Victoria, outbound to Argenta

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Hello from below the equator! It has been two months since I landed in Argentina. I remember gazing out the window of the airplane that was taking me to my new home, and letting the overwhelming beauty that lay before me sink in. The rivers and swamps connected like a giant web with thousands of palm trees surrounding. The wild tropical terrain made me wonder where a city could be in all that nature. At that moment I was not thinking about all the family and friends that I had left behind in Tampa. Rather, I was mentally preparing myself to meet my new host family, and to greet them in Spanish. As we landed on the small strip of tarmac, I noticed a woman beside me begin to tear up with emotion. This city was special to her, and was probably her home. It was my home too now. 

All of my prepared formalities (hand shakes) were blown away as I received the customary two kisses, one on each cheek, from each one of the family members. I was confused at first, because there was a small crowd that had gathered to greet me, and I wasn't sure who was who. But I found out later and am now semi-aware of the many uncles, aunts, and cousins that I have acquired. The drive home was tranquil, due to my lack of the Spanish language. I sat in the back of the car with my host sister (and now amazing friend), and my host parents in front. 

My home is in a well known barrio (neighborhood) near the center of Formosa. The design of the home is narrow and long. In the very back is one of my favorite spots, the garden, which has a lemon tree, a mango tree, and flowers of many kinds. The inside of the home is decorated with family photos, paintings, and crochet work. My host mother has graciously taught me how to crochet, and it is a favorite pastime. 

I dress in a plaid skirt and collared shirt every day to go to school. My classmates are happy, kind, and very helpful to me. It seems like they enjoy helping me with my Spanish, and I am certainly grateful for that! The teachers are curious about me as well, and I have been assigned several assignments that have something to do with the culture of the United States. 

I end school at 12:30, and I always have an amazing lunch to look forward to when I return home. My mother is an amazing cook! There is almost always some kind of meat prepared with rice or potatoes. I have been able to learn how to prepare some of the food here. A specialty dish here is empanadas, a pastry pocket filled with beef, ham, eggs or cheese, or a combination of these ingredients. 

I almost always have some sort of invitation at the end of the week. It may be a birthday party, a dinner, or a walk along the river with some friends. I have noticed that in Argentina everything is done with other people. 

The language is not terribly difficult, and I can understand almost everything if it is spoken clearly. My spoken Spanish needs some work, but I am hoping at the end of nine months I will be fluent. 

I am also now gearing up for the legendary Formosa summer. I'm not sure if there is a rainy season in Formosa, but if there is, it's now. Tormentous weather has a way of springing up suddenly. Water has crept into the house several times when it rained extra hard, and the electricity clicks off on occasion. 

There weather this morning is cool and calm, with the sounds of happy birds filling the air. 

I too am a happy bird, waiting to launch into the next adventure.