Don’t Let The Man Get You Down.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Count to three.

Rewind to Saturday night.

The sky looks thick tonight. There are neither factories nor smoke here so the whispers of clouds swirl above the buildings and hide the moonlight beneath their cape. It’s fairly silent and you like it that way. The lack of clustering around this busier street signals that most stores have closed up for the night.

Arrive at the intersection of your daily walk home and your exciting night out. Walk quickly seven blocks down the street, not at a running pace but with an upbeat and quickening tempo that allows your boots to clunk-clunk-slide across the pavement. Keep your hands in your pockets to keep warm but know that you look strong and tough and Argentine enough to not get mugged. Or so you’d like them all to believe. But this is Belgrano so even if you make casual eye contact with the older men by the store doors, they won’t come near you – even the ones that give you the look down every day by that car shop.

It is late and you are late because traveling through the city always takes longer than one ever anticipates. Walk down Avenida Cabildo in search of the bus stop. As you linger towards the signs showcasing different numbers – 61, 141, 152, 40 – you squint to find that secret sign behind chipped paint or bent with rust, that sign that reads the streets you must turn on, with that golden number 60 on top.

You know you are in the right place, but the right sign isn’t there. Trace back the last four blocks to see nothing resembling the correct bus stop, but racing through the streets makes your knees tremble and your breath darken because you refuse to become lost and alone in the middle of the night on the streets of Buenos Aires. But here you are and this is it.

Luckily it isn’t quite 10:30pm, the time when the final subte passes through your station. Trek quickly to the D line and conjure up a GPS plan in your mind of what stop to get off and which blocks to turn left or right in order to find your friends. Get off at the wrong station though this is the subte you take every day and squint to read your Guia T by the light of streetlamps and storefronts. Jump back on the subte and call your friends, relaying that you will be later than anticipated. Again.

As they describe the route you must take upon arrival at the correct subte stop, picture turning down roads that read 1100-1200, then 1200-1300 in order to head up Rodriguez Peña rather than down. Though pain en español is pena and not peña, you can’t stop repeating “¡Qué pena!” in your head due to your directionally challenged state of mind. You are tired of racing down three, four, six, nine blocks until you reach the right corner. This is certainly not the first time and it isn’t close to being the last.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Count to three.

Fast-forward to 2:00am.

Thankfully you opted for jeans and boots instead of a cute skirt and tights because the wind keeps picking up, throwing bitter whiplash at your uncovered face and hands. You are lost again, this time with friends, searching for a boliche that appears to exist across the busy highway but even the taxi driver who finally stops for you can’t find it. Logically, the group heads away from the busy highway in order to find empty taxis, but not a single one will stop for you. Travel more blocks in hopes of finding nicer drivers near the park settled a little further away from the speeding cars.

There are some people hanging around in the park and it is not until you walk parallel to them, on the opposite side of the fairly empty street, that you recognize why they are there. Taxi and other drivers slow down on these roads. They aren’t looking to pick up customers like you, no wonder they ignore your held out arm. A man in a car slows to a halt by a woman in tight black jeans and heels across the street. He grabs her ass, as if to feel an avocado for ripeness. We feel silly for not immediately recognizing that these are prostitutes in this park and this is certainly not the place to grab a taxi home.

Fast-forward 30 more minutes and be thankful that you are in a safe Radio Taxi with two friends, all looking forward to heading home. The night out was a bust and you are cold and cranky and need a good night’s sleep.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Count to three.

It is Sunday mid-morning.

Too exhausted by last night’s shenanigans, you check your Mapa online to find the best route to head to Magdalena’s in Palermo for a delightful brunch with friends. It is simple enough to find, as this 168 bus appears to have a stop on the same road as the 152 – the only bus you’ve ever trusted to bring you home.

By the time you finish your seven-block walk to Avenida Cabildo and take a right, you suddenly realize you did not bring your Guia T. Fingers crossed, you pass the first block, then the second, and by the third you know you’ve gone too far. But there is no 168 bus stop. It must not exist. Recalling the online map directions, your bus continues down this road for a bit and thus you do the same. Eventually the 168 must show up, right? It never does. You continue walking more blocks than you can count because you remember seeing De Las Incas. Walk briskly in hopes of stumbling across more recognizable roads and make it on time for once.

Call your friend in hopes of receiving more adequate directions. Smile because it is a beautifully sunny Sunday afternoon and things are already looking up from last night. But there aren’t any good buses nearby and it comes to the time when you must resort to a taxi. Easy enough.

Step inside and work your Spanish fluency by correctly explaining the address you need to arrive at. Open the backpack you’ve been carrying around so you can quickly give the driver the correct payment by the time the ride is over. Unzip and rummage around for that small red Vera Bradley wallet that easily gets lost under notebooks and sweatshirts.

It’s not there. You don’t have a single peso on your person. Before deciding to explain this conundrum to the driver and immediately jumping out of the taxi, attempt to be rational and calm and text your friend. Don’t let that fast-paced street walking and this newfound anxiety make you sweat profusely in the back of the taxi, though you want to rip off your jacket, lie down in the backseat, and cry softly. Don’t let him know you have to wait until Will spots you the 54 pesos outside the restaurant when you get there. He tells you to call him once you arrive so he can look for you. You are getting closer to Thames street, you gleefully recognize the fancy cobblestone streets of Palermo and attempt to call Will back. Due to all of the previous texting from last night and this morning on your sad, local phone – you are now out of minutes.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Count to three.

The air is still in the afternoon and the sun strikes through the vines crawling up and down the sides of buildings. The city looks the same and you look the same because the world hasn’t fallen apart today. No, you couldn’t pay for the breakfast sandwich or the cab ride today. But tomorrow you will. You are a thinker and a rethinker that lives in a world that always looks a little different than it does to others. For this, you are proud of your perceptive and detailed approach. But perhaps you should wipe away that worry you grip tightly between your fingers when nothing truly “bad” is going to happen.

Let the city speak to you. Let it push your shoulders back and let you sit down for once. Take in the dusty sidewalks and greasy doorknobs and lack of napkins. Smell the damn roses and don’t for a second let this keep you down.

Do what those famous writers have told you.

Turn the page. Start over. Begin again.

Or what your mother always says when she’s far away but wishes to comfort you.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Count to three.

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Nuestro Primer Aniversario

HAPPY ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY TO ME AND BA!!!

It honestly doesn’t feel like I’ve been abroad for so long already, although a whirlwind of events have certainly occurred in the past 28 days. I knew that everyone says to spend the first week settling in, allowing for some waves of homesickness here and there. But I wanted to give myself until the end of the first month (in my head I was thinking more September 1st,) and wait for a deeper connection and confirmation that I can handle this for four more months.

Well. It happened. Something clicked this week. Maybe it was because I returned from a marvelous weekend trip with girls from my program that ignited some serious bonding. Or that upon my return, my host mom gave me the most heartwarming beso in our return greeting. Perhaps it’s because I now understand 75-80% of what my professors say and keep gaining confidence in my speaking skills each day. I’m the type of person who lives for those small personal moments when beautiful realizations or reflections hit me square in the heart, so much so that my breathing becomes deeper and my eyes twinkle brighter because I’m so full of pure joy.

I know, I know. It’s too early to exchange gifts at the one month mark in a relationship. I can’t tell Buenos Aires how much I’m in love with them just yet. Instead, I will treat you all to some more updates on all the exciting things that have occurred in this first month that I never mentioned.

Observations

  • I adore the laidback atmosphere of Latin America. No one shows up exactly on time to class, professors included. I can sit in a café drinking coffee and read for class for hours upon hours and not get kicked out. I’m also convinced there’s no such thing as a sassy or rude waiter.
  • The majority of streets are one way. This makes crossing the street a LOT less stressful when you only have to look left or right, and not both. This does not take away from the fact that if a bus is driving at you, RUN. They will NOT slow down or stop for you.
  • They cook and eat steak like we do with chicken – so many different options. We eat lots of different parts of the cow and often eat milanesa (breaded fried steak).
  • Coca-Cola recently launched a new “natural” and “healthy” soda line called Coca-Cola Life, which you can find everywhere in BA. It has a green label and states that the new blend of sugar and no-calorie natural sweetener is less “deadly” than the original. It’s being launched first in Argentina. My host sister says this is because they are one of the top consumers of Coca-Cola and soda. Not at all surprised by that statement.
  • Everyone is involved in politics. Particularly young people. The University of Buenos Aires’ buildings are covered in political posters and signs. Seeing this in person is further confirmation that this is the perfect location to study women’s organizations, with past influences such as Las Madres and Evá Perón in the mix of strong women leaders.

My New Eating Habits

Eventually I will be committing an entire post to all of the new foods I have discovered here. I have yet to collect pictures of all of them, so for now I’d like to share what I enjoy snacking on. Warning: Sugar is in everything and I am extremely pleased by this.

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Breakfast: Banana, toast with dulce de leche.

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My usual lunch: café con leche and jamón y queso sandwich – toasted. Never gets old.

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My host sister makes treats ALL the time since she goes to pastry school.

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No, but like, she’s REALLY good. Dulce de leche filling in everything : ]

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Coffee with dulce de leche or chocolate at the bottom.

 

Reasons to Celebrate

  • I visited Las Madres de La Plaza de Mayo – Linea Fundadora and heard an ORIGINAL Madre speak about los desparecidos. And received many besos. It was incredible and there is a chance I will volunteer there this semester.
  • I FINALLY Skyped my own mother today. Not to worry, I text quite a bit with my family to stay in touch – thank goodness for Wifi with Airport on the iPhone.
  • Today was the first day I made a very serious, legitimate To Do List. This is a very big deal that it’s taken me so long to do so – I’ve always been an organized planner. I guess this means classes have officially started.
  • I made friends! Oh, thank god. Friends that are extremely nice, intelligent, and wait for it…just as strange as me. I couldn’t have asked for a greater combination of people in my program. They’re a blast and a half. (Yes, that was in fact an original ShipShip-coined expression – I know you’ve missed hearing them).
  • I went to THE. MOST. INCREDIBLE. PERFORMANCE last night. It’s called Fuerza Bruta. Think Cirque du Soleil acrobatics meets intense street performing meets Willy Wonka-esque machinery and imagination minus the colorful candy meets boliche-style/club dance and drumming. You stand during the entire performance which I found added to 360-degree visually stunning dynamic and continuous heart-pounding music. It began with incredibly loud drummers playing the song in the trailer below, very Blue Man Group/African drum style, with bright lights bouncing around the room when all of a sudden a black curtain opened to a stage where a small group of people immediately FLEW out and swung right over our heads. They were full of energy, yelling and contorting their bodies every which way as they soared above us strapped in harnesses. I knew right then and there my life would never be the same. And it just kept getting better and better throughout the night.

Here’s a trailer of Fuerza Bruta – Wayra tour. Except our black box room was MUCH smaller which I preferred. They had to push back the crowd as new contraptions came out for different performance pieces, so we were consistently up close and within arm distance to the majority of the performers. Let’s be real – this doesn’t even come CLOSE to the fantastic experience of going yourself, but I wanted to let you give a small taste.

*I’m obsessed with the song playing in this video. What a great way to wake up every morning, or go for a run, or rage at a club, amiright?!

¡Iguazú Falls!

This blog is definitely in need of a few updates, but for now, it will be exclusively about my awesome weekend. In summary of how this impromptu excursion occurred, please see below.

  • Class Schedule? Complete. 6 classes in 3 days = 4 day weekend!
  • Monday, August 19 is El Dia del Niño – aka HOLIDAY
  • If it appears like everyone else is traveling, then I MUST JOIN. #fomo
  • Oh dear. It’s Thursday. Now or Never.
  • Put on Super Serious Motivation Hat & No Time To Waste Face for Operation “Leave for Igauzú in Less Than 24 Hours From Now”

After badgering other students who had already planned their trip to Iguazú Falls for the weekend, sending hundreds of obnoxious Facebook messages back and forth, booking the hostel for 8 lovely ladies and planning the bus schedules – I had successfully made a weekend trip happen. I was anxious all of Thursday, even after we had printed our bus tickets and received confirmation emails.

            Thankfully, we all managed to get our tickets, find the bus station ,and board our 17+ hour bus ride to Puerto Iguazú!photo (5)

*The amount of adorable babies we saw this weekend, particularly on the bus rides, was overwhelming. SO cute. SO much joy. Unfortunately, that cuteness immediately disappears when it prevents one from enjoying their semi-cama beauty sleep (think more comfortable than a plane seat, but not quite reaching a horizontal bed).

We spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon gallavanting around Iguazü National Park for the special feature: Iguazú Falls (las cataratas). Iguazú Falls, the waterfalls of the Iguazu River, are located on the border of Brazil and the Argentinian province of Misiones. The falls were announced as one of the seven winners of the New Seven Wonders of Nature by the NSWoN Foundation (or so says Wikipedia).

There were multiple trails we could take to see different views of the many connecting waterfalls. The views were unbelievable, and sometimes we were close enough to get wet. Yes, I tasted Iguazú. And I let it sprinkle me with its amazing rainbows and glittering raindrops.

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With a group of 8 girls, it was a delightful adventure to say the least. Yet, it never once felt like we had too many people to travel with and keep track of – we could not stop laughing, posing and photobombing photos (Carly), or snuggling throughout the weekend. After a fun Saturday celebrating Laurie’s birthday with cake and scrumptious mixed drinks, we were bummed we didn’t have another night of bonding before heading back to Buenos Aires.

The national park could essentially be completed in one full day, so we really didn’t need more than our two partial days to explore the waterfalls. There were optional boat tours to get even closer, but none of us were in the mood to spend 380 pesos ($50 USD) when we had already had our fair share of water splashing.

We hit our second 17+ bus ride around 5:00pm on Sunday evening. Yes, parents, the bus fed me and drove fairly safe. The hostel was much better and safer than I anticipated. There were definitely moments when we all had no idea what we were supposed to do, or where to go (i.e. the bus station, what platform the bus would arrive at, and would it be on time?) but overall I deem this first weekend trip VERY successful.

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Our attempt to spell I G U A Z U

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The sights I saw truly cannot be encompassed in the few words I wrote, though the writer in me wish she could express such peace and beauty in a simple phrase.

            (In other words, please enjoy this video that I somehow managed to put together in the last 24 hours)

[This post was brought to you by a sleep deprived chica overly excited by three types of ice cream in one container, and the current thunderstorm occurring tonight. I thought summer thunderstorms on the ocean were cool, but the view of the city when lightning strikes on the 13th piso is incredible.]

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Oh My Gorgeous.

Here it is, ladies and gentlemen:

El Ateneo.

Yes, it did make NUMBER ONE in a little article called 16 Bookstores You Have To See Before You Die.

Alright, I understand if you weren’t convinced by that because the source was buzzfeed.com and how legitimate is that site anyway?

BUT WAIT. Huffington Post made it #3 on their “9 Of The Most Amazing Bookstores in The World” list. Plus I’ve now witnessed its greatness and I personally believe it belongs on any  Top 5 list of awesome bookstores, by far.

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Friends in my program mentioned El Ateneo and I knew immediately I had to visit. If you don’t already know, I have a slight obsession with finding wonderful places to curl up to read a book or that have an amazing atmosphere, inspiring me to write. These places include local coffee shops, cool parks, etc. So when I heard there was an old theatre that has been turned into a magical bookstore? Say WHAT?! It was too good to be true for my English major imaginative ears.

I took this excursion alone, after my visit to Las Madres last Thursday. El Ateneo is incredible. So gorgeous. So grand. I wanted to buy every book and sit in their cozy chairs in the balcony reading and writing and drinking coffee for hours on end. Warning: The likelihood for this to actually occur before December is strikingly high.  And yes, that on the stage is a quaint and stylish café with treats galore.

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I couldn’t stop gushing about how fantastic my experience was, so much so that other friends of mine expressed interest to join me next time. Looks like I’ll be racking in the double digits of Times Visited El Ateneo soon enough. Not even remotely sorry about it.

“Hasta La Victoria Siempre Queridos Hijos”

[For the integrity of this piece, let’s pretend it was originally posted on Thursday, August 8th, 2013, as planned. Uploading videos and pictures takes an incredibly long time, and I struggled to complete this on the same day it occurred.]

Books. Theater. Women’s Empowerment.

These are a few of my favorite things. Today was a great day, in which I was able to enjoy all three.  To prevent your eyes from blurring due to another super long post, I’ll only share the first part of my wonderful day with you. You will learn about the beauty of El Ateneo soon enough.

Today is Thursday. Thursday is the day that Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo protest at La Plaza every week at 3:30pm. This particular Thursday, I decided to head over to see for myself how these courageous women have marched around every week for the past 30+ years. It’s also my own mother’s birthday today – Shout out to you Mother Ship!

Cheers to mothers fighting for their children everywhere. For those of you who didn’t spend their summers reading about Las Madres and other women’s movements this summer, here’s a quick history lesson:

In the 1970s, the Dirty War began during the military junta that sought to preserve the “moral and ideological health of the nation”, which they believed could only be done by eliminating subversion. The junta believed that a subversive was anyone who expressed concern for the poor or tried to unite and empower them. Hundreds of adolescents were kidnapped and killed (los desparecidos) during the reign of the junta – as well as elderly and children. Any young person that appeared to be intelligent or against the ideas of the government were subject to abductions. Security forces didn’t identify themselves or wear uniforms, which made the raids so terrifying due to the anonymity.  Often times the abductions were staged and done at the end of the week at night to terrorize and thus silence families from talking about the disappearances.

“Silencing of individuals and the control of communications were intended both to mask the ugly reality of terror and oppression and to create a sense of fear and helplessness throughout the population, isolating the people from each other and disjointing reality.” – Marguerite Guzman Bouvard, Author of “Revolutionizing Motherhood: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

The Mothers (Las Madres) is mainly comprised of housewives. A few Mothers began swapping stories of their disappeared children at police stations, and slowly they began meeting in small, private numbers. On April 30, 1977, fourteen Mothers met in La Plaza de Mayo. They chose to meet again the following Friday for an audience to be there. On the third week, they began writing a collective letter to the President, who told them their children had fled the country (Las Madres knew this was not true) . The Mothers changed their meeting to Thursdays at La Plaza to march in protest. They chose Thursday because there were more likely to be passerbys. As time went by, La Plaza became their national stage. 

The Mothers marched and protested to keep the memory of their disappeared children alive. They petitioned, they created slogans, they published their own newspaper, and they didn’t let any type of violence or ridicule from the government and police stop them. They never gave up and they never gave in. They remained true to their vision. They contradicted the image of women in Argentina by becoming political activists, attempting to unmask the government propaganda.They wanted the government to come clean about the events of the war – to acknowledge the violence and los desparecidos. They wanted to prevent another military junta from coming into power. They wanted to release thedisappeared who might still be alive. They also sought the punishment of those who were guilty of these crimes – the members of the junta, the officers associated with abductions, tortures, and murders.

The Mothers kept their wounds open; their memories of their children and the torturous acts that occurred in order to continue their political statement. They wanted to make their childrens’ dreams of reform remain an active part of the political dialogue. It was their mutual respect, the strong bond of motherhood – this solidarity that became the source of so much of their strength; they began fighting for everyone’s children, having concern for all of the children of the nation.Their organization continues still today, fighting for justice and transformation of the political system. 

My summary does not give Las Madres justice for all they have accomplished, but I hope it gives you an idea now of just how incredible it was to be standing in this very Plaza when the Madres marched today. I arrived around 3:15pm, and I could already see cool blue flags and people milling about around a small tent. I was slightly bummed, because it appeared to be mainly young people – those that help continue the work of the Madres. Perhaps they have taken over the Thursday 3:30 marches.

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So when a small white van pulled up and slowly but surely, 8 or 9 petite, elderly women clad in their famous white head scarves walked out onto the cobblestone – I got surprisingly emotional. Thank goodness I took this trip alone, and happened to have sunglasses on. I was tearing up as the Madres walked out of the van and continued to do so as I watched them all line up to hold the blue banner reading, “ Hasta La Victoria Siempre Queridos Hijos” and march around the Plaza.

It was amazing. Thirty something years later and the women still come out every Thursday to fight for the disappeared. It is the definition of determination, courage, and strength. I was in utter awe, and so beyond thrilled to have been there to experience it myself. I felt like I was stepping back in time, imagining all of the hardships these women faced when soldiers had dogs and tear gas attacking them as they marched around La Plaza.

Today, they were warmly welcomed by tourists snapping photos of them, a few cameramen videoing the march (per their organization’s orders, I presume) – and a lovely band of followers singing and chanting with them. 

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*Below are pictures of Madres de Plaza de Mayo – Linea Fundadora. To explain this break in the organization that occurred years ago would take a separate history lesson. So for today, I’m just going to share photos of their march that occurs simultaneously with Las Madres Asociación.

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They say that to dream alone is only a dream, but to dream with others is revolutionary.”

– Hebe de Bonafini, previous President of Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo.

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Tango, Wine, and Other Misadventures.

I cannot believe we are about to hit the two-week mark. I feel like my journey has only just begun, but the weeks to come will only fly by faster. I’m bitter fourteen days have already passed. There’s still so much to do!

As per the tweeting request of my dearest older brother (he obviously recognizes my South American adventures are currently destroying his European ones), I will update you, my readers, on some of the exciting events that took place in the last few days. It’s a long one folks, so hunker down with your summer smoothie and enjoy the pictures accompanying my excursions.

Highlight #1

FLACSO (my program) set up a tango class on Friday night for us to begin learning the sultry and suave moves that ignite Argentine dance floors into an atmosphere bursting with passion.

The steps are slow, and fairly simple, but it’s all about the timing through the rhythm. A rhythm, mind you, that doesn’t seem to keep to a consistent pace. We may have stepped on some toes and bumped into each other as we circled around the floor, but I certainly had a blast. Shout out to all of my lovely male dance partners (and Laurie), who conquered the leading aspect of the dance.

Highlight #2

On Sunday, we all traveled to La Feria de Mataderos. Every Sunday, local vendors and artists set up shop on a few connecting side streets to display their work. It was full of cool trinkets – everything from jewelry to leather belts (and purses and bags and jackets) to olive oils and jams to delectable alfajores and postres.

I’m not getting carried away and buying souvenirs just yet, but now I know a new location to make these purchases. Plus, there was lots of dancing in the center of the streets. And little horses and llamas. I still have no idea why.

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So beautifully bright!

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Strawberries and sugar and popcorn, oh my!

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Tiny tiny pony.

Highlight #3

After spending the morning at FLACSO, a few girls and I decided that it was the perfect spring day to begin exploring the parks in Palermo. To warn you folks back home, there are a TON of parks in this barrio of Buenos Aires. Think Central Park in New York, but perhaps even bigger. They are spread out everywhere, yet all seem to be slightly interconnected.

We decided to enjoy some lunch and white wine before exploring the greenery. The fact that it’s (fairly) socially acceptable for four chicas to share two bottles of wine at 3:00pm on a Monday is just another reason why I adore this city. 

We only managed to visit two of the smaller parks. Perhaps when we are less giggly due to our alcohol-induced stomachs, we will frolick in Tres de Febrero and El Rosedal. I’m aching to visit these famous park landscapes.

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Highlight #4

Today, Sejal and I put on our big girl pants and took an adventure to the Correo Argentino (Centro Postal Internacional) so I could pick up the package my mom sent me. As much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE care packages – they aren’t highly encouraged over here. It’s not the fun walk in the park I had earlier.  First off, my mom had to go through many custom forms and payments just to get it across the ocean. Then today happened.

The international post office is located in Retiro, right by the water, in a fairly sketchy area of the barrio. Picking up this package felt exactly like waiting at the DMV. First, you have to grab a Numerito (ticket) like you’re waiting to order meat at the grocery store. Once your number is finally called, you slide them your package slip and pasaporte (my only acceptable ID), they stamp it a bunch of times, and then give you a receipt ticket with a 6-digit number on it. They tell you to go into the other room that is filled with people sitting down, waiting for their own number to be called.

Yes. After waiting to for a man to stamp your package slip, you have to wait again for another man with a microphone to call out your new number. There’s this open doorway that appears to be the entrance to pick up your package after your number is announced. It was all a bit sketch, like we were in the back of a warehouse slowly waiting to be slaughtered (okay, slight exaggeration) so we weren’t exactly compelled to walk through and find out if we were right.

It was quite the escapade to receive an international package. The entire time, Sejal and I hoped we were doing everything right, patiently waiting and listening for the mumbles that sounded like 851468 (I stared at it for so long, I subconsciously memorized it). I don’t know how to adequately explain how all of this was so complicated and confusing (cue in language barrier), but this independent excursion to pick up a simple package was quite the ordeal over here.

Upon receiving my package (yes, we got to go through that creepy door where men behind a counter are holding everyone’s packages hostage until you show them your receipt ticket), the two of us LIT UP. The man who gave us my package laughed at our excitement and told us to have a nice day. He had no idea the social stress we endeavored in trekking all the way over to Retiro and forcing ourselves to break out of our comfort zones. BUT WE DID IT.

To celebrate, we enjoyed scrumptious cappuccinos (expresso for Sejal) and chocolate treats at the Bonafide Café. Ashley even came by to visit because she loves us so much.

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Ashley lovin’ on top of my dulce de leche cappuccino. Perfection.

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MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

¡Ciao para ahora! Hm. Doesn’t have the same ring, does it…

No, but seriously. We are a Perfect Match.

Sure, the first jam packed subte ride was awkward, claustrophobic, with air stagnant in every car. And perhaps I got the taxi driver lost that first late night because I live on a super long calle. There are pickpockets during rush hour and dog droppings on every uneven sidewalk. Yet, despite all of these little details, I truly don’t have anything bad to say about my study abroad experience so far.

Which is a blessing and a curse.

It means that there must be more challenges on the way. Taking classes in Spanish, for example, will surely kick my butt come Monday morning.

I love this city. To be blunt, I’m convinced if Buenos Aires was on an online dating website – they’d totally date me. We are too perfect for each other.

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Our profiles would look exactly the same.

Interests: Traveling. Dancing. Eating. Dogs. Human Rights. Music.

My taste buds prefer: Steak. Wine. Bread and cheese. Coffee.

Loves long walks through beautiful parks, watching fútbol, and enjoying dulce de leche. Has a busy daily schedule, but always looks forward to family dinners every night. Can appreciate the significance of history and enjoys keeping up to date with current politics.

Seeking a significant other who is passionate about life, love, and delicious dessert.

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