I have done an absolutely awful job of updating everyone on what I have been doing lately in the city. That may be because I haven’t been on any big trips lately and am starting to settle into a semblance of routine. Either way, I apologize.
Winter break ended about five weeks ago and classes at my university, Universidad de Belgrano, picked back up. Before that, I had a week off between a month long, intensive grammar class. I had trouble accepting that classes really were beginning. I thought that the workload might be different or that classes might be taught differently. In other words, I was naively hoping that there would be less homework and that all professors would fill class time with games. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened since the first grade. So, while everyone at home was still posting pictures of themselves laying poolside, I packed up my mochila and went to class.
Most classes at school don’t even start until 1. I have discovered that nothing serious or important in Buenos Aires ever begins before 11:00 AM. On a normal day, I don’t finish class until after 5:30 so there is not a lot of time to do things in the evenings. Fortunately, we only have classes Monday-Thursday so I have had the opportunity to see some different things in the city.
I don’t have a cohesive, witty way to tell you about what I have been doing, so I am just going to make a nice list of my recent experiences.
- We had a holiday weekend to celebrate General San Martin, the Argentine equivalent of our George Washington. Since I live on Plaza San Martin, there was a lot going on. Oddly enough, there was a Japanese Festival, parade and delicious sushi.
- I have been doing a lot of sitting in/running through/frolicking about parks lately. I live about five blocks from a street called Avenida Libertador. On this street there is a string of gorgeous parks. On the weekends there are always people drinking mate, playing guitar or sitting in the sun and I love to just hang out here. Last weekend some friends and I went to Parque Rosedal or the rose garden park. There is a great lake close by and I can’t wait to see all the roses bloom here (spring is just around the corner!). Tomorrow we have plans to play a game of American football (in honor of the beginning of college football season) in the park.
- Food! My Solmates and I usually go out to eat on the weekends. We have been trying different types of food that the big city has to offer. We couldn’t resist going to a Mexican restaurant- we were all in desperate need of spicy food. Unfortunately, Argentines actually detest spice and everything is relatively bland (but not in a bad way). On my list of things to try are Spanish and Peruvian cuisine.
- The Primaries in Argentina were held a couple weeks ago. My professor at home connected me with a colleague and I was able to go to what I can only describe as a “results show”. Essentially, I went to the place where all the votes were being counted. There was a huge room filled with hundreds of people on computers entering and checking data. All of the media was there and it was cool to watch all the reporters live on camera. Argentina votes in a very different way than the US. Every citizen in required by law to vote and there are lots of different political parties. But I won’t go too much into that! It was cool to see the electoral process from the inside (considering I haven’t even done something like that in the US). And I got a very official looking name tag.
- I also participated in a Tango Performance, which was equal parts hilarious and embarrassing. I am taking a Tango dance class at school and we performed at International Student Night. Tango is a lot more complex than any other dance I have learned- even the basic eight step isn’t simple. Nonetheless, my partner and I got through it and, reflecting back on it, it was pretty fun.
- One of my classes, about the history of Buenos Aires through the eyes of various authors, requires that I visit a new neighborhood every two weeks. Thus far I have ventured to Parque Centenario, a park near a residential neighborhood, as well as Once, the Jewish/Korean/textile neighborhood.
I know that this list doesn’t seem extremely exciting, but I am staying extremely busy. Some day I even feel like I am starting to get a handle on the local lunfardo (slang). I am in awe that we only have 10 weeks of school left, so I am going to try to take advantage of all the time I have left. Next up on the list of activities includes trips to Uruguay, las cataratas (the waterfalls in Misiones), and a ranch!