04/06/2012 08:43 am ET Updated Jun 06, 2012

Argentina: A Jazz Odyssey

Hey everybody, I know I've been a little slow with the posts lately. My workload is higher than it's ever been, and I've been working hard on my grades in school. However, I can guarantee that this is a special post.

You see, I just came back from arguably one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. My school jazz band just spent seven jam-packed days in Argentina, touring around and playing concerts. We had roadies, tour managers, and some of us appeared on television to promote one of our concerts. I felt like one of the Beatles because we were so loved, especially our drummer who, ironically, is British.

We even participated in a little bit of "cultural exchange" with some kids from the local high schools (if you catch my meaning).

It was through all of this "cultural exchange" that I compiled a list of things from Argentina I would love to see in America, and things from America I would love to see in Argentina.

Argentinian Culture I'd like to see in America:

  • In Argentina, no matter where we played, we were so well-received. Everyone loved us, even the people who don't like jazz. Not only did they always passionately cheer (even when we made crazy mistakes), but also they were so gracious and excited to talk to us after the concert. When people perform at my school, we tend to see the performance, applaud, and leave. Not once have I spoken to someone directly after his or her performance; I always seem to rush out. That certainly will change now.
  • Speaking of passion, Americans can sometimes be a little too somber in their day-to-day lives. We really should lighten up a bit when we can. When I was in Buenos Aires, the people were filled with fire. The vendors would do anything they could to sell things. Street performers could be found almost anywhere. They were never afraid to say what was on their mind, and that lack of restraint gave them so much character.
  • Some more sports fans who aren't just front-runners. The fans I saw in Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata would stick by their teams through thick and thin, no matter how good they were. While there are a lot of people like that in America, too many people like a team simply because it is currently winning. For example, how many people do you know that are Miami Heat fans right now? Okay. Now... How many people were Miami Heat fans before they were good? I hope that proves my point.
  • Finally, this might just be my inner teenage boy talking, but the Argentinian hello/goodbye (a kiss on the cheek)? Someone needs to start that here. Like right now.

American Culture I'd like to see in Argentina:

  • A little less cigarettes, please. Buenos Aires was breathtaking, in part due to its "malos aires."
  • I'd love to see some more variety in restaurant foods. Maybe it's just the areas we were in, but I had the same dinner every night. I love steak, spaghetti and empanadas, this trip made me absolutely sick of them. I'd also love to see a dessert that doesn't have dulce de leche in it.
  • While the traditional unrestraint of the Argentinians is something I love (as shown above), it's best seen in moderation. Being unafraid to speak your mind at any moment can lead to some awkward conversations with unprepared Americans.
  • I understand that Argentina is a Catholic nation, but I was a little uncomfortable by all of the gay jokes that were made by pretty much everyone. Some awareness and tolerance can go a long way.

This trip really opened my eyes to a whole new side of the world. I got a chance to practice my Spanish, meet some cute girls, eat some of the best beef I've ever had, see real tango, play concerts in front of hundreds of people, and get destroyed in soccer. And I wouldn't want it any other way.