Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mundo Lingo and Meeting Locals!

I'm sure that I previously mentioned that one of the most difficult parts of being here is that I can't communicate with anyone. While I now know enough Spanish to get by: order food, ask the price of things, use transportation, etc. I still don't really know enough to have a full on conversation with an Argentine that doesn't speak English, which is most of them. But, it turns out there is a place for people with exactly that problem!

Mundo Lingo (mundo means world FYI) is sort of like a social mixer that happens every Wednesday night in the back room of a bar in Palermo. When you arrive you get stickers with the flag of every country whose language you speak. You put the languages in the order of your fluency, so your first language is always on the top. This makes it a million times easier to interact with people because you finally know how to greet them.

It's pretty intimidating to go up to an Argentine and try to initiate a conversation in Spanish when I am barely understandable. But here they are fully aware that you're not from here and you can also talk to people who maybe know a bit of English too.

I say that it's a social mixer because as soon as you walk in people will come up to talk to you. They want to know where you're from and why you're here. I still find it odd when people ask, "why on earth did you come to Buenos Aires." In case you didn't know, it's the second largest city in South America, behind Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. That makes Buenos Aires the largest, Spanish speaking city in South America. What better place than to learn the language!

I meet several Argentine guys that were all in college and could kind of speak English. The kind of part actually made it better because then I was forced to actually use Spanish. I've noticed recently I have a terrible habit of expecting people to figure English out when put in a situation where neither of us understands the other's language. But if I want to learn I better start figuring it out in Spanish!

It would be really awesome if we had groups like this at home. It's such a nice way to meet people from all different places and practice your language skills. Plus now I may actually get some Argentine friends!! (Not that I don't love all my American friends here still.)


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