Things have definitely settled down here. Life is going on, day by day, and each day is a new adventure…but it has been feeling more like real life rather than a vacation. Surprisingly, having class for 5 hours a day hasn’t been that bad. It starts my brain up in the morning and makes my spanish brain start working instantly. My professor, Miranda, is really sweet and very smart. She definitely knows how to teach a bunch of struggling Americans Spanish. We can ask her anything from the language, things to do in Buenos Aires, or just cultural differences. She is always patient with our pieces of sentences we give her, but she won’t let us speak English at all. She will go word by word until she makes sure we understand what we’re saying.
So far, class is still a review, but a very important review…and it’s helping me build my vocabulary. I also get to practice my Spanish every weeknight during dinner with our host family. Our host dad, Enrique, is really nice about being patient and helping us through our sentences…but usually we just listen to his stories about his travels around the world as an architect. He is quite funny, and we always enjoy his “Fatherly advice.” Dad, you would agree with his philosophy that life is young…so we shouldn’t get married until we’re at LEAST 95. He is very protective. But he also likes to joke around a lot with us. Alicia is also very sweet…but she is harder to connect to. I feel like I need to be more careful around her. It feels like I am staying in HER home, and that we are guests. So it’s a little hard to be completely comfortable around her, and I think she also is a little less patient when we can’t say what we’re trying to say. But she is very helpful and I think it’s too soon to see how things will be between the family and us. Hopefully as our spanish improves, so will our relationship.
This last weekend was another fun adventure, as always. On Friday, the girls and I went to a lower income neighborhood where we heard had cheap shopping! We are GREAT at buses now. We have a guide with ALL the information and as long as we have that we can get anywhere. It was a hot, sticky day…but we walked around and looked through the windows at the hundreds of little clothing, shoes, leather, and trinket shops. A nice Friday afternoon! That evening we just ended up going to a bar and chatting the night away! We have a new thing we’ve been trying to get the confidence to do. It’s called “Dance Dare.” Ellen DeGeneres started it and what you do is go up behind an unsuspecting stranger and dance like crazy! We have yet to successfully dance dare someone…but we will soon! Hopefully! Here’s one of my favs:
On Saturday we went Museum hunting! We first stopped at the Biblioteca Nacional, which is the “official” library of Buenos Aires. But when we walked in it was not very friendly. The whole building is cement and has VERY weird architecture. The people at the desk were not amused that we were foreigners and told us we could only look at certain floors. We explored a little, but it didn’t look like there were many books, but just study halls or computer rooms with archives. It was weird, and we were quite uncomfortable in there. We left quickly and went to El Museo de Bellas Artes. This was a free museum with the largest collection of art mainly from the 19th and 20th centuries. The painters ranged from Picasso, Monet, Chagall to local famous artists. VERY cool! We snuck a picture…
After walking around the city we came home and relaxed for awhile. We went out to dinner, then went out like the Portenos do it! Our goal for the weekend was to do a “true” Porteno night out…which means continue until breakfast. We went to an Awesome club and “partied all night long.” And we did indeed leave as the sun came up and found a little 24-hour cafe to have some medialunas (croissants) and coffee. Then we dragged ourselves home and slept and lazed around all day Sunday. It was quite the experience. Not sure if I could do it often though. I like sleeping at night. Haha. But we had to experience the culture…so don’t get too mad parents! I was just living the culture and doing as the locals do!
My time here so far as been a whirlwind. Now, life is finally starting to slow down. Our group is getting settled and more comfortable in a big city…which is new for many of them. It’s pretty amazing to think I’ll be here for another 4 months still. I can definitely feel a little of the excitement wearing off and now I’m realizing how long I’ll actually be here. I think I’m pretty good at adapting to new situations, but I do miss home every once in awhile. And I think I miss alone time and feeling 100% comfortable. From language issues to simply not being in my own home, there really doesn’t feel like Anything is familiar. I went for a run today around the city, and I could see myself being at home here…eventually…but not yet. I feel out of place and that I stand out. People have been coming up to me and just speaking English, without even asking. It has been getting very frustrating because I want to practice my spanish, but I also don’t like that I stand out so much. People are always very nice as I struggle to talk to them…but I just don’t like the immediate assumption that I’m American or that I can’t speak Spanish.
This is my third week here, and I already feel a change though. I can’t wait to keep using Spanish and learning all I can of the culture and just the city! Buenos Aires is such a lively, fun place! My philosophy here is to ALWAYS try and DO. If people want to go out all night, I’ll go. If they want to tango dance in the park, I’ll go. I just want to experience everything, and I’m so glad I have the time to do that.
Thanks for reading my thoughts and experiences! Hope you are still enjoying it!