Not exactly according to plan in Cordoba

Olivia Kosciusko Tritschler shares her experiences in Cordoba, Argentina and how she is getting closer to “tranquila vida”.
I have never been terribly patient in my life. However, the bus system here in Córdoba always takes way more time than necessary, just to teach me this life lesson I’m sure. It is extremely frustrating to arrive at a bus stop just as my #32 colectivo drives away (probably laughing at me)packed full of people. And then I wait not just 15 or even 30 minutes, but up to an hour or more for the next one! The worst time was when a bus arrived but because there were so many people in line I had to wait another 45 minutes to catch the next one.
There is no type of schedule; so one day I end up waiting only ten minutes, and other times I start contemplating walking through the city to my house (which could possibly take only 45 minutes according to Google maps). But then it comes down to my stubbornness anddetermination. I WILL wait for the next bus.
Another struggle with buses in Argentina is with the omnibuses that travel between provinces.Usually, depending on where they are going (Mendoza for example), they are a little morereliable. However, when I took a bus to Jujuy it arrived at the terminal in Córdoba at the time itwas scheduled to leave. But that wasn’t it…my friends’ window cracked only ten minutes into thetripe and at the first stop it made two employees took 20 plus minutes taping it. Then, in themiddle of the night something broke in the engine and after a hour and a half we started to switchbuses. All in all, the bus arrived three to four hours late in the capital of Jujuy (called SanSalvador de Jujuy or Jujuy for short). This meant I had missed my connecting bus to the smalltown of Tilcara. The only good thing about bus travel in Argentina is is pretty cheap (although more expensive than other Latin American countries).
Buses aren’t the only thing that demonstrates the near lack of a concept of time in Argentina.Yesterday I went to a church service that is “planned” to start at 10:30 am and officially starts at11:00 am usually. But yesterday the service continued for much longer than the normal hour anda half. I finally had to sneak out early after sitting there for three hours! I had other plans for the day and I was really craving food.
So I might not have fully adopted the lax attitude about time/being on time that the city runs on,but every day the system forces me a little bit closer to the “tranquila vida” my host mom always advises. By the time I leave I will probably be showing up to social events 30 to 60 minutes“late” (which is actually on time here) and planning excess time for commuting into NuevaCórdoba (the barrio with all the restaurants and boliches). However, I can’t forget all the promptness and strict schedules of the U.S. because I return in 3 months. This is only one more thing that makes me realize I will probably become accustomed to the life style here in my fifth month and then have to return and re-adjust all over again to my old lifestyle

Making Mistakes

Olivia is a Third Year in the College of Arts and Sciences studying abroad in Cordoba, Argentina. 

When moving to a new country one is bound to make mistakes. It is part of the process of learning city life and a new language. It is also part of the process to accept that the mistakes are inevitable and to not let the fear of looking like a fool keep you from attempting to speak to a local or go out and explore or whatever else you would like to do! 

On Wednesday, only five day after being in the city and only the second day of taking the bus alone, my roommate and I felt confident we knew what we were doing. We found a bus stop for the #32 bus, waved it down, and swiped our cards. Little did we know it was going in the opposite direction from our district Alta Córdoba. We rode along for a while and then I started noticing that we were slowly starting to leave the city behind! At last I pulled out my map, the universal sign of a tourista (tourist), and found the barrio we had just entered. And it was nowhere near where we had wanted to end up at! However, I didn’t worry too much because I figured it would make a loop and we would go back. 

Unfortunately, the bus stopped at a rundown old gas station that had been transformed into the station at the end of the route and our driver was getting off to take his break. We ended up explaining that we needed to be in Alta Córdoba to three different bus drivers just so they could all laugh at the two yanquis (Yankee) who took the wrong bus. Even though my roommate and I were nervous, everyone we attempted to talk to was very nice. They told us a different driver was going out to start his route and so we could just take that bus back into the city and to our home. This second driver ended up calling out over the crowded bus to say that the next stop was the one we needed to make sure we got off at the right stop. While the trip was embarrassing, I didn’t find the experience dangerous or scary at all. Of course everyone is always cautious to stay in groups and try not to seem like extranjeros (foreigners) because it is easier to take advantage of them. However, all my experiences with local Argentinians thus far have not made me feel uncomfortable at all. 

While it is always important to be careful and to pay attention to your the surroundings, I think it is equally important to not isolate yourself for fear of looking stupid or ending up in the wrong place. With time my roommate and I will actually master the buses and this extra-long bus ride will be a very distant memory and a good funny story to share.