Monthly Archives: October 2012

Cheese Please, and My Answers to Other FAQs

So this post has been long overdue I think. Basically, I’m going to try and answer your most commonly asked questions so you stop asking me them!  Maybe next time you ask me something that I’m asked like every day I will direct you to my blog.

1. What do you miss about the United States?

There are quite a few things but this question has really begun to get on my nerves.  Hopefully this will be the last time I ever have to answer it 🙂  In all actuality I don’t MISS anything about the United States except the people.  I guess if I think really hard, yes, I wouldn’t mind having some regular cheese (Argentinean’s have developed a taste for this weird mushy slop they call cheese that they dubbed “cremoso” to make it sound appetizing. 

Queso-cremoso

…It’s only good, in my opinion, for melting on top of things and putting in omelets.  Don’t let the deli-sliced “cheddar” in the supermarket fool you.)  Other food products/restaurants that I occasionally crave include (but are not limited to): ranch dressing, Subway (it’s not real Subway if you have the option to put carrots on your sandwich), Noodles & Company, Qdoba burritos and just beans in general…and Qdoba Queso Sauce much more not in general (sigh), Bragg (that weird healthy amino acid stuff I rolled my eyes at the first time my Dad suggested it), grapefruit juice, and good beer.

Bragg

Other than that I sometimes find myself wishing I could quickly get through the line at the grocery store.  Sometimes I would like to make a round of my favorite (almost free) bars.  So I don’t MISS anything.  Actually that’s a lie.  I miss my bed.  Mmmm olympic queen-sized mattress with 4″ memory foam and 700 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets.  Sigh.

The people are the real kicker though.  My mommy, Clell, Dadalie, Nick Nick, Erin, Ra-ta-tum, Kyle, etc.  You guys are amazing, but I know that I won’t let you ignore me when I come back next year so I’m not too worried. 

The stupidity of this question is that no one ever asks me what I DON’T miss about the United States.  I don’t miss having to drive everywhere (the bus system here is amazing.)  I don’t miss speaking English–I still speak a lot of English here…but I love being able to practice my Spanish with everyone without feeling like a dork.  I love the deep conversations I can have with people I’ve just recently met; people (at least the people I’ve met) seem super intellectual.  This could be just because I am starting to think more than ever before, but I have a feeling it’s the culture too.  I love the music.  I don’t miss the greetings (in the States a hug or maybe a handshake, here a kiss on the cheek.)  I think I’m going to feel like everyone’s being absurdly cold when I come back to the US.  I don’t miss worrying about always being on time or having to be uptight about appointments.  I don’t miss grinding in dance clubs (boliches). I don’t miss worrying about being 21 to drink (¡Qué paja, en serio!) I don’t miss routine (every day is interesting and different here.)  I don’t miss the snow and the cold. 

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^^Me and Awesome Erin enjoying some American-sized portions of Papa John’s in our apartment.

It’s you guys that I miss.  But I’m gradually making good friends here.  When I was going through some really hard times this last month and a half I asked Clell how he got through a 15-month tour in Iraq (yes, I know, a little different from a 12-month party study abroad in South America, but still kind of relevant.)  He told me without hesitation: good friends.  Well I finally have a good group of people I wouldn’t feel awkward calling on a moment’s notice to help me out of a bind or just cure my boredom.  I can’t tell you guys how much better that makes things.  Things are just starting to get really good and I’m so excited for the next 9 months; I can’t imagine having to leave now and just the thought makes me a little sad. (Seriously, can you believe I’ve been here three months already?!  I’m already 25% done!!!)  Even though Clell is one of the people I miss the most, he gave me some of the most valuable advice.

Dio

^^Can’t find a surrogate for Dio though…

2. What’s your favorite thing about Argentina?

Ok, I think there is such a thing as a stupid question, but you guys have good intentions at least.  This is just way too broad; I don’t even know where to begin.  I guess the best thing about being here is that I’m changing so much and learning so much about myself.  That’s not necessarily my favorite thing right now (because it is a difficult process this “discovering yourself” mumbo jumbo) but I know it will be my favorite thing about Argentina when I look back on this experience.  I feel like, if I were an organization I would be based in the United States but “founded” in Argentina.  I’m not an organization and maybe that was a stupid metaphor, but I cannot expound upon this enough.  I feel like I’m waking up from a really long dream or I’m just leaving the theater after seeing a monotonous film.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a great life back in the United States, but I had just fallen into a rut. 

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^^Beautiful day on the terrace

I think I’ve touched on this a little bit in the answer to the first question and maybe in a different post but I feel like I had grown accustomed to getting by with thinking very little, challenging myself almost never, and just going through the necessary motions to maintain status quo.  In Argentina, I have discovered a new passion for learning (one that I forgot about when I was repeatedly put in a lower math class throughout junior high when my family moved there in seventh grade.)  I didn’t realize how bored I was with school and how unstimulated I had been.  Igual, I’m not learning much of anything in my clas
ses here–most everything that has stoked the fire in my mind has come from the culture I’m in and the people who I’ve gotten the privilege of sharing it with: my host family, my new friends, and people I meet when I go out.  You guys don’t know how much you’ve really done for me and I can’t thank you enough, really.  People here are so interesting to talk to and I absolutely adore their witty sense of humor.  There’s always a reason to smile here, so I’ve begun to frown a little less.

Other things I love about Argentina that are a little less deep and besides the things I’ve already mentioned include (but are not limited to):

–Dulce de leche, alfajores, milanesa de soja, yerba mate, tarta de papas, the tomatoes, the chocolate, and all of those things again. 

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^^Mmmmm milanesa de soja ❤

–The accent.  Calle is pronounced “cazhshay” instead of “ka-yay”

–The nightlife.

–Cafe culture

–The interest everyone seems to have with what’s going on in the world around them

–The fashion (ok this is love/hate because I also have a stroooonnng desire to spend a lot of money on upkeep of this)

–The little things that make me smile.

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^^This awesome homeless guy is actually famous in Buenos Aires for watching TV, eating cereal, and hanging out with his dogs on the street.

3. How come you chose to stay for a year (¿¡Hasta Julio?! ¡Es un montón!)?

Ok, so yes, a year is daunting.  Thinking back on my last two years of college, it’s just hard to imagine missing out on a year’s worth of stuff back home.  But I could also look at it the way I did when I first boarded the plane–am I “going to Argentina” or “leaving the United States”?  I think it’s going to be just as hard leaving Argentina in nine months.  I have already created a separate life down here and unfortunately, I will never be able to maintain both at the same time (without exorbitant amounts of money, and even then, I couldn’t deal with the 24 hour flights…I know, first world problems…) 

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^^It’s over 6,000 miles from Fort Collins to Buenos Aires!

I think that I also wrote about this in my “Goals” during my first few weeks here, but I wanted to stay for a year to get the full experience.  I think that it’s impossible to really immerse oneself in a culture and truly get the most out of living in another country if you only stay for three and a half months.  Three and a half months still gives you the feeling of a vacation.  I don’t think it would have been as hard to leave home if I had just gone for three and a half months; when I came I thought of it as “I’m moving to Argentina.”  If I had only been planning on the semester it would have been much less than that.  I want to truly feel like a part of the country–to learn the language, gestures, and customs–but more than that I want to make lifelong friends and become a better person.  Something that you can only really nibble at if you stay for three+ months.

Right now, things are just starting to get good.  I can’t imagine leaving on the 10th of November.

4. What have you learned so far?

Besides un montonaso de castellano (a whole lot of spanish) and, like I’ve mentioned a billion times, a bunch of self-understanding, I’ve tremendously improved my navigation skills (not only can I tell left from right without looking down at my thumb and first finger now, but I seriously know how to get around the city!!!  I even know cardinal directions…like seriously, you don’t believe me now but you just wait)**, become really self-dependent, self-reliant, and self-motivated, learned how to say no to guys who want my number (Ra-Ta-Tum will definitely benefit from this when I get back 😉 ), and even talk to my intimidating professors! I’ve yet to learn the Imperial System (Celsius, meters, liters, grams, etc.) but I’m getting a better handle on that.  I am learning how to adapt to different climates and living styles.  I mean, there’s so many things that I’ve learned so far that it’s impossible to make this answer short.   

**It totally rocked the other day: I was coming home in a car with some Argentine friends from a different barrio and I knew the street names better than they did.  Or at least I was quicker about it.  Granted, we were closer to where I live, but still–so pro 🙂  It’s funny because memories of my first few weeks here have a strange hazy quality to them.  The best way I can describe it is like when you wake up from a crazy night at the bars and you remember everything but it’s all kind of blurred together and out of order? Or maybe like memories from when you were a baby; just images and nonsense strung together. It’s like that.  I remember being totally disoriented and overwhelmed with happiness and excitement…I remember so much that I remember nothing at all.  It’s just very strange. 

5. Met any cute guys yet?

Ok, could you guys please please please stop asking me this???  I feel like I did when I would talk to my older brother on the phone when I was 13 and he would ask me if I had a boyfriend yet–slightly embarrassed and awkward and shy.  If I haven’t already volunteered you this information it’s probably because: a. It’s none of your business, b. the answer is no, or c. you are the cute guy (gasp!)  Well, that last one probably not so plausible 😉 

Bearing that in mind, I’ll answer the question and clear up any rumors (goodness y’all are gossipy.)  Yes, I’ve met many cute guys.  They all have a sexy accent and seem to think I’m interesting and pretty or something.  But none of them have particularly held my attention as more than friends.  Just nice eye candy I guess.  So could you all stop worrying that I’m going to enamorarme with some Latin lover and never come home?

6. Can you swipe me in?

Typical answer: Umm…well I would but I’m not going today either so…actually, if you find someone that is will you ask them to swipe for me too?  999915439 clave: 1234 

Typical response to that answer: Yeah don’t worry, I have your code memorized already 🙂

If you don’t understand this ^^ it’s probably for the better.

7. Do you like living in a city?

City

YES! I’m surprised by how much I love it.  I wouldn’t want to raise kids or grow old here…and I really miss the mountains, outdoorsy stuff, etc; but I think everyone should live in a city just for a month or two.  It really teaches you a lot, in my opinion.  There’s just so much to do in the city.  There are areas of the city that are really polluted (I went to Once during rush hour the other day and I think that’s why I have a sore throat now–I had the urge to cover my mouth or hold my breath) but the places that I usually go aren’t too bad. 

Every time I go outside of the city I kind of get a little homesick for the mountains and the countryside, but it passes.  I even saw a few stars the other night! 🙂

8. Usually from locals: Why in the world would you come to Argentina??? …I don’t get it.

It’s not really that weird guys. Argentina has so much to offer me! Most Spanish majors go to Spain, which is interesting and awesome and all that…but I wanted something more unique and different.  Argentina is growing in popularity, certainly, as a study abroad location, but I still didn’t know anyone who had studied abroad here.  I didn’t know much of anything about South America, and it seemed more exotic and interesting than Europe.  So, I guess I was trying to be a little hipster…but I’m really glad I came here instead of Spain.  I can always visit Spain.

I also didn’t really put too much effort into my search for a study abroad program, to be honest.  I needed something that allowed me to take more classes in my major and not just spanish classes.  In reality, it’s not hard to accomplish that on your own once you’re in your host country, but I am extremely glad I chose API. They have been totally awesome thus far and I love them.

9. How is school different there?

I think I’m going to do a whole post on this actually (I’m sorry I always say that 😦  My intentions are good, I promise…)  To be honest though, I really don’t like the university I’m currently at.  It’s very geared towards international students and I don’t feel like I’m learning much of anything.  I have one class where the professor seems to really know a lot and he’s funny and entertaining to listen to…but it’s still so easy that I never feel like going.  I’m going through a complicated search process trying to find a different school for next semester.  I actually want to learn something while I’m here; I don’t want to come back for my last year with all of my prerequisites done but knowing nothing of the actual subjects.  I would have to learn two subjects at the same time that way and although I’m sure I could manage, that just sounds like hell. 

So to get myself back on track to the original question, my particular university (Universidad de Belgrano) is not representative of Argentina and conducts classes in much the same manner as schools in the US do (although wayyyyy easier.)  I visited the public, free university here to help Dad with a project on Wednesday and I absolutely fell in love.  It was all of the differences in education I was looking for and had a personality all its own.  I can’t go there, unfortunately unless I do a year of ingreso (like a year of AUCC to prove that you’re serious about studying there, because it is a free university) and then start an actual major.  I could apply to be an exchange student, but even then I’d only be allowed to take three classes.  The private universities, in general, are just not as prestigious because to study at UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires) you have to be really independent and self-motivated.  The teachers don’t get paid much to teach, so they’re all there because they genuinely care about educating the next generation; they usually have other jobs too and only teach one or two classes on the side.  You don’t have advisors, office hours, syllabi, or any of that organization either; no one holds your hand and much of what you learn is based on how much you put into it; there are two exams usually (a parcial or midterm, and the final) and your entire grade is most likely based on only those.  Classes are often crowded and some people have to stand or sit on the floor; some of the classrooms I visited didn’t have formal desks so you had to take notes in your lap; there’s not much technology, although a few rooms did have a projector, most just had a small chalkboard in the front of a huge flat floored room (as in there’s no leveled seating so people in the back can see better) and sometimes a microphone so the teacher could be heard at the back.  There were posters, graffiti, and art rarely leaving a bare wall, which just contributed to the sense of a youth community who was truly passionate about learning.  Like I said, I loved it. 

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^^Students put these banners up

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^^One of the smaller classroom

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^^A plaza inside the school; kind of like Lory but inside. 

10. Can you talk in a Br itish accent?

No. 

11. Please?

I really can’t.

12. Awww, please?  Just try?

,,,,,(said as if Forrest Gump were Indian) I just can’t really speak in a Brit-ish ac-sent (and met by squeals of glee and delight and calls of “again, again!”

Indian_gump

13. What’s your daily life like?

Like I previously mentioned, there is a beautiful lack of routine here for me and I always vary from routine 🙂 But on a regular school day this is how my life goes:

Redalarm

6:15 AM–Hit the snooze button

6:25 AM–Hit the snooze button again

6:35 AM–Briefly calculate (not very accurately or liberally) how many minutes it would take me to get up and get ready; hit the snooze button again

6:45 AM–Contemplate ditching (50% of the time this is where I turn my alarm off and sleep for a couple more hours then feel guilty all day); set a timer for 5 more minutes, turn on my lamp to try and ease myself into getting up

6:50 AM–Turn off the timer

7:00 AM–Get up and commence panic of getting ready:  I make toast for breakfast sometimes spread with dulce de leche if I’m feeling skinny, butter and jam (the butter here is really yummy for some reason) if I’m feeling indulgent, and just jam usually.  The jam here is also divine. 

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I also microwave some Nescafe…which isn’t grade-A coffee to say the least…but it gets the job done.  I have gotten the breakfast routine streamlined now. 

Toaster

Throw two pieces of bread in the mini toaster, secure the lever with the handle of a paintbrush (it’s broken and doesn’t stay down on its own anymore); fill a mug half full of water, add two scoops of Nescafe powder, put it in the microwave, secure the half a cork under the door (the microwave is also kind of broken and you have to trick the sensor to make it actually start…this sometimes takes several tries.)  Once my coffee is spinning in circles, I spend the next minute and 45 seconds getting the milk out of the fridge, removing the paintbrush, and spreading the chosen topping on my toast.  Then I take my coffee out, add a scoop of sugar, fill the rest of the way with milk, put everything back in the fridge and sit down to breakfast.  The whole preparation process takes me less than three minutes, I’m so proud 🙂 

7:30 AM–Panic begins in earnest.  I try and get all my books together, check my makeup and outfit (I don’t have a full size mirror in my room so I have to go use the living room mirror), make sure I have my Sube card and call the elevator (about 10% of the time someone else is using the elevator…so I start taking the stairs. When I hear the elevator I call it from whatever floor I’m on and then watch it pass by glumly as it goes back to the 10th floor where I originally called it…so I just continue down the stairs.)  I usually make it out my front door at the latest 7:45.

7:45 AM–Catch the 152 to school.  In order to get to school on time I need to catch the bus by 7:20 or 7:25…but that rarely happens, it just depends on how many snooze button presses occurred on the morning in question. 

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It’s hit or miss with the crowdedness of the bus in the morning.  Usually the earlier I am the better it is.  If it is crowded I squeeze to the back, go up the stairs and scope out the seated.  It’s definitely takes some strategy to ride the colectivo.  You have to analyze how comfortable the people look–are they reading a book?  are they falling asleep?  do they look like they’re paying attention to the street much?  are they rearranging their bag/putting their phone away? These questions all help determine who is most likely to get up next.  You have to strategically stand close to the passengers who look like they’re about to get off in order to get a seat, and it’s a mental game of chess.  On one side of the aisle the seats are in pairs, the other side has single seats, and the back of the bus has five or six seats against the wall.  My choice location is near the door in the corner on the paired-seat side.  This puts me in position to quickly steal seats from the back and it’s simple math.  Two seats=twice the likelihood that someone will leave. 

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^^I know you’re insanely jealous of my MS Paint skills, but stop drooling and let me explain.  The lightning bolt is my ideal location on the colectivo for stealing seats.  The red arrow I put in just as a sidenote–we don’t have to pull the cord here, we “tocar el timbre” which means push the button that makes noise. 

8:00 AM–8:20 AM–Walk the 7 or 8 blocks down Zabala to the university, catch the elevator to floor 16 and walk down three flights of stairs to floor 14 (yes I know the math doesn’t make sense); swipe my card and try to enter class as quietly as possible. 

8:00 AM–9:30 AM–Try not to fall asleep.  Common strategies for this have lately included drawing mazes in my notebook, playing Draw Something on my phone, scrolling through Facebook, counting down the minutes until the end of class (in many different creative ways), and daydreaming, although the last is usually very ineffective and ends up turning into real dreams. 

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^^Block method of counting the minutes that Christine tried to teach me.

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^^Mazes with notes…not notes with mazes

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^^random doodles 🙂

9:30 AM–Try to perk myself back up so I don’t fall asleep the second half of class.  The coffee is outrageously expensive at the university so I’ve only gotten it when I’m REALLY desperate.

9:45 AM–11:00 AM–Resume trying to not fall asleep.

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^^These, believe it or not, are actually cut outs in the paper that I made with my pen.  Gettin creative with the doodling.

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^^Other style of countdown…

11:00 AM–Decide whether it’s worth it to stay for my afternoon classes (it usually isn’t.)  If I do stay I try to spend a lot of time walking around Belgrano before deciding on a place to eat or buying some basic lunch things from a Chino and embarking on a search for a nice park or somewhere I can eat them.  I try and make this search last as long as possible so I don’t lose motivation and end up going home.  A couple of times I’ve returned to the university at 1:30 or so before my 2:30 class and taken a nap on a deserted looking floor of the tower…but I feel so awkward doing that and it usually isn’t worth it. 

1:00 PM/2:30 PM–Afternoon classes. I like my 2:30 class, but the break is longer so I tend to miss it more than the 1:00 one.  I really like both of the professors; just the professor for my 1:00 class has a soothing voice or something that puts me into a coma within fifteen minutes.  Seriously.  My eyes stop focusing and I sometimes have to go to the bathroom just to try and wake myself up.  This is why I hardly ever go to class anymore…and I seem to have been doing fine on the tests, which promotes lack of motivation (demotes motivation?)

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^^Unfinished hand maze

4:00 PM–Gladly head home and usually take a nap.  Sometimes I write on my blog.  Sometimes I go run errands.  Sometimes I go have tea with friends or explore some part of the city.  If I’ve survived to this part in my day then…hooray!

8:00 PM–Start feeling hungry.

8:15 PM–Make frequent trips to the kitchen to investigate which state of dinner making process we’re currently in.

8:30 PM–Try to distract myself with Facebook or my Kindle or something.

9:00 PM–Plant myself in the living room.  This way they won’t forget to invite me to eat FOOD. 

10:00 PM–The latest we usually eat dinner (it can be anytime between 9 and 10.)  Usually I look like a pig because I eat rapidly and greedily, but I’m too hungry to care. After dinner I attempt to do my dishes but am usually met with “No, no, dejá, dejá! Yo lo hago.”

10:30 PM–12:30 PM–Mess around on my computer, watch TV, or just chill out.  I stay up until at least midnight, but usually one or two.

2:00 AM–This is the net average time that my head hits the pillow on a weeknight (hence the snooze buttons in the morning.)  Luckily, Wednesdays I only have my 2:30 PM class (no morning classes! yay!) and Fridays we don’t have any class at all; I’ve begun to count Friday as a weekend.  It’s going to be weird having five day weeks again someday.

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^^My dream factory in Argentina

Well, this post turned out to be much longer than intended.  If you guys have more questions please post them in the comments and I’ll answer them publicly on here so I don’t have to re-explain them a billion times. I’m also planning yet another post on Myths and Truths of Argentina/Studying Abroad so you can anticipate that.

❤  Have a lovely weekend my dears!  Besos!

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Felines, Fernet, and Feriados: Part III

I am not much in the mood to write a novel today, so sorry if this post is a little less fun to read than usual; I’ll probably end up writing a lot now just because I said that haha. 

Well I will continue:

Monday:

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Because I didn’t go to bed until like five in the morning on Sunday night (I guess technically Monday morning), there was no way that I was waking up in three hours to go to the zoo with Christine.  All the good intentions and true love’s kisses in the world couldn’t have woken me from my slumber.  I had set like four alarms because I didn’t want to leave Christine waiting at the bus stop in the morning by herself.  I’m a bad friend.  Four missed calls and several texts ordered in increasing anxiety later, I woke up at the crack of 10:30.  I don’t know what pulled me from my sleep without an alarm, but I’m really glad I woke up!  I called Christine as soon as I woke up (she had just given up on me and gone home after waiting for over an hour) and told her I’d be ready in a half hour.  I layered makeup over what was left over from last night, attempted to pull a brush through my hair, failed, put my hair up, put on yesterday’s outfit, couldn’t find clean socks, didn’t want to wear dirty socks, slipped on flip flops, put a flower in my hair and wore a necklace to make it look like I tried, grabbed a wad of cash (no time to make lunch), and shoved my finger on the button to call the elevator. 

When I got out onto the busy street I felt my headache.  I’m not one to frequent Starbuck’s and McDonald’s (unless it’s free) in a foreign country, but I needed something enserio.  I think the coffee warded off my hangover for most of the bus ride and I don’t know what would have happened without it.  I was running of ibupirac (ibuprofen), McDonald’s coffee and excitement.  We were going to the Lujan Zoo.  It is not your typical zoo, and it’s been condemned by several organizations for it’s practices of letting tourists in to pet and handle the animals.  Some people say they drug their animals, some say it’s just cruel.  I definitely had my doubts about going there.  I didn’t want to support that type of organization, but several people from my program had already gone and said they didn’t believe any of those rumors.  With further investigation, the negative reviews are from people who have never actually been to the zoo.  Everything positive comes from people who have actually been there. The zoo claims to raise their animals with dogs and domesticate them that way.  Who knows really.  Personally, I found the animals to be quite charming and happy.  Not drugged…but I do think that there’s not near enough room to foster that many lions and tigers, that it goes against the nature of these animals (as does any form of captivity), and that it’s probably not the most honorable form of tourism. 

I may have been shallow to go, but it’s kind of the chance of a lifetime to pet a tiger! So we went.  It was ten pesos for the bus ride (we had to wait a half hour for the bus to come) and it was about an hour’s ride to Lujan.  We told the bus driver that we were going to the zoo but he didn’t stop, so we ended up in Lujan.  It turned out alright though because I needed food stat.  Hangovers and minimal sleep cannot be fixed with just ibuprofen, coffee, and water.  Christine and I were laughing at the silliest things (we were talking about how prom is such a ridiculous custom and when she told me her prom’s theme was candy I was nearly in tears with laughter…yeah I needed food); we were outrageously giddy the whole ride.  I found this hidden little kiosco that sold sandwhiches and bought a giant sandwhich and a yogurt for 15 pesos.  I think it was fate that we missed the stop.  When we returned to the bus stop we only had to wait two minutes for the bus to arrive (again, such luck!) and $2.50 later we were returning to the Zoo. 

Like I said, everything was incredibly lucky because we were dropped off right in front of the zoo.  If we had gotten off at the right stop on the way there we’d have been totally disoriented and had to cross the highway and such. So we went straight into the entrance.  It was much different from what I expected.  First of all, the flip flops were a typical Autumn-you-airhead decision.  It was a rainy weekend and the whole zoo was a mess of muddy slosh and hay…plus, since the zoo let you in with ginormous monstrous cats…well duh.  What if a lion stepped on my foot?! (Actually that seriously happened.  It was like a six-month old lion, so not full grown, and only for a second.  But seriously, who can say that they’ve been stepped on by a lion?! =D) Those of you who know me will understand that I have a very intimate relationship with my flip flops during the summer, so you wouldn’t be surprised if I wore them to the Denver Zoo, to climb Horsetooth, or for pretty much any other activity…but I’m still an idiot for wearing them here.  Whatever, touristy weekend.  The other thing that was weird was getting into the zoo.  It was eerily empty, and the lady just took our 70 pesos and gave us a map.  There were people in zoo T-shirts who looked anywhere from 14 years old to their 50’s.  Some were clearly working there but didn’t have shirts on.  It definitely had a family-business kind of feel to it. 

There were ducks and geese walking around EVERYWHERE.  They kind of annoyed the **** out of us.  I had half an uneaten sandwhich and my little purse in a plastic grocery bag that I carried around with me all day and the geese would ninja stalk behind me and nip at my bag.  It was barely holding on by the time we left the zoo, and only then because I gradually developed a keen awareness of stealthy geese approaching.

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^^They were all ugly ducklings…

Anyways, the first cage we went into had tigers mainly, and two lions.  We were really disarmed by the way that the handlers were so nonchalant about us going into the cage.  They didn’t really tell us anything, you leave your bags at the gate, go in and they tell you not to touch the animals head, ears, or paws.  They say this is because they’re raised with dogs and that the dogs use these areas to initiate play.  Both Christine and I entered the cage timidly.  We kept as close to the gate and away from the tigers instinctively and the zookeepers ushered us forward.  We still were completely terrified until the zookeeper actually grabbed my hand and put it on a tiger’s back. 

I was seriously petting a Bengal tiger. I don’t know how to describe how awesome that is.  His name was Aron and I even got to feed him milk from my hand.  His tongue felt like wet velcro…but alive–it was such a strange sensation.  I really think the pictures describe the day better than I could do with words. 

To see all of the phot
os on my Facebook album click here

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Sunday Night:

The day could not get any more surreal.  I ate dinner with my host family, uploaded the pictures from the day to my computer and just tried to realize that this was real life.  I slept very well Sunday night and my dreams seemed more normal than the day.

**A note on the controversy of this zoo as a tourist attraction:  Like I said before, I don’t think they drug the animals.  They couldn’t really drug the animals every single day of their lives without it seriously impacting their health and them dying, or without them eventually becoming immune. I honestly think that, being raised with dogs and such, they are just really domesticated.  Outside of that though, I do think that this zoo encounters the same moral issues that someone would find with any other zoo–like the size of the cages, the fact that the animals are outside their natural habitats, and basically just any general problems you’d find with a zoo.  I still enjoyed it though. 🙂

Sunday’s Firsts:

  1. Pet a tiger (actually several, including one a month old!!!)
  2. Rode a camel
  3. Fed an elephant cantelope and “pet” it too…elephants feel really weird…
  4. Pet a lion (several)
  5. Fed a bear
  6. Saw a peacock in a tree
  7. Went to Lujan
  8. Heard a lion roar in real life
  9. Waved to a chimpanzee–and he waved back! 🙂
  10. I don’t even know how many more, but many, I’m sure.

Felines, Fernet, and Feriados: Part II

I’m going to continue this blog in the same format as Part I; sorry if it’s a bit confusing.

Saturday:
I’m starting Part II off with a bit of a lame day but it was a much needed relax day 🙂  Although I had big plans to apply for jobs, go grocery shopping, do some studying, clean, etc., I foolishly downloaded A Song of Ice and Fire (the first Game of Thrones book) on my Kindle and that was that.  I would read until I fell asleep, then wake up and repeat the process, only interrupting for food twice.   The book’s like 800 pages so I didn’t even get halfway through it (I’m stilllllll on the first book haha) but it was nice to just be lazy and take some time for myself.  The weather was kind of yucky all weekend too, so it was the ideal day to lounge around. 

A note on the weather and changing of the seasons: I heard it snowed in Colorado this weekend.  To that I say: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, suckers! I know that when I’m dying of humidity in a month or two (maybe even sooner) you’ll be able to get me back. Go ahead, but I’m not really in the mood for snow at the moment.  What I did want to say about the seasons is that it’s totally muddling my sense of time.  I do not at all feel like it is already a third of the way through October right now!  The other day, my host family was talking about how hot it will be around my birthday in November.  Hot???  It usually snows on my birthday.  I don’t know how to picture a Christmas without snow, although last Christmas spent in Louisiana had rain and that was really weird, this is still what I came back to:

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^^Pictures I took from the plane when I was landing in Colorado Springs

That being said I am having a nice relaxing break from the harsh and colorful Colorado seasons; but while I always thought that I would be able to live away from them after I graduated college, the grass is always greener (or snowier 😉 ) on the other side and I think that I’m a Colorado girl at heart in need of a healthy dose of all four seasons and the mountains. (Best State, again!  These posts are just full of Colorado praises haha)

Saturday Night:
Saturday night I went out with my host brother and his friends.  It was tranqui and relaxing but fun 🙂

Now, before I go any further, I’d like to address all of the beautiful Argies who read my blog.  I’m very honored that you guys are interested in it 🙂  I’m pretty proud of it myself, although I should really write more often than I have been (I feel like I’m always going to be saying that), but please please please take everything you read with a grain of salt.  Es decir, (y perdón mi terible escritura ), que todo lo que lees en ese blog es mi opinion y como yo veo los eventos y las cosas que me pasan acá.  Núnca estoy criticando a Argentina ni a la gente acá!!!  Amo a Argentina ❤  Igual, si vos fueras en mi pais probablemente interpretarías las cosas diferentes.  Sólo estoy comentando de las cosas que a mi me parecen raros o graciosos o simplemente diferentes.  Y, ya que sé que ustedes leen mi blog jaja, tengo miedo de ofenderse o decir algo que realmente no es como lo digo (“Qué sé yo…”, para vos Guillo :P.)  También probablemente voy a hablar de ustedes en algún momento, pero no quiero que preocuparme de como van a interpretarlo.  Asíque por favor sepan que sólo estoy contando desde mi punta de vista para mis amigos y mi familia en los Estados Unidos y si tienen algo de añadir o aclarar–porfavor comenten abajo! 🙂  I’m still kind of scared to just spill my true thoughts about everything haha but I will do my best!  They’re not negative, I just really don’t want to sound like an idiot or offend anyone (Yanqui sense of political correctness??? Quizá….) 

Well, here goes: My host brother took me to his friend’s house and we ordered Chinese food.  He was perpetually teasing me about my blog on the walk to the bus stop, about my sensitivity to political correctness, etc.  He was playing a mental game of crack the egg by bombarding me with American English curse words (I don’t mean just the ones that we say, but the ones that no one says, like the “n” word and some weird Old English curse words that make me blush;  these words have absolutely no significance here though and my host brother is far from racist, he just thinks it’s funny to embarrass me.  It probably is entertaining to watch me squirm, so I don’t blame him.)  I’d heard that the Chinese food here was particularly delicious.  It really wasn’t mind blowing or anything, but it was good.  I’m a huge fan of fried rice though and I haven’t had it in a while so that probably swayed my tastebuds.  It was funny listening to the Chinese words in Spanish–like Chow Mein and Chop Suey–they even spell them differently. 

After we stuffed ourselves with rice and I settled into my usual silence we learned a dice game that I turned out not to be half bad at (it involved lying to your opponent and them having to guess whether you were being truthful or not, so naturally I was a pro) and then we played a game that was kind of like telephone but with drawings.  They reminded me of roadtrip games we’d play when my mom couldn’t handle another round of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”  By the time 1:30 rolled around I was thoroughly tired (who knew being lazy all day could make me so worthless at night?)  While the others decided if they were going to go out or not my host brother’s girlfriend was all but snoring on his shoulder.  That was our cue and I secretly thanked her because I don’t think I was up for dancing.  Went home and passed out. 🙂

Saturday’s Firsts:

  1. Bought something online while in Argentina (an ebook, so it’s kind of a cop out, but I think it counts)
  2. Rainy day in Argentina—Psych!  Umm no, probably about the millionth haha I’m trying to use the force to send some of the moisture home to you guys but so far no bueno.
  3. Argentine-Chinese Food
  4. My host brother made me try a piece of lamb, but I couldn’t even taste it I took such a tentative nibble.
  5. The games we played were new too. 🙂

Sunday:

Sunday I woke up at 10:15 after a mere 6 hours of sleep.  Christine had invited me to spend the day being a tourist (this whole weekend felt really touristy for me), going to several museums and ending up at the Japanese Gardens. When I look back on the idea, it just doesn’t really sound like my kind of adventure…and I don’t know who has the stamina to go to more than two museums in a row but it’s not me.  Kudos if you really have that lengthy of an attention span and that callused of feet. We posted the idea on the Facebook group to see if any other people found the idea fun (they didn’t) and then set off.&nbsp
; By the time I met up with her Victoria had called Christine so we walked to her place and waited for her, then all happily embarked on an adventurous day (sort of…) together. 

The day was overcast, but warm.  It was one of the few times I didn’t miss the sun because I knew I’d feel like I was in an amphibian’s cage if everything started to warm up with that kind of humidity.  We were all fresh and happy to start the day, walking along the street with smiles on our faces and OHMYGODWHATTHER;ALGHAL;KS;GH;OIAG!!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

I still can’t get the image out of my mind and it’s really unpleasant to write about.  But it must be done. There he was at about 11:30 in the morning in the middle of a busy plaza.  Just splayed out on a bench like a comatose cat.  With a wide gaping slash in his pants exactly where a wide gaping slash should not be.  There aren’t words.  There just aren’t. Not everyday you see a guy passed out ona  bus bench with his manhood on public display.

I could describe it in more detail but I just don’t want to have to relive that one anymore.  The image kept resurfacing throughout the day no matter how forcefully I suppressed it;  each occasion that it broke through my mental forcefield would be accompanied by a sharp gasp and a widening of my eyes that luckily my friends understood–otherwise I would look like Emily Rose struggling with some sort of possession.

Let’s change the subject now, shall we?

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^^You may notice that I wear an extremely similar outfit in tomorrow’s pictures of me at the zoo.  That is because it’s the same outfit.  Leave me alone, I do what I want.

We went to the Palais de Glaice first.  It was pretty.  I liked it.  I felt cultured.  The End.  I think I spend too much time at these museum things and my friends start to get impatient.  It’s not that I am slow or that I am busy reading all the historical information about the Art and such (those people annoy me, and I’m sorry if you’re one of them because you’re annoying.) That’s not it at all.  It’s because I start daydreaming and making up little stories about each painting.  Sometimes I laugh out loud as my stories develop and people look at me funny.  I deserve it though.  Who looks at this painting (it’s actually a canvas with yarn glued to it) and thinks:

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“It looks like a maze, no wait, I think I see a boy in there–but he’s like in something’s jaws–is that an ALLIGATOR?!  I heard they have crocodiles in South America.  Crocodiles are the mean ones, right?  They would eat a little boy like that.  Oh wait!  It’s like a story line; I see now.  The boy is playing with a bouncy ball…maybe that’s a tennis racket.  And then his sister falls down some steps and they both get sucked up by a giant magic cloud.  Then they randomly end up in Aztec times–maybe it’s Incan because this is South America after all–and then there’s a huge hunt and they run to the beach where there’s waves and palm trees and they meet a puppy who shows them how to climb the mountain where they meet a flamingo–no that isn’t a flamingo…it kind of looks like the snipe from Up–that movie was based off Angel Falls in Venezuela wasn’t it?  Maybe it is a snipe! So the snipe shows them how to hang glide from the mountain.  Haha a snipe hang gliding.  That’s funny.  But then they run into a tree.” And so on.  Analyze that, Freudians. 

I don’t know if that’s what everyone does when they look at artsy things, but you were the one who decided to be friends with me.  Feel free to reconsider your decision if you’d like. (If you’re family, I feel for you.)  Imagine what goes through my mind when the art is in COLOR!

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Not all of the paintings/art/sculptures were really busy like those two (three if you include the one below), but I seemed to dive into my own creativity with the slightest pressure at my back; it didn’t take much for my mind to start churning out splotches of nonsense and shoving them together into some sort of package that I called a story.  This one was my favorite.  It’s called “Los Vecinos” by Luisa Gonzales.  You can find her website here.  All of the windows and everything had cute little details that made it look so realistic.  And it was 3D by the way–the window sills come out of the painting.  I just thought it had a lot of personality.  Great for coming up wtih stories about the people living in each apartment and what the overall meaning of the painting was. 

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So after I held us up a bit at the Palais de Glaice we walked out into the cloudy weather (I find it strange to say this but I was bummed that the sun was starting to come out.)  We were off for the next museum–MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericana de Buenos Aires).  I was done looking at paintings and sculptures.  My feet hurt.  My brain was tired.  I hadn’t gotten enough sleep.  I saw a–no, I wasn’t going to think about that!  Maybe more art was good.  So we went. 

Here’s the inconsiderate run down of what I have left over from my sleepy memory, we started from the top:

Floor 3–A bunch of groovy sixties flowers.  No, a bunch of them.  Like forty or fifty paintings in numerous sizes.  The first one had a pretty simple story; the second one had a really similar simple story; the third one was redundant; numbers 4-32 were flowers; numbers 32-37 were dying flowers; and numbers 37-the end I blacked out. 

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Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s talented just…the overall effect of so many colorful flowers made me feel like a teletubby who just met Pee Wee Herman in the Wicked Witch of the West’s poppy field.  Kind of overkill.

Floor 2–A bunch of potatoes in varying states of decay and faux chemical experiments accompanied by profound quotes.  We weren’t allowed to take pictures.  I got yelled at for taking one.  😦  I won’t post it because my superego says its wrong. 

Floor 1–Empty rooms with a projected video of a burning furnace on one wall paired with creepy halloween music.  And then more of that.  A different empty room had a slideshow of images of cut down forests and polluted rivers to the same creepy music.  I felt like I was an involuntary participant in a psychological experiment: “The subjects in Group A were shown a series of images…”

Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t so tired haha.  Maybe not.  But I’ve decided that museums (at least art museums) just really aren’t my thing so I probably won’t be going back.

Apparently some of us had spartan stamina though because we found ourselves en route to the Evita Museum.  We weren’t peronist enough to enter though (Me and Victoria actually just forgot our student ID’s which would let us in free and I was too cheap to pay for yet another museum.)  So with spartan stamina comes spartan appetite and we were off in search of food. 

We went to a little cafe on some side street of a side street.  It looked genuine and cutesy and fairly cheap but we were so hungry that I don’t think it would have mattered if our food tasted like it was from Casa Bonita.  The minute we sat down we noticed the English.  A guy was wearing headphones at the table behind us Skyping someone (from the conversation I think it was his sister maybe…?)  He was talking really loud and the content of their conversation was…explicit to say the least haha. It made us all blush and giggle.  I don’t know if he thought no one could understand him or he just didnt care but I have a feeling it’s the latter.  “…so how was your date last night?  Is he sexy?  Great, great!  Are you going to **** him? Ooh you must tell me everything!  No, no, I’ve been great! I’ve been ****** so many guys lately.  Sexy ones too.  I had to tell my doorman that I’m interviewing people for an administrative position.  They just keep coming and going.  Sometimes even two at a time!” And so on.  It was made funnier by his obvious Argentine accent.  He was definitely from here.  It seemed this day was determined to steal my naïveté.

I ate, returned home and rested up for the night(by that I mean I took a nap so I could stay up all night…psh sleep at night? Argentina? Idon’tthinkso), since Monday was a feriado and Christine wanted to go to the zoo.

Sunday Night:

This post is growing kind of long so I think there’s going to be a Part III even–told you guys it was a WEEK-end.  Anyways, Sunday afternoon Alex had invited me to The Alamo with him.  It’s a kind of American (Statesian, yanqui, North American, whathaveyou) bar with a lot of foreigners and locals and it’s been a favorite of everyone in my program since their first visit.  Because I’ve been busy with…well I don’t know what I’ve been busy with…living in Argentina? having too much fun? haha But because I haven’t gone out so much I’d never actually been to The Alamo.  I was looking forward to going.  Plus, last minute I invited an Argentine girl (Sol) that I met a few weeks back at a birthday party–you guys remember the one I talked about in my post Energía Argentina?–and I was excited at the prospect of making good girlfriends here 🙂

We left at an early midnight, maybe earlier, met up with Alex, Sol, and her friend Elena, and headed to the bar.  Nearly every bar or dance club here charges a cover, which is huge bummer, but usually they come in the form of tickets that you can use to buy drinks.  So if you pay a $45 peso cover then you get $45 pesos worth of drinks or food inside.  It makes going out a lot more expensive than in the US (at least in comparison with how me and my friends did our awesome Thursdays–Ra-ta-tum4Life!) We learned that if we combined two tickets with five pesos, we could get the super sized pitcher of beer.  Definitely not an Argentine super size either. 

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^^This baby is four (yes, four) liters of beer.  That’s just over a gallon of beer!

It’s full of tourists (like I said, I had a very touristy weekend), but it was kind of relaxing to meet other people from the states (maybe some cute bartenders, maybe not :P) who understood my lame pop culture references.  We talked and drank beer and had a really awesome time. 🙂  Sol and her friend were a lot of fun and I finally made Argentine girlfriends here–that’s not to say that I hadn’t before, but at least I started to chip away at my intimidation of them and really relax.  The bar closed really early at 4 am but after all that beer it was probably time to go home anyways.  Elena lived like two blocks away so she went home on her own but Alex walked both me and Sol home like a gentleman.  It was a really fun and successful night. 

I ended up hitting the sack at five o’clock with the idea that I was going to get up in three hours to go to the zoo with Christine.  Psh.  Like that happened.  I’ll write more about it in Part III. 

Sunday’s Firsts:

  1. Umm….yeah.  The first thing I talked about has definitely never happened to me before. 
  2. Buenos Aires’ art museums
  3. Witnessing such shameless conversation in public
  4. We got lost in this really ritzy neighborhood behind MALBA.  I stole a lemon from a lemon tree.  I was just so excited that people could grow lemons in their front yards here that I just had to climb the fence and steal a one…I haven’t eaten it yet 🙂
  5. Going to El Alamo
  6. Argentine girlfriends

Here’s some pictures (gracias a Christine) from Sunday to hold you guys off until Part III.  Besos! ❤

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Felines, Fernet, and Feriados: Part I

I had a really epic weekend (truly a WEEK-end because it was five days of crazy fun.)  I am thinking about making a video slideshow of pictures because there’s just too many to post on here 🙂  But here’s a run-down of my weekend:

Thursday:

I had my last final, and the most difficult by far at 8 AM.  I felt hopeless so I didn’t study too much.  This class is one of the biggest boludeces of all time.  The professor really never teaches us anything.  We watch movies sometimes.  (These are particularly pointless for me.  We watch them on this little 20″ TV set up at the front of the lecture hall, which I have to be right in front of to squint to see.  And then they are often in French with Spanish subtitles that I can hardly make out.  Fail.) Sometimes he tells us to read.  There’s no syllabus or anything so I’ve been following everyone like a lemming and just waiting for something to happen.  It’s ridiculous.  Thankfully though, the kids in my class made a study guide (34 page “summary” of all of the books that we were supposed to maybe read but no one really knows;  they just summarized everything just in case) and I half skimmed it before the test.  I’m also terrified of the professor, and so is everyone else.  They told me that he failed the two international girls that took the class last semester, and one time he handed me back one of the in-class activities and told me he had no idea what I was trying to say.  He hadn’t even bothered to write anything on my paper…just told me he didn’t get it.  Constructive.  My other professors seem to be able to understand me more or less 😦  Well, either way, I did the best I could and I’ll find out how I did on Thursday.  It just felt good to be done!

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^^US Embassy (Such a divine day!)

Afterwards, I met up with some friends.  There was a party at the US Embassy for Americans to vote in this election.  Carmen (our awesome API director) had sent us emails about the party a few weeks ago with instructions on how to register to vote if we weren’t registered and request an absentee ballot.  Yeah, I totally wasn’t registered.  I’d thought about doing it a little before I left the states (more like it crossed my mind once or twice) but I never got my butt down to the courthouse to register.  In all actuality, I was just super apathetic to politics.  But people are much more proactive here, and I absolutely love it!!!  It has been one of the ways I’ve really changed since being down here.  I actually care what is going on in the world now.  I’m a bit ashamed that I was never registered to vote but better late than never, right?! It was actually really easy to register online–probably because Colorado is the best state, hands down–and they were incredibly fast with sending me everything!  I got my absentee ballot within two weeks and my voter registration/information card right after.  My ballot had Federal, State, County and even City elections on it.  Compared with what I saw of other people’s absentee ballots mine seemed the most straight forward and easy to fill out (again, because Colorado knows what’s up…either that or people there are so dense they have to make things really obvious and simple, but it’s gotta be the first one.) 

Anyways, the party had promised “American food” so we all went around 11:30 having eaten two pieces of toast for breakfast and expecting…well I’m not really sure what we were expecting but it isn’t what we got.  What is “American food” exactly (and by America I mean the States…I’m well aware that America consists of two (or one, whatver) ginormous continents)*?  We really just steal everyone elses ideas–Mexican food, Italian, Asian, Indian, Chinese, etc. I suppose we could sort of take credit for hamburgers and fast food but I wouldn’t be so proud of those, especially because the taste of a hamburger is as foreign to me as Buenos Aires was in July.  Well the biggest difference to me is that American food=a lot of food.  But we ended up going hungry because the embassy’s idea of “American Food” consisted of pound cake, cookies, and alfajores from McDonald’s/McCafe…there’s rumors that burritos were available before we got there but they remain unconfirmed. Eventually we got our voting all done and I got my cool sticker for the first time 🙂

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^^Definitely not my most flattering picture but it even looks like I purposely wore red, white, and blue! 🙂

Then we went in search of food.  After an hour of trying to decide where to go and walking around in search of an appetizing-looking cafe, I had a harsh lesson on the difference between torta and tarta.  I knew the difference…I just saw what I wanted to see on the menu because I was so hungry.  For my english speaking friends, tarta is a delicious scrambled egg pie-looking thing with some sort of filling usually, like potatoes (my personal favorite.)  Sometimes it has a pie crust and is filled with vegetables–not to be confused with a  pot pie, whose filling is soupy and disgusting (pure truth, not opinion.)  Torta is quite the opposite.  It’s cake.  And since I already had as much McDonald’s pound cake as any “American” could use to satisfy their supersized appetite, I was not in the mood for anything else sweet.  Oh well.  Ten pesos and a tummy ache was a hefty price for a lesson well learned, but I now know quite well the difference. 🙂

Thursday Night: wanted to go out and celebrate finishing my last midterm, but everyone was tired so I got all 8 hours and then 4 more 🙂

Thursday’s Firsts:

  1. Voting!
  2. Midterms in Argentina
  3. Pound Cake from McCafé/McDonald’s

Friday;

I slept in until 11:30 (gotta love weekends) and got up to get ready for an API cultural activity thing in La Boca, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires.  It was an attempt to be less touristy by taking us on a tour outside of the oversold “caminito”, visiting several local cooperatives (businesses born out of the 2001 economic crash here), and talking to the residents of the actual neighborhood. The tour was a bit too data-intensive but it was a beautiful sunny spring day and I absolutely adored the neighborhood.  It felt so much more genuine than Recoleta, where I live, and it smelled less like dog poop than Belgrano, where I go to school.  (Nothing against Belgrano OR Recoleta; Belgrano is more residential and has more real grass, but walking to school is like picking through a minefield and I’ve misstepped more than
a few times.  Some people say they wished we lived there instead but it’s like eau de poo every day for me…maybe I have a sensitive olfactory sense.)  I like Recoleta a lot, right near the shopping hubs, close to the nightlife of Palermo, and it requires me to take the colectivo to school every day (Which, let’s be honest, it would have taken me much longer to peek my head out of my shell into the great big city if I wasn’t required to travel across it for school everyday.  The city, once so huge, grows smaller everyday and surprisingly, I love it!!!  It feels a little claustrophobic at times because it takes two hours just to get outside of the skyscrapers, but there’s so much to see and do!), but La Boca was much more my personality.

Anyways, the tour was great and I actually saw something other than Bijon Frises and dogs that I feel have better use as footballs, which made me realllllly miss Dio and Sanchez (mainly Dio though.)  I want a puppy so badly!  Sigh.  Or a baby tiger.  Same thing really (see Monday in Part II)  Anyways, here is a gallery of good photos. It won’t let me caption them…so I´ll tell you a little bit: 

–The river/water stuff you see is Río Riachuelo, the most polluted river in the world.  You can smell it from a block away and it almost looked so full of…unidentified ‘stuff’ that you could walk on it. (Although I’m thinking your shoe soles would dissolve first, or a huge kraken would rise up and make a quick meal out of you before you got very far.**)  But seriously, the water was bubbling.  It’s really sad. 

–The little cookies are alfajores but they’re chiquitito and adorable, not to mention tasty.

–The blue and yellow giant thing is the Boca Juniors soccer stadium (it holds 50,000 people and that’s just a corner of it.)

–A lot of the colorful indoor pictures are of the conventillo.  What’s a conventillo?  It’s a type of collective urban living.  When there was a huge influx of immigrants to Buenos Aires in the beginning of the 20th century they converted big fancy houses into apartment buildings with a common living room of sorts.  So each room housed an entire family.  I’m sure the one we saw has been restored and painted and done up more than a screaming five year old on Toddler’s and Tiaras, but it was still really cute and interesting. (The toddlers notsomuch.) 

2012-10-05_14-18-06_6432012-10-05_14-18-13_628122012-10-05_15-34-18_995346782012-10-05_15-53-02_9002012-10-05_14-44-00_6282012-10-05_16-07-58_3092012-10-05_16-33-16_4322012-10-05_16-33-23_9492012-10-05_16-33-36_6672012-10-05_16-36-25_2522012-10-05_16-38-44_162012-10-05_16-43-18_5092012-10-05_16-43-24_4842012-10-05_16-46-37_3222012-10-05_16-47-20_8672012-10-05_16-56-41_9972012-10-05_17-12-06_3712012-10-05_17-14-26_132Img_1149Img_1154Img_1153Img_1162_-_copy

Friday Night:

I convinced my friends to go out with me and I didn’t feel like drinking so I watched them take nasty tequila shots and we went to a sport’s bar that we went to last weekend called The Temple.  I spent most of the time avoiding the bartender (who is in the throes of puppy love) and listening to my friends have an in depth conversation about the difference between sex change surgeries and boob jobs.  It was a bit boring, but at least we tried to have a fun night.  On a side note (me??? side notes???), because it was such beautiful weather during the day no one thought to bring a coat to the bar–except me!  Colorado (did I mention we’re the best state?) effectively taught me never to go anywhere without a jacket and I was well rewarded when it started raining and I could rub how warm and dry I was in my friend’s faces (who were earlier making fun of me for hauling around a coat while it was so nice out.)

Friday’s Firsts:

  1. Ate a piece of ham on accident from the pizza we had for lunch
  2. Went to a conventillo
  3. Met a German girl named Svenya.  How cliché 🙂
  4. It was technically my second time being in La Boca (third if you count the time I got lost my first week) but it was my first time going outside of “caminito.”

 

*This brings up an issue that is st
arting to bug me more and more of late.  We quickly learned upon arriving in Argentina that calling ourselves “American” is correct, but very vague because technically all of South Americans and North Americans are “American.”  In fact, they don’t even teach South America and North America as separate continents anywhere like we learn in the grand ol’ USofA…a way to separate our superior selves from the mysterious southerners I suppose.  Those of you that have talked to me at all since I’ve been here might have noticed that I no longer call myself “American” or call the US “America”…that’s because I am not supposed to.  I understand the reasons why, and yes they are all quite valid.  I admit defeat–but what exactly are we supposed to call ourselves?!  I’ve found myself using the made up word “Statesian” which makes me sound like an idiot, and they say “yanqui” here but that makes me think of the civil war and for some reason I feel a bit of a negative connotation when I’m called a yanqui (although I’m probably imagining it.) So I sometimes feel like I’m tiptoeing around the term “America”, which is exhausting. Es una paja, enserio.  To quote a friend on Facebook:

I think the reason Americans are called Americans, is because America is the last word in the name of our country. Example: Canada = Canadian. Republica de Argentina = Argentine or Argentinian

Por eso, United States of America = American

Whatever it is, can we just all decide on a name?  And no, I’m not going to stay estadounidense every time. Me da fiaca.

**Because I have a severe problem with overuse of parentheses I’m now going to put these fancy looking asterisks all over my blogs.  It’s because my thought process is made up of more sidetracks than main roads; it’s easy to see how I’m so clumsy and lose things all the time when you read my writing haha.  But I was going to say–one of my favorite books of all time, Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.,  mentions a river so polluted that it actually encases one of the characters feet and legs in a plastic-like nuclear boot after he wades through it.  I get this image when I think of how polluted the Rio Riachuelo is.  And so on.