The First Week

I can’t believe we’ve already been here a week!  I won’t always do this, but since we packed so many interesting sites and events in this week I’m going to try to recall it day by day.  It’s pretty much flown by.   This week we spent a lot of time trying find all of the important places and get familiar with our neighborhoods and school.  Plus my roommate and I made it to our apartment!  It’s on the 7th floor, and pretty much what I expected, the appliances and furniture are old, but the view is great and the landlord is very nice and helpful.  The best part of the apartment: the balcony has sliding glass doors that make it both a balcony and part of the living room (i’ll post some pictures at the end)

Monday after moving in we went on a tour of the city with one of our instructors.  It included a lot of the important buildings and places as well as some points of interest/tourist traps like la boca.  We saw the University of Buenos Aires (where most of our instructors went to school), both soccer stadiums, The Catedral de San Martin, The “Pink House”, La Boca, and the cemetary where Evita’s grave is among other important Argentines.

After the tour we stopped in a cafe for Submarinos (hot milk with a chocolate bar dropped in).  That night we ended up going back to the boys apartment where Josh and I were able to mastermind and prepare a dinner for all 8 of us for about 40 USD.   It was a great start to the week!

Tuesday was the first day of spanish class, and orientation at school.  School is about a 30 minute walk (or 20 if we basically jog) from our apartment.  On the way we pass the house where 3 of the other girls on the trip are staying.  Spanish class is intense and while I think it’s helping me remember a lot of what I’ve forgotten, I still feel like I’m missing a lot of basic phrases that would help me in day to day life here.  On the bright side, at least I’ve learned how to hail a cab and ask for coins at the grocery store (which is a whole new unfamiliar territory!)

Wednesday night was special.   One of my classmate’s is married to the guitarist of Yellowcard, who just happened to be touring South America and stopping in Buenos Aires this week.   Our whole group was able to go to the concert and we had a blast!  Everyone met ay our apartment to walk to the venue that we thought was about a mile up the street, but we had the wrong address.   We ended up askind a shop owner for directions to the actual venue (thank goodness for our advanced/native spanish speakers!) and riding a bus deep into the city.  We finally made it to the fenix teatro around 8, just in time for to see some of the opening bands before Yellowcard came on.  The crowds at concerts down here are very intense and into it.  It was the most fun I’ve had at a concert in a really long time.  After the concert a few of us checked out this English dive bar downtown with the band.  Our concert adventure basically started at 5pm with people arriving at our apartment and ended at 5am.

Thursday was an early morning starting our immigration/student visa process before Spanish class.  Our criminal background check appointments were at 1030.  I have to say, the whole process was one of the most efficient government processes I’ve ever experienced.  We were done by 11.  DMV’s in the US or the City of Phoenix could probably take a few notes from this system with quick lines and numbers.  I took the Subte (subway) home with some others from the group and was pleased to find that there is a station on m street about 5 blocks from my apartment.  After class we discovered a small shop that sells precooked empanadas that need to be warmed for 5 minutes, and every kind of home made pasta you can think of.  Hopefully we’ll be going back there soon.

Today I navigated the Subte again by myself to meet Josh at the mall to run some errands.  Shopping and managing cell phones in Spanish isn’t exactly easy, buy it was a successful trip. The intensity on the streets and at the malls even during the day is pretty impressive.  I’m not sure what a typical Argentine work schedule is, but it definitely leaves time for errands and leisure.  We also started to notice some of the products of cheap labor here.  Most pants only come in one length at the stores in the mall, I’m sure because tailoring is cheap.Also, while we were eating we noticed that even in the food court where people are ordering fast food on trays, there are busboys to clean the tables.  There are a lot of small differences like this compared to an American city of a similar size

And now for the pictures…

*I am pretty awful at having my camera handy for picture of people, so some of these (mainly the group shots) are borrowed from facebook thanks to Hussam, Rachel, and Andrea

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