So I’ve been in Buenos Aires for a little over one month.
Sometimes it feels like I can’t possibly be 5,000 miles away from home. Queen is playing on the speakers all the time––the Hollywood movie was a big hit in Argentina. McDonalds Bic Mac combos still taste exactly the same. The other Pitt students and I just registered for classes next semester.
Other times, it doesn’t feel so close. Our host mom made us a dinner that consisted of fried eggs on top of potato chips and cheese hot dogs wrapped in pastry dough. In another instance, I barely realized a lady complimented my shoes by saying “quiero tus zapatos” until she had to repeat in English “nice shoes.” I need to learn how to take a compliment. Literally.
Every day, I get a little more comfortable in the city. But, there are still moments of culture shock and confusion. It’s the normal things, the things that you wouldn’t expect, that have been the strangest to get used to.
I know how to use the LAVERAP by my house now. You can your laundry washed and folded by a service in the States, but it’s much more common here. Every time I go, I get a little better at it (the first time I went, the lady laughed at me because I had no clue what I was doing or what she was saying). I even separated my whites and darks the other day. Honestly, I’m starting to feel a bit spoiled. When I get home, it will have been 4 months since doing my laundry. The reverse culture shock might definitely be worse.
The sube system is really excellent. You can take a collectivo (bus) or the subte (train) almost anywhere in the city. But, the bus system in Buenos Aires is privatized. every bus line looks a little bit different than the next and they all have different colors and numbers. Also, you definitely have to watch the pickpockers. The other day I watched as someone’s wallet was nearly snatched away when everyone sitting. You always wear your backpack on your front.
Going out is wild. It’s weird to get to dinner before 9:00pm, and you’re usually there until 11:00pm. If you get to the bar at 12:30pm the night is still young (whereas in Pittsburgh, you would be on your way home). Honestly, it’s a true test of endurance. I’ve yet to see the sun rise, but I’ve fallen into bed at 5:30 am a number of times. There’s something kind of invigorating about how lively the city is at night, but you do have to remember to nap.
But, honestly, it’s nice to finally feel like I’m finding my place in Buenos Aires, despite it all.