By Madeline Blasberg
From a distance, the idea of studying abroad is a beautifully romantic notion. In my mind gorgeous Argentineans fill the air with thick accents and rapid-fire Spanish jabber. My pale, pale Minnesotan skin slowly becomes a lightly toasted brown. I arrive at my Lit. class and can easily decipher the lecture. I dance tango on cobblestone sidewalks, drink wine every night, stay out until 4am and wake up to repeat it all over again.
It’s interesting to watch the way a notion in my mind slowly transforms itself into reality. Two years ago the idea for this trip was just slowly peeking up over the horizon, clouded out by day-to-day classes and weekend plans. But I knew it was there just the same. Today, it stands before me not as a pipe dream; it’s fully funded, fully booked and 10 days from lift-off.
Reality can plant a very stinging slap across your face when you tune it out for too long. Maddie, it says, in its stern yet tender whisper, don’t you think you’ll need some clothes to wear to class, some shoes to dance the tango, some money for those glasses of wine, and some sunscreen for your pasty white self? And I have to admit reality makes a very convincing case.
Welcome to real world sweetheart, it’s time to get packed.
I’d like to tell you so much about the town in the Andes foothills where I’ll be spending the next 6 months of my life. I’d paint you the most stunning depiction of everything I imagine Mendoza has to offer, but I’d probably be wrong on more than one count. I suppose we’ll have to postpone the stunning depiction and, in true college style, settle for the cliff notes version.
Location: Mendoza, Argentina. Aka wine country
Budget: limited to whatever it costs to learn how to dance, and purchasing only what I can carry in my microscopic suitcase
Luggage: (see above: microscopic)
Spanish fluency: inconclusive. Missouri professors say: solid A, native speakers say: what language is that gringo trying to speak?
Classes: With native students and professors. Praying Spanish holds up to this litmus test.
Lodging: With native family. Details provided upon arrival.
There you have it. Basically everything you need to know it one manageable dose. In the coming week you’ll witness the meticulous, and somewhat batty nature of a girl attempting to relocate her life to a completely foreign country, where she will know no one. I apologize for the dark overtones of this first blog post, and I promise that in the future I will offer up to you more convincing rays of sunshine. But for now, all I’m seeing a big number 10 telling me to get my act together. At least I know there’s a beautiful notion, about to be realized, that waits for me on the other side.