Hello to my faithful followers!
I arrived in BsAs nearly a week ago and am currently living in el capital (downtown) with my first host, Cecilia, a 74-year-old guardian angel, as well as another Connecting Worlds intern. This week has felt something like a year. It started with what was supposed to be a 15 hour travel day turned 30 hours due to less than ideal fog conditions in bsas resulting in a rerouted flight to Uruguay. From Montevideo, our collective American Airlines ensemble hopped on a bus up the coastline, sprinted onto a ferry (quite literally, I ran after any person that I recognized from the flight) and finished the trek crossing the Rio de la Plata onto Argentinian soil. When I finally made it to the apartment, I was greeted by Ceci and a plate of fresh spinach empanadas (pictured below).
Ceci and I spent the following day sorting out various nitty gritty details—I purchased a new SIM card, exchanged my USD for Argentine pesos, activated my Subte card (for riding public transportation), got my bearings in the neighborhood, and bought groceries (apples, hummus, a loaf of bread, almond milk, and, drum roll, a big bag of yogurt). Argentina, along with many other South and Central American countries, exist on a completely different schedule than we do in the states. Breakfast is at 10am, lunch no earlier than 3pm, followed by a siesta or tea time (aka mate or coffee and crackers) between 6-8pm, and finally dinner around 10pm. It is not uncommon to reserve a dinner table for midnight especially on the weekends, and boliches (discos) typically don’t open their doors until 2am. Bsas is a culture of nightlife, though I have found myself in bed asleep by 11pm most evenings. It’s also winter here on the other side of the equator and everyone is ~Bundled Up~. Having grown up outside of Chicago, I would have guessed it to be below zero based on the amount of parkas and mittens I pass on the street, nevertheless our lowest temperature has been a hefty 45 degrees, which I have thoroughly enjoyed in contrast to the terrifying 110 degree weather in Nashville currently.
I have spent the first week commuting to a local Spanish school in the neighborhood of Palermo (which I have been told is the East Nashville equivalent in Buenos Aires). Outside of class, the school hosts group activities such as asados (barbecues), fútbol games (which I did participate in despite my raging disinterest in sports) ((and honestly, I loved it)), and this coming Thursday we’ll participate in an empanada cooking class
Last Saturday was the first training session for new doulas at the association. While I am still navigating the language barrier (especially the Argentinian accent—double l’s and y’s are pronounced “sh”), the other doulas at the meeting were incredibly welcoming and we spent the morning around a kitchen table sharing mate and various homemade treats. On Sunday, I met up with Ana, the woman who will be my second, and primary, host here. She began the doula association 10 years ago and currently runs lactation and postpartum classes out of her home in Vicente Lopez, a suburb just outside of downtown BsAs. We spent the afternoon roaming around a weekend street market and found creative ways to communicate via google translate when my Spanish skills fell short. I am frequently confronted by the growing pains of learning and living in a new language. I have become incredibly aware of the role body language plays in communication and am frequently challenged to set aside my self doubt and engage in opportunities to speak and practice.
This coming week contains a double holiday, aka every grade school student’s favorite sentence: Four Day Weekend. On Saturday, I plan on attending the show of a local “noise pop” band recommended by one of my teachers, and on Sunday I will pack up my suitcase once more and move up north to Ana’s home. Next Tuesday will be my final formal Spanish lesson before I am thrown to the wolves (but instead of wolves they’re just really patient, caring hosts and their families), and Thursday I will begin in the hospital shadowing an established doula. Poco a poco se va lejos!
Without further adieu, a few sentences from my Sentence A Day series:
June 6: I may not know nearly enough Spanish, but when everyone starts collectively cheering on a ferry during an intercom announcement, I know that it’s time to text my driver we’re close to arrival.
June 7: Yogurt comes in a bag here and I spent the majority of my day thinking about that.
June 9: My Spanish teacher loves Mitski and that gives me hope for making friends here.
June 13: I played soccer with a 102 degree fever and afterwards someone told me, earnestly, that I was really good,,,,,,so fever dream? or have I missed my true potential??
Until next time, nos vemos.
I would like to now give a shout out to Juju, I loved dog sitting for you four years ago, be in touch.