Monday, June 27, 2011

¡Que éxito! ...o suerte?

Now that I'm safely at home in Southern California and cannot jinx myself, I would just like to mention that I successfully managed to make it through 4 months in Buenos Aires without being mugged, robbed, or pickpocketed, so HA!  No money was stolen, no keys were lost, and my camera and new Blackberry survived the entire trip.  Could it be because I kinda look/seem porteña?  Dang, I sure hope so!  Do I feel slightly superior to the other estadounidenses who were victims of petty crime? ...I shan't answer.  But what I will say is that to live in any big city --especially Buenos Aires-- you just have to keep your wits about you.  And as less-than-perfectly-sober as I may have gotten, my wits were always there for me, glueing my hand to my purse in the boliche, hiding my phone in the secret pocket of my coat, and walking with purpose as fast as humanly possible until I reached my apartment lobby.

Friday, June 24, 2011

La Despedida

As my time here comes to an end, I'm thinking about how a year ago I was unsure as to whether or not I should study abroad.  During my college application process I never took into consideration the possibility of studying abroad.  I never thought it would be for me.  And once I got to Michigan, I could barely understand why anyone would want to give up a precious semester of college life to live in another country, possibly in a stranger's home with their family.  But, these four months of studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina has probably been the greatest experience of my life.  Hands down the second best decision I've ever made in my life (the first was choosing Michigan over Emerson).  I've been saying all along how much I love certain foods and places, but it's really just been the entire experience and all the people I've met (especially the people in my program) that made these four months so amazing.

As some of you might know, I hate being/feeling like a tourist.  And one thing I realized the other day as I was walking around the city, running some errands, is that I am not a tourist here; far from it, I like to think.  Just like Ann Arbor, the city of Buenos Aires has become another one of my homes.  I frequent certain places, I know the bus routes, I know my way around the city, I understand and can communicate in the local dialect, etc.

And the people I've met!  Despite what I thought throughout the program, I really made some good friends here that I'm truly going to miss.  Even though we've only been here for four months, I feel like I've known some of these people for way longer.  I feel closer to some of these people than I do to some people I've known for all of college or all of high school.  It's a happy and a sad thing: sad because I might not see these people for a long time or ever again, unfortunately; happy because it makes me realize that there are potential friends and people who I would love all over the world, just waiting for me to meet them.  Also, we all got to share this amazing experience together.  And whether or not everyone loved it as much as I did, we were all in it together, studying, going out, playing soccer, traveling, whatever.  We share this common experience of living and studying in Buenos Aires.  And hopefully --what I think would determine a true friendship, and not just one by circumstace-- we'll stay in touch and continue to be close and have other things in common, and not have to rely on reminiscing about our crazy adventures in Argentina.  So, saying goodbye to all my new friends has been sad, but I know that if we're truly friends we will make the effort to see each other again in the future, and that's what matters.

I keep saying I want to come back here, live and maybe work here for a while, but I know that coming back still won't replicate the experience I've had, living with this family, hanging out with my IES friends.  I love Buenos Aires as a city, but without the right people, it won't be the same.  Instead, it will be an entirely new experience, where I'll meet new people and make more great relationships.  And I look forward to that, not only when I return to Buenos Aires, but in every new adventure I undertake throughout my life.

Chau Buenos Aires, te quiero muchisimo.  Te voy a extrañar, pero nos vemos pronto.  Besitos :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

But what I'll actually miss the MOST...

Tomas, my 4 year old best friend, is not pictured.  He chose to hide under a couch cushion...boludo.
ah, there he is.
I won the host family lottery and got placed with the greatest people in all of Argentina.  Technically, my original housing assignment said I'd only have a madre, a padre, y una hermana.  What it didn't say is that my host parents' three other daughters would constantly be visiting with their respective husbands and children.  From day one, they've all been so welcoming and interested in my experience here and have treated me as if I was the 5th daughter.  I love going out here, but some of my favorite nights here have been the ones spent in my homestay, watching movies with my host sister(s).

They keep telling me I need to find an Argentine boyfriend so I'll have a reason to stay here.  What I don't think they realize is that I've already fallen in love with a whole family of Argentines.  It's a shame they don't have any sons, because I would have married into this family in a heartbeat.  I'm already informally invited to my host sister's future/eventual wedding, and these people are all invited to mine, whenever that might be.

I'll miss listening to my host dad tell me about how great Salta is and how all these natural disasters are proof that the Earth hates us.  I'll miss being persuaded by my host mom into accepting second helpings of dinner.  I'll miss my host sister reprimanding my host mom for not letting me decline second helpings of dinner.  I'll miss the hilarious and re simpáticos friends and neighbors of my host family that have joined us for dinner on multiple occasions.  I'll miss Sunday brunches of wine and milanesa, and swapping bad words with my host sisters' husbands.  I'll miss trying to study as the 4-year old screams, for no apparent reason, from the other room.  I'll miss my host dad's speculations as I dip everything in sight in dulce de leche.  I'll miss coming home at 4am and making drunk food with my host sister.  I'll miss watching cartoons, coloring and playing games with my host nephews(?).  I'll miss constantly being asked, by everyone, if I'm wearing enough clothes to endure the "cold" weather outside.

That entrance fee I paid to get into Argentina is good for the next 10 years, although my passport expires in 8, so I know I'll be back before then.

[This post was written in segments, seeing as every time I sat down to write, I would just get way too emotional]