Initial Differences


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South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires
September 4th 2011
Published: September 4th 2011
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I think i'm starting to get a feel for at least my neighborhood. i feel lucky to live in a really safe neighborhood where i feel comfortable walking around during the day and night (but still with a friend). I'm also really lucky to have four other exchange students that live with me and one that goes to the same school here as i do. its a little far so i think that we decided that we will take the subte together to school everyday and just hang out and do homework when the other one doesn't have class.

there are so many things that are different here it's hard to think of all of them. The money situation is really annoying. Most places only take cash, so you always have to have cash on you. In the states i barely ever have cash. Also the money here comes in really inconvenient denominations. when you withdraw money from an atm it comes in $100 Ar pesos (about $25 US). so i finally went to an atm here and withdrew 700 pesos (the max and around 175 US). I'm still really paranoid walking around thinking that i'm going to get robbed so i felt weird with so much money in my bag. next annoying thing is that no one ever has change. so whenever i have 100 pesos i take it to a chain grocery store or somewhere that will give me change. so after getting money out we went to a carrefour, kind of like a mini wal-mart and i bought bread, coca light (diet coke made with cane sugar), a water bottle (i left my cool filter bottle on the airplane), and some granola bars (i find my self wondering how i'm going to eat my next meal a lot here). Also the colectivos (buses) only take coins so you have to save all of your coins if you want to go somewhere. the problem is there is a coin shortage in this country so no one wants to give you monedas (coins). people will literally give you more change than they're supposed to so they don't have to give you monedas. i'm so happy to be taking the subte to school on monday because i don't think i have exact change. however, 2 months ago they came out with a card called a sube (i'm suprised they didn't think of this earlier) that you can apply for at like a post office or kiosko that you can put money on and use on both the subte and colectivos so you don't have to worry about saving change. i'm going to go get mine on monday. yay!

also, before i came to Argentina i had been told that everyone was European and I would fit in just fine. But there really aren't that many blonde people here so i stand out like a sore thumb. especially if i'm walking with other blondes or non-argentine looking people. people can totally tell you're not porteno (from Buenos Aires) and will say Hello instead of Hola...

oh and the accent here is crazy. I felt i was pretty good at spanish but i seriously can't understand a word people are saying. The call the spanish castellano here and use vos. That basically means that instead of Tu they say Vos. instead of De donde eres? people say de donde sos? and trust me i hear it a lot because i'm obviously not from here. also they use the "sh" sound for double L and y, so it sounds like "sho" instead of yo and "posho" instead of pollo. and all of the tu verb forms are weird. i guess i'll learn more in my spanish class on monday!

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26th October 2011

looking back
its funny looking back on this after living here for 2 months. update: ive been going a lot of places by myself now and feel fine, you just have to be aware. basically dont be stupid and carry around flashy things. the money situation doesnt seem quite as inconvenient...and ive noticed that if i ask nicely people will generally give me change. i felt like i hit the jackpot yesterday when the guy at carrefour gave me 9 pesos in change! i really love this country. i still kind of stand out but people are nice and want to know where im from and think its cool that im trying to speak spanish. and ive actually been asked directions several times for directions and have been able to point people in the right direction. im working on my accent too!

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