It’s been almost a full week since I left my home base of upstate South Carolina and committed nearly six months of my life to Argentina. I don’t want to bore anyone with details about how the flight went, how long orientation was, and whether or not I achieved the highest level of language placement in my program. It seems more appropriate to reflect on how, after only four days, it feels as if I’ve existed in this pattern of living forever.
My host family has embraced me without any reservations. The language barrier causes some communication problems, but not in a negative way. We just keep trying until I find the right words, they fill in the blanks, or we good-naturedly shelve the topic for a later moment. More than that, I feel comfortable. I sat at the kitchen table my third night here, absentmindedly shredding carrots as my dad watched TV nearby and the puppy played with my feet from beneath my chair. Now, I sit at my desk with a window view of la terraza and bustling calle below me, chipping away at homework and listening to my favorite music while the rest of America is just starting their days. My parents are out, my sister is studying in the room next to mine, and everything is peaceful. I love the easygoing nature of family life — the freedom to be an outgoing college student without defending myself but also be very much a part of their unit.
The friends that I’m beginning to make are wonderful. We’re all in the same boat — struggling to communicate in a language we’re still learning, but eager to explore and travel and just enjoy the freedom and opportunities that we have here — so it’s almost effortless falling into step together and seeking out the next place to pasar el rato. I’m very glad that everyone seems to be adventurous and enjoys going out to dance or just have a good time. Tonight, we’re planning to try out a popular club, or boliche, that teaches tango lessons after we get back from an afternoon in el centro. Thank goodness for free Internet access and Facebook to communicate with them about the next best thing!
Some cool things that I’ve noticed about Córdoba itself:
Public transportation is huge. I caught a glimpse of this when I spent my first Interim in Viña del Mar, but it seems to be a lifestyle choice here. My family spent about an hour driving me through downtown my first night here so that I could buy a Red Bus card. Essentially, I charge it with about $40 pesos (8 USD) a week and scan it every time I step onto a colectivo. It’s $4,10 a ride, so I’m doing my best to use it only twice a day: to the university or downtown and then back. Everything else is within walking distance once I’m in the city!
El horario. I wake up at seven to shower, dress, and eat a small breakfast of toast with dulce de leche (think Nutella) and coffee, arrive at the parada for my bus, and wait up to an hour for the right bus to come. Class starts at 9:30 and lasts ’til noon, when we have a one-hour lunch break — for me, usually a salad, some chicken, and a fresh fruit. Class goes again until 3:00, and then I have the afternoon completely free… How do I spend my time? Go out with friends for a bit, catch the bus back home, have a descanso (nap), spend time with the family or just chill in my room. It really doesn’t matter to my family what I do — they’re completely relaxed taking care of whatever they’d like to do — until we eat together sometime between 9:00 and 11:00, usually on the later side. Then it’s start all over but in a new way every morning.
Blondes are not common. I don’t think I need to elaborate much on the attention I’ve received since arriving here.
To be honest, since arriving here, I haven’t had some dramatic awakening of my spirit or taken an absurd amount of photos, nada de eso. I feel at peace and in the right place, that my decision was good and I will continue to grow and learn, as I do with any new adventure. I’m enthusiastic to see what the seasons bring and what lingual, cultural, and personal skills I’ll be able to bring back the the United States!
Until the next noteworthy experience, que tenga un buen día!