Tuesday, May 19, 2015

¡Buenos Días, Buenos Aires!

Surprise! I'm in Argentina for a month.
My morning view!

Sometimes I feel as though the Argentines are speaking a completely different Spanish than the one I know. They speak heavily with the "sh" should and throw in a 'che' and 'vos' every now and then for good measure. It's fascinating to hear them talk, I've been so quiet this trip because I'm mostly just intrigued and want to hear everyone keep talking! I'm not sure if I can quite describe the city. When I first got here, someone told me that Argentines are Italians that speak Spanish, who wish they were French. I'm starting to think that there's some truth to that statement.

Buenos Aires has New York City traffic with the most incredible parallel parking skills I've ever seen. There are no stop signs in most of the neighborhood street and I am amazed that I haven't witnessed one accident yet; several close calls, but no scratches! The one way streets signs are hidden and there will be places where two way streets suddenly become one way. I've been in a situation twice already where the car has been going against the flow of traffic!

The cuisine: meat, pastas, and empanadas with a strong emphasis on ice cream and cute little pastries. The pastries are so pretty and dainty—if I had to personify them I'd even go so far as to describe them as poised.
My breakfast. every. morning. It's very European here, very continental breakfast-y. Although, usually this would be accompanied by coffee or a strong tea. 

I often have to remind myself to look up when I'm walking around the city which is hard to do when I'm trying to sidestep dog poop. It's everywhere. It makes for an obstacle course on the way to work in high heels. Truly.
(Each building in Buenos Aires is responsible for maintaining it's own sidewalk. It makes for a mosaic of patterns every couple of steps you take. There is no boring concrete in this city, it's all splendid tiles)

My first Saturday here, the Senior missionaries invited me to go with them to an Estancia. Think of Estancias as the gaucho version of the Polynesian Cultural Center. It is fall here and I am grateful to be able to wear sweaters!
Horse stalls that have been converted into a hotel
Argentines are well known for their meat. It is tasty, but I have to admit, I'm not much of a meat person. (oops!)
Typical side dishes. Bread with olive oil, basil, & vinegar; carrot shreds; a tomato-lettuce-onion salad; and a waaaay less fatty version of potato salad.
GUYS. The horse just went limp and did whatever the gaucho asked him to do—horse whisperer!
A pastry stuffed with membrillo (apparently the english word for this fruit is 'quince?')—I hadn't heard of this in my life! If I had to compare the taste I'd say it's similar to guava. kind of?

There is a beautiful bookstore here called 'El Ateneo' it is literally an old theatre that has been converted into a four story bookstore. It was an incredible sight!
This is Julia. She is a native of Argentina, who hasn't spent too much time in the country the last couple of years and she's headed to BYU for summer term, so we're essentially going to try and see all the sights together before our time here runs out!
^^That my friends is an helado from 'Un Altra Volta'. Argentines are VERY proud of their ice cream and I'm beginning to understand why. I had a scoop of Dulce de Leche Volta (dulce de leche with almonds and hazelnuts covered in carmel) and Chocolate amargo (Dark Chocolate). 

This past weekend I had the greatest blessing to go to do a session in the Buenos Aires Temple. Literally, that was the first thing on my Buenos Aires bucketlist. No matter where I am, once I step into the temple, it feels as though I am home!
This weekend was extra special too, because it was the dedication of the Cordoba Argentina Temple. I went to Julia's house and watched the cultural celebration with her family and then on Sunday watched the broadcast of the dedication. I can't begin to describe how wonderful this weekend was. There are some things that happened this weekend that are just too personal to share on a public blog, but let it suffice for me to say that I know I am where I am supposed to be right now.
Julia MADE me try mate. ^^that was my reaction.
These are alfajores. They're like the Argentine version of tea cakes. I probably would love them if I actually loved sugary sweets, but they just aren't my favorite. Honestly, I've been wanting popcorn SO badly. There are hardly any salty snacks here, every time I step into a corner store or pharmacy I'm met with nothing but cookies and candies. Salty food, I miss you!
Sunday evening, I joined the YSA at a FHE at the Bishop's house. The topic-->hermanamiento (fellowship). The topic was absolutely PERFECT. 

You see, 6 hours before I left Provo I got a call from my Bishop asking me if I would serve as Relief Society President. Seeing as how I'm 1000s of miles away, I've been having meetings via skype every Sunday with RS leadership. We have a goal as a Presidency to really focus on fellowship and so you better believe that I was writing down all the ideas that were presented at this FHE. Inspired, I tell you!

More than the sights or the food, I have loved getting to know the people that surround me during this trip. I love the people of Buenos Aires.  


Christina Martinez said...

I don't know if my last comment actually posted... I'll try again. :) So generally I just read the blog updates as they come to my email. Today I clicked the link in that email to come and make comments cause I had things I wanted to say back! ha! 1) I pretty much had the same reaction to Mate when my brother brought it back from his mission in Buenos Aires...30ish years ago! 2) I vividly remember tasting and liking those alfajores cookies, mostly I remembered the foil wrappers!! 3) YOU ARE RELIEF SOCIETY PRESIDENT!!!!!! That's so awesome! you said it like it's no big deal, and it's a BIG DEAL!!! It's THE perfect calling for you! And along those same lines, I just was called as 2nd counselor for our RS, and I would love your ideas on fellowshipping!!! Please email me when you get a moment to share! ;) I love you! I think you're amazing! I am so grateful for the rays of sunshine your blog updates bring, especially because it usually happens to be a day I need that boost!!!

love ya,
Sister (Christina) Martinez

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