We have now reached the 2-week mark in Cordoba, and we are honestly loving every moment of our stay here. The city has enchanted us, with its deserty backdrop and its history-infused city-center--the colonial churches and centuries-old Jesuit missions looming aglow on either side of you as you wander the streets of downtown.
We love taking jogs in the Parque Sarmiento, losing ourselves in the hills and wooded pathways of the park. We love eating newly-discovered Cordoba-style empanadas at our favorite empanaderia, El Alamo. We love uncovering historical gems such as the Museo Superior de Bellas Artes, an art museum housed in a beautiful palace, with collections from conquistador times to recent dictatorial times.
We love continuing our Buenos Aires habit of stumbling upon cathedrals, such as the gothic-style Capuchin monk church, all shrouded in symbolism. Its one steeple stands alone, adjacent to a naked roof where another steeple should stand. The steeple's absence is there on purpose, to portray humanity's imperfection. The outside of the temple is decorated with sculptures of other-worldly beings, and a handful of statues of Atlas, meant to symbolize the crushing weight of man's sins and guilt.
We love all of these things unique to Cordoba, and we also love all the normal things of Cordoba. We love the produce vendor at the Supermercado Estrella, the Star Supermarket, who is always in a good mood. We love the little corner-market owner who makes sure to be extra nice to us because our wonderful landlord Maria gave him special orders to do so. Every time we walk in he praises our linda pais, our beautiful country, and the wonders there (such as Miami, apparently!). We love how the park is packed on Sunday nights with families and with joy-riding cruisers trying to pick up some cute Cordobesa ladies. We love the pizzaria Alfonsina, with its dark and cozy interior and folk music ringing out its walls. We love it all.
But mostly we love living with Ale & Maria. I think there is something to be said about living with a family while you are abroad. Of course, this can be an unlucky experience, such as was experienced by our sweet, sweet friend, when he was asked to find a new host family because he "didn't fit in." That of course is a very scary risk of living with a family in a different country. But if you are lucky, and end up with the right people, it can be the most wonderful, profound, intimate experience. It can give you a home in a place that can otherwise feel very far from home.
While I was in high school, I went on a study abroad exchange program to Australia, where I spent two months with a family on a sheep farm in the outback. When I was in college, I spent nearly five months studying at the National University of Ireland in Galway. Though I had an amazing experience in Ireland and made life-long friends, it is Australia that I think about daily, and I know it is because I lived with a family, I had a home there in the outback in a way I never did in Ireland. We have only been in Cordoba for two weeks, but already, our memories here have a depth of the familial that we didn't experience in Buenos Aires until Caitlin came to stay with us, nearly eight months into our stay there. We are very thankful for this new chapter in our Argentine experience...