Missing and Remembering Buenos Aires

Maria Oldenburg
December 14, 2016

It’s been almost a month since my program ended in November, and almost two weeks since I arrived back at my parents’ home in the United States. Somedays, it feels like I never left the United States at all—except for the snowy weather, it feels like it’s still the summer after my freshman year of college, back when studying abroad was just a fuzzy, anxiety-inducing dream in the distance. Spending time with my family, seeing my old friends, driving around the same places I used to pre-departure, it feels startlingly, depressingly, easily like the last five months of my life never happened. Like I never lived with a host family in a big city, like I never spoke Spanish every day, like I was never completely independent. Every day I’m away from Buenos Aires, I’m forgetting more—what my landlord looked like, what streets paralleled my own, the price of a good café con leche. Buenos Aires is starting to feel like a fond memory instead of the exciting adventure it was.

Other days, I can’t even pretend like it didn’t happen, like I didn’t change completely and grow up in the last five months. In Argentina, I became more independent, more self-reliant and confident, more content and at the same time, more curious. More adventurous. More restless. Stuck at home, on an extended, six-week long winter break, it’s easiest to see how I changed. How I’m no longer happy spending days sleeping in bed when that’s all I wanted after my college finals a year ago. How I’m no longer happy living in the suburbs.

I can’t help but make comparisons between the United States and Argentina, and it’s always a toss-up on who wins. Coffee? The United States. Wine? Argentina. Plumbing and air conditioning? The United States. Daily routine? Argentina.

Maybe I’m experiencing reverse culture-shock or maybe I’ve just gotten used to the way things were done in Argentina, but I miss cafes that let you sit in them for hours sipping the same drink. Restaurants that don’t try to rush you out as soon as possible. Public transportation that’s crowded but so convenient. Museums and art galleries within walking distance. Parks. Summer weather. Touristy hot spots and hidden gems. I even find myself missing Argentine fashion and those terrible platform shoes that were, at the same time, incredibly ugly and incredibly popular in Buenos Aires. I miss my apartment, my host family, my fresh fruit seller, my yoga studio and my favorite cafes.

But it’s good to be back. To see my family, my friends, my dog. I can’t wait to spend the holidays with loved ones and go back to Case Western in January. I’ll always cherish my time in Buenos Aires, and even if some of the less important details begin to fade, I have thousands of pictures to remind me of the most important memories. I have souvenirs and friends and a whole blog chronicle to help me when I’m missing the city the most. 

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Maria Oldenburg

<p>I am Maria Oldenburg, and I&#39;m a sophomore Economics and International Studies double major at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. On campus, you can find me pretending to be a professional photographer, exploring the local coffee scene, or hopelessly planning my dream backpacking trip across Southeast Asia. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I can&#39;t wait to eat my weight in empanadas, learn quality puns in Spanish, and tango with the best of them during my semester in Buenos Aires!</p>

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Case Western Reserve University
International Studies
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