Aye dios mio! I’m struggling back and forth in between Spanish and English as I’m writing this. It’s increible how already I feel the full force of being submerged in Spanish, and I like it. These past few days have been long, tiring, and quite frankly overwhelming, but I think I’m going to like it here.
I hardly slept on the flight over, and so I was thankful when our advisors met us at the aeropuerto and told us that we should spend the day relajando at home to rest before our first day of orientation. The taxi ride from the airport was interesting. I had my first taste of Argentina traffico. In short, it’s crazy. And peligroso (dangerous). You have to be a skilled driver and an even more skilled pedestrian to get around.
I arrived at the building of my host mother (mi madre afitriana) Cristina. I kid you not, it took me a full 5 minutes to figure out this tiny door that I had to open myself was the ascensor (elevator)! But I really like my host mom, and her house reminds me of my own grandmother’s, so I feel very at home. She soon took me around el barrio (neighborhood) of Palermo and showed me the lavanderia where I can wash my clothes as well as some of the stores and important streets. And then we shared the best cafe con leche I’ve ever had. She speaks English as well, which is helpful when my brain is fritzing on Spanish. It’s weird. I’ve taken Spanish for 7 years, and I thought I had a decent grasp on the language.
But there’s nothing like throwing you in the lion’s den to really sort out what you do and do not know. I tried to make small talk with my cab driver, but it almost seemed as though he was speaking another language entirely because he spoke as fast as he drove and had an accent I’m not used to hearing. After lunch, I took a much needed nap, and then Cristina suggested I walk around a bit to familiarize myself with the area. I am HORRIBLE at navi-gacion. So I just walked in circles, just taking it all in. I was basically walking blind and trying to keep un ojo on the streets, popping in and out of stores to check it out. I didn’t really know what exactly to do! I felt it was a little too early to do a bit of shopping. And I figure that soon I’ll be out and about with other people from my programa.
It’s definitely a lesson in seguridad, or safety, walking around the city and I realize how much I take for granted how relatively safe I feel at home, compared with here. Not to say I’m paranoid, but I’m definitely aware constantemente. I really like the other students I’ve met in the program, and I am excited to get to know them and spend time with them out in the city.I’ve never lived in a big city, so the culture of life in a big city mixed with la cultura of the Portenos is definitely something nuevo for me. These past two dias have been orientation for all 62 of us estudiantes. We’re from all over the US. I have a friend here, Maria, a fellow gator, who is from Buenos Aires originally and I find myself so grateful for her help getting around and learning the ways of Buenos Aires.
It;s also a VERY strange feeling not to be constantly connected with people through my phone. I bought a telfono culular today that I will more than likely use only when necessary, otherwise Wifi! It’s a feeling of discomfort, to be sure, but I think it’s a good experience to detach myself for most of my day.
Classes start Tuesday, and we have lots of excursions and actividades to look forward to, including a trip to Uruguay ! I will keep you updated! CIao!