Monthly Archives: July 2012
So if I were to trace the reason I’m posting this today back to a single motivation and consequential decision it would be how much I miss my speakers (I hope you’re taking care of them Dad!) and my decision to stay up late listening to music. I had classes at eight this morning so I intended to go to sleep at like 11–that’s still fairly early for Argentines–and wake up at 6 and get to class on time…but I started listening to a little of my own music before I fell asleep and that was the worst thing I could have done. You see, back home there was rarely a quiet moment for me, I would listen to music at work, at home, and in the car. I don’t feel comfortable enough in the city and on the bus and subway and such to wear my headphones here yet, so I haven’t been really listnening to much of anything. So when I popped them in last night I was thoroughly enjoying myself, and I was Facebook chatting people and things just got out of hand because I didn’t go to bed until almost 2. I did finally get up at 6:10 though, shower and eventually head out the door at 7:35. I think they lied to me when they told me it was a 30 minute commute to school though because I didn’t get lost or anything and I didn’t get there until 8:15 or so. Then I couldn’t figure out the elevators (my class was on the 14th floor.) They only go to SOME of the floors and then you have to take like connecting elevators and trying to wrap my mind around that so early in the morning was like trying to get a cat to admit it’s not the superior species. Yeah, not gonna happen. So I ended up taking the stairs from the 7th floor to the 14th, and arrived sweaty and late to my first class with “real Argentinians.” Poop.
Well, whatever. The class (Marketing) only had like 15 people in it and I understood about 98% of what the professor was saying 🙂 I was really proud of myself! The other students in the class I couldn’t understand for the life of me, like when they’d ask questions and stuff, but I’m sure that’ll come soon. Anyways, despite being 20 minutes late (really only missed 10 minutes worth of stuff cuz the professor was also late apparently) the professor was really nice and seemed like he was going to be sympathetic to the whole language thing. I also found another kid who is from Minnesota who just happens to have like all of his classes with me, so between the two of us we should have the understanding thing covered 🙂 But I’m getting off topic…
The class was three hours long. Yeah. Three hours at eight in the morning–I can practically hear you guys laughing at the idea of me actually being able to do that. We got a short coffee break during which I tried to consume the largest coffee possible (the largest is like a small at Starbucks…) and then returned to the lecture. Well you can imagine how I was doing despite the coffee after almost two weeks of half my usual amount of sleep and the craziness of being in a foreign city. Yeah, not so hot 🙂 But after class I made the rounds to my advisor (Adriana, she’s a sweetheart) to ask a bunch of questions about figuring out my classes and such and built up quite an appetite. By the time I finished it was 12:30. I had class at 2:30…taking the bus home I now knew would be like an hour each way…totally not worth it. And then the cafeteria food was outrageously expensive so instead of going out to look for food close to there, which I would’ve probably been able to do I sat there for a half an hour and then ultimately decided to go home. Yeah bad idea 🙂
I went to a grocery store near my house and bought some rice cakes, a banana, and some cookie lookin things for 12 pesos (three dollars) which was phenomenally cheaper than at the university. Long story short, I took them home and ate and napped and missed my afternoon classes 😦 I was just sooooo tired. 😦But with the missing of my classes I found my new favorite snack. These alfajorcitos I bought were only 5 pesos for 6 of them. They’re like two chewier versions of thin mints with dulce de leche (caramel kinda) squished in the middle, all covered in chocolate. Omg with a banana they were so delicious. I had some alfajores before but they weren’t as good. Idk why I liked these so much lol I am to these as Dad is to Little Debbie (sorry if you guys don’t get the reference.)
^ This picture isn’t actually mine because I ate them all, but it’s the same thing that I found on google. 😦 lol they were just so delicious.
And it got me thinking, despite being a life-long vegetarian in a country that’s world famous for it’s beef, I’ve been eating surprisingly well. My host family has been awesome about cooking me food that I can eat–they even made me soy milonesa the second day I was here which was deliciosa 🙂 I love the tartas de papa and other such things–like an omelet turned into a pie sort of kind of:
and there’s a bunch of other good stuff I’ve been eating too 🙂 But anyhow, those cookie things with a banana is going to be my new comfort food. When/If I start missing the states I’ll just go get some of those (the whole snack costs about the same as an Arizona Iced Tea with tax) and remember why I’m happy to be in Argentina. For now, I’ll just enjoy them for no other reason but to enjoy 🙂
I start school tomorrow!!! I can’t believe how fast this first week and a half or so has gone. It’s surreal. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been gone from the states for very long, but it feels like I’ve been here a long time already. I am loving everything 🙂 On Friday night we went to see my friend’s host brother’s band and I was having so much fun. I just got this amazing happy feeling blooming in the very bottom of my tummy, just so grateful and glad to be here. The only thing I’m missing so far is Papa John’s pizza, scrambled eggs, and being able to share things more easily with all of the people I love back home. I made this compilation video thing of all the pictures and videos I’ve gotten from this first week or so. Enjoy!
I totally got lost hardcore today in one of the most dangerous areas in Buenos Aires by myself, without a phone. My host mom is so sweet—she wanted to make sure that I was going to be able to get to the University for orientation alright this morning (yesterday she accompanied me all the way there on the bus)—so she made sure I was going to meet up with some friends…only my alarm clock didn’t ring, and so I was going to be late meeting them. I pretty much knew where I had to go anyways so I rushed getting ready and left the house at 8 (had to be there at 8:45 so I had plenty of time. I was going to take the 60 bus directly there. Only…I got all twisted by the street names and such that I totally lost what sense of direction I had in the first place….
Luckily though, I saw the 60 bus and I was able to catch it! I was so proud of myself until I started recognizing buildings that we saw on the city tour yesterday…from Palermo, which was the opposite direction of the university as far as I could tell. I’d already been on the bus for a good 15 or 20 minutes though and so I took out my handy Guía T and looked up where the city ended and the bus route would have to end by association and it wasn’t far. I figured the bus would just turn around, I’d be like five minutes late, but hey! That’s why I left early J The bus was still about half full and so was my pride–so nothing much lost. But each person that got off drained my optimism glass a little…until I was the only one on the bus. All of the sudden the buildings changed to shacks, the clean streets changed to litter and cobblestone, and I began to panic a little. I still half figured that everyone else knew where they were going and so that was why they were lucky enough not to have to experience the entire city in all its glory before arriving at their destinations. When we finally arrived at the bus station I was very on edge. I could tell this wasn’t a very safe neighborhood, plus, in the city tour yesterday they explicitly told us that we shouldn’t go to La Boca (which I could identify by it’s fantastic colors) without at least one other person, even if it was still light out (we were told to just not go there at night), and unless we stayed on the main street where we were likely to get pickpocketed, but encounter no other serious violence. So…leave it to me to end up helplessly lost at a sketchy bus station in one of the top 20 most populated cities in the world.
Anyhow, after it was clear that everyone was supposed to get off at that stop I went and used my limited Spanish to ask the bus driver how I should go about getting home…he smiled at me and told me he’d help me, that I was on the completely wrong bus, and that, no problem, he’d drive me to the other bus stop because he was actually done working and the bus wouldn’t go back the way it came. I am certain that I would not be the only person in this situation whose mind would flash to that movie Taken and whose feet would feel a strong urge to get the hell out of there. It got worse. I got off the bus with him and he told me to get back on the bus…so I did. I sat near the doorway while he talked to a man who looked well dressed and was just standing at the bus stop. The man nodded a couple times while the bus driver spoke to him (all I could catch were the names of my cross streets, and by the way he pointed at me I knew they were talking about me.) The well-dressed man proceeded to make a phone call where he kept his phrases short and nodded a bunch. I was totally freaked out that maybe they were organizing a kidnapping or something. I was just a sitting duck… Eventually the bus driver got back on the bus, shut the door and started driving. I swear I could see my heart beating so hard it moved my jacket every time. He made small talk—asking what I was studying at the university, how long I’d been in the city, etc. but it did nothing to calm my nerves, only made me more nervous. When we finally stopped at a different bus stop and he let me off and told me where to take it I finally let go of the breath I didn’t even know I was holding. I arrived safely at the university still in time to take my placement test and Carmen (our API director) was waiting outside for me.
Probably not the most comfortable experience but now I know which bus to take to school…
Oh, and the picture of the sad neighborhood in La Boca is not my own–I would have been an idiot to take out my camera–but it’s near where I got lost.
Sooooo sleepy. I haven’t slept in like three days (it feels like but in reality I’ve gotten like eight hours of sleep over the last three days lol) My mind is going blank at every other spanish word I think I know. I have lots to tell you but right now I’m just too drained. I’ve been so busy and everything is knew, crazy and even a bit stressful (in a good way!)… So I am not going to talk about the everything… Anyways, I saw this on the front page today and it is a lot closer to home than I thought the headlines in Argentina would. I am keeping all those affected by this tragedy in my thoughts.
Sorry I wrote this on Sunday or Saturday (I can’t remember which because my days here are so filled with activities it’s felt like I’ve been here a week or two already haha, clearly I’m still that tired) but stupid posterous has been down, so I haven’t been able to post anything at all. More to come soon!
After a really emotional weekend and only three hours of sleep last night (stress + anxiety + excitement + last minute laundry and packing), I’m at DIA about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime whether I’m ready for it or not.
These last few days have been occupied primarily with goodbyes 😦 I’m constantly wavering between “going to Argentina” or “leaving America.” Its a glass half full debate and I hope everyone at home knows how much I love them and will miss them!!!
Goodbye America! 😦 I will miss you. Hello adventure. ❤
So I have eleven days until my mom drives me to DIA with two suitcases to my name and a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its just incredibly surreal realizing that I’m really moving halfway across the world without ever having even ventured outside of my cozy United States before. The idea that maybe the outside world doesn’t exist and they drug you on the plane and put you into a matrix-like coma until your “trip abroad” is over still remains shoved away into a corner of my mind. If my friends ever knew how often those types of thoughts come out of their corners they’d be justly worried about my mental health…that is, if they aren’t already.
Besides moving halfway across the world in less than two weeks I’ve given myself plenty of other things to stress about, as always 🙂 My clumsiness landed me in the doctor’s office with a badly sprained ankle, of which I probably tore all three ligaments in the side of my foot. I lost my wallet somewhere between Clell’s house and the gas station (without even getting out of my car!!! I swear it must have legs) and I’m planning my own going away party, which, if you knew me you’d have pegged that as a terrible idea to begin with. I ADORE planning events and easily get carried away/OCD/neurotic with the details and organization. This party really is no exception.But that’s just the drama queen I am, if I’m not busy with something or constantly worried about that other thing I’ll create something to get in a fuss about. This really is phase 4 of my freakout about moving to Argentina. Here, let me explain: Phase 1: Isn’t phase 1 always the honeymoon? Well I’ll be cliche and say that this phase was the 13 year-old girl-at-a-sleepover-gushing-about-her-future-husband honeymoon phase….maybe the sickly sweet splendamoon phase. I decided I wanted to go to Argentina and wasted no time in becoming overly optimistic and excited. I hadn’t even really started the application process (which would have severely toned down the enthusiasm) and it was still only a dream.
Phase 2: Applications ‘n sh*t. The “‘n sh*t” part of that is definitely supposed to be profane (ear muffs little ones.) This was not easy at all. The essays. The other school work on top of that. The essays. The financial aid mumbo jumbo (which continues to give me a headache). The letters of recommendation. The essays. The grovelling before professors and the like. And did I mention the essays? I probably worked off at least 2 dozen Kit Kat bars running around campus just to fill things out, talk to certain important people, scan and copy forms, and pay money to those important people for more forms to scan and copy. Surprisingly though, as my metabolism raced faster and faster, so did my thoughts and excitement about going!!! When I got accepted I started checking out tons of books about the culture and the country hungry for every single tid bit of information I could get my worn out brain to devour. I was rather know-it-all and brainy–spouting off random trivia facts about Argentina. I’d be mid-conversation with a friend and randomly pop in “Did you know that Buenos Aires has the most psychoanalysts per capita in the entire world?!” I’m not sure everyone loved my excitement but it definitely gave me the energy to get through this phase 🙂
Phase 3: The un-splendamoon. Oh right…going to Argentina means that I’m leaving everyone I love behind for a whole, entire, 365-day year. Didn’t think about that during the decision making process did I? I wasn’t very much fun during this phase and I still continue to be kind of a downer. I just really love all of the people in my life here and don’t want to miss out on anything. Looking back on this past year, so much has happened and I’ve really changed and grown up!!! It’s going to be like that but tenfold while I’m abroad. After the initial excitement wore off I realized that what I signed up for is going to be astonishingly difficult. I know the whole experience will be worth it but…well that’s just it. There’s a “but”.
Phase 4: I’m really not sure what this phase is called or what it entails but I’m just now entering it. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, a monsoon of hopes, doubts, fears, love, tears, and excitement. I’ll bet my boat’s strong enough though 🙂 Especially with everyone I love helping to patch it up.
I feel like all that stuff they’re making me read about culture shock is relevant even before I get on the plane. It’s like I rode that roller coaster (probably built it too) already.