Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Taste of Culture Shock

Before I arrived in Buenos Aires, I felt that I was pretty well prepared. I'd talked to Lindsay and Holly quite a bit and heard all of their stories about how it is living in a foreign country. I knew there were going to be really tough times and I knew there were going to be really fun times. And, sure enough, I'm having a pretty equal mix of them right now. It's the end of the second week, and it's starting to sink in that I'll be here for a very long time. I've met so many really cool people and made a lot of friendships that I hope will last well past the time we all split up in June. For the difficult times, they all pretty much stem from one common thread, learning Castellano. If I ever use the term Castellano, just mentally change it to Spanish. Portenos don't speak Spanish, they speak...Castellano. It's Spanish though, don't worry. It's just a Porteno arrogance thing from what I've heard.

It's really hard. I'm a fairly smart college student who can learn accounting with some patience, and I'm able to comprehend most things. However, being 21 years old and having 6 year old kids in the park be able to speak better than is you very humbling. I can't seem to figure out which conjugation to use and the little kids just talk and talk and talk and talk. If anyone loves to talk, it's me, and having my ability to communicate taken from me is pretty shitty. I've got so much to say but I don't have any of the vocabulary to say it. I know it's a study abroad sin to hang out with other Norteamericanos but I honestly think I would have a meltdown if I didn't get my fill of English speaking every now and then.

Given, I'm excited for the challenge, but it's not going to be like learning stocks and bond rates. This is the big leagues. To end with one of the most well-known "Watching natives chat while studying abroad in a foreign country where they don't speak English" statements:

They make it look so easy!

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

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