Thursday, June 26, 2008
The week so far has been pretty non-stop. I catch a train every morning at 8:45 near my house that takes me to La Universidad. I'm living in a sort of townhouse (it's part of a long line of similar houses) with Matilde, my host mom, her son Tomas who's 22 and speaks English very well, and Alberto, another visiting student from south of Buenos Aires I haven't talked to much. Matilde is great, very relaxed. I talk to her almost entirely in Spanish and she's been very accommodating of my few needs. I spend more time with Tomas and speak some English and some Spanish (there is certainly PLENTY of Spanish for me to speak around here). My first night (Saturday), I went with Tomas to his 18-year-old niece's birthday party at her house. I spent several very draining and disheartening hours stumbling through little simple conversations in Spanish. Since then, It's gotten a lot better as I learn some of the differences between Mexican and Argentinian Spanish and get used to common phrases and listening to people talk. It also helps that I've been spending more time with other kids in the program (including 3 from Harvard) during the week so I can relax and speak some English. A bunch of us went to a tango class last night recommended by another student's family and it turned out it was taught by my host mom's daughter (small world around here). It was fun and a "cultural experience" I suppose but I think I'm just going to go back next week and take pictures of everyone else happily having no idea what they're doing. I have a few pictures, but nothing very good yet, so next time...
Monday, June 23, 2008
I've now been in Argentina for a few days. Actually, today was the first day at Universidad de San Andres, which is very nice, comfortable (probably because it seems very American; it reminds me of Lakeside and Seattle Prep) and I'm sure will be a great place to study Spanish. On another note, there's a nice running path two blocks from my house and I'm making a point of running at least once every other day. The weather's perfect for it, very fresh and usually clear (so far) and it's a great way to observe some things. Every time I go outside, I can't help feeling like I'm in Seattle in October or November and I get these nostalgic flashbacks of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Little League Soccer games, Husky football games, etc. Part of it is the weather (chilly and crisp) but I think most of it is the smells. There's a row of Maple trees outside my house and the smell of their falling, decaying leaves is very familiar (I actually had to pick one up and smell it to decide if that's what it really was). There's also a fair amount of mud and wet grass/foliage with has a certain Seattle-like smell. I find myself lost for words and unable to understand quick speaking more often than not but I'm getting adjusted. I'm sure things will come more naturally in a week or two.