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.