You Learn Something New Every Day!

Things I learned today:

1. It doesn’t matter how many years of a language you take or how long you study or how many times your profe writes “fantastico!” on your paper, the locals of whatever country you’re in will always be there to verbally kick you in the nuts as soon as you think you’re able to speak at the level of a 3rd grader.

It’s strange, because I’ve learned to say “Claro” after pretty much every sentence someone says to me, which directly translates to mean “Clearly.” Literally the opposite of clear. If you took a puddle of mud and poured in some marbles and then stirred in some macaroni and a couple bricks, that’s about how “claro” your last sentence was. Actually, I recognized about two-fifths of what you said, ma’am, but I’m going to say “Claro,” walk over to where you’re pointing and hope there’s someone over there who is more patient with a Spanish 3rd grader trapped in the body of a 20-year-old gringa looking for fruit. Thanks so much for your time.

Maybe I’ll start saying “sucio” instead, which means “dirty”. Then people will think I’m coming on to them and trying to make every word they say sound kinky. “The melons are over there.” “Oh, dirty.” Yep, that’s gonna happen.

2. Argentinians value alcohol over food, and pretty much anything else except maybe cleaning supplies. (Señor Clean gets the job done.) We went to the mercado today and I swear to you, their alcohol section was as large, if not larger than their food selection. You’re hungry, Gringa? Here’s some crackers, jam, and coffee. Godspeed. Oh, what’s that? You’re happy/sad/thirsty/apathetic/literally any other feeling besides hungry? Here’s about 8 million different types of wine, three aisles of liquor, and some sugary fruit drink to hold you over. Oy vey. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, but hungry is starting to become a part of my permanent state.

3. Until today, I was under the impression that deodorant was one of the few things on which the world was able to agree. This presumption came crashing down when I decided to bring a deodorant that was almost empty and opt to buy a new one in AR. Turns out, Argentina is too good for our normal glide-on deodorant. Silly Americans. The only deodorant they have here is aerosol-powered. I apologize, but having a frigid blast of floral-scented air shot up my arm is not my idea of a pleasant way to deodorize myself. Snooty Argentinians and their gusty armpits.

4. MILK COMES IN PLASTIC BAGS HERE. LIKE, IT’S A BAG OF MILK. I don’t get it.

5. Everyone in Argentina is an architect, apparently. Went to look for a notebook to use for my classes that start Monday. Out of the six they had to offer, five were on grid paper. WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING WITH ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY PAGES OF GRID PAPER? Not to mention the only notebook I could find with regular lined paper was 55 pesos. (That’s about $10 US for those of you who are less cultured than I am. I know, I’m super fancy.)

I suppose that’s all I’ve really learned today, but this seemed like a good format at the beginning of this post and I’m not about to change it. I got a siesta to take. Sorry dudes.

Also, I’m thoroughly aware this post is disappointing in comparison to my last entry. You win some, you lose some. Miranda- 1. Readers- 1. Tie game, kids.

Adios.

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Sorry, dignity.

 

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Sup guys? Yep, I’ve finally mustered up the willpower to compose myself enough to inform everyone of my oh-so-wonderful life in Buenos Aires.

Let me start by saying that I had empanadas three times in my first 48 hours in this country. I’m not mad about it.

I’m not gonna lie, guys. I have no idea what this picture is in front of or what cultural or historical implications it has, but it’s a picture of the group of students who are here with me. That’s all I got.

Moving on, the empanadas have been the highlight of my experience thus far. I know this is where I’m supposed to say that I am loving every second of it and I’m supposed to allude to my late-night experiences which are supposed to contain absurd amounts of alcohol and losing my iPhone and getting lost in the streets of this strange new place, and it pains me to be such a disappointment in this category. Maybe check back in a couple of weeks, but for now, I’ve been alternating between feeling like I finally know what’s going on and wanting to crawl into fetal position and listen to Taylor Swift on repeat. Dan Savage put it best: It gets better. Sure, I’m not LGBTQ, but it’s easier to identify with people who must feel so foreign in a straight white man’s world when you’re a gringa in a straight tan man’s world.

The thing most people seem to forget about trips like these is that the first week is never fun. Orientation, getting lost, culture shock, and trying to compose a sentence in Spanish while avoiding contact with the man making cat calls from across the way are not exactly my idea of “fun,” just to clarify we’re all on the same page here. That’s been my agenda for the week. We did go out once as a group, and I had two drinks. Count ’em: one. two. Very good. What can I say, I’m a little loca.

Buenos Aires is nothing like I expected it to be, but it is amazing nonetheless. Picture if NYC and Rome had a baby. (Only picture the baby, not the lovemaking, you sickos). That’s Buenos Aires. Big-city feel, tall buildings, lots of traffic and lights with oddly placed historic buildings with amazing architecture and incredible stories behind them. Rickety cobblestone streets, lots of kioscos selling candy, flowers, and magazines, and an incredible public transportation system. At any given time, you can see like five buses in a one-block radius. Pretty much the greatest thing ever.

The city is incredible, the coffee and empanadas are great, and my host mom is everything I could have wanted and more. Super sweet, funny, and hospitable. Yesterday we had housing orientation where we learned the customs of the houses and what is considered socially unacceptable, and many of the students were asking questions like “Why is there no hot water? Why did she leave me half a rotten banana for breakfast? What do I do with my hair in the morning? Do I carry my high school diploma around with me?” I can’t help but feel guilty while sitting in my hot bubble bath with wifi, empanadas, and perfect hair. (I haven’t yet gotten my diploma laminated, so that has to stay out for now). Seriously though, Cristina is great. She’s very patient with my mediocre Spanish and has helped me in so many ways. I still haven’t learned how to say “host mom” in Spanish, so I simply refer to her as my madre en Argentina, which tends to confuse many people whose parents apparently have enough money to fly to Argentina on a whim.

Only complaint I have is that there’s not a mirror in my room, so I have to use my laptop as a mirror. Basically, I look like I’m Skyping myself every time I do my makeup. “Hey Miranda, what’s up?” “Not much, just doing my makeup. What about you, Miranda?” Casual.

Anyway, enough about me.

Just kidding. More about me.

One thing that is kind of soul-crushing is the amount of skepticism I’ve been taught to have during my stay. About 75% of the orientation has been reserved to inform us of people here who want nothing more than to steal our innocence, our lives, and most importantly, our money. (What? We all have priorities in this world…) I haven’t yet witnessed the things they’re talking about; the people of Argentina seem perfectly decent to me. But the astonishing lack of eye contact is a little bothersome for someone who loves nothing more than to peer into the souls of those with whom I’m speaking. I’ll get over it, but expect lots of intense eye contact the second I’m back on (North) American soil.

So, friends. That concludes today’s public service announcement. I’ll try to post more regularly. Kidding, I totally won’t. I’m busy, dudes.

Que tengan un buen día.

P.S. I haven’t really taken a hot bubble bath, but I’m sure I could if I wanted to.

P.P.S. My obsession with John Mayer is only worsening with each passing day. Sorry, Taylor. Sorry, dignity.