I remember the first time I came to Buenos Aires as a twenty-two year old on my first business trip. The taxi driver who drove me from the airport to my hotel was not only amazed that I was on a business trip alone (this I attributed at the time to Latin sexism) but also told me at least three times how European Argentina is. He clearly wanted to distinguish his country from the rest of Latin America. At the time, I found this amusing. I had just spent several summers traveling around Europe and working in Madrid and I didn’t really understand this cab driver’s desire to identify his country as European.
On this trip, Buenos Aires looks and feels really European to me. Not that being European is any better than being Latin American. It’s just a refreshing change for me. It feels more familiar to me compared to life in a small Colombian town.
Over the past two hundred years, Argentina, like the US, was settled by immigrants from all over the world. However, unlike the US, the predominant majority of immigrants were from Spain and Italy and Mediterranean sensibilities about the importance of family and enjoying life prevail. Good food, fine wine, a late start to the day, and festivities that go late into the night are all a part of life in this grand city. There is also British influence as evidenced by daily tea time but there is definitely no Puritanism here!
All this to say that we had a fantastic day today! Walking in the Japanese gardens followed by a Japanese lunch, a stroll through the green parks of Palermo and a water bicycle ride past multitudes of geese, ice cream at Freddo, my favorite ice cream the world, tea and sandwiches de miga (sandwiches on super thin bread similar to those served with traditional British tea) at an outdoor café in Recoleta, the fanciest neighborhood in Buenos Aires, followed by an all-you can eat vegetarian buffet across the street from our apartment. There seems to be a theme here: food. And it’s delicious!
Here are some photos of our day:
On a different note, we are having a great time as a family and being here is bringing up a lot of different thoughts and emotions. I am feeling nostalgic for my twenties and the early years of my relationship with Esteban. We traveled so much and had such good times here in Buenos Aires going to fancy restaurants and dancing until dawn. I am feeling nostalgic for “civilization” as I define it. I am feeling a longing to live in a place where I feel like I belong. Today, I don’t want to go back to Colombia where I stick out like a sore thumb as an obvious “gringa”. I can’t really imagine moving back to Boston when it’s time for us to leave Colombia either. I guess this is the question of someone who has moved around a lot – where do I belong?