Felt like such a native today!
This afternoon, my Culture/Communication in Buenos Aires class met in Mataderos, a barrio on the outskirts of the capital. We went to the weekly feria de Mataderos, which is smaller and definitely more authentic than the other touristy street fairs we’ve been attending! Today was the Festival Folklórico, to celebrate the first day of spring, which is on Wednesday. There was a stage set up and folk dancers and bands that performed the whole afternoon. The air was filled with smoke from stands with meat and smelled like choripan and sweets. We spent a few minutes in a museum with information about and things made by gauchos (cowboys), and then we were free to explore the fair. Although it was small, it took us a good two hours to go to all of the stands and eat way too much. I ate choripan for lunch, which is chorizo (sausage) cut in half and put in pan (bread). Chorizo + pan = choripan. After lunch my friend Katie and I walked around a bit, and found some dessert. She ordered a panqueque de dulce de leche (dulce de leche crepe), and I had a churro filled with dulce and an Uruguayan sweet that was vanilla flavored and moist and delicious 🙂 There was definitely a difference in the crowd in Mataderos, probably because one has to travel so far to get there by bus only, and the tourist-laden crowds in San Telmo and Recoleta, which are much easier to access.
After the hour long bus ride, the feria, and another hour of travel back to our neck of the woods, it was time for church! After mass I headed home, and walked into my kitchen where my host mom, her friend, and my host brother were all sitting around the kitchen table. THESE are the evenings I love most, just spending relaxed time with my host family. I sat with them for a while, and finally, finally, the mate was passed to me! I officially feel like I am a member of the family 🙂 It was mate amargo (bitter mate), but I actually liked it! Right now I’m sitting in my kitchen with my host brother at the kitchen table, both of us doing our homework and listening to music. My host mom is cooking dinner, and I am quite contenta.
Between the feria, mate, and a quiet evening in, I definitely feel like I am in the in-crowd of Argentina. Every time I feel like I’m getting into a routine, Buenos Aires switches it up for me.