Saturday, June 22, 2013

I've Never Been so Happy to Wake Up Where I Am

This morning when I woke up I was so genuinely happy to be where I was. I was so comfortable, and I don’t mean physically comfortable because it’s winter here and there’s no heat, but mentally I suppose. I felt like this is where I’m supposed to be, exactly where. Feeling at home has always been a foreign concept to me, but here, I almost think that I finally feel at home.

So let me fill you in on what it’s like! First of all, it’s more than I could have ever imagined, expected, or hoped for. My host family has this huge, beautiful, classic Argentinean home. On one side, it’s their home, connected but on the other side, is the students’ space. I live with a ton of other international students! Our side of the house has about 15 rooms and 4 floors. In the middle of our house there is a giant, beautiful, dark green winding staircase that goes up all 4 floors that is open, as in no roof. The rooms basically circle the staircase on the first and fourth floors. The third floor is where our houses connect. It’s the kitchen and it’s so beautiful and classic. Covered in Argentine décor, and get this! DELFTS BLUE DUTCH DÉCOR! (Seriously, how can it be?! Loving it). On the roof there’s a roof terrace where we have asado (barbecue) every Sunday with the family! On the terrace as well, there is an enclosed space where you can go if it’s too cold or raining or something. (We spent all night in there last night playing Argentinean card games).  I’ll post pictures so you can get a visual!

Roof Terrace!

Our staircase looking down to one of the bedrooms.

The landing going into the kitchen.

Our staircase!

It’s winter here, and since our house is pretty much open, it is freezing and there is no heat. The temperature yesterday was somewhere around 40 degrees, with no heat in the house… just ponder that for a second. But you know what? It’s so cold and unchanging that I actually got used to it really fast and didn’t really even notice it after a while. I know, crazy because I’m the girl who never stops complaining about being cold, but I guess I just had to experience this, and get some thicker skin.

That’s the structure of the house, here’s the life: we eat breakfast in the family kitchen anytime from 8-12 in the morning, and dinner with the WHOLE family (ALL the students, and our host parents) at 9:00PM every night. Sundays we have asado on the roof! We have two full bathrooms on the first floor and I think the boys on the fourth have one. (The guys live on the fourth floor and all the girls on the first). We also have our own kitchens where we can go and cook and eat and such when it’s not breakfast or dinner.

Right now there are five students still living here from last semester. They all leave within the next week though. There are only three of us who have just arrived but there are five more coming (4 girls and 1 guy). It’s me, and two boys, one from Texas and one from Maryland. We basically just explored yesterday and ate too many empanadas. Right around the corner from our house is a little empanada shop, where you can get like 12 different kinds of empanadas. One of the housemates who has been here took us on a tour of the city yesterday and showed us how to get to school (which is only about a fifteen minute walk, and a beautifully scenic route at that) and we stopped to get some empanadas first. I had an Española—no idea what was in it but it was good. Later on, one of the boys and I were hungry, since dinner isn’t until 9:00, so we went over and got some more. They’re only 6 pesos, which is less than a dollar, meaning that I WILL be coming back to America 50 pounds heavier.

Let me just stick in a section here about the language. So EVERYONE in this house speaks fluent Spanish, yup even the two guys who just got here when I did. Also, my host parents don’t speak English. Has anyone heard my Spanish, yeah… NOT FLUENT. So I’ve been stumbling a bit, but it’s almost borderline hilarious. Dinner last night was quite the experience. Sitting around the table with 9 other people who are fluently having all these conversations with my host parents who speak a mile a minute and me just starring around trying to grasp the overall themes of the conversation was ridiculous. I didn’t speak more than two sentences, but after dinner I gave my host parents some gifts and I got to speak some more to them without the pressure of being around 9 other people, and I was pretty much able to communicate. So there’s that.

Last night after dinner, the guys and I decided to go out—problem being that we didn’t know where the bus stop was, but had all the directions for after we got to the bus stop. As I’m sure you can guess, we walked around Buenos Aires for about an hour, got ridiculously lost, and wound up right back at home. Don’t fret, the boys walked on each side of me and we, well they, spoke only Spanish, so we didn’t look like easy targets. We got back safe and sound, so apparently it worked. We decided to just stay in and play cards, listen to music, and chill instead. Probably more of what we needed after 15 hours of travel.
Right now I’m in a temporary bedroom that literally looks like Harry Potter’s under the stairs room, but it’s pretty cozy so I don’t mind. Once the girl leaves whose room I’m taking, I’ll move over there.

About my host parents: they are probably the cutest, warmest, Argentinean parents ever. And that’s that.

Lastly: the flight here. This I must brag about. So my mom and I decided it may be a clever idea to book my seat in the middle of an empty three seat row so that maybe no one would book next to me and I could have all three seats to myself to sprawl out and sleep. AND IT WORKED. Yup, had all three seats to myself and literally slept the ENTIRE 10 and a half hour flight. Best flight ever. I was slightly overwhelmed when I got off the plane, and majorly confused, but I figured it out and got to the taxi in one piece.

Basically, I just feel so at home here and am so happy that I came despite my anxiety. Thank you everyone who listened to me freak out all the time and told me that that was normal and things were going to be okay, and especially for not letting me back out—you know who you are, and I love you all! I start school Monday, and have my placement test then so once I get my classes and such I’ll report back!

If you have any questions, or I totally forgot to mention something just leave it in the comments and I’ll respond in a post ASAP.

Oh one more thing—we BARELY have wifi in the house. It’s ridiculously spotty and isn’t reliable so you realize really quick how dependent you are on technology and how awful that is. It’s crazy the amount of time we spend connected to the internet and to others through social media. It’s kind of nice though, having to actually be productive and creative. Leaves much more time for guitar playing, that’s for sure. But if you do want to message me, download Kik messenger on your phone, that works quite a bit so feel free!

I almost forgot! We have a beautiful, friendly kitty! And an awesome dog! Yayyyyy.

Alright, that’s all for now! Stay sweet all my beautiful people!



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