I found myself today on the corner of Billinghurst and Charcas. As I was walking home from a merienda at Café Martinez with my language partner, Caro, I discovered a used bookstore and life came full circle. I felt so at peace as I just stood there, flipping through pages of books with the biggest grin on my face and no worry in the world. I was so extremely happy in that moment that my body felt weightless and all I could think about was how beautiful my situation is right now and how blessed I am to be experiencing another culture for such an extended period of time. Although the city as a whole is amazing and Buenos Aires is usually pinpointed by images such as La Casa Rosada, El Obilisco, and the La Boca and River Plate futbol stadiums, the images I see are much different – they are the images of my simple yet exciting everyday life. Images such as Filipo’s restaurant as I walk home, and the homeless woman on the corner of my block who captures my heart every time we lock eyes, and the dietaría where I go to buy nuts, not because they’re especially great but because I know the workers’ faces and they know mine.
In a city where the streets are filled with cigarillos, they are also filled with so much beauty and life. I get immense energy from simply walking down the street with my gaze up high, appreciating the wonders surrounding me. Amongst the hustle of a megacity, I am finding immense beauty in the simplicity of life and in the stillness of hidden gems that can be found throughout the entire city.
I heard a quote once that says: “Dare to miss the moments that will be gone tomorrow.” I think that’s the perfect inspiration for a semester abroad. I gain so much daily just by being here, from making new discoveries such as historical cafes, from learning yet another timeless Argentine tradition, from interacting with locals, and so much more. I strive to challenge myself to take advantage of every opportunity placed before me and I have really enjoyed participating in planned IES activities and such, but I believe that the little moments that will be “gone tomorrow” – and realistically “gone” three months from now – are the simply treasures (familiarities and discoveries alike) that are part of my everyday life. That being said, I feel like I’m living in a jewelry store as I am surrounded by countless gems. And just so you know, living in this Argentine joyería is fine by me.