Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Host Families and Fun with Public Transportation

Today I’ll be talking about:

I. Pre-departure nerves
II. Host family
III. Trip to L.A.
IV. El vocabulario de la semana
V. La música de la semana

I. Pre-departure nerves

Beginning of the summer: “HEY EVERYONE, I’M GOING TO ARGENTINA! WOOHOOOOO!”
Middle of the summer: “Huh. Oh yeah. I’m going to Argentina. Ugh, I don’t wanna drag my stuff through the airport. Whatever. I guess I’m going…”
Two weeks ago:  “Oh dear God I’m going to Argentina. Why am I doing this again??”
Last week: “I HAVE A HOST FAMILY! THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOOOOOOOME!”
This week: “OMG OMG OMG ARGENTINA. WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF? LET’S GO ALREADY!”

You know, the usual pre-departure terror-excitement-panic-joy rollercoaster.

Mostly I think I’m jittery about the airport. The airport’s no fun in English, much less in a language I’m still learning. When I went to Guatemala, I remember the airports in Ciudad Guatemala and Mexico being super confusing. :( I’ll also be flying alone—no group flight for me. (You had to sign up for the group flight by early May, but I hadn’t decided on my post-program travel plans yet, so I decided it would be easier to fly solo.) I know I’ll survive…I’m just not looking forward to that part. But after that the fun stuff starts!

 

II. Host Family

I feel a lot better about the idea of launching myself into the unknown now that I know a little about my host family.

I’ll be staying with a single host mom, her 21-year-old daughter, and their dog. I’m so excited about that dog, because then it means I won’t have to miss mine! (I haven’t seen my puppy dog since December 2011, and I won’t see him again ‘til this December.) Apparently, my family likes to paint and take walks, which are both things I love. It also looks like their house is nearby some sort of museum and a park!

It all sounds pretty perfect to me. I’m really looking forward to meeting them! It makes me that much more excited to leave already.

 

III. Trip to L.A.

I took a day trip up to L.A. yesterday, and in a lot of ways it felt like a bit of a test taste of travel in Argentina. I’ve been to L.A. before, but always with a friend to show me around and baby me through all the ticketing and things. This time I went by myself.

I took almost every kind of public transportation possible: train, subway, bus, taxi, and train again.

For the most part, it wasn’t as tricky as I was afraid it might be. The taxi was crazy expensive though. Worse, we got stuck in traffic so I missed the train that I meant to take home. Thankfully, I was able to take another train a little over an hour later (though it meant I got home very late.) I felt like I was doing pretty well if that was the worst thing I had to complain about, especially because I was trying to coordinate plans with 3 different people.

Public transportation, especially the buses, has been one of the things making me really nervous about Argentina, so it was encouraging to be able to navigate on my own. I think it’ll be a little trickier to get used to in another language, but if the small town girl can survive in L.A. alone, what can’t she do?

First stop was Hollywood to meet with one of the other girls from the program.

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Me and Kristy drinking Starbucks in Hollywood

“Are you into bungee jumping and things like that?” she asked.

I laughed. “I can be!”

I don’t think I’ll get bored with this one around. 😉

It’s refreshing to hear that I’m not the only one stressing about packing (even though I’m mostly done with that), forgetting grammar and vocabulary, and everything else about Mendoza. Not to mention it never hurts to have a friendly, familiar face when you’re in a new place!

Kristy and the other girls I’ve chatted with online seem super sweet and adventurous so far, and I think we’re going to have a great time.

Next I spent some time with my friend Luisa, one of the girls that went to Guatemala with me. She’s actually from Guatemala, but she lives in Korea Town. (Talk about multicultural.) We hung out with her little sister and her boyfriend and bounced back and forth between Spanish and English the entire time. It was encouraging to find that I can still pull together a grammatically correct sentence or three in Spanish, and I understood her perfectly clearly whenever she spoke.

I CAN DO THIS, GUYS.

My last stop was a cute little all-organic café in Santa Monica for dinner with a friend who just graduated. She’s already been abroad, so she had lots of wisdom for me in that department. I was so happy to be able to see her because it reassured me that we’ll be able to stay friends no matter what happens to us, whichever directions life pulls us—and, more importantly, that the same should hold true for my other friends. Example: I won’t be able to see two of my best friends at Soka until our senior year, because they’ll be studying abroad spring semester and I’m going in the fall. And then after we graduate… our interests and families will leave us scattered all over the globe. But it’s always nice to have an excuse to visit someplace, right?

She helped me call the cab, and when it arrived she walked me to the sidewalk. We hugged and said our goodbyes (which felt very cinematic since it was raining, haha.)

And then I turned toward the taxi, and I balked. I’d never ridden a taxi alone before either. “It’s just that I have no idea what I’m doing,” I told her sheepishly.

She smiled wistfully and patted me on the shoulder. “That’s part of the adventure, isn’t it?”

I realized she wasn’t going to hold my hand through it. I had to, you know, be an adult and go talk to the cab driver on my own. After all, she’s definitely not going to be there to hold my hand in Mendoza! After I climbed in, I realized that she was giving me something more helpful than what I’d been asking of her: she was giving me permission to make mistakes and telling me she loved me anyway.

Who actually does know what they’re doing anyway?

 

IV. El vocabulario de la semana

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These are words I came across because I needed them to explain/understand something. Maybe they’ll come in handy for you too.

Montaña Rusa – Rollercoaster (literally “Russian Mountain”)

Anfitrión – Host (as in familia anfitriona, host family)

Topo­- can mean mole (the animal) or klutz

 

V. La música de la semana

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My bandcamp.com exploration continues! This time I found a bunch of artists from Buenos Aires, which is super helpful for getting used to hearing the Argentine accent.

Julian Mourin has a sweet and romantic sort of vibe. I like Canción para despertarla (“Song to wake her up”) a lot, and Paja y madera is also super catchy. I highly recommend his album Mate de metal, which you can download gratis (FREE) from bandcamp.

Julio y Agosto are an odd bunch. They’ve got this song called Jorge Luis Enriquez that’s about a narrator who hates everything, including the sun and the beach, which cracks me up. Also gratis.

Chucaro has 2 albums you can download gratis. They’ve got a more energetic sound. Than the other two.

Funny story about these guys: I was half-listening to one of their songs while I did some work when the word “shoshano” jumped out at me. What the heck? I thought maybe it was the name of a place. So I Googled it—no no avail. Finally I realized they were singing “yo ya no,” (“I haven’t already”) only in the Argentina accent. Oh dear.

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