BUENOS AIRES, Argentina–My hands fumbled from tiredness as I searched for my keys in my purse. My fingers closed around ticket stubs, my cellphone, a crumpled copy of my passport, and my subway pass, but not the heavyset brass keys that I sought. I glanced down at my watch and anxiety sank into my heart as I read the time: 5:32 a.m.
Just like New York, Buenos Aires is the “city that never sleeps,” but the people in Buenos Aires sure do take naps quite frequently. With hundreds of clubs that don’t even open until 1 a.m., Buenos Aires has nightlife unlike any other city. Evenings for club-goers don’t peak until 3 or 4 a.m. and certainly don’t end until 5 a.m. or later.
This was already the latest I had ever been awake in my whole life and my entire body ached for the bed waiting for me upstairs. But of course, I had forgotten the keys to the apartment. Of course, the first night I went out had to be the night I got locked out.
I am staying with a local family, and the last thing I wanted to do was wake “my mom” up at this ungodly hour. After telling my woes to the unsympathetic doorman for 15 minutes in clumsily worded Spanish, I finally decided to ring the buzzer to the apartment.
My 60-year-old porteño mother opened the door and I cringed with anxiety for her response. All I found were open arms and a concerned voice asking me if I had been waiting outside for long.
The people in Buenos Aires, while described protestors, pessimists, and lovers of mayonnaise, can also be labeled as welcoming. For centuries, a multitude of ethnicities, heritages, and stories have found their home amidst the skyward buildings of the port city. Just like the city seems to have open arms, the people of Buenos Aires also always seem willing to welcome and accept those who enter. There seems to be a place for every person in the city–even this extranjera.
While I now feel like I belong in the city, it’s still comforting to know that my host mom won’t leave me out in the streets when I get locked out around dawn. But just in case, I double check to make sure that I have my keys when I go out now.