Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Week one in Argentina!

Just minutes after stepping out of the Argentine airport (thanks customs for not making me live in the airport!)!
Dear Readers,

I’ve been in Argentina for one week today. (Well, I'm a little delayed in posting this, but just know I did write this on Sunday!)

My welcome meal...the best asado in all of Argentina.
This girl blesses me so much with the way she loves BIG. 

A week ago I woke up to the sunrise over South America, to the knowledge that I was only three hours away from the country I had only dreamed of for five years. A week ago today I swapped numbers with the kind Argentine student beside me who had just finished her study abroad experience in the United States and wanted to stay in touch. A week ago today I nervously waited in customs and officially exchanged the cold MS winter for the hot Argentine summer.

The first of many games of Sushi Go!

A week ago today I hugged my Argentine family for the first time and soaked in the fact that we were communicating without a dictionary or translation app or anything. I sat at their table and ate the most delicious asado, had the best café con leche in the whole world, and hugged my hermanito Renzo so hard it took him a whole day to decide he wanted to hug me back.

Renzo's laugh might just be the most beautiful sound I've ever heard.

I'll never get tired of laughing with you, Renzito! 

What a day. What a week. There have been so many beautiful moments. My favorite moments have been in the backyard, jumping in the pool with Renzo, Isabella, and Nico, playing Sushi Go more times than I can count, and cooking in the kitchen with Viviana and catching up on everything that’s happened in the last five years. I’ve loved learning so many new Argentine phrases and words and working on my Argentine accent. I’ve also loved sharing some of my favorite parts of the US with these dear ones—namely, quesadillas and chocolate chip cookies.

And just like that, Nico's practically an adult...so sweet to share time with her! 

Happy Summer :) 

I’ve started learning how to travel by Argentina’s colectivos (buses), and think I’m almost maybe ready to tackle them alone. Maybe. We’ve gone shopping, watched the trains as they come in, and played at the park in a plaza. We got to go to Renzo’s new school one day, and it was all I could do to not spontaneously exclaim, “I volunteer as tribute to work here! Would you take me?” the whole time his teachers were introducing themselves and asking his other little classmates what they loved to do. We’ve taken walks in the afternoons after the siesta that has happened every day and that I’ll so miss when school starts. One of our walks took us to a golf course, where Renzo ran and ran and ran and I strolled along, watching the sunset and chatting with Nico. Another night we pulled chairs outside the bright green fence separating their home from the street, and shared mate while people walked back with bags full from the carniceria or the verdureria and a group of young boys played futbol down the street.

 I’ve gotten to observe Renzo with his Occupational Therapist, and have delighted in getting to share in things he loves, like swimming, cuddling to morning cartoons, and watching all things that spin. Such a gift to get to do these things together.

There have been moments of confusion too, for sure (most of them happening in the supermarket.) Although I’ve picked up the Argentine accent and special conjugation forms (voseo) pretty well, a lot of the words and phrases I learned just aren’t used here, and it’s pretty dang humbling to say something and be answered with a, “Que?” Although my accent is definitely that of a yanqui (what they call people from the US here) and the rate at which I talk is so painfully slow, I find that I’m so confident when I speak, and I speak a lot. I owe that to this kind, wonderful family who gives me space to think through verb conjugations and lets me share my heart no matter how long it takes. 

On Tuesday I’ll leave this sweet home and move in with a kind woman who will house me for the semester. I’ll be living about a fifteen-minute walk from the university. It’s crazy because just when you think you’ve confronted the thing requiring bravery, then everything changes and you need to be brave again. I don’t even have any idea of what to expect for the week classes start, and then after that the week internships start. But this week has been the gentlest welcome, the most perfect ease into Argentine life, that I feel ready for whatever the rest of the semester holds.
In the months leading up to this, I often got asked, “Why Argentina?” I think the most perfect answer for that is in the actions of sweet little Isabella. The very day I arrived, she grabbed me by the hand and took me to the bathroom. “You can put your toothbrush here with ours,” she said, pointing to the already very full toothbrush holder. Later, she and Nico cleared two shelves for me to put my clothes on, and set my shoes up beside theirs.

This is why I chose Argentina. May we always be the kind of people who have room for another toothbrush or two.

Your blogger,

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