It's strange. I remember finding out I was accepted to CEA's program and starting the countdown of days until I arrived in Argentina. And now, I'm here. It's ending the first week in September, and my countdown is 90 days until I leave and go home.
I've been talking with Jen a lot because she was trying to decide what she could do to make it possible to stay longer here, like an extra semester. She absolutely loves it here, and has since Day 1. I, on the other hand, haven't. I haven't loved every day, and I don't absolutely love it now, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. Like I said, I'm in my routine, and I'm finally comfortable here. I know my way around the areas of this massive city that I need to know, and I feel fine in those areas. What I love is out of the city. And I can't wait to go again, hopefully soon.
With that all being said, every day, especially this weekend it seemed, I'm loving Buenos Aires more. It's strange that it took until half way through my stay here to appreciate it as much as I am, but I think it's a lot of different things adding up into one.
My Spanish, especially spoken, has vastly improved. I can hold conversations with people, especially those who know to speak slower and don't make me feel like an idiot. And I like having English as a cloak when I need to tell someone something without everyone else understanding.
I have a great group of friends, and it seems it only gets bigger and bigger as the time goes on here. There are of course those people who I see at school, but don't really hang out with much, but there are more and more people who I keep in constant contact with so that we can plan whatever we want at the drop of a hat.
I finally have friends who are Argentine. A big part of me choosing this program was to meet Argentinians and be friends with them. Although it's only one or two people, I've made headway.
I also finally, through friends and families, have been given experience that I wouldn't have been given if I had just been here as a tourist and not a student/traveler.
I never would have started taking tango lessons unless I had my friends and their homestay families to push me into it. Also, my family and friends at home who pushed me into taking the tango class at school was beneficial. But I've come to love dancing the tango, even though I know I'm nowhere near good, but I think I'm getting to be reasonably proficient. Last night I went went with Jen, Sydney, Jen's homestay mother (Maria) and Maria's friend to a milonga. I brought my dance shoes, but didn't dance, and that was absolutely fine. The place was incredible! It was actually someone's house, and they had turned it into a milonga like people used to do back in the origins of the dance. I loved the place, it's was beautiful, and there really aren't words to describe it. There were some really old people there, actually, we were definitely the youngest people there, but at least 10 or 15 years. But they had experience, they were impressive. There were times that instead of watching the woman's part, which I normally do because it's the more sultry (which I, sadly, haven't picked up yet) part, but these guys! Whoa! They blew my mind - I found myself watching the men over the women because they could just move.
Nothing will touch the milonga. I really want to go back with my camera, which, for fear of being robbed/lack of space in some purses, I have stopped carrying. This place was not a tourist spot. It was simply Argentine, and I loved it.
It's things like going to that milonga with friends and people who know/are learning (still, after 10 years, Maria considers herself "intermediate") tango that are making this experience absolutely incredible.
There are a lot of people who enjoy the life in clubs, and I'm not saying that they're doing this entire semester wrong, because to each his own. But I would rather watch a milonga like this, or take a tango lesson, any day.
It's like I'm actually starting to understand what Argentina is really about and not just what a normal tourist or traveler would see - this is more about being a student and immersing myself here. And really, there are only 90 days left until I leave, so I'm hoping that these next 90 days are as incredible as the past few have been and then I get to see and experience (and eat) as much as I can handle so that I return to the United States full with a new appreciation for the Porteño way of lie, and a love for this amazingly beautiful country.