The chronicles of a haitian girl in Argentina: What I learn from living in Buenos Aires

French Version 

Buenos Aires is far from what I was expecting. Not that I’m deceived. Far from that. I actually find myself being attracted by this unexpected side. As I said before, I’m taking you in every step of this journey, so you’re with me for the good and the bad. It’s kind of funny how I have a tendency to attract the bad. It would be a shame for me to complain about it. No. Instead, I enjoy every little piece of it. One day I’ll take the time to write an article about all the times that I had put myself in incredible, awkward and clumsy situations. But for Today I’m taking you with me in my discovery of the beautiful, yet unexpected Argentina.

I landed here a few days ago. It’s pretty soon to actually have a complete and concrete impression but I found myself learning a lot from these few days. So I thought I would share with you my experience and what Argentina has taught me so far.

On my way to buenos Aires, I had a conversation with one of the stewardess. I mean, yeah it’s not really accurate, but I was in one of those situations that I usually put myself into. So, at one point of the conversation, the lady asked me why, among all the countries where they speak Spanish I chose to go to Argentina while I knew it was known to be an unsafe place. Well, at that point I didn’t really have the choice: My ticket was already paid and I was 10 minutes away from getting in the airplane. I’m kidding. But what is important to me is what I answered to her. As I’m from a third world country, usually labeled as dangerous, I feel like I have no right to judge a country unless I’ve been there. So, at that time I was really confident about my trip. But after getting robbed by the taxi driver who took all the money that I had on me on my way from the airport to the hotel, I had to change my perception of everything. I’m not saying that Argentina is dangerous, but I’m saying being extra cautious has never killed anyone.

Argentina has taught me that I only need cash “efectivo as they call it here” in my life. In buenos Aires they don’t speak the language of credit/debit card. Money talk but only when they can touch it. So if you’re ever planning on making a trip to Argentina, you might as well take out all the money you’re going to need before heading to the country. And when you’re going out, you got to repeat the same thing. You don’t want to be in the same situation as me where I had to leave the restaurant where I was eating to go take out money at the nearest bank. It was either that or wash the dishes. Well the last part was a joke but you definitely don’t want to be in that type of situations.

In Argentina, I learned that being black is exotic. I’m a positive person so bare with me. I know that everybody don’t have the same reaction to the same situation, so if you’re particularly sensitive to people staring at you or willing to touch your hair, you might reconsider your trip. Walking down the streets of Buenos Aires, I found myself being the greatest attraction ever. When I say attraction, I mean the greatest wall of China type of attraction. And if some people might be racists, some others are just being curious. So it’s good to be open minded to what you will encounter and the people you will meet. And let’s be clear, I’m exotic but they are as well. Where else in the world would I meet a rock star in the metro who happens to perform with his band every Friday night in a bar? I also met my alter ego. I’m serious. He was an elder but happened to love politics and he travelled all around the world. The greatest meeting I have ever had in my life. I feel like, my favorite place in Buenos Aires, has to be the metro. I mean so many incredible things happened there. Last time I took it, I met the cutest little girl in the world. She was so amazed by my hair, and I didn’t have the courage to tell her that I was wearing faux locs.

Talking about metro. Argentina taught me that I could easily take the train/metro without the fear of being late because of a suspicious package or because of something else. Anybody who has lived in Paris knows what I’m talking about. I’m serious. The craziest things happens in this city. Last time I took the train to go to a meeting, I spent 2 hours on the train, because there was goats walking on the railway. Nobody ever believed me when I say that this happened in Paris.

Living in Argentina I learned that there was more than one way to eat potatoes. I’m not even being funny. The food there is incredible. I was actually expecting that part. You remember my Spanish teacher from my last article? Yeah, That same one who made me book a flight to this country. She was the one to talk to me about the food. And I’m happy to say that my mind is pleasantly blown.

I’ve learned that the Argentinians are proud. During my entire life, I’ve never seen that many flags hanging on people’s balcony. And this is coming from a girl who take pride in talking about her country. Here I don’t need people to talk to me about how proud they are, I just have to raise my eyes to the sky.

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