Sadly we are packing up today. While I have many more posts coming on our time here (a few already written and are scheduled to go), I wanted to take some time to write a quick wrap up on this trip and what I’ve learned and loved.
Favorite Parts of the Trip
My favorite parts of the trip have not been so much what I’ve seen but some of the small experiences we have had:
- Discovering just how family friendly the city is. From the plethora of children’s clothing and toy stores, restaurants that all have high chairs, and rainbow colored playgrounds at all corners, you couldn’t find a city more set up for families with children. On top of that, the people here love and respect families with children. On the bus and train people get up and give you a seat without being asked. People rush to help with the stroller. When my daughter or son are running around, they give them affectionate pats on the head instead of disapproving looks. No wonder so many in this city who have children choose to stay. It’s an easy place to have kids, easier than some suburban areas I’ve been in the US.
- Seeing my daughter and son become social with the other children has been a real treat. My daughter is a natural extrovert, so it was not too much of a surprise to see her wedging herself into other’s games and “borrowing” their toys. My son, however, is quite an introvert. To see him make a few friends and play with others despite language gaps was a real treat.
- Spending this much time with the kids, I got to see them develop new skills. My son got into photography, asking for a phone or camera to take pictures at major sites. I loved seeing his point-of-view on the trip. He also learned to “read” several books, turning the tables and reading to me and his sister at bedtime. My daughter started to have clearer diction, learning several words on this trip and clearly learning to articulate what she wanted. She also loves music, and I loved watching her dance along with the street musicians, or even to the sounds of the jungle in Iguazu. She was serenaded to by a singer in a restaurant, and even drummed along to a lively band that entered our subway car one day.
- In addition, I got to see the relationship my kids have with each other. My son and daughter smiled, shrieked and hugged each morning when they woke up and saw each other. My son would pull his sister out of danger. My daughter learned to play his train games with him. They were little partners in crime, fighting on occasion, but mostly helping each other out in this strange new land (to them).
- We started a new tradition on this trip. At dinner every night, everyone (who could articulate it at this point), went around and said what was their favorite part of the day. My son’s favorite part was usually being able to watch his favorite Thomas show at some place on the phone, but as he better got the concept started to include things like parts of the Museo de Los Niños we liked, the rainbow over the waterfalls, or the ice cream he had our nearby ice cream shop.
- Just living and exploring one city in depth was a new and exciting experience. By staying in a residential neighborhood, we soon found a favorite grocery store, corner shop, laundromat, ice cream parlor, and restaurant, all who recognized us and waved every morning. We got to know every transit system Buenos Aires had, and soon had a system for how to jump on and off the busses like a pro. Some days, we did nothing all day but walk around a neighborhood, seeing the shops, eating at cafes, playing at the local playground, and just getting the feel of the neighborhood. It was a different type of vacation than what I normally do where I have a checklist of must see sights and fit in as many as I can in one day. The experience of living and getting to know the city was one I really enjoyed and was glad I got the chance to do.
A few lesson I learned
- Apartment living as opposed to a hotel is hands down the way to go. Having a separate room for the kids allowed me to get to work on things after they went to bed, much like at home. Having a kitchen let us have milk, yogurt, and cereal for breakfast in the morning, and make a light dinner a few nights to avoid so many heavy meals. (not as many nights as we should have, but at least a few). Being residential let us get to know the city and it’s people at a more intimate level. But the best part had to be our hosts. The owners of the apartment were amazing. If it wasn’t finding us a tango show and travel agent, it was helping us track down a camera battery charger when we realized my husband had left his at home or babysitting so we could get a night to ourselves. They were amazing and made us feel at home here. If you are ever in Buenos Aires, you must stay in this wonderful apartment (click here for their Facebook page).
- I like unscheduled…to an extent. While I loved not having an itinerary that we had to stick to, some of the things that did bother me was the time we spent setting up things we should have done before we arrived. We lost days to finding a travel agent and scheduling the Iguazu trip. The day we were arranging the Tango Show and babysitting I never got to enjoy our day out, I was always looking for a cafe with wifi so I could check my email. If we had done some of this ahead of our trip, we could have had been even more relaxed.
- I am not a stay at home mom. Bless those women who have patience for it because I do not. I have enjoyed getting more time with the kids and I appreciate that I have had it. But I need my space.
- The corollary is also true, my kids need their school and structure. Every day out all day proved to be a lot for the kids. By the end my son was using the phone almost as an attachment object, one point even actually needing to hold it to fall asleep. My daughter became a koala cub, even refusing most days to sit in the high chair and only on my lap. Daddy wouldn’t do, it had to be mama. My son talked about his friends at school, and my daughter missed the social stimulation of her friends at daycare. My kids like their daycare/school set up and need the routine and structure in there lives.
- I love writing this blog. I always thought of it as my creative outlet different from work. But I truly enjoyed writing it this trip, to the point that I would stay up late into the night taking notes on the day, writing posts, and sorting through pictures I wanted to use. Writing this blog has allowed me to get it out there and see that others actually like reading it as well. It’s rewarding and validating at the same time. And I look forward to maintaining it in the future, to continue honing my writing skills, and encourage my sense of adventure.
I hope you have enjoyed reading along about our adventure, and continue to stay tuned as I post more about Argentina and our trip. It was a trip of a lifetime, and an experience I won’t soon forget.
* Starred photo taken by Atma Photography