In an Argentine Minute

So we have been here for a little over a month and you would think that I have already settled down with a consistent class schedule, wrong. We have at least come to terms with the fact that Argentina has the complete opposite take on being punctual, and probably are not even aware of this New York Minute concept we live by in the United States. Rather, they live by their own definition of being on time, and giving credit to my friend Cristina who coined the phrase, they live on the Argentine Minute.

We may be getting used to showing up late to events, or even classes…which I can barely say has even officially started, but we are still trying to understand this lengthy class scheduling process.At this point, I am a little more excited than I usually am to start classes, but I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve been  registering for the past 3 weeks, and just started my first class last week, except wait my first few classes were cancelled. Maybe this is their tactic, that they make it this huge, lengthy process to register and start classes, and then cancel the first week of class which actually motivates the students to attend? Just a thought. I officially went to my first class this week though, which consisted of 2 students, including me. Tango ClassWe waited about 30 minutes for the teacher to arrive, and yes that’s normal in Argentina. I am taking one communication class, as I am done with my requirements for my major back home at Southwestern University, and along with this class, I decided to  spice things up a little bit and add some tango into the mix. Our first day of tango was very fun and entertaining; we started the class off with an intro to folkloric dance, then ended it with a few tango combinations. No one mentioned what the suggested attire was for class, and I suggest you don’t wear your sneaks to your first class, just a thought. I was that girl in the back row trying to pull some sexy moves, stomping my adidas on everyone else’s feet. All the other students in our class had the correct attire, a nice low dancing heel and brightly colored flowing skirts, I’ll keep that in mind for next time. But I guess its better I wore my sneakers than choosing to wear the 3 ½ inch heels I brought to Argentina, everyone knows that would have been a disaster.

Back to this school schedule though; day 2 of my communication class I remember hurrying home to grab my books at home before class and heading to class worried I was going to be late. I arrived to class just 10 minutes late, which actually means I got there early, but arrived panting after my 20 minute power walk down the main street of Aristides. I sat in the classroom all alone for  a good 30 minutes waiting for my teacher and the one other student in my class to arrive. So after those 30 minutes, I realize they changed the classroom location from the first room we were in the week before, without notifying me. Wonderful. The one thing I haven’t really embraced yet is that time doesn’t really exist down here in Argentina. I’m always late for everything, and so because that is what am constantly working on, I enjoy being reminded that Argentina is ‘Andrea friendly,’ so I may be sticking around a little longer than planned, ha, but really.

So the next class I decide to add to my schedule is fotografía. This class is once a week on tuesdays from 12-3pm, except the teacher is not aware of what time class starts, or ends. I went last week and got there at 11:50am and walked up to the enormous auditorium it was being held in, and my friend and I see that the professor has already begun class and already in the middle of his slideshow. We walk in among a bigger group, and are wondering why it had already started, especially knowing that classes never start on time in Argentina. He asks all who just walked in to be quiet because there was a lot of chattering, a lot of confused chatter that is. Finally someone asks him why it had already started, and he said we were over half an hour late, and that it had started at 11:15am. What made this little incident a little more enjoyable was when the TA walks in and informs him that his class indeed was supposed to start at 12 noon, just like it said on the official schedule. Talk about dealing with this issue of time down here in Argentina, now I don’t even know what to think, arrive an hour early, or an hour late, just to be on time to class. And just to shake things up a little more, our professor mentions that there are only three cameras available to rent out to the class, of about 300 students. Yes, you heard me, 300. We’ll see how this class goes, but at the rate we are going we may not even get to our next class. This week classes were cancelled for one reason or another, and we really only have two and a half months or so left of class until our semester is over.

Being on time is definitely a big difference between the United States and Argentina. It is so laid back here, and they don’t put their focus on being punctual which is nice, but can be hard to get used to at first. With me already having a problem of always being late, I’m finding Argentina more welcoming everyday. I promise to update this more often, but sometimes I can get caught up with things happening down here in Mendoza, so I think it’s safe to say I’ll be back in an Argentine minute.

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