April 29, 2017
So, after a very delightful and fulfilling weekend in Mendoza, Argentina last week, I’m finally back in Córdoba! I will tell you all about my wonderful adventures within the mountains, every single detail that is, in the next couple of days. For right now, since I took a gazillion pictures, I’m still trying to separate the good ones, from the ok ones ,to the really not good ones. I think you all know how that goes. It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve done a blog entry, which is a really long time. So, just to remind everyone of my last entry’s topic, I explained four things (weather, looks, diet and cooking) that I considered inconvenient or uncomfortable amid my stay here in this foreign land, and how I have gradually learned to accept them and enjoy this experience as much as possible. It’s so difficult to believe that it’s already the end of April and that I’ve been here since mid-February. As my time here has been moving rapidly before my eyes, thankfully, each day, I’m learning more and more to accept and try to adapt to many things that I am not used to, culturally speaking. The advantage of this is that, through it all, I’m developing the patience that is necessary to have in this distinct environment. I have three more things explained below that I have slowly learned to get accustomed to over time.
5. Power outages- A couple of weeks ago, as I was sitting down one morning enjoying my small breakfast, I was suddenly perplexed when, randomly, the light bulb went out. At first, I thought that the bulb itself had just went out, but, as I walked through the entire apartment turning on the light switches with no success, I realized that the power had gone out in the entire residence. I found that completely odd considering that it was a beautiful sunny day outside and thought that maybe, a terrible accident had occurred that brought down a power line. Soon afterwards, when I went to run some errands in the city, I noticed that there were police guiding the traffic because the traffic lights were not working. I figured out that the power had gone out in the majority of the city. I asked my host mom exactly why the power randomly went out, and to sum it all up, she said that it’s something that doesn’t repeatedly happen .(maybe once a year) In reality, there’s no clear explanation. In my case, ever since I have moved to my new homestay, the power has gone out at least three times at random times of the day, so I was confused when she said that power outages were once a year occurrences. It can get irritating, especially when I’m completing homework assignments with the help of the internet, and all of a sudden, there’s no Wi-Fi due to a random power outage that I can’t control. But, I can live without Wi-Fi for a couple of hours. I’ve learned to use alternative methods for completing tasks and doing things during these spontaneous events, such as using my handy-dandy 1,944 page Spanish dictionary instead of the internet. And, for instance, instead of heating up leftover gluten free pasta, I make a cold pasta salad mixed with cold cream and vegetables (since the microwave won’t work) during the lunch hour.
6. Nearly getting run over by taxis and buses- When my parents and I were talking about the possibility of them coming to visit me, and they asked me if they should rent a car, I couldn’t stop laughing. I quickly advised them that renting a car here is not a good idea at all. Before coming to Argentina, no one informed me of how crazy the traffic is which means I was definitely in for a rude awakening. I have to admit, sometimes for me, it can be scary walking across the street because I don’t know if a motorcycle or bus will randomly come across my path without taking heed to traffic signals. The taxi that you see in the picture below could probably care less about obeying a stop sign. I even had the experience of witnessing nearly a tragic death take place on the road. An elderly man with a cane was walking at a leisurely pace across the street and the bus that I was on would not slow down. He was SO close to hitting the man and had the audacity to beep his horn at him. I honestly could not believe my eyes. As I have mentioned before in a previous blog entry, people here drive similar to Mario Karts, which is why I quickly learned to keep my eyes and ears open when I walk in the city. I have shared a link with you all that includes a video of the city from a taxi cab window. At around the nine second and twenty-two second mark, you will notice how individuals on bicycles nearly come out in front of the taxi.
7. Obtaining visas- Normally, before studying abroad, students need to obtain a visa before entering into a foreign country. However, before my departure, I received a notice that the Argentine government had made a couple of changes to the visa policy and that students coming to the country had to wait to get theirs upon arrival. I had to save up approximately $150 in order to pay for mine. My hectic week last week was made even more chaotic due to the long process (two days) in actually getting my visa. Thankfully, despite students being assigned separate appointments on different days to get their visa, I was with another student from the program and, if I can put it this way, we were able to share in our misery. Although the place looks good on the outside, what I experienced on the inside was completely different and tested my patience. The place lacked lighting, it was crowded and very hot and stuffy. I sat down amid parents and their babies who wouldn’t stop crying or keep still. If the situation couldn’t get any worse, a baby girl spit up on my bag. After about two hours of waiting, they finally called my name back and took my fingerprints. Then, I had to wait for another hour and a half just to sign more papers. Thankfully, I brought homework with me to keep me occupied. I arrived at the place “migraciones” at around 8:00 AM and didn’t get out until 1:30 PM. That next day, I had to wake up early to go to the bank, pay my money and return back to the same place just to finalize some important information. To be honest, I feel as though this entire process is a lot easier in the United Sates than it is here. But, each country has their distinct way of doing things and since I’m here, it’s important to accept how they carry out certain processes and just move on. At least for now, the majority of the visa process is over.
Stay on the lookout within the next couple of days for my next blog entry where I will tell you all about my wonderful experience in Mendoza! I can’t wait to share it with you all!