Thursday, September 23, 2010

Family Reunited

For weeks I had been anticipating the visit of my father to the city for a week. I had set out itineraries, lists of restaurants and multiple back up agendas. I was ecstatic waiting for this week to come, just so I could see a familiar face and talk in real time instead of Skype! As the day neared I was counting down in my head the hours until I could get a real daddy hug. As I walked in the airport I saw him standing in the corner waiting for me. I dashed across the lobby grinning from ear to ear! He was finally here! As I turned to leave he diverted me towards a money converter, insisting that he get change. As we stood in line both my mother and sister came from behind him! A full family surprise! I was blindsided, but even more excited that the whole gang was here in Buenos Aires together!

Driving through the city to their hotel I was pointing out buildings and monuments that we would see in the following week. Although tired from traveling, they wanted to set out and see the city. We took the subte to calle Florida to walk the long street of shops and the Plaza de Mayo. I had to break for class, and they took a break for siesta. After, I showed them around my neighborhood, pointing out all of my favorite stores and magnificent buildings that I am neighbored with. We ate at one of my favorite restaurants, Madeline’s, where we had empanadas, milenesas and pizzas. We followed the cobblestone street up to the cemetery and peered in the cultural center; a free art exhibit. We even got to see a sculptor at work. We watched the sunset over the city and left for ice cream at Volta.

Having no class on Friday is excellent because I was able to spend the whole day with my family. We walked all the way to El Centro, to Silvia y Mario’s, a leather shop. One of the first things to check off my dad's itinerary. We spent the day shopping and exploring the city. We went all the way to Plaza Italia to a winery that my dad was interesting in as well. Argentina is known for it's excellent leathers as well as it's wine. The malbec is world famous, grown from the grape vines of Mendoza. At the winery, I had my mom and sister try mate, which they did not like at all! Mate is a traditional tea that all Argentinians drink. It is served hot in a gourd from a metal bombilla, or straw. The Yerba Mate is bitter, but has an excess of caffeine, which is why the gauchos on the Pampas drink so much of it! Later, I took them to my university in Belgrano, which was decorated for primavera. The university was also featuring student’s art projects, so the lobby was weaved with the exhibits. That night, we went to a parrilla in Recoletta, where they were able to have an authentic Argentinian cooked steak.

Saturday was another beautiful day in the city, which was perfect for walking the cemetery and the Recoletta markets. My sister found plenty of trinkets for her friends at home, and we all enjoyed looking at the crafts at the fair. We had dinner at the famous Cafe Tortoni which has hosted many famous faces from around the world. After dinner, we went downstairs to the tango show. The music, dancers and actors were all full of energy, it almost made me want to dance on stage!

Since Buenos Aires shuts down on Sundays we took advantage of the San Telmo antique markets. We started from the Casa Rosada at el centro and walked the markets straight through to San Telmo. Almost 22 blocks! We found scarves and colorful jewelry and some traditional Tom’s footwear that the Argentine’s wear! We broke off from Telmo and explored Puerto Madero too. We crossed the famous walking bridge, Puente de la Mujer. The big sailboats and private yachts made for a beautiful backdrop in mom’s many photos of us.

Monday we explored the gardens of Palermo, starting first at my favorite, the Rosedal. The sun was perfect for lounging in the grass and enjoying the swans and birds bathing in the pools. We took a horse drawn carriage around the gardens and stopped at Plaza Italia for lunch. We enjoyed the sauna at the hotel and relaxed for the night laughing about the week and enjoying each other's company after a few months apart.

I forgot how much I had missed my family until they were here with me! I am not accustomed to going long periods of time without seeing them, so being in Buenos Aires for five months was a big change! It was an interesting experience sharing my city with them and all the things I love because I wanted them to see it all, when all they were interested in was seeing me! As we walked the city they used me as a translator, which was a great way to practice my Spanish comprehension! It was sometimes difficult to relay messages back from English to Spanish but, it helped! It was amazing being able to share the things I love with the people I love!

1 comment:

  1. Did we really do all that? All I remember was following you around the streets of B.A. (which is a bigger city than I thought it would be) AMAZED at how much you have learned. Watching you hail taxis, communicate with waiters and negotiate with street vendors with ease made me realize how far you have come in such a short time. What a great tour guide you were - able to please all three of us with your knowledge of what to do and where to go. We left so impressed with your new sense of independence and grasp of the spanish language. This trip made me love and appreciate you all the more. Thank you for sharing your world with us and showing us that seeing "the Big Picture" isn't about being just a tourist when you study abroad, it's about embracing a new culture.