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Monday, February 08, 2010

The First Day

Sept 10/09

It's finally happened, all that dreaming, hoping, and planning has all come together. My plane touched down at 7:15 Argentinean time. After being herded like cattle through customs, I then went to the area where I claim my baggage. Within seconds I realized that every minute and every hour of spanish study was completely worth it. Because it was quite apparent that English is of little or no use here. Travelers in the english speaking world are accustomed to being able to go anywhere in the world and being able to use english. Mexico, being a tourist destination is a place where a foreigner could quickly get by with little or no spanish. However, this was not the case here. Everyone, starting from airport staff will approach you first in spanish and the squeek out some english if you cannot understand.

The school arranged for a car to pick me up and bring me to my destination, which would be on of the schools dorms. I was quickly greeted by a lady name Gladys who is in charge of accomodations. And even more importantly, she is going to be the lady that I will be teaching english to. She gave me a tour of the residence and then showed me where the dining area, the living room area etc. We sat down for a tea, coffee and croissants and had a chat. She speaks absolutely no English but has always wanted to learn.

To make it very clear, ALL our conversations were in spanish. There was no other option. After the tour of the residence, she showed me the school that she works for and who arranged all of this. I am currently at the school typing out this email because, as she explained to me, WIFI is not working in the residences. After a tour of the school, we went back to the residence and worked out the schedule for when I would be teaching her. I am going to be teaching her for 3 hrs on Friday, Sat, Mon, Tues, and Weds. The rest of the time I have free and I can do what I want.

After that we parted ways and I set to the task of unpacking. Feeling rather filthy after having been on a flight, I quickly found the showers and didn't hesitate to jump into it. But it is unfortunate that in my eagerness to get clean again, that I had forgotton to bring any towels with me. And I only realized this 5 mins after I was enjoying a good wash. Let's just say that now I have some clothing that I am hanging to dry in my room. And by the way, you can stop laughing at me now........really.

Next I set to the task of contacting someone I know that lives here. I quickly learned the all important errand on how to buy a prepaid phone card to be able to use to call cell phones or call internationally. I left a message with that friend on her cell phone. Then I set out to explore the city. My first errand was to get set up with a local # for my cell phone. This took some creativity because I had to run around explaining to people in spanish that today is my first day in BA and I need a number for my cell phone. But in the end, I got the help that I needed and found a friendly store keeper who did speak english and explained to me the entire system.

Now that that was done, my second task was to find Confiteria Ideal, the place where I would be taking tango lessons as well as attending milongas. After much walking, I came across the tango hall and it would be here that I had my very first meal in BA. Nothing too extravagant, I just had a rare steak and some fries to go with it and downed it with a coke. All for 30 pesos which works out to $10 CDN. A meal like this would normally be costing $20 or more in North America not including the tip. I have some pictures of that first meal at Confiteria Ideal that I will be posting very soon when WiFi is working in my room.

It is almost 4pm right now in Argentina and what a day it has been! Touching down in Latin America for the first time, realizing that english is completely useless, meeting my student, finding the place where I will dance tango, having my first meal true Argentinean style, and most of all, falling in love with a country and a people......time for a rest. See you all very soon!

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas