What is it like to be a Christian missionary in the most secular country in the Americas? Uruguay is unusual in Latin America for its level of secularism, as the Pew Research Center explains here and here. It isn’t just the most secular country in Latin America, it is strikingly more secular than any other country in the region. Many think that is because Uruguay is following in the footsteps of Spain, but in fact as this article in Spanish describes, Uruguay has a much higher percentage of atheists and those who are religiously unaffiliated than Spain or many other European countries. And although Argentina is the close cousin culturally of Uruguay, the religious landscape between the two nations are quite distinct. Continue reading Baptism and New Membership in a Dry and Parched Land
Summer is quickly coming to a close in the Southern Hemisphere. Today was the first day of school all across the city of Montevideo￼. Because our seasons are opposite of the Northern Hemisphere, the school year runs from March through December. Continue reading First Day of School, Missionary Style
Winter seems to have descended early upon us in Uruguay. The weather has been cold and grey since the baby was born in mid-April. Although winter doesn’t officially begin until June 20, I have been watching the weather report every morning for over a month, waiting for a warm day, to no avail. Continue reading A Taste of Uruguay – Tortas Fritas
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The long, relaxing summer days are coming to a sudden end. The new school year starts again this Monday. Summer seemed to fly by. It is never long enough. But there is also excitement over new routines and new experiences. In my almost 19 years as a parent, I always saw us as a family of die-hard homeschoolers. But, I am now preparing for our second year in a local, private school. Last year we sent our then 4 and 8 year old children, reasoning that they were young enough to pick up the language. This year we are also sending our 11 year old. It was clear that in order to gain fluency in both the language and culture he had to attend school. Our church plant is small and without any other children, and his weekly lessons weren’t enough. Continue reading A New School Year
What is it like to live without a car? What challenges does that present to the large family? Growing up in suburban America, it always seemed somewhat romantic to think of city living, where care ownership is optional and everywhere you need to go can be reached on foot or by bus. We have been living this city life now for 15 months, and I wanted to share our experiences.
On October 17 we celebrated our first complete year in Uruguay. It was also fitting that this very same week was the week we finally received our visas to be Uruguayan residents (we have been on tourists visas until this time). It is no exaggeration to say that we have had dozens of appointments at various government offices, plus a few setbacks, to complete all the necessary paperwork. Continue reading Our First Year in Uruguay
While there are several supermarkets in our neighborhood of Montevideo the best prices are found at the local feria (outdoor farmer’s market). Michele enjoys searching for the best prices for things like fruits, vegetables, processed meats and cheeses at the feria. She has written about it here and here. Other kinds of meats can be bought at the local carnicería.
Our feria comes to this neighborhood once a week. There are ferias all over the city six days a week with none on Mondays. Vendors can choose which ferias to participate in or how many days they want to work, though they tend to always return to the same location week after week to build up a clientele.
Ferias are popular in Uruguay, at least around here. Thankfully they are close Continue reading Feria
When we boarded the plane to come to Uruguay from Florida in October of this year, I had never actually even visited the country we were intending to make our home. Sure, I did plenty of research–talking to other missionaries, talking to my husband (who had spent all of a week here), and of course getting all manner of opinions from a variety of ex-pats on the internet. So all this to say, Uruguay was very new for me. And there were a lot of surprises–some good, some bad. But I thought it would be fun to come up with ten things I love about Uruguay. Having only been here 6 months, everything is new enough for me that I am not yet taking it for granted and would love to share the best about my new home. Continue reading Top 10 Favorite Things About Uruguay
Asado is grilled beef. It is very common for people to eat asado (with a variety of cuts of meat), chorizo and grilled chicken (though not as popular) in Uruguay. We were recently invited to a friend’s home to eat with them after church. It was a delightful time with good company and delicious food. They also served hamburgers, which we appreciated.
Beef is one of the most important industries in Uruguay. It is all organic and grass fed. If you have purchased organic beef in the U.S., then there is a chance it was from Uruguay!
One thing that has been very different in our South American home is shopping for food. It has been different, and honestly, fun. First of all, we don’t have a vehicle. That has made a big impact in what shopping for a family of nine looks like. I never before in my life gave a thought to how heavy food is, until I had to carry it all home. Now, thinking about the weight of my purchases is part of the daily routine. Another daily feature of life is whether we have small cash on hand. Our bank gives us money only in bills of 1000 pesos (about $45 US dollars). This is too much for all but the largest stores to accept, making it a constant battle to keep small enough bills on hand, for shopping or taking buses and taxis. Continue reading Shopping for Food