Off to Iguazu

 

I wasn’t able to write last Monday because I had taken a trip up to Iguazu Falls, right on the border of Brazil. I went with the PALS group, which organizes trips around Argentina for exchange students. It was a lot of fun and there was quite a bit of partying and general rambunctiousness in the hostel pool. We played pool volleyball, danced around to a laughably bad DJ, and on the last night they had even organized a costume party. But, of course, this is really about the waterfall. It is impossible to explain how breathtaking las Cataratas de Iguazu are. Maybe that’s a good thing. If I could write a description that did them justice or take a picture that really captured the essence, there would be no need to travel. Still, I can try.

We began our adventure by climbing into a boat on the lower river – Rio Iguazu Menor. As we sped down the river, we were surrounded by jungle full of lush green trees and cliffs with trickles of water running down the sides. It felt so good to breathe the clean air and smell the trees. For all its wonderful things, I can’t say Buenos Aires is good for the lungs.

About to get soaked

 

We heard the waterfall long before we saw it, but once we did see it, we were blown away. It was cool seeing it from below instead of from the side. Looking up to see all that water falling down at me from above made me feel small, and made me realize how powerful it was. It was so beautiful and I was humbled, but we were all thinking about what came next. We weren’t just going to look at the waterfall, but also feel it.

View of Iguazu menor from below
View of Iguazu menor from below

The boat picked up speed and the feeling of rushing right at the fall was so exhilarating. We couldn’t go directly under the fall, we wouldn’t have come back out again, but even just getting close we were completely drenched. I tried to keep my eyes open but I couldn’t; the water pressure was just too strong. Thinking back on it now, thought, it’s cool that I have a memory of Iguazu that isn’t visual – it’s completely tactile. I think back and feel the strong, surprisingly warm water on my skin, drenching me.

When we got back to shore we began our climb up along the side of the fall. The higher up we got, the more amazing angles of the waterfall we saw. It was amazing to think about how long it had been there. It’s beauty has been there in the middle of the Argentinian forest since long before humans were there to appreciate it. I wondered to myself whether the birds were able to appreciate its beauty and decided that they must. Perhaps not in the same way we do, but I couldn’t imagine the energy that surrounded the fall didn’t affect every being around it. The path took us through the jungle, higher and higher up. Sometimes we would wind away from the waterfall and we would spot toucans or monkeys, then all of a sudden it would come into view and I would be taken aback all over again

At the end of the path there was a little train waiting for us which took us up to see el Rio Iguazu Mayor. As we chugged by I saw people hiking the rest of the way, which I would have preferred. Still, perhaps it was better to get to the top more quickly, because what was waiting for us was spectacular. In order to get to the upper fall, we walked along a boardwalk/bridge that allowed us to be right above the water. We walked slowly, taking in the peace that surrounded us. At one point, I looked down into the water at the biggest catfish I have ever seen. I knew catfish got big, but I hadn’t realized how big. It was amazing, and it made me think about what having truly protected lands and waters mean. Everything in this park has had the chance to grow to its full potential and be whatever it was meant to be. As the catfish proved to me, most things would be absolutely spectacular if we would leave them alone.
We saw so many rainbows through the spray of the water!

At the end of the boardwalk, we finally arrived at La Garganta del Diablo or The Devil’s Throat. I couldn’t believe the pure power that surrounded me. The water poured down with such force that it was absolutely impossible to see the bottom through all the spray. All the white water looked like a cloud and it made it seem a little like we were in Heaven. But at the same time, it was so beautifully Earthly that I feel like saying it looked like Heaven is a bit of an insult.

450,000 cubic feet of water flow over Iguazu Falls per second.
450,000 cubic feet of water flow over Iguazu Falls per second.
The mist that rises from La Garganta del Diablo can reach up to 490 feet.
The mist that rises from La Garganta del Diablo can reach up to 490 feet.

It was a bit odd to me how fast the peace and calm of the river we had just strolled over turned into this display of violence. The river didn’t pick up speed before hand, it just fell, as if it knew all along it was coming and had had its entire journey to prepare. Something about the waterfall made me want to dive right in. The fall just seemed so connected with everything. There was no telling where it began or stopped. It was at once an infinite amount of drops and one single waterfall. I wanted to be as entwined with everything around me as it was and as I stood there staring at it, I realized that I was. Just being there, appreciating its beauty, made me a part of it.

Me, being a part of it all.
Me, being a part of it all.
My favourite view of Iguazu
My favourite view of Iguazu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, visiting a beauty like this one means that a lot of other people want to visit, too. It was probably the most tourists I’ve seen in one place since I’ve been here. There were so many people pushing to get good views or pictures and it was frustrating. I almost let it ruin my experience, but then I realized that humans have been participating in pilgrimages for ages. What amazing animals we are to travel so far in order to appreciate the beauty that this world has to offer. Still, I hope people are really able to appreciate the moment, the gift they’re being given, and not experience the whole thing through the screens of their phones and cameras. It’s important to remember that you travel to actually see with your real eyes and let all your other senses experience as well. If it was all about the photo, you could have just stayed home and googled it.

We’ve Got Class

 

 

 

 

 

Given all the fun I’ve been having the past few weeks, I almost forgot the reason I am here – to STUDY abroad. Orientation feels like so long ago and taking the bus to campus on Tuesday to begin my first week of classes felt strange. Apparently UCA wasn’t quite ready for me to begin either. I arrived Tuesday morning, bright and early, for my Argentinian History class only to find the classroom completely empty and dark. I had arrived a bit late, underestimating 8 am traffic, so there was no way the rest of the class simply hadn’t gotten there yet. I checked to make sure I had the correct classroom, and finding that I did I went and found the history department office to see what was up. Apparently, as a first year class, Argentinian History didn’t start until the next week. Either they didn’t bother to tell us this small detail during orientation or it had just gone right over my head. It wasn’t the end of the world. At least it had gotten me out of bed, and I spent the rest of the day reading and writing in the park. On Wednesday, I checked the course list to make sure my Art History class wasn’t a first year course, and seeing that it was third year, I headed to campus for 7:45 (am…). To my dismay, but for some reason not disbelief, the classroom was dark when I arrived. About a half hour later I was laughing silently to myself while an advisor told me that Art History was being given by the arts department this semester, not the history department (yes, even though I signed up for it through the history department), and in the arts department it’s a first year class, not third year. Luckily, I had another class that day so I hadn’t come to campus again for nothing, but it was in the afternoon so I still had hours to kill. I took a little walk along the canal the campus is on, then read for the rest of the time.

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Argentina
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Argentina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take three, my Contemporary Argentinian Art class, was a success. I’ve never been happier to see a professor walk into a classroom. When the class started and we began talking about what the word “art” means, I realized how much I loved and missed school. I haven’t been in class since December and it felt good to be learning in that type of setting again. I have never taken an art history class before, and I think I’m really going to enjoy it. Art is such an interesting reflection of a culture and for that reason I find it extremely interesting. The class will also be very valuable because my Argentinian History class is about the country’s older history, so it’s great that I have the opportunity to learn about some of its more recent history through the artistic movements.

On Thursday I had Social Movements in Argentina. I have to admit, it’s much different than I had expected. When I hear the words “social movement”, I tend to think about take-to-the-streets grassroots movements, but in this class we’ll be talking about NGOs and government programs towards social mobility in Argentina. I still think I’m going to enjoy it; the professor seems really intelligent and interesting. Plus, I’m sure I’ll find it extremely enlightening since I’m considering pointing my career towards the NGO sector. It’ll be good to have a solid understanding of some of the limitations of NGO work and many of the factors that often aren’t taken into consideration. We’ll also be taking field trips to social projects in the city, and I’m excited for the chance to talk to the organizers and see the projects in action.

Since the only two classes I have on Fridays are those first year classes, I was able to spend this Friday doing some exploring. Paul, Karen, and I decided to go check out La Boca – a neighbourhood I hadn’t visited yet but is a must see. La Boca isn’t a place you want to be at night as a tourist and has a history as one of the city’s poorer neighbourhoods, but it is absolutely beautiful. The most commonly visited street in the area, El Caminito, is famous for its brightly coloured houses and fun street art. Fun fact from Contemporary Argentinian Art – The houses were originally just the dull colours of the tin they were built from until Los Pintores de La Boca, a group of artists who centred their careers around the neighbourhood, started giving the houses fun colours in their paintings in order to make them prettier. Soon, the citizens began to paint their houses in order to match the paintings and the neighbourhood became what it is today.

Karen and I enjoy the colours and sunshine of El Caminito


A "small" asado.

As much fun as we had, El Caminito itself is very touristic. It was lined with gift shops and overpriced restaurants with tango performances, and every few seconds someone pushed a menu in our direction. At the end of the line of identical restaurants was a guy with no menu, just a subtle suggestion that we try the restaurant on the corner a block away. It was far enough away from all the hustle and bustle, and as we approached it I laughed at it’s sign advertising that there wasn’t a show. A friendly waiter seated us at a perfect, shady table in the corner of the patio, and we were happy to be surrounded by just a few local couples. The prices were good, and we decided to order an Asado. I still hadn’t really experienced much good Argentinian beef and, being the national dish, an Asado was the perfect way to do it. I was blown away by how different the various cuts and sausages tasted from one another. I even loved the morcilla (blood sausage), which I never liked in Spain. By the end my stomach, which is still getting accustomed to being a carnivore again, was not happy with me. Oh but my taste buds were.

A “small” asado.

Competing with La Boca is difficult, but I have to say that the highlight of my week was probably Sunday. Before heading to Boca, I had spent Friday morning waiting in line for tickets to a free concert being given at the famous Teatro Colón. The theatre is ranked the third best opera house in the world, and is acoustically considered among the five best concert venues in the world. I had definitely been planning on going to see the theatre, but experiencing it by actually going to a concert was an opportunity I couldn’t miss. So, a few of us who didn’t have class that day waited in line and were able to get four tickets each to give to the others. Of course, being free, I wasn’t expecting the best seats. I was so wrong!

The ceiling of el Teatro Colón was painted by Raul Solid, an Argentinian painter out of La Boca.
Painted by Raul Solid, a painter out of La Boca.

I have no clue how it happened, but when we arrived on Sunday and gave our tickets to the usher, she showed us to one of the private boxes that line the sides of the theatre. When she closed our door behind us and I sat down in my plush, velvet seat with a perfect view of the stage, I couldn’t help but feel a bit special. The amazing textures of the curtains that surrounded us and the Grand Budapest Hotel colour scheme made it seem like we were in a painting.

Of course, the concert itself was amazing too. It was a show by Camerata Bariloche, an Argentinian chamber ensemble founded in 1967. They performed Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and I was so impressed. I had never seen classical music performed live before. The lead violinist, especially, played with so much passion it was absolutely impossible not to be affected. When I left I was in the clouds, still processing the experience I had just had.

I’m at an interesting point in my trip right now. On one hand, I’m beginning to settle into the city and find some normalcy and routine. On the other hand, Buenos Aires is constantly surprising me as if it is trying to out do itself every day. That’s what I love about long term trips like this one. Somehow, comfort and excitement seem to come together perfectly in a way that can really only be compared to falling in love.

A Few Days in Uruguay

This past week was my very last free week before classes begin so, naturally, I decided to take the opportunity to do a bit of traveling. Where to wasn’t all that important, and after brief deliberation two friends, Paul and Mathilde, and I decided to head to Uruguay. Colonia is just an hour ferry ride from Buenos Aires, so that was our first stop. It was dark by the time we arrived, but the city is very small and simple to navigate so we had no problem finding our hostel – El Español. Once we had checked in and put our bags down, we headed out to find a place to eat. We landed at Rico and (on a bit of a budget) all decided on pizza. We would worry about eating culturally relevant food another day. The pizza was delicious and just what we needed as we enjoyed the breeze off the river and bottle of Patricia beer.

The next day we woke up, slightly later than planned, and went out to explore historical Colonia. Paul told me that the city was originally colonized by the Portugese, but was later taken over by the Spanish. With Buenos Aires so close by, however, the Spanish paid little attention to Colonia and as BsAs grew bigger and bigger, Colonia remained practically untouched and undeveloped. The result is utter charm. We were taken aback by how lovely everything was as we strolled lazily down the cobblestone streets and took in all the colourful houses. In the historical area we were in, almost every single house dates back hundreds of years and they have been so well preserved. I was delighted to discover one I could go inside of. It is now an art gallery/studio with wonderful paintings and sculptures by a local artist. The combination of modern art and old house was awesome; I love tasteful combinations of contemporary and antique. I couldn’t figure out which I loved more, the artwork or the house (probably the house). All the original stone was exposed in the walls, and I found it interesting how small the rocks were compared to the huge slabs I’m used to seeing in stone houses. We were even able to go into the back yard complete with a shady bench, old well, and modern sculpture. It felt like a house out of a storybook. In fact, the whole town felt like a fairy tail to me, minus the old European vibe classic fairytales tend to give off – Rapunzel trapped in a palm tree, Little Red bringing empanadas to her abuela. 

Colonia
Old houses in historical Colonia, Uruguay

We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the lighthouse we had been circling all day cost almost nothing to go up in. So, we climbed the 118 steps to the top and took in the beautiful view. From there we could see all the clay rooftops, and into the inclosed patios, full of vegetation. It also gave us a great view of the river, but we weren’t able to see Buenos Aires as we thought we might be able to.

Faro de Colonia del Sacramento
Faro de Colonia del Sacrament
Here - Beer's colder than your ex's heart
Here – Beer’s colder than your ex’s heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we were back on the ground we realized we had worked up quite the appetite, so we circled back to a little restaurant we had seen earlier that day. I have to admit, we were 100% lured in by the aesthetic. The whole dining area was open air, shaded from the sun with big umbrellas and a lime tree and on the wall a chalkboard sign read “Un buen dia para tener un gran dia”. We agreed; it was a good day to have a great day.

After we had finished up our chevitos, we decided to head to the beach. We originally had one in mind which Paul had heard was nice, but the lady at the bike rental shop said something about getting robbed and suggested a different option. We thought it was best to take her advice. As we waited for the bus that would take us to this new beach, an old man who even I could hardly understand (and I’m pretty sure he was having a hard time understand us) told us we should just go to the beach in town. It was getting pretty late in the afternoon, so we shrugged our shoulders and walked the three blocks to where he had suggested. It wasn’t the most beautiful beach I had ever seen and it was on the river, not the ocean, but it was all we needed that afternoon. Groups of locals were cooking up asados and lounging in the shade, and we were happy to lay our towels out in the sun and just chill for the rest of the day. We tanned and swam and played with the stray dogs which are so friendly because of how well the people in town treat them.


Colonia beach

Next we said goodbye to beautiful Colonia and took the bus up to Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital. There, we were staying at the Willy Fog Hostel and arriving there made me positively giddy. It was everything, in my opinion, a hostel should be. Posters, tapestries, and maps hung all over the place, but where they weren’t covered up the walls were painted a variety of fun, bright colours. Bob Marley was playing as we walked in (followed by Cat Empire, which made me melt) and the people who greeted us at the front desk were instantly warm and welcoming. The place was big, spacious, and extremely chill. If you ever find yourself in Uruguay, seriously check it out.

Once we tossed our bags on our bunks, we went out to explore Montevideo. After a pitcher of lunchtime Sangria, we made our way to la ciudad vieja to see the street vendors. We browsed for a while through both antique and artisanal stands, and eventually I bought a pair of pretty little earrings and a silhouette of George Harrison carved out of a vinyl record (I couldn’t resist). Once we had had our fill of haggling, we took a walk down La Rambla. It was a fun walk and we particularly enjoyed stopping to watch a group of kids play soccer and mingle among the families enjoying the late afternoon.

A dizzyingly good time

We had a great time, but at one point during our walk as we looked out over the ocean, we were confronted with thousands, and I mean thousands, of dead fish washing up along the shore. We overheard a man explaining something about the river and ocean water joining and the transition not being good for the fish… or something like that. But, he also said that this was the first time it had ever happened so I’ll venture to assume there’s more to the story then joining bodies of water. It made all of us so sick and sad to see. The task of cleaning up the oceans is astonishingly large and thinking about it made me feel a little weak. As I looked out over the sheet of dead silver I couldn’t help but wonder how environmental issues are still not being made a top priority in national and international government. The consequences of our behaviour as a species is literally washing up under our noses and still economic gain and corporate development are at the head of how we define “progress”.

Once the sun went down we headed back to the hostel for my absolute favourite broke-traveler dinner – beans, rice, garlic, and fried banana. We even threw a pepper in there because we were feeling fancy. We went up to the rooftop terrace to eat with the others and had a really fun evening just enjoying our food, our Uruguayan wine, and each other’s company as we rocked to and fro in the hammocks and discussed the adventures of the day.

Teatro Solis in Montevideo, Uruguay
Teatro Solis in Montevideo, Uruguay
Palacio Salvo in Montevideo, Uruguay
Palacio Salvo in Montevideo, Uruguay

After our day sight seeing in Montevideo, we were in the mood for some beach. So, the next day we went to Atlantida to soak up some sun. This is not the most common Uruguayan beach experience; most people head to the beautiful Punta del Este. But, we were low on money and time so Atlantida was perfect, being just a couple hours outside Montevideo. We couldn’t have been happier. The sun was strong, the water was lovely, and we were literally the only other tourists on the beach. We had all the space we could want to ourselves and left tan and happy.

Now I’m back in Buenos Aires, and after a final hurrah at my new favourite bar, El Emergenteit’s finally time to start classes. Tomorrow I begin with Argentinian History and I am really excited to soak in some knowledge from a new, non North American, perspective.

Getting Oriented

This week was International Student Orientation Week at UCA, and as I made my way to campus on Monday morning I couldn’t have been more excited. I felt like a kindergartener on my way to my first day of school. I was happy and nervous about the opportunity to meet so many new people. I was encouraged, however, by the knowledge that everyone would be new. They were all here from other places, like me, and looking for new friends, too. When I arrived, I made my way to the auditorium where orientation would be held. There they provided us with some pastries and juice, and left us for a good hour to engage in some slightly awkward small talk before the actual agenda for the day began. I happened to join in on a conversation between three girls who had all come together, but they were very nice despite my being a bit out-of-place in their conversation. As nice as it was to get a chance to meet everybody, I was happy when we were all instructed to sit down and the information session began. We were introduced to all the staff of UCA International, and I must say I’m very happy with them. They covered all the questions I had and were all very welcoming. I know if and when I have more questions I won’t be hesitant to go to their office. The orientation did run a bit long and I think it could have been done in less than four days, but who am I to say the parts that seemed superfluous to me weren’t extremely helpful to someone else? It was also great to have a couple days to keep meeting new people. On the second day I met a girl from Montreal, Edith, and it was lots of fun to talk to her. I know we’re not supposed to let ourselves gravitate towards people who come from the same place, but that’s difficult since we have a lot in common.

One of the things we connected through over orientation week was the question “Where are you from?”. This proved to be a complicated question for both of us. For Edith, it had to do with her being from Quebec. Many people, she told me, don’t know where Quebec is (this surprises me, but obviously there are many regions of other countries I don’t know the names of) so she finds herself having to say she’s from Canada. She told me that this bothers her because she, herself, does not really identify as being Canadian and feels strange labelling herself that way. I’m sure this is a common problem for Quebecers traveling.

My problem is both similar and different from hers. I am American, yes, but I was neither born or currently live there. Montreal is the place that I have come to call home. In Montreal I have my apartment, my grocery store, my job, my favourite cafe, my friends, my school… it’s where my life is. Telling people that I’m from the states feels like an inaccurate impression. At the same time, I would never tell someone I’m from Montreal. That’s simply not true. I grew up in the states. Then if you want to add in the factor of me having been born in the Canaries… it all gets quite complicated. I’ve come to realize how little national identity means to me. So much weight gets put on that question – Where are you from? – but what does it even mean? Of course, it’s a natural question to ask people when you’re on exchange, but the answer means absolutely nothing.

The highlight of orientation, at least for nerds like me, was choosing classes. I have to admit being more than a little bit disappointed that UCA doesn’t have an anthropology department. I had really been looking forward to taking anthropology classes outside the North American context. Plus, a friend of mine told me Argentina is renowned for its forensic anthropology and I was excited to spend a semester outside the purely cultural. I got over this disappointment pretty quickly once I started flipping through the course catalog, though. There were so many interesting classes! I decided to focus on really learning about the place I’m in. The university has a whole department (PEL) geared towards helping exchange students understand South America more deeply. From that department I’ll be taking Contemporary Argentinian Art and Social Movement in Argentina. I’m particularly excited for CAA because I spoke with the professor and he said that we’ll spend most classes going to museums around the city and talking about the artwork “live”. What a great opportunity to see Buenos Aires’ museums (and get credit for it!). I didn’t really want to be in classrooms entirely filled with exchange students, though, so I decided to take some classes outside PEL and will be taking Argentinian History and Art History.

But as interesting as these classes are, there’s a reason I’ll be taking them for pass/fail credit. This semester is about the experience – making friends and having fun, which so far has not proven to be much of a challenge. There’s a student group called los PALS which plans events for exchange students to give us a better chance to get to know each other. On the Thursday night Jobs Bar outing, I met a really wonderful group of people (all French, for reasons beyond my understanding) and we’ve been exploring the city together since. On Saturday we went to PM Open Air, which for my Montreal friends is very similar to Piknik Electronik but with palm trees.

It’s a daytime thing, so we danced and drank and laughed in the sun and into the night. I’m starting to really grow a liking for Fernet, a classic Argentinian drink. It takes a while to get used to. The wikipedia article describes its smell as “like black liquorice flavoured Listerine”, so you can imagine that the first sip is rather shocking. I’ve gotten used to it, though, and have found that it’s really perfect later on in the evening. Yesterday, which was the best day I’ve had here so far, ended with Fernet.

Yesterday, my friend Mathilde and I headed to San Telmo, a neighbourhood we had yet to explore. It was Sunday, and at 5 pm we arrived just in time to catch the tail end of la Feria de San Telmo. This market, as opposed to the artisanal Feria de Recoleta, is a weekly antiques fair. We had so much fun weaving in and out of the different stands looking at beautiful old jewelry (Mathilde quickly realized how much I love the colour green) and nicknacks. Many of the stands were selling Mate gourds and I decided to get one!

My beautiful new Mate gourd!
Me in the Feria de San Telmo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can’t go long in Buenos Aires without making Mate part of your daily routine. The vendor explained to me the different kind of “straws” and warned me against the kind that don’t come apart since they’re impossible to clean. He also recommended that I get a small one, because you can keep it comfortably in one hand as you go about your day. Also, according to him, the Mate tastes better in a smaller gourd. I really couldn’t be happier with my beautiful little gourd and can’t wait to go out and get some Mate! We’ll see if I can perfect the art of preparing a good one by the time I leave. After buying my gourd, Mathilde and I explored the wonders of the market for a while, but it was closing up so we expanded our wanderings to more of the neighbourhood. San Telmo is very different from where I’m living and has a very genuine sort of charm. We passed by a little wax museum, countless little ice cream shops, and what seemed like a community festival with dancing and food and lots of music. When we got hungry, we met up with our friends Paul and Marie and sat down for a really delicious dinner at Don Ernesto as the sun went down. Afterwards, the four of us went off to find a bar (not a difficult task in San Telmo) and on our way came across a percussion jam that just perfectly summed up the soul of the area. There’s nothing like a drum circle to get your heart beating. After some laughing and clapping and general debauchery, we sat down for some two-for-one beer specials and a wonderful conversation woven gracefully together by Spanish, French, and English, and capped off, of course, with a pitcher of Fernet.

Making friends and having people to explore with has been amazing, but I’ve still been doing a lot of site seeing on my own, which I love. Seeing things by myself gives me time to really think about and appreciate what I’m doing, what I’m seeing. Plus, there are some things which I just know not everyone will appreciate as much as me. For example, I don’t know of many people who would have been happy to stay with me for the three hours that I spent in El Ateneo. El Ateneo is truly one of the most beautiful bookstores I’ve ever seen. In fact, it has been voted the second most beautiful bookstore in the world.

The beautiful Ateneo
The beautiful Ateneo
When it opened in 1919, it was a theatre called El Gran Splendid which hosted many great tango performances. In the late twenties it was converted into a cinema, then was finally converted into a bookstore in 2000. It is really a spectacular site, but as I wandered, I felt they could have done more with the ambiance. With such amazing beauty, there’s certainly more they could do to make the place feel more magical. They were playing Peter Gabriel and Michael Jackson, and while I have nothing against these artists, I much prefer bookstores that have the “hushed” feeling of libraries. In my favourite bookstores the stories that line the shelves speak for themselves and the air is filled with the energy of the words. But I really don’t want to undermine how beautiful it is, and the cafe on what was once the stage is really a nice touch.
El Ateneo from the outside
El Ateneo from the outside

This past week, living here has really begun to feel natural. I know that I still have so much of it to explore; there’s no way I’ll be able to see everything in just one semester. But at least I feel like I’m beginning to understand it a bit. Once classes start I hope to make some Argentinian friends, and I can’t wait for all the surprises Buenos Aires has waiting for me.