Hey everyone, its been a few days since my last post so I figured that I would update everyone on my most recent adventures.
First and foremost, I just wanted to thank those who reached out to me on Sunday 7/27 for my birthday. It was most definitely a day to remember, how many people can say that they spent their 21st birthday in Argentina? Evidently, not many from the US.
On Thursday 7/24, I had the opportunity to go to Palacio Barolo, which is one of the best lookout points to see the entire skyline of Buenos Aires. The building itself is actually an office building for various different companies. However, it was built based upon Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy" with countless subtle references. For instance, the building has 22 floors and is broken up into three different sections. The basement and ground floor represent Hell, Floors 1-14 represent Purgatory, and Floors 15-22 represent Heaven. Within floors 1-14, every two floors have different crown moldings and fixtures which each symbolize one of the seven deadly sins. Floors 15-22 are apart of the "Tower" portion of the building, leading to the lookout area and the lighthouse atop the structure. The lighthouse can be seen all the way across the Rio del Plata in Montevideo, Uruguay, where there is an identical structure intended to warn sailors of the close shoreline.
That night, we had dinner at Paola's house and had a terrible adventure to get there. Basically a 45 minute walk should have only taken 15 minutes at most. This city is a pain to navigate. 7/24 was definitely one of the best days that I have had down here.
On Friday 7/25, we met up with our program advisor at Eva Peron's Museum near Plaza Italia. My expectations originally not very high for this, but I was mistaken. This museum, formally a refuge home founded by Eva Peron, herself, for women and children within Argentina, had a great amount of interesting history that I never would have expected. To sum up Eva Peron, she was a humanitarian to the umpteenth degree. She was loved by many Argentines, Europeans, and people around the world. With this, she had a lot of adversaries such as the Argentinian government (even under her husband's political party) and the Roman Catholic Church. She created the Eva Peron Foundation to provide aid to poor families with all types of need. She also founded the Nurses School of Buenos Aires and became the first woman in Argentine history to vote (except she was in the hospital and near the end of her life due to cervical cancer at this point in time).
The adversaries of the Peron "power couple" deemed the two of them too powerful for their own good and rejected their plans and socialist programs that sought to help the country. After Eva Peron died in 1952 due to cervical cancer, she had a 14 day funeral as her body toured the country so her followers could pay their respects. Interestingly enough, following the funeral and being laid to rest at a memorial for 3 years, her body was sent to Milan, Italy and buried there under a false name for 16 years prior to her body being returned to her family in 1971. In addition, the political ideology of Juan and Eva Peron is still alive today in Argentina, also called "Peronism".
After the museum, my friends and I explored the city a bit more, found some more great places to go out, and had a fun night in the city that really never sleeps.. or at least not until 7 o'clock in the morning when they get home from a crazy night at the clubs and bars.
On Saturday, 7/26, I enjoyed a nice relaxing day before going out at night to celebrate my birthday with friends. Once again, another long night with great people.
On Sunday, July 27th, also known as the greatest day of the year and MY BIRTHDAY, my friends and I went to Plaza de Mayo and were surprised to see a festival going on for the Peruvians living within the city. Oddly enough, I must have been the tallest person in a three mile radius (I guess Peruvians average about 5'6"?) Afterwards, we walked to San Telmo where they have a market every Sunday. Thousands of Argentines come to sell handmade and authentic items for relatively cheap prices. We decided that we definitely will be going back to that in the near future. After being in Argentina for 9 days, I finally tried their ice cream, and yes it was worth all of the hype. While in the ice cream shop, we heard a loud explosion on the streets only to realize that some professionals were letting off fireworks over San Telmo, which was a nice touch for the day.
Ben and I went back to our house and celebrated my birthday with my host family, which was a great end to the day. 21 is definitely worth all of the hype, I can tell you that.
And finally, today is Monday 7/28 and I had my first day of classes. I was excited to start classes just for the chance to meet even more awesome people. Both of my classes for the day went really well, so I expect only great things to come. And for tomorrow, I have three classes from 1-5:30, including my Tango class.. yikes. Side note: I only got lost once today, so after 10 days, the amount has reduced dramatically and I feel even more comfortable getting around.
One of the popular terms here is Rioplatense, meaning those from the Rio del Plata area of Argentina and Uruguay. Hearing the difference in dialect is very evident, as they say things with a different emphasis than I have ever heard. For example, the Spanish word for street is calle. When pronounced normal, is sounds like "ca-ye". But with Rioplatense Spanish, it sounds like "ca-she". Also they use the vosotros form of the language, which is not very common among Spanish speaking countries; but I am adjusting well to it.
Talk to ya'll soon.
"A country that forgets its children, renounces its future." - Eva Peron