Hello there fam/friends/internet people.
It’s only been three days and I already feel like so many things have happened. Let’s walk through it.
Tuesday we had more castellano classes and some lectures from IFSA professors about different Argentine topics. I went to one about Human Rights which was really interesting. Argentina has some really progressive laws, including gay marriage and a law that lets transgender people get all of their state issued ID cards switch to the gender they identify with. Abortion’s not legal but there are progressive policies on lots of things. I also found a great lunch place called Tea Connection that’s a chain around the city. They had vegan sandwiches (with actual whole wheat bread and hummus and eggplant and tomatoes) and juices with ginger and it was fantastic. I’m hoping there’s one near where my classes are.
Then we got some more info from Mario on traveling around Argentina. It was great to hear about how long to stay in each place and he has lots of specific recommendations. This weekend I want to start planning a trip! Or at least planning weekends to travel since we got a list of when the three day weekends are. Then I went home and got there literally at the same moment as Rita’s entire family. There were 16 people there, two out of her three sons and their wives and children, her niece and her husband and their two kids and us. It was so overwhelming omg! The youngest kid was 1 and a half and his name is Augustin. Little kids with names like that are the best and we got along very well, as I chased him around trying to get him not to throw glass picture frames on the ground. The older kids mostly ate candy and watched tv and one came straight from soccer practice and had to shower. The adults were very nice and asked me about New York. One family said they were thinking of visiting between christmas and new years and I told them to go the week after that or they will be miserable. Hopefully they listen to me! One couple had been to new york as far out as the williamsburg bridge, so hipster! They talked and ate (lots of food here!) and it was a bit like a hurricane. Topics included: trying to help an elderly mother install an alarm system, vacation spots to go to without your children, school starting again, how cold it was etc. They left a little after 11 and will be back in two weeks (along with the 4 people who couldn’t come this time). Rita doesn’t have a dishwasher and they kind of make a mess so it took a while to clean everything up. The cleaning lady was coming the next day so we didn’t have to do the dishes but it’s a lot of work to host everyone so often. She loves it but it’s definitely hard on her.
On Wednesday we went to visit DiTella, another university that we can classes at. I woke up with a slight sore throat and it got worse by the end of the day. DiTella is the Belgrano neighborhood which is pretty far from me but they got a bus that took us from the orientation site to the school. DiTella is the best private university in the country and fairly small (a little over 1,000 students). It’s two buildings and a cafe and they have sports teams and a choir and college-y stuff like that. It feels very prestigious but the architecture is totally different than American schools, very modern with high ceilings and clean lines. They also have classes listed on a website that is somewhat easy to navigate-PRAISE! I think I’m going to take a class there. The bus took us back to Plaza Italia, in Palermo and I found a bus that would take me home. I took it in the wrong direction for a few blocks and lived to tell about it so whoo.
By this point, I was feeling kind of sick and hungry. I went to a coffeeshop around the corner from me that I’ve passed before and got as close as Argentina has to cereal: Yogurt (the yogurt here is kind of liquidy) with mango pieces, cornflakes, and raisins. As with everything here, it came with coffee and orange juice and glass of water. It was pretty yummy and so good to know about a place in the barrio. Then I went home (at like 4 pm) and slept for 5 hours. I got up, had tea, did some emails and went back to bed until 11 am this morning. I’m still not feeling great and I swear this cold is going around the city. Mario had one and had to cancel a chat and so many people on the program are sick.
Today I decided not to go see UCA because it was super early in the morning and I needed sleep. I’m still going to sign up for a class there and go check it out. I had to go in at two for a chat for the women of the program about staying safe. It was quite the glimpse into the macho culture of this place but at least they were honest. We had some free time before a placement test for UBA so I went with a friend to grab a snack. We were talking about male privilege and all frustrated when we saw a gay couple kissing at a table near us. It was a sweet moment and a reminder that nothing is simple, anywhere.
I’m feeling a little better and pretty much just have a runny nose now. Tomorrow we have 9 am spanish class which means crowded subway and all but it’s the last real day of orientation (we have just a few things next week) because next week will be all of the chaos of running around trying classes. I’m ready for the weekend and to get healthy!