Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Coming Home: Life After Study Abroad

Being home has been great and well, weird. It's a bit like walking back into a life that isn't yours anymore. Despite how it felt, people moved on with their lives while I was gone. My sister's belly has gotten so big! My brother has moved into his own place. Even the animals have gotten chubbier. While at first it was a bit disorienting, it's now become more and more evident that things won't be the same way that they were before I left. Because not only has everyone else changed, I've changed and that's a bit hard to deal with.

Sharing some Argentine culture with my family!
Luckily, the usual boredom that accompanies returning back from an exciting trip abroad will be short 
lived, because I have so much to look forward to! With a baby on the way, a million friends to reunite with and my final semester of school fast approaching, I have no shortage of things to do. 

One of the biggest things that has come with coming home though is the questions! Which believe me are not a problem because I could blabber on about Argentina for hours (oops already do!). But there are some really common questions I get that I know find hilarious because they seem so obvious after having lived and breathed the Argentine lifestyle for four months. So I decided to address the most common questions I get!

Question 1: Did you just stick out everywhere as an American?

Like most big cities, Buenos Aires is a total melting pot of cultures and ethnicities. But it turns out that Argentines, at least the ones in BA are generally very "white." Like the United States they are a country of European immigrants and the majority of the indigenous people were marginalized and live in the rural areas. So, in short I didn't really stand out from the locals that bad, until I started talking that is!

Question 2: Did you just eat Mexican food all the time?

I did a post previously on the most common foods I ate in Argentina, but generally it was a little bland in flavor compared to what I'm use to (lots of Mexican). Not to say it wasn't good but sugar and salt were the only spices we really used.

Also it was SO MUCH BREAD. Pretty much everything was breaded or involved bread in the meal. Now I love bread just as much as the next girl but it took it's toll. Besides bread, every meal included meat and a lot of it. Argentina is not a vegetarian friendly country!

Question 3: Did your family speak English?

If you haven't seen some of my previous posts, you should know that I adored my host family. They were a huge factor in making it an incredible experience. Fortunately, my host mom spoke English which allowed me to have more in-depth conversations about the culture, politics, history that would have been impossible with my limited vocabulary. But I spoke to my host Dad and sisters only in Spanish which was great practice!

Overall, I was surprised at how few people spoke English in the city. In the tourist areas it was pretty common but once you venture out you are probably on your own with whatever Spanish you can speak.

Now that it's done I'm excited to get started with my next adventure! As of right now the plan is to go to Spain/Italy? this summer. I've also applied for a Fulbright Grant to teach English in Malaysia but that wouldn't be till January 2015, if I get it. Even though I'm not totally sure of my future right now I'm excited to see what happens!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Fair Well Argentina

In just a few hours I get on a plane to leave for home. I'm feeling such mixed emotions I don't even know what to say. It's that bittersweet feeling of being happy to go home but know that you're leaving the place that has become a home. In a rare moment that I don't have words to express what I'm feeling I've decided to just put pictures of my favorite memories. Disfruta (enjoy). 

Making music videos with these girls.
Finding this girl again after 10 years.

Getting shushed in a museum

Hiking in the Andes

Hanging out with tigers

The countless selfies JJ took on everyone's phones.

Swimming in the ocean when it was 50 degrees out.

The multiple attempts to break in at Recoleta

The fear is real.

Seeing this in real life!


Feeding a baby tiger.

Everything about this night. Oh Mendoza.
Family dinners, even by flashlight

So many things happened on this trip and we all changed so much. It's clique but studying abroad taught me so much about myself. I'll never forget you Argentina! Now just wish me luck that my flight all goes well this time!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Chau Chicos!!

Before coming to Argentina I had thought about all the amazing things I would do, the beautiful sights I would see, and the adventures I would have. I never really factored in who I would be sharing all of those experiences with. While I think I prepared myself to miss my family and friends back home, the fact that I'll be going home is always in my mind. What I didn't think about was all the wonderful people I would meet and all the relationships I would make during my time abroad.

Taken by the guy with a broken arm, hilarious.

Today I said good bye (though not forever!) to my gang. It was a bittersweet moment because as much as I want to be home, I don't want to lose all of these people. Over the course of four months we've shared so much more than what usually happens between friends I've had for years. Now that this is over, they will be the only people who can really understand what all the name, Argentina applies when we say it.

We've shared countless laughs together and tears too. Together we've watched each other become different people than we were before we stepped off that plane and into this adventure. It's a bond I never expected to be making but I'm so glad I did. There are a lot of great people I've met here that I will probably never see or hear from ever again but I'm happy I got the chance to meet them. I hope that they got as much from our relationships as I did from them.

Gotta love our gansta poses.
Even if my group never gets back together again, though I really hope we do, I just hope they know how much I love them. We're a family and they helped make my experience here in Argentina what it has been. At the end of the day I don't think I'm going to remember the frustrating times but rather the great times and the bond that we created.

I thought I would come home from Argentina more experienced about the world and with memories of cool places I saw. But it turns out I'm coming back with something so much better, a whole new set of people to love!

So if you're reading this, remember it's not chau it's nos vemos because we will see each other again!