Here's a fun fact for you guys: Once upon a time I used to be fluent in Spanish.I'm sure it's all still tucked away in the back of my brain, but I don't have the confidence I had when I was still living in Buenos Aires.
Those were my glory days - when people couldn't tell that my accent was not something I was naturally born with and taxi cab drivers and I would enter heated, fast-paced debates about politics and culture. I was THE master of disguise, pretending I'd lived in Buenos Aires my whole damn life, and totally pulling it off.
If you've never immersed yourself into a foreign culture and language for a few months, I highly recommend the experience. I took the second half of 2009 as a personal mission to explore a new country and take my Spanish from Zero to Fluent.
During my time in Argentina, I learned some choice phrases that I most definitely wouldn't have picked up from reading Borges in my Spanish Lit classes.
Allow me to demonstrate:
- Boludo: Idiot, asshole, dumbass, etc.
- Che: Hey, um, or like. Often inserted four or five times into a sentence for no reason whatsoever.
- Quilombo: A total freaking mess.
- Barbaro!: Fantastic!
- Dale: Yes, sure, why not, let's do it, etc.
- Chamuyero: Term for a smooth-talking Argentine man who will say/do anything to take you home with him. (aka every Argentine man)
- "Re" prefix: Meaning very. So refacil is very easy, relindo is very beautiful, and rebueno is very good.
- Como andas?: Literally translated, it means How do you walk? but it's interpreted as How's it going?
- Esta en el horno: Literally translated, it means He's in the oven but it's interpreted as He's stressed out.
And the list goes on and on and on and on.
I have to say though, that my most favorite phrase was te echo de menos. It means I miss you. The phrase stems from the Portuguese achar menos, which literally translates into to feel less without.
And that's just about the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.
Because isn't that what we're really trying to express? I feel less happy without you here to share in this moment with me. Something reminded me of you but you weren't here, so the experience wasn't as good as it could have been. I literally felt less about this situation because you weren't there. I miss you.
I miss my friends from study abroad. I miss them in moments both big and small, relevant and random.
Our group of 20+ crazy ass mofos: these people were my family for 6 months. We laughed, loved, learned, and lived together. And then we all packed up our bags and went back to our lives, not knowing if we'd ever see one another again. One thing was for sure: it would never be like this again. All of us, together, in the same place, at the same time, in the same way we were.
I will admit, however, that to this day... every damn time I hear our semester’s theme song (I Gotta Feeling) on the radio or in my iTunes shuffle.... it puts the biggest smile on my face.
And even though it would be cool if I was still surrounded by all my loves in Argentina while listening to it, I’m forever grateful to have MADE such wonderful memories to be missing so much.
Missing you all, xx Nikbear