June 12, 2013 by Caroline Leland
Yo hablé español!
Yesterday was everything I’ve wanted from Buenos Aires. Work got a lot brighter, and I spent a solid three hours speaking Spanish!
My boss mentioned for the first time since I got here that I will be able to get out and explore the city for work. She said I could write two blog posts per week, which is infinitely better than the tedious formatting I’ve been doing so far. But even that has been getting better. I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of exactly how she wants me to do it. So I’m faster, at least.
After work, I went to a cafe for a few minutes and studied my Spanish flashcards. Then I met up with Léa at La Casa Cultural, which is more of a resource center than a museum. But the French-style building is as old as Avenida de Mayo (circa 1894) and absolutely stunning, as far as buildings go. It was the headquarters of Argentina’s second-largest periodico (newspaper) at the time, La Prensa. According to Wikipedia, the spire on top of the building is a monument to the freedom of the press. Which I, aspiring periodista (journalist), very much appreciate. This freedom is represented here by a bronze statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, law, and justice. She’s holding an electric lamp representing Prometheus’s eternal fire. Which I love. Also, the statue is five meters high and weighs four and a half tons! In 1951, Argentine president Juan Peron (who has been called a dictator by critics) took over the conservative La Prensa. Under the premise that the statue was about to fall apart, Athena was removed in 1952. Oh, the irony. (She was reinstalled a few years later, though freedom of the press was largely ignored for many more years of Argentina’s recent history.) So, it was a cool building.
|Photo by GUSTAVO JAVIER VÁZQUEZ ÁLVAREZ|
I went home for another fun dinner with my housemates. We ordered in sushi, which is another common food here. Later I went out to a bar about a kilometer from my house. I met this guy Nico through Léa’s friend Chris, whom Lea met through an old high school friend. Nico invited me to join him and his friends for drinks– an invitation from a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend, if you think about it. But I brought Léa with me, and it turned out to be a blast. The most fun night I’ve had so far, actually.
It was a group of about six or seven kids our age from all over Europe: Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, and Switzerland. I was the only American, which I kind of loved. The common language was Spanish, which I loved even more. I was intimidated at first because I feel so self-conscious about how poor my speaking skills are, but after a couple of beers I was rattling along with hardly a stumble. That must be the secret to speaking Spanish: beer.