Ok guys, we’re goin to try something a little different this time: I’m going to try to post more often and with fewer words…but if these posts end up sounding like diary entries I’ll stop 🙂 Don’t want to bore you guys to death!
These past couple of weeks have been really weird just because school’s almost over (last final tomorrow!), I haven’t been in classes, and I’ve been trying to plan everything for next semester and sort out my life here. Right now, instead of studying and figuring out my living situation for next semester, I’m responsibly writing to you guys and catching up on crappy reality TV. Hooray for being a mature 20-year-old.
I got into the school that I wanted to go to next semester, so I have to work on all of the paperwork that CSU requires of students who choose to directly enroll in a university abroad. It’s even more of a pain than running around campus was when I was preparing to depart the US because I have to wait for people to answer to threads upon threads of emails, scan things, and I don’t know…the whole process me da fiaca (gives me laziness.) I feel like I’ve been in an eternal summer and on vacations because my classes were so easy that I didn’t even feel like I was in school, I haven’t been working, and the weather has yet to diverge significantly enough from “warm” to classify as a different season. So there’s that. It makes me even more unmotivated to get things done that I need to be working on.
^^Pictures I took hanging out at the park enjoying the sun yesterday.
On top of that: IT’S ALMOST DECEMBER. They put up a Christmas tree in the entrance to Alto Palermo, the big mall a few blocks from my house.
I feel like shaking Argentina and saying, “No.” It’s supposed to be sunny and in the high eighties for the first few days of the month that hosts Christmas. No, you’re supposed to snow. It’s supposed to be cold, isn’t it?
I mean, I guess that last year I was in Louisiana on Christmas (doesn’t feel like it was that long ago, does it?!) That was my first Christmas away from home, and it rained. Weird. This Christmas it’s going to be hot as a Texas summer and as humid as a greenhouse. To add to that strangeness, I just can’t believe I’ve been in Argentina a full four months. FOUR MONTHS. That means I’m over a third of the way done with my studying abroad…this time has flown faster than I could ever have imagined it. A lot has happened but it still feels like I only just said goodbye to everyone and went through a nightmare 24-hour flight process to arrive completely disoriented and with a slew of emotions in South America.
Four months does not seem like enough time to account for all of the changes I’ve gone through either. I not only feel different, but I think and act differently now. They’re positive changes for sure, but I think that at the end of the year I will be able to look back at how far I’ve come with only pride and shock at the journey. I already can. But enough of my silly nostalgia/excitement for the future.
I had my first real-(Belgrano)-Argentine final yesterday at the ripe hour of 8 AM. Since there haven’t been any classes these last two weeks I’ve grown accustomed to sleeping in till noon or later and I nearly didn’t wake up in time to catch the bus and get my butt over there. I was feeling particularly unmotivated towards studying on Tuesday so I casually decided to go to bed “early” at 11 PM and wake up at 3 AM to study. Because I still don’t have my cell phone, I didn’t have an alarm to wake me up so I attempted to use some website that supposedly will wake you up at the time you put in. Ha! Remember how the internet always decides to fail at the most opportune moments (whenever I need to turn in a scholarship or application)? Yeah….so I woke up at 6:30 in a tangle of sheets having had really strange dreams about Lauti entering me into competitions to race in a barrel around to all of the bars in Buenos Aires. Our fans were still screaming Spanish cheers in my ears when I noticed the time on my computer was wrong. It couldn’t be 6:30! I was supposed to study! …But when my mind finally cleared up a bit I dragged my butt to the kitchen to make some NesCafe and sat down eating my toast wondering if racing people in barrels was an actual sport, clearly extremely concerned about my final in an hour and a half. I should have been though. When I showed up at 8:30 to the university everyone was outside smoking. I went in and marked myself as present (you are supposed to be there at 8 but the exam doesn’t actually start until 9…hence my tardiness), then went and sat outside the classroom with everyone (returned from their smoke break.) They were studying pretty hard and seemed to be on the ball when they quizzed each other. I didn’t know much of anything, honestly, but I still felt strangely calm about it.
The exam was an oral exam, which meant that each student would go into the classroom individually between 9 and 12 to be quizzed by the teacher about Fundamentos de Marketing and whatever it was we learned over the semester. I spent the time cramming definitions and key terms, and tried to work up a little bit of healthy nervousness about the test. I have a special talent for written tests, which are all that we have in the states (at least I have never heard of someone having an oral exam at university; that doesn’t include defending a thesis) and that usually gives me a bit of confidence. I’m good at bulls***ting and using elevated diction to make it sound like I know what I’m talking about, but I had no idea as to what level of this skill I had in person. Apparently very little.
I went in at around 11:30 to take the test with the professor, who is super sweet and seems very accommodating. I knew that he’d take it easy on me because I have a language barrier to deal with, but I’m so ashamed of how poorly I did. The first question was simple enough: What is the definition of Marketing? My mind went blank. This class is called Fundamentals of Marketing and I didn’t even know the definition after an entire semester?! I kept starting, “Un proceso….emmm…un proceso que…” Even now I know the definition—but I just totally froze up and blanked. I tried to picture my notes. I remembered exactly where the definition was written…but when I’d been outside in the stairwell studying I remember laughing at something I’d written right next to it in a distraction during my first class: “My Marketing professor kind of looks like Franklin the Turtle haha It’s adorable.”
So as I was trying desperately to remember the definition I kept blankly staring at his face and seeing Franklin the Turtle. I nearly cried because the situation was just so hilarious and out of control. As the seconds ticked by I could taste the silence in the back of my throat, thick and heavy. Franklin smiled and tried to coax me into the right answer by asking more narrow, directed questions and telling me to relax. I imagined Franklin with his little shell-backpack going to school. I was doomed.
After twenty minutes of me rambling and dropping random unrelated key terms into my answers, he brought out the paper that he would write my final note on and sign. I deserved a 2, maybe, and only for knowing what the pilars of Marketing were and the elements of Marketing Táctico (because we learned them in little acronyms…) They grade you out of 10 here and a 4 means you passed the class. You wouldn’t even have known that I had actually taken the class with the performance I gave in there, but the turtle stretched his neck out, smiled kindly at me and asked what grade I needed for my home university to accept the credits. I honestly have no idea what CSU wants, but I’m pretty sure as long as I pass my classes (4) I will be fine. I had shut off my brain long before in the uncomfortable interview situation and I heard myself say that I needed an 8 or higher. Who do I think I am?! I heard the words, “Sí, me parece bien,” come out of his little turtle beak and watched him write an EIGHT on my paper.
I was in disbelief and shame as I said goodbye to him with some sort of weird awkward hug thing (I have no idea if you’re supposed to kiss professors on the cheek as you leave but I did and it felt totally strange…I kissed Franklin the Turtle on the cheek…) I tripped as I was going down the stairs to the door, of course, but I got up quickly with an English, “I’m fine!” and conspicuously stumbled the rest of the way out the door.
This is why I should go study for tomorrow. Talk to you guys later!