…of mate (MAH-tay)!
Thursday night we had a CEA gathering/crash course to mate/movie viewing at our house, so EVERYONE who lives in a homestay, in their own apartments, or in the other residencia came to the big pink house for some bonding time. We all shared drinks in Argentine family style & thoroughly enjoyed Elda’s empanadas. Afterwards we were required to experience the magical being that is Maradona, which meant watching his best 120 goals on loop. We were supposed to watch “Nueve reinas”, but everyone was too chatty to really notice that it was playing.
The highlight of the evening definitely was learning how to prepare & drink mate! Pamela sat us all down in the living room, a fully stocked tray in front of her, & introduced us to the drink responsible for counteracting the Argentines’ crazy party habits.
It seems like most North Americans above the age of 18 have a constant stream of coffee running through them, and that’s kind of how it is for Argentines with mate; however, Pamela explained to us that mate trumps coffee in that it’s caffeine-like ingredient, mateine (who would’ve guessed?), keeps you alert for a much longer amount of time & never lets you crash like caffeine does. There are all kinds of unspoken rules involved with drinking mate, like you always pass the mate (the cup is also called “mate”.. kind of confusing) to the left with the bombilla (metal straw with a filter on the bottom end) facing the person to whom you’re passing. There’s a whole huge list, even books, of rules about preparing & drinking mate, but we’ll spare you the extra reading material.