Now that my semester abroad is coming to an end, I have been thinking a lot lately about all of the things I will miss about living in Mendoza, and all of the things I can’t wait to get back to in the States. Here is a list of many things that I will/won’t miss about Argentina when I return home next month (Oh my goodness, NEXT month?!? I swear I just arrived in Buenos Aires last week!):
Things I will miss about my life in Mendoza:
-Being able to practice my Spanish every time I leave the house (and at home, too!)
-Living close to all of my IFSA friends, who have basically become my family here
-The 90-degree weather and sunshine every day (coming home to winter is going to be ROUGH)
-Not having a course load like I typically do at Shenandoah, and therefore having time to enjoy a couple of hours in the park, shopping in the center, or traveling outside of Mendoza, any time I feel like it
-Rarely having rain and being able to expect to wake up to sunshine every day
-Rarely having humidity. At all.
-The bass studio/bass students (they are some of the greatest people I have met here, and I am really going to miss the chemistry/atmosphere of the studio, as well as their determination/excitement for playing music together)
-My morfología class—I know. I’m a dork. But I really love this class (students, professors, and material!).
-Having access to all different kinds of concerts, especially tango concerts!
-Hearing popular Argentine folk music in my kitchen, on the radio, and at parties instead of the “pop” music that everyone loves in the U.S.
-My English class (specifically, the kids in the class) that I help teach in Ugarteche
-Seeing the Andes Mountains every time I walk to school
-Having easy access (financially and geographically) to several other countries (Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil…)
-Living in a place with very accessible public transportation, and a great bus system for traveling across the country
-The weekly weekend ferias (booths lined up with artisan crafts) in all of the main plazas and streets
-Living in a place where the wine is cheaper than water!
-Having stray (but ADORABLE!) dogs/puppies always follow me around while I am walking to school or going shopping, or whatever.
-ICE CREAM. Mendoza has THE best ice cream. In the world. I am convinced.
Things I won’t miss when I return home:
-ASADOS-I. am. so. sick. of. beef. I have had at LEAST one asado every week since I have been here, and I would be perfectly content if I never eat another bite of red meat in my life. I have surely eaten an entire field of cows by this point (not to mention, mountains of salt!)
-Not having a car/my own transportation (mostly at night, or when I want to go somewhere that the busses don’t run)
-Siesta. The five hour nap from 12-5pm daily when the whole country closes and goes to sleep is still not something to which I look forward, and I forget far too many times that everything is closed, and I try to run errands during the afternoon.
-Eating vegetables without having bathed in oil and salt
-Not having AC at school. When it is sunny and 97 degrees out, and your class meets at the hottest part of the day, and all of the windows are open “just in case” a breeze comes along, you realize just how much you take air conditioning for granted.
-Having to share an instrument with 25 other people, and only having access to the said instrument from 8am to 9pm, Monday through Friday (i.e. no weekends)
-Being the dumb kid. Who doesn’t understand what is going on. Ever.
-Being the socially awkward kid. Who can’t speak the language well enough to hold a meaningful conversation.
-Argentine pizza: 2 parts crust, 1/100 part sauce, 4 parts cheese
-Fernet y coca: the most popular drink among adolescents. Still tastes like mouthwash to me.
-Having to pay for water at restaurants
-Showing up to school every day just to find out that class has been cancelled because there is a professor strike, or the water is shut off, or my professor is sick, or my professor is travelling through Europe, or my professor didn’t feel like coming, or the water pressure is low, or there is a concert that my professor wants to see, or there are tests in other classes so my class will not be held, or my class doesn’t have a free classroom to use, etc. and no one finds it necessary to notify me before I walk the 35 minutes to school or wait for/pay for the bus.
-Zonda winds. Sickness, irritability, and extreme weather fluxuations accompanied by winds that break windows and tear off roofs are not quite as exciting any more as they were at the beginning of the semester
-SUPER SLOW Internet, or no internet connection at all at home
-Having to buy phone credit in order to send a text message or make a phone call
-Listening to cashiers complain about having to break a 100 peso bill when you buy something that is 70 pesos and don’t have smaller denominations/exact change
-Living across the street from a military base and never knowing if the gunshots that I am hearing are dangerous to my well-being , or if it is just daily shooting practice
-Living with a cat (I am allergic to cats), and constantly worrying that I will have an allergic reaction when I find the cat sleeping on my bed because my host sister forgot to shut my door before inviting the cat inside
-Listening to the daily (or twice or three or ten times daily) arguments between my host siblings (I forgot how much my siblings and I fought when we were younger until living with an 8 and 10 year old that have nothing in common with each other)
-The feriados (holidays). I am all about celebrating, but when there are more holidays than there are not, it gets to be a little excessive (especially since school is cancelled for ALL of them)
-Eating white bread with every meal
-Jumping over the acequias to catch the bus or cross the street, and constantly worrying that I will be the next Gringa to fall in the “Gringo trap”
-Living thousands of miles from my closest friends and family, and trying to keep in touch with everyone with nothing but a terrible Internet connection
-Watching the meat and eggs and cheese sit out all day(s) and then seeing said meat and eggs and cheese on my dinner plate. (Obviously, it hasn’t killed me yet, but I don’t want to take unnecessary chances!)
Below are just a few photos that I have taken in the streets Mendoza that I have neglected to upload. Now that it is springtime and everything is blooming, the city is even prettier! More photos to come in the upcoming weeks!