First stop.... Buenos Aires
Saludos desde Buenos Aires
So as you have probably guessed I have landed safe and sound in Buenos Aires but before I fill you in about my stay here so far let me first speak about my last few days at home before I set out on this little adventure. I met with all the other volunteers at the pre-departure workshop that was held in Cork. It was so lovely to meet everyone and to hear about their fears and expectations. The workshop was really informative and I was especially grateful of Aislinn (the volunteer from last year) telling me about her experience in Chilecito and answering my hundreds of questions. After this day my emotions were up and down as it really hit me that I was actually leaving in 2 weeks (sounds silly I know). My last 2 weeks at home flew by, I was busy with Spanish, vaccines and buying essentials such as adapters, medicines and some extra warm clothes. I was really lucky to get in touch with Leo the volunteer from Germany who has been volunteering in Chilecito for nearly a year . He gave me some great tips about presents for the kids so I hope they like them!
At the orientation day I was given a pack with all my essential information and also a description of the host family. I will be staying with a woman called Betty (my own mam's name also) who is also the local co-ordinater in Chilecito so I don't need to go very far if I need questions answered. I have been told that Betty is very active and her house is always filled with people and friends. I am really looking forward to meeting her on Friday.
So I said my goodbyes to all my friends and family on Sunday the 26th of June and I must say there were tears (happy tears). Benny drove me to the airport early on Monday morning and my dad Eamonn came along also. It was really tough to say goodbye to everyone but this trip is going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I left Dublin Airport at 6.10pm the flight was an hour and a half. When I landed in Frankfurt I got a drink and some nibbles before I got on my 14hr flight to Buenos Aires. I got a window seat which was a bad idea considering the size of my bladder!!! The flight went by very quickly and the drops that mam bought me really helped me ( thanks mam!) I landed in Buenos Aires at 8.30 am on Tuesday the 28th of June. I filled out my landing card before I got off the plane and made my way to immigrations then customs then to the bagging area. When I got to the arrivals area there was a guy with a sign saying"STEPHANIE ELLIOTT" he directed me to a currency exchange office where I changed US Dollars to Peso as I was unable to get it back home in Ireland as it is a closed currency. I then got a taxi to the hotel Reina. The taxi was organised by the office in Argentina and it is chipped so they knew exactly where you are once you are in the car.
I got to the hotel at 10pm dropped my bags and made my way to a Locotorioto call home and let them know I landed safely. Wonda called the hotel and gave me directions to the experiment officina. I got a little lost on my way to the office but the people here are so friendly and helpful. When I arrived I was greeted with hugs and kisses. Daniel a member of staff preapred a tradional meal called "Empanadas” which were very tasty. They had so much food preapared for me and made me feel very at home. Nina gave me my orientation and I left the office at 3pm.The girls in the office arranged I spend the following day sight seeing with a group of American students who were also taking part in the experiment programme.Nina a volunteer from Germany offered to meet with me my first night in Buenos which was so lovely I was so happy to have plans for the evening. I returned to the Hotel and got ready for my first night in Buenos Aires.Nina and I went for a long walk aorund Buenos Aires and she brought me to Sante fe. We ate in a really nice restaurant called Camana she is so lovely I am even planning on visiting her when I return to Buenos Aires in September
On Wednesday I set off sightseeing.Martin was our tour guide for the day and told us a great deal of history which was really interesting. We went to La Boca which is a neighbourhood or barrio in Buenos Aires and well worth the visit. We also went to the Casa Rosada or the pink house(offices of the president in Argentina).. I returned to the hotel after a long day and relaxed for the evening. The hotel I stayed in has wifi on the first floor which was great as I was on facebook and skype to my friends and family on Wednesday evening. I have four hours to myself tomorrow before Carola a girl from the experiment office comes to pick me up at the hotel and bring me to the bus station. I cant wait to meet everyone and finally arrive in Chilecito. I will speak to you all soon when I land in Chilecito xxx