Monday, June 23, 2008

first weekend in argentina...

Travel is crazy. After three days, it already feels like I've been here for a very long time... I feel comfortable in my home stay and am beginning to adjust to the schedules/habits of the family. 

I spent the weekend mostly exploring downtown with my friend Ilana who was studying abroad here during spring quarter and just returned from travels in Bolivia/Peru. It was wonderful to have my own tour guide to show me around! Downtown is chaotic, but seems to be a wonderful mix of Paris and NYC: tall buildings hover over the streets with Parisian windowsills and balconies and seem to have strong, old roots (in other words, I can imagine them as the life-blood of this city). Mostly, the people seem elegant, as they're popularly described in travel books and articles. But all of this romanticism is punctuated with neon McDonald's signs, blaring taxi horns, and public transit. City life. 

My host family is wonderful and friendly. They are vegetarian and keep a relatively strict macrobiotic diet, which means that they eat whole grains and avoid processed foods and most medications. (As a vegetarian of 6-years, I'm so thankful to find them in Buenos Aires!) It's been fun chatting with them about Hollywood, Barack Obama, and different places we've travelled. My Spanish is clunky and awkward, but hopefully as the weeks progress, the words will flow more freely (and correctly). The actual program began today and everybody at the University was so kind, albeit perhaps a bit too concerned with safety. I'm excited to actually begin improving mi espanol!

Highlights thus far: hearing Klezmer music--"musica klezmer"--at the San Telmo flea market; going to a kosher restaurant downtown with Ilana; eating home-made seitan; having internet in the house even though their wireless router is apparently broken. 

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