Lost in Translation
Within one week of being in Buenos Aires, what have I learned? I’ve successfully learned how to get lost. This whole week and had many episodes of getting lost and being a hot mess as a result. In fact, I do not think I showed to any event on time because every time I tried to find directions, in some way I went down the wrong street or I was holding my map upside down.In addition, I had to figure out how to get a working phone and exchange my money in one week. This only added to my confusion in the chaos of Buenos Aires. The upside to getting lost: you discover new things. Believe it or not, getting lost turns into an adventure and I’ve learned to have fun getting lost in Argentina. I have also learned to get lost in the spanish and culture of Buenos Aires.
Within the first couple of days, we were required to learn a basic Buenos Aires skill, public transportation. This means riding los colectivos(buses) and el subte(the subway). In order to ride such machinery, we were given subte cards with give us access to basically all public transportation in Buenos Aires. Every morning that we get up for Orientation, riding the subte is usually close to a disaster because it becomes the most claustrophobic 15 minutes of my life. The buses and subtes are always hoppin’ with performers on the occasional subte and at night people fill the buses after coming home from a boliche(club/bar).
I would have drowned getting lost in Buenos Aires if it were not for the orientation program from IFSA-Butler. In the chaos of finding a phone and trying to exchange money, they provided a positive attitude to the situation. Starting Orientation kind of felt like starting college or high school all over again where your biggest concern of day 1 is who your gonna sit with at lunch. I couldn’t help but cope through some of my problems by singing taylor swift songs in my head(in case you’re wonder, it did help). Orientation gave me a sense of direction starting with giving us a home base as we started galavanting through Buenos Aires. It also brought me out of my comfort zone by bringing me to interesting shows where people dance in a tank right above you and smash cardboard boxes on themselves.
It also helped us find cool different places like Recoleta Cemetery, Let me tell you, these Argentinians party so much that death does not do them part. This cemetery literally looks like an actual ghost town, where you could imagine the ghosts coming alive and dancing through the night because the graves look like stores or mini houses.
The scenery around Buenos Aires is beautiful and one thing I absolutely love about this city are its colors and diversity. The architecture, as I have learned, actually comes from three influences: Spanish, Italian and Middle Easters/muslim. I have found beauty in the midst of getting lost in Buenos Aires because the most unlikely places end up having the most beautiful art, For example, on the main street in Palermo Santa Fe, there is a small strip in between the traffic lanes which has an open book store. On the walls around the open book store there are book covers painted which are absolutely breathtaking.
The other great way to get lost is to simply just start walking in a direction and not stop. With this method, I came across the parks of Palermo, and there are many parks. It is so amazing to find in one area of Palermo nothing but heavy traffic and vendors, and in the other area find ponds with ducks and dogs cohabiting. As I kept walking, I even stumbled upon a planetarium which was beautiful and the area around it had many bikers and rollerbladers strolling through the parks.
Finally, I had the courage to stretch beyond Palermo to San Telmo, a market held every sunday. More than 1000 vendors populate the streets of this town celling antiques such as food, clothes, jewelry, furniture and more. The day outside was warm and it made me never want to leave the market. At one point we stopped on the side to decide where we wanted to eat. A waitress from a nearby restaurant told us about their tango show, and gave us front trow seats. The tango put the icing on the cake to being in Argentina, which is most known for its tango. It was something so amazing to stumble upon.
With all these adventures, I came to the end of my first week in Buenos Aires. So what are the lessons in all of this? First, to not freak out so much over things like exchanging money and getting a phone. It will happen eventually and I should not freak out. Second, to look around and find beauty in the smallest places.Lastly, to enjoy getting lost, meaning to enjoy finding new adventures.