You’d say that too if it happened to you! These past 3 weeks have just been full of enlightening realizations and thoughts and memories.
Today I woke up around 10:30 after getting in last night around 4 am (early by porteño standards!). I hung out in my house all morning until I went to meet my friend at 3 in the Plaza de Mayo to go to a museum in San Telmo. By now I have a looong, long list of places I want to go and things I want to see while I’m in Buenos Aires, most of them free! I also started adding the city’s best coffee shops to the list according to various websites. I figure, we drink coffee every single evening, so we might as well make a project out of it and explore as many different coffee shops as we can! So we meet up and walk (a lot) to the museum – which has a sign in front of it that says it’s closed until this Wednesday. Wonderful. No fear, we’re in Buenos Aires! So we tried calling another museum and looking up some others in the back of our Guía T (synonym: Bible for Anyone Who Ever Wanted to Get Around Buenos Aires and Not Get Horribly Lost More than Twice a Day). We searched around for the Museo del Cine (Movie Museum), didn’t find it, and then ended up at an old building that my friend told me used to be what old hostels looked like. It was beautiful, with staircases and iron railings and balconies and tiled floors! It’s been converted into a little area with shops and a café.
After taking pictures of that (free) site, we sort of accidentally-on-purpose found an old prison. Casual. Again, free, so we went inside to take a look around. It was actually really cool! We learned a lot about the penitentiary system in Buenos Aires circa 20th century – random, but we never would have found this place if the other museum hadn’t been closed (despite the fact that my day planner has “Murphy’s Law” printed on it, I will forever be an optimist and also believe that everything happens for a reason)! Pictures are posted both of the old prison as well as the ex-ESMA (detention center) from yesterday!
After we finally got out of prison (such an exhausting run – it really is every man for himself there), we walked to find a café that was on my List (it deserves a capital L because it has so many exciting things on it!). It was called La Puerto Rico, and it was a huge café with beautiful pastry window and a huge stage in the middle that is used for tango and flamenco performances on certain nights! We both ordered a huge slice of copito cake, which is a chocolate cake with a layer of dulce de leche , covered in chocolate, with strawberries scattered in the cake, and with dulce de leche, chocolate, and a chocolate-covered merengue on top.
As we sat there eating our copito and drinking our tea, we began talking about what it’s like to be living in Buenos Aires. Being abroad is so different from being in college. I mean, in college we get to do what we want, but to a certain extent. Here, living in a different country, we literally get to do whatever we want. I feel like I am so much happier here than I have been for a long time. That’s not to say that I’m necessarily unhappy in the States, but it’s just different. We talked about how this experience is going to help us grow so much, and only in positive ways! We’ll be different people when we get back home, but not at all in a bad way. Talking about that made me so excited for the next few months and to be here! I am certainly getting used to the way of life here. Late nights, wake up late, start the day around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and not have to be back by 8 or 9? Coffee or tea every evening, accompanied with food (usually postres – desserts – if I’ve been walking a lot, which is usually the case), around 5 or 6. It’s not socially acceptable to have a huge piece of chocolate cake at 5 in the evening, even if you’ve been walking all day. However, most of you know that I am a huge advocate of, “You’re a big kid. Do what you want.” In fact, if you know me well enough, I’ve probably told you that on more than one occasion. (I DO WHAT I WANT – you know if this is aimed at you) The great thing about this city is that that seems to be the mentality at all times. Do what you want! And don’t be sorry about it!
So thank you Buenos Aires, for encouraging me further to order my cake, and eat ALL of it, too