I’ve been here for over two months, I realized today and that is 100% crazy. It also means that I’m about to experience my second Argentine season: spring officially starts saturday.
This week has been pretty normal with some fun events peppered in. Monday was not so fun because it rained all day and was really cold. As they do in BA, people literally sat in their beds. I’m very good at doing this so I sat in bed except for a quick trip to a café for lunch and a trip to my gym for a health exam. Get this: to be a member of my gym, which is part of a chain, you need to take a health exam, I assume for insurance. But they schedule it not when you first join but about a month or so later. Totally logical. My id card, which once worked, stopped working and I was told it was because my health exam was due. Okay. The exam, which a real doctor administered, involved a questionnaire, checking my pulse (actually), taking my blood pressure, calculating my BMI using a website, and an EKG that was actually super legit. Still don’t understand this policy but my heart is healthy so great! Then I had to leave the house yet again for a meeting with my IFSA academic advisor which was pretty pointless. Ugh.
Tuesday it stopped raining but was still pretty cold. I went to the gym and class at DiTella. I have my first midterm on October 1st for my class there so it’s getting real. We talked about the effect World War II had on decolonization and it was interesting, but long.
On Wednesday, I ran some errands and did some homework, and grabbed a really pretty lunch. It took 40 minutes to come which is weird because everyone else got their food first including people who got actual cooked things. Rolling with the punches, it’s good for you right?
After class on Wednesday, I went to the Alto Palermo shopping mall to meet my new college buddy. In class, we read the short story Esa Mujer, by Rodolfo Walsh, a famous author/journalist who is a desaparecido. Nobody knows where his body his. The story is about how the government that overthrew Peron took Evita’s body out of Argentina in secret and kept it in Italy for years (20 years!). Not even Peron, her husband, knew where it was. She’s now buried in Recoleta but wasn’t there until 1976, I believe. It’s so so crazy that things like that can happen: she was an icon, a first lady but they knew her body would be a powerful pilgrimage site. As my professor pointed out, Argentina’s longest democracy is the current one and it’s only been around 30 years. Always weird to think about. She’s an Argentine teen applying to US colleges and we were set up through EducationUSA. We met at starbucks, obvio, and had a really nice time. She’s applying to 6 US schools, including Penn and wants to be a chem major (RESPECT). She’s really well organized and asked tons of questions about dorm life (she thought you had to move all of your stuff out over winter break) and living with your friends and choosing majors and more. She also has an Italian immigrant great grandma who makes homemade pasta and sauce and my new goal is to befriend them all so I can eat that. She also talked about how food in Argentina is too meat heavy and how she likes to eat vegetarian lunches. #preachgirl.
Today was my long day but not as long as last thursday, phew! I had aerobics, then class at IFSA which including a history documentary and fun chats. Having a three person class is really great and informal. It’s all penn kids so we always discuss what foods from Penn we miss on our lunch break. Today was all about Copa. Omg, how I miss Copa. UGH. I had a little break so I stopped at my usual café but the waiter who gives me cookies wasn’t there so I just had coffee without cookies which is really not as good. During my UBA class, we had mate so I was tided over until dinner. We discussed different conventions on the rights of children and how they reflected the values of the country’s directing the conferences. We also looked at the reservations Argentina had about certain conventions, one was about abortion (claiming all of the children’s rights started at conception) and the other was about international adoptions (right after the dictatorship so there was great concern that adoption would lead to trafficking or worse). Tomorrow I’m going to a documentary screening at UBA about women and the dictatorship with Nora which I’m sure will be horrifying but interesting. There’s also a food festival this weekend and hopefully some brunch will be had.
The warm weather makes walking from place to place so much nicer and I’m getting more used to being alone a lot of the time. It’s weird to make so many decisions by yourself. I’m very used to asking my roommates or my sister questions about outfits, plans, etc. Analyzing a text message with a group is a time honored tradition. Here, I get dressed in a room without a full length mirror (the only one is in the apartment lobby) and my choices are limited. I have a phone that takes years to text on and use it only for making plans. Rita and I know none of the same people so gossip/goings on are rarely shared and all the Penn stuff I find out through friends or facebook. Since my closest friends here don’t go to Penn, the updates don’t have a willing discussant. It’s an odd way of living for sure and not one I would want permanently, but I’m learning from it and for that, I’m really grateful.