I can’t believe I just finished five months of living in Buenos Aires! Now that I am home from my first semester abroad and thinking back on my time in Argentina, it all seems so surreal. My last few days in the city were filled with packing, final meals with friends, and goodbyes to all the wonderful people I had met since arriving June 21st. The first of the good-byes was to the Holy Cross group. With our director Nick and our guide María, the seven Holy Cross students went to an upscale seafood restaurant called Marita. I’m pretty sure we ordered just about every dish on the menu and ate entirely way too much food, but it was all so delicious, how could we not? We reflected on our semester together, exchanged gifts, and then at the end of the meal it was time to say good-bye. A few days later, my last night in the city, I said good-bye all over again, not to the Holy Cross group, but to my group of friends from a different study abroad program. Because it was my last dinner in Buenos Aires I was allowed to pick the restaurant, so I chose a casual Argentine spot called Las Cholas. My last night in Buenos Aires was perfect: talking and laughing with new friends over a great meal of my new favorite food, butternut squash and corn cazuela. On my way home from dinner I got off the bus a few stops early so that I could take one last walk through my neighborhood at night.
The next morning I went to the gym and returned my membership card to the staff who had been so kind to me throughout my semester. I showered, finished my last-minute packing, gave my host mom a hug and headed off to the airport to leave Buenos Aires for good.
After a stressful return flight (note: a one-hour layover at Dallas-Fort Worth is not enough time to change terminals, go through customs, collect and re-check bags, and go through security), I finally made it home to the San Francisco Bay area where I have been spending my days adjusting to life in North America. I have found that my transition back to living in the United States has been relatively smooth, although I have experienced a sense of reverse culture shock. Occasionally, I will have moments where I try to flip a light switch in the opposite direction or I forget where certain pots and pans go in my kitchen, but for the most part, I have enjoyed returning to the comforts of my own home: sleeping in my queen-sized bed, eating Jif peanut butter, and driving a car. I am taking full advantage of these creature comforts while I can because in just over a month I will be uprooted once again and off to the second phase of my study abroad adventure. Next semester it is off to Dublin, Ireland for me, where I will be studying at Trinity College! I can’t wait!
Katie Riley '14