This trip, although educational, seems to me more of a vacation. A vacation in the sense that I am being greeted by new experiences and journeys. It is a moment for me to recollect myself, and instill within me this newfound passion for studying abroad. An article I recently read was dealing with a Twitter post that went viral and was about a college guy named Thomas and a foreign exchange student, both of which attend Youngstown State University. Thomas simply shared an exchange he had had with the foreign exchange student detailing how Americans should be open to the world, and not narrow minded. In one of his quotes he states, “We are all so busy these days, sometimes it is easy to lose a little of our basic humanity and ability to connect with people”. In this same manner, I believe Thomas is urging people to get out from the same place you are in, learn about different cultures and customs and to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
Funny how I had to come all the way to Argentina to realize how Americans speak differently yet we’re all the same! For me, what set the tone for my travels, especially a study abroad, was this specific quote being displayed on the airplane screens, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” It was a quote from Gustave Flaubert that instills within me a pursuit of travel and to enjoy each moment I have in Argentina. I strongly believe within this short time frame since my arrival, I’ve done and learned so much. It’s changed me and made me grateful for all the things I currently am and will be.
Although I’ve gotten to familiarize myself with the Western hemisphere, my travels have never gone this far South. Additionally it was a complete change of weather and culture than I had been used to. It’s one thing to hear about culture, and another to immerse yourself in it. Growing up Mexican, and having that culture strongly impact my quotidian day of life meant a lot. But being open to this new, farther experience of travel, it has opened up my mind to view things with new lenses and a fresh perspective. By setting yourself up in these situations, you get out of your commodities, and force your bubble to extend to new ideas, new things, new EVERYTHING!
There were new sights, smells and flavors all around me that were/are great to take in. SOL has really pushed me, and made me get my daily steps (via a pedometer) in. We travel to various spaces, and see a plethora of things. Most of which are bases to Argentinian culture. The first day of my arrival, I was greeted by Beatriz (the SOL adviser here in Buenos Aires). First impression was that she was very kind and pleasant. One thing is to read something online, but another is to actually practice it, I say this because Argentinians, and most Latin Americans are known to greet each other with a kiss. This practice was familiar to me, because in Mexico they do the same. You may not know the other person, but you greet them with a kiss to demonstrate amiability and manners. Here it is the same thing, but everyone greets each other with a kiss on the right cheek, even the guys. That part to me was the most peculiar, but one must assimilate to the culture. I greeted Beatriz with a kiss, and she took me to meet my chauffeur who was going to take me to my host mom’s house. He was really nice as well, and we talked about how it was living here, and his take on the culture. It was a very enjoyable time and great to talk to a native for that long about something they were passionate on.
Although I was excited to begin my venture around the city, the first thing I did when I arrived was gave a kiss to my host mom, and greeted her. I let her know how my travels were and spoke honestly to her. She showed me my room, and I met my roommates. It was honestly great to meet new people and see who I’d be spending these next few weeks with. I showered, got ready, and ate dinner with my host family. The food was also very different in the sense that I am not used to eating non-spicy meals, so this came as a shock to me. Besides this minute detail/difference, the food is very tasty and savory – especially the empanadas. This first week has been met with excitement and curiosity. Excitement and curiosity to learn more about other cultures, people, and experiences. Tango and gauchos were included in these new experiences, and lots of markets. And as we all know markets = shopping and lots and LOTS of walking. Cardio is a must here, and really pushes a healthy lifestyle. But by moving, you get to new experiences and see the world from a whole new narrative….
You learn to appreciate all these small moments, and realize how little your world and your time is here on this Earth. A quote for my The Office fans is one spoken by Andrew Bernard that resonates with me whenever I do something new, “The weird thing is now I’m exactly where I want to be. I’ve got my dream job at Cornell, and I’m still just thinking about my old pals. Only now they’re the ones I made here. I wish there was a way to know you’re in “the good old days”, before you’ve actually left them. Someone should write a song about that.” The way I interpret this is to enjoy every moment that you’re in. You might be going through a rough patch, but each moment is worth living and enjoying. Although I might be in Buenos Aires for a short time, I’ll be sure to enjoy every moment and soak in the friendships and laughter that I’ll have here for life.