This Must Be The Honeymoon Stage!

June 7, 2013 | Elizabeth, Intern, Canadian Embassy, Argentina

Hi guys!

I’ll be in Argentina for the next three months completing an internship at the <a hrefCanadian Embassy in Buenos Aires hree weeks ago. I didn’t know anyone here beforehand, but thanks to many friends back in Canada who contacted their friends in Buenos Aires I’ve been able to connect with a great group of people here.  Since my Grandad was originally born in the city, I even have two cousins here. The cousins have had me over for regular dinners and they’re both wonderful! It’s funny how small the world is.

My three weeks here have been a whirlwind. I went from living with a bunch of international students to moving in with an Argentinian couple right in the centre of the city. The couple, Tomás and Laura, are wonderful. They have bent over backwards to make sure that I feel safe and comfortable here. Tomás even went as far as accompanying me to work on the first day to make sure that I wouldn’t get lost.

Work is challenging and I’m delighted to be here. I’m interning in both the Public Affairs section and the Trade section as a Junior Analyst. I have a lot of work at all times but that’s the way I like it! I’ve already been able to take on a bunch of different projects so I’m strengthening my multitasking abilities and research skills. It’s great to work in a Spanish environment where I am able to speak and write only in Spanish. It’s definitely improving my communication skills each day. I have attended many events at and outside of the Embassy where I’m able to expand my knowledge of how an Embassy operates and understand the intricacies of the Canadian and Argentinian government. It’s a fascinating place!

Tomás and Laura

The city is beautiful. The architecture is a mix between beautiful Parisian-style buildings and modern apartments. Some new buildings are even built around the old ones so that they combine the two styles. It’s really something else.

Architecture in Buenos Aires - A mix between traditional and modern

The people here are great too. Everyone is very passionate and talks with their hands like Italians. I guess it’s because a lot of their ancestors emigrated from Italy. The other night at dinner Tomás was showing me the different hand signals that you can use as a sign language to express yourself here. Two taps on the nose means “I’m serious!” and two shakes of your fingertips means “How much is this?” … I’ve learned to be careful to not get hit by a flailing hand while walking down the street.

Politics is big here. Everyone is either for or against the government. There doesn’t seem to be an in-between. There doesn’t seem to be one strong opposition party either. The current President Cristina Kirchner was voted in with 54%, but her popularity has since been on shaky grounds. There’s a federal election scheduled for October of this year. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

As for the food, it is divine. Steak is extremely popular and you can order a beautifully grilled steak for the equivalent of $5 CAD. Malbec in the grocery stores is around $2 CAD per bottle. Thick caramel sauce on pastries called dulce de leche is wickedly good. Pizza tastes just like that of Italy - cheesy, thin and a flavour that kicks you in the mouth. I swear! It’s amazing. You can even order homemade ice cream to be delivered in ten minutes to your door.

Ribs in Tigre

Thankfully, exercise as well as good food is popular. I’ve joined my Spanish teacher’s running group which is a great way to meet more people. On Saturday we went for a run for an hour and a half! My legs are still sore since I’ve never run that long in my life. There are tons of huge parks in the city with lakes and statues inside and flocks of green parrots though, so running is a lot of fun.

I’ve walked around the city with my good friend Daniel. Juanse, one of my best friends in Canada put us in touch, and Daniel has been a great guy to show me the city. We also visited the nearby town Tigre which sits on the Paraná Delta. We took a boat ride down the canals and visited the junctions of four different rivers. There’s also a huge market with lots of beautiful leather bags and wallets for $5 to $10 CAD.

Tigre Canals, Buenos Aires Province
Daniel on the Riverboat
The Tigre “Fruit” Market
I also went on a three-day trip to the Argentinean province of Córdoba to visit an uncle of mine at his home in the small town of Los Cocos. Mauricio is a naturalist and I spent the weekend relaxing with him and learning about Argentina from his point of view - it’s politics, economics, society and environment of course. I also visited the city of Córdoba, which is full of cobblestone streets, flowers and churches. It was wonderful!

Uncle Mauricio at his home in Los Cocos, Córdoba Province
Córdoba City, Córdoba Province

On May 25 I went to the Plaza de Mayo for the huge event. Tomás came with me and said that in his entire life in Argentina he had never seen so many people downtown. It was so busy that we literally could not enter into the main square (Plaza de Mayo). The population of Buenos Aires in 3 million, and the greater Buenos Aires Area is close to 13 million. I’m not sure how many people were at the Plaza de Mayo that day, but it sure felt like it could have been 10 million. It was insane. Flags, music, food, dancing, confetti, fireworks, trapeze artists, concerts, you name it, it was there. It was quite the experience.

Anyways, that’s all from me for now. I hope you’re keeping well. Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

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