I’ve been living abroad for several months now, and at times that inevitable feeling of homesickness hits. While I’m so thankful that I can FaceTime my friends and family back home, there’s a comfort of being in the physical presence of “your people” that can’t be achieved through a screen. I was ecstatic when my mom called to tell me that she and my aunt has planned a long weekend to come visit me in Buenos Aires. Neither of them speak any Spanish, so I embraced the role of translator/tour guide and showed them around my new home.
Picture 1: Jardín Botánico
My mom and I’s favorite thing to do together is go hiking. Since her trip was only for a few days and we didn’t have time to leave the city and hike in the mountains, we decided to get our nature fix by going for walk in the botanical gardens. The lush greenery made it easy to forget we were still in the capital. Butterflies fluttered around us while we walked through the aromatic flowers and the special Yerba Mate section of the garden. The leaves of the plant are naturally caffeinated and used in traditional Argentine tea. The taste is way to bitter for my liking, but it was interesting to see how it’s grown.
Picture 2: Cementerio de la Recoleta
This famous cemetery is a must see. It’s laid out on a grid pattern like a mini city, with walkways lined with shady trees. There are no tombstones in this cemetery because it is for deceased nobility. Instead, there are mausoleums, which are above ground burial chambers. Some are beautiful and well-kept, but others have broken glass and cobwebs. It was a pleasant place to explore on a sunny Saturday, but I want to go back and experience it on Halloween night.
Picture 3: Espectáculo del tango
Studying abroad is a strange mix of being on vacation and living a normal routine life. I have to balance classes and an internship with things like running errands and doing laundry, and at the same time I want to spend as much time as possible seeing the sights and learning about the culture. My family’s visit was the perfect excuse to do some of the touristy things I haven’t had the chance to do yet. Señor Tango was an elegant venue to watch the sultry dance and I was beyond impressed by the live music and the performers’ flawless footwork.
Picture 4: Helado dulce de leche
I love spicy food, and before I came to Argentina I was expecting the food to be similar to Mexican food. I was WRONG. Just because Mexico has spicy food does not mean the rest of South America does. Whenever Argentine people ask me what I think of the food here, they’re shocked by my response that I think it’s bland and that I bought a bottle of hot sauce to add to my meals. I can, however, agree with this country’s obsession with dulce de leche. The rich caramel is heavenly in ice cream, and I made sure my mom went home with several boxes of Alfajores (chocolate and caramel cookies) to share with her friends and coworkers.
I’ve been getting used to living with two languages, two types of currency in my wallet, and having two places to call home in different parts of the world. The experience has been made a lot easier and more enjoyable with a family that supports me and visits me.