Life with Grandmothers in Buenos Aires

My first weeks in Buenos Aires have already been incredible, and as I sit down to reflect on some of the great memories I’ve already made, it is crazy to see how much time flies when you are having fun! One of my favorite things to do so far has been having nightly dinners and long conversations with my host grandmothers Celua and Alba and my roommate Ahlena. Ahlena and I actually asked to live together as we have been roommates in the United States since Freshman year at Pitt, after getting randomly matched to live in Bruce Hall on campus for our first year. How lucky are we that we found someone who has similar interests, sleep schedules, and even shared passions for the Spanish language! The Global Business Institute program in Argentina fit perfectly for both of us, so it has been so exciting to have a traveling companion for my first experience outside of the United States and to continue to live with someone who I get along with so well. Our new home here in Buenos Aires, which was also chosen for us randomly, has also been absolutely amazing.

On our first day here, we found our way to an apartment in the Palermo community of Buenos Aires. Palermo, as I have learned, is one of the nicest neighborhoods in the huge city filled with luscious gardens, delicious restaurants, and intriguing museums. We are lucky enough to live right by both the Botanical Gardens and the Zoo, which I get to pass by every day on my commutes to work and class. Our apartment, one of probably hundreds in the Palermo community, is actually much larger than I expected it to be with four bedrooms and three bathrooms–and Ahlena and I have our own bedrooms and bathroom! There’s also a balcony, lined with plants, and a beautiful terrace with a table and chairs. One of my favorite parts about the apartment is the many photographs and paintings that our host Celua has decorated her home with. I’ve included a picture of my favorite one here, from an artist in the northern province of Jujuy where Celua is from.

The drawing and our little TV at dinner last night.

When we first made it into the apartment, both ladies were immediately thrilled to find out that Ahlena and I speak Spanish, albeit not-so-fluently, but we found out she hosts many different students from a lot of programs who mainly have not spoken any Spanish. Ever since that discovery, it has been awesome to get to know each other and learn from each others’ cultures for the past few weeks. In the mornings, Alba without fault has made us tea or coffee and set out toast for us. After long days in class, at work, or sightseeing, our shared dinner has been a nice way to relax and unwind, full of good food, a lot of storytelling, and watching “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” on an old TV together. Speaking of good food, one of the only challenges I have experienced living in our new home has been adjusting to just that, as I am probably the pickiest eater there ever was. However, on some of our first conversations Celua, the sweet grandmother she is, made sure to ask what foods we like and do not and has been so great about it. I have tried everything either way, and have definitely expanded my palette a great amount to include some delicious Argentinian dishes that Alba makes (I know my mom is thanking her for that). Overall, it has been an unforgettable experience here in Buenos Aires and I’m so excited to share more from the rest of my program. Until next time, amigos!