This past week, my dad came to visit me in Buenos Aires. I took the week off from volunteering so that we could travel around Argentina (and to Uruguay). I can’t tell you how good it was to see a familiar face, let alone to see my dad! He arrived early on October 11, and I took a taxi out to the airport to pick him up. He’s never been out of the country besides to Mexico, so this was a big adventure for both of us. It’s impossible to sum up the trip in a blog post, and I am thankful for the lifetime memories that we created together. For now, I will talk about two of the highlights of our week together:
1. My dad met my host family.
We had dinner together at the house on Thursday. Both of my host “parents” are able to understand and speak English fairly well. We’ve never spoken English together, but, seeing as my dad doesn’t speak Spanish, we spoke a lot of English on Thursday. I am thrilled that my dad was able to be part of one of the family dinners, but because everything was in English, it wasn’t as authentic as it could have been. This has made me think a lot about how my Spanish has progressed. Being able to communicate in another language is one thing, but being able to have personality and be yourself is a whole other game. I’ve gotten to know Jose and Estela through speaking Spanish with them. In Spanish, they’ve got really spunky personalities, and they bicker back and forth (in a loving way) like any couple does. But on Thursday night, everything was fairly tame, and because they had to speak English, a lot of their personality was lost. My first month or two here, this happened to me as well. When you’re fumbling just to communicate at a basic level, your personality and sense of humor are often the last things that shine through. I’m proud to say that I now feel like I can be myself, whether I’m speaking Spanish or English. I’ve started to make jokes at the dinner table and feel much more comfortable in my Spanish-speaking skin.
2. We went to Iguazu Falls (in Misiones, Argentina)
Tuesday through Thursday, my dad and I flew to Misiones, Argentina to see the world famous Iguazu Falls. These waterfalls are on the border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. They are absolutely incredible. On Tuesday, we went on an adventure through the jungle, which included zip-lining, rappelling down the side of a waterfall, and hiking. Our guide taught me a lot about the culture of Misiones, and the unique tribes and languages that are present in this province because of its close proximity to Paraguay. On Wednesday, we went to the waterfalls. THE waterfalls. We hiked all around them — every view that you have just gets more incredible. There’s a boat trip called “La Gran Aventura” that takes you UNDER and around the waterfalls, and we took full advantage of this opportunity.
It was very nice to be out of the busy city and to be surrounded by such stunning natural beauty. It is a week I will never forget. It’s hard to describe what my life is really like here in Buenos Aires, so I cherish the fact that my dad got to come and actually see what it’s like to live here.