The last ten days in Buenos Aires have been filled with exams, public transit, exams, and airplanes. I hardly had a moment to miss home or reflect during the whole period. I became a frequent Starbucks customer and popcorn snacker. But somehow that combination helped me through it all. I survived the busy time, and eventually, I found myself in one of the most breathtaking corners of the world.
On Friday November 18th, I camped out all day long in Starbucks. I began with a “café del día” because it is the most bang for your buck item on the menu. When I ordered, the barista misheard my name as alma, meaning soul, which I felt to be ironic after so many jokes leaving gingers as a soulless population. I drank my coffee slowly, as I wrote pages and pages of my service learning final paper. The day continued with my nose in my computer typing and researching. I took a break for the gym and to eat dinner with my host family. Otherwise, studying consumed my day.
Saturday November 19th followed similarly with more writing all day long. I enjoyed a Shawarma wrap for lunch and hid away in the café Dulce Charlotte with a cookie and coffee in the afternoon to motivate me. In the evening, I finally finished my service learning paper comparing the systems of service learning between Argentina and the United States.
On Sunday November 20th, I woke up and began my human rights essay. The essay focused on the history of the Mapuche people and their resistance to regain their territory and traditional style of life in the Andes mountains of Argentina and Chile. Once again, I camped out in a café for the majority of the day in order to write my essay. I took a quick break to FaceTime Annie before she left again for Russia, but otherwise, I spent another day nose in my computer.
On Monday November 21st, I headed to my final day of CLAYSS. Maggie and I shared cake with the staff and gave presentations about the work we had done. Overall, my duties for the semester were mostly for translation and to make contact with service learning organizations in the United States. In the end, we were able to make a lot of connections and accomplish a lot to make the web presence of CLAYSS more accessible to english speakers. Also, it was really rewarding to join the professional team of CLAYSS and have a work environment for one day a week.
On Tuesday November 22nd, I headed to FLACSO for a day full of exams. In the morning, I gave a final presentation for my service learning class and handed in my essay. Following the presentation, I ate lunch before heading to my final in Gender, Bodies, and Sexuality. The exam was a three-hour written exam in Spanish and was completely exhausting. Once over, I headed to the final day of writing class. In the evening, I returned home and ate pizza for dinner with Tony and Alexia at Kentucky. I also fit in a quick Skype with Annie before putting the final touches on my human rights essay.
On Wednesday November 23rd, I headed to FLACSO to turn in my essay for Human Rights class. The class continued its record of being extremely slow and unorganized. Every student gave a summary of their essay topic, this lasted three hours because the professor refused to cut off the students who talked for 20 minutes instead of the 5 required. Following this class, I headed to grammar to take a two-hour written final exam. After the exam, I said my goodbye to Leticia my wonderful grammar professor. I returned home in the evening to celebrate with a huge bowl of sugary popcorn and the house to myself because Alexia was on a business trip and Tony was with her grandmother for the night. I ate my popcorn as I finished my final video for conversation class and wrote a presentation to give the next day.
On Thursday November 24th, I woke up and put the final touches on my video and presentation for conversation class. Watch final video here!! Conversation class was extremely fun as usual. We spent nearly the entire two hours laughing through videos and giving the finals presentations. At the end, we took some class pictures to remember the Thursday afternoon crew and our fantastic profesora Lucia! I gave Lucia a huge hug goodbye and thanked her for a wonderful semester. I walked out of FLACSO finally free from the stress of final exams and headed home to Palermo Hollywood. Alexia was still out-of-town on a business trip so I made dinner for Tony, Anita, and myself. After dinner we made extra sugary popcorn and watched The Princess Bride, en español por supuesto (La Princesa Prometida)!
On Friday November 25th, I spent the day unwinding after so much stress the days prior. Finally, I was able to have a long workout at the gym, and I caught up on my week of television shows. In the evening, I met Alexia at Tony’s elementary band concert and we headed to an Italian restaurant for dinner with Alexia, Tony, and Alexia’s mother. I enjoyed squash raviolis and chatting with my wonderful host family.
On Saturday November 26th, it rained cats and dogs over Buenos Aires. When it thunders here, it sounds like the roofs are going to collapse. I am not sure if it has something to do with all of the metal roofs around my apartment, but this thunder is much more than “god bowling.” I hid away inside and watched Pulp Fiction for the first time. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, wow! what a movie!! Alexia and Tony had been at the pool when it started pouring, so they hurried home in the afternoon right about when I was finishing the movie. Tony knocked on my door and invited me to watch music videos with her on YouTube. Of course, I accepted. We spent the entire afternoon watching the videos of Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Little Mix, Sia, Selena Gomez and other female powerhouses. I quickly noticed that the body types of the singers for the most part were like high fashion models: tall and extremely thin. It took watching the videos with a nine-year-old girl to really realize what image they are all presenting. After our video binge, I headed to the gym to get out of the house for a few hours. In the evening, we ate dinner as a family and parted ways to sleep.
On Sunday November 27th, I woke up early (7 a.m.) and met Rosa at the Palermo Subte stop. From there, we caught a taxi toward the airport. A few hours later we were on a plane headed back to Patagonia. We arrived in Calafate in the afternoon and took a shuttle three hours away to El Chaltén. We were surrounded by mountains, lakes of a bright turquoise blue, and glaciers. In the evening, we checked into our hostel El Condor de los Andes and cooked a dinner of eggs and peas (the canned peas take the prize for the most bland vegetable I have ever consumed). We prepared lunches of ham and cheese sandwiches for our hike the next day as well. Everyone at the hostel seemed to be of the serious hiking sort and were all cooking high protein and calorie meals. We chatted with a few guests as we shared the kitchen. In the evening, I fell asleep in my top bunk of the co-ed dorm room for six, knowing that the next day would include lots of miles of hiking.
130 days in Buenos Aires has brought with it the mindset that my semester abroad is coming to a fast end. Now more than ever, I am cherishing the days I have left. I was so lucky to end finals week by jetting off to one of the post beautiful regions of Patagonia. Now I am treating every day with much more excitement, trying to fill each to the brim with productivity and cultural experiences. Although the end is close, and I will soon be missing my semester in Buenos Aires. Still, I can’t help but to miss my little pups in Nebraska and my family and friends as well.