Last Stop: Uruguay

Sometimes you forget Uruguay is a country in South America. Only 3.5 million people live there (half of the population lives in the capital city Montevideo). Their soccer team rarely makes the news. So what goes on there?

When I was a freshman at OU, I met Lu Odera, an Uruguayan exchange student who spent a semester in the US. I promised I would visit her home country at some point – living in Chile gave me an easy opportunity to pop over before returning home.

As the plane descended in Montevideo, I realized Uruguayan terrain looked just like Oklahoma’s – with the addition of a lovely coast. The city is old. It’s clean and lively with young professionals bustling around the center.

Mate is abundant. Locals walk around with hot water canisters and carry their mate cups by their side. A mate break is always a great idea, no matter the time of day.

Pizza is sold by the meter and served with “faina”. I couldn’t tell you what it is – it’s savory flatbread that is always eaten with pizza.

The mall isn’t called “el centro comercial,” rather “el shopping.” It’s rude to fill a glass up with soda or water all the way; you should always fill it up halfway and return for more if you need it.

We often think of Latin America as a general region with similar characteristics country to country. Traveling from Chile to Peru to Uruguay has shown me how unique each of these countries are. Many cultural aspects do not cross borders.

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