With my literature parcial passed, monografías handed in, and final presentación over, I’m about to embark on my last full week in Buenos Aires. Though it’s not really sinking in yet, the semester is indeed coming to a close, and at a much quicker pace than I’m ready for. While I’m beyond looking forward to seeing friends and family at home, a part of me selfishly wishes I could stay and everyone I’m excited to see could come here. This past Tuesday marked the official four months of living in Argentina and I’m honestly perplexed at how 120 days could go by so unbelievably fast.
In an attempt to evade my sadness surrounding my subsequent departure, I started to reflect upon the things about Buenos Aires that I’m not going to miss when I’m gone. And I came up with a grand total of……..two: the ever-present dog poop on the street (it’s hard to always walk with your head down to avoid stepping in it) and the Linea D subway line during rush hour and/or when it casually stops functioning (always when I really need to be somewhere).
While “things I won’t miss” was not exactly the successful compilation I was hoping for, I happen to be a passionate and enthusiastic list-maker, resulting in the shift from “what I wont miss” into its exact opposite. Hence, I now present the following musings regarding all that I love about this city and what I’m going to dearly miss when I depart:
Avenida Santa Fe / the 152 bus: This street is by no means the center of BA, but from day one it’s how I’ve oriented myself around the city. I owe it many thanks for helping me find myself, a lot. As for the 152 bus (perfectly named Olivos de Boca to make it that much easier for me to remember it), this colectivo goes everywhere and I’ll miss it.
The hours: Happy hour at most places lasts until 12 AM, leaving my apartment at 2 AM to salir isn’t considered abnormal, and returning home before 4 AM means it was an early night. And to think I was nervous about adapting to the nocturnal Argentine lifestyle before I got here!
La comida: From alfahores—dulce de leche sandwiched between two cookies—and their various varieties (the gluten free Chocoaroz brand is a personal favorite), to steak and parillas, to empanadas (carne, obviously), choripan stands on the street, fernet and coke, and discovering artisanal helado, the food in Argentina did not disappoint. It is by no means the best culinary city in the world, but the food this country is known for is done right.
Friendliness: The cheek-kiss greeting, house party/asado/previa invites, help from professors and other native students, and even the frequent “ayy, qué linda!” comment while walking down the street (honestly, it happens to be a nice confidence booster when a stranger tells you you’re looking good on your way out)—all the Argentineans I’ve meet have been nothing but kind and friendly. Also, many of them immediately abbreviate my name to Oli, which is a nickname that, when spoken with a Spanish accent, I’ve decided I am a huge fan of.
Being an extranjera: Four months later, I know that the first thing an Argentine will ask me when he/she finds out I’m from the states is “Te gusta Buenos Aires?” My go-to response is “Si, me encanta!” which always puts a smile on their face because they’re genuinely glad—and proud—that I love their city. I’m definitely going to miss that Argentine passion, which does not only include their nacionalismo, but more importantly, their fútbol team. Also, being from New York is actually a novelty in BA, which is certainly an appreciated change from Cornell. Sometimes it’s nice to not be from the same place as most of the people around you.
The little things: Getting a text on my Argentine phone and thinking it’s from an Argentine amigo but as usual, it’s a “dupli promo,” the guarantee that I’ll run into people I know all over the city (sure, BA is huge, but it never really feels that way), using “vos” instead of “tu,” being dependant on free wifi everywhere, and porteños wearing winter jackets, scarves, and boots when it’s 50 degrees outside (I’m always cold, so I really fit in well here)—these are the small things that I’ve come to appreciate about this city.
Host madre: Last but certainly not least, I am extremely sad to leave my incredible host mother, Raca. From having fresh squeezed orange juice and cereal already poured for me every morning because of her fear that I won’t eat breakfast, to our daily dinner chats, to her general life advice and wisdom, developing a relationship with Raca has been one of the most special parts of this semester and I cannot express how much I’ll miss her when I’m back in America.
While one list could never cover all that I’m sad to leave behind, I hope through my posts this semester I’ve conveyed how thankful I feel for the opportunity to get to know and love this city. It has been a remarkable four months and I sincerely believe I’m returning to America with a broadened perspective, life-changing memories, and hopefully a bit of porteña in me. Gracias to all of my friends in Argentina who have made this the best semester abroad I could have ever possibly asked for, gracias to my blog readers (mostly family, though I’d like to pretend random people across the world are interested in what I have to say), and gracias to my parents for always supporting me and not being really mad when I got my camera stolen the second week I was here. This has truly been the aventura of a lifetime and while all good things must come to an end, I have a feeling this semester was just the beginning. I don’t want to finish my last post from Argentina with such a cliché, however, so instead I leave you readers with a quote from my favorite book of all time, since sometimes J.K. Rowling just seems to know the best way to express how I feel:
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”