We currently have less than two weeks until we leave for Buenos Aires. With our departure looming I have turned to one of the more difficult aspects of preparing to leave: packing. Packing has been intimidating me since I first thought about study abroad, and now is the time when I actually have to formally broach the subject. Packing basically means fitting clothes for three different seasons into at most two suitcases (though I’m shooting for one), and this is a task for which I have found very little helpful information. Our CEA packing list recommends that we bring two pairs of jeans. Two. Currently I am planning on six pairs, and though I realize that this may be the other extreme, I can’t honestly bring myself to pack any less. I admit that I have always been a notorious over-packer, but I also doubt that I will be able to narrow it down to less than 10 pairs of shoes. Not only shoes, but bags: you need a day pack, an overnight bag, at least one purse, a wallet or wristlet, a school bag… Clearly I’m in trouble, and with less than two weeks to accomplish the daunting task I know that I only have a small chance of reaching my one bag goal.
Putting the actual task of packing aside for a moment, I realized that many of my choices in the things I pack have been influenced by several stereotypes and assumptions that I currently hold about Buenos Aires. Some of these assumptions stem from reading other travel blogs or articles, others from guidebooks, friends, and past travels, and still others from some random part of my own mind. Thus, I decided that I would address my current thoughts about what Buenos Aires will be like and revisit them later to see how many hold true. I will add to this list as I think of more in the remaining days.
1. Style: I have developed the idea that most people in Buenos Aires are incredibly stylish, and generally wear a lot of black. I think the first part of my assumption comes largely from other travel blogs and articles, but I think the second part (black) is probably of my own subconscious creation.
2. English: Though I’m going to Buenos Aires to learn Spanish – a reason, but not the only – I have the impression that many people will probably speak at least some English. This I am sure is based upon both my experience in Chile and stories from friends and guidebooks. I am only hoping that I can push away from my comfort zone and speak Spanish even if others do speak English.
3. Appearance: Slightly related to style, I feel like the majority of Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) will be very attractive. I honestly have no idea why this has stuck in my head, though I think I may have heard it from friends. Hopefully this will not pose too large a hit to my self-esteem, but we shall see.
4. Weather: My dad has instilled in me the idea that Buenos Aires is a very rainy city. It took buying a new pair of shoes to finally convince me not to pack my heavy, bulky (but very cute) rain boots. That may be confusing, but my reasoning is simple: the new pair of shoes I got (some cute Puma flats) seem like they will hold up well in water and just generally rainy conditions, unlike the majority of my largely suede shoe collection.
5. Selection: Despite several reassurances otherwise, I for some reason cannot rid myself of the idea that Buenos Aires stores won’t have the level of selection that I’m accustomed to. This, in my mind, referring to both school supplies – will I be able to buy my necessary mechanical pencils with .5mm lead? – and toiletries like shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, and toothpaste; this may seem silly but I’ve grown attached to specific brands and types, and I will consequently be packing things I could probably otherwise buy there.
Lastly, Abi, Alexa and I have been communicating via a thread on facebook, sharing thoughts and articles and the like. Since several of my assumptions likely stemmed from these articles, I suggest you head to the “Sites We Love” tab to learn more!