Things I Have Learned in Argentina
Now that I have been living in Argentina for almost two months, many of my friends and family are beginning to ask me what I have learned from my experiences here. Rather than bore everyone with the topics that are discussed in my classes (although I find them interesting, I am confident that many of you will not), I have compiled a list of things that I have learned, for better or for worse, through personal experiences during my time here in Mendoza. Yes, I admit, some of these happenings are incredibly awkward or more-than-slightly embarrassing, but I figure I will sacrifice my ego for your pleasure, and perhaps save those of you future Mendoza study abroad students from the humiliation that I have experienced. All of the facts below are guaranteed true until further notice.
Things I Have Learned in Argentina:
-If a bank says “24 hours” on its doors, it means it could be open for any of the 24 hours of the day, but not necessarily all 24 (and certainly not during the times that you need to withdraw money the most!).
-Wine is obligatory with asado. Even for my 8-year-old host sister (okay, maybe not obligatory, but she likes to take part every once in a while).
-If an Argentine student that lives close to you tells you that you can take any and every micro (bus) from the university to your house, don’t try out his advice at 9:15pm when you are by yourself and your host family is expecting you home for dinner at 9:45. Otherwise, you could end up going for a 1.5-hour bus tour through the department of Godoy Cruz, just south of the city of Mendoza.
-If you are waiting at a micro (bus) stop, and a bus that looks similar to the micros, but without a number, comes driving down the street, do not hail it. Otherwise, you will end up staring, from the front of the bus, at a private-service bus full of laughing people, and a bus driver that is trying to stop laughing long enough to tell you to get off. (I swear I am not the only idiot, a few of my IFSA friends were with me too!)
-There is no such thing as a concert without an encore.
-There is hardly such a thing as a concert with only one encore.
-If you have a difficult name to pronounce (last name, especially) in Spanish, the Argentine students will give you a new name for the semester, like Sarita Gómez, and insist that you use it when you are registering for events, or introducing yourself. If you don’t, it won’t really matter, because they will introduce you as your newly-created name anyway, and you will be stuck with whatever they come up with.
-Your ‘class schedule’ should really be called a ‘class possibility,’ for these are all of the days and times in which you may have class. If the professor decides that he/she has better things to do, however, then you will most likely find an empty classroom during your ‘scheduled class time,’ as well as an empty email inbox. If you happen to have class the following week, no mention will be made of the previous ‘scheduled class time.’
-I have “the strangest computer” that my host sister has ever seen. “Why in the world does it have an apple on the front?! That’s sooo weird.”
-Textbooks and original music parts do not exist here. Only photocopies. And photocopies of photocopies. Even if you haven’t quite figured out the legalities of this fact, you have to learn not to ask too many questions, or you will get blank stares and/or confused responses.
-Argentines use the word “on” (on the table, party on, etc.) and the word “time” (time to sleep, time to party, time to eat), but never do they use the words “on” and “time” in the same sentence. (okay, I lied, they use them both in ONE sentence only, but it is not grammatically correct, as there is a preposition without a prepositional phrase: time to party on.)
-Wine is cheaper than water at restaurants, because there are more vineyards in the desert than there are water sources.
-You will never hear an apology when a professor cancels class, when a friend meets you half an hour later than planned, or when your host siblings wake you up every morning at 6am because they are fighting/screaming right outside of your room, but if for some reason there is not bread on the table for EVERY SINGLE MEAL, you will think that your host mom is about to get down on her knees, start to sob uncontrollably, and beg for your forgiveness for the duration of the meal.
-According to the Argentines, every dish is lacking salt. Even if they added half of the salt container into the dish while cooking it, once it is put on your plate, it is lacking salt.
-Mayonnaise is the condiment of choice. For everything.
-Weathermen here are as good as the weathermen in Virginia. And by that I mean, I could go outside and predict the weather for next week more accurately than they could with all of their fancy instruments and atmospheric knowledge.
-Mendoza is one of the greatest places on Earth, and I think I want to live here forever.