Things I Learned In South America

I’m back in the USA!! I can’t explain how good it felt to be flying into JFK after 3 weeks away from home. While I love visiting family in Paraguay, 3 weeks is a long time to be away from your bed and pets! :) I was homesick towards the end and more than ready to come home.

I am grateful that my family got to go away for 3 weeks, and visit Rio De Janeiro while we were down there. It was all an amazing experience and I really want to go back to Rio…2016 Olympics anyone?

Before I get into a few things I learned about South America, I wanted to share a few pictures from my trip:

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background

Me and my siblings at the top of Sugarloaf (Pao De Acucar) with Copacabana in the background



Dinner in Copacabana…if you’re ever there check out Boteco Da Garrafa!


FIFA Fan Fest on the beach in Copacabana for the Brazil vs. Colombia game


Cousins in Paraguay :)

I’ll be posting all of my pictures in a Facebook album, so for those who want to see travel pics, I’ll link to it once I do.

Okay so here’s what I learned while on my trip about South America:

  • Ordering a coffee to them automatically means coffee with heated up milk (cafe con leche). Even when someone makes coffee for you in their home they heat up milk on the stove top to add to the coffee. I usually just add cold milk so my coffee isn’t too hot.
  • When saying hi and bye you need to kiss everyone on both cheeks…which makes for very long hellos and goodbyes.
  • Most younger people address older people by Tio or Tia (aunt or uncle) even if they aren’t related at all. This was weird for me because I would call someone by their name but my parents would insist I call them Tio or Tia.
  • In South America (except Chile from what I noticed in the airport), you don’t throw toilet paper in the toilet. You throw it into the garbage can next to the toilet. I’m sorry but I could not adjust to this! No clue why they do it like this…does not seem sanitary at all.
  • People in Rio are very nice and everyone says Bom Dia to you (good morning) as they pass you. They didn’t care that their city was overrun with tourists, they were still nice!

And the main thing I learned?

That I am grateful that my parents emigrated to the United States when I was 1. Going to another country, especially a third world country, makes you realize all the opportunities you have.

I realize the sacrifices my parents made by leaving their entire family and friends behind in Paraguay, and coming to the US to try to build a better life. Who knows where we would be had they not done that. They have some crazy stories from their earlier time here, which I’ll have to share at some point, because it really puts things into perspective.

Anyway, I’m happy to be back and am excited to get back to blogging and reading your posts as well!

Have you gone away for an extended period of time? Did you get homesick?

Are you going away this summer?


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  1. Welcome back! I’m glad you had a great trip!
    Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie recently posted…Weekend Snapshots 7.21My Profile

  2. Hi Patty,
    Welcome back! 3 weeks is a long time…as great as it is for a proper holiday, it can be too much (especially when visiting family/relatives!).
    I just wanted to add a couple of things to some of the points made above from a Peruvian perspective (my parents are Peruvian and I lived there for 10+ years):
    In Peru people don’t heat up the milk, it is on the table to serve yourself. If you want a coffee with milk you order a cafe con leche (or cortado, depending on the amount of milk you want).
    With regards to the hello and goodbye kisses – in Peru it’s only one kiss.
    With regards to the toilet paper; that’s done because the plumbing isn’t great in many countries and the only thing that would happen is a heavily blocked up toilet – a lot worse than having to throw the dirty paper away! From what I hear, it is more environmentally friendly as well (as said, from what I’ve heard!).
    Have fun getting back into the swing of things!

    • Great to hear from another fellow South American! I should have clarified it was things I learned while only in Brazil and Paraguay :) Interesting that the toilet paper thing is more environmentally friendly…I’m just not sure I could ever get used to that!

  3. Welcome back!
    They do that toilet paper thing in Greece too, I don’t get it! I tried to remember but its just a reflex to put it into the toilet.
    I LOVE warm milk in my coffee, I never do that at home but they did it in the Dominican and I loved it.
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Weekend HighlightsMy Profile

    • yeah I couldn’t get used to it either! I am not a fan lol…but yea the warm milk was nice! Too lazy to do something like that while at home though :)

  4. Welcome back! Your pictures look great – glad you had a good time with the family. I noticed a can of Guarana…I miss it!! Right now I am on vacation, but only for 8-9 days.
    Jennifer recently posted…Tasty Thursday – Turkish DelightMy Profile

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