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!
^^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 🙂
^^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 🙂
- Midterms in Argentina
- Pound Cake from McCafé/McDonald’s
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.)
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.)
- Ate a piece of ham on accident from the pizza we had for lunch
- Went to a conventillo
- Met a German girl named Svenya. How cliché 🙂
- 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 ArgentinianPor 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.
Posted on October 12, 2012, in Fall Semester, Travel and Study and tagged academic programs international, american, api, Argentina, Buenos Aires, caminito, conventillo, culture, feriado, firsts, la boca, responsible tourism, statian, Study Abroad, tourism, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.