Argentina has come to Fitchburg, WI. Recently, an argentine sandwich shop named Chimmies opened near my house. The menu isn’t extensive, but my parents were both quite pleased with their sandwiches; I stuck with the humita empanada (corn). The filling was quite different from the humita empanadas from good old Lo de Fercha, but it was still very tasty. They seemed to be fried, but were not the least bit greasy, and were nice and crunchy. Overall, definitely a place to visit again!

Empanadas (humita and beef)!

Empanadas (humita and beef)!

– Maddy


Accomplishments, Part II

I may not have explicitly stated all my goals for the trip, but with everyone home, I think I’m finally ready to expound on the experience a little bit more. Obviously Spanish fluency was the main goal, and though not quite achieved, I’ve certainly improved; I admit to having the same problem as Alexa when it comes to forgetting some words in English (or just feeling that the most appropriate word is the Spanish one!), but everyone loves Spanglish!

I will also admit to the fact that I didn’t think the experience would really change me all that much… the past 3 weeks back in the States have shown me that I was wrong and I’ve noticed the little differences that Argentina produced in me. First, my patience has increased tenfold. In Argentina, the pace is just slower, that’s a given; you don’t expect a waitress to refill your water (unfortunately!) or check on you 5 times, and so I’ve found myself to be much more relaxed when things don’t happen quickly or efficiently.

My self-confidence has also gone up slightly. I didn’t actually notice this until reading Alexa’s description, but it’s so true. Personally, I attribute it mostly to living with lots of wonderful friends that were filled with positive reinforcement on an almost daily basis!

In addition, I just feel like a slightly more positive person. I was quite cynical and sarcastic – though I had my bubbly moments – but it has definitely been toned down in the 6 months since beginning the study abroad journey. This may be a result of increased patience and self-confidence, but more than that I think it’s the experiences that I had in Argentina and continue to carry with me. Random things that I stumble across will remind me of moments in Buenos Aires that just make me smile or laugh.

After first arriving at home, I definitely didn’t realize how much my time in Argentina had affected me. Three weeks later, and I think I have a better grasp. I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world, and it, more than anything, has grounded me and helped to prepare me as I enter my 20’s and the second half of my college career.

And though I’m missing Argentina, there are some things that I’m enjoying about being back:

A needy kitty that thinks she deserves a lap at least once a day!

Summer has brought me the biggest green grapes (seedless) I've ever seen!

– Maddy

Happy Birthday, Amurica!

During a recent Skype conversation with Alexa:

Alexa: We literally made lives here. It’s so strange
Abi: I know! And other people like…can’t understand it. Only we can. How weird is that?
Alexa: Yeah, I never really got that when they said it at study abroad stuff, but it’s so true

I think these few short sentences really sum up our time in Buenos Aires. I lived in a foreign country. For 5 months. On the other side of the world. Away from everything familiar (apart from Maddy and Alexa, of course!) How cool is that?!

Even though Alexa is still living the good life in Buenos Aires, Maddy and I have returned to “real life”: summer jobs, US holidays (Happy 4th!), and hot weather. We know. It’s rough.

They told us in study abroad meetings that when you get back to the States, you will experience “reverse culture shock” and you will have to readjust to living at home. I thought this was completely absurd and didn’t believe it at all, but in reality it did happened. There wasn’t any HUGE shock after coming back to the States, but I definitely noticed a few little things that made being back a little strange. For example, when I was waiting in Miami for my layover early Friday morning, it really was weird watching the news and being surrounded by people speaking in English. Also, the restaurant scene is completely different. Being a waitress, I may have a slightly stronger opinion about this than other people, but if eating out in Argentina has shown me anything it’s that people in the States are NEEDY. During a normal restaurant experience in Argentina, you will see your waiter only a handful of times (when you order your food and drinks – at the same time, when they bring the food, and when you flag them down for the check) but in the States, your waiter will be there every few minutes to “check up on you” and see if you need anything. I don’t mean to hate on my own people, but the Argentine method is so much better! You go out to eat because you want to enjoy the food and be around people you like. You can’t have a comfortable dining experience if you voluntarily interrupt your meal every 5 minutes because you need a little more ranch dressing or another napkin. Argentines have always been considered relaxed people and I think we need to embrace that more in the States. We need to learn to sit back and enjoy life. Calm down. Take a break from the chaos and just chill.

I also just want to say that I absolutely, 100%, LOVED my experience in Argentina. We met so many fantastic people (quick shout out to José for being an AWESOME amigo and taking us to the airport) and were able to experience things that I never thought were possible (umm, Iguazú anyone?) Words cannot express the gratitude I have for everyone and everything that has made my life so incredible these past 5 months. Leaving on Thursday was honestly one of the hardest moments of my life. I am going to miss Argentina more than anyone can imagine and it will always hold a huge place in my heart.

On that note, I want to wish everyone a happy 4th of July (what a perfect holiday to be welcomed back to the States with!) Hopefully Alexa can find some USA in Buenos Aires tonight and enjoy the festivities like the rest of us!

Asado: USA style


Family History

Today Maddy & I met Pamela & some of the other kids in our program to watch the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo march while we learned about their history. Afterwards, we let it all soak in over coffee & churros in the famous Cafe Tortoni a few blocks away. I fully planned on writing all about that experience, & I will, but we just got done learning the history of a specific mother that has a special place in our hearts.

Elda sat us down at the main dining table after dinner so that we could play a vocabulary game she made for us to remember the Spanish words for things around the house. Before we could begin, she told us that we were going to talk about our families & our backgrounds one at a time, starting with hers. Besides getting an extra two hours of Spanish listening practice in today, we were told the most amazing story about all that Elda has given up for her children & how grateful she is that we are now an extension of her family. I don’t think we could have ended up in a better place in this whole gigantic city thousands of miles from home. We’ve hardly been in Argentina for two weeks, yet we’ve all acquired our own Argentine grandmother who would do anything to make us happy & show us how much we’re loved. I apologize for the sappy lines, but it’s all I can really express when I get a reminder of how incredible people can be.

In other news, here’s a preview of what comes mañana!

– Alexa