Ups and Downs of life along el Río de La Plata

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It is early July, which means Buenos Aires has reached winter and I am experiencing a lack of snow for the first time in twenty-one years. Not to say it does not get cold, because it does, but it doesn’t get “snot freezing in your nostrils” cold. For someone who has lived most of their life in the Northern half of the US (not to mention a number of months in Spring-time Patagonia), cold weather is just a part of life, just as the months of ungodly humidity and mosquito breeding are a part of life. Buenos Aires certainly has the latter, but I’m yet to experience a true, winter. Porteños certainly believe very strongly in their winter. On the coldest days, people walk around with multiple layers and scarves pulled up to their noses. These are the days I’ll wear a sweater and throw on my jacket, usually zipped up. To me, forty degrees, just doesn’t merit a scarf up to my nose. I don’t even own any scarves in the States, much less in BA. I’ve had locals tell me that I must be freezing, because there are dogs more bundled up than I typically am. I laugh because Buenos Aires residents LOVE their dogs, (We’ll talk about the dogs that get walked in mass quantities while wearing jackets at a later date), and usually they are more bundled up than I am.

Buenos Aires does get cold, don’t get me wrong, but for someone who grew up waiting for the bus in the middle of winter in Upstate New York, or regularly went skiing at 10k feet in Colorado, or spent the better part of a season in Whistler, Canada, forty degrees is nothing. Recent days have been even warmer and we have more sun than rain as of late. Now that I’ve spewed all this criticism of the winter, we’ll probably get a record low cold-front, but in the meantime, if I want a proper winter, I’ll be hopping a plane to Bariloche or Las Leñas, or any of the other obscenely expensive ski resorts in Argentina. (Spoiler alert: Argentina does have mountains actually, they’re called the Andes). End sarcasm here.

On the note of expensive things, Argentina is an expert. Books are expensive, clothes are expensive, the delicious craft beer is expensive, and don’t even get me started on electronics. Seriously, everyone who is flying to Argentina should bring an iPhone with them, you will definitely make some serious money from selling it. Anyways, clothes are expensive, so when my upstairs neighbor in my last apartment decided to toss his still burning cigarette out his window and onto my jeans innocently drying in the window, thus burning a hole, you can imagine my annoyance. I finally brought them (today) to a modista (tailor), to be fixed. I know I ranted about the jeans in my last post, but, I’m still annoyed, they are my favorite jeans. Anyways, with those jeans still out of commission and a couple others getting dangerously thin in the butt area, I’ve been looking for others. Turns out quality jeans at a reasonable price are completely out of the question, so I’ve been wearing the same pair of black jeans almost every day, it’s a small price to pay to see the world, material products are overrated anyways. 🙂

Anyways, my father is visiting soon (YAAAAAY for a million reasons), so as soon as he confirmed his dates, I ordered a bunch of clothes online and shipped them to my parents’ house in Colorado. He works in various locations throughout the world, one of which is Santiago de Chile. We spent a week together in Santiago last September, so on this trip to Chile, he’s also going to spend a weekend in Buenos Aires with me. I am stoked to show him the city, all my favorite places (breweries), and more. He’ll be arriving in the dead of winter but lucky for him, he’s from colder places too. My mother and grandma will have their own trip in November with much warmer weather. Buenos Aires has become home for me and it is very different from the place I grew up in, I want my parents to see the city I live in, to better understand my life here.

One of the reasons I love Buenos Aires is the sheer amount of knowledge and culture this city has. There are more bookstores than I have ever seen in my life and universities are everywhere. People come from all over Latin America and the world to study here, thus creating a very worldly and educated population. I recently moved into a more permanent housing situation (one bedroom in a nine bedroom house) and my roommates are from France, Argentina, Finland, and Italy. I think there is a Belgian arriving within the next week or two. Perhaps the most exciting thing is THE CAT that lives here too.

The city is always advertising new museum exhibits, academic talks, university events, and more items of that nature. I cannot wait until my Spanish is at the level where I can truly appreciate everything that the city offers. It is also knowledge that is accessible to all the people. University of Buenos Aires is free for undergraduate degrees to everyone, not just Argentines. I may end up there myself eventually.

It is also one of the most visited cities in Latin America meaning the streets are often full of foreigners, many who look painfully obviously foreign (please try and blend in better so you aren’t a target to thieves). Luckily, the Argentine culture runs strong and is not lost amongst the tourism. My friends in Buenos Aires are a mix of foreigners and locals, and I have learned a lot from their diverse backgrounds. I love living with people from all over the world, it leads to a variety of opinions, experiences, and stories to share. And amongst all the differences, we realize that we are actually all very much the same. It makes the world smaller as it widens my mind. I have never considered myself to be un-accepting, but traveling as only made me more accepting. Peace will not come to those who sit at home with people who have all the same stories as them. We must push ourselves out of our the known to let our minds expand. If I have learned anything from my time abroad so far, it is that people are always the most important part.

My love for Argentina only grows, the beauty of Argentine men certainly does not hurt, and life is going well. I’m continuing to learn more about the history and complex politics of the country and I talk with as many locals as I can. I had a weekend in Uruguay recently, and although I enjoyed a peaceful, quiet night away from the city, surrounded by the hippies of one of the most progressive countries in the world, I was happy to get on that boat back to the madness of Buenos Aires. My life has been nothing but abnormal so far and I love where I have ended up. It gets tiring to always be the foreigner, the outsider, the one who’s different, but I would not give this up. I am right where I should be. I never would have guess that I would have ended up here, but life is funny, we never end up where we expected we would.

Plane tickets to Buenos Aires are expensive (imagine that), but nonetheless, I invite all friends and family members to visit me here. Good luck leaving though, people seem to get stuck in this city.

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2 Replies to “Ups and Downs of life along el Río de La Plata”

  1. Great piece Chloe, thanks for sharing and yes people are what matters most. I have been to BA and although a short visit thought it was an exciting city. Cuidate y como siempre ser Feliz
    Aunt Anne

    Liked by 1 person

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