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  • Writer's pictureAl G

Getting into a routine...

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

tldr: trying to set a routine, giving myself grace, adjustment period, visiting Ex-ESMA

TLDR: too long didn't read. I will include this at the top of my blog entry every week! I understand. We are all busy. I appreciate you all taking the time to even read just a couple entries of my blog!


It was a sleepy Sunday today! I woke up very early at 5am, but then drifted in and out of sleep, as I watched the sun rise from the bedroom window! Usually, no matter where I am--whether it be at Davidson, San Francisco, Vermont, or in this case, Argentina--I take Sundays as my "reset renew" day to get myself back on track, to set my intentions for the week, and take time to do something for myself whether that be painting, meditating, or journaling!

Sunrise over Buenos Aires!

Thinking about my past week and a half here in Buenos Aires, I can not believe it's only been 10 days since I arrived! I've really been reflecting on all of the emotions that this experience thus far has evoked: fear, anxiety, and timidness are definitely some that come to mind. However, also I 've laughed the loudest and hardest I've ever before, cried tears of joy, and beamed the biggest smiles! So, as you can see, it's definitely been a roller coaster as I've learned how to navigate a new city, once again, but this time in a completely new language! I've gotten much more comfortable in my home stay and feel so grateful that my host mom Betina cooks me delicious vegetarian meals every night! In addition, all of the young women in my program are simply amazing, with really kind souls and big hearts who inspire me every day to become a better person holistically! Adjusting to a new location, let alone completely new continent is always difficult, but I'm trying to give myself grace. It was hard to sleep this week, partly because I was so excited to start the next day that I couldn't get to bed on time! I was able to get a gym membership that is only 4 blocks away, so starting my morning off at the gym Monday-Saturday early in the morning has been a great way to begin my morning (although in Argentina, "early" is 7am not 5am like I would want to, because who would ever get up at 4:45am to go to the gym?!) I've also encountered many times so far in Argentina where people are genuinely very confused when I speak Spanish to them, since I am Chinese and also look like a foreigner. It's been a difficult situation to navigate, but I'm learning to adjust every day and try to be confident with my Spanish skills as much as I can!


On Tuesday night, my friend Luis from Davidson and I explored Palermo, one of the most touristy neighborhoods in Buenos Aires! Then, the next day, I had my first history class (History of Argentina). For this class, we will have multiple different professors from different backgrounds from Buenos Aires come and lecture or take us on excursions throughout the city! What I love about SIT classes so far is that they are all very grounded in experiential learning which I am so excited about, because that is the type of learning I prefer. Our group met in Plaza de Mayo where demonstrations and political protests occur every day there (there was one happening when we were there!). We learned about the historical significance of this place and then took a private bus to tour the southern part of the capital where the working class lives. We toured the neighborhood of Barracas and then walked down this really beautiful street called "Lanín" that was filled with art. One of my favorite parts about Buenos Aires is the street art that is sprawled all over every single building!! All of the art is so colorful with various designs and all of the pieces evoke so much emotion and passion! And speaking of art....I have gotten into water colors as a meditative practice! I have been inspired by my host mom and my friends! After class one day, my friend Cece and I camped out at a cafe for hours and I borrowed her water colors and paper.

On Saturday, we went on another excursion to Ex-ESMA (Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada), one of the biggest former detention centers in Argentinian history, where over 30,000 people (political activists) disappeared and were kidnapped. It was an emotionally strenuous class as we toured the facilities where less than 50 years ago thousands of people were detained and tortured. In addition, I was extremely moved and shaken to hear about "los bebes robados" (stolen babies) who were either born in the detention center (most of the time, the mothers were pregnant at the time they were kidnapped) or trafficked during this period of time under the dictatorship in Argentina. As an adopted person, I have many questions about my own identity and my birth parents. Why did my biological parents leave me? What could have my life been like if I wasn't adopted? How does this all shape my identity and why? Hearing the horror stories of these babies who are now all over the world and some who don't even know that they are adopted was really difficult for me to process.....I am still processing now and want to further investigate this topic and these guided questions throughout my time in Argentina.


Despite this difficult excursion this weekend, as mentioned in the beginning of the post, I was able to have an extremely resetting day and am ready to start this coming week with intention and stride! I leave for my first week-long excursion to Patagonia (the Southern part of Argentina) in less than 2 weeks! Time is flying and I can not believe that it is already September! I'm having so much fun taking you all along on my journey! Until we meet again. Thank you for following along, showing up, and embarking on this journey of life with me! <3

One of my favorite pieces of street art! So jubilant!

A classic "dog in the cafe moment"! Dogs here in Argentina are so well trained! Most wander alongside their owners with such obedience! Nina could never!

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Sep 09, 2022

So much to see and learn about. The school sounds wonderful. The visit to Ex Esma was so emotional and it is very, very terrible what happened to the disappeared people and the trafficked babies. I can understand how that would have been upsetting. Buenos Aires is a

city of dark and light where the human spirit survives and the people express this through their vibrant art and dance. Two weeks in Patagonia! I look forward to hearing all about it! 😊

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