“What’s new Buenos Aires?
I’m new, I wanna say I’m just a little stuck on you
You’ll be on me too”
As I write this I am finishing up my first day in Argentina! It’s hard to believe that less than 48 hours ago I was nervously packing for this trip! I still can’t quite believe that I’m in Argentina, partly because I haven’t seen much of the city yet, we had free time to explore but I chose to stay in the hotel and rest because I know tomorrow will be very busy!
To backtrack to Wednesday, my flight from San Francisco to Newark went well. I had to wake up at 5:30 in the morning but I was able to sleep on the flight. When I got to Newark I had five hours before my flight so I walked around to help with my nervous energy and spent a couple of quality hours in the bookstore. I realized I must be near the gate when multiple people walked into the bookstore speaking Spanish with an Argentine accent, my first taste of the language that I’m about to be immersed in! But instead of going to the gate, I went to the group room where I was able to meet a few of the other people on my program. We were all nervous and tired but excited to meet each other and anxious to arrive.
We met more people on our program at the gate, and we all boarded a huge airplane for the 11 hour flight to Buenos Aires! I was sitting next to a girl on the program so we had plenty of time to get to know each other. I passed the time on the flight talking to my neighbor, watching TV shows on the personal TV screen, and listening to music and trying to sleep. Though I was not very comfortable I got a fair amount of sleep in, more than I was used to!
First View of Buenos Aires!
When we landed in Buenos Aires we went through immigration fairly quickly but then waited in line for customs for nearly an hour! Luckily I was standing near other people on my program and I passed the time by talking to them! We even started speaking to each other in Spanish to practice.
Finally, we got on a bus and headed to our hotel in the heart of Buenos Aires. I nodded off on the ride over but I still got some good views of the city:
I’m sharing a hotel room with two other girls on the program and we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well in the past few 24 hours. My general impression so far is that I really like all the people on my program. Most of us chose Mendoza because we wanted a slower paced environment and we’re excited about both the academic experience and the cultural opportunities we’ll have in Mendoza as well. I hope I continue to get to know these people better because I think we have a lot to offer each other as we embark on this new experience together!
Happy to be in a hotel room!
We also began orientation today and met José, our program director. He seems really nice and very helpful and knowledgeable. He already threw a lot of information at us about what we’ll be doing in the next couple of months that I’m still processing but he’s also giving us the practical information that we need to know to make our transition to Argentine culture as smooth as possible. One of the big pieces of advice he gave us is to just relax and go with the flow and try not to get frustrated, all of that’s a part of the growing experience. He also said that starting tomorrow we’re only speaking in Spanish!
At dinner that philosophy was put to the test when my roommates and I came down four minutes late and found out that everybody had already left for dinner! Luckily the restaurant was just around the corner so we walked there ourselves. My first reaction was to get anxious about not being a part of the group and having “messed up”, but I reminded myself that in the scheme of things it wasn’t a big deal and a couple of minutes later we rejoined the group and all was fine. We ate at a restaurant called “El Cuartito” a famous pizzeria in Buenos Aires.
The pizza was delicious but different than any pizza I’d had before. They put olives and other strange toppings on the pizza and the cheese was very liquid-like and creamy. Dessert was an experience as well! One of the options was “queso y dulce”, cheese on jellied sweet potatoes. It was much better than I expected!
(not my picture)
There was also flan, ice cream, and bread pudding, which all had to be tried with dulce de leche (caramel sauce) which I’m told is a staple here! We were sitting near our tour guide, Alejandro so we got to ask him lots of questions about Argentine life and hear his recommendations of things to do and see while we’re in Argentina!
Now I’m back in my room! It’s been a full day but tomorrow will be even busier! We’re visiting some famous sites in the city and then have more orientation in the evening, followed by a late dinner and free time at night! I hope it all goes as smoothly as today has!