The story that I am about to tell requires two pieces of background information. First, that this city is very welcoming to foreigners and also has free reputable public education so many people come from surrounding countries to take advantage of it....
Living here in Buenos Aires I have had the pleasure of meeting many people from all over South America (I also live with a Peruvian and an Ecuadorian). The other piece of background information is an in depth explanation of the word asado. Argentina is known for meat, specifically beef (and let me tell you steaks here are CHEAP and INCREDIBLE). ‘Asado’ is a specific cut of meat which is particularly popular, however it is also the word used to describe a gathering where people cook and eat meet together similar to a barbeque. As you might use the word barbeque to refer to the gathering and also food (for example ‘I am going to a barbeque’ or ‘I want to eat barbeque’), the word asado is comparable. So now that you have the context, I will begin to tell you about this amazing asado that I went to and also why it was so amazing....
The other week one of my roomates asked me if I would like to go with them to an asado that one of their friends was having and I gleefully accepted because I had never been to one before (which was shocking information to my roommate since I had been here for many months because they are such a thing here!) On the evening of the asado, I became nervous and apprehensive to go because of the whole language barrier. Its weird to be the only one who doesn’t speak fluent Spanish, especially when you are in a group of people because you pretty much just sit there and watch and most likely feel uncomfortable. I am at the level of Spanish where most likely I will understand what is going on but I can’t necessarily respond because by the time I construct a proper sentence they are already talking about the next topic!
When we arrived, we entered the building and it was a residence with a bunch of students, similar to a dorm, where there are a bunch of rooms and then a shared kitchen and common area where people were hanging out when we arrived. I met their friends and we then proceeded to go to the rooftop where there was a grill and a nice area to hang out and chat. There was a bunch of people, some of whom knew each other and some of whom did not but regardless, my apprehension was soon put to rest because and the people I met at this asado were so inclusive to me and patient and understanding with my level of Spanish that I felt so completely comfortable.
This has been my overwhelming experience of South Americans. They are such warm people and always eager to help. I know that sounds really broad but for example one day me and my roommate were going outside of the city and were not exactly sure where to catch the bus and so we stopped to ask one person that was waiting for another bus and before we knew it there were approximately 5 people joining in eagerly to tell us the information they knew on how to get where we wanted to go!
Anyway, so we were at this asado for many hours and at one point the topic of conversation was ‘what is love’ and everyone was chiming in and actually thinking and discussing their ideas. These are all people 18-25 years old and in this moment I thought about how unlikely it would be for that conversation to organically come about in that age group in the US. Picture 15 college aged kids talking philosophically about love. It’s near impossible!
Once we were done discussing the beauty of human existence we ate and enjoyed the delicious food prepared by the host. After a few more hours of talking and enjoying each other’s company, we gave everyone the standard one kiss on the cheek and left. I know that this might not sound like an experience worth blogging about but it was so special to me because I met SO many people from so many different countries in South America and I felt like they were all open to me and appreciative that I had come. There is an openness in this country and others surrounding that is beautiful and this night was a great example it.
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