Meghann in Argentina: Porteño Politics

July 21, 2017

One thing that I learned very quickly here is that los porteños (what people in Buenos Aires call themselves) love their politics. Most extensive conversations that I have here eventually turn to politics in one way or another—especially with my host parents! After informing them that I am a Political Science major, they always love to hear my opinion on certain topics and express theirs in turn. My host dad told me that here in Buenos Aires it is “common to hear two best friends in a restaurant turn to enemies while discussing politics, and then turn right back into friends when the wine comes out.”

 

The importance of political activism is not only apparent in conversation, but also in daily public life. There are always small, peaceful manifestaciónes (protests or rallies) going on at street corners, but even more interesting to witness are the big rallies that occur every week in front of la Casa Rosada, a famous government building that contains the President’s office.

 

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My classmates and I went and saw the famous Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, a group (composed historically of women) that march in a circle every Thursday in front of la Casa Rosada in memory of los desaparecidos (Argentines that were “disappeared” by the military dictatorship in the late 70’s).

 

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Social activism is also commonly witnessed in the streets. Here, a group supports the right to education.

 

I am excited to start taking real classes in Political Science in a couple of weeks when the real school year begins. Hopefully learning about Argentine history and politics will allow me to better participate in the never-ending political discussion that seems to take place here in Buenos Aires!


Meghann in Argentina: One More Week

June 26, 2017

Hi everyone! My name is Meghann and I am a junior from Maryland double majoring in Political Science and Spanish and minoring in Healthcare Studies at University of Richmond. On campus, I work as a Writing Consultant, I tutor UR staff members in English through the Bonner Center, and I also intern at the Sacred Heart Center, a Latino community center in downtown Richmond. This fall semester (although honestly it is a pretty extended semester, as I will be gone from July 1st until a few days before Christmas!) I will be studying at la Universidad Católica Argentina, or UCA, and living with a host family in Buenos Aires. Going to school at UCA will definitely be a change from UR—around 18,000 students attend the university, which is located in the bustling, modern neighborhood of Puerto Madero. I have heard only amazing things about Buenos Aires, known as the “Paris of South America” due to its European influences and wealth of culture.

 

Besides exploring the city that I can’t wait to call home, I also hope to travel around Argentina and see some of the diversity the country has to offer. My Argentine bucket list includes Patagonia in the South (home to incredible glaciers, mountains, wildlife, and hiking), Mendoza in the North (wine country), and the Iguazu Falls (the largest waterfall system in the world), to name a few. I’ve already spent way too much time looking at these places on Google Images…

 

Although exploring the country is definitely a top priority for me, my biggest goal is to become fluent in Spanish. I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Latin America in order to improve my Spanish, as my mom’s side of the family is Colombian and I am the only one who does not fully speak it! I’m guessing six months of immersion and a course load that is entirely in Spanish should help, and I can’t wait to be able to speak to my family without stumbling over my words.

 

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A view of Medellín, Colombia from the last time I was there almost four years ago. I hope to return one day in the near future to stay with family, this time with a new knowledge of the language due to my studies and experiences in Argentina.

 

With just a little over a week before I hop on (three!) planes and make my way down to Buenos Aires, everyone I mention it to keeps asking how I am feeling about my trip. My answer is the same each time—excited. I am excited to meet new people, to immerse myself in a new language and culture, to be independent, and to experience everything I possibly can. Six months looks like a long time on paper, but I am sure it will fly by. My only real concern is that I will be headed down in a walking boot, having recently broken my leg pretty badly. I should probably learn to say that I now have metal plates and screws in my leg in Spanish before I go setting the metal detectors off in airport security…My list of things to do before I leave is slowly but surely dwindling down, leaving me with little to do for the last week besides look forward to everything that lies ahead (and figure out how to pack six months worth of my life into two suitcases).

 

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Some of the essentials for my long journey down to Buenos Aires: my passport, some Argentine pesos, and my walking boot!


Dan in Argentina: Signing Off

January 10, 2016

above BsAs

 

Six months ago, when I got off the plane in Argentina, I had no idea what to expect, not to mention no idea where to go. My first observation of this country was that they don’t have signs… anywhere! I follow the other passengers on my plane to the long migrations line. It isn’t until ten minutes in that I realize the smallest sign in the distance which reads (in both Spanish and English) “International Visitors.” Cool, I’m in the wrong line.

I “perdón” my way out of the line for Argentine citizens and over to the much longer correct line. The whole time, I worry about speaking with the migrations officer and hoping all my luggage got through the two flight, 15-hour travel day. “Passaporte?” Ahh ok, I’ve got this. I hand the guy my passport. “¿Dónde vas a quedarte?” “Ummm…” ¿¡Dónde vas a quedarte, vos!?” Ahhh…vos?…what? “Where you stay in Buenos Aires?” From this moment, I knew my time here would challenge me. Truly, every day in South America posed a struggle of varying size. Whether waiting 45 minutes for the bus, being ripped off by a cab driver or getting a mild bout of heatstroke, every day was an adventure, an adventure that I loved in its entirety. Argentina and I may have gotten off on the wrong foot but I can’t help but remember this experience as anything less than amazing.

 

The friends I made during this trip will be some of my best friends for the rest of my life.

The friends I made during this trip will be some of my best friends for the rest of my life.

 

I will always flock to whatever part of the U.S. my host family visits and I can’t wait to visit them back in Argentina someday!

I will always flock to whatever part of the U.S. my host family visits and I can’t wait to visit them back in Argentina someday!

 

The places I traveled to in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are bucket list items for many people.

The places I traveled to in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are bucket list items for many people.

 

goodnight

 

Coming home is the ultimate bittersweet feeling. I have learned to love Buenos Aires. I am finally comfortable traveling around the city, speaking the language, and being far from home. The summertime weather is in full force and I love it. All that being said, I am excited to go home. I missed the beauty of falling leaves and am excited to catch up on some cold nights with coffee by the fire. I can’t wait to see my family and all of my friends. For almost six months, Buenos Aires has been my home, my host family has been my family and my friends have been (please excuse this eye-roll-worthy moment) my everything. Now that I’m going home, I hate to think that all will change.

But in reality, I will return to Buenos Aires one day and feel at home as if nothing changed. I will stay in touch with my host family and see them again someday. And of course, I will see my friends back in Richmond come January. Coming home changes things a little but the way I look at it, I will always have these memories to hold on to this experience.

I couldn’t have asked for a better time. I truly got to know my city, traveled around a little, made amazing friends and learned a lot about the culture, language and daily life in Argentina. I will always cherish this semester.

To the city that had me tapping out many days but excitedly back in the ring the next, I bid you “adios.” To my beloved Buenos Aires, goodnight. Te amo.


Dan in Argentina: …and Uruguay

December 18, 2015

panorama

 

What do you know about Uruguay? For me, I knew absolutely nothing about this small coastal country. Its borders Argentina in the west, Brazil in the north and the Atlantic in the east and contains a little over 3 million citizens. With views like these, it is easy to believe that Uruguay ranks as one of the Latin American countries with the best quality of life.

What do you know about Uruguay? For me, I knew absolutely nothing about this small coastal country. Its borders Argentina in the west, Brazil in the north and the Atlantic in the east and contains a little over 3 million citizens. With views like these, it is easy to believe that Uruguay ranks as one of the Latin American countries with the best quality of life.

 

 

In Argentina we have Milagnesa sandwiches (thin, breaded steak and chicken) and in Uruguay they have Chivito sandwiches. This thin steak sandwich comes complete with ham, egg, olives and mayonnaise. It was so good I had it three times during our four day trip.

In Argentina we have Milagnesa sandwiches (thin, breaded steak and chicken) and in Uruguay they have Chivito sandwiches. This thin steak sandwich comes complete with ham, egg, olives and mayonnaise. It was so good I had it three times during our four day trip.

 

My traveling companions this trip were Lauren and Sam, my University Torcuatu di Tella crew. Here we're standing on Brava Beach in the Hand of Punta del Este. The fingers emerging from the sand are supposed to represent a drowning man. The artist wanted to use his sculpture as a warning to beach goers of the danger of the area's large waves. Since 1982, this sculpture has been a huge tourist attraction and a staple Instagram picture for tourists.

My traveling companions this trip were Lauren and Sam, my University Torcuatu di Tella crew. Here we’re standing on Brava Beach in the Hand of Punta del Este. The fingers emerging from the sand are supposed to represent a drowning man. The artist wanted to use his sculpture as a warning to beach goers of the danger of the area’s large waves. Since 1982, this sculpture has been a huge tourist attraction and a staple Instagram picture for tourists.

s.

 

 

 


Dan in Argentina: Let the Bucket List Begin

November 30, 2015
As the semester winds down, I decided to write a Bucket List of things to do before I leave...in less than three weeks! This weekend, after the election of conservative presidential candidate Mauricio Macri, I went to the Obelisk where supporters were celebrating. With the backdrop of a cloudy Buenos Aires night, you can see the Macri flyers falling like snow to the ground. As we were leaving, public works employees began leaf-blowing the flyers and other litter into trash bags. Seeing the Obelisk up close was on my Bucket List and getting to check it off this night was really special.

As the semester winds down, I decided to write a Bucket List of things to do before I leave…in less than three weeks! This weekend, after the election of conservative presidential candidate Mauricio Macri, I went to the Obelisk where supporters were celebrating. With the backdrop of a cloudy Buenos Aires night, you can see the Macri flyers falling like snow to the ground. As we were leaving, public works employees began leaf-blowing the flyers and other litter into trash bags. Seeing the Obelisk up close was on my Bucket List and getting to check it off this night was really special.

 

Also on Sunday night, I went out to dinner with my friend Ben's family in Puerto Madero (now checked off my to-do list). At the end of dinner and after the long election day, fireworks lit up over the river to celebrate Macri's victory.

Also on Sunday night, I went out to dinner with my friend Ben’s family in Puerto Madero (now checked off my to-do list). At the end of dinner and after the long election day, fireworks lit up over the river to celebrate Macri’s victory.

 

On the other side from the fireworks is the famous Puente de la Mujer. This bridge's name translates to "Woman's Bridge" and represents the woman's role in the tango with her leg extended from her body. In this picture you can see the "new" in Puerto Madero with its big apartment buildings and riverside dining but also the "old" as a still functional port.

On the other side from the fireworks is the famous Puente de la Mujer. This bridge’s name translates to “Woman’s Bridge” and represents the woman’s role in the tango with her leg extended from her body. In this picture you can see the “new” in Puerto Madero with its big apartment buildings and riverside dining but also the “old” as a still functional port.

 

The Rosedal Park is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Filled with roses of all different colors, this park has parrots (which are native to the area) flying all over the place. When I went to (as they say) take a moment to smell the roses, newlyweds were taking pictures and gardeners were working to maintain this amazing park.

The Rosedal Park is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Filled with roses of all different colors, this park has parrots (which are native to the area) flying all over the place. When I went to (as they say) take a moment to smell the roses, newlyweds were taking pictures and gardeners were working to maintain this amazing park.

 

The National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires was amazing...and free! With works of important Argentine artists as well as famous international artists, the museum holds a little of everything. On the top floor, a contemporary art exhibit displayed some Argentine modern art, very distinct from the rest of the museum which is filled with immense tapestries, Rodin sculptures and Monet samples.

The National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires was amazing…and free! With works of important Argentine artists as well as famous international artists, the museum holds a little of everything. On the top floor, a contemporary art exhibit displayed some Argentine modern art, very distinct from the rest of the museum which is filled with immense tapestries, Rodin sculptures and Monet samples.


Dan in Argentina: City Views

November 17, 2015
It's no Westhampton Lake, but it'll do. This small lake in the middle of Buenos Aires has geese, ducks and other fauna, is just about the same size as Westhampton, and, on a nice day you, can roller-blade and bike-ride around it. The only real differences are the tall palm trees surrounding it and, of course, it's hemispherical difference.

It’s no Westhampton Lake, but it’ll do. This small lake in the middle of Buenos Aires has geese, ducks and other fauna, is just about the same size as Westhampton, and, on a nice day you, can roller-blade and bike-ride around it. The only real differences are the tall palm trees surrounding it and, of course, it’s hemispherical difference.

 

It's quickly becoming the summer in Buenos Aires and the palm trees finally make sense. Before recently, temperatures ranged from high 40s in July to low 70s around Halloween. Now, two weeks into November, we are hitting 80 consistently! The foliage here is uniquely a mixture of oak and palm trees that blend together beautifully...especially now that it's warming up! (BTW, that's what their school buses look like)

It’s quickly becoming the summer in Buenos Aires and the palm trees finally make sense. Before recently, temperatures ranged from high 40s in July to low 70s around Halloween. Now, two weeks into November, we are hitting 80 consistently! The foliage here is uniquely a mixture of oak and palm trees that blend together beautifully…especially now that it’s warming up! (BTW, that’s what their school buses look like)

 

This is my morning coffee view. Now that it's so nice out, every morning, I drink my cup of coffee on the balcony and listen to the hustle and bustle of the city.

This is my morning coffee view. Now that it’s so nice out, every morning, I drink my cup of coffee on the balcony and listen to the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

Walking to a bus stop the other day in a part of the city I don't often go, I passed this great little park where everyone was enjoying the sun and the nice summer climate. Parks like these are common all around Buenos Aires and I love stumbling across them.

Walking to a bus stop the other day in a part of the city I don’t often go, I passed this great little park where everyone was enjoying the sun and the nice summer climate. Parks like these are common all around Buenos Aires and I love stumbling across them.

 


Dan In Argentina: A True Porteño

November 5, 2015
The word "porteño" is what you call someone from Buenos Aires. As the weeks and months pass, I am feeling more and more like a true porteño. Recently, a bunch of my friends and I took a cooking class on traditional Argentine foods. We made empanadas, beef stew and a dulce de leche desert. It was one of the best meals I've had here! And it tasted even better knowing I had kneaded the dough and stirred the stew. This, among others, was a cultural experience for which UR reimbursed the cost.

The word “porteño” is what you call someone from Buenos Aires. As the weeks and months pass, I am feeling more and more like a true porteño. Recently, a bunch of my friends and I took a cooking class on traditional Argentine foods. We made empanadas, beef stew and a dulce de leche desert. It was one of the best meals I’ve had here! And it tasted even better knowing I had kneaded the dough and stirred the stew. This, among others, was a cultural experience for which UR reimbursed the cost.

 

Also like a true porteño, I recently took a day trip to Delta del Tigre, a small residential town north of the city, in the province of Buenos Aires. This area is made up of a bunch of islands separated by narrow canals, streams and rivers. You can take boat taxis to different islands, have a picnic and just relax. Here's a picture of me being awkward on a small bridge connecting two close islands.

Also like a true porteño, I recently took a day trip to Delta del Tigre, a small residential town north of the city, in the province of Buenos Aires. This area is made up of a bunch of islands separated by narrow canals, streams and rivers. You can take boat taxis to different islands, have a picnic and just relax. Here’s a picture of me being awkward on a small bridge connecting two close islands.

 

I, being my true porteño self, also experienced the beauty of an Argentine asado recently. An asado is the equivalent of the American cookout. My host family invited me to their first asado of the summer. As meat cooked on the huge grill, a fragrant smoke filled the room! Along with regular steaks and chorizo sausages, I tried (and subsequently did not enjoy) cow intestines and blood pudding... but of course, as a porteño, I had to try.

I, being my true porteño self, also experienced the beauty of an Argentine asado recently. An asado is the equivalent of the American cookout. My host family invited me to their first asado of the summer. As meat cooked on the huge grill, a fragrant smoke filled the room! Along with regular steaks and chorizo sausages, I tried (and subsequently did not enjoy) cow intestines and blood pudding… but of course, as a porteño, I had to try.

 


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