We’ve been in Argentina long enough to adapt to some of the cultural rhythms, including arriving at the end of the calendar year exhausted. The average porteño (person from Buenos Aires) burns the candle of life at both ends, prioritizing work, study and relationships over sleep. For example, it’s not unusual for students at the EJ Institute to leave their house before 8 A.M., get home after 11 P.M., and then eat dinner. Caffeine and internal drive go a long way to keep them going day after day, but their secret weapon against complete depletion is summer vacation. The city powers down around Christmas and feels almost deserted until March, when kids go back to school.
Come December, we decided to embrace the cultural rhythm by getting out of town too. Even though we were neither in summer, nor really on vacation, we have been recharged by the time spent with family, friends and churches who collaborate with us in the work we do providing resources and training for youth leaders in the Spanish-speaking world.