Buenos Aires, Argentina (Part 1)

March 4 – 15, 2019

Recoleta Cemetery

We fell in love with Buenos Aires! Our one month in Argentina was divided up in 3 parts:
Part 1 – Buenos Aires, neighborhood Palermo, March 4 – 15
Part 2 – Iguazu Falls, March 15 – 18
Part 3 – Buenos Aires, neighborhood Recoleta, March 18 – April 1

This post is about Part 1 of our stay in Palermo, Buenos Aires March 4 – 15

We experienced Buenos Aires as a noisy, lively, happy, diverse, busy, colorful city with really friendly and helpful people, full of off-leash impressively well behaved dogs, with bakeries and 3 types of stores every 2 blocks (produce, groceries and dry goods stores), with fantastic (and super cheap) subway system, a city where cute green parrots roamed around in company of regular pigeons, etc. We were fortunate to not only connect with a few wonderful Argentinians, but we also met some most amazing folks from Venezuela, Colombia, Ireland, Canada, and the US.
We picked the most perfect time to be in Buenos Aires (the end of their summer, beginning of their fall). We arrived on the last day of a month-long carnival season and were lucky to see the last night of our neighborhood’s carnival. It was an incredibly colorful, happy and (too)loud (for Nina) experience. Our first accommodations were an Airbnb in Palermo. The neighborhood was recommended to me by several people from a FB expat group I connected with almost a year prior to our trip. Palermo certainly did not disappoint. We loved everything about it, our local bakery, streets lined with trees, friendly neighbors, and our apartment’s proximity to the best and biggest local park. That same FB expat group was quite helpful in researching availability and cost of Nina’s meds, finding a Spanish teacher for Petra and the most important one, connecting us with an Ultimate (frisbee) team that Petra joined for a month of practice and games (that’s a topic worth its own post).

Carnival in Plaza Unidad Latinoamericana

Petra was a bit mopey for the first 2-3 days but her spirits picked up quickly. Boys were happy about having a swimming pool on the top of our building (almost every other building in that neighborhood had a swimming pool). Pedja and I were unsuccessfully trying to establish some sort of a solid routine that we imagined prior to our arrival – morning walk, breakfast, a bit of school work, walk again, some down time, possibly a bit more school work, afternoon out exploring other neighborhoods. All of that sounded a lot better in our conversations than in reality. Everything we wanted to do took a bit longer than we would anticipate (e.g. exchanging money, buying food, prepping food in underequipped kitchen, figuring out the subway system, organizing Spanish classes for Petra, doing any sort of school work, etc.).

I was feeling overwhelmed with conflicting feelings of incredible joy and sneaky guilt of our privilege to be in an amazing city with nothing more to do than just enjoy it and cherish our uninterrupted time with the kids. It’s hard to describe how chaotic my thoughts were and how happy my heart felt. I loved the first 11 days of our stay in Palermo and that was just the beginning of our love affair with Buenos Aires.
This is what we accomplished in those first 11 days.

1 – Petra got set up with a Spanish teacher who came to our apartment for 2 hr lessons, 2 times per week. Those lessons were more expensive than I first planned but where also better quality than I anticipated. At first, Petra thought that her teacher Paola was too tough for her but it turned out that by the end of the month, she truly appreciated having a no-nonsense language teacher that had high standards and genuinely celebrated her visible progress.

2 – Petra got to play Ultimate with an elite-level club team called The Hammers (8-10hr/week). I’ll dedicate another post to this incredible group of young people that we truly got to love and can noe call friends. This was all made possible by an incredibly generous Kt Jurado Duque who saw my post in BsAS expat group and did not hesitate to invite Petra to join Hammer’s practices. The Hammers were the main reason why we love Buenos Aires as much as we do.

3 – Since these days our teenager’s moods impact the overall dynamic of our family, it was in my interest to help her find her groove in the first couple of weeks of this trip. In addition to Spanish lessons and Ultimate connection, I wanted to find her someone cooler than us that she could hang with and practice speaking Spanish. We were lucky to come across Lu Luisa Fernanda Montero López (introduced to us by KT) who is originally from Colombia, was an Au Pair in the US a few years back and now lives in BsAs. Lu was the light of our few weeks in BsAs, she and Petra hit it off right away and Petra felt the most comfortable speaking Spanish with Lu. I was amazed that Petra could even put a few sentences together after only 4 months of Spanish in school but she blew me away, not only speaking in full sentences but covering subjects I would never think she could cover at this stage. Lu was lovely company not only for Petra but for all of us and after 4 weeks, we felt like we have been friends forever.

4 – We spent these first 11 days learning about Buenos Aires, figuring out where we would store our luggage while we went to Iguazu Falls, meeting new friends (KT, Ultimate team, Lu, Paola), roaming around different neighborhoods every afternoon, spending Sunday at the Ultimate practice and San Telmo market, learning our way around BsAs via Subte (subway), experiencing heavy, warm rain for the first time (there is a funny story there too), getting in a bit of a routine about acquiring and making food, etc.
Leaving our Palermo apartment was sad for me. Seriously, after less than 2 weeks, I got attached to our neighborhood bakery where the owner would every morning give Maksim a new pastry to try out (for free), to the coffee shop where Maksim and I ‘did schoolwork’, to the produce store where Petra and Pedja would get their salad ingredients, to our swimming pool routine, to the nearby park that was stone throw away from our apartment, etc, etc, etc,. I was this crazy lady that was sad about how quickly the time was passing by, even though we were only in the first 2 weeks out of 75+ weeks of travel we had ahead of us.

The pictures that go with this post do not do the justice to our overall enjoyment of our stay in Palermo. This also includes photos taken during those 2 weeks from all over the city, not just Palermo. These posts are primarily my way of keeping a journal of our trip in one spot that will later be turned into our annual family yearbooks (MySocialBooks that I have printed annually for the past several years now).

The pressure to put a lot of what we are experiencing in photos and words is all self-drive. I do not feel that I must post for you guys. My desire is to memorialize as much as I can now since this is my only way of keeping track of million and one thing that happens every day, accompanied by just as many emotions. My current goal is to catch up with posts about Argentina and Uruguay so that I can then continue to post as we go along, more real time, and when it’s fresh on my mind. This is my week to get these catch-up posts done so watch out, the flood is coming.

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