Three months out of the States, in Argentina. I took a hiatus from blogging after the northern hemisphere summer in Alaska. I'll do a quick recap of life life since September 20 when I landed.
My dear friend retrieved me at the airport, Ezezia, about 2 hours out of the city on a sunny afternoon. I want to emphasize dear friend because she came to retrieve me the day before too, but I misread my ticket and gave her the wrong date. The bus took us through the suburbs of Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city of Argentina, with 13 million or so people. These areas felt tired to me, with some trash in the streets, donkey carts, and aging buildings. I spent the next month living with my friend in her apartment in a neighborhood (barrio) called Barracas, on the edge of barrio Constitucion, a place who's name makes locals and tourists alike weary. Various adventures and antics ensued. My friend moved out and I stayed, sharing a room with a French woman named Elise, with another room mate named Issa who was from Colombia. Issa kept trying to change my rent contract and ask for more money, and when I refused, citing that we had already made a deal, she declared I was a gringo like all other gringos (gringo means white person, generally with negative or humorous connotations). During this time I found a job.
I left Barracas and moved to barrio San Telmo with a woman named Trisha and her five year old son Alex. This apartment was tiny, but I was often gone for work. I was a camp counselor at three day long English immersion camps for Argentine students, from 9-18 years old. This job was massively fun and completely exhausting. My company would send five or so counselors on a bus to a hotel complex or estancia somewhere around the province of Buenos Aires, and for three days we would lead the kids in games, activities, skits, and art. Only English was allowed to be spoken. Each camp had a theme, something like Superheroes or Hollywood. I learned a great deal about kids and I feel like I received excellent feedback. I tried to treat the students as adults, reasonably and firmly, and they loved me for it. Each camp had a a series of songs around a campfire and there were often parties. I often found myself in full costume and makeup dancing to Oppa Gangnam Style.
Now I live in barrio Monserrat with 6 artists and teachers that barely speak any English. My apartment is a massive old hostel with vaulted ceilings and marble tiling. It is beautiful. They put on an art show and party two weekends ago and I showed nine pictures from Alaska, with a theme of enterprise and solitude. I am now working hard to learn Spanish.
Buenos Aries is a great city. It has a feel completely unlike any other city I have been. Everywhere there are 100 year old buildings, statue monuments to the country's heroes, and green parks. There are small shops for vegetables, bread, groceries, hard wear, and clothing on most streets and families and children are ubiquitous. Like any large city there are dangerous places and desperate people, but the only time I have yet felt a tinge of fear was in the middle of a team Boca soccer rally at the Obelisco in the center of the city, where thousands and thousands of people gathered, partied, got drunk, sang, wrecked a McDonald's and set off bombs.
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