Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Patience is a Virtue

Patience is extremely useful when living abroad or trying to deal with basically anyone in a foreign language. Before coming to Argentina, I thought I had quite a bit of patience. I mean I could wait for my order to come at a drive thru for a whole 7 minutes and not complain. I could wait in line at Walmart for 10 minutes and not throw a fit. But after living here for the past three weeks I realized that meant nothing!!

Before I get into my rant I just want to clarify that I do still love Argentina. I hate it here sometimes, but I am also learning so much about myself and about how to adapt and be an adult. Sometimes I want to cry and other times I want to just punch the guy who works in the bookstore, but dealing with these emotions has helped me grow as a person and I know will benefit me enormously in the future. But on to my stories.

I have been able to deal with every meal taking an hour or more. I have been able to deal with the elevator occasionally deciding not to work when I need to go to the tenth floor. But what has really rubbed me wrong is trying to buy my school books.

The Taller 4 (read tah-sh-ar cuatro) has become a place of frustration and tears for myself and most of the international students over the last few weeks. Just when I thought I was okay doing everything in Spanish, this place came along. At a normal University, you can go to the bookstore, show them the list of classes you have and have all your books magically appear. Or you can go to Amazon or Chegg or a multitude of other sites to order or rent your books online. Not so in Argentina.

All of our books are literally copied off then bound on these giant copy machines in the Taller 4. So on top of massively contributing to global warming and the killing of trees they deny you the ability to get your books anywhere else. But when you take them your class list and point repeatedly at the class number you need the book for saying "Necesito un libro" like a broken record all you will usually get is a shoulder shrug and the person walking away.

This happened to me twice and the third time I found out they didn't have the book I needed but got no further explanation of how to get it. Nearly in tears and frustrated I left again with not a single book I needed. The fourth time (today) I brought along a friend that spoke enough Spanish to explain the situation. This time they had one of the books I need (though the other I had been trying to get was apparently in the bookstore at the school all along! UGH!!) so I asked to have one copy of it and paid the man.

The cause of all this hoopla.

Then patiently, as always in this infuriating country, I wanted to be given the book I had just purchased. Well, I waited and then waited some more and watched several others come and go. When Morgan (my friend) asked the guy where my book was he just shrugged again and walked away. This happened, I kid you not, five more times before we finally got the manager to speak to us in English. We explained that I had just paid for the book but never got it. Turns out it hadn't even been copied off yet! So after another 20 minutes we finally got my book.

The whole experience was beyond frustrating and made me 20 minutes late for class. I hadn't accounted for it taking 40 minutes to buy a book. The language barrier wasn't even what caused all the trouble this time because Morgan was speaking in Spanish!

Thank God she came with me to explain or I may have been going back for my fourth time to just yell at them in English that they didn't understand. Luckily the whole mess is over and I don't have to ever step foot in Taller 4 again, hopefully.

It was just one of those instances that exceeded cultural barriers and went straight to being rude. I know that my Spanish is bad and I don't understand what a lot of locals say to me. But I'm here to LEARN so cut me some slack and don't ignore me because my Spanish sucks! Geez!!

Okay, that's the end of my rant and I came home to have a nice hot cup of tea and a banana with dulce de leche which made my day exceeding better. Dulce de Leche can fix just about anything.


No comments:

Post a Comment