Well, I made it! A couple of cancelled and multiple delayed flights later, I arrived in Buenos Aires at 8:00 AM. Making my way through immigration and customs, it really hit me that I was in a foreign country for the first time in a few years, that I definitely hadn’t seriously reviewed any spanish since high school, and that I was alone for most of the day before the rest of the group got in.
So, I got a little nervous for a half second. Or more like half an hour.
I hailed a cab to take me to the apartment we would be staying in, and the driver spoke less english than I did spanish, but we worked it out. We actually had a good time trying to talk and laughing at our inability to do so well, and then resorted to listening to the Argentina v.s South Korea World Cup Game and cheering whenever Argentina scored– it was fun, and Argentina won, so people were in good spirits today.
I was given the keys to my apartment in San Telmo and started moving in. I am living with four other girls in this apartment, but they were with the rest of the group and weren’t here yet, so I decided to explore a bit.
I haven’t seen a lot of this city (I don’t think I’ve left this barrio), but I can tell you that I am pretty sure I am going to love it here. I can’t describe it well yet… The author of a book I’m reading describes Argentinians as Italians who think they are Britons living in France, and that also oddly describes the vibe the city as a whole gives off.
It is rustically European… or something. I’m going to stop trying to describe it until I have spent more time here, but I like what I have seen so far.
Something that I have noticed and hope is a consistent trend in Buenos Aires is the easy-going nature of the people. My spanish is bad, and most people that I have encountered don’t really speak any english. Yet, they are so kind and patient with me as I blubber through questions and botch sentences (I have shamelessly just used the infinitive of a verb twice… yeah.). They smile as soon as they hear my accent (I would love to know what it sounds like on their side of things), and nod and laugh with me as I laugh nervously.
At a cafe, the elderly man behind the counter was so amused by my attempts to ask him about the area that he gave me a free slice of cake “because it is sweet, like you.” So nice. All of the people I have interacted with thus far have been great, and I’m excited to meet more Argentinians and to work on my español.
Margaret Cheatham, a fellow photojournalism major, was the first of my roomies to make it into town, so we walked to a “supermarket” together to get some supplies. Let me tell you, two blondes walking around Buenos Aires together causes heads to turn– and I don’t just mean guys being creepers. We just really stand out… and we were chattering away in english… which didn’t help.
But, it was great having her there and seeing a familiar face. The rest of the group finally made it and the rest of the roomies showed up. Great group of gals. Unfortunately, however, we soon realized that we were the outcasts of the group. Our apartment is a few blocks away from the others, and the other apartments are… well, let’s be real, a ton nicer. Yet, the five of us are bonding breakfast club style and will move on with life, cause we don’t have a choice.
We had a nice dinner with the group, then a group meeting. Pat (professor and leader) is hoping we that we contact the subjects of our stories by tomorrow… so we are most definitely hitting the ground running.
Now, I’m exhausted and going to bed. I didn’t really get to sleep on the plane… I remember days when I could sleep on planes, buses, floors, you name it. But, now I’m old, or something. My knees were hurting so badly on the plane last night that I had to stretch my legs out into the aisle to sleep, only to be woken up by every person who had to walk by. Shaming.
Anyway, so I’m tired now and need to sleep. Here is the true shame of today: I didn’t take any photos. This is because a) I wasn’t sure about walking around alone and with a super nice camera on my person and b) I really wanted a chance to get a feel for the city without obsessing over getting great photos of it. This last point is a big issue for me in my work thus far as a photographer, and I will expound upon it on a later date when I’m not so freaking tired!
So, to close, this photo was taken this spring in my room (rather, my ex-room) at UNC. Everyone, meet Ernest, my stuffed pig. He’s awesome. I chose this photo tonight because I want to sleep in that bed right now. I want to be here, but in that bed.
Read between the lines: someone mail me that bed.
I promise I’ll post a photo of BA tomorrow, OK?!