza’s culture that I have tried to incorporate into my life here is the lack of concern around time and punctuality. Although I still try to be on time, and usually am, I try to not let the time pressure be a source of stress.