Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Summarize the Most Intersting Week of Your Life

So the first day I got here I walked around Buenos Aires with Lucas, my host cousin, who spoke perfect English. I was feeling pretty good about my Spanish. I could actually speak better than I could understand, which is strange because it's usually the opposite. It's just that the Argentines have a CRAZY accent. Think of the difference between Scottish English and American English. It's been really hard to get used to, especially because I know I could understand better if I was in Mexico or Ecuador. But I did tell my host mom that my family used to have three cookies. I was trying to say chickens.

Then we drove home, to Coronel Suarez and I slept all the way there. I only met the other exchange student, Katia, from Austria, because my brother Carlitos was out with friends and my sister Delfina was in Rosario for the Field Hockey World Championship. Hockey’s a big deal here and hopefully I'm going to play.
Katia and I share a room so it is a little cramped sometimes but we get along very well and it is so nice to have someone who speaks English. We talk and talk and talk. She has been here for a month now so she knows where everything is and how to work the microwave and such important things. She’s been a huge help and I’m so glad we are sisters.

School: I started school on Tuesday but went with a Rotarian to get my classes figured out on Monday. I go to a private school and it is Catholic so there are pictures of the Pope everywhere. Schools here aren’t funded by the government and I was told that in most public schools there aren’t even desks. Not that my school is nice by American standards though either. We start at seven and go till noonish and then everyone goes home for lunch. Sometimes there will be classes in the afternoons.

I’m in a natural sciences class with about fifteen other students. The principal gave me a choice between natural sciences or some big word I didn’t know, so now I’m in the science class. It honestly doesn’t matter because no one pays attention here. Not even the American kind of not paying attention which is usually staring out the window. Nope. All the kids are in the back of the class room together, talking (and they talk so loud here, and all at once, with all these huge gesticulations) and playing games and circling all their desks. It’s chaos and I don’t understand how they learn anything but it’s nice for me because homework is nonexistent and I just get to be social.

I learned that there really are no rules in Argentina. Like for example, driving. They are maniacs. The streets are a food chain where you yield to the faster and larger object. My first day here I nearly met my end with a bus. But the upside is that very few streets are two way so most of the time you just have to look once to cross the street. And seatbelts are solely for decoration.

And lastly; certainty. I would love some of it. Between the language barrier and the Argentine sense of time, I never really know what is going on. For example the other day I slept in an hour past when school starts. I super flustered and so I got ready in a minute and walked to school. But when I got there my classroom was empty. A teacher told me that my classes didn’t start for another half an hour. Of course, and I thought I was late. Then I was told that there weren’t any more classes for the rest of the day (this happens all the time apparently, the teachers don’t show or the students all make a pact not to go). But when I went to a classmate’s birthday party that afternoon they asked me why I was at English or Gym? I’m just so confused.

I hope that wasn't too long but that's not even close to everything. Life here, in general, is good. I have up and downs but at the moment (thanks to my first run in nearly two weeks) I'm feeling really good about everything. I plan to just take everyday as it comes and do the best I can with it.

Thank you all! Un besito.

Oli (hahaha that's what they call me here).


  1. Congratulations, Olivia! I am excited about your experiences in Argentina and am so happy for you, thinking of you and wishing you a very wonderful and educational experience this year!

  2. I have a smile as I read your blog.

    The "cluelessness" does lessen, but will never completely go away. You will learn how to be so damned flexible, you'll swear you're made of rubber. South America has their own sense of time and it's an uphill battle that you cannot win so you can only adapt. YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    How is the food and the area around you? How does it compare to what you are used to?