I’m starting to realize that some things about me don’t change no matter where I go. I still am too tired to put my shoes in the closet at the end of a long day (sorry to mom and host mom). I still crave vegetables and get really bad stomachaches if I only eat carbs (come on, Argentina!). I still get so much work done on sunday nights. I still love coffee shops. I still play jewish geography with everyone I meet and I still stay up too late.
This all means that I was really tired today because I stayed up too late on a sunday BUT it was worth it because the weekend schedule totally throws you out of whack and because I spent a good long time with the list of classes and have more ideas about what I want to do this semester.
But first, the fun stuff:
Saturday night, my friend and I visited the Ateneo, a theater that’s been converted into a giant bookstore. I didn’t take any pictures but there are tons online. It’s so cool and there’s even a cafe on the stage! One of the universities is near there so if I wind up there it could be great for studying. Then we met another friend for dinner at Cumana, an Argentine restaurant that a friend who studied abroad here before told me about (Thanks Marlee!). There was a crowd waiting outside and a student from LA who is studying abroad too talked to us and told us that he’d been there three times in the past month or so. Strong endorsements. Luckily, we had one of those fortuitous situations where your party and the size of the one available table converge so our party of three marched right past the hordes (it wasn’t that long of a line). Their specialty is things baked in dishes called cazuelas and they were really good! I had one with grilled vegetables and I’d also like to try their desserts and appetizers. The food was also really well priced considering it’s a nice vibe (prices here are so inconsistent. You can pay the same amount for dinner or for one drink and the public transportation is 2,70 pesos aka under 50 cents). Then we got gelato at Freddo, a chain here that is so good!! They have tons of flavors involving dulce de leche and my visit there confirmed everything I’ve heard about Argentine ice cream, even though I got a stomachache because I really shouldn’t eat dairy. Then we went to a few bars but called it quits early (around 2:30), tired from the night before.
On Sunday, I woke up with grand intentions to go to the gym but alas, all gyms in BA are closed on sundays. I checked multiple in the area. Still in my gym clothes, I returned to my apartment to get the Guia T, my bff map and went walking to a park Rita told me about: Parque Centenario. In Caballito, a more middle class area, this park is such a sweet window into life in BA. Families were wandering around the big lake, having picnics (complete with mate and empanadas) and there were tons of cute kids learning how to rollerblade (they all wore one rollerblade as they practiced which is so weird). There was also a little flea market which was fun to wander around. Then I got a text to come to San Telmo to another market that’s only on Sundays. San Telmo is the oldest part of the city and I really wanted to go. I was a) still in gym clothes after my failed attempt at working out (people in this city do not dress causally) b) not in my neighborhood c) clueless as to how to travel d) hungry. I consulted my guia t, found a bus that seemed legit and crossed my fingers. I stopped at a drugstore and got a drinkable yogurt (disposable silverware is in short suppy here) and took the bus, leggings and neon pink sneakers and all. It was so worth it! The Mercado San Telmo is the enclosed space that’s open all the time and it has great little bookstores, a single origin coffee place, a health food shop that sells almonds (I bought a half kilo for snacking), and arts and stuff. Then there were so many blocks closed off and full of vendors selling such great stuff. I just looked this time but I’ll be back. The neighborhood looks super italian (not that I’ve ever been to Italy) but with a Latina color palate (grafitti, murals, mate mugs for sale, leather goods, empanadas sold out of crates). It used to be the nicest part of the city but the rich people fled to Recoleta after a yellow fever epidemic in the 1800s and I really liked it! We also found a vegetarian restaurant on a side street that was so good! They had salad with so many vegetables, not just a sad tomato and my friend got a lentil burger that I want to come back for. I came home and tackled class selection till way too late…then came monday.
Monday, July 29th was a special monday because all the Porteños had to go back to work and school after their version of winter break. My host mom warned me the subway was more crowded but I was not expecting to be packed like a sardine. I live 8 stops from orientation which is the center and I had to let one train go past because I couldn’t even fit on it. People are completely shoved in and I talked to people today who had to let 4 or 6 trains pass by before they could get a spot. People are really nice and there’s no need to hold the poll because you literally can’t move but it is not fun! It will be okay for this week but I definitely want some classes that start a little later to avoid this whole rush hour. Ugh. We also had our first IFSA spanish class and learned about how the people of buenos aires have a few verb conjugations they basically only use here. Cool. Then we had to go to UBA, the largest public university, to sign up for classes in Filosofia y Letras. UBA is really close to my house but far from where orientation is so it was a bit of a trek (but I took a different subway line and it’s way nicer and looks like a robot train and was built in China, naturally). The school is free for Argentines and the buildings are covered with political protest banners and graffiti. We had to register on paper forms and they seem to still be figuring out the schedule even though classes start next week. Some people were groaning about how it looked but it’s the best education in the country and I like seeing the spirit of the students as compared to the US. Tomorrow we got to visit DiTella, a private school which will be very different/more familiar. After signing up for classes (we can try them out and drop them till the end of august), we journeyed back (still far) for a charla with Mario about travelling around Argentina. He showed us amazing photos of different regions and gave really helpful tips about hostels and must dos. I can’t wait for my first trip!
Then I met with my academic advisor after a much need espresso which was free because the cafe didn’t have the proper bills to give me change (for a 20 peso bill). She’s a history student too so she had lots of good recommendations about classes. I need to figure out when everything meets and make a try everything/run around like a crazy person schedule.
Tomorrow my host mom’s children and grandchildren are coming for dinner! I’m sure it will be a lot but I’m really excited to meet them!