Mate joined me on my journey almost 5 years ago when I first travelled to study in Argentina. I stayed for a year and picked up the habit of having a daily mate. My first drinking experience was actually at a Mercedes Sosa concert on the river down here in Buenos Aires, so that was pretty incredible. I didn’t understand most of the conversation being had at the time but the drinking and passing of the mate really included me and allowed me to equally feel part of the group! It was wild! What was not as wild was that I also burned my virgin tongue!
I have always had a taste for bitter and strong drinks, so that was not a problem. However, I saw how it connected families, friends, and especially outsiders to feel part of these families or circle of friends. It is an easy gateway into small moments of conversation and community but in such an organic and natural way. After my first year in Argentina I continued to be a mate drinker. Luckily in Houston they sell it at the Fiesta Supermarkets and in Qatar as well. I was so pumped when I saw mate in the supermarket in Qatar. It helped me in some difficult times out there. I believe it was meant to be ;) Now I’ve been back to Buenos Aires for about 3 years now and finding yerba is of the smallest concern.