¿Come le va?
After being in Argentina for four weeks I have come to understand and experience the life of the Argentinians who live in Buenos Aires, who are called los Porteños. Buenos Aires is similar to a New York City experience however, the culture of BA is completely unique from any other place I have ever been. Though this is one of the largest cities in the world, los Porteños still can obtain a relaxed environment. As cars and buses are zooming by on the street, one can still find a couple on their lunch break enjoying a cup of coffee leisurely talking about their day. Lunch breaks can last up to two hours during the work week as a good work-life balance is extremely important here. Dinners are experienced the same way. Meals should not be rushed as it is important to rehash the day with friends and family. Even at restaurants waiters will not provide you with the bill unless you specifically ask for it. It is amazing to see two extremes in one place.
The kindness of the people here are something that I greatly enjoy as well. A visitor does not have to worry about asking a local for recommendations or directions. They do not get bothered when a visitor may struggle to speak in their language, rather they appreciate the effort. Locals also enjoy practicing their English. I have been stopped multiple times on the streets by Argentinians and they have asked me questions in English about why I am visiting Buenos Aires. The language here in BA is Castellano, which is a different form of Spanish. The accent can be very intimidating at first as letters are pronounced differently. At this point in the trip I believe I have a good grasp on the language. I enjoy having the opportunity to practice my Spanish 24/7.
One thing that I have found so interesting is the knowledge that the Argentinians have about the United States, in comparison to the lack of knowledge that us, as Americans, have about Argentina or Latin America as a whole. I have had many conversations here with people and we have discussed politics and different issues that are going on in the United States. Argentinians are much more open when talking about politics and speaking their minds. While coming in as a visitor to this country, I had almost no knowledge about the history and background, other than what I read in a small book. I think it is extremely important that citizens of the United States take the time to learn more about Latin America’s rich and vibrant history.
This city is truly beginning to feel like home. I feel comfortable walking around and I do not need the GPS on my phone to help me get to every location. I have my favorite restaurants, cafés, and places to eat ice cream after class. I know the different neighborhoods and I am trying to check everything off my list of things to-do before it is too late! There is something new that can be done everyday. From seeing a giant steel flower to taking a boat ride in the Tigre delta, the possibilities are endless. I am truly going to miss the kind people I have met and this city which continues to surprise me every single day, and of course the dulce de leche!
I will write back again after my trip to Mendoza, Argentina!