Friday, January 6, 2012

City On Fire

The title for this post originally came to me on New Year's Eve when the entire skyline of Buenos Aires was lit up with fireworks.  Since then, the summer heat has officially arrived and that title now has a whole new meaning.

But back to New Year's Eve...  I attended an event in a beautiful building downtown which has a light tower approximately 100 meters above the city.  At midnight, I was standing on the balcony of that tower watching the entire city explode with fireworks.  As far as I could see, it was as if the whole city was being sprinkled with glitter (Katy Jayne - I was definitely thinking of you at that moment)! Absolutely incredible.

Now that January has arrived, I get to "enjoy" the hottest month of the year here.  December was unusually mild so I was lucky but that is all gone now.  It's been in the high 90s this whole week, and will be 103 on Monday.  The saving grace is that it drops significantly at night so once the sun goes down, you can breathe again.

Today I completed the 3rd level of Spanish at the school I've been attending and I will be switching to a smaller, privately run school next week that is only a few blocks from my apartment. The next level at my original school is way too advanced for me and I'd rather work on strengthening the basics. Although I get frustrated, I am definitely starting to see a difference in my communication skills. When I met with the director of the new school, we spoke in Spanish for the better part of an hour so something must be sinking in! I've also been braving the language exchange events that I mentioned in an earlier post which has been really helpful because the everyday back-and-forth conversations are what I need more practice in.

So, in travel news ... the final 2 months of my adventure are officially booked!  On Christmas day I bought a ticket for this coming July flying into Budapest, Hungary and out of Tel Aviv, Israel.  The plan is... Hungary & Croatia, then Turkey, Cyprus, Jordan, and Israel.  I'll be traveling with one of my closest friends so it will be a different experience to finish off my year of travel.  As much as I truly enjoy traveling alone, there are definitely times when certain things remind me of different people and I think - "I wish _____ were here, they would love this".  Well, for those last 2 months, I can turn to someone and actually say that out loud.  (Hahaha, just kidding Randy!) Anyway, I am really excited to travel in such a different region but I'm trying not to think too much about it just yet because I still have several great months in South America ahead of me!

In local news, a good friend from my project in Brazil is arriving in Buenos Aires next week so we'll get to do some touristy stuff together and I'll get to spend some time with "family".  We are also trying to coordinate the dates we both leave the city so that we can head to Iguacu Falls together.  Hard to believe I need to start planning to move on.  It sort of feels like I live in San Telmo.

~ N