By: Adrienne Glenn
Because I had to limit my favorite things about Buenos Aires to five, I decided to be vague so I can be all-inclusive. I could write an entire piece on how I am not sure that I will be able to live without dulce-de-leche when I decide to leave this country, or how there is something exciting and romantic about having dinner at 10:30 at night; but, in this moment, brevity is key. Or the desserts. Or the desserts. Or did I mention the desserts? So, here a few of my favorite things:
I often read that Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America. I disagree. It is the New York City of South America. The hustle, the bustle, the extremes, the constant construction, the strange experiences you have on the subway… it all points me more to the feel of The Big Apple than The City of Lights. The atmosphere of Buenos Aires has a special feel, all it’s own, however. There is something magical about it that is difficult to put your finger on. The architecture is fascinating, the street art intoxicating, and there is always something crazy about to happen.
I am not sure where the intensity and extremism started first, in the city or in the people… but I have a theory that is actually the weather that has a profound effect on the people. The weather will melt you and then freeze you, all in the course of 24 hours… and the people are not that much different. Be ready for quick changes at any moment. A people that are spirited and intense, you can also find a very loving and loyal family within each of them. It is a fascinating mixture and one that I plan to continue to investigate.
Truthfully, this falls on my list in many places, but here there is the trifecta of a good wine experience… affordable, quality, and there is always someone great to share it with. I don’t know of any other country where you can pop down to the corner market and buy a very tasty bottle of Malbec for the equivalent of $4.50. And, that is one on the expensive side! Drink it with an asado, under a tree at the park while people watching (not necessarily legal - just keep it on the dl), or open a few of those bottles with friends, and your Buenos Aires experience can only improve!
While the personal life in Buenos Aires is fun, we must not forget our work life! What a lovely place teaching in Argentina is. The students here are dedicated, fun, engaging, conversational and most are true patriots. They have no problem admitting Argentina’s faults, but they love her dearly and most would never want to leave. That doesn’t mean that learning English doesn’t fascinate the majority of them. Nearly everyone I meet wants to learn English, practice English, or hire you to teach them English. Their passion for soaking up this knowledge inspires me.
This is a very general statement, I know. But I can throw a lot of favorites under here. I love the culture. It is very special, very specific, and quite mesmerizing. I love that breakfast consists of delicious facturas (pastries) and coffee and nothing else. I love that they stop for merienda in the afternoon. I love that dinner is late and usually comes with impassioned conversation and heavy laughs. I love that you can often hear music drifting through the buildings. I love that at any given moment you can experience art or events all over the city. And, I love that the number one Argentinian priority is family. These things (and so, so many more) roll up into a culture that will never leave you once it touches you, and that… that, is my favorite thing.
A California girl, born and raised, Adrienne always itched to pack up and leave for France with nothing in her hand but a suitcase. At the age of 38 that dream materialized for her, only in the form of another European country, the Czech Republic, where she began teaching English... and the rest is history. Read more about Adrienne.