“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore..”

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Translated:
“Syria: Obama’s War.
Once again, the US becomes the protagonist of an international conflict in a complex power play.”

For me, this newspaper headline is just one example of how differently the US is portrayed in Argentine media than in American news outlets, and vice versa. It’s just as common to read articles in The Economist or The New York Times lamenting Argentina’s current political and economic woes, which look very different (and not nearly as grave) when viewed from the ground in Argentina. The stark difference in perspectives coming from both countries has made it an interesting time to be an American citizen living in Buenos Aires. 

From ideological conflicts to disputes over Argentina’s debt restructuring, suffice to say that the current US-Argentina relationship is more tense than it used to be.

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Growing Up, Five Thousand Miles Away from Home

When I was young, the world was small and beautiful. To you, that may sound trite or simplified, and yet for me, that was just the way things were. My life, and everyone I knew in it, fit into neat little boxes that were easily understood.

The funny thing is, I don’t actually remember much about my childhood. Besides the trivial memories in which my small world was temporarily shaken, my brain remains hazy about those years.

Getting angry with my sister Megan, sticking gum in her hair, and then subsequently smearing peanut butter through it to get it out. Being childishly devastated when I learned that my dad was one month younger than my mom. Feeling guilt when I accidentally overfilled the upstairs bathroom sink, causing our kitchen ceiling to partially collapse. These were the small, harmless (and in hindsight rather comical) events that I considered upsetting enough to destabilize my otherwise balanced world.

It’s telling of the way our minds work that I only remember the details from the memories that I labeled in my head as ‘distressing’. It seems to be a trait of human memory that we can remember and emotionally re-experience events that have caused us distress in the past, while the happy memories slide further and further from our grasp. Is that overly cynical? I’m not sure. But in truth, I’ve realized that my childhood was too good, too idyllic, to remember. It’s no wonder my childhood memories are so sparse.

I used to read the newspaper. It’s funny to think about that now, that a young girl who knew so little about the world would sit down and read the paper. I only ever read the front page and the weather sections, since I couldn’t understand what other information a person could possibly need. And yet, some days, the paper never came. Strange, isn’t it? Yet I never questioned it.  My world was whole, and easily understood. If the paper didn’t come there was no blame to be assigned, nothing strange to wonder about. It just was. I was not raised to question, you see. That is only something I learned later, something I am still working on learning.

Years later, I learned that much of the world around me during that time had been carefully constructed by my parents, as if they were trying to build up a big enough wall around me so that the evils of the world could never reveal themselves. My mother confided to me that whenever I was told that the paper hadn’t come, my parents had actually hid it away due to some unsavory headline which my eyes were not ready to see and which my brain was not willing to understand. To this day, I’m not sure what stories were judged too inappropriate, which moments in history I missed because the protection of my innocence was deemed more important than the truth.

I remember coming home from school early on September 11th, 2001, an eight year old confused as to why I had to miss my ice cream date with my old kindergarten teacher. “Your parents will explain everything to you when you get home,” Mrs. Carella said to me.

My mom later told me that she hated that fact that she had to tell me what had happened. As a mother of three young children, 9/11 was something to be resented, not just because of the tragedy in itself, but because it had brought the real world crashing into our carefully built paradise. She was mad because she didn’t want us knowing that planes were actually capable of falling out of the sky, of failing. This was an inconvenient truth to which I was never meant to be privy.

You may shake your head incredulously, reading that. That the thought had never before occurred to me that a plane, a glorified piece of hollowed out metal barreling through the sky, could fall. And yet how would I have known that? My world had never before given me reason to think that was possible. Remember: I grew up not knowing how to question.

I’m not entirely sure when my bubble world began to crack. I used to think it was sometime during middle school, when kids began to talk to each other in hushed voices about secret things that they now knew about yet still didn’t understand. Or if not then, at least in high school, after I had come out of my shell and begun to acquire some life experiences of my own.

Yet now, I’m not so sure.

Something about being here, in this city of twelve million people, five thousand miles away from home, tells me that I have been in my bubble all along. You see, my incapacity to remember specific memories is not limited to my childhood. It continues to this day, and sometimes I fear that if I didn’t write anything down, my memory would be blank.

In short, I got lucky. Like the waves gracefully rolling onto the beaches of Maine, life has been gentle with me. Just like the slightly worn look of footprints in the sand that eventually get washed away with the rising tide, life has smoothed out the path for me whenever things have gotten a little bumpy. Do you resent me for having it so easy? For being the one to pull the lucky straw? Sometimes I resent myself, if that’s even possible.

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As I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day, she made a confession to me. “I hope you don’t mind, but when people ask me how you’re doing in Argentina I tell them you love it, but that you’re definitely out of your comfort zone.” At first, my mind instantly rejects this idea that I, the well-traveled and composed person that I see myself as, could possibly be out of my comfort zone here. I want to respond to my mother, “But I’ve never told you that, I’ve never said that was how I felt.”

But then, in that second, it clicks. You see, my mother is right, even though I don’t want her to be. I am out of my comfort zone here, out of my element, struggling to figure out where I belong in a city and country that is so different than my own. My whole life I have known my place in the world around me. Even going to college didn’t faze me, because I knew what I wanted to achieve and knew that college was a stepping-stone for me to get there.

However, in Buenos Aires, I don’t fit neatly into the puzzle. I am a foreigner, an outsider, no matter how much I learn about this beautiful country and the people who live inside it. For the first time in my life, I have made it outside the walls of my carefully constructed bubble world.

Coming here has made me realize that although my parents long ago stopped constructing my pretty world around me, I never stepped outside of it. In fact, I took up the reins where they left off, dutifully building walls up around myself that allowed me to feel in control and confident and safe and comfortable. I didn’t understand that before coming here, because I had never known what it felt like to be anything else.

My mother, in all her astuteness, was more right about me than even she knew. Not only am I out of my comfort zone here, but also my Argentine life does not match up to anything in my previous realm of experience. Sure, people are people and cities are cities and at the end of the day we probably aren’t so different, right? That’s certainly what I believed before coming here, and it may well still be true, yet at the same time my life has never been so different.

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Being here is for me is a breath of fresh air. Or maybe, better stated, it’s like a cold gust of wind on a fall day that you weren’t expecting. Chilling, at first, and yet it somehow leaves you feeling refreshed. For me, being here means finally confronting all those newspapers that I never got to read, all the truths I never got to know. Being here means realizing that there are some things in life that will never fall into my realm of understanding, and that that’s okay. Being here is being truly uncomfortable for the first time in my life, and being here is real life, unedited and pure.

Even now, though, I resist this understanding of my time abroad. Despite everything, part of me still wants life to fit into my neat little boxes. Part of me still wants to be the girl who believes that I can be comfortable with anything, to believe that life is easily understood and works out how it’s meant to, as if there were a teleological destiny for all of us.

But reality, I’ve learned, is much messier than that. I have been lucky enough to live a life in which I am able to assert that “everything works out in the end.” However, I’ve realized that saying that is like a slap in the face for all those people for whom life hasn’t gone as planned. The world can be an unforgiving place, and it’s definitely not easily understood. This fact holds true whether you’re in Argentina or the USA or Antarctica. It just took me traveling five thousand miles away from my carefully constructed world to figure out what I had been missing all along.

Cheers to finally being uncomfortable, and appreciating every second of it.

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Cementerio Recoleta

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In front of la Casa Rosada (Argentina’s White House)

Finally, a big thanks to these people for everything they’ve done:

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John Green Inspired Thoughts on Buenos Aires

I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.

-John Green, A Fault in Our Stars

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Ever wondered what it would be like to go to university in Buenos Aires? Read Up.

After a rather long hiatus, I now return to my blog to update you all on what my life in Buenos Aires has been like these past few weeks!

ImageThe picturesque views of Puerto Madero

I’ve now been in Buenos Aires for nearly eight weeks. And while on one hand that sounds like a long time, I actually feel like I’ve been here a lot longer. I feel like I know the city, even if it is just a surface knowledge. I have favorite haunts where I order café and empanadas while studying. I have bus routes memorized. I feel comfortable here. I’ve started using parts of the porteño accent in my Spanish, changing my pronunciation of words like “calle” from “cai-ye” to “ca-jay.” (But don’t be fooled, judging by the number of times I get asked ¿de dónde sos? on a daily basis, I still sound very American. Regardless, I continue my futile attempts to sound more porteño). I’m no longer overly paranoid when using public transportation, and when I returned from my long weekend in Rio de Janeiro (which was one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever taken), I felt comforted to return to the streets of Buenos Aires that I have grown to know and love.

In short, in eight weeks, Buenos Aires has started to feel like home, which is kind of crazy if you think about it. I guess it speaks to the adaptability of humans, that you can go from knowing almost nothing about a place, to calling it home two months later. In reality, “home” is really much more a state of mind than anything else, and I’m happy to add Buenos Aires to my list of places that I can call home.

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What else has been going on in the past few weeks? Besides the few trips I’ve taken (which I’ll write more about soon), what sticks out most for me are classes.

Entering the Argentine public education system has been a lesson in itself, and while I’ve grown accustomed to the different structure of Argentine classes, in the beginning it was quite the culture shock. To start with, the Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA) is home to somewhere around 300,000 students who pay the tidy sum of $0 to attend the institution. UBA also happens to be the most prestigious and highly ranked university in the whole country. To US ears, this sounds impossible. Free university education? 300,000 people? No way that could actually work.

Yet UBA, despite its various deficiencies, is living proof that this system turns out successful graduates. Free public education has been a hallmark of the Argentine educational system since UBA was founded back in 1821. Because UBA is entirely government funded, there are definitely issues with shortages of funds, which are most obviously manifested in the university’s infrastructure.  Some of the buildings are pretty run down and there’s not much modern day technology that’s penetrated the walls of UBA’s institutions (i.e. wi-fi, computer labs, projectors).

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However, infrastructure notwithstanding, I’ve been impressed so far with the quality of instruction UBA has to offer. The classes may be big and the classrooms themselves not so pretty, but students are very active participants in class and professors give challenging lectures, expecting students to be on top of the work. Argentines also opt for having longer classes fewer times a week, which means that most classes last for at least 2 hours at a time. I even have one class that I’m in for four hours straight (The only way I can get myself through 4 straight hours of Latin American history in the morning is with healthy doses of coffee both before and throughout class). The scheduling choice on part of the university probably has to do with that fact that all students are commuters. Even if you live in a student residencia-which is not the same idea as a US college dorm at all-the residencia isn’t located in the same place as your classes. In any case, most students live at home with their families in Buenos Aires and drive or take public transport to get to class. Personally, my commute times to get to classes range from thirty to forty-five minutes. (I will never again complain about having to walk to Car Barn for class at Georgetown).

At any rate, we came into UBA at a very interesting time: election season, both for Argentina as a nation as well as for UBA as a university. Now let me just clarify what election season at UBA is like. For Georgetown students convinced that GUSA presidential elections could not get any more intense/intrusive, I am here to tell you that we don’t know the half of it.

For starters, Argentina’s political climate is more diverse than in the US, and politics are also much more incorporated into the daily lives of Argentines. On top of this, UBA is essentially a haven for leftist, pro-labor, anti-establishment politics. To be fair, they have a diverse array of political parties represented, however this is the most prominent ideology at UBA.

You think I’m joking? Their school mascot is el Viejo Topo, a socialist beaver wearing a Che Guevara hat. Especially during election season, posters adorn every open inch of wall space, with signs proclaiming the victory of the left and the need to fight for workers rights. It is, in short, the socialist-fearing American’s nightmare. My favorite poster that I’ve seen so far is titled “Secret Map of Gringa (US) Military Bases in Latin America.”

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ImageMay I present to you all El Viejo Topo?

The political activism, however, does not end in the hallways of UBA. I distinctly remember my first class at UBA (during peak election season) when out of nowhere a group of politically organized and passionate students burst into our classroom and proceeded to hand out flyers for their political organization while simultaneously entering into a heated political debate with other students in my class about their differing ideologies. I was shocked the professor was willing to be interrupted like that, and for such a significant a period of time too! I soon learned, though, that this was standard procedure at UBA during election season; classrooms are interrupted as many as six times over a span of two hours to allow for students to advertise for their various political candidates.

The whole experience may sound crazy, and it definitely leads to a fast-paced, frenzied environment, and yet I love it. I love how much people here care about what goes on both in their school and in their country. I love how confident these students are in their beliefs, and I love hearing a perspective that I would never get back in the states. What I love most of all, though, is that students listen patiently to the presentations and then debate back with the student activists (or passionately agree with them).

It’s a school that fosters the constant flow of ideas and beliefs from many different political spectrums, and a learning environment that encourages—if not outright demands—broader engagement with what’s going on in the world outside the university. We don’t have anything like it in the US. (And this is coming from someone who goes to a pretty politically active school in Washington DC).

I came to Argentina to experience the world from a different perspective, and I’m definitely getting that experience at UBA. Of course, midterms are coming up in two weeks, at which point I’m sure my idealistic view of the school will quickly turn to resentment and despair as I realize I have to take actual exams in Philosophy and History in Spanish.

Oh well, one thing at a time!

Hasta pronto.

Here are some pictures from the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires. The exhibits were amazing!

ImageThis portrait is made entirely from string. String!!

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ImageNot string. (But still cool, right?)

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Caballito: A (not so) insider’s guide to la vida diaria in my neighborhood

Much like any other large city, Buenos Aires has dozens of distinct barrios within its borders, some of the most famous being Recoleta (site of the Recoleta cemetery, which holds the gravesites of Eva Perón and Jorge Luis Borges, among many other famous Argentines), Palermo (nightlife capital of Buenos Aires), and San Telmo (a barrio that boasts the most antique stores per capita in the world). Okay so I actually might have just made that fact up about San Telmo, but suffice to say they’ve got the BA antique market cornered. All three of these neighborhoods feature prominently in tourist guidebooks of the city, which serves as a stark contrast to my neighborhood, Caballito, which most likely is featured only as an afterthought, if at all, in guidebooks. Not because it’s a bad neighborhood, but simply because it’s a normal residential area of the city with not much going on in the way of tourist attractions. Strange as it sounds, I think that’s what I love most about living here. Caballito is a part of BA that, while off the beaten path, provides an authentic picture of life as a porteño. That being said, I now present to you the most noteworthy places Caballito has to offer! You can consider this my (very) unofficial guidebook to the off-the-beaten-path sites of Caballito.

 1. Sketchy “Omni-Bus” Store

This place is probably my proudest find yet in Caballito, and I don’t even know its real name. But trust me when I say that ‘sketchy omni-bus store’ sums this place up much better than whatever its real name might be. How I ended up there in the first place requires a bit of a back-story on the Argentine-US currency exchange rate (I promise I’ll try to not be too boring).

The current official exchange rate is sitting at right around 5.5 Argentine pesos for every 1 US dollar. However, the only reason the exchange rate isn’t significantly higher is because of the pressure the Argentine government is putting on the peso in order to keep it from depreciating too much. Officials are doing this in an effort to create some semblance of stability for the peso, however despite these measures Argentines’ confidence in the peso has continued to fall as inflation increases. (Argentina is currently suffering from one of the worst inflation rates in the world, although the government continues to distort these figures).

As a result, many Argentines would prefer to hold their savings in US dollars, since it’s a more stable asset. Only problem? The government has now essentially banned citizens from saving in US dollars. This has led to the creation of a black market for US dollars in Argentina, called the “blue rate,” which serves the dual purpose of offering Argentines the chance to obtain US dollars, while also providing those wanting to sell American dollars the much more attractive rate of 8-9 pesos for every US dollar.

Anxious to join this thriving black market, I set off one day in an attempt to find a “blue rate” company. However, I soon discovered that finding these currency exchanges was not easy since, surprise of all surprises, no one advertises themselves as black market money exchanges. Although slightly deterred by this revelation, I nonetheless persisted in my search.

After going into no fewer than four stores around Caballito and asking whether anyone knew of a place where I could exchange dollars, I was slowly but surely pointed in the general direction of an as-of-then unknown business.  A couple dead ends later, I finally stumbled upon Sketchy Omni-Bus store, which consisted of a storefront that was completely papered over so as to conceal the Omni-bus operations inside. After tentatively walking in I was rewarded with a victorious feeling once the woman working the window confirmed that they exchanged dollars. I happily exchanged my money to the tune of 8.5 pesos per dollar while simultaneously checking “participating in black market transaction” off my bucket list. All in all, I’d say it was a rather productive day.

 2. Kel Ediciones Bookstore

After realizing that I was already close to running out of books to read, I performed a quick Google search in an attempt to find a store that sold English language books in BA. To my complete surprise and utter happiness, I found that there just so happened to be a store one block from my apartment that fit these requirements! I have absolutely no idea how an all-English language bookstore is surviving in this city, but I’ve decided to not question my luck. I have also decided that I will do whatever it takes to make sure Kel Ediciones remains in business, at least for the next five months. I look forward to soon becoming their #1 customer.

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 3. Rio de Janeiro Subte Station

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is merely a public transport station—the Rio de Janeiro subte stop can provide visitors with a plethora of new experiences that are a must-do if you want to live an authentic porteño life. I’ve already talked a bit about the subte in my last post, but allow me to elaborate a bit more about my experiences with this station.

First of all, as I’ve mentioned before, if you were to Google the word ‘overcrowding’ I’m almost positive that an image of a BA subte car during rush hour would pop up. Although I initially thought our program leaders were exaggerating about this phenomenon, my first Monday at the subte station quickly confirmed their accounts. I was shocked as the first subte car pulled up completely filled to the brim, and immediately assumed that no sane person would attempt to board the car. I was quickly proved wrong as I proceeded to watch people quite literally take a small running start and then shove themselves through the doors of the car into the throng of people.

These daily subte travelers do not mess around. Even when the doors begin to close on their bodies that are half in/half out of the car, they use the doors as a kind of battering ram to further propel their bodies into the car. This may take as many as four times for the doors to open/close on them before they are finally thrust into the car. You probably think I’m exaggerating at this point, and to be honest I was half convinced I was imagining the whole thing the first time I witnessed it, but I promise you that this exact scenario repeats itself every day.

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I was so shocked/intimidated the first day I saw this that I missed three whole cars before finally managing to get myself onto one. Now, I am on my way to joining the ranks of the subte regulars as I unashamedly shove myself into the cars. (However, I have not yet worked myself up to allowing the doors to close on me…Maybe that will come later?) It definitely adds an interesting element to commuting, and a lot of the time, (when I’m not feeling resentful or impatient) I end up smiling to myself in the subte car about the ridiculousness of the whole thing.

 4. Coliseum Gym

Coliseum gym came recommended to me by my host-mom, Silvia, who described it as the most “economic” option out there. I initially had a rough time finding the gym, since it has the strange set up of being located inside of a movie theater. At the equivalent cost of $18 American dollars per month, this may just be the best bargain I’ve found since arriving here. Because of this I’m a big fan of Coliseum. However, at the same time, the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ definitely applies here.

For example, at Coliseum I rotate between two treadmills. One gives me a little electric shock every time I touch something on the monitor, while the other requires me to use a little dial to adjust my speed. I found out the hard way that this dial is rather touchy, as it nearly sent me flying off the treadmill after I tried to turn the dial slightly to the right, and then brought me to a sudden screeching halt when I tried to go back to the left. This has made me irrationally (or maybe rationally—you can decide) scared of touching anything while I’m on the machines.

Another interesting aspect of Coliseum is the faint and yet undeniable smell of movie theater popcorn that permeates the whole place. I have decided that this is a subtle and yet impressive marketing ploy on part of the movie theater, in hopes of trying to entice Coliseum gym-goers into buying movie tickets and over-priced theater food post-workout. It remains to be seen whether said ploy is working or not. While these kinds of interesting features of the gym have given me a little pause, the encouraging posters plastered all around the facility reminding me that I am currently in the best gym, with the best instructors on the planet (yes I swear it really does say that) calmly reassure me and assuage any doubts I might previously have felt.

While there are many other great sites to see in Caballito, I’m going to have to end this overly long post here. I hope you now have a new appreciation for all the quirky and wonderful places my neighborhood has to offer. In other news, I’m planning on heading off to Mendoza next weekend (Argentina’s wine country), so stay tuned for a blog post on that!

Hasta luego.

Here are a few photos from my zoo/graffiti-filled weekend!

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A Warm Welcome

A Warm Welcome

I arrived to my new home and was welcomed by flowers, a cute note, and my own set of (very ancient looking) keys–Argentina-themed key ring included.

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First Impressions: Street Art, Subtes, and Politics

The first thing I noticed about Buenos Aires was the graffiti. Unlike the swear words and unintelligible phrases that oftentimes mar the walls of city buildings and highway underpasses in the States, the porteños have turned graffiti into an art form, and with it they have transformed their city into a living, breathing work of art. Image Street art in action in the San Telmo barrio of Bueos AiresImage

From the upscale barrios of San Telmo and Puerto Madero, to the more middle class neighborhood where I’m living named Caballito, the city is covered in murals, smaller paintings, stencils and posters. The urban art gives Buenos Aires a character all its own. One moment you’re walking along a nice but rather unremarkable street, and the next you’re staring at a piece of art plastered on a random wall that looks more like it belongs in a modern art gallery than a street corner. Needless to say it’s made me want to constantly reach for my camera.

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I love this gigantic mural of Eva Perón, located in La Plaza de la República, a central square of BA (photo taken from Wikipedia)

On one of my first days here I pointed out my observations to my host-mom, Silvia. She told me that street art is actually a relatively recent phenomenon in BA that has only cropped up in the past thirty or so years since Argentina became a democracy. She explained that when she was growing up as a child in Buenos Aires, no one would dare paint street art or graffiti, since under the military dictatorships of that time all forms of protest were banned and civilians’ freedom of expression was severely oppressed. During this time, the streets of Buenos Aires were spotless, and the people were filled with uncertainty and fear. The reemergence of graffiti and street art in BA is in many ways a beautiful symbol of a people reasserting their ability to express themselves.

ImageMaybe that’s why as I walk around the streets of Buenos Aires today, the city and its people seem to scream at me with life. Not just due to the graffiti that adorns every open wall of the city, but also because of the young activists positioned on every street corner, urging you to vote for their political candidate of choice, and because of the daily protests that give a voice to groups from all across the political spectrum. Argentina has had a politically turbulent past, and I can’t help but think that Argentines are a people who don’t take their freedom of expression for granted. A recent confrontation I witnessed in the subte station, which is the nickname for the BA metro system, really emphasized this idea for me.

It was morning rush hour in Buenos Aires, which in subte terms essentially means you’ll be extremely lucky if you catch the first, or even second, subway car that comes your way. To say overcrowding is an issue is a gigantic understatement. (More on this later). As more and more people began showing up at the Rio de Janeiro station, it became obvious to each passenger that the likelihood of anyone making the next train, let alone the next three trains, was slim to none.  Although I had already resigned myself to waiting approximately forever until I actually got onto a car, it soon became apparent that not everyone was okay with the situation. All of the sudden, amongst the quietly waiting passengers, a man began shouting passionately at one of the station workers about the injustice of paying for a ticket and then being unable to get on a train. He raged that situations like this were evidence that the government needed to work more for the interests of the people. He also said some other things that I did not fully understand, but which I’m pretty sure could be summed up with two words: La injusticia!

My first reaction to this man was: ignore him, he’s acting out unnecessarily. Not so with my fellow Argentine passengers. One by one, everyone began to join in, complaining about the system and the overcrowding until the whole station was in quite an uproar. I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I witnessed what was clearly a cultural divide between Argentine and American society. The great thing was, the station managers didn’t lose their cool. They didn’t have the man escorted away or tell him to be quiet, as I’m sure would have happened in the States. Instead, a worker calmly brought out an official complaint form and had the man fill it out. I was again surprised when this proved to satisfy the screaming man, who then proceeded to calmly fill out the form. Once done, he walked over to the subte platform and shoved his way into the next car that came by, clearly sufficiently appeased. In my mind, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself and think: ‘Ah, the beauty of true freedom of expression in action.’

Although this man most likely came no closer to solving the very real issue of the overcrowding of public transport in BA, at least he voiced his opinions; at least he made himself heard. And, I’m not going to lie, after I got over my initial surprise and skepticism, it did give me a certain amount of personal satisfaction to finally hear someone voice complaints about the system out loud. It was a great lesson on how each culture has its own distinct norms when it comes to standing up for something you believe in. I’m sure I’ll have many more moments like these during my stay here, and I welcome the surprise I’m sure they will bring. I’ve only just scratched the surface of what it means to live in Buenos Aires, and I can’t wait and see what the next five months will bring!

Besitos y ciao!

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Already making a name for myself in the city!

Okay, just kidding. This is actually one of thousands of political ads currently blanketing the city. This one is in support of the current president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and says, “In life you have to choose: Movement for Victory.”

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