I am becoming less and less aware of my surroundings. I still pay attention to where I'm going and continue to trot around like a puppy's first time out in a new neighborhood, letting my curiosity get the best of me. But after eight days in Buenos Aires and a few days of Spanish classes, I am feeling more settled and more comfortable.
I still have a great deal to learn, but can now converse in basic Spanish phrases, like ordering food at restaurants, asking for directions and change, or directing taxis to my desired destination.
I now have my local bakery (Café del Botánico), where I get my breakfast of two medialunas** and one café con leche***. I have been frequenting the same empanada/pizza shop, and most recently, discovered a new neighborhood tapas cafe, where one can order what seems like an infinite variety of small dishes from a bar. Just yesterday the pizza shop owner took my order, heard my strange accent (I made the mistake of pronouncing the number 15 in French instead of in the school-taught Porteño accent), smiled and quizzed me about where I'm from, and asked me to return often.
Today, as I took my 30 minutes walk from my apartment to my Spanish language school, I discovered that I unconsciously took my iPod and had been listening to music and my BBC World News podcast. While walking with an iPod would be normal for me in New York or Washington, I have been too busy exploring to care about listening to music on my walks.
I guess I am making progress. I am now more comfortable with my new home and the new language.
However, this clothing store on the way to school didn't escape my attention.
* a continental breakfast of a cup of coffee, two medialunas, and a glass of juice. All for less than US$3
** the Porteño version of the croissant. It is slightly sweet but every bit as good as the French version
*** the Latin American version of Café Au Lait