Well, I made it. After months of preparing, some panicking and excitement, I left for Buenos Aires and made it. And it’s incredible. It is everything that I wanted in a city and more; it’s beautiful, the people are extremely friendly, the food is amazing (I seriously haven’t stopped eating) and the weather is pretty perfect too. Read more
Posts from the ‘Buenos Aires’ Category
After living in the “Paris of South America” (aka Buenos Aires) for merely a month, I am working hard to squeeze in some studying! One of my first personal goals in the adjustment to living here is to experience something new at least once a week (which is beyond easy to do here by the way!). There is an unbelievable amount of museums, plazas, parks and everything else in between; after all, this is the capital city, and there is such a wealth of culture and history to experience. Therefore, in this blog I decided to give a very typical example of how my friends and I spend our free time here and try to demonstrate how entertaining daily life really can be. That being said, I give you a daily guide for a very (above-average) average week in the City of Good Air. Read more
During my study abroad experience I have tried many different foods, but here is my list of the top 5 things that you must eat in Buenos Aires!
1. Ice cream. This is no joke. As someone who works at an ice cream shop in the U.S., I like to think of myself as an ice cream aficionado, and the ice cream in Buenos Aires is top of the leader board. There are countless flavors: some common like strawberry and others not so common. Regardless, the first thing you should do upon arrival is hop over to the freddo (an ice cream shop) and treat your taste buds.
It’s inevitable that you will experience many difficulties when studying abroad, but if it weren’t a challenge, you wouldn’t be learning much. To be blunt, everything’s difficult at first and everything’s an adjustment. However, every day it gets easier for me to forget what was good about life in the States and allow my current reality to mold my future self.
In my first few hours in Buenos Aires, I was blissfully unaware of the awesome lifestyle change that I was about to experience. After finally meeting my host mom, she brought me to my quaint apartment in a neighborhood called Recoleta: a relatively calm area, if I dare describe Buenos Aires with using that word whatsoever. During the taxi ride there, I wonder how I must’ve looked to this woman. Probably like a 5-year-old looking out the window to see snow for the first time. Born and raised in the Midwest, the big city hustle and bustle is unfamiliar to me to say the least. This is where the culture shock sets in. The first thing I remember thinking is that this city is so full of life. Unlike the metropolitan cities I’ve seen in the U.S., Buenos Aires is full of… trees. Everywhere. And parks. It’s like the best of both worlds.
Seeing that ISA has varying intervals of student programs in Buenos Aires at any one time, it was inevitable that I would make friends with many of the kids who were in the program preceding mine (they got here a month earlier). So, equally inevitable, when their program ended earlier this month, I was forced to prematurely say goodbye to some really great folks. Read more
It’s hard to say how I scored such a great homestay down here in Buenos Aires. Either the painstaking amount of time I took to fill out my housing questionnaire paid off, or ISA is just really great at putting together homestays, or fate just decided to cut me a big fat break… regardless the reason though, I’m seriously fortunate to be in such a fantastic homestay and I’m going to be bummed out to have to leave it. So what makes my homestay so totally fantabulously awesome? Well, keep reading to find out.
Everyday it gets easier to fit in with the Buenos Aires lifestyle! After having been here for almost two months now I feel like I have finally accustomed myself to the city. And the more I get used to it, the more I enjoy it. Got the public transit routes down, can finally understand the dialect, and I think I have even developed a *gasp* daily routine.
The sun dried my wet feet as I lay on the shore, hearing the soft crash of waves and an occasional burst of water from the blowholes of nearby whales. When I opened my eyes and sat up, I could only see an endless horizon of blue – the deep navy of the ocean lined up perfectly below the clear turquoise sky. The city of Buenos Aires seemed light years away from me. It is the crisp and simple sights such as this that can put happiness into perspective better than anything in the city can. I pondered if I could stay here forever. Read more
If there’s one thing about Buenos Aires, it’s that she is charismatic; she will draw you in like a moth to her flame until you’ve started saying words that you used to make fun of your friends for. Okay, maybe that’s just me, but I’m already halfway through my semester abroad (Unlike lots of the new students coming in from ISA, school here starts the last week of July!), and I’ve started to pick up on some habits. I can feel myself transforming into a Porteña like some kind of werewolf.
Without further ado, here are a few things I’ve learned at the halfway point:
1.) How to cross the street.
This seems so trivial, but I think of every skill I’ve gained in Buenos Aires, even including the language, this is the most important. Forget everything you learned in driving school; here, buses and cars, certainly not pedestrians, have the right of way. In fact, buses think they’re pretty much invincible (to be fair, they are). They run red lights, they turn in the outside lane and come near enough to the curb to make you start seeing your life flash before your eyes.
This is the secret: Wait for the light to turn (I know, it’s hard) and then follow an older person. No one will try to bulldoze their way past someone who’s elderly; it commands respect, and Porteños certainly respect their elders. Follow them, strike up a chat with them, carry their bags for them. No one will try to kill you. Bam. Magic.
2.) I am not a gringo.
Whether you’re trying to blend in by taking selfies like the Porteños on the train or outright wearing your American pride right on your sleeve, you are not a gringo. That’s right. No one here calls you gringos, as my friend from Buenos Aires emphatically told me. I am a shankí. That sounds like some sort of prison weapon, but it’s actually an Argentinianization of “Yankee“. It’s either a compliment like an affectionate nickname, or an angry insult. I can’t tell you which. Easy ways for people to think you’re shankí: wear a baseball cap, speak loud English, try to ask for a Gatorade. (It’s not “Gay-tour-aide”.) If my friend from Buenos Aires is reading this, yes I am going to type shankí with an sh. It’s actually spelled with a y. Which leads me to number three…
3.) Picking up on the accident is unavoidable.
The Porteño accent is unique for it’s strange words (Che!) and it’s stranger pronunciations of things. Namely two sounds in Spanish, the y and the ll, become “shh“. It’s mostly heard in words like calle (“ca-ye”, but here, “cashe”), or the ubiquitous yo (Sho! Sho. Sho soy. ) I make fun of people for it all the time, and then I realized I’m doing it.
4.) Mate is the best thing in the world.
Yerba mate (sherba ma-teh) is a type of tea–and that is the only time I will ever say that, because I have been chastised by my Porteña friend for calling it such–that’s incredibly popular here in Argentina. The Argentinians share their love of mate with the Uruguayans, and they are passionate about it–a great way to spend a summer afternoon is to toma un mate with your friends and sit in the sunshine gossiping about what have you. You drink it out of a gourd that’s been carefully cured with the leaves of the mate, with a metal straw. The yerba has all kinds of great properties to it; it’s healthy, helps you lose weight, and is even caffeinated! I used to think it was adorable how you’d see people on the street with a bag carrying a thermos of hot water over one shoulder and a mate gourd in their hands, just minding their own business, and maybe I’d have a little private giggle over these Porteños and their mate, but now….
My friend introduced me to mate at her table and now I can’t stop drinking it. When I wake up freezing cold, all I want is to have a mate. When I’m hungry, I can make a mate. When I’m tired, I want a mate. What am I going to do when I get back to the US? (The answer is probably die. Or gain back the weight I’ve lost.)
5.) Porteños are chatty; so relax and enjoy it.
One of my first huge fears upon coming here was that everyone was going to make fun of my Spanish. Aside from being obviously American (I have blonde hair, blue eyes, and I smile at everyone–apparently that’s my real curse), it’s been two years since I’ve taken a proper Spanish course and I was scared to death to even open my mouth at first. For someone who’s naturally extroverted and friendly, it was strange to me to not be able to talk to cashiers, people on buses, basically anyone who would listen to me.
So I started doing it here. And you know, I’ve never in my entire time in Argentina had someone make a face, or act like I’m stupid, because I spoke to them in my choppy Spanish. The Argentinians love to talk, and they love foreigners, especially if they speak even a little Spanish. I’ve been asked about where I’m from in the US (and if I’m best friends with Obama–I always want to say yes.), about my family, my dog, sports, basically everything you can think of. People want to tell you about when they went to the US, ask if you like Argentina, and it’s amazing. I’ve learned so much from random conversations on the bus–so I guess this last thing I’ve learned comes with a little bit of advice. Don’t be afraid to jump in headfirst. Everything will be okay.
Until next time! Chau, nos vemos!