Majors: Spanish Education & English Education
Spring 2017 Semester in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The first few days of Buenos Aires have been new, overwhelming, and exciting. Everyone who studied abroad that gave me advice told me this, “Sometimes you just have to laugh it off.” That has never been more true..
laugh about it
Because if you don’t, you might cry. Lol, just kidding. You probably aren’t going to cry, but you might hold it all in and become frustrated and start feeling overwhelmed. Two of the biggest obstacles so far that have been great to laugh about have been Public Transport and Language Barriers.
I’ve never really taken public transport besides the train to Chicago and a taxi around Chicago. So image being a first-timer to buses, subways, and trains. And then imagine doing it deaf. Because if you imagine doing it deaf that might equal being in a new city with busses that don’t have scheduled times, no wifi, and no bus routes. Factor in that you don’t completely know the language, and you are golden.
I’m just making light of it all. It is hard, but it’s funny. It is also one of the best feelings in the world when you finally get it right. I was so proud when I got me and my roomie from our house to the bus stop and then I got us off at the correct bus stop! We were geeked!!
The funniest moment on public transportation was today. We checked where we needed to go and what stop to get off right before we left home (because we don’t have Internet on our phones and wifi isn’t reliable) and headed for the bus stop. As we were standing by the door to get off the bus the door didn’t open. AKA we couldn’t get off at our stop. The older lady next to us (all in Spanish with the help of some hand movements) told us that we had to push the button on the rail so that the driver knew he needed to open the middle door at the stop. Go figure. We looked like such tourists with our backpacks and we for sure looked like idiots as we stood right in front of the doors and were dumbfounded when we couldn’t get off at our stop.
But we laughed a lot about it. Plus we also learned the word for bus stop, which is “parada” and its likely engrained in our brains now, haha.
It’s fun and challenging communicating in a language that you partially know but want to learn. It’s very common in Argentina to “solve the world’s problems” (as my boyfriend says) which in my mind means to talk about everything that you probably wouldn’t want to talk about at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Whenever someone from here finds out that I am American, they ask, “So what do you think about Donald Trump.” It makes me laugh every time because it is sort of an unspoken rule back home to not bring up politics, EVER. It’s even funnier to try to swerve the question or try and answer it in Spanish!
So far my best conversations have been with Taxi drivers. They have also been the conversations that I have been the most fearless, as in unafraid to make mistakes.
There have been two really funny word errors that I hope you guys will giggle at. The first was by our friend Peyton. She was eating lunch (around 4 pm here) and they call it “merienda” which is their word for the time between lunch and dinner where you have a small snack and some tea. She meant to ask, “are they having merienda” but instead she asked, “are they having mierda.” In case you were wondering, “mierda” is shit. We are still laughing about that one.
The second error was by me. Today I was talking to my host mom and I was trying to say, “Yeah, you have to have balance in life.” But the words for balance in Spanish are not interchangeable like they are in English. What I mean is that an account balance and balancing work and school aren’t interchangeable in Spanish. So I said “saldo” which is an account balance, or total, and I should have said “equilibrar” which is what I meant. Basically, I said to her, “You have to have (account balance) in life.” I know, I’m so cool and deep. She looked at me like so confused and then laughed. I laughed too, of course.
The best part about everything being new is that you don’t fail, you learn. Each experience is a hilarious story that you can’t wait to tell your friends.