February 2024 Newsletter

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The thing about Argentina…

Illustration made with elements from Pexels (Jonathan Borba, Svetezor Milashevich), Unsplash (Pariwat Pannium, Martin de Arriba), and Reshot.

Happy February! How are your New Year’s resolutions working out so far?

Thanks to those of you who joined the You Have Homework community this past month. ¡Bienvenid@s!

This month’s newsletter includes:

🧳My thoughts about the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina

🗣️ Understanding their particular way of speaking Spanish

💸 Money in Argentina

🎶 Two playlists for your Valentine’s Day

🧳There’s something Bueno in the Aire

What an enchanting city! I spent a spectacular five months here and was absolutely charmed. The layout of the city, the Parisian-Madrileño-New-Yorker architecture, and the ground-to-roof street art made my jaw drop on the ride from the ferry station. As I got to know the city more, I also got to see the city’s quirks better.

If you love artisan and flea markets, put Buenos Aires on your travel list. Or better not, because you’ll spend all of your money. Original art, copper cookware, tea cups, jade bracelets, modern lighting fixtures… Can’t beat it.

Porteños (how people from Buenos Aires are called) love a fragrance. I’ve never seen so many perfume stores in my life.

Another superlative for Buenos Aires is that it’s the bookstore capital of the world, according to The Guardian. With 25 bookstores per 100,000 residents, these people love a libro.

Quite a few bookstores I saw have a window that passers-by could stop and order a coffee + alfajor. Yerba mate may have originated from the region, but porteños are avid coffee-lovers. (There was a coffee shortage when I left a few weeks ago, by the way.)

On the way back home after you grab a coffee and a book, you will probably pass a dog walker with a dozen well-behaved dogs attached to his or her belt. But be aware that though porteños love their furry friends, they don’t love picking up after them. If you step in some poo, just reach into your bag and spray on some perfume.

Some of my pictures from around the city

🗣️ Two ways porteño Spanish threw me for a loop

First of all, these people speak Italian gibberish. However, after I got used to the rhythm of the language, I was able to notice a few interesting things.

Por favor!! – On my first day in the city, I went around my neighborhood to inquire about the rates and classes the local gyms had. After thanking one person via WhatsApp for sending me the info, I got “Por favor!!” in response. Hmmm, must’ve been sent to the wrong person. 

Nope! After not too long in the city, I realized this was a common way its people said “you’re welcome”, in an oh-it’s-my-pleasure sort of way. By the way, it also keeps the original meaning “please”.

El voseo is everywhere – I knew rioplatense Spanish used vos as the informal you, but it took me a while to connect the dots in its usage in a command with a pronoun. Hmmm, ganate? Shouldn’t that be gánate?

Nope! The imperative for vos has the stress on the last syllable. Lesson learned: practice the imperative prompts of my verb drill book with the pronominal versions 🤦🏽‍♀️.

💸 El dólar blue, la cotización, la inflación…

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the financial crisis hitting the people. On my first day in the country, I found myself next to an older lady in the laundry detergent aisle. She sighed how the prices were double what they were the previous year. Five months later when I left, prices of my staples had doubled from when I had first arrived.

It seemed to me like the city was also on the brink of a housing crisis – a lot of rent is paid in US dollars, but the locals earn pesos. To change pesos to dollars is a difficult operation which results in a monetary loss.

As a foreigner it’s difficult to understand how their relationship with money works (there is a normal exchange rate and a “dólar blue” rate), but I did my best to not complain. I recommend to others to be conscious of what the locals are going through and not be insensitive.

🎶 Día de los Enamorados

For a bit of fun, and to expand your vocabulary, I put together two Spotify playlists. You’ll hear a lot of popular artists from over the years, along with some lesser known hidden gems.

If you are in a wonderful relationship, or a hopeless romantic, La noche de los enamorados will have you grooving the night away. There’s salsa, caribbean-tinged pop, ballads, and bachata to enjoy.

If it just so happens you are nursing a heartbreak this month, the Singles Awareness Day playlist may be for you. Grab your tissue box and sing along with salsa, vallenato, bachata, and Mexican songs.


The lunar new year is just around the corner, so now is a perfect time to analyze and relaunch your personal goals for 2024. Seleccioná las batallas que valen la pena. 

I’m still working on the first course for intermediate learners (working on materials for listening comprehension and speaking clearly now), so stay tuned for updates! In the meanwhile, check out what I have available on Amazon here:


Founder, You Have Homework

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