I have tried not to face how quickly this semester is going by, but after completing my first weekend trip, it’s become unavoidable. I had off from classes this past Monday and Tuesday, so my friends and I traveled across the Rio de la Plata to Uruguay. We visited the old port-town of Colonia, the capital Montevideo, and the “Miami of Uruguay,” Punta del Este. I didn’t realize how much I was longing to get out of the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires until I got to our quiet house on the ocean, which proves to me that I’ve actually been in the city for a while now.
Because I’ve been so busy and the semester has been flying by, I haven’t really had the time to feel home sick. Luckily, culture shock has only presented itself in minor ways. The other students and I have had to adjust to certain things that we don’t experience as much back in the U.S. For example, Argentines typically eat dinner between 8:30 and 9:30 at night. I think we’re all pretty used to it at this point, but at the beginning of the semester it was a bit difficult to wait that long! This is obviously just a slight change that hasn’t given me any real struggles, but it is little stuff like this that reminds me that I have to adapt to a new normal.
For me, walking everywhere has given me a sense of awareness of my surroundings, and has helped me feel more comfortable in Buenos Aires. Getting into a routine has definitely made me feel more settled in as well. This depicts itself in little ways, like being on a first-name basis with the woman who works at the laundry mat around the corner from me, or the waiter that serves at the restaurant where I get tacos every Monday for “Mexican Mondays.”
With that all being said, there are times when I still feel a little out of place. No matter how many times I’ve taken a certain route to work, I still get lost (more times than I’d like to admit.) Or there are moments when I forget to keep cash on me, and I go to pay for something with my card that they won’t accept (a common occurrence.) Although frustrating, I think these experiences are definitely teaching me how to be more adaptable, which was one of my biggest goals going into the program. Moving forward, I’m sure these minor struggles will occur less and less, and my “new normal” won’t feel so new anymore.