I am SO excited and proud of myself! Today I rode the Subte for the first time, completely alone, all the way to the end of the line! I also walked around alone to get to the Subte stop. I’ve mastered how to blend in when walking around on the street: wear dark clothing (my bright red jacket stood out a bit, but it kept me warm). NEVER smile. Never. Just don’t show teeth. If you have trouble with this (duh, like yours truly) – making a neutral face – look a little mean maybe. It might help? Also, don’t make eye contact with anyone. If you must, or if it happens by accident, the only other option is to stare down the other person so that they look away first. Show them who’s boss (even if you really know that it’s them). And finally, walk so fast you’ll knock someone over if they dare get in your way. Even if you don’t really know where you’re going.
(On that note, check out the new page on my blog, titled, “Shenevieve, la porteña?” I think I’ve mastered the porteño walk so well that the new page is completely necessary. And quite entertaining when you want to read a quick fix.)
So after finally figuring out how to walk the walk of a true porteña, I managed pretty well today! In the morning, Monica and I had a nice breakfast together (coffee and these yummy bread/tortilla things she made with cheese, honey, and butter). She had a yoga class, but before that she walked me around the block so I could get acquainted with the barrio (neighborhood), and showed me the church that I’ll probably be going to! It’s called La Iglesia Santa Cruz, and it is absolutely beautiful on the outside and the inside. Outside, there is a memorial to 3 Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and 2 French nuns who disappeared. Inside, there are some more memorials to them, and also one to 3 monks who founded the church (I think…). The altar of the church was in the center, and the pews were in a semicircle around it, which, for those of you who are familiar with Catholic churches, is a less-traditional and less-conservative set-up. Behind the altar was a big painting of Christ that Monica told me won the Nobel Prize!! SO cool, I’m going to casually attend a big beautiful church with a memorial garden and prize-winning painting. It’s like it’s meant to be. This must have been the day of the Plaza de Mayo, because after heading back home for a couple hours, I hopped on the Subte (don’t I sound so cool?!) to the Plaza de Mayo. I was supposed to meet up with a friend, but I was late, so I just waited on the steps for my tour group (about 20ish kids from FLACSO for a walking tour). Our tour guide walked us around a bit, to the center of the Plaza, in front of the Casa Rosada (which is where the president’s office is, but not where she lives), and a big cathedral that looks nothing like a cathedral. Don’t worry, I took some pictures! The point of the tour was to show us the city’s transition from colonial to modern through architecture, so our tour guide took us through some backstreets to show us different buildings and styles of architecture.
After our walking tour was over (it ended in San Telmo), a few of us walked to a café for some tea/coffee and empanadas (what else?) before heading home. Another girl and I were pretty much freaking out because by the time we got out of the café it was getting dark, and we weren’t sure if the streets in our barrios were going to be safe and well-lit at night. After finally finding the Subte where I’d gotten off, I got off at my stop, and proceeded to walk home – in the wrong direction. I had to ask a nice couple (my theory is, I only ask women and older couples for directions if I need them) where one of the streets was, so I got to retrace my steps and walk even further. Thanks to my bad depth perception at night, I was strugglin’ a little bit to find the right street. But, no fear! I found it! But then another struggle – I was having trouble opening my front door. I rang the doorbell and thankfully Monica was home and I practiced opening and locking the door a few more times so I could get the hang of it! As I walked in the door, I met Monica’s daughter and grandsons. One of them is 1, and another, Lucas, is 3. What a CUTIE! If you all know about my summer job, you know that Spanish-speaking 3 year olds are pretty much my life. Lucas and I bonded with lots of hugs and kisses, and he sat on my lap reading his book and eating his banana. Of course I was lovingly introduced as “Shenny,” which is probably easier for the boys anyway. The little ones are staying at our house tonight, and after they ate, Monica put them down and is cooking dinner for us. (It’s only 9:40, so we probably won’t eat for a while – here’s another challenge I’m facing, eating dinner so late! But thanks to the 6 pm empanada stop, I’ll be fine.)
I say I’m not a city girl, and I’m still not sure I am. But I think I just may be a Buenos Aires girl at heart 😉
Mañana, misa y la compra! (Church and shopping tomorrow! Wish me luck on my bargaining, I’m a little rusty. But we all know I hate paying full price for things.)