After spending the past three months in South America and then abruptly returning back to Hanover, I have come to realize Dartmouth offers the most incredible and unique opportunities for its students. One minute I was putting on sunscreen before walking to bus stop and then subway station to make it to the university in Buenos Aires and a week later I'm putting on my sweater, scarf, gloves, ear muffs and winter coat for my three minute walk to class at Dartmouth. Being away for so long made me miss Dartmouth-- the atmosphere, the people, the volleyball, the weekends, and the english language. I really missed my Psychology courses after taking three classes all taught in 100% spanish. The biggest adjustments I had to make in Buenos Aires was having to take multiple forms of public transportation every day (coming from a small southern town and Hanover doesn't exactly prepare you for that), standing out like a sore thumb (being taller than 5' 3" and blonde was equivalent to being an alien), and the lack of efficiency. In Buenos Aires, you had to jump up and down and wave your arms around to get the attention of the waiters and nothing was open before 10 or 11 AM except for Starbucks and McDonalds.
Going to sporting events at Dartmouth and going to sporting events in Buenos Aires was also night and day. For example, today I went with a couple other DVB girls to the baseball game. We calmly sat and chatted and occasionally shouted "Woo Hoo" whenever someone hit the ball. When we went to go grab a hot dog, we all left our backpacks on our seats with our laptops and cellphones in them. But when a group of the students and I went to the River Plate soccer game in Buenos Aires, they have several check points where security guards patted you down and kept you in separate sections like herds of cattle. I have never seen so much security in one setting. In the stadium, they had metal fences all around the seating with barbed wire on top so the fans couldn't get on the field-- I felt like I was at the game in The Longest Yard surrounded by thousands of convicts. Apparently, at the end of the game, nobody is allowed to leave the stadium until the opposing team has boarded their buses and departed because there have been a couple of instances where the fans tried to kill the players. Luckily I learned this after I had already survived the game.
Eating dinner was also a very different experience compared to at Dartmouth. In Buenos Aires, I would sit down with my host mother and sister at around 9:30 PM (or 21:30 as they would say) for dinner. A typical meal consisted of milanesa (thin fried steak basically) and potatoes and cantaloupe for dessert. We would finish eating around 10 but then sit at the dinner table until 11:30 or 12 just talking (this custom is referred to as "sobremesa"). Here at Dartmouth, the team usually heads to Foco around 6 pm and then we are out of there at the lastest by 7. I must admit, I miss the laid back atmosphere at times, just shootin' the breeze and unwinding for three or so hours, but at Dartmouth you don't exactly have the time to do that.
Seeing my teammates for the first time once we all got back on campus gave me indescribable happiness. We literally all screamed and jumped around like 5 year olds for a solid 10 minutes, which I'm sure those around us really appreciated. Its crazy how being away for so long made no impact on the relationships with all my girlies :) Glad to be back with the people I love. ¡Chau!