Buenos Aires Beat VI: Mi Buenos Aires Querido

Our columnist abroad sums up his Argentine adventure

Staff writer E.R. Pulgar was based in Buenos Aires, Argentina for four months writing a bi-monthly column for Journiest called Buenos Aires Beat. In its sixth and final iteration, he gives a long goodbye to mate, tango, and the streets of Argentina's capital.

Anyone that's been following this column will have noticed that I dropped off the face of the Earth for the last month of writing this column—for that, I apologize. The opportunity to reflect on this experience was an unprecedented one, but near the end, I found myself so embroiled in the entire experience that I didn't find the time to even sit and reflect. It's not exactly a good excuse, but if I learned anything while I was away it's that writing is not about words. One must live before they can sit down, clear their limbs of energy before sitting down and reflecting.

So then, what exactly was I up to this month of silence and long goodbyes?

A panoramic view from Colegiales.E.R. Pulgar

I bought a mate gourd at the Plaza Francia fair on a bright Sunday afternoon, and cured it for one day instead of the usual two—the taste is still pristine. I had a submarino and messed up mixing in the chocolate bar in a sea of hot milk. I went to my corner choripan place and didn't have to say my order before the cashier was already yelling for un chori con chimichurri para llevar. I paid 50 pesos and ate it in my favorite plaza under the last jacarandas of the season. I relished Argentine beef and wine. I drank too much Coke and Fernet. I stopped complaining about the taste of Coke and Fernet.

I walked. I ventured into a cathedral where the only souls present where myself, the organ player, and whatever statues were alive to witness. I bought a copy of Julio Cortázar's short stories and Pablo Neruda's love sonnets. I danced in San Telmo's Plaza Dorrego at midnight. I bought, at the end of the long day of wandering, a five peso icon of Saint Expeditus from a street vendor, an intercession for merchants and navigators alike. I found a café in Monserrat that felt like Brooklyn.

I got caught in the middle of a protest for pensioner's rights on my way to a hotel. I saw a cop smash a nightstick over a protestor's head in front of the Casa Rosada. I compared, in my head, this brutality to what I would return to in just a few days. I heard the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo speak on their weekly Thursday protest, refusing to remain silent after forty years of a continued search for their disappeared children and grandchildren. I decided to come back empowered instead of afraid.

I lost count of the sunrises on the rooftops of the city, over-caffeinated on mate and adrenaline. I listened to Soda Stereo's "Persiana Americana" an admittedly unhealthy amount. I watched a local band I had never heard of play to a sold-out crowd in their home stadium, the closing set of a tour hailed with open arms by the place where they began. I let myself sway to the rhythm and sweat. I knew the potent fervor of Argentine crowds.

I went to the outskirts of town to a festival where bands I treasured back home appeared as if to remind me of where I was returning. I got caught in the middle of a maelstrom that cancelled the closing act and took the long, muddy bus home with everyone else who went to the outskirts of town for live music.

I laughed; often, and vigorously. I got chills from how much warmth I felt from everyone I was surrounded by, from knowing the streets in the unusual grid that I had begun to call home. I had begun to call this unusual grid home.

Festival BUE, 2017Damariz Damken

There's a tango by Carlos Gardel, the undisputed songbird of the city, where he bemoans when he'll next see Buenos Aires as he leaves the city. Perhaps my most vivid memory of my last day in Buenos Aires is getting in the taxi to Ministro Pistarini International Airport, my heart and luggage heavy, and watching the city fade behind me while listening to that same tango. Without realizing it, I cried from my right eye; I remembered someone telling me this was the duct that guided happy tears.

Maybe I was happy because of everything I had experienced. Maybe it was the knowledge of home. Maybe it was knowing—yes, and deeply—that I'll be back someday and for good after life has its inevitable complications and compromises. I know that one day I'll be walking down porteño streets once again, with a little bit more permanence. Until then, the music, memories, and mate will remain.

Me and Mafalda, the philosopher of our times.Paulo Srulevitch

Get back on the Buenos Aires Beat below

Buenos Aires Beat I: Art

Buenos Aires Beat II: Food

Buenos Aires Beat III: Boliches, puchos, y lunfardo

Buenos Aires Beat IV: The Cafés

Buenos Aires Beat V: Buses, trains, and worn out boots

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Three Things to Consider When Planning Your Vacation

There are plenty of things to consider when planning your vacation. Make sure you have all your bases covered by the time you buy your plane ticket!

Going on vacation is wonderful after months of stress and work. There's just one last hurdle before hopping on that plane: planning.

There can be an overwhelming number of things to consider when planning your vacation (COVID-19 not least), but putting them in an itemized list helps. Here's a quick cheat-sheet for you to get a jump-start on that.

Vacation VacationUniversity of Kentucky

Remember Your Budget

If you make a budget, which you definitely should, stick to it. Don't spend more than what you can afford when you start vacationing. Vacations are meant to be relaxing, so saddling yourself with debt will only dampen the fun of your trip. How much are you spending on living accommodations, food, activities, travel? How much are you setting aside in emergency funds in case something happens?

Plan for the Length of the Trip

Are you going out of town for a few months, or do you only have a week off? How much time you have can affect where you can go and how much you can enjoy it. If you only have a week and a half for a trip, then it's best not to go somewhere that's a 16-hour flight away. Half the trip is going to be spent on planes, and the other half will be spent being jet-lagged.

Trip length can also affect how you have to deal with your home while you're away. If you're away for long periods of time, do you need to hire people to cut your grass? Do you need to hire house sitters or babysitters? There are even things to know if you need to board your dog. Keep all these in mind for extended vacations.

Consider the Weather

You never want to ruin your vacation by heading somewhere beautiful in its offseason. Depending on the time of year, most activities could be canceled due to weather restrictions. Some places are ideal for winter trips, and other destinations are made to be enjoyed during the summer heat. Plan accordingly, and don't show up in a swimsuit when it's 50 degrees outside.

That rounds up the basics, but there are plenty more things to consider when planning your vacation. Give yourself wiggle room if any unique considerations pop up in your planning process.

There has never been a better time to learn a language than right now. While we can't really travel, we can still get ready to explore the world and other cultures through film, music, and food. But the key to all of this is language. It can be hard getting started on your own and so we found the perfect solution: Rosetta Stone.

We've been loving hunkering down and digging into Rosetta Stone, a language learning app with many different languages, the best lessons, and an affordable subscription. It's flexible and made to work for you, no matter what level you're starting at. Jump back into French without dusting off your highschool books or pick up Mandarin with a clean slate.

Thinking about Rosetta Stone for your language lessons? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions:

What languages do they offer?

With Rosetta Stone, you can choose from 25 different languages including Spanish, Arabic, and Japanese. When you get the Unlimited Languages subscription you gain access to all 25 and can switch between languages. While you may be intensely learning German, you can take a break and pick up some conversational Korean — all in one app.

What are the features?

What makes Rosetta Stone's lessons really work are the incredible learning features.

Phrasebook will teach you short, useful expressions that are sure to come in handy during your travels, letting you see the practical application of what you're learning. Seek & Speak brings the fun back into learning by having you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and taking photos of them to get the translated name. Even in an app, Rosetta Stone turns any environment into a classroom.

TruAccent is a speech engine within the program that provides instant feedback on your pronunciation so you know if you're on the right track. You'll grow more confident about speaking aloud and it's like having an accent coach in the room with you.

How long does it take every day?

Rosetta Stone's lessons are bite-sized, so all you need is 5 -10 minutes a day to sneak in some practice and work towards your language goals. Of course, you can do more if you want but there's no regimented schedule or pressure to speed ahead.

How does it compare to in-person classes?

With the Rosetta Stone app, your learning is within your control and designed to move at your pace. The app will tailor to your particular interests, strengths, and weaknesses! Plus, with the recent explosion of online classes, most people have fallen away from in-person instruction anyway.

Rosetta Stone brings you expert teaching, fun engaging lessons, and a multitude of language options all on-the-go. Take your classes whenever and wherever works best for you, conveniently on the app.

Is it suitable for all levels?

Absolutely. When you first start, the app allows you to choose a study plan based on your experience level. So, if you're a beginner you can start from scratch and those with some proficiency can advance to where they're comfortable.

How much does it cost?

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month and grants access to all 25 languages, cheaper than Netflix. You get an education at a great value and the best part is no ads while you learn!

We look forward to our Rosetta Stone lessons and highly recommend it to anyone eager to learn a new language or even brush up on an old one. This program makes learning fun, practical, convenient, and most importantly affordable.

Say bonjour, to the go-to language learning app and have the world right at your fingertips!

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!

Like so many out there I haven't been traveling. With everything going on these days I've been staying home, which I love, but it does have me itching to travel. The international section of Netflix just isn't satisfying my travel bug like it used to (trust me, if it's been recommended I've watched it).

I was looking for another way I could travel without leaving home so I did the rounds of take-out food: Chinese, German, Italian, and Mexican. This was fun and tasty but a pricey way to explore the world.

A friend of mine suggested taking a prepping approach to travel and try Rosetta Stone: a language learning program that offers an annual plan with access to 24+ languages.

I've always wanted to learn a new language but have had trouble committing. I was a bit wary about starting Rosetta Stone but ultimately decided to give it a shot.

The Unlimited Languages plan works out to be $7.99 a month for 12 months (what a deal). While I was determined to learn Spanish in anticipation of my dream trip to Spain, this plan allows me to switch to any of the other 24+ languages.

I was excited to get started and use the app. I figured with all of the extra time I had until I could actually go on my trip, I'd aspire to be near fluent by the time it happened.

Jumping right in, I took a ton of lessons through their app and really binged the language. I loved the focus on conversational language, phrases, and vocabulary but after about a week I had burned myself out a bit.

I ended up pulling back and doing 10-minute lessons a day. This was manageable and easy to incorporate into my schedule whether it was by doing a lesson over my morning coffee or winding down right before bed. Learning in bite-sized amounts helped me digest the information and really process what I was being taught.

After a couple of weeks, I was getting really comfortable with Rosetta Stone and was actually enjoying the learning process… even though I wasn't a big fan of language when I was in school. What really set this experience apart for me was the Phrasebook and Seek & SpeakⓇ features.

Phrasebook teaches short, useful expressions that I know will come in handy on my trip. Seek & SpeakⓇ definitely brought the fun back into learning for me, as it has you do a scavenger hunt for everyday household items and take photos of them. Once you do this it gives you a translation of each item (I've never enjoyed looking for cucumbers in my fridge before).

Watching so many telenovelas I knew how important the accent is (in any language) but difficult without an in-person instructor. Rosetta Stone realizes that too and uses TruAccentⓇ. The speech engine within the program gave me instant feedback so I knew that my pronunciation was on the right track and it made me more comfortable speaking aloud.

Rosetta Stone turned out to be a great choice for me. Now I'm daydreaming about traveling and feel like when the time comes I'll be ready to. I'm so confident in my learning that I've branched out and have done some lessons in Italian and French! I'm thinking, after Spain… maybe Rome and Paris? My destinations list is endless now!

Honestly, with Rosetta Stone, I feel more inspired than ever to travel and all this inspiration is happening right in my home. I can't wait to take what I've learned on the road but until then the preparation is still incredibly fun and useful.

Update: The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers: Up to 45% off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Language Access!