Hola a todos!
I’m finally in Argentina! Arriving was a big relief simply because I was so ready for it to happen. Since then, I’ve learned to leap and go wherever the buena onda of Buenos Aires takes me (because really, that’s just how it goes down here).
Tomorrow, I’m heading up to the beaches in Uruguay to spend the rest of the week with my study abroad group at our director’s house. I’m exited to tell you about it!
But first, enjoy the good vibrations of Buenos Aires:
Even though I was the last person in a jam-packed customs line, the agents were incredibly laid-back. I was nervous because I somehow convinced myself that someone would steal my checked luggage if I didn’t get to it in time (silly, I know, but I had my doubts). After customs, there was another line we had to go through that scanned our luggage. Note to everyone: never let me choose the line. I always lose that game.
Concerning: Speed Bumps
I kid you not, they take speed bumps to a whole new level here (at least at the tollways- I haven’t encountered them elsewhere). Imagine 1) the raised, circular lane markings on Texan roads 2) the elevated, hard bans of bumps that make your hydraulic system questionable 3) rumble strips and 4) “regular” speed bumps ALL stretched in an impressive, alternating pattern spanning 9 lanes of traffic each direction for what seemed like 500ft. If there’s one thing that Argentine drivers will obey, it’s the speed limit at tollbooths.
Home Sweet Palermo Home
I met my host mom, Cristina, who is the sweetest host mom ever. She’s a great fit for me. She loves to do yoga and pilates; I’m hoping that I can get the inside scoop on a good place to go. I love that she has taken a “go explore” approach- never hesitating to nudge me out the door for a lazy afternoon in the park or a night out with my friends. She’s told me that my Spanish is pretty good which means everything to me at this point. It’s funny how you can feel yourself improving. For all the other road blocks, I remind myself that I’ve only been here a week.
Another student, Rebecca, lives down the street from me. In fact, we can see each others windows from our rooms (but have yet to develop a visual communication code to save money on texts). Our host moms are good friends, and as Cristina would say, Rebecca and I are basically cousins. I love it because we pretty much go everywhere together. We live in Palermo Soho. If you couldn’t tell from the name, Palermo Soho is a portion of Palermo with trendy boutiques, great restaurants and bars, beautiful plazas, and a beyond stellar location. We’re definitely the lucky ones of our group.
Mate is the drink of the Argentines. Sometimes, I wake up in the morning, and the first thing handed to me is a gourd of mate. I love it. It has a bitter taste, but I think if you try it a couple of times it might grow on you. It’s served in a small (large for group settings) gourd-like cup with a metal, filtered straw. Loose tea leaves are placed in the gourd and hot water is added. It’s usually shared and is a great way to get to know people. Next thing you know, you’ll be wondering how questionable you’ll look at customs on your return flight home if you were to pack a gallon zip-lock bag’s worth of it.
A group of us spent the majority of Saturday exploring and picnic-ing in the park. Palermo is home to some of the most beautiful parks in Buenos Aires. There is a rose garden, Japanese garden, and zoo all in close proximity to each other. This makes for a nice break from city buildings and a finer appreciation of the aesthetics around you. We sat off to the side of a pedestrian circle watching people roller blade and practice their acrobatics on a slack line strung between trees (like that guy did at the halftime show on the super bowl). It was very entertaining, and I think we ended up spending a good 5 hours lounging around.
That’s it for now. I’ll put up lots of pictures after Uruguay!