I accidentally left my last post as a draft so it was only published yesterday even though I wrote it about a month ago. In any case, I’ll get you all up to date with what’s been happening in Argentina.
After spending about a month in Chile in 2007 studying with author Antonio Skarmeta, I returned to my old stomping grounds for their equivalent of independence weekend. Boy, was it sure a good weekend to go back! Our journey started with a 22 hour bus ride. I know what you’re thinking but the buses here are like being on first class, and the scenery going through the Andes was amazing. I’ve seen some incredible things in the mountains, but the drive from Mendoza to Santiago was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen between 24,000 foot snow-capped peaks to the crystal blue lakes along the way. This visit to Santiago was not one for sight-seeing, that was exhausted on my last trip. We wanted to immerse ourself with the people because it was ‘el dia de la patria’. We had plenty of activities between family asados, patriotic songs, and the return of pisco – the wonderful Chilean national drink. All in all, we crushed Chile…again.
After a few more weeks in Buenos Aires, which are never dull, we decided to head to the middle of the country to a city called Cordoba which is the second largest city in Argentina and happens to be the second largest population of students. The weather felt more like home with hot, dry air and long sunny days. The city has beautiful colonial architecture and the people are one of a kind. Even though everything starts late here, at 4AM the streets were packed with people who were just starting out their night. Just outside of Cordoba, they also happen to have the third largest Oktoberfest in the world; although we couldn’t figure out where the second largest one was. The festival was held in a little town called Villa General Belgrano that was settled by German immigrants in the early 20th century. The town looks like it’s straight out of Europe and combined with the festival it was quite a sight and without a doubt a good time. Back to BA for class, but on the way back we did happen to engage in a 2 hour political debate with a pair of lawyers from Rosario – Argentines love to talk, especially about politics.
After all this play time, it was time to dig in and get ready for my midterm exams last weekend. However, in between studying I did have time to revel in Argentina’s thrilling win in the rain over Peru and subsequent qualification for the World Cup with a win over Uruguay yesterday. You could hear yelling all over the city when they scored in stoppage time and there was singing for the rest of the night. Now that midterms are over and done with, I am heading to Mendoza for the long weekend to relax and unwind.
I was saddened upon my arrival from Chile that a good friend and teammate of mine, Chris Quon, had passed away suddenly over the weekend. This news, coupled with the accident of another friend studying abroad in Switzerland, has given me a good reminder about the unpredictability and value of each and every day. Although I try and make each day in Argentina special because of how unique this experience is, it’s given me new meaning towards my general outlook on life. Don’t waste any moments, live life to utmost, and accept every invitation that comes your way. In addition, in light of everything that’s happened and after speaking with all of my friends, it also made me realize what a wonderful group of friends I have at school. I can’t even express how much they mean to me and what an influence they are in my life, even 5,000 miles away!
More to come.
– To Bryce: I hope you make a speedy recovery. You’re always on my mind, and we can’t wait to have your contagious, larger than life personality to make us whole again back at school.