Hello! Thank you so much for checking in to see how I’m doing in Argentina! I’m sorry I did not update this blog sooner, but these first few days in Argentina have been hectic, but great. I’d say I’m adjusting pretty well here.
My first day in Buenos Aires was very long. I only slept for one hour on the plane, and that definitely affected me. I had a hard time understanding my host mother, and I missed my first meeting with ISA, my study abroad company. My friend Anthony, another student with ISA, and I were supposed to go to the meeting together, but we misunderstood our host mothers and thought we were supposed to just wander around and explore the city. It was a lot of fun, and Buenos Aires is such a beautiful city. We walked around our neighborhood, Belgrano, for a couple hours, and then I ordered my first drink at a local bar!
I was a little disappointed in myself that I missed our first meeting, but luckily we did not miss much, and the ISA director told us what we missed the next day. I am honestly glad that I was able to explore the city streets and make a friend. Buenos Aires is filled with awesome graffiti, and we saw some cool artwork.
On Sunday, I had a cultural orientation in which ISA discussed with us many different aspects of Buenos Aires, and I learned a lot. For example, I learned that in Argentina, men and women are not friends with each other. If you see a man and a woman walking down the street together, they are most likely in a relationship. It is just super uncommon to be friends with a person of the opposite sex here, which is really interesting.
After, we took a tour and visited San Telmo, La Boca and Palermo. I had my first empanada, and it was delicious. It was an awesome day. We visited the famous Recoleta, a cemetery where millionaires and famous people from Argentina are buried, including Eva Perón.
We also went to the center of town and saw the government buildings. Here’s a photo of that.
The tour was very helpful for getting a quick overview of the city and some of its history, but I hope to go on a more extensive tour soon. I’d also really like to book a food tour in San Telmo.
The next day, I began classes at the Universidad de Belgrano. My classes are every day for five hours, with a half-hour break for lunch. I now understand why they called it a month of intensive Spanish, because it is extremely intense and draining. By the end of the five-hours, I’m so worn out I have a hard time understanding my professor. In class, we are not allowed to speak English, which makes it even harder.
I’ve been making friends with the other students in my Spanish class and in ISA with me. The other day, we snuck up to the roof of the university and took a look at the most amazing view. The city buildings kept going on forever, depicting how large of a city Buenos Aires actually is. The city is so much more beautiful than I ever thought possible. These large, winding trees line the streets on both sides, forming a kind of canopy. In my column for The Post this week, I described it as a kind of urban jungle. I’ll get a better picture of this as soon as possible, but for now here’s a picture of it. The photo does not do it justice, though.
My host mother is very sweet and attentive. She is in her 80s and uses a walker to move around the apartment. We sit together in the living room before dinner and talk about our families, politics and places we’ve been. She is very understanding and patient and helps me with my Spanish. She is also the most laid back host mother, the ISA director told me. I have zero chores, which is unusual and makes me feel a little guilty. I keep my areas clean, but she always refuses to let me wash the dishes. She doesn’t cook or clean, but has a cook and maid come in to do it for her a few times a week. We heat up the food the cook made earlier and eat that. Although I did not expect to be eating the same meal multiple times in a row, I am starting to like this system because it is OK to miss dinner and go out to eat instead. Coco said she likes this system because it is flexible for us both, and we can do whatever we want. Eating dinner with her is very educational, and the food is delicious. I have already learned a lot about her and her culture, and she has helped me with my Spanish. I haven’t taken any photos of the food I eat with her, as I don’t know if it is polite to have your phone at the table.
But, I do have photos of food from restaurants! Here are some mediocre pictures of awesome food.
This is a submarino and a medialuna. Submarino is a famous Argentine drink and is basically a really delicious and intense hot chocolate. That thing you see sticking out of the milk is a stick of chocolate, and the drink was the best hot chocolate I have ever had. Medialunas are basically small, sweet croissants. They are popular in Buenos Aires and are super cheap. These medialunas came with our drinks.
If you don’t like meat, then you can just skip over the next photo. This is asado, the famous Argentine meat. It’s a very delicious steak. In Argentina, they cook meat more, so a medium is actually a medium-well. I learned my lesson for next time, but it was still delicious. I paired it with Malbec, and the meal was perfect.
Here’s a bakery at which I had lunch right by Universidad de Belgrano. They have empanadas, which are 20 pesos (basically $1), milanesa (thin fried steak), sandwiches and much more.
Finally, check out this cappuccino. It was really good, and I’d say I like it more than Donkey, my favorite cafe in Athens, Ohio (shhhh. Don’t tell anyone).
Today, February 1, my friends and I went on a little adventure after class. We tried to go see the ocean, but it didn’t really work out. Instead, we found this beautiful lake and park that we ended up hanging out in for awhile. It turned out to be a successful trip.
That’s all for now! Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end. If you want to know when I update this without having to ask my mom, you can click the follow button and receive an email when I update the blog. Thanks again!