Buenos Aires provides food and fun

By Carolyn Tiernan

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Courtesy of Carolyn Tiernan

For the month of January, I am taking an intensive language course with eleven other students. In February our regular classes start, and about 70 more students will arrive. This past Thursday, our Spanish professor, Jose Maria, came over for dinner. We have two professors, but Jose is by far the coolest. He is so open with his personal life, he will go out of the way to look up directions for us or call a hostel on the phone (since we can barely understand people), and isn’t shy about sharing the nitty gritty details about life in Buenos Aires. Every class I’d say we learn at least five new curse words or phrases.

Elda, our house mother, made an amazing paella for dinner. She doesn’t usually make such elaborate meals, but it was a special occasion, so she broke out the big guns: the seafood. Although Buenos Aires is a port city, people don’t really eat seafood. Beef is just too engrained in the culture that they just eat meat all the time. Jose Maria loves seafood though, so I think that might be why Elda cooked that. The meal had three courses, one of clams, one of mussels, and then the paella. I’ve never really eaten seafood in the past, but for some reason I had zero hesitation eating this food. I just went in for it and it was delicious, don’t know why I ever doubted!

If you’re invited to dinner, it’s customary to bring either an appetizer, wine or the dessert. Jose Maria ordered ice cream from a shop called Freddo, one of the best in the city. You can literally get anything delivered to your door, so they delivered the kilo of ice cream to the residencia. I had dulce de leche with pieces of shaved chocolate in it and Swiss chocolate with almonds. With the rich Italian history in the city, the ice cream is so creamy and delicious!

It was great having Jose Maria over. He’s not like any professor I’ve ever had. Just a really chill guy who clearly just wants to help us get used to Buenos Aires. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s a pretty easy grader! Since he was the guest of honor, Elda cooked him a whole crab. I hadn’t tried crabmeat before either, so I had some of the leg meat. It was good, but I expected it to taste more like lobster.

I don’t know what it is, but I have not laughed so much and so hard as I have here in a long time. I’ve been reduced to tears many times, which hasn’t happened at home in a long time. During this dinner, my sides were splitting, mostly from Jose Maria’s reactions to ridiculous Spanglish. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by people that are making me laugh like this, it’s so refreshing.

Carolyn Tiernan is a Collegian blogger. She can be reached at [email protected]