Being a Wallflower in a New City

(Above photo: Obelisco de Buenos Aires)

It’s officially been one month living here in the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, Argentina! I know I’ve been a little bit MIA (“missing in action” for all those behind on the acronyms) with my posts, but it’s only been two weeks since I’ve started university here and to be honest with you all, it’s tough! Yes I’m only doing 3 subjects per semester, but I generally have 3 or 4 hours of classes per subject per week, AND I have additional assignments with UTS (my home university). Not to mention some of the readings I have to do are over 50 PAGES long (and purely in Spanish)!!!!! So it really isn’t a just one year of travels and holidays. But nevertheless, I’m still so blessed (rhyme not intended) to be here in the first place. I’ve already experienced some spectacular things so far (you can see a little snippet here), and I will be leaving for Iguazú Falls tomorrow with a few new friends I’ve made here on exchange. I’m super stoked because this will be my first weekend trip away from the city and I get cross the Argentina border and enter Brazil for a little bit, and I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m trying to contain my excitement right now! Not going to be looking forward to the catch up work I need to do, but you only go on exchange once, right?

Anyway, back to the title of my post: I guess having lived here for a month now, and being the introvert that I am (based off the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality tests [you can easily google them {like how my thought processes work? I can’t believe I had to use fancy brackets lol}], I am an INFJ – Introversion, Intuition, Feelings, and Judgement), I like to make A LOT of observations and internal judgements (not always negative, although I am working on it), and more often than not, I tend to keep these thoughts to myself, rather than share them to the people around me. And to this day, Perks of Being a Wallflower (1999) is still one of my favourite books, and I’d like to believe that I am currently a wallflower* in Argentina. I make up stories in my head of the strangers I encounter and try to imagine what their life stories may be. Or I notice the slightest bits of unfamiliarity during day to day activities here in Buenos Aires that don’t happen back at home, in Sydney. So I thought I’d share some of my little wallflower moments and observations (you could say this is a part two of the ‘things I’ve learnt here in Argentina’ – click here to see part one):

  • It’s normal for men to greet their other male friends with a cheek to cheek (probably another European thing that Argentinians have adapted)
    • It is also appropriate for students to greet their supervisors/teachers with kisses (something I awkwardly experienced during my first week at university)
  • Motorcyclists will drive onto foot paths to get past stagnant traffic
  • Taking the scenic route home from university can lead you to catching beautiful views you wouldn’t plan to see (such as the one pictured above)
  • Argentina wins with providing cheap, good beer in supermarkets and pubs/bars, but they do fail in the cocktails category (or I was just given a poorly made tequila sunrise that tasted like cough syrup)
  • Argentinian drivers don’t have as much road rage as drivers back in Australia (I am a prime example of those road ragers), but they LOVE to beep their horns whenever possible (even if they are 10 cars behind the one at the front of an intersection that cannot move because of the traffic during a green light)
  • It is considered early to rock up to a club at 12AM (but sometimes you won’t be able to get in for free if you decide to go 30 mins before you have to pay)
  • Almost all shops are closed on Sundays (besides the supermarkets)
  • Everyone uses 24 hr time here (and probably in other parts of the world) e.g. you will see signs saying (in español of course) “OPENING TIMES: 8 – 22 HRS”
  • ATMs (automated teller machines) are only accessible inside banks, which are only open until 15 hrs (3pm) Mon-Fri, and it is almost impossible to be able to withdraw money on the weekends because they will not restock the ATMs with cash after Friday. So it is best to withdraw once or twice a week to ensure you have enough to last you for the weekend
  • Which leads to my next point, which is that some shops will provide a discount on clothes (and possibly other goods) if you pay by cash. And some shops and restaurants will ensue different surcharges depending on the type of credit card that you are paying
  • It turns out that Argentina invented the whole fingerprints system (a fact I learned during a game of trivia crack on my first day at university), because I saw the Timeteq system at plenty of major food/clothing chains
  • There is no Apple Store here in Argentina (but not for long, maybe)
  • I still see the old Windows 98 desktops at my university here in Buenos Aires
  • Ham, chorizo and cheese empanadas are a thing here, and they are BOMB!!!!
  • Platform heels, sandals, everything are a major trend here with the ladies, in an attempt to make themselves taller
  • Again, apparently common in other parts of the world, but people utilise the voice message option on WhatsApp a lot more than they physically type their messages
  • Most teachers will give you 30 min breaks in between 3 hour classes at university (or they let you leave 30 minutes early without the break)

Okay, so maybe that was larger list than expected, but I hope you enjoyed my bunch of insights into the strange and wonderful city of Buenos Aires thus far!

Hasta luego, ¡besos y abrazos!

Love, Marie ♡

Ps. I may not relate to every single one of these characteristics of a wallflower, as Urban Dictionary defines below, I mean I don’t crave attention and I definitely do not know everything** (maybe once a month when it’s that time of the month and I’m the clingy girlfriend but that’s besides the point), but for the most part, this definition fits me pretty darn well. Okay I’ve rambled on enough, k bye.

* Wallflower /wɔːlflaʊə/: someone who sees everything, and knows everything, but does not say a word. They are not loners, but rather, introverted, and cannot handle having someone pay attention to them even though they crave it as much as everyone else; they are just phased in, and faded into the background (based off Urban Dictionary).

**I recently learnt that no matter how light and pastel a pink shirt is, you should never mix it with shirts that have any sort of white in them when doing the washing, because it WILL transfer (I was also the idiot that didn’t think to put my white and navy striped shirt in with the rest of my whites ==” [<< do people still use that emoticon? Does the younger generation even know what emoticons are seeing as they weren’t around when MSN was the bomb and emoticons were all we had? None of this emoji business. I’m not trying to sound like techno-millennial either] Okay enough of these multi-brackets nonsense)! Okay, chau for reals now!

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