I cannot describe how pleased I have been with my experiences in Buenos Aires so far. On our second night in the city, after spending our first night in a hotel, we were each picked up by our respective host families and taken to our new BA homes. My host, a sweet Argentine grandma named Susy, is a former social psychologist who now focuses her free time on painting and writing poetry. We live in a comfortable first floor apartment with two beautiful patios in a trendy and beautiful neighborhood known as Palermo. Soon, after arriving and taking a moment to unpack my mountain of clothes (I am here for 5 months, remember), we sat to eat dinner with Susy’s cousin Ernesto. Ernesto, upon learning that I study Political Science, shared with me a passionate and encyclopedic knowledge of Argentine politics over dinner; I could not have been more thrilled.
Ernesto, over the course of our two-hour meal of chicken soup, chicken salad and a delicious apple salad, essentially broke down the last 50 years of Argentine political history. His account, accompanied by the occasional clarifying interjection by my endlessly kind host Susy, captivated me with its level of detail. At one point, to illustrate Ernesto’s level of knowledge, Susy randomly asked him “Who was the Argentine Economic Minister in 1947?” Ernesto answered so quickly that I even thought they may have planned it before!
From 8 until almost 11, Susy and Ernesto debated the merits of the current administration, headed by the heavy-handed but progressive Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Ernesto, a steadfast supporter of the left-leaning populist, praised “Kirchnerismo” for revitalizing Argentine domestic industry. Meanwhile, Susy decried the current level of corruption, highlighted by the Nisman controversy earlier this year, so much so that at one point the discussion escalated to shouting! As a passionate observer of Latin American politics, I felt incredibly fortunate to have this intimate window into the Argentine reality opened. The evening left me filled with anticipation of an exciting semester to come.