Hola Morocha!: A Black Girl's Guide To Surviving Buenos Aires
Have you ever felt like everything in your life was going wrong all at the same time? Like school, work, relationship, everything just...WRONG? Like to the point you just wanted to pack your bags, change your name, and move to a foreign country to just start over? I know I have! But then I think about how hard it would be moving to a place where I didn't know the language, the people, or pretty much anything else and I'm just like "Nah. I'll stay here." Well, luckily, Jennifer Poe is not like me. And, despite fears of traveling to a place Ebony magazine dubbed 'the land of the vanishing Blacks', a sometimes debilitating anxiety disorder, and just enough funds to cover her cost of living, she was able to leave behind her life in NYC and move to Buenos Aires... BY.HER.DAMN.SELF! Thus, able to document and reflect in the half-travel guide-half-memoir 'Hola Morcha!'
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Having only taken Spanish for literally every year of school from 4th grade to freshmen year of college, I'll tell you now my Spanish is....sub-par at best. I can understand a lot more than I can speak, so when I saw the title of Jenn's book, 'Hola Morocha!' I was like ok, hola = hello or hey, got that. But wtf is a 'morocha'?! I didn't want to ruin the experience of reading the book and discovering the meaning so I held off on asking Siri and began reading.
"Hola Morocha!" basically means "Hey black girl, hey!" (how fitting right?) and from the first page, this book had me hooked. Reading Jenn's words were like texting one of my girlfriends. Her personality shined right from the start, which is what caught my attention the most. The beginning started off with how Jenn felt landing in Beunos Aires, as she creatively compared it to the feeling of a new kitten being released from the carrying cage into its new home. Kind of like 'Where am I? Who are these people? What am I doing here?'. The new surroundings were strange and different but also full of possibilities and adventures.
Landing in Buenos Aires, Jenn describes the experience as a rough start. Something kind of to be expected when moving to new place by yourself. With the help of Lautaro, the father of a Argentine native, Valentina, who Jenn met prior to moving to the city and would be renting the apartment of, Jenn found comfort in the city she'd be calling home for the next six months. Lautaro quickly became Jenn's interpreter, tour guide, and source of reassurance, along with her new landlord, Nestor, who spoke very little English but was eager to learn and also teach Jenn the Spanish language and streets of Beunos Aires. Doesn't seem so rough yet right? Well imagine flying for 11 hours, just to get to your destination, try to call your mom and you can't work the phone. And then you have to light a stove-type thing with a lighter to get hot water for the shower, which doesn't work, have to take a cold shower, try to call your mom again, still can't work the phone and be hungry and have not the slightest clue where to get food? All in day one. I was stressed out just reading so I can only imagine how it was living it.
Good news though; there is always sun after the rain. So even with a hectic first few days in Buenos Aires, things begin turning around for Jenn as the weeks go on. Lautaro's other daughter, Giuliana, introduces her to new amigas and the Buenos Aires nightlife, Jenn finds one of the few black hair stylist in the city, a Dominican woman named Andrea, and a tumultuous trip to the post office introduces her to two new Americans-in-Buenos Aires friends, the rough start gradually smooths out. As the first installment comes to a close, things in Buenos Aires are turning around for Jenn. And then comes the men... But, you have to wait until the next book to see how that unfolds. I for one am excited for it because South American men are gorgeous and those accents *inserts heart eyes* Good luck girl! But I would definitely recommend this book to all my black girls looking to travel outside of the norm. Its so important for us to see and experience other cultures as well as show other cultures that we exist outside of ratchet television and hip hop. This book has me ready to hop on a plane and see the world & I'm sure you all will too after reading.
If interested in checking out 'Hola Morocha'? pick up your copy via the link below.