14 Things That Happen When You’re Back in Buenos Aires After Too Much Time Abroad
1. You have to be careful not to get hit by a car.
Especially if you’ve been living in Europe where every driver slows down as soon as they see your foot on the road.
2. Food will be even better than you remembered.
You may have forgotten the real taste of meat, the amazing stuffed pasta of La Juvenil, Daniel’s ice-cream, the alfajores, the pancakes with dulce de leche, the chocotorta, the empanadas, the gnocchi… but as soon as you eat all those things one more time, you won’t want to leave.
3. The price of public transport will horrify you.
No way you’ll get used to putting all those coins inside the machine for the driver to let you pass. In the end, you’ll buy a sube card for public transportation… which you’ll probably lose when you leave again.
4. It will seem that you’re spending the whole day trying to get somewhere.
And you won’t believe that a simple bus trip to your grandmother’s house may take you two hours.
5. Argentine slang will fascinate you.
Even if you never cared for it previously, now you’re going to love the sound of those words you didn’t realize how much you’ve missed. And you will incorporate so much lunfardo vocabulary that you will be saying things like ¡Bancá, nene! ¡Pará, flaco! ¡Bajá un cambio, boludo! Che, gil… every second.
6. You’ll discover that your once-perfect Argentine accent has been defiled.
Yes, you will have probably absorbed a little of the accent from the land where you have been living. And you’ll have to tolerate your friends’ and family’s laughs when you speak.
7. You’ll notice new fast food chains on every corner.
Almost every year a new one arrives, and if it succeeds, there will be nothing that stops it from spreading.
8. Some new crazy law will astonish you.
My last big discovery was the dubbing law, which, given what I was told, forbade (!!!) Argentine channels from having too much programming in VO. Therefore everybody had to put their TV on SAP to evade that horrible dubbing.
9. Your instinto porteño will need to be sharpened.
You’ll probably no longer be able to predict where you’re going to find a protest, at which corner there’ll be a kiosco to buy something at the last minute, on which avenue you’ll find more stationery shops, which alleys you’ll have to avoid and which ones are perfectly safe, which subway line will stop in midstream and leave you in the middle of the urban jungle, or whether the bus will change its route among many other vicissitudes that are a daily occurrence in our dear Buenos Aires.
10. You’ll want to keep your foreign habits… when it’s convenient.
What do you mean I can’t go to the 24-hour store to buy a coke just because it’s 3am? So what? What do you mean “dangerous”? I go out in the middle of the night all the time! And also, how come I can’t take the books from the library to my house? And why are they here, then? And let’s not forget, WHAT DO YOU MEAN you won’t take the last coins of my euros/dollars/pounds/rubles/yens? AND WHAT THE HELL I’m supposed to do with them?
11. The beauty of the city will captivate you.
And you’ll feel the inevitable temptation of walking any of the next big avenues: Corrientes, Santa Fe, Florida, Callao, Pueyrredón, Libertador… at least until you don’t know where you are anymore.
12. Everything will be ten times more expensive than the last time you were here.
The worst part is that you knew it would happen, but you’re still going to be horrified.
13. Those dear old corners that used to be as familiar to you as your own home are now a source of fright.
Indeed, those areas of the city that seemed so safe before you left that you even waved hello to their night marauders, now like some creepy scene from Gotham City where masked criminals hide under the sewers and where you’re not going to go, not even for money.
14. Anything you say will be taken as the opinion of a foreigner.
The funny thing is that the same thing happens in the other country where you’ve been living. Welcome to the land of the stateless.