I realized before I left on my trip that a Memory Monday would come while I was gone, and another right as I got back, so I quickly pre-scheduled both of them. These will be shorter, but I didn’t want to break my streak.
In the photo above, my dad is giving me mate to sip. Mate is like a tea you drink in a wooden, metal (with wood on the inside), leather or natural gourd, and drink with a metal straw that has a filter at the bottom (this type of straw is called a “bombilla”). Something like tea leaves is packed into the gourd, and sugar is sometimes added. Most people in Argentina drink it with hot water. Some people drink it cold, and in that case it’s called Tereré (a word of Guaraní origin) but we always had it hot.
Mate is pretty high in caffeine, but in general, as soon as you are old enough to sip through a straw, you’ll be given at least some mate. even as a very young child. This is because the ritual of drinking mate, usually daily in the mornings and afternoons, is an important family-and-friends bonding experience, so your parents wouldn’t want to leave you out. Everyone drinks from the same straw and gourd. The gourd is refilled for each person.
A fun tidbit: if you don’t want any more mate, simply say “Gracias” (thank you). But don’t say thank you too early! If you say it when you are returning the gourd to the “cebador” (person making the mate for the group) after just your first one, they will assume you don’t want anymore, and you’ll be skipped in subsequent rounds.
It can feel odd if you are new to it, to be continually served without giving a word of thanks until you’re done –but that’s how it is.
A final note: did you know there is a mate emoji? I used it in the title of this post too. It’s this one! 🧉