My Buenos Aires day job

January 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

While we were in Buenos Aires for almost one month, I occupied myself while Joe took Spanish classes. It took at least a week to pay back some of the sleep debt that had accumulated over the last few years of working, but after that I settled into a comfortable, low key routine – with some Argentine flavor, of course.

  • Improving Spanish…with Carlos & Alejandro – Sounds scandalous, doesn’t it? I met them through Conversation Exchange, which allows you to search for language partners in your city. I met them in cafes and split the time speaking English and Spanish. Carlos’ Peruvian accent was much easier to understand, and his immigrant experience was interesting to hear. I struggled with Alejandro’s mumbled Argentine Spanish but learned a lot of slang and about local sites to see. One day it took almost 5 minutes for me to figure out he was talking about the rock band “Incubus” instead of some bus company.
  • Exercising…in Palermo’s parks and gyms – Luckily we lived near the parks where it was possible to jog away from the exhaust-filled streets. I even went to a yoga class which served the dual purpose of meditation and learning new terms. Instead of “face up”, I learned that “boca arriba” (literally mouth up) is used.
  • Sipping coffee…after deciphering the coffee menu code – Cortado (coffee “cut” with a dash of hot milk), lagrima (hot milk with a “teardrop” of coffee), jarrito (taller mug, usually glass), cafe con leche (1:1 coffee and milk). These were a few of my friends that I came to know after ordering many caffeinated beverages.
  • Reading…books – Okay, not much “Argentine” spin to this one, though I read some in Spanish (by Chilean and Brazilian authors though). I strongly recommend Inés del Alma Mía for the spirit of the Spanish exploration of South America. It’s a great historical novel particularly great if you are visiting Peru or Chile. The Snowball, about Warren Buffet’s life, was pretty unrelated to my life at that point, but it was nice to glean some business lessons during a time when my mind was actually clear enough to absorb them. Just for completeness I’ll also mention that I thoroughly enjoyed Paulo Coelho’s short “River Piedra” book about forgiveness (in the Spanish translation), and just barely managed my way through A Week in December (depressing, not recommended).

Afternoons were filled with touristy activities (when Joe wasn’t too brain dead from class), planning the route we would take next, and exploring local restaurants. It was a great month to ease the transition, but very different than the rest of the travel we’d be doing. It was the last time we would have such a set routine…

Check out photos with captions highlighting tidbits from our “Buenos Aires, life in general” here.


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