With only a month to go and final exams looming, things are starting to become more and more bittersweet. I am happy though because I don’t feel as though I have taken these days for granted. I truly believe I have grown as a person and learned a ton from this experience… Hey, but let’s not get too melancholy yet. There is still loads of time! Read More »
Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler
It’s crazy to think I that it’s already week 11 here at the University of Limerick, I have less than five weeks in Ireland . The last few weeks have been filled with fun and excitement, though. Recently I’ve done a lot of touring throughout Ireland, took a trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands and made some other great memories in and around Limerick. Read More »
Hola a todos. I finally have found the time to sit down and write a blog post, and it’s amazing how overwhelmingly incredible this place is. I’ve been pretty much going nonstop since my arrival, and between hanging out with my new family, orientation with IFSA-Butler, getting lost in the city, and checking out the boliche (club) scene, I’ve scarcely had time to sleep (which, apparently, is very normal for Porteños (locals). No one sleeps here, and let me tell you that after coming off of a month of sedentary action, the struggle is REAL). However, despite my limited z’s, I cannot even begin to describe how much I love this place already. I’ve said this before, but I’d like to reiterate for the sake of this post: city life is pretty new to me. Each day, I marvel at how many things there are to discover; new cafes, off-beat streets, hip stores, and bustling squares. I could live here for 5 lifetimes and still never be able to take it all in.
Now, as some of you may know, I’m the son of two scientists and a pretty big science nerd myself. So, it may not come as a surprise to many of you that when I finally took the time to sit down and brainstorm and a process all of the thoughts that I’ve had since arriving, I came to the conclusion that Buenos Aires makes me think of multicellular life. This city is a gargantuan, massively complicated macro-organism.
It has a circulatory system: My house is in near the city center, in a barrio called Almagro, but I might as well call in Corazón as it provides the vibrant pulse of energy that is carried throughout the city. Las avenidas (Corrientes, Santa Fe, Córdoba) are the vessels; they carry the lifeblood that stems the beat of the barrio. Upon these streets, cars rub shoulders with pedestrians who pay little heed to traffic signs, and bicyclists fill up all the remaining space. Everywhere I look I see people running, walking, or haphazardly zooming around on motorcycles. The buses run constantly, and the ground churns with the rumble of subways. The energy of this organism cannot be curtailed into a slow-moving body.
It has a nervous system. My house has a terraced roof with a porch that overlooks a few blocks, and from my perch on this rooftop island I can see 24 communication towers scattered across various tall buildings. But cellular communication (consisting of companies called Movilstar, Personal, and Claro, to name a few) comprises only a few of the nerve endings.There are about 100 Wi-Fi networks (all password protected, of course) at any given point within the city, and if you’re out and about and looking for a conduit into cyberspace, you merely need to drop into a cafe, order an empanada, and jump onto the complimentary wifi. However, the fastest and largest cluster of nerves is the people. Many locals know this city (or at least their respective barrio) like they know fútbol (that is to say, that know a lot about it), and if you are lost or confused the friendly folks are very willing to step in to help. The castellano (Argentinian type of Spanish) flows thick and fast and constantly; the streets are constantly buzzing with greetings, salutations, and interjections, as well as casual conversation.
It has a skeleton. Buildings tall and short spring up haphazardly around me like bones in an elephant graveyard, yet the individual differences between each building does not stop at the sizes. I look around and see stark white walls jostling for position next to dirty cinderblock; trees sprout up everywhere they possibly can, and a contiguous color scheme between buildings is a heretical idea. Yet it is the very discontinuity of the individual bones that makes this skeleton so complete. Viewed separately, sure, one may see chaos, but when I take a step back and view the skeleton as a whole, the incongruous pieces blend together into something complete.
Sorry for the text-heavy post, y’all, but hopefully my words can help you conjure up an image. Next post, I promise, will be loaded with pretty pictures taken by yours truly. Now, stay awesome, and thanks so much for reading.
from top to bottom: expect this when you order grilled cheese/in San Telmo (“no tocar, por favor,” oops)/the Pink House/ one of the tombs in Recoleta/jumping to our first adventure in Buenos Aires!/Buenos Aires!
I’ve only been in Argentina for four days yet SO MUCH has happened. It’s obviously hard to write everything, so I’ll narrow it down a bit.
My first impression of Argentina was definitely influenced by the welcoming weather, gorgeous skies, palm trees, and amazing architecture. After an intense eight hour flight (four hour delay), we were all relieved to finally arrive at our destination. Orientation got me very excited for the next five months ahead! While we were roaming around Palermo, Recoleta Cemetery (very intricate tombs!), San Telmo, Rio de Plato, and Casa Rosa, I immediately fell in love. Buenos Aires is such an alive and beautiful city!
The Friday before we left for Mendoza, we had dinner at Mala Cara, a restaurant not too far from the hotel. Looking for something easy and familiar to eat, three of us ordered grilled cheese, expecting two slices of bread enveloping a slice of cheese. After several minutes however, the waiter brought out a large piece of tomato with a hunk of cheese on top of it. Needless to say, we couldn’t finish our cheese (very salty!) and were disappointed yet amused all at once.
The next day, we flew to Mendoza and finally met our host families. My heart was racing as I was getting in line to pass the sliding doors to face the crowd, but my anxiety slightly dissipated when I saw a friendly looking woman carrying a sign with my name on it. She greeted me warmly and told me not to be nervous. Unfortunately, I was actually very nervous and found it extremely difficult to participate in conversation. My brain was working 50mph trying to register, decipher, and create a response.
My host mom was very understanding and patiently let me work out the sentences slowly as she guided me around her home. My room is very clean and cozy with excellent wifi….I was worried I wouldn’t have internet access! After a delicious dinner of home baked pizza and dessert (with dulce de leche, of course), I immediately returned to my room to recover. I have to get used to the Argentine way of living! Although as a sleep lover, I’m not too sure how I’ll manage at the moment. Lots of coffee, I guess 😀 It’s finally sinking in that I’m at Argentina at last!
* I apologize for the pictures and format, for some reason I had great difficulty trying to upload bigger pictures and getting it to the right format.