June 5, 2013 by Caroline Leland
First Day of Work!
This morning I was introduced to my new office and got a more detailed introduction to the company’s functions. It’s is a small and young office; everyone is in their 20s and 30s, which is perfect for me. They’re a web-based travel agency that sells tours and activities in Buenos Aires as well as in other major cities in Argentina, plus Rio de Janeiro.
My job includes updating their blogs, which are outdated and kinda messy right now. I also will get to do some “field work,” which means checking out touristy stuff for them. My boss also mentioned that I could help with collecting testimonials. For example, next week a group of American students are going to a zoo about an hour north of Buenos Aires. If it works out, I’ll go with them to the zoo and then interview them afterwards and record it for the website. I hope that’s the kind of thing I get to do all summer!
After work today I got a coffee at a sidewalk cafe before going to a museum and a cathedral nearby. (I can see a tradition forming here.) There was a curator at el museo who showed me all of the exhibits (all two rooms), explaining everything slowly for me in Spanish. It was great. My favorite part was when he acted out getting high from some berries the native Argentinians used to grind up and smoke.
Later I went grocery shopping, which is more difficult than you’d expect. Stores are much more specialized here, so I had to go to several for what I wanted. For example, things like shampoo are only at drugstores. Fresh fruits and vegetables are only in certain kinds of stores, while others specialize in meat or bread. I know we have butcher shops and bakeries in the US, but we also have those inside the Harris Teeters and Food Lions and, of course, Wal-Marts. No combo supermarkets like that here. And foods I consider basics, like peanut butter or tortilla chips, I have yet to find. However, I did find enough to satisfy me for the next few days, and I’ll keep looking.
Cooking is still really hard for me. There’s the multi-tasking element, there’s the dangerously hot stove element element, there’s the high stakes of IF-THIS-DOESNT-WORK-I’LL-BE-NOT-ONLY-FRUSTRATED-BUT-ALSO-EVEN-HUNGRIER-THAN-BEFORE element… so much risk. And for me, very little reward. I tried to make spaghetti for dinner tonight. It was edible and even somewhat tasty, but the noodles were chewy and I didn’t make enough. I snacked on crackers and cheese as I cooked, though, so I’m not going to bed hungry.
I bought some wine today (!) to have with dinner, but I forgot it until after I was done eating. At age 20, I’m just not used to this whole being-of-age drinking-wine-with-dinner thing. Good thing I have eight weeks to finish the bottle.
I just finished dinner, but I’m about to go to bed. Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) have held onto the Spanish habit of dining at 9:30 p.m. or later. They have lunch at 1 or 2, a merienda (snack) between 4 and 6, and then dinner around 10 or so. If you glance in restaurant windows at 8 p.m., they’re all empty, with waiters standing around waiting for the customers to arrive. People go to bars around midnight or 1 a.m. and then to dance clubs close to 3. I have yet to experience this nightlife, but I don’t know if I can handle it. I’ve been surprised to find the late-dinner thing suits me somehow, but so far I’ve been going to bed immediately after dinner.