The Little Things

Lately, I’ve been feeling something. Even amongst the ever-present chaos of the city, the difficulty of trying to keep up in my classes, the pockets of homesickness, and the challenges that everyday life presents, I’ve been feeling the joy of “the little things” that keep managing to brighten my day. I thought I’d share a few examples:

-Making my Argentine friend, Marcelo, laugh in Spanish. Producing humor in a foreign language is surprisingly difficult!

-Speaking up, as the only non-native Spanish speaker in a room full of Argentines, and actually contributing something of value in one of my classes. My professor even gave me an approving nod!

-Hardly ever using my “Guia T.” The Guia T is a guide for the bus, subway and train routes all over the city. At first, my Guia T was the first thing I would grab when I left the apartment. Now, I generally know where I am and where I am going. And if I get a little lost, I have the confidence to ask for directions!

-Realizing that my reading for class is getting easier and easier. Last week, it took me about 2 hours to read 10 pages (luckily I only had 30 pages to read that week). Today, I was able to read the same amount in only one hour!

-Zoning out and realizing that I’ve been thinking in Spanish for a little bit. That must be a sign toward fluency, right?

-Finally being able to produce the dreaded double-r or “rr” (albeit it’s still a work in progress).

-Taking day trips with my friends in my study abroad program (we’ve gone to El Tigre and La Plata, so far, for the Argentine savvy). I firmly believe the best way to get to know someone is by traveling with them, because it shows their true colors (even if it’s just for a day). Working through the chaos of traveling, experiencing the joy of seeing new places with someone else, and spending the whole day with my friends has made me feel like I’ve gotten to know them a lot better. Time to start planning some weekend trips!

Amongst all of these things, I’ve realized, maybe it’s not about the “big picture.” It’s not possible to master the language in one day, make tons of really close Argentine friends instantly, and completely understand Argentine culture at this moment. Instead, I’ll take things one step at a time: understand a new word of lunfardo (Argentine slang) every day, talk to one more person in my classes, and have another conversation over dinner with my host mom about the differences between United States and Argentine culture. And hopefully, all of the “little things” can add up to give me the “big picture” I’ve been dreaming of and fighting so hard to achieve. Just give me 10 more months 🙂

From your inspired traveler,

Jessica