One Week Left

My fifth week is done…how? How is it possible that five weeks of Buenos Aires and two weeks of New York are gone? I am really unable to fathom how fast time passes. My week was filled with work from the Buenos Aires office, the Miami office, and the NYC office. Working with individuals from different places and really seeing it all come together was really wonderful. I think my involvement has really allowed me to learn so much about the company and about the business. The work is fantastically creative and I have gained so much admiration for the people who have minds that can think of such impactful ideas. I worked closely with Alita Pereyra and Gustavo Cosentino this week, as Pactricio Shilton was on holiday. I have learned so much in the past five weeks, and I truly owe it to these individuals.

Friday afternoon, Alita, Meri Mercau, and Mumi Travis took me to Puerto Madero for lunch. It is an area right next to the office. The bridge called Puente de la Mujer has become a landmark many tourists go to see. The area surrounding it is made up of upscale restaurants and office buildings. It was very unique, but the day was cloudy and windy.

Puente de la Mujer (the bridge in Puerto Madero)

Puente de la Mujer (the bridge in Puerto Madero)

Amigas and co-workers at Puerto Madero

Amigas and co-workers at Puerto Madero

Some sweet treats custom to Argentina at lunch on Friday

Some sweet treats custom to Argentina at lunch on Friday

For my weekend, Alita and Pato took me to lunch in Villa Crespo. The streets were filled with clothing stores and great restaurants. We went to a place called Malvón, that served Popovers (extremely similar to the Popover Cafe in NYC, which closed down some years ago). We explored the area around the restaurant and then at 5pm, we left to watch the Copa América Football final. I went to the house of a friend who lives in Argentina to watch with her and her family. The two teams playing were Argentina and Chile. Unfortunately, Argentina lost and it was extremely sad as I sat there in a house full of Argentinians… I wasn’t quite sure how to react to their loss. For them, of course, it was devastating. Funny enough, Saturday was also the 4th of July. So my “celebration” of America’s Independence Day was spent watching an Argentinian match in Argentina. Even though they lost, it will definitely be a memory I will never forget.

Popover meal at Malvon!

Popover meal at Malvón!

Sunday was a day of rest for me. I actually had a lot of preparing to do in order to be ready for my flight to Kuala Lumpur this Friday. I am in awe that I have five days left in this beautiful country. This week will really be emotional, as I finish my last couple projects at the office and prepare for another adventure in Malaysia. This Thursday is actually the day of independence for Argentina. So no one will be working. As a result, this week will be a short work week. I will try my best to spend as much time as I can with the great people I have met here and do some last things I have wanted to do in Buenos Aires. And then, Malaysia, here I come!

Spanglish Gets Better

I can’t believe four weeks have passed. There is so much I have seen and experienced, and I am so happy I have two more weeks left. However, I am already beginning to feel the sadness of leaving. I have really tried to invest myself at Initiative, creating bonds with my co-workers, understanding briefs and media strategies for clients, and practicing my Spanish… It has become somewhat of a joke in the office that my co-workers have actually started to enjoy practicing their English with me! Working in Spanish has definitely challenged me in more ways than I expected. It can be overwhelming, but that is the experience of it. The fear of getting a sentence out in a fluid manner, or the struggle to translate every word people are saying in my head in order to understand is tiring. But this is the only way to learn a language. To be fully immersed in it.  I would have loved to take an advanced Spanish class here, but for some reason, Buenos Aires does not have night time classes. Instead, I brought my books from my college classes and have been doing the best I can to study.

I think I have made it to the point where I really feel like I could live in Buenos Aires and create a life for myself. Argentina is an inspiring place. Buenos Aires is not the most clean or put together city I have visited in the world, but I think what I have realized is that I can live anywhere, but who I live by is what matters most. My co-workers have made this experience more than I could have ever dreamed of. My experiences have been made more so by the people who I have met here and who I have been fortunate enough to now call my friends. Everywhere I have been in Buenos Aires, I have had an encounter with wonderful individuals, who love life and who are so welcoming to have foreigners really learn about their culture. I can only hope one day, I can welcome them to my country with open arms as they have for me.

Some of my co-workers who came to celebrate my birthday!

Some of my co-workers who came to celebrate my birthday!

This weekend I stayed in Buenos Aires, despite my desire to travel to Patagonia. I decided that being able to say “I lived in Buenos Aires” means I would have to stay and really enjoy the time here, and when I return to Argentina (because I will soon), I will travel more within the country. For now, I want to enjoy my time in the city for all that I have left. Two weeks I know will go by quickly, but I am so excited for what I have left to explore in this beautiful city that I can call home (for now)!

The view from my apartment building on a stormy weekend in Buenos Aires

The view from my apartment building on a stormy weekend in Buenos Aires

Halfway Through

I am halfway done with my time spent in Buenos Aires. Wow… is all I can say. Work has become more and more demanding and I am learning so much. All of my co-workers have been incredible at incorporating me in all the work and really showing me what the business is all about. I am very lucky to work so closely with such inspiring and motivating professionals who know so much about media.

Apart from a busy work week, this weekend I celebrated my 21st birthday here. My co-workers joined me for the celebration and it was a weekend I will treasure forever. My 19th birthday was spent in Israel, my 20th in London, and now, 21st in Buenos Aires. I have to say, this has been the best so far. On my birthday, I went to see La Boca. I had a tour of the La Boca football team’s stadium called Estadio La Bombonera, which was really interesting to learn about. People here are die hard fans for La Boca, and instead of being just a “sport,” it is considered a culture and incorporated into their lifestyle. Their football team is a part of who they are and what they believe in (really that intense)!

The La Boca team stadium!

The La Boca team stadium!

In addition, the area of La Boca is known in Buenos Aires for its colorful “cominitos,” which are houses that have been painted bright and vibrant colors. It was such a beautiful and lively place. There were many tourists from different countries in South America. It was simply wonderful.

Caminitos!

Caminitos!

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Sunday, I went shopping in Palermo Soho to buy something to treat myself for my 21st birthday. However I realized that almost everything was closed because one, it was a Sunday, and two, it was Father’s Day. Luckily, the shopping mall called Alto Palermo was open. I did not realize just how expensive clothing was here…the reason behind it goes back to the fact that Argentina has shut itself out of global capital markets. Imports are closed, so a store like Zara for instance cost me $200 U.S. dollars to buy three normal shirts. It was really interesting to just see what products they have to offer to Argentinians, but it is virtually impossible to pay for clothes in cash here, because even two shirts will get you above 1,000 pesos.

Among all things, I am still having the greatest time and meeting the most wonderful and intelligent people along the way!

Two Weeks Down and I am in Awe

So it has officially been two weeks since I arrived in Buenos Aires. I am in awe at how quickly the time went. This past week at work was filled with meeting after meeting on various projects Initiative is working on. The Spanish keeps on coming my way, as almost every meeting is in Spanish, if not Spanglish. I think my favorite part so far is being so involved in all the projects going on. I get to see first hand what the briefs are from the clients, what the Job To Be Done (JTBD) is, and how it gets executed. On top of it, working with Unilever as a client is really amazing, as they have such huge brands. It is really spectacular and I am falling more and more in love with this agency!

In addition, after two weeks, I can say that I have become adapt to my routine. Such that I no longer need my phone as a map to tell me when to get off the buses. I can guide myself pretty easily in my neighborhood of Palermo. The point of feeling like I actually live here is finally settling in, and it feels great.

This weekend I went on a tour to Tigre, which is up north, a little outside the city of Buenos Aires. Tigre is the beginning of the Paraná Delta, which is known for its light brown color. Do not be too shocked, the color is simply from the sediment found in the canals. I was on a group tour that took us on a boat across a couple of the canals. It was lovely, and the sun was out shining the whole day.

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Tigre

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Sunday I explored Recoleta and the main square, where there is a market every weekend. It was again, great weather. After a wonderful week, I am exited to start my third week of work and end with the celebration of my 21st birthday this Saturday!

First Week in Buenos Aires

My first week in the Initiative office in Buenos Aires is complete. The initial rush of arriving on a Sunday at 3pm and starting work the next day at 9am was exhilarating. I had moved into my apartment on Sunday, ate dinner, and went straight to bed. Getting to work was surprisingly easy. I thank BAComoLlego, an app that guides you by bus, walking, or car to your destination. It is similar to Google Maps, but specifically for Buenos Aires. The office is in Retiro, a really busy working district. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by the whole team at the office. I was introduced, in Spanish, to all the employees. They were warm and welcoming. I am working closely with Patricio Shilton, Alita Pereyra, and Eric Jakubavicius. They head the Unilever team.

The week spiraled into a very busy and long work week. I was absolutely loving it. Spanish filled the air each day, and I could not escape it. The initial frustration with understanding and speaking was just out of my confidence level, however, I am definitely feeling a lot better after a week of immersion. My sentence structures may not always be completely correct, or rather, correct with the Argentinian style of Spanish, but I am getting there, step by step. I understand a lot more of the dialect now that I have had a couple days listening to it. I can only see things getting better from here on out with my Spanish. Frustration is common, but patience is key.

The Argentinians I have met so far have been friendly and enthusiastic. They are really some of the most well rounded people I have ever met. They work hard, and they love life. Getting used to the customs of Argentina is also interesting. They kiss on one side of the cheek to greet people instead of kissing on both cheeks, which was what I was taught. People wait in a line for elevators (which is a concept I never thought of before, but it actually makes so much sense). They wait on a line at the bus stop as well. Strange at first, but it makes sense. In addition, here, it is custom for men to allow women to go first for everything. Whether it be entering a building, leaving an elevator, getting onto the bus, women always go first. Men will not sit down on the subway or bus unless all the women around them are already sitting down.

As for this weekend, I took my free time to wander around Buenos Aires and experience the culture during the day. I went to Plaza Serrano in Palermo to see all the unique shops. I went to Paseo del Rosedal, a beautiful park near Avenue Santa Fe. Sunday, I went to Plaza de Mayo and enjoyed the San Telmo market, filled with individuals selling wonderful ornate objects. Exploring Buenos Aires definitely takes time, as the city is absolutely enormous. Any of the locals will tell you the same. It is impossible to see everything in one weekend. But lucky for me, I have tons of weekends to explore!

The End of NYC, the Start of Buenos Aires

It has been two wonderful weeks at the IPG Mediabrands office in NYC. This summer, I will be working at Initiative in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Universal McCann in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had many introductions these past two weeks, which prepared me for my trips abroad. Understanding the company is extremely important for all employees to really excel and become immersed in their work.  I am working under incredibly strong women in the industry, and it is a great privilege to be doing so.

The Initiative NYC office is located on 33rd street, next to Harold Square. It is an incredible office, with the most colorful vibes I have ever seen in a corporate headquarters. The office is set up into four different quadrants. Fast, Brave, Decisive, and Simple. This is Initiative’s four basic principles. In order to excel in the industry, these are the qualities you must possess as a company. I sat in the decisive area (colored yellow). Each day, the employees get to pick a new seat. There are no cubicles, just long desks stretched out across each area, with a complementary desktop. We get free Starbucks at the cafe, and there is a beer garden, where you can sit and have lunch. It is really the best you can get. I never drank coffee until my first day of work here. If it’s free, why not?

I depart from the NYC office and head to Buenos Aires, Argentina for six weeks to work at the Initiative office. I have learned a lot about the company these past two weeks and have become well briefed in the industry. Upon my arrival to Buenos Aires, I will be working with each team, but focusing most on media strategy and planning.

My excitement is over the roof, but not with a good wait of 18 hours (including a layover in Sao Paulo, Brazil) to get to Buenos Aires. I am so grateful for this opportunity and the great work that awaits me in these countries.

Here I come Argentina! Vamos!