So after a massive month in Buenos Aires it was time for a change of scenery and a bit of chill time in Cordoba. For those who haven’t heard too much about Cordoba, it is the second largest city in Argentina and is located in the heart of the country.
First thing I noticed about Cordoba was it was BLOODY HOT!! Not being on the coast or by a large body of water, as well as us having no air conditioning in our apartment, made for a pretty steamy month of December.
The difference between Buenos Aires and Cordoba was drastic. The city was less frenetic, the people were super welcoming and dare I say there was a little bit of a relaxed country feel going on. I needed a bit of down time and Cordoba, you had me a “hola”!
So what the hell happened here? Well, lets get into it!
I love the Spanish language and wanted to get past the basics. After 2 weeks of intensive language classes my Spanish definitely improved and the confidence is up. I am still not comfortable with people saying that I “speak fluent Spanish”, I am absolutely far from it, but if you need someone to fumble through something for you I might just be your guy! Thanks so much to Santiago and Pamela for helping this gringo out!
Everywhere we have been I have met some awesome people. And Cordoba, you delivered the goods! Coti and Jou, our contacts in town, really did sort us out with everything we could need. On one of our first night’s in the city Coti had dinner with myself and my two friends Mike and Josh. We proceeded straight past the small talk and got into solving the world’s problems. I knew immediately how much of a hero she was! Not to be outdone, with Jou, from the first handshake, fist bump and football chat I knew I was onto a winner!
Sometimes you are lucky enough to get to spend a lot of time with good people. At other times, the interaction is brief but the impression is great.
A group of us headed out a couple of times to the Argentinian countryside, (the Sierras) with a proper gaucho (Argentinian Cowboy). Marcos was one of the most welcoming guys you could imagine. We met in mid-December and he couldn’t believe how much of the asado I ate. We then met again on Boxing Day where he hosted us for the night. When we saw each other for the second time he embraced me with a big hug and an “ohhhh amigoooo” as if we had know each other for years. One of the biggest privileges of the month was him allowing me to cut my own piece of meat from the asado he prepared for myself and 20 other people. Huge moment, huge memory, hugely Argentinian!
Speaking of being Argentinian, there is a tradition in Cordoba that I absolutely love. When students graduate from university their friends take them out onto the street, cover them in flour, juice, eggs, champagne, pasta sauce (you get the picture) and then parade them around the street in the back of a car. With us being in Cordoba at the end of the calendar and academic year, we would see this happen every day. Coti thought it would be a great idea to do this with us. I was up for giving it a go and thought that I could use this as my graduation from Argentina. Check out the video to see how this panned out!
Who doesn’t like Christmas?
We had a big Christmas celebration on the 24th of December. This was perfect timing for me as it was at the same time that everyone back in Sydney was celebrating Christmas day. I managed to avoid a lot of the Christmas separation sadness by spending time with everyone and working away on the grill for 3 hours. We ate, we drank, we were merry!
Now I couldn’t leave Argentina without playing a little bit of football. Through my friend Christian from my Spanish class I was able to play a game with a heap of Argentinians. It was probably my most Argentinian moment ever! We even experienced a box of fireworks go off accidentally on the field next to us. You know you are alive when you have a firework explode about 5 metres from you after a football match!
Finally, they say that you are not truly part of Cordoba until you are given a nickname from the locals. After running around on the soccer field with this group of Argentinian legends I was referred to as “Flaco” (the “skinny one”). Between that and my Argentinian graduation, I feel pretty comfortable calling Cordoba home.
The reflective stuff
You never really know what you are going to get from a place. I loved aspects of Cordoba and wasn’t a fan of others. Having said that, I know I would never have come to Cordoba if it was not for it being on our Remote Year itinerary. Now that would have been a tragedy. I would not have met the people I met, cooked with a gaucho, improved my Spanish and ultimately graduated from Argentina!
It is a cliché but remember be open, be interested and be inquisitive, you never know what is on the other side of the door.
On to Lima!
As always, take what you will from this post and see you next time!