Hola a todos!! FINALMENTE estoy en Buenos Aires! It is beautiful here… kind of reminds me of a European city but with its own style. There’s PALM TREES! But don’t let that fool you. It is frigid here. Sixty degrees isn’t as warm as I thought, but luckily it’s only going to get warmer. So up until now it has been pretty hectic, especially yesterday. My plane arrived at about 9:30 am on Saturday and my heart was practically beating out of my chest! I just wanted to find another IES student but for some reason I couldn’t even though there were four or five on my flight. So along with this being my first time in the southern hemisphere, I also had my first celebrity encounter! There were a bunch of band members on my plane in a group called the Pretty Reckless, but I had no idea that it was the band of child star Taylor Momsen… (Cindy Loo Who anyone?) They were in the customs line right behind me, too. I thought of you, Isabel. She is definitely a child star gone bad because she could hardly walk in a straight line. Very stylish though. So after I got through customs I searched everywhere for the IES people but could not for the life of me find them and even asked the information desk, but she had no idea what I was talking about. They ended up being in a different Terminal so I had to walk like half a mile but it was fine. Once I made it I felt so much better. There were a ton of students and my housemate, Julia, was even there! Her flight got delayed an hour so we arrived at the same time! I was so excited to finally meet her. She is such a sweet girl and I have a feeling we’re going to get along very well. Once I made it to the IES spot, I had to sign in and the girl who worked there, Kate, asked me where I was from… she’s from Nashua. Talk about coincidences. She’s only a year older than Melissa so if we had stayed in Nashua they probably would have known each other! Such a small world! Next, IES put Julia and me into a van cab with two other students and we were off to our new homes! So my apartment is in Recoleta barrio (kind of like the boroughs of New York) which is a very nice part of the city, and only a twenty minute walk to the IES Center, where I will be taking most of my classes. There are literally FIVE llaves (keys) to get into my apartment, and these llaves are LEGIT. They remind me of something you would see on Harry Potter. So I have one key to open the gate into the entrance way of the apartment building, one key to get into the apartment building, another key to open the elevator, and another two keys to get into the apartment. My apartment is situated on Ayacucho (un calle or street) y Avenida Marcelo D. Alvear. We are about two blocks from la Avenida Sante Fe which is FILLED with little boutiques (bad news) which are actually cheaper than I thought. So a nice pair of boots is about $200 peso which is like $40. Only a little cheaper than the US but I still thought it would be more expensive.
My host mom Nora is SO sweet. She is pretty short and has white hair and is really tan. She will only speak Spanish to us, even though she knows a little bit of English which comes in handy when we’re stuck on a phrase. I can already see my Spanish improving in just two days; I can’t wait to see how far it’s come in four months! Nora wants to Skype with you, Mom, so she can meet you. She loved the peanut butter and the book that I brought for here. TATI is the little demon kitty. She is a feisty young broad but she is fun to play with. Julia brought cat juguetes (toys) and Tati loves them. See Mom, I told you I should have brought some!! Here are pictures of my apartamento y Tati y Julia! Que bueno!
So yesterday Julia, Nora y yo walked to the Recoleta Cemetary after a cup of tea and coffee… look up pics on google. We didn’t go inside yet but it is so cool. On the weekends there are a lot of street vendors and it is probably where I’m going to get most of my gifts! When we got back we ate empanadas (MUYYYYYYYYYYY DELICIOSAS!!!!) and after unpacking and such we went to la farmacia to get toiletries and stuff (same prices as US) and then came home and I napped for THREE hours… only because it was siesta and I got about four hours of sleep on the plane. When I woke up we ate dinner a las 10 en la noche: la sopa de vegetables como carrots and cebolla and we actually ate pumpkin! It tastes like sweet potato. And some leftover empanadas. Nora loves to cook, mostly vegetables and everything is made with sweetener instead of sugar because her son has diabetes so she’s used to it (Grandma would be freakin). For dessert Nora made a type of bread pudding cake with a caramel topping, and you spread dulce de leche which is very popular here. It is a caramel sugary thing that spreads like peanut butter almost. After dinner, Julia and I met a friend of Julia’s, Bonnie. Bonnie has been here for a week so she already has some porteño (argentine locals) friends. The porteños speak English so it was convenient but still super fun to converse in Spanish with them. They were all about my age to Melissa’s age. We went to the apartment of one of the porteños until about 2 and then to a club until 4… apparently people don’t really sleep here. No wonder siestas are popular. It was very fun. LO SIENTO MAMA PERO VOY A IR AL CLUB OTRA VEZ! Also the cabs are pretty safe as long as you take a Radio Taxi. And it is cheap.
Today (Sunday) we woke up around 9:30 and had a small breakfast (two little cookie things) and showered. I napped for about an hour, and then the three of us walked to a stop where the tour bus for IES was (we were a little late so the bus had to pull over and wait for us. Haha) We had a two hour tour on a topless double decker bus like the ones in New York with a stop at el Parque de Tres de Febrero. Es muy lindo y tranquil. There are so many roses. I remember reading a Jose Martí poem about it and it was cool to see it in real life. They also rent roller blades so I am totally doing that. After the tour Julia, six others from the program and I went for lunch/dinner/snack meal and all got empanadas and bebidas. Later Nora, Julia y yo are going out to dinner and then Julia and I are meeting those six IES kids for drinks. Tomorrow begins “orientation” but no one really knows what we are doing. Whateva.
My future posts probably won’t be this in depth but I just wanted to share with y’all (as Julia says) how AWESOME it is here and how much fun I am having already. I LOVE IT HEREEEEEEEE.
- There are so many dogs. Like everywhere. I’m in heaven.
- There is a Red Bull-type drink here called Speed, and when someone started talking about buying some I thought they were talking about heroin and got wicked freaked out. But it was just an energy drink. J
- The city is pretty safe so far, but sometimes Nora will tell me and Julia to like hold onto our purses when we are looking at the tall buildings and this morning a lady tried to get into our apartment edificio (building) entry way by asking if we could speak English with her or something and Nora was like NO GTFO. Not really but it was weird because she was just a normal looking 30-something woman.
- All the music I’ve heard here is American.
- Buenos Aires is amazing.
- There is a club right across the street from our building and Nora says sometimes I will hear it at night while I sleep. Haha
HASTA PRONTO MUCHACHOS.