Something that I haven’t gotten used to is the “impuntualidad de latina america” (or the unpunctuality of Latin America). After 22 years of being told “it’s better to be early than to be late”, it is really difficult to quickly adjust to Latin America’s schedule. When I read that the Mil Tambores parade started at 11:00am, I expected it to begin at 11, not at 3 or 4 in the afternoon like what actually happened this weekend. When my mom tells me lunch is at 2, I am hungry at 2, not an hour later. Sometimes is really frustrating because in the States, the majority of the population is punctual. If the schedule says you need to arrive at 12, people actually arrive at 11:45. And clearly that is definitely not the case in Chile.
Today in one of my classes, we were assigned an article to read and it just so happened to be about the unpunctuality of Latin America (hence where I got my idea for this blog post!) In the article, it discussed how the “impuntualidad de Latina America” was not only a quality of the general population, but also of government officials. The author asked, “why should Latinos Americanos be on time if the government officials can’t even set the example and arrive on time for their press conferences?” Certainly there are instances where punctuality is required including: official business meetings, sporting events, movies, and schools, but for mostly everything else though, when someone says a dinner party starts at 7 pm that really means you should arrive at the party at least 30 minutes to an hour later.
I couldn’t wrap my head around why punctuality did not matter to Latin America. It’s not like they don’t have working clocks, because they definitely do since they know how to arrive on time for fútbol games! It never made sense to me… that is, until today after reading the article.
In Latin America “la gente llega tarde a todas partes, no porque no sabe qué hora es, sino porque no importa a qué hora se llegue. Lo importante es llegar.”
In Latin America “the people arrive tardy in all regions, not because they don’t know what time it is, but because it does not matter what time they arrive. It is only important that they arrive.”
Wow! Talk about an eye opening statement! Now I get it. In Latin America, as long as you get to spend time with those that you care about, it doesn’t matter what time you arrive. You just have to be there. So the next time I am frustrated with Chile’s tardiness, I’ll keep this thought in mind and enjoy the company! Well, that’s my 2 cents for today! Hasta mañana chicos! Ciao!
Also, if you would like to read the article (it’s in Spanish though!) click here: http://www.veintemundos.com/magazines/40-fr/