Thirty days ago we landed in Buenos Aires with a plan to stay for one month to study Spanish and explore the city. It turns out that a month isn’t enough time, so we’ve decided to extend our stay for another two weeks. We’ll be in BA through February for a total of six weeks.
Everyday tasks have become so much easier due to the fact that we are more familiar with our surroundings and that our Spanish vocabulary and comprehension are increasing. The nervous feelings we had coming down here have all evaporated at this point. While there are daily bumps in the road, we certainly celebrate our victories. We seem to do a lot of high-fiving these days.
We love walking down our block to buy fruit and veggies on a daily basis. The fruit continues to be delicious, especially the mangos. Harry, ever the shopper, made friends with Javier, the butcher across the plaza from our apartment. He stops in several times a week as much for the conversation with Javier as for finding out what’s fresh and local. We’re continually amazed at how many sweet sweet shops there are – per block! Harry finally gave into temptation and has become adept at finding the tastiest sweet treats around.
Walking is such a big part of our world. While there are a million buses to choose from we prefer to walk as much as we can, oftentimes walking several miles a day just to run simple errands or to go to school. We like moving our bodies as much as we like seeing and hearing what’s around us. We also have some of our best Spanish sessions together while walking. It’s also a good time to hold hands.
There is a fantastic book in our apartment called “Let’s Walk!” It showcases sixteen different waking tours by highlighting places of interest like parks, churches/temples, noteworthy architecture and sites of political upheaval / triumph. We like the mini history lessons that accompany each section. At this point we’ve explored almost all of the areas.
We’ve also been on two “Free Walking Tours”. The three-hour tours, given by energetic twenty-somethings, were very informative and interesting with a subtle (and at times, not so subtle) political commentary on this society and government. Some of the topics included the Falklands war, the last military dictatorship, terrorist attacks, and the instability of the financial system.
Learning Spanish is tough. And rewarding. And hard work. It’s such a beautiful language and our goal of being able to communicate with locals pushes us every day to keep learning.
We are enjoying our Spanish school, VOS. We both agree that the social component is as important and beneficial as the actual lessons. We are in class together with a few other students three days a week. Taking a more intensive approach at this point would be too overwhelming for us. At this pace, we still have room in our brains to study at home… and while walking…. and while in stores…. really, everything we do is about Spanish so we are constantly “on”. There are learning opportunities every minute of every day.
Each week there’s one big activity for all the students, like a BBQ at the director’s apartment, dinner at a local restaurant or a wine tasting with inexpensive, tasty bottles of Malbec. We value the social time with other students from around the world while experiencing local culture.
We continue to enjoy the time we spend with Harry’s cousin Ellen and her husband Amin. They are wonderful companions and always up for an adventure! We met Merry and David, a newly retired couple from Boulder, at school. We’ve had fun hanging out with them and exploring new places. We look forward to catching up with them again in southern Patagonia in a few weeks. We’ve also met some wonderful people on the days we’ve volunteered (more on that later).
We hope you are all well and surviving the winter. xoxo