Finally the big day arrived for the quick flight to Mendoza and Spanish 24/7. Jose, our program director, has quite the system for delivering us to our families at the airport. No really. He calls himself a stork. This is how it all happened…
…We picked up our bags from the carousel and stacked our various pieces of luggage on the trolley carts, which are free in the Mendoza airport. This was quite the adventure for the other passengers on our plane who then had to negotiate a sea of trolley carts, luggage, and nervous American students speaking Spanglish. After all the other passengers had cleared the area, Jose instructed us to get in line to put our luggage through a screening process (customs in country?) then one-by-one, he delivered us through the sliding double doors to our hungry host families craning to see us from the other side. I’m sure the whole time they were thinking “is that one mine? Maybe that one?” as we struggled with our luggage and nerves.
Needless to say, it was quite Harry Potterish as we all stood in line with our trolley carts waiting to be delivered. From my point of view it looked like Jose was instructing each student with their trolley cart exactly how to run at the brick column to get to Platform 9 ¾ and when the glass doors opened it really was magical hearing the cheers and hollers from the host families excited to claim their students.
I was towards the end of the line (second to last actually) and when I reached Jose he informed me that my host family wasn’t there yet, they were stuck in traffic, which keeping with my Harry Potter simile was like finding out I’d been mistaken for a wizard when in actuality I was just a muggle. I was definitely bummed. But never fear! Because when my host brother arrived he was very apologetic and so, so nice to me. I was instantly ecstatic once again to be in Mendoza and (incredibly) speaking Spanish!
For the past few days now, I have been speaking 90% Spanish with my family, friends, IFSA folks, and Argentinos. The first day especially this was very exciting, but has since become exciting and extremely exhausting. I think I’ve been traveling too much recently because I can literally feel my brain booting up like a plane’s engine, slowly gaining power as I register words and complete sentences and speak my thoughts until… MALFUNCTION! and everything shuts down. My subconscious comes over the intercom and informs my neurons, “we’ve got a very difficult verb construction here, looks like it may be a few moments before we can prepare for takeoff” at which time I stare blankly at my host mom or friend utterly confused. It’s frustrating, but that’s just how it’s going to be as I climb basically the Longs Peak Diamond Face equivalent of a learning curve. Oh well, c’est la vie!
Crap. That was French.
-Lisa en Argentina
P.S. Best mess up moment so far = I pointed to my head saying “cerveza” instead of “cabeza” thus calling my brain a beer. My brother loved it.