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Study Abroad Diaries: Buenos Aires Or Bust

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve arrived in this familiarly strange city. Each day comes, and each day night goes after a noon of lessons.

Welcome to Buenos Aires 101.Take out your pen and notepad. Class is in session.

First, how to navigate the city. I fail the first exam. I have no way of telling North from East. My compass is broken, but I know what bus to take Southwest. That would’ve count, if I had gotten off the wrong stop. Time to walk back.

Following lesson deals with Argentine Spanish and my Los Angeles dialect. Vos queres una frutilla? Google translation: You want a strawberry? My translation: Tu quieres una fresa? Yes, food is something I can pick up. Please teach me how to cook? We don’t have any spices here. Sorry, I’m going to have to skip this class. Can I get an incomplete instead of failing?

Lunch hour and the smell of empanadas overwhelm my senses. I rather have some fire on my taste buds after eating an enchilada, and then cool it off with a McFlurry. I spotted a McDonald’s around the corner with a T.G.I. Friday next door. There isn’t enough time to run there and back to class. The bell rings.

Field trip time! There’s more learning to do outside of the classroom. Buenos Aires offers more than what is sung in Evita on Broadway. There’s a life in the smile of host mothers, passion beyond the tango being danced in a milonga, and countless dishes of meat. Don’t ask where it comes from; oh, and vegetarians are welcome too. Everyone is. Each Argentine I’ve met wants to meet, to learn, to teach each and every person visiting their country. So I pull out my pen and jot down chicken scratch. There may be a pop quiz next time and I can’t afford an F for the third time…

It’s been a little over a month. On the way, I pass a strangely familiar neon sign. Red and yellow flashing, tempting to have a bit of familiar in me in this strange city… I’m home with an empanada in my bag, and a McFlurry in hand.

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