I have been living in Buenos Aires for a week now- what feels like a month- and I absolutely love it here. Just a week ago I left Madison for Chicago, flew to Miami, and my flight was delayed until 3AM. My day of travel, full of tears, sweat, frustration, and nerves, came to an end with me sitting in a hotel room by myself until 1AM. Needless to say, this has been the lowest moment of my trip so far. Once I got back to the airport in the morning and began to meet other students in my program, I knew everything was going to be just peachy. The flight to Buenos Aires was long, cramped, and tedious and was followed by a semi-reckless cab ride to my apartment. As my host mom struggled to shove my four bags and me into a tiny two person capacity elevator, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had gotten myself into. I felt very out of place. My host mom has turned out to be the sweetest, most helpful host mom I could have asked for. After I took a much-needed shower, she made us tea and “tostados” (toast) and we talked for quite awhile. Communication hasn’t been the easiest thing here for me, but I was surprised at how quickly my Spanish has improved. Being immersed for only 7 days it is clear that my Spanish has gotten 10X better. Despite the ups and downs this week- the frustration and elation, confusion and excitement- I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. The weather is perfect, the people are friendly, the city is huge, the food is delicious, and the wine is cheap!
All this said, here are a some of observations and things I’ve picked up quickly since being here:
- I swear almost everyone living in Buenos Aires owns a dog. Dogs are everywhere. On top of that, no one here use leashes so there are just dogs running around on the sidewalks and in parks. This said, Buenos Aires has some of the tamest and well behaved dogs I have ever seen.
- Platform shoes are all the rage. Platform flip flops, platform tennis shoes, and believe it or not, platform Birkenstocks. Fingers crossed that this fad does not make its way to the United States.
- Everyone in Buenos Aires is drop dead gorgeous. I have seen some of the most beautiful people in my life this week – dark hair, tan skin, and green eyes. The women all look like runway models and the men all belong on the cover of GQ.
- Time is not of the essence. Life seems to move at a slower pace here, schedules are flexible and lateness is not necessarily perceived as rude. This is definitely a bit hard for me to adjust to, being a super punctual and schedule oriented person.
- The city is a lot dirtier than I ever imagined. Other students have told me that Buenos Aires is a lot like New York or Los Angeles, both of which I have never been, so this was a bit of a shock to me.
- Our top 40 is their top 40. Adele, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Katy Perry…
- Cat calling and flirting happens all the time. As an American girl walking anywhere in the city I can expect quite a bit of whistling, being called “gatita” (kitty cat), and lingering eyes. It’s important to remember it’s all in good humor and is more of a compliment than a serious attempt at flirting.
- The Spanish spoken here is different – Castellano – and sounds much different. Double L’s (ex: llamar) are pronounced with an –sh sound and the S is not pronounced in words like “kiosko” or “mosca”, they sound more like “kioko” or “moca”.
- PDA (public displays of affection) is completely normal here. Kissing, hugging, staring intently into each others eyes, holding hands, and laying all over one another at the park is the norm and you see it everywhere. Bus stops, cafes, parks, sidewalks, and bars. This makes being so far from my significant other a little difficult and a little lonely at times, but it is also pretty entertaining to watch.