No Longer a Stranger

In The Art of Travel Spring 2017, 12. Strangers, Buenos Aires by Alexandra G3 Comments

Prior to my arrival in Buenos Aires, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I imagined that I’d be living with a family that had a similar dynamic to the Brady Bunch. I thought I’d live with a couple with kids and a dog in a house with a yard. Quite contrarily, I live with a single gay man in his apartment with his smushed face cat.
Upon meeting my host dad, Sebastian, I thought he was nothing but charming. There was no awkwardness. While he was a total stranger, he was able to make me feel comfortable quickly. After living with him for nearly seven months, I’ve noticed that this is an amazing, very unique quality of his. He can make anyone feel comfortable.

Although I felt comfortable, I did make it clear to him that I didn’t want to be any sort of burden on him. Just because I was there, I didn’t want him to change his life style for me. If he didn’t spend dinner with me, if he left me something to eat in the refrigerator or the microwave, if we got take out, etc., I didn’t mind and still don’t mind at all. I didn’t want him to feel discomfort in his own him. I also remembr feeling REALLY weird with him washing my dishes. I told him I was more than capable of washing my own dishes, and even made him watch me to guarantee that I wasn’t putting dirty dishes away in his very clean cabinets. From the very get go, we communicated well.

As time passed, I found myself actually missing him. I couldn’t wait to be back home after my exhausting fall break. Home. His home became my home.

He really is such a funny person. I don’t think a day has gone by where he hasn’t made me laugh.  He always knocks on my door to ask me if his music is too loud— he loves Beyonce and Ariana Grande. One night, we both ended up staying in and not going out. We stayed up until 4 AM drinking champagne and belting our hearts out to Whitney Houston.
I remember my mom always asking me about him and what he’s like. She was
always so worried…until she finally met him. When she came to Argentina to visit in November, she made it a point to meet my host dad. I don’t think either of them anticpated how much they’d get along. Sebastian and my mom are both around the same age; my mom only two years younger than him. While we only intended on visiting for an hour or two, I ended up falling asleep in my room and my mom and Sebastian stayed up for a really long time, drinking wine and smoking and talking about their lives and heartbreaks. It sounds terribly sad, but they both really enjoyed each other’s company. My mom never worried about my living situation from that day on. “You’re really lucky,” she told me. I knew she was right.

Sebastian makes fun of me more than anyone in the world does, making him a great match for hanging out with my sister too. When Bina came to visit in February, she and Sebastian got along almost instantly. They made fun of the way I dress, how I barely wear make up (my sister loves make up and Sebastian is a make up artist), my accent when I speak Spanish, etc. etc. etc. If I ever say anything back or make fun of Sebastian, he almost always responds with “You have to respect me, I’M YOUR DAD!” This is by far my favorite line of his. “Okay dad” is my sassy remark back whenever he tries to be serious or actually be an adult.

On the first day of spring, he brought me flowers. On my birthday, he bought me pastries and even came out with me and my friends. On his birthday, I made him do tequila shots and yell “tequila!!!!” like obnoxious, American girls. While I do homework, he often gives me a glass of  wine or champagne. We watch tv together, he tells me about his dates, I tell him about my life at home, my annoying family and my experiences in Buenos Aires.

As my time here is coming to an end, I’ve been getting very emotional just thinking about leaving. I’ll never forget my experience in Argentina, but specifically due to the relationship I’ve built with this amazing person. He was once a total stranger, and I was once also a stranger living in his home. Sebastian is now family to me, and I’m forever grateful to have met and lived with him.


  1. This post was heartwarming! Sometimes, I regret not living in a host family because I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of unique experiences and even language practice. Also, I feel like in a host family, I’d meet more locals.

  2. This is my favorite post yet! This is so adorable. I’m so happy of you. It seems like you’re having such a meaningful and unique experience and taking advantage of every minute of it. I love the Whitney Houston sing along especially. Hopefully he can come visit at your home campus! Definitely don’t lose touch he sounds like a fantastic new friend 🙂

  3. Alexxxx,

    Sebastian is truly a gem and I love how you break the traditional archetype of what a relationship between a host family and their host son or daughter look like. I am jealous that you were able to foster such an intimate relationship with your host parent as it can be hard sometimes to break the ice and truly get to know your host parent.

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