Willamette World News

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¡Lo Primero es la Familia!

“Family is always first!” That is how important family is back at home. In Argentina, we still value family as our Italian ancestors did. The big family reunion every Sunday for lunch with lots of uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents is still typical in these days. My family is made up by my father, my mother, my brother and me, so we are considered your typical nuclear family, but in the case of my parents it is quite different. They were the last generation of the “big traditional family” which consisted of seven or eight siblings! That means that whenever the whole family meet, we have many people over at home and I have even counted forty people for one of my mother’s birthdays! The family is central for the Argentinian culture, not only because of the religious background, but also because it has been that way since the first settlers from Spain and Italy mainly, came to our land.

They brought that sense of “closeness” and certainly passed it on to their descendants, leaving a legacy of union and company. Back in those times it was common to see at least three generations living together in the same house! Nowadays, it is not so common anymore but you can still see in some old houses that the design of the house was thought for many families to share the same building. Most of these houses have many bedrooms and the living room was the central meeting point of the house. Many of these houses, such as the one you see below, due to the design and its structure were easily transformed into youth hostels.

Nowadays some things have changed and others haven’t. As regards to the family reunions things have not changed much. Most families get together at least once a week. And when I say “family” I mean the extended family! Sometimes it’s on Friday night, sometimes on Saturday night or Sunday morning. Sometimes it’s barbecue in the mountains, in a restaurant or in somebody’s house but meeting on the weekend is a must. As regards to living conditions, things have changed. First, families do not live all together in the same house anymore. Times changed this tradition and now each nuclear family lives in a separate house but generally within a reasonable distance from the other members.

Another thing that really changed was the amount of time children stay at their parents house. A couple of decades ago, the children stayed with their parents until they finished college or got a job after finishing high school. But now, due to the unstable economic situation and the difficulty to find jobs, children stay at home, in some cases, even long after they have finished university. Well, I have tried to give a glimpse of how things are back at home. I hope you find it interesting! See you soon!

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