It is a laugh a minute living in Argentina and not quite speaking enough Spanish to sufficiently carry out daily tasks. Everything is significantly more challenging when you don’t know your hookers from your t-shirts, nor how to conjugate verbs in any tense other than the present. 2 months in and I’m having a great time and definitely learning lots.
One such example of a perfectly simple task becoming tricky was when I caught a cold. It was inevitable and I was grumpy and moaned about it incessantly before I eventually went to the farmacia. I was looking for some kind of Lemsip. I walked into the pharmacy and promptly realised that I didn’t know how to say ‘I have a cold/blocked nose/sore throat’; I’m unsure what I said to the pharmacist but she produced something that didn’t even vaguely look like a Lemsip but I nodded vigilantly, paid and left. I left the pharmacy feeling elated, I had paid £5 for completely the wrong medicament but I had had a good go and survived.
I hid my newest purchase from my host mum as I knew full well it was not what she had advised I get. Given I had tried to ask for some kind of drinkable remedy, I added the suspicious liquid to some hot water and drank it. Not particularly tasty but then medicine never really is.
This week I had an unfortunate incident involving a water bottle and my beautiful vocab book which I have pored over for some time now. I don’t have a picture but all my lucky Snapchat friends will have received many tributes to the words washed away. I was drying out the contents of my bag in Spanish class when I came across a few of my weird not-lemsips. Our Spanish teacher, Sole, remarked that her mum uses similar medication to clear her sinuses, although she sticks hers up her nose – as do most other people it seems. It is very probable that whilst I was nodding and smiling inanely, the pharmacist was explaining that I should put the weird liquid up my nose rather than drink it but evidently I didn’t understand that. We live and learn, and after several questionable drinks, I am now cold free.
Another thing I don’t really understand is my host brother. He is soon to turn 4 and is gorgeous. We get on excellently given how little mutual understanding there is between us. We share everything (this wasn’t voluntary on my part); pyjamas, sunglasses, food and my mobile phone. We play casitas, table tennis and most recently basketball despite one of us having somewhat of an advantage. I arrive home and am greeted by a smiling face who yells AMIGA and then asks where my phone is. My birthday chocolates did not survive long; I returned from a short trip to the bathroom to find my bro in my bed surrounded by wrappers looking distinctly mischievous.
My other host brother and host sister are also gorgeous, and with them there is slightly more comprehensible exchange – at least they understand that it is highly probable they will have to say something more than once and the odds are they will be met by a fairly bemused face.
I turned 21 last week and had a lovely day. I was so flattered by all the gorgeous messages I received from all my not-so-nearest and dearest. A special shout out to my mum who recorded herself tunelessly rapping 4 minutes worth of Will.I.Am’s ‘It’s your birthday’. My host family cooked an asado which is what we eat every Sunday; it is essentially a BBQ with excessive quantities of red meat and not a Yorkshire pudding in sight. We drank wine, chatted and compared baby photos. They bought me my very own equipo de mate, I’ll be the real Argentinian deal in no time.
Work is also going well. I am currently prepping for a workshop on English culture which will be open to the public some time soon. I’m using my 16 year old students as guinea pigs and taking great pleasure in listening to them say ‘Oh Blimey’ and ‘It’s minging’, as well as asking why we serve chocolate with our roast dinner (gravy). My littler classes don’t understand me and I don’t understand them but they are so energetic it’s a pleasure to be there. One poor lad cried for over half an hour because he didn’t understand my instructions so did the task completely wrong in black marker pen, he received sympathy from none of his 17 classmates.
Thanks to everyone who has sent messages asking if I am alive/being fed enough/learning any Spanish. Missing you all and sending love across the Atlantic.