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Park Scholars Go Global

Park Scholars Go Global

Discover what some of our Park Scholars abroad are doing.

Posted by Kyla Pigoni at 10:46AM   |  Add a comment

 

Buena onda.
A common and beloved phrase here in Córdoba. People can have buena onda. Places. Things. Todo (everything). I have struggled to come up a suitable translation in English, and that makes it even more beautiful. Buena=good and onda=wave. Buena onda is something you just feel and can’t really explain. A person who you can just tell has such a kind heart, a genuinely good soul; a place that just gives off a positive energy…it’s really everywhere if you allow yourself to feel it.

 

In the past few months here in Argentina I have run into so much buena onda that it may in fact be seeping into my very being. I try to take in the buena onda wherever I go, and I think we all do that without realizing it. We travel from place to place from here to there searching for people, for places, for experiences that makes us feel alive and content. And once we find it, we settle in the moment to soak it in.

I have tried to assemble a list of “buena ondas” from the past month or so [more or less in chronological order]…there have been many.

 

1. Gettin’ Educated

Yes. I am in fact getting educated here in Argentina both in the traditional and non-traditional sense. During the month of February, I completed a Spanish intensive. Now, I am enrolled in another Spanish class and also Problemática Socioeconómica. Both are challenging in content and language. My lack of motivation to do any real schoolwork while in Argentina doesn’t help either. But I like to tell myself that I’m studying while eating dinner with my family, watching Los Graduados (a popular soap opera or “novela” here), reading to my little sisters, sitting and drinking mate with my Argentine friends and even going out on weekends to the boliches (clubs)… because HEY the music is in Spanish most of the time.

I have learned a lot in a place where I’m supposed to be teaching. I started volunteering at a preschool in the city a few weeks ago. My first day there, I was immediately welcomed by the director Carmen and told “You are going to do great here. You are already part of our family.” The rest of the day I ran around a sand and concrete playground with 30 three-and-four-year-olds. They began finding gifts for me. Leaves. Rocks. Sticks. Random stickers that had found refuge in the sand. And throughout the day they would give them to me until I could no longer hold them all. They are also intrigued with my key necklace. “Es este tu llave?” Is this your key? What does it open? I tried explaining the symbolism of adventure and unknown to them, how I don’t know what it opens, but that’s what I like about it. Most of them looked at me blankly….probably from a combination of my broken Spanish and abstractedness. But just as I was about to give up, the little girl on my lap looked up at me and smiled. Entendés? Do you understand? Sí. Yes. And from there they ran off screaming toward the slide, pushing rubber tires, fighting over pails and shovels finding adventures of their own in every area of that small enclosed place.

I was told by the director that the mission of this preschool is to give these kids, many of whom come from tough family backgrounds, a stable home. They want them to learn how to solve their own problems between themselves, so when trivial arguments arise I was told to not involve myself. And it works. An arm that in one moment was angry enough to throw a toy, hugs in an immediate moment of regret. Their kindness knows no bounds. And if this place has any onda other than una buena onda, it’s an onda of home. The building itself is an old house, the four women like mothers to all of the children. And me, I’m only a visitor, but I’ve found yet another family.

2. Speaking of Family…

I am so lucky I have the family I do. My house is always buena onda…with visitors in and out almost every day, dancing and singing in the kitchen, and the occasional fiesta and asado. Towards the end of March, a man from Buenos Aires named Graciano moved into the room above the house. He is in his 30s and is constantly happy, quirky, and talkative. He is continuing his philosophy studies at the university and has boxes and boxes of books. It’s not uncommon for him to sprint up the spiral staircase mid-conversation, grab a book, and lend it to me to read. Euge, Graciano and I (before Euge moved out..I’ll get to that later) would have study sessions every night until 2 or 3 in the morning. One night, after my favorite toast (ARRIBA, ABAJO, A CENTRO, ADENTRO) we discussed why we all came to Córdoba. We are all here studying, yes. But we are also all at different stages in our life, from different backgrounds. Graciano says Córdoba is the best city in the world. Why? Because of the buena onda, of course!

Graciano y yo

Euge, host mom Laura y yo!

One weekend, Euge and I decided to throw a Pancake Party. She made Argentine panqueques..which are more like crepes. And I made a whole bunch of American pancakes to eat with the NH maple syrup I brought along.

My little sister Clari celebrated her 6th birthday last week. In the afternoon, there were about 30 of her friends running around, and later her entire family came. My mom and other younger sister, Vera, made this amazing cake!

ASADO!

 

Graciano y yo

 

Euge, host mom Laura y yo!

 

One weekend, Euge and I decided to throw a Pancake Party. She made Argentine panqueques..which are more like crepes. And I made a whole bunch of American pancakes to eat with the NH maple syrup I brought along.

 

My little sister Clari celebrated her 6th birthday last week. In the afternoon, there were about 30 of her friends running around, and later her entire family came. My mom and other younger sister, Vera, made this amazing cake!

ASADO!


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