Sorry, I know this is long, but there are pictures at the end!
Gosh, so much to say about life here in Buenos Aires, it is really nothing like my life back home. I guess I´ll just go ahead and describe my day…
Got up at 8:30ish, did some yoga in my room, showered, dressed, ate breakfast.
(I mentioned this before but I´m living with a woman and her two dogs in the neighborhood of Belgrano. It´s pretty close to Palermo which is a popular neighborhood in Buenos Aires with many resaurants and bars and places to shop. Belgrano is more of a residential area, very calm for the most part, and safe. I live with Marcela, a psychologist and massage therapist who works out of her home. She also gives reiki treatments. I´m definitly going to be needing her services sometimes soon I think. She is short, with short dark, curly hair and lots of pep in her step. She is very patient with me and my intermediate spanish. Her appartment is humble, with just the right ammount of furniture. I adore her two dogs, Uma and Lola. One night when there was a lot of thunder, I heard Uma whining outside my door, I let her in and she rushed under my bed, I guess she didn´t want to be alone.
As part of the program, Marcela provides me with breakfast and dinner everyday. I recieved a stipend from SIT for my lunches. Today I ate out at a cafe, a sandwich with cheese and tomato and a cafe and medialuna (small, sweet crosoint) for about 30 pesos, less than 10 dollars. Her boyfriend, Marcelo (how perfect right?) is a vegetarian and makes sandwiches and pastrys from his home and delivers them. He offered to deliver vegetarian sandwiches to me at school, def going to take him up on that. 🙂
I live here but it doesn´t quite feel like home, I didn´t even feel really at home this summer living with my parents either. I suppose that must be part of growing up, it´s time for me to fly away and make my own home.
Being here is really forcing me out of my comfort zone in so many ways. First of all the language barrier. All of my classes are in spanish which is crazy cause I am learning about human rights and development issues but I know that there is a lot I´m missing. Marcela only speaks spanish, that is interesting sometimes…we are both patient but sometimes our quizzical looks at each other trying to explain something go on too long and we just have to say “no es importante”.
I know I am experiencing culture shock. So much changing in such a short period of time. I can feel myself on the verge of being emotional sometimes, mostly in the evenings, and I just remind myself to breathe. I am finding myself very excited and hopeful though that this is a very very good thing for me, for my growth into an adult. I really have been asking for this kind of challenge for years and it is finally here. It´s funny, I actually feel like I am living like a monk. My room is very sparsely decorated, I didn´t bring a ton of my things with me, I am finding some solace in reminding myself of the big picture and why I am here. Ultimately it is because I feel that this experience will serve to make me a stronger, more competent, mature, aware person so that I may serve better. I can´t feel sad for too long when remembering this. I am homesick. I still want to be able to have my mother come into my room at night, bring me tea, read to me, tuck me in, and my Papa to come read Kirtan Sohila, touch my forehead with his hand and say “Good night kiddo, keep up”.
I´m keeping a journal which has served me very well so far, it has priority over this blog and I don´t have wifi at my house (I´m kinda glad because the internet is ultimately a distraction like right now when I should be reading for my seminar tomorrow, but it also makes me feel more alone, disconnected from the world, but it´s good. I have been too dependent on connection with people through this fake interaction that takes place on my computer screen).
Anyway, back to my day, so I had a breakfast of ceral, yogurt and fruit salad and rushed out of the house at 9:30 to ride the subway to school. I walk about six blocks to get to the subway station, Congreso de Tucman. From there I rode seven stops to Scalabrini Ortiz. The homebase here of SIT is I.D.E.S. (instituto de desarrollo y economico sociales) Institute of Develoment and Social Economics. It is about four blocks away from the Subway station in Recoleta. This morning we had our second seminar of the program theme, Regional Integration, Development and Social Change. I will explain that more when I start to understand more from our classes (it´s all in spanish so a bit of translation is required :p). Class was about an hour and a half/ two hours, then we had lunch. I went to a cafe just down the street. Was muy yum! It was fun to watch all the people go by. It is very common to see many dog walkers here with 7-10 dogs in a bundle behind them. After lunch we all followed Pablo, one of the program assistants on the subway to the first stop on line D, Catedral which is right next to the Plaza de Mayo. Three days a week we will be having our language classes at UBI (University of Buenos Aires).
Gosh so much to say, well blah blah blah, spanish class for two and a half hours was kinda brutal, but necessary. After class I wandered around the city on my own, exploring the Plaza and the monuments.