I am now in the midst of my third week living in Argentina and have started to develop a (semi) normal routine adjusting to the new culture and lifestyle. The way the school is set up, classes are Monday through Thursday which allows for a nice 3 day weekend to explore, relax, and just enjoy whatever you fee like doing. Each Monday through Thursday is relatively similar albeit a bit different day-by-day which provides some stability and uniformity to make the weekends worth living it up, reasonably. This being my last undergraduate semester, I had the thought that this would be a reasonably easy semester since I would have four classes (two in English) and all of my credits would be counted as transfer credits (aka just need to pass). My daily schedule would indicate something quite the opposite… Every morning I’m rudely wrested out of bed by my alarm clock at 7:45 or, when I’m lucky, 8:00 am. After getting ready for the day it’s a quick breakfast of café, cereal, and pan con frutas and then I’m out the door to what I can only hope is an on schedule bus.
Most morning I’m not so fortunate to have a bus arrive within 5-10 minutes so the waiting/bus game commences. This is where about 30 people crowd around the bus “parada” and wait until they see the bus. Once that happens everyone begins to jockey for a favorable position so that they be better suited to claim one of the “coveted” spots on the morning bus. This translates roughly as a spot where you are half in the bus and half out because of how crowded the bus is. Great game to make friends and practice your, “Disculpes”. Needless to say the buses are crowded and from what locals tell me, “It only gets worse in March”, huzzah hurray. After a jostling 15-minute bus ride of complete silence, it’s a quick four-block walk to the school. I’ve gotten to the point where the security guard and I are on quite cordial terms and so I look forward to the friendly, “Ah Timoteo, como estas?” and a brief discussion of weather and current events with Elias (aka the cool security guard). When I say “cordial” I do actually mean a good dialogue because nearly everyday I’ll stop and we’ll talk for a good 5-10 minutes, it’s wonderfully exciting. He actually informed me today that he will be going on vacation in the south of Argentina starting tomorrow so I won’t have that nice little oddity to start my day for a while, though I wish him a splendid holiday. It’s about right after this point where the day starts to not be as easy as I originally planned.
Two hours of Spanish daily x four days of classes + (only speaking Spanish at home and at most places) = Wowness of the Espanol variety. For some reason I had neglected to pay attention to the “Intensive Spanish” component of the trip when I signed up for this and now wish I had, how silly of me. Intensive can best be used as an understatement. I think of intensive similar to trying to pay attention to House floor debates on C-SPAN, but this is a whole different animal. After somehow managing through my daily dose of classroom Spanish it’s time to grab a bite to eat. This is where it always differs and I’ll be sure to write more on the culinary capabilities of the school but I will say that if you ever find yourself in Buenos Aires, look up El Buen Libro (It has nothing to do with books but a lot to do with really good subs at really good prices). Following lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays I have an afternoon, 3-hour class that is akin to a night class but in the middle of the afternoon (Muy horrible), but the other days is reserved for either sightseeing/walking around new parts of the city, taking a siesta, doing copious amounts of homework for Spanish, or bumming WiFi at some local café after buying the cheapest café on the menu.
That’s all for now. In the coming week or possibly later I’ll be writing about Chinatown and the Chinese New Year, upcoming trip to an Estancia, and other quirks and things of an Argentine nature.