Choosing to share a home with someone instead of having your own personal space may not seem like a glamorous idea to some people. But there is no doubt in my mind that there are invaluable insights about the Argentine culture and people that have come to me because of my decision to live with locals. Money can rent a private apartment but money cannot buy the experience of what it is like to see the day to day life of a modern day middle class couple.
There is a stereotype that exists about Argentines dancing tango and eating steak but the next generation is anything but. Here in this household, meat isn't the primary dish but rather vegetables are. The woman of the house has an affinity for vegetables and is makes keeping healthy a priority. No coffee...no cigarettes....no fast food for her. When planning the meals for her and her better half, she has explicitly told me that any kind of meat only happens once or twice a week and the rest of the time she makes sure that pasta and plenty of vegetables are on the table.
Weekends are filled with reading, taking out a guitar and singing, and bike rides through the city. Although dancing tango isn't part of the activities, there is interest in alot of other activities to stay healthy in connected. She's expressed to me her interest in Yoga and Chinese medicine and things of that sort.
The neatest part about living with someone is that the journalistic side of me doesn't need to schedule interviews with locals to get a perspective.........I can talk to them while they are doing their laundry :) One of my favorite things about Argentines is that it seems like no matter what background or class they come from, they aren't afraid to take a strong stance on their POV.
Having a strong stance doesn't necessarily mean the Argentines that stand in front of the Casa Rosada holding placards and protest signs. A middle class educated couple living in a working class neighbourhood in BA can have just as strong opinions that they express in a firm yet gentle manner upon being asked.
In some ways, life in BsAs can be abit like the Hunger Games. I've both read the book and seen the movie and am a self-proclaimed addict. Part of me is almost ready to camp outside the theatre the moment "Catching Fire" gets announced for a cinema release. One of the things mentioned in the story is that during the competition, life and death depends on who you have on your side. A gift a sponsor sends to a tribute can make the difference between making it to the next round or having the cannon fired and their faces light up the night sky announcing their demise.
Here in BsAs, information is a gift from God. On my third trip here, I didn't need the privacy of my own place (at least not for now). That wasn't valuable to my purposes........information was. And by living with locals, I get access to vital information that could make the difference between me saving a ton of money or spending unnecessarily. The conversations that happen while we go through our day to day lives ironing or cooking could shed light on a tidbit of info that makes a world of difference in the future.
On an upcoming blogpost, you'll learn about how scarcity & generosity met, kissed each other and made all the difference in the life of a friend of mine. But until the curtain of that story gets unveiled, for now I'll just have to say to all of us who live here in the city: HAPPY HUNGER GAMES.