My Argentine anfitrióna, Raca, doesn’t eat dinner. Instead, dinnertime in Buenos Aires consists of me eating and Raca watching me eat, both of us chatting while doing so. This was slightly awkward at first, but now I genuinely look forward to the meal, since I know that it is easily one of the best ways to practice speaking and listening to Castellano (the form of Spanish they speak here).
I’m actually quite proud of the level of conversation I’ve been able to maintain with my host mother. For instance—unless you’ve been off in some remote area for the past few weeks and didn’t hear the news—the world has a new Pope, and (spoiler alert) he’s Argentinean. Obviously, Cardinal Bergoglio (aka Pope Francis) is the talk of the town here in Buenos Aires, which carried over to our daily dinner chat few nights ago. The conversation eventually veered away from the pope and moved towards religion in general, a quite theoretical, philosophical, and certainly subjective subject. Talking about religion in English is difficult enough, but I must say that I left the table feeling rather pleased with my success at sharing my views and opinions in another language.
Consequently, while the question of a superior being looking down on us is a matter of personal preference, I must say that if there was a higher power watching over me at a boliche called Kika on Tuesday night, he/she/it must have been looking elsewhere for a few seconds when my digital camera was stolen out of my pocket.
This was easily the most lamentable instance I’ve had in Argentina thus far, but other than having to overcome the initial misery of being robbed, the general sentiment of feeling like a targeted tourist, and the inconvenience of having to purchase another camera, I realized the situation is more of a hassle than anything else. In fact, while walking home from school the very next day, I popped into a Disco (supermarket chain), where I FINALLY (and I mean finally) found peanut butter. I had been looking for this coveted American nutritional staple literally since the day I arrived in Argentina, and the timing of the discovery was particularly impeccable. While my camera was lost to the Argentinean nightlife, the supplement to my number one American food craving was found.
Discovering peanut butter in a supermarket is not a particularly life-altering feat, but it could not have happened at a better moment for me. The first smooth, creamy spoonful served as a reminder to take things one day at a time, which I think is especially relevant while studying abroad. Sure, my camera is gone, but in the scheme of everything that’s happened to me in Argentina throughout these past three weeks, it’s just a minor glitch. There are countless experiences awaiting me, and for every negative one there are endless positive moments that I know will override the unfavorable instances. Already since the incident I’ve gone on a graffiti bike tour around the city, searched for empanadas at six am after a night out, and went to the house party of an Argentinean who I befriended at a bar. I may be camera-less, but that’s not stopping me from capturing a glimpse of what living in Buenos Aires is all about.