From my perspective – Part 3 | TSLN.com

From my perspective – Part 3

Amanda Nolz

Photo courtesy Amanda NolzFrom left to right: Host father Hugo Fosini, Amanda Bechen of Mitchell, SD, host mother Susana Fosini and Amanda Nolz.

Last week, I wrote about the traditional Argentine asado. This week, I will be reliving another snapshot in time during my trip to Argentina…

Soon I will be en route back to America, ready to begin new adventures in the country I love. After a month of studying abroad to learn Spanish in Argentina, I have gained a greater appreciation for new cultures and a deeper understanding of my own personal values.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a steak house near the port. The restaurant called Las Lila’s boasts a menu that pays homage to the Argentine beef that is supplied directly from the restaurant’s private ranch.

With appetizers of dried tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, grilled peppers and garlic bread, the atmosphere is both elegant and relaxed. Soft music plays in the background, accompanied by the sounds of laughter from guests enjoying their meals.

After matching a bottle of Argentine wine to compliment my cut of beef, the waiter assures me that my ribeye steak will be a perfect medium rare and my steamed vegetables will be fresh and crisp.

While I wait, my thoughts drift to my host family – the Fosini’s. Hugo and Susana Fosini graciously made me a part of the family for the past month, providing me with an authentic Argentine experience and offering of living in a foreign culture with a new language.

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In Buenos Aires, my host father Hugo works as an accountant and his wife Susana works in a coffee shop at the local university. Together, they have been happily married for 35 years and have raised two adoptive children, Paz and Matias. Their home is tastefully decorated with paintings of Spanish conquistadors, and they always listen to tango music during dinner. They truly enjoy opening their home to foreign exchange students eager to learn and they love to share their culture with those interested.

Sounds picture perfect right? It would be, except for the fact that the Fosini’s suffered great hardships before earning their “happily ever after.” Many years ago, Hugo ran a small dairy operation and butcher shop in the Pampas region with his father and brother. Together, the Fosini clan gathered great success through their milk and meat sales. Sadly, just before the great recession in Argentina in 2001, their farm went bankrupt, leaving Hugo out of work, his father in a state of depression, and his brother on the run from the law.

Luckily, they were able to sell some of the farm without losing everything to the bank. With the little money they had left, Hugo and Susana moved to the city in hopes of finding a better life. Today, the Fosini’s are grateful to have found success in the city of Buenos Aires and they feel they have assured their children a more comfortable lifestyle away from the farm.

One night during supper, I asked Hugo if he missed the farm and his cattle. With a sad face, he turned to me and said, “I would give anything to go back, but life is better here. I know that my children and my wife have no future on the farm anymore.”

At his response, something inside me clicked. Is this not the same story that is repeated over and over again amongst American farm families? How many young people are turned away from careers in food production because of discouragement from parents or because of the temptations of higher paying jobs in the city?

My parents have always encouraged me to follow my heart and yet, they are the first to tell me to find a better career than what is available to me on the family farm. I’ll even admit, at one time, I thought I would never have a career path in agriculture and livestock production. However, as I listened to Hugo Fosini’s story, I realized how close agriculture is to my heart.

With my college graduation only a year away, I am going to continue to pursue my dream of owning a cattle operation and continuing my family’s tradition in agriculture. Despite the obstacles and sacrifices it takes, I truly believe there is no better way to live than to make your earnings from the land. And, as I take my first bite of steak at Las Lila’s Restaurant in Argentina, I know that these thoughts should be heard by more of the youth in production agriculture. After all, our future in agriculture rests in their hands.

Last week, I wrote about the traditional Argentine asado. This week, I will be reliving another snapshot in time during my trip to Argentina…

Soon I will be en route back to America, ready to begin new adventures in the country I love. After a month of studying abroad to learn Spanish in Argentina, I have gained a greater appreciation for new cultures and a deeper understanding of my own personal values.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a steak house near the port. The restaurant called Las Lila’s boasts a menu that pays homage to the Argentine beef that is supplied directly from the restaurant’s private ranch.

With appetizers of dried tomatoes, mozzarella, olives, grilled peppers and garlic bread, the atmosphere is both elegant and relaxed. Soft music plays in the background, accompanied by the sounds of laughter from guests enjoying their meals.

After matching a bottle of Argentine wine to compliment my cut of beef, the waiter assures me that my ribeye steak will be a perfect medium rare and my steamed vegetables will be fresh and crisp.

While I wait, my thoughts drift to my host family – the Fosini’s. Hugo and Susana Fosini graciously made me a part of the family for the past month, providing me with an authentic Argentine experience and offering of living in a foreign culture with a new language.

In Buenos Aires, my host father Hugo works as an accountant and his wife Susana works in a coffee shop at the local university. Together, they have been happily married for 35 years and have raised two adoptive children, Paz and Matias. Their home is tastefully decorated with paintings of Spanish conquistadors, and they always listen to tango music during dinner. They truly enjoy opening their home to foreign exchange students eager to learn and they love to share their culture with those interested.

Sounds picture perfect right? It would be, except for the fact that the Fosini’s suffered great hardships before earning their “happily ever after.” Many years ago, Hugo ran a small dairy operation and butcher shop in the Pampas region with his father and brother. Together, the Fosini clan gathered great success through their milk and meat sales. Sadly, just before the great recession in Argentina in 2001, their farm went bankrupt, leaving Hugo out of work, his father in a state of depression, and his brother on the run from the law.

Luckily, they were able to sell some of the farm without losing everything to the bank. With the little money they had left, Hugo and Susana moved to the city in hopes of finding a better life. Today, the Fosini’s are grateful to have found success in the city of Buenos Aires and they feel they have assured their children a more comfortable lifestyle away from the farm.

One night during supper, I asked Hugo if he missed the farm and his cattle. With a sad face, he turned to me and said, “I would give anything to go back, but life is better here. I know that my children and my wife have no future on the farm anymore.”

At his response, something inside me clicked. Is this not the same story that is repeated over and over again amongst American farm families? How many young people are turned away from careers in food production because of discouragement from parents or because of the temptations of higher paying jobs in the city?

My parents have always encouraged me to follow my heart and yet, they are the first to tell me to find a better career than what is available to me on the family farm. I’ll even admit, at one time, I thought I would never have a career path in agriculture and livestock production. However, as I listened to Hugo Fosini’s story, I realized how close agriculture is to my heart.

With my college graduation only a year away, I am going to continue to pursue my dream of owning a cattle operation and continuing my family’s tradition in agriculture. Despite the obstacles and sacrifices it takes, I truly believe there is no better way to live than to make your earnings from the land. And, as I take my first bite of steak at Las Lila’s Restaurant in Argentina, I know that these thoughts should be heard by more of the youth in production agriculture. After all, our future in agriculture rests in their hands.

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