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Appreciating Argentina: Stepping Back from My Daily Routine

June 4, 2019

Last week, I spent one of my first afternoons exploring Buenos Aires completely alone. I wandered around Recoleta, the neighborhood of my homestay, and and settled at the Mediterranean restaurant called Florentin. I was sitting at an outdoor table eating a messy but delicious falafel sandwich with a side of potato chips, journaling about my past weekend in Mendoza, when it registered with me that everything that had once been confusing and out of the ordinary had become my new normal. Alone with my thoughts, half listening to a group of Argentine girls chat at the table next to me, I took a few moments to process exactly where I was and what I was doing.

For the first couple months, everything in Argentina was an adventure. My life was a constant go-go-go, and I didn’t really take the time to stop and reflect. It felt like I was in some alternate reality and that life back home had paused the moment I left the country. I transitioned from a semester of fairly repetitive daily routines and intense studying to one full of constant excitement and exploration. At some point, however, I became comfortable in Buenos Aires; I was no longer navigating a new city; instead I considered it home.

It became normal to greet the doorman when I came home from class or from a night out. It became normal to ride up in a little, tiny metal-grated elevator to the twelfth floor of an apartment on Avenida Alvear. It became normal to order food in Spanish and not be able to understand everything I heard around me. It became normal to come home to Horte, my host mom, who had been a stranger only a few months before. My crazy new life in Buenos Aires had become my normal life. The excitement of cultural differences, getting lost, and discovering new little shops had diminished.

Sitting across from Recoleta Cemetery on that crisp, sunny Friday afternoon, I realized that although I was still enjoying myself, I had settled into a daily schedule and gotten sucked into to-do lists and the annoyances of daily life, forgetting I was living in this incredible city. I have one month left here, and I am terrified to leave. Study abroad is something I had waited for since starting college, and I don’t want it to be a thing of the past. In that state of reorientation and appreciation for Buenos Aires, I made a list of all the things I wanted to do before heading back to the U.S. My biggest goal for the rest of my time her is to appreciate each day I have here and remember how lucky I am that this is my reality.

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