Ask for x and get y: a motto for my IFSA friends and me
In the past two weeks since I last posted, so much has changed … and so little has changed, too. I feel as if I have finally developed a routine for myself here in Argentina, but I have to say, it is a bit unsettling. In the United States, I have come to associate routines with familiarity and confort, but here in Buenos Aires, it is still anything but. Yes, I can walk through Recoleta and Palermo with my friends and not have to pull out my Guia T at every street corner in order to find my way to a museum or a boliche, but there is still so much unfamiliar territory in this city.
I feel as if I am constantly confused, which is still amusing to me, despite having been here for a month. I swear, every day I have a seemingly normal conversation with my host family or with a waiter that somehow takes an unexpected turn, leaving me to wish I had my diccionario (or at least wifi) so I could look up the translations for words like “hot dog” or expressions like “I owe you.” Despite the stress of always being a little clueless, I have to say my first month as a porteña has been a humbling experience.
Here is a prime example from just this past week that I think sums up my Argentine experience thus far better than any lengthy blog post could:
Last Saturday, a friend from my program and I decided we were going to go to a movie theater that advertises tickets for eight Argentine pesos (You do the conversion, and you’ll be amazed.) The movie was set to begin at 2, so we made our way down there at 11 to get our tickets before grabbing lunch. We were promptly met with two enormous lines that extended in opposite directions, each at least a block long. Dazed and confused, we did what any international student would do: we asked a local and were immediately met with some of the quickest and slangiest castellano I have heard thus far. In the end, he told us (hahaha, or so we thought) that tickets could only be purchased immediately before the shows and that everyone in the line to our right was waiting to purchase their tickets for the noon showing, while all the guests on the left already had tickets.
Excellent. We now had over two hours to kill, so we went to a nearby café, called up some of our IFSA friends, and passed the time sipping submarinos and eating alfajoers. When 1:30 rolled round, we made our way back to the theater, only to see a sign over the door saying or movie was already sold out. Quick on our feet, we hopped in the impossibly long line anyway, hoping to snag tickets to another rom-com that was set to begin a half hour later. After nearly 20 minutes in line, we made it to the ticket window, only to be told in very clear English (nearly everyone switches to English when they discover you speak it and they want to practice) that the second move had sold out minutes ago. Well.
In the end, we didn’t see the movie. We did, however, go shopping on Santa Fe and ate some delicious helado in Belgrano. It was a good day, but not at all what I had expected it to be.