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.
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.