It has been two weeks, and I am finally getting the hang of things! (Translation: I get lost every day, but I now know the nearest helado shop or café to practically any point in the city, I swear.)
So much has happened over these last few days, I have no idea where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the good. First and foremost, Buenos Aires is spectacular. Absolutely stunning. I have done my fair amount of wandering and sightseeing these past weeks, and from Belgrano’s leafy side streets (Belgrano is the northern barrio of the city where I live) to the popping boliches and restaurants in Palermo and Recoleta, I have encountered beautifully passionate individuals. Sidewalk argument and flagrant PDA sessions appear to be the norm here, but unlike some of the other North Americans I have met here, I love it. Having had the majority of my big city experiences interning in New York City, I think it is refreshing to see such emotion every day.
Second best thing: the food. I eat so much deliciousness here, it’s enough to make me want to just drop out of college and spend the rest of my days as a dog-walker (so many of them here,) where I can stop on every street corner and eat something new every day. Seriously, it’s that good. And I’m not trying to say “Oh, Argentine chefs are better than their North American counterparts.” It’s that their food, their fresh produce, I think, is simply better. Every day I happily eat apples and oranges and bananas because they’re so bright and sweet and enticing. This naturalness translates into their helado (Spanish for “ice cream”) and other sweet deserts, too. I don’t believe I have encountered many artificial flavors here, and I’m definitely loving it.
Third highlight of my experience so far. I ~realized a dream~ in Buenos Aires. Long story short, when I was in my seventh grade Spanish class, we had a substitute teacher, who showed us the movie Evita (very good and very popular among the North American crowd, and it stars Madonna and Antonio Banderas.) Loved the movie, and I loved Eva Peron. While I am not going to get into the history of the Perons in Argentina, I am going to get into just how amazing it was when my program went to the Recoleta Cemetery last week and we were able to see Eva’s grave. It was majestic and beautiful and definitely everything I had been waiting eight years to see.
Now for some low points, because what’s the point of a study abroad blog if I do not mention my failures along with my successes? First and foremost: getting lost. This one was a doosey, and for several reasons. Last Monday, another girl on my program were scheduled to take a class at Universidad Torcuato di Tella, one of the four universities through which kids on my program may enroll. Well, she and I hopped on a collectivo (a Buenos Aires bus) and made our way for the school. Now, mind you, we left at 1:15 for a class that started at 3:20. What time did we make it? Haha! We didn’t. That’s right, my friend and wandered around until after 5 looking for that university, only to hear from a middle-aged Argentine restaurateur who spoke better English than I do Spanish that we had taken the collectivo in the wrong direction and were miles away from our destination. It was distressing in the moment, being lost in Argentina with a WiFi-less phone and only a Guia T to help us navigate (The Guia T is a little book festuring Buenos Aires set to a grid that is supposed to hep us find our way around, but I am still a little bitter towards it at the moment.)
Another low point: buying a cellphone alone. This one happened to me last weekend. I do not like to use my iPhone in Buenos Aires (one student on my program already had his stolen, and actually, this explains why I haven’t uploaded any photos on this blog yet) and there isn’t much WiFi in the city. All my friends had gotten Argentine phones already to make plans with their study abroad friends, so I decided to go buy one alone. Aside from the usual sexual harassment that, unfortunately, comes with being a female in a large city, I had a relatively easy time making it to the phone store. Upon entering, however, I was met with a cashier who spoke absolutely no English. It was here that I discovered just how insufficient my command of the Spanish language is right now, in terms of on the street practicality. Collegiate Spanish has taught me how to analyze music and lyrics and technical terms for aspects of classical literature, but when it came time to discuss cellphone brands and service plans, I had nothing. I ended up getting a phone for a decent price, but it was so humbling to be unable to communicate my desires to another individual.
All in all, though, the good outweighs the bad, and I am eager to begin this week in Argentina!