Second Block Edition: Tales from Miami Ad School Account Planning Bootcamp. Location: Minneapolis, MN.


Definitely my sweatiest Christmas yet. Although, Christmas Eve was full of pleasant breezes. Also my most sober Christmas since I started downing glasses of wine on the eve of Christ's birth. Estaba enferma.
But it's all in due time. I will return my mad self to the hot holidays of Buenos Aires. Meg arrives in a few days, and Maddie makes her big return tomorrow. So surely for New Years I'll be back in the game.

Do you ever have days where you just feel awesome? I mean like you're cool? Almost like a sassy superhero? Maybe it's because I made shorts out of my jeans today. genius move on my part. really. But I had to stop myself from cutting everything in my tiny collection of clothes. Everything just looked hot to me. Oh, this thing has sleeves. They have to go. It's toooo hot for sleeves. Jeans? Why do I have jeans? I knew better than to cut my hair. I don't care if I have to pull it back into a bun all summer. Even if it does make my head look smaller in proportion to my body.

Alright. Tomorrow is the attempt to make myself legal again. Stories to come. That is if I'm not kicked out of the country.




Tales of sweaty encounters

The signs are everywhere. It's getting hot in the city. We're all feeling it but should the homeless man sitting on the bench in Plaza de Mayo find it necessary to strip down exposing his sweaty sweaty balls for everyone to see? I didn't think so. What a treat that was.

It feels like a polluted sauna outside. Which is good when you're already late for a class and the elevator is taking forever, because you think, oh well, screw it, I'll just take the stairs. to the eighth floor. right. So I did. I took the stairs. After about the fourth floor is when I really started to regret the decision. Too late to turn back now, stupid. So by the time I got to the office I was breathing like I had just run a marathon and sweating like I was the actual sauna.

Between wearing sweat beads as jewelry and insect repellent as perfume this is going to be the sexiest summer of my life.

Christmas is just a couple days away. For most Argentines it's tomorrow. Most people celebrate at 12:00pm on Christmas Eve. Dinner, a game to exchange presents, and sometimes church are some of the normal activities for the evening. No one gets dressed up like Santa and stockings are not hung. I've seen one apartment decorated with twinkle lights, and it was probably a foreigner's apartment. It's not bad, but it just doesn't quite feel very "Christmasy." I suppose Christmas isn't Christmas unless Penny (my dog) is trying to eat the ornaments off the tree and Spencer (other dog) is barking at the oven all day trying to attack the ham. Of course my Mother's quiche. How I miss, thee. With no dogs trying to eat things that don't belong to them I suppose this Christmas will be less stress and more relaxing.

I think I may even go to Mass this Christmas.



fresh drip.

Let's start the week with a fresh cup of coffee and a smile.

Better attitude this week. Better Spanish, too.

Buenos Aires is changing me. But I still maintain my desire to be loved, just like everyone else in this world, and sometimes it isn't great at returning the favor. You just have to be patient because it's not the city you want to be loved by.

It's Christmastime.


stupid is as stupid does.

I spent the day watching Forest Gump and The English Patient. Para. Para. My body told me. So I taught one class and put myself back into bed. Oh, yeah I went out and bought OJ and tortellini. Must think healthy. Must not get sick.

Normally I choose not to write when I'm feeling a bit down. But I always have to put on the happy face for my students at work and I don't know the people here well enough to show them my cranky side. So hello blog and the three people that read it. I'm going to be a little downer tonight. You can take it.

In general I'm a bit restless with my job, or lack-there-of. My work week is down to 5 hours. With loads of freetime and your room is the size of a closet, it can get to you. I'm not exactly sure why I'm complaining. I have a few friends. Great roommates. I went out a few times this week. I started taking Spanish classes again. I'm generally content with everything in the city, except the Dengue (which is just fun to say. try it.) scares and bus pollution.

Everyone wants to blame the holidays, but I'm not so sure. It doesn't feel like Christmas. When you have to lay flat on your bed only in your underwear to avoid sweating profusely in your sleep, and your swatting mosquitoes and wearing OFF! as perfume it's hard to get into the spirit of St. Nick. So I don't blame the holidays for my current foul mood, I honestly forgot they were around.

I'm pretty sure I know where this unpleasant mood has stemmed from, but given that it's a bit personal and I'm already a dumb fool for not seeing it in the first place, I would rather not discuss it. Just be angry.

Last night I had a dream in Spanish. I was speaking in Spanish when someone came up to me and told me that I was saying things wrong. Grammar police in my dream? En serio?

Maybe my lack of Yoga this week is making me feel this way. Also, I think the arrival of Meg will cheer me up.


Summer Love.

I use my hands a lot to talk. A lot. Argentines use their hands a lot to speak, but I'm on the verge of looking like I'm learning Sign Language, not Spanish. Sometimes it's rather distracting. Or it causes me to drop drinks all over the floor in public restaurants. or onto my clothing. or all over my desk. or onto innocent bystanders. Usually it leads to some sort of public embarrassment, mostly for those around me who aren't used to being around someone who seems to have the coordination of a three-year-old.

I've made some decisions.
One: I will pay the fee of 300 pesos to legalize myself as a tourist again so that I can travel to Chile, Boliva and Peru with Megan. We will be leaving for the south of Argentina around the 10th of next month, start with south and work our way up. I won't ever have this opportunity again and this is why I came here. To travel. To live life. And that's just what I'm going to do.

Two: I'm going to apply to Miami Ad School Account Planning Bootcamp for Summer 2010 in Minneapolis, MN. This is something I've been thinking about for over a year. And I'm ready to apply. The deadline is in April. I can't afford it. But sometimes when you want something, the other things will work themselves out.

I suppose there should be more decisions based on the illusion I gave above. But this is enough for now.

Since I don't have as much work these days I'm trying to keep myself busy. Not to worry there are so many things to do in this city to keep my mind occupied. I want to do/go something/somewhere new every week. Even if it's small and sounds silly. These are the ideas I get from watching Breakfast at Tiffany's. Sunday I started-off this new tradition by buying myself some ice cream and eating it on the streets. Tonight I'll take myself to the movies. Tomorrow the MALBA is free and there is an Andy Warhol exibit. So really it's like I'm dating myself. Except the dates don't end with us making out. We're taking it slow. No strings attached.

Christmas is about a week or so away. I still haven't bought any presents. Wait. I don't have to buy any. The songs all say it's starting to feel a lot like Christmas, but how do they know that? It doesn't to me. It feels like summer. It feels like summer love. Summer heat. Summer dresses. Summer joy. I'm starting my new traditions. My own summer christmas traditions.

I've got it.

Three: I'm really happy.



"cataratas" that means waterfalls in argentine

Apologies for the delay in posting. I'm back from Iguazu. Not that anyone reads this shit anyway. Guess I should start insulting people more.

Here's a little re-cap of the trip....starting with my 19 hour bus ride.

Dec. 3. 2009.

18:30 hrs: Anywhere else in the world being somewhere 30 minutes before departure is a normal assumption. But in South America? Mind as well have showed up a day early, by the look on the guy's face when I asked where the platform was.

18:40 hrs: Sandwiched on the bench between two Argentine women and a crazy homeless woman. Normally I don't make accusations. But I gotta call this one the way I see it. At least she wiped the seat off when she got up.

18:50 hrs: The two (non-crazy) women next to me started a conversation with me. They wanted to give me advice and tips on my trip. Kind Argentines. Always knowing whats best for others. They ended the conversation by telling me my Spanish was good. Maybe they were crazy after all.

19:00hrs. On the bus. Alone for the first few minutes. Then in storms six very loud obnoxious Argentine men. This is going to be good. At least I have a seat separate from the others. Damn it! why don't I have an iPod?!

19:30hrs: I start journaling and looking out the window. I'm amazing at the river views the city has to offer. How have I never noticed this before.

20:20hrs: Argentine men and these two random (non-Argentine) guys are getting restless. They start helping themselves to the coke and coffee. At least they offered me some. How kind.

21:15hrs: Dinner is served. Chicken and mashed potatoes. And some mystery sausage meat. Reminds me of the crap my brother buys from Sam's Club. I bet he would love this.

22:00hrs: After dinner everyone settles into the movie. While a fellow traveler starts up a conversation with me. Come to find out him and his friend are from Holland traveling around Argentina. I suppose a few hours of conversation with a stranger is better than an iPod. What do you know?

Dec. 4. 2009.

07:25hrs: Wake up to the motion of the bus stopping. Being thankful for the eye mask I'm wearing, I don't have to expose my precious eyes to sunlight quite yet.

07:30hrs: Spoke to soon. The group of Argentine men are sharing stories of their sueños. Well, maybe. It's too early to hear all this talking. Much less, in Spanish.

10:00hrs: Argentine men are gone. Just me and the two Dutch guys and two women in the back traveling with their son.

11:00hrs: Being conversation with the other Dutch guy. I really want to brush my teeth.

12:00hrs: Just me and the two Dutch guys now. Having good conversation. Attempting to watch the movie Frost Nixon on the screen, not really going so well. Then the Dutch guys (Nick and Mathieu) start cracking jokes about The U.S. government. Took them long enough.

12:15hrs: Mathieu makes friends with the French girl that's sitting upstairs on the bus.

13:00hrs: OK. are we there yet? I come back from the bathroom and the Dutch boys are doing flips across the seats. Later they start playing football in the aisles.

13:42hrs: ARRIVAL!!! Survival of first 19-hour bus ride!!! Plus I have three new friends.

Dec. 5. 2009.

Day one at the park: walking. wild animals almost eating our lunch. waterfalls. joking. (the Dutch guys come with jokes, apparently). a boat tour. being soaking. eating our lunch in our underwear while our clothes dry. Two Dutch guys, a French girl, and an American eating lunch on a rock in front of the waterfalls can get a little attention from passer-byers. But it really doesn't get much better than this view, dudes.

Lazy and cheap I fill my water bottle up tap water. Vamos a ver.

Sunburn as hell. shit. that's going to hurt tomorrow.

Dec. 6. 2009.

Day two at the park: I was right about the sunburn. Me and my new German friend, Michael, head for the park. Exploring for tucans on the nature trail. I even brought Fruit Loops to lure them in. No luck. But we did see some beautiful butterflies. And a lizard without a tail.

It's Nick's, the Dutch guy, birthday. All of us go out to dinner at the "fancy" restaurant in Iguazu. I say twinkle lights qualify for fancy in this town.

Dec. 7. 2009.

Say goodbye to my new Dutch friends as they head off for their next journey. Celia (the French girl) and I head off to the threesome point. Paraguay, Brasil and Argentine meet as one at the river. Neato. But's it's too damn hot for a walk like this today. Catch the bus back to town and eat some delicious pumpkin gnocchi at a local restaurant. delicious.

Time for 19-hour bus ride. take two.

I really regret drinking that tap water a few days ago. Why do I have to be so cheap sometimes. Gotta learn. Gotta learn. somehow.

Not nearly as interesting. Lots of sleep. But I did successfully watch Changling only with Spanish subtitles.

Dec. 8. 2009.

Back to the city. Did someone order pollution with a side of dirty men cat calling at me?

p.s. Still regretting drinking the Iguazu tap water. My poor intestines.

So that was my trip. In a nutshell. I'm back. And it's hot as hell here in the city. I'm writing on my bed with the lights off because I'm trying not to create anymore heat than possible. My dumb fan is just circulating the warm air back onto me. How do people live without air conditioners? I'll be shriveled by the end of February. But at least my laundry will dry faster now.

About 85 percent of my students stopped taking classes for the summer. This should be good. No work until March. How fun! I love being poor and unemployed. Actually, a student offered to hook me up with a job a friends hostel. He's Argentine, so we'll see.

Meg is coming at the end of the month. We're set to head for the South around the 11 of January. After my short weekend away in Iguazu I'm ready for some travel.

Now I just have to figure out what to do in spare time until then. I think searching for the best public swimming pool in the city is a clever use of my time. Or riding the subte and have endless summer subte love affairs (a simple task of briefly fantasizing about the stranger next to you on the metro given the thrill that you'll never see them again). Or hit up all the hostels looking for a second job. Seems like the most productive use of my time. Probably end up take the subte, instead. Or maybe some Spanish lessons?


Let's get down.

I walk out of my apartment hoping for that fresh morning breeze to accompany me like a cup of morning coffee, instead I get smacked with storm clouds of bus pollution. There goes a few more brain cells. Way to go public transit you've just done your part to continue global warming! (high five) And because I've traded being able to afford where I live with...well let's face it-- a neighborhood lacking the classiest of folks. Usually there are an abundant amount of teenage boys drinking liters of beer on the sidewalk--especially on the corner by the Chinese restaurant. This morning as I was stepping out, I had the pleasure of witnessing a large German Sheppard unloading his business on the sidewalk. Excuse me, would you like this morning's newspaper. No? Guess I'll go around.

I'm ready to spend so time away from the city for a little while. Meet fellow travelers. You never realize exactly how much you like a place until you leave it. So, let's test the waters Buenos Aires. Do I love you?

Let's go super cama on a 19 hour bus ride! (twice) Pictures and updates when I return.


happy anniversary.

May 25, 2009. I got on a plane departing to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Six months later, I'm still here. with a job. a few levels of Spanish ahead. non-friendless. and a few pounds lighter.
I even survived my first Thanksgiving away from Mom's homemade stuffing. A task I predicted almost impossible because of it's delicious aroma. But I was able to pull my friend resources together here in Argentina, and it was quite a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Chicken was substituted for turkey because this country isn't the avid provider of large foul. Just large cow, which isn't quite as appropriate. Jenny B. was the master chef, and I give her five stickers for that gravy. I can still taste the deliciousness. Kelly baked bread. Oh, Kelly, my little baker girl.

After six months things I have over 89.7% mastered:

The Guia-T: (the little bus bible map that has every bus route for the city): Seeing as though my roommates had to gift me a new one for my Birthday because my old one was missing about twenty pages, I get good use out of this thing. I used to have stare at the maps for long periods of time. close the guia. re-open it. re-look. and repeat several times, but now yo sé. yo sé. I can even just whip out suggestions for buses to take off the top of my head. Impressive for a city with hundreds of different bus lines.

Resistance to dulce de leche: I'm not quite sure how I did this. Maybe I just ate a few too many kilos of it in one month, and not my body has stored the sugar content like a bear and it's feeding off that for a while. I'm waiting for the cravings to come back like spring chickens.

Surviving an evening of Spanish-speaking: I live in a Spanish-speaking house and on my Birthday it was deeming the official language of the party. I can't understand everything but I can make my point and get the point. I'm speaking Spanish? I'm speaking Spanish! My awful French-Canadian third-semester-Spanish teacher would be proud.

Living without a television or a microwave: Sometimes I miss the absent minded nothingness of TV. and Argentina does show a lot of really good movies. but. but. I'm not crazy enough to live without the internet. So all is accessible via eso. As far as the microwave goes, surprisingly I don't even notice. Except, I did eat a cold empañada the other day, because I was too lazy to bust out a pan to reheat it.

Explaining what I'm doing here: Whether it be in Spanish, English, or in my sleep. I've had to explain what I'm doing in Argentina so many times, that I'm actually starting to sound boring to myself. The lack of enthusiasm, upon request to explain, doesn't exactly help. I really should be doing something more interesting.

Not stepping in dog poop!: Seems like a simple enough thing. Unless you've spent time walking around in the San Telmo neighborhood. Jinks. I'm sure tomorrow I'll step in some.

Eating a lot less meat: My body is incapable of being a vegetarian, but I've definitely cut out meat a substantial amount since I've arrived. Which is strange considering how cheap and common beef is here. And just how good looking my meat man is. wink wink. I try to eat it about once or twice a week. The rest of the week I fill my dishes with cheese, soy, beans and veggies. Oh, and tuna. Lots and lots of tuna.

A love for the public parks: There should be more park sitting in this world. There just isn't enough of it. So much to observe. Really nothing makes me happier on a sunny day than sitting in some grass, drinking a little mate and reading a book.

And, because I can't be good at everything. After six months I still haven't quite mastered the following:

Making friends with Argentines: Seemingly impossible. And it's not like I haven't tried. We've all tried. It's just not working out. But after the third time of being blatantly blown-off, you gotta stamp that shit "over it" and move on. Argentine women have this secret pack that apparently I haven't been given the very secret password to enter. And Argentine men. Well. They're either your lover or... well. Apparently there is no other option. Do I sound a little bitter? Well, good. It's frustrating. When I talk to my students and they ask me who I hang out with, I tell them mostly Americans and other foreigners, usually I get a little bit of crap from them, telling me how I should be friends with more Argentines. That's easy for them to say, they're already one-up. And it's not like they're not nice. They're sooo nice. To your face. But then the promises of hanging out just turn into laughable lies. And it's not like it has happen to me with just one person. It happens with girls. with guys. And if I spoke Argentine doggy spanish, I wouldn't doubt it that maybe they would be like that, too. Sad to say.

Figuring out what I'm going to do with my life, especially when i return: This isn't usually up for discussion. And it still isn't really. But I've been starting to think about it more. At least starting to think that I should think about it. It's just one really big vast dark opening, filled with ideas.

How to afford to travel all the places I want to go: Yeahhh. Vamos a ver. I want to hit up the whole country. Doubt it gurl, unless you want to spend the whole time eating raisins and sleeping outside. Although, I do miss the stars a lot.

Surviving the summer without an air conditioning: I'm from south Texas, but damn. If this humidity keeps up, I'm not sure my little fan with keep me happy enough. And because there's no AC, you have to open the windows. Then there's the mosquitoes. Then there's this shit called denge, which is apparently like West Nile. I dunno, dudes. not cool.



Buenos sweaty Aires.

Guess this is how it's going to be. Just sweating my through November, December, January and February. Someone better get me to the beach, soon. Or near some large body of water I can submerge myself.

I'm 24 now. Thank god my ovaries aren't putting up a fight, yet. So at this point I could take the road that leads me to wedding bands. shiny new homes. attractive husbands. happy pregnant bellys. crying babies. and boring marriage sex. Given that all of those things give me an anxiety attack...Instead why not choose this way: living in south america. barely scraping by on rent. drooling over attractive husbands. drinking wine. staying up all night. and no having comment on the sex subject.

My students have to take grammar tests this week. So lame. I actually feel bad for them. Mostly because I'm a horrible English teacher. Also, because it comes without any warning. Yesterday, I had to tell my majorly stressed student...."Surprise! We're taking a test today!" Of course, the one time I was actually being serious and not sarcastic, sarcasm was somehow translated.

I suppose I'll be silently sweating throughout this post. Oh, god. What am I going to do a summer without air-conditioner? I suppose I'll just adapt another Argentine bad habit and become an avid complainer of the weather....wait. everyone always complains about the weather. No matter where you go. Weather. You're always allowed to complain about it. Because it's the best empty-space-filler subject there is. It's always around and even stupid people can have something to say about it.

I accidentally found myself in an Argentine fire drill simulation today. Of course, my first thought, as with all with fire simulations, is always, if this were a real fire we'd all be dead, bitches.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I had to explain to a few of my students exactly what Thanksgiving is. Have you ever actually tried to explain Thanksgiving to someone who didn't know what it is? It's impossible. You always en up explaining so stupid fairytale story about Pilgrams and Indians. No wonder everyone things our country is a joke sometimes. It comes out sounding like the most ridiculous thing ever. But I explain the best part of it: Food. Booze. More food. Macy's parade. Football. All to be followed by more food, this time in the form of a sandwich.

Obviously I won't be home for Thanksgiving, but some friends of my from the States are throwing ourselves a nice Argentine style one. Whole chicken is the best one can do. I'm pretty sure I'll simply have to do without stuffing this year. What a real pity. A F***ING pity. WHY ARGENTINA? WHY? I just want bread crumbs, cranberries, chicken broth and stove top to exist for ONE DAY. I'm too upset about this. It's only food. But it's stuffing.



thunder blunder down under.

who is Pato? Pato! Pato! I always hear. I have theories. It's either the dinosaur that lives in the apartment below, or the grandpa whom has bad hearing, or the pet cat. My guess, it's the dog, and when I go down there asking for Pato, he will come wagging his tail. Ahhh Pato!

Today at 11am there were two men sitting in a side walk cafe drinking a bottle of wine. There's never a wrong time to enjoy yourself in this country.

So I almost. And I say almost, had my first public panic attack. So I take the subway a lot now, which allows me less viewing time of the city, but it seems to get me places faster and sweatier. And as we approach the stop that I need to get off at, I stand up to exit as usual, but the doors don't open. I wait. They don't open. I look around, no one seems to have major concerns, just the general annoyed look of Argentines in public transit. Something is said over the intercom. NO ENTIENDO! Oh, could please repeat that...lentamente por favor. I think more of the panic set in given the fact that I didn't understand everything being said, and I was thinking about the story my Yoga instructor had told me a few days before. Apparently, she was on the same line I currently was on when the subte stopped suddenly. They made everyone evacuate the train cars in the middle of the subway tunnel because someone had jumped in front of the train. So, of course this story is rattling my brain and my eyes are searching for exit strategies. There's an open window. I am wearing a dress. Oh damn, who cares. Eventually the train starts up again and we proceed to the next station where I got off and took the subte back one stop. Now you would think that I would have just gotten out and walked, but no. I eavesdropped on a conversation of a man talking about what had happen, and it seems that even though he could understand, he knew as little about what had happen as I did.

My Spanish has gotten much better since I moved into my new place. Mostly due to the fact that it's the only language we speak in the house. Sometimes it's hard, but learning is hard. So hard, sometimes. But everyone in the apartment makes a really nice effort in making sure I understand and having patience with understanding me. I like speaking Spanish! What, what!? I'm not resenting the language as much as I was about a month ago. I guess I'm hitting what some call a "learning curve" and I'm going up, up, and away. Not. But, still, lately I've been really good about just speaking, even if what I'm saying isn't perfect, I still give it a decent effort in trying.

The excitement for my birthday is increasing. I love birthdays. They're great. Since I didn't have a Halloween this year I need an excuse to go a little wild. And they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here (booooo!!!) so I don't have any other upcoming excuse to eat a lot and get drunk. Vammmmosss. I'm going to have more years!

And, yes. Tomorrow I'm going to see New Moon (2009) with my 17-year-old Argentine friend. Just in case, you were wondering.



hey shorty.

There's a corked bottle of Cabernet sitting on my desk for almost a week now. That it by far the longest an open bottle of wine has been in my presence. I blame yoga. Oh, Yoga, how you're improving my life. You're allowing me to make friends. Form a little yoga community. And feel better. How was a living without you all this time?

Summer is about to land in the arrival gates. Along with it, my favorite, mosquitoes. Mosquitoes. Damn mosquitoes. I was laying on my yoga mat the other night trying to concentrate on my breathing and there it was, that sudden feeling scratchyness, uncontrolled urge to rip your flesh off by itching it to the bone. I'm an open blood bank.

I turn 24 on Saturday. Who's excited?!


Clearly this is what happen today.

I attempted to scribbled ideas for future publication but I was too distracted by old women stripping down to their underwear in the middle of the park, just for a little sunshine. Who needs modesty when you have beauty?

Another subway strike. Of course I was unaware of this fact as I was running late for my class, and an old man mumbles under his drunken protesting slurs "Che, no hay subte hoy." Obvio dude, it's the middle of the afternoon and there's a bunch of people sitting around a argentine protest banner drinking beers. Thanks for the tip, though. Guess I'll contribute to the moneda crisis by taking the bus.

Figured out what I was missing: yoga. In attempt to not sound like some sort of spiritual fraud I will spare my personal revelation and just tell you that it was just what I was looking for. And although I'm pretty sure I won't be able to move my arms tomorrow, I feel awesome! Plus I got to use some of the the cool moves I learned in my dance class a few months ago in yoga tonight. Also, I'm really glad I've been laying off the garlic because as much much as I love that shit, you don't want everyone thinking you live in an Indian food restaurant.

Bought my ticket for Iguazu. Full size bus bed included. With a "hot" and "cold" meal? This nineteen hour bus ride should be interesting, especially without an iPod. [insert sad sigh] Mostly, everyone else seems more concerned about this fact than I. But give it time, I'm sure I'll be writing minute by minute reports of how much the bus ride sucks without musical distractions. Looks like I'll be quite the bookworm on this trip. In a deranged anger I'll probably even start accusing people on the bus of having stolen the iPods their using.

A friend has half-successfully convinced me to go to Mendoza with her for the weekend coming in two weeks. Uh, hu, all this travel is making me very happy.

Heather reminded me my b-day is soon.


más or menos.

My meat man may or may not have tried to flirt with me tonight. I can't even flirt when I'm speaking English, much less with my stuttering español. Of course, because I have difficult understanding people at a normal speaking pace, I had to have him repeat. He didn't even bother to ask "de dondé sos?" (where are you from?) Awesome. The less I have to hear that dreaded question, the better. Then he asked if I had a lot of friends here. Of course I didn't stop to think what he was really trying to ask me, and I replied cheerfully "más or menos." Which doesn't even really make sense in hide-sight. I was so distracted, I don't know how to ask for meat?! Meat: it comes in packages at the supermarket. Not laying flat on it's dead side for me to decide how I would like it. Now I'm standing here in front of all this carne. And this really attractive guy who cuts my carne. And I'm supposed to know what to ask for?
Maybe we'll have Parker Pose situation, like in Party Girl, when she seduces her falafel guy. Only this is better because he's my meat man. And we're in Argentina.

Today was the first time I spent an afternoon just lounging around in the park, drinking mate and eating yummy food with friends. And it got me thinking, I need start doing more things that don't start at after 1:00am. Now I just need some suckers I can guilt into doing these things with me.

  • Go swimming at a public pool....the heat is one, people. The heat. is. on.
  • Talk with Spanish-speaking animals the Bio-park in Escobar.... "Hola jiraffa!"
  • Voy a una peña. A place where they play traditional Argentine folk music. You know how I like the folk.
  • Dance on a stage....last year my birthday was a success because of this fact.
  • Spend the night outside. I miss the stars.
  • Meet an Argentine that keeps their know just for fun, I'd like to try this out.
  • Start practicing Yoga.
  • Try out a more "adventurous" sport....we'll start slow with something like white-water-rafting....then move to bungee.
  • Spend an entire day speaking Spanish. Well, one can hope.
  • See a futbol match.
  • Give a stranger a high-five
I'm especially determined with the last one. Today on the street there was this little boy riding his bike, and he looked so blissfully happy, and all I wanted to was just slap him a giant 'high-five.' I don't even like high-fives all that much, but sometimes when you're just so happy, you gotta high five someone. You know what I mean?

I like lists and plans, but lately I haven't been much for planning, obviously, since I'm randomly living a year of my life in a foreign country for no apparent reason. In light of my forthcoming twenty-fourth birthday I feel like I should lay some new foundations down. First of all, as some of you may have started to notice, I'm going to try to start writing more. I miss it. I miss being creative. After only a few months I'm already starting to not like teaching, and the only classes that I do like are the ones where I don't even 'teach' per se. Maybe because the new classes I have I'm actually having to explain concepts and grammar that I don't give a shit about. And after spending a year at home working somewhere I didn't like, it's hard to repeat that. Even though, I do like my job because I get to meet Argentines and I can more or less make my own hours.

So tonight, I made my delicious carne, asparagus, and brown rice dinner for one. Drank some beer. And wished I had better sources for bootlegged movies.

Damn, wish I could take back that "más or menos," right now.



Question (from my housemate Leo): How's it going with the Argentine men, here?
Response: blunt laughter. a sigh. oh yeah, and, a large roll of the eyes. Los chicos acá. Sin commentario.

I would prefer not to Dear Diary, on here. Any honest inquires on this issue can be taken up with the author.

My teaching skills have reached a new low. I actually read with my student yesterday an article titled, How Often Do You Think About Sex? I think she actually liked it. I, myself, found it rather entertaining. But I suppose I should choose an article that chooses to use the work "sex" less next time. I ended the subject on the disagreement of whether or not you should live with someone before you marry them. There's still a lot of conservatism here. Tan cuidado, E. Tan cuidado.

At the end of the month I'm going to head up to Iguazu Falls. My parents are giving me a trip for my birthday. This is a nice treat, because at least this way I am some what obligated to make myself travel. My senses are usually so overloaded by city life, that I haven't taken advantage of all the wonderful places outside of Buenos Aires. I need start taking advantage of things more.

Tonight is a friend's birthday, so I'll be celebrating in style. Both of my morning classes were canceled. Entonces. It's time to have fun.



good old-fashion countdown.

I'm definitely slipping away from American culture. Except for the dedication I maintain to watching downloaded episodes of 30 Rock and Mad Men. When Anna and Lindsey were here I had them school me on deaths, pregnancies, cheaters, and new found celebrity crack-whores. But it's difficult to stay updated on music here. So in order to get my crack-fix on new music I will be tuning into coolhunting's suggested playlist. Even though it's northern hemisphere biased with a "Fall Playlist" I will take it. I also suggest it.

Es noviembre. Que barbaro! Based on the rotation of the earth it makes sense that we're going into Spring, but I think my brain is a little confused. Last night was Halloween. And although I spotted only a few foolishy dressed-up foreigners in Halloween costumes it was strange to think that it came and went with-out a celebration. Although it's not my favorite holiday, it was the first time I've never dressed up. But let's focus on more important things. It's that time of the year for me to add another digit. And while your 20s are supposed to be some of the hardest times in your life, I'm having a pretty damn good time. I couldn't be more ecstatic. I've had a good feeling about 24 for some time now. It's gonna be good. And thanks to latitude and longitude I will have, for the first time in my life, a Spring birthday.

I'm just going to come out and say it because there's no way to paddle around this. I ate at Burger King. I know. I know. But first of all, it's not Burger King, it's Booger Keeng. You have to make sure you put the Spanish accent on the vowels because it makes soooo much better. Allow me to explain my presence and consumption at this fast-food American haaambooger restaurant. First of all, I went with two Argentines and I was forced. Well, not really forced. But it does make my resistance to globalism seem more apparent. On Friday, a friend of mine, Gus, invited me to see The Prodigy with his friend. After a concert him and his friend have a tradition of going to none-other than Booger Keeng. I find it rather ironic that my first time eating at an American fast-food restaurant is by the hands of two Argentines and their tradition. Of course you have to ask for ketchup and pepper doesn't exist. But there was fake yellow cheese! Oh, the wonders of fake yellow cheese. See, there's nothing more American than a 4-inch square of mysterious-bright- colored-plastic-looking cheese. In case you were wondering, yes, I King sized it.

So let's slide back. Circa 1995. Yes, I went and saw The Prodigy. My first time at an Argentine concert. Oh, Argentina and your music festivals. Argentine sing-alongs. Now that's entertainment. Lyrics are misunderstood and somehow, somehow there always one too many jaaa jaaa's in there. It was good fun. Of course, one of the vocalist was an embarrassment to himself, which is always entertaining. Most overused phrases of the night by singer Maxim Reality, (notice the all caps for effect) "WHERE ARE MY PEOPLE AT? WHERE ARE ALL MY ARGENTINE PEOPLE AT? WHERE ARE ALL MY WARRIORS AT? WHAT GOING ON BUENOS AAAIIIREEZ???" So what I wanna know is what's up with the 20 questions, Maxim? And why do you wanna know so badly where everyone is. Clearly the people you want are all hear listening to your dumb ass. So why don't we just shut up and smack my bitch up.

Given that I didn't arrive home until 7am this morning (a friend and I found some good regaeton beats to dance to) I've had little motivation to do much today, except clear my fridge of blue cheese and bread. I love sunday. My weekends are becoming more and more valuable. Since I work five days a week and have 8am classes four days a week I'm feeling less guilty about spending a day lounging around in my bed. Just me, my stuffed dinosaur, my computer, my book and my bed. Yeah.



what the hell...

...Is this weather? I'm dying. And as sexy as the people are here, no one can pull off the sweat stain look. No one. But instead of complaining about the hot weather for the next few months while all you bitches in the northern hemisphere brag about changing leaves and sweaters, I will be attempting to make you jealous with my Argentine Summer. It's the season that speaks the same language in every country, and everyone knows there's nothings sexier than a summer.
Rumor has it that they have their own southern hemisphere version of the West Nile virus. And since I'm convinced that the fear of seasonal diseases stems from the same evils that created greeting card holidays such as Valentines Day, I'm sure this country will make an even bigger deal of West Nile virus than they did with the swine flu.

Obviously, the weather has brought out some dumb choices for clothing, too. Today I saw a guy wearing a t-shirt that read, in English, 'First drinks, then sex?' Really, dude? Really? And the classic half-unbuttoned shirt is ever so popular with the business men. I haven't quite figured out if it's done out of laziness or fashion, but honestly it makes me laugh so much I don't care what the motive for it is because it makes every man look gay.

Halloween is apparently a made-up holiday that The U.S. celebrates in order to make children fat and exploit the convicted child molester that lives on your block. Buenos Aires is much too distrustful of their neighbors to ever celebrate in such a way. After explaining the holiday to a few of my students, one replied, "...that would never happen here. If someone knocked on my door dressed in a freak costume, I would come to the door with a knife." Case and point. Argentina sleeps with one eye open and apparently a weapon close by. Is this Texas? So there's no need to get excited about a holiday that has no meaning here because no one is going to empathize with you by dressing up like an idiot. But Thanksgiving. That's a whole other story. I don't care what Argentina says. I will have my stuffing. And cranberries. And turkey. Even though I'm pretty positive all three of those things are non-existent here. I will have my Dia de Gracias.

News. News. In the past five months there was talk of me leaving early. Or, originally, leaving the first of March. Now, I will officially be staying here an entire year. I've extended my plane ticket to stay until May 23, 2010. Before you get any ideas, I'm not staying because I've fallen madly in love with some sexy Argentine man. The past five months have flown by. I couldn't be happier and not because of someone else, but because of me. There's something about this place, it's intoxicating. Once you have a taste, you want more and you don't want to stop for the fear that you'll wake up and find out it was all a dream. There are things to worry about in life, but one of them shouldn't be how you will enjoy it.

Dale. Dale.



A different side of new.

So most of you might be confused at the idea of me teaching students English. You might have this idea that I spend hours a days drilling words like joke, jealous, happy, jump to those who do not normally pronounce these consonants or maybe that I review placement of prepositions and the use of the -ing. Although, we cannot under-estimate the importance of teaching English grammar, my students usually have an idea of how this works and therefore they would rather teach me a thing or two about Argentine culture. At first, I felt mildly guilty about this, but then I realized these classes are paid for by the students' company, a multimillion dollar consulting firm, and for an hour they would simply like to not feel like an Argentine corporate drone. Today my student spent his hour explaining to me (with a diagram included) exactly how the football teams and divisions work here. He also disclosed his desire to be a sports commentator. And with all his Argentine passion, in a conference room at his work, he acted out his radio commentator skills with a commercial included. Needless to say we drew in a few walk-by stares. After this he also confessed to wanting to become a Rastafarian. He's been reading books on the religion (ummm it's a real active relgion? Yes, apparently so.) since he was 15. And he carries a Rastafarian coin, or something of that matter, in his wallet. So if you're ever wondering where you can fall in love with a White-collar-corporate-drone-Rastafarian-sports-commentator. Come to Argentina. I teach them English.

My friends Lindsey and Anna were here last week. Lots of fun debauchery. Pleanty of eating out, too. I even ate Argentina's best attempt at Mexican food. I will say it did satisfy my itch for guacamole and steak burrito. I even got a satisfactory taste of some vegetarian Indian/Hindi food. And of course I had to introduce them to the magic of the Buenos Aires night. A city that stays alive past the rising of the sun. And sometimes then is the start of the best improvisational dance-offs. But it was good to see some familiar faces. I'm going on five months, and it was nice to have someone from home to see.

I moved into my new place this past Monday. I'm excited to be here. The neighborhood is going to be a great fit for me. It's two blocks from the metro and a twenty-minute walk from one of the companies where I work a lot. My neighborhood, San Telmo, has a lot of working class people, but also a fair amount of tourism. The former is quite different from where I was living, considering before I was a block from Fendi and Cartier. But because money and status isn't my forte, I think I'll be quite happy here. I have my own room and for the first time of all my places I have a real closet with hangers. So I can actually hang up my clothes. There are two other rooms in the apartment, one is a couple, a guy from Columbia and his girlfriend is from Holland, and the other is a guy from Ecuador. On Saturday they are having a party here, so I'll get to know them all better. And, after a week of speaking only English with my friends and students, I'm going to need the help with my Spanish.

I'm going to an Argentine fiesta de cumpleaños tomorrow night! Should be fun.

Ciao chicos!


After 4.5 months you too can see the wonderful benefits of BAires!

I haven't made the slightest of efforts to make myself up today. This includes reaching into my 'intimates' basket and putting on a bra. Nope, not even that. But I did slip on some socks. This is my reward. I've been working a lot, kinda, and this is something my body would appreciate. My bed also likes the company. I never did this kind of thing when I was living at home, or even in college, unless I was hungover. There was always this feeling of obligation to do something, get something done. Or, because I worked on the hellish schedule of retail, I normally worked weekends. But now. now. I've figured it out. Enjoying life really isn't that hard, there's plenty of opportunity for this. The secret is that you must allow yourself to enjoy it.

Sadly, I don't have any extremely interesting collectivo stories for this week. Everyone seemed to maintain themselves this week, in regards to public transportation. Probably because all the freaks were protesting something instead selling packs of pens and begging for loose change on the subte. But I did practically get harassed by one of the men passing out flyers on the streets. I'm not ever sure what these men and women are selling on these flyers. All I can ever make out is a half-naked man or woman. I try to keep my eye contact to a minimum with them and murmur a low, 'no gracias,' usually a simple shake of the head will do the trick. I refuse the offer not because I'm not curious of what the paper says, but because I know that it will eventually, after weeks of collecting dust with bus ticket stubs, end up being thrown away. So instead of prolonging the poor paper-soul's life, I just deny it's existence. This method works on several levels here. One night I was amazed to see that this form of wasteful archaic marketing occasionally gets received: A clean-cut, well dressed guy, around my age, pulls out a flyer with a picture of a naked girl on it, it had been stuck on the edge of a street sign. He examines it as though he's just seen an offer for free groceries for a month. At this point I'm stunned that someone actually takes two glances at these things, then he proceeds to the nearest pay phone, and props up the flyer on the phone booth, and starts to dial. This country is always full of surprises.

This week Miss Lindsey Darrah will pay a visit with her friend Anna. This is partly why I'm saving all my energy. I'm going to have them experience the full benefits of Buenos Aires. Of course, since this is a nocturnal city, we will have to make sacrifices in the sleep department. All of this is for a beneficial cause. Argentina's economy needs your American dollars.

And....The Megan and Elise duo will be tearing up Buenos Aires starting in late 2009 throughout May 2010. Get ready.


A show that will slide to the left. Slide to the right.

Because I lack the patience for photos to upload onto the internet I've delayed setting up a slide show on here. But by some miracle they're up now. As you can see to your right. Raw and un-photoshoped. If you forgot your reading glasses today please click on the slide show to enlarge the photos. Really, this is for the haters or those dumbfounded by the ways of Facebook. Mom, Dad, this for you. I left out the really drunk ones.



The BA effect.

I have been told that patience is the the key with this city. It's like an Argentine. All the flaws you see in it make it what it is. A wonderful city willing to offer so much, if you're willing to wait around and stick out it's bullshit. Once you get past this you begin to get so much more out of the city. Let me just say, I'm enjoying this new relationship I have with the city. Either that, or I'm being brainwashed by the government being run by the mafia.

In other strides to further adjust to the city, I'll be moving this week. I found the place on Friday and I have a great feeling about it. It's in a neighborhood called San Telmo, a quaint, artsy barrio filled with antique shops and bars. So, it's my heaven? The price of the place is amazing, which was a big selling point on my thrifty budget. I'll have to juggle both apartments for a week or so, because I didn't want to risk losing the opportunity for this new place, even though my rent at my current place isn't up until the 18 of this month.

I've decided to start a segment within my blog. Even though this blog fails to contain structure or
a proper fan base, I've decided it needs a segment about the experiences I have on the collectivos in Buenos Aires. It's true I spend a lot of my time hanging out with collectivo drivers. I could lessen this quality time if I wasn't so cheap and took taxis. Or if I wasn't so desperate for homemade goodies every sunday, as to take classes a forty-five minute bus ride to do so. As I spend so much time on this one means of transportation, I'm bound to stumble across a freak or two. So here are a few incidences to get an understanding of what kind of free entertainment comes with public transportation in BsAs.
Situation One: Argentines, as in most of Latin America, are macho, but really is there the need to do arm-curls on the bus rails to prove this point? I think not. So, thanks macho man for the 45 minutes of attempted strength exercises and using the bus as your personal gym. You just made me feel bad for eating that alfahor. But wait, I don't look as stupid as you do.
Situation Two: Time three forty-five in the morning: Enter two, clearly hammered, young Argentine guys. One rides the bus for about two stops (four-six blocks) and as the bus passes a church I catch in the corner of my eye one clumsy sign of the cross and kiss to the palm of the hand, from the other guy. Even in a state of drunkenness they never forget their rituals. Or evidently where the three hundred churches are in the city.
Situation Three: American music has a clearly established element with-in the culture. A fact I'm neither too ecstatic nor disappointed by. So what I would like to know is anyone else entertained by the gentleman in the back of the bus jamming out to Guns n' Roses on his cell phone speakers for the whole bus to hear? I think the lady tapping her white converse to "Sweet Child o' Mine" is enjoying it. Oh, wait here comes "Paradise City," I hope this doesn't lead to a spaghetti incident.

These are just things that have occurred recently. And with my move will come all new bus routes. So I better get ready for a whole new kind of people. All new kinds of situations.

Besides feeling quite the romance with the city I'm living in, I have discovered the jackpot for free screenings of films throughout the city. I'll be filling in my time by accompanying myself to these events in the hope that some overly-good looking Argentine man will strike up a conversation with me. Of course, all I really can expect is to get hit on by the construction workers on the way. But, one can hope. One can hope.


estoy buscando.

I'm going to try really hard to not eat 500g of pepas and galletitas this week. I mean I'm doing OK so far, I've only eaten three pepas today. And a spoonful of dulce de leche. oops. It's all Argentina's fault. So there's my ration for today. I guess I'll be eating yogurt for dessert. I bought this apple flavored fruit concentrate today... I'm sure it's completely full of sugar (lie I tell myself: but you mix it with 90% water) however it's going to be my substitute for at least a few 100 grams of galletas.
I don't why all of sudden I can't help myself from the desserts. If I keep talking about desserts so much someone is going to have to come down here and give me an intervention.

In other news, not pertaining to any sort of mouth watering morsel, I will be moving next month. For financial reasons I've had to cut out a lot of things....obviously one of them not being dulce de leche. But again, this isn't about food. I'm looking at a few different options. For about a third of what I'm paying now I can move into a hostel that is in a great location and has good accommodations. To be able to save two thirds of what I pay now, which is average rent for foreigners, would be amazing for my budget. I'm almost considering it, even if does mean giving up some privacy. I'm also going to look at different place tomorrow, similar to what I lived in before. So we'll see.

In December, Argentines decide it's too hot to do anything too strenuous, this includes speaking English for one hour a week. So much effort during the summer holidays is seen unnecessary. Why would you want to do more than go to the beach? Therefore I'm going to take some time to travel around the country. On Thursday, I was able to get out of the city for a few hours. I went to Tigre, about an hour outside the city. I almost forgot what it's like to not be surrounded by tall buildings, constant rush of cars and pollution. I suppose I need more balance. Something this city doesn't have too much of. It's a city of stop and go. Fast and slow. Busy and deserted. And the men, too. Hot and cold. But much to my benefit they're usually quite good looking. Quite good looking, I say. sigh.


Sueños de castellano.

I've been having my first dreams in Spanish. It's quite the train wreck. Even in my dreams I get frustrated with verb use, conjugations, vocabulary and listening. Why even bother, brain? You're off duty, why are you working so hard to impress the other dreams with your half-ass bilingual skills? It just doesn't make sense. So obviously when I wake up the first thing I'm thinking about is Spanish....wait. Maybe you are a genius after all brain. We'll, see. But nevertheless, my Spanish is improving.
On other fronts, I've made a huge effort in the iPod grievance process. Mostly I've accepted that I'll be stuck in the denial phase forever. Just pretending that I never even had one. Which is an awful thing to do when something you love goes missing. But this is the healthier option to glaring at every person on the street with white headphones in the chance that they are el ladrone (the thief) of my precious.
My weekend has been quite the relaxing success. Which is just what I needed after my two past weekends of debauchery. I won't add on those subjects as to embarrass myself and cause unnecessary attention directed towards my social life. Being as important as that is, let's not damage it.
On Friday, I went to my dance class, where I was actually able to not look at the instructor for every single position change. It was quite the accomplishment. I've mastered the vocabulary of directions and body parts! (I rarely use the exclamation point, thanks to a certain UNT Advertising professor, but in this case, it's definitely plausible.) So, seeing as though my week was full of acceptance, grievance, change and bilingual dreaming, I took my exhausted self home, opened a bottle of wine and took a deep breath.
Yesterday, a friend of mine and I went to see Citizen Kane (1941) at one of the art museums here. She informed me of the weekend picture shows for 7 pesos. I had never seen the film, and I really enjoyed it. It was certainly a film made to enjoy best in a theater. If I had rented it, I'm not sure I would have made it through. But the whole experience of the crackling black and white screen and rolling projector. Spanish subtitles. It was excellent. Now, I get all the Rosebud references I've heard.
Today, I will go teach at Nieves' house to her two daughters. Nieves is a conversation student that I had, and she liked me so much she asked me to start teaching her daughters, age 10 and 16. Both of them go to schools that incorporate English into the curriculum. The older one goes to a bilingual school where multiple subjects are taught in English. So as you can see, I don't really 'work' that hard. I usually go and talk with her and the girls for a few hours then she makes some delicious type of food and postre (dessert). Usually with dulce de leche and chocolate. Oh, the wonders of dulce de leche. How have I gone my whole life without a constant supply of you? A few weeks ago she made homemade alfahores. Now, allow me to explain the wonders of the alfahor: they are the national 'cookie' of this country. It's two (sometimes three) soft cookies with dulce de leche in the middle, and either sprinkled with powdered sugar, another layer of chocolate, or both. I'm not food critic, I'm just a simple writer so I can't possibly properly explain these things to give them proper justice. (But if you start commenting on my blog more, then maybe I'll bring you one back) And I've still managed to loose weight. What?! I know.

Anyways, I haven't even begun to explain the amazing desserts here in this country. Maybe because for the first few months I was here I was terrified to try any because I knew how much I would want to eat them all the time. So now, that I walk an enormous amount each day, I've started to indulge myself a little. There's an art to finding new postre in this country. The art is more like 'modern abstract art' where anything and everything goes, in order to truly appreciate what there is. But I've found a few that really swing in my direction.
Pepas: A scrumptious soft cookie with a jam-like substance in the middle. Like I said I'm not very good at the food descriptions.
Alfahor: Um, the best damn thing that was ever created in this country. Except maybe a few of the good looking men.
Really those are the top two right now, and the others I can't remember their names, so obviously not worth a food write-up courtesy of Elise Wyatt. Next week, we'll discuss juice boxes and empañadas--which I made this week, epañadas not juice boxes.


Post iPod stress disorder

Day 1 without iPod: Forced to subject myself to the sounds of The Jonas Brothers in the line at the supermarket. But on the upside that I did discover that they have laundry detergent with names like "a day in the park," "dancing under the rain," and "walking around petals."

Day 2 without iPod: Still in denial stages of the death, but I did receive sympathy from my new student--and a story about how he turns his iPod up whenever he's walking down the street and men cat-call at him. Surprisingly the story made me feel better, well....laugh.

Day 3 without iPod: Walked the streets having to listen to every man in the construction, service and homeless-man industry whistle, cat-call, and shout various displays of shallow affection towards me. I'm in serious wonderment of how long that's been occurring without my recognition. Upside: I can actually hear when my phone rings now.

I'm sure days 4, 5, 6 and 7 will all continue with more of the same. Should you wonder as to why I'm counting the days without an iPod? It was stolen, of course. This, amongst other perils currently in progress in my life, is the result of my naive spirit to think that people are trustworthy and not greedy. Pero, por favor, continuamos.

In other news. I had my first official Buenos Aires break-down. I saw the dark hole. I crawled in the dark hole. I wallowed there for a few hours. I cried my little eyes out, consuming an entire pack of extra suaves pañuelos. Then. I sobered up. Stood up. Slapped myself in the face. Reminded myself why I want to be here. And made some changes.

Now that that's all out of my system. I can focus on what I should be doing. Enjoying myself. Tonight I will go see a play for free at the culture center where I take dance classes. Then tomorrow I have a language exchange with someone. This weekend I will do something to enjoy the fact that Spring is coming. Who knows. Who knows what.


Surprise Surprise

As you travel you are expected to maintain a open minded attitude about others. Not only out of respect for people but to enjoy your yourself. It's difficult sometimes, though. You meet people that are very different from you, completely different, and you aren't expected to like everyone and you shouldn't expect people are always going to like you. This fact alone was difficult for me not to take personally. Being an individual who takes most things personal before evaluating what is happening, this has been a challenging process for me. They say the first step is realizing you have a problem. So here I am, with a sensitivity problem in a city that doesn't give a damn. I love it. Everyday I'm learning so much about myself. Now, my goal here isn't to become insensitive, by any means, it's simply to take the soft, outside skin I have and blister it some so calluses develop. This city provides many opportunities for that, allow to explain a few:

Being a foreigner is not a novelty, nor is it necessarily an endearing quality about yourself, to the average Argentine. In fact, you're viewed more as a piggy bank than anything else. This can be quite frustrating at times, especially when you lose your identity to these phrases, "that American girl" or "the girl from Texas." It's much to exhausting to try to avoid these judgments or assumptions so thus: accept and move on.

Communication is based on their wants, otherwise, don't expect anything. This is a simple enough explanation in itself and can't be more widely applied. It's valid for instances at the nightclub or with my boss. The trick is to always keep them believing that they need something from you. I'm trying to master this skill, as it's the most difficult for me, but once I out.

Punctuality is relative. Now, how relative you ask? Well, take a look at the previous observation made and you will put it together. I have confidence that you're that smart.

In addition to this I'd like to consider some of the things that I've strangely gotten used to while living here. Everyday I expose myself to something new, but there are some consistent things that I feel strangely adapted to, that when I first arrived, were quite a shock

*Dog crap on the streets. Endless amounts of random dog crap. This is why no one can ever afford to make eye contact, they're trying to keep their shoes from getting ruined.

*Washing underwear in the sink. I can't afford the 23 peso laundry cost in my neighborhood, and sometimes I'm too lazy to walk the 20 minutes to the cheaper place. And sometimes, I'm just that broke. I suppose being used to wearing dirty clothes falls in this category, too.

*Being late because of public transit. This severely stressed me out my first few weeks here, but now I've learned that patience in a city this large is necessary.

*Not understanding everything people are saying around you. In a way it's comforting. I mean, at times it's frustrating especially when they're talking to you, but when you're on the collectivo it becomes like white noise, and it's soothing.

*Cooking. I mean really cooking. And really yummy things, too. I love it. I was stunted in the cooking department on arrival because I had been eating home cooked meals (made by others) for a year. But now! I've made black bean salsa, milanesa, eggplant spinach lasagna, split pea soup, garbanzo bean salad and I just made fresh spinach/tomato sauce with pasta!

*Walking for hours a day. Sometimes when I think about it I will have walked 2-3 hours that day. I move around the city a lot for teaching jobs and if I have enough time between classes, I'll save my monedas (coins) and get my exercise.

*Not investing much in people until they actually follow through with what they say. It's the perils of city life. I'd like to think that people mean what they say and maybe they're just busy, but the truth is some people just aren't honest.

*Being super "thrifty." This actually wasn't a huge adjustment, for those of you who know me well, I'm quite the thrifty lady, but this city has me concocting whole new levels of being thrifty....i mean some call it cheap, stingy, or borderline theft, but pahleeze. If you knew what I earned an hour, you'd understand. Which leads me to.....

*Not ever making enough money. I mean it pains me to say that I'm getting used to this, but I kinda am. I think of it as character building and prioritizing. There are somethings I refuse to give up, and others that I do with somewhat of a cringe, but out of necessity. I mean I don't wanna name names here, but do you really think I'd stop drinking wine in Argentina? Psshhh. Gurl you crazy.

So it's Friday. Dance class, then maybe a foreign film at the culture center after.

ciao. ciao.


A little honesty.

I can't sleep. Between the coughing, the twitching, and the lateness of the current hour, I suppose it's a wise idea just simply give up on it for a few hours and return to bed later this afternoon for a lovely little thing I like to call, a nap. Plus as I'm lying in bed I'm thinking of all these things that are preventing my mind from feeling at ease.

I haven't updated in a while. The recap of the previous week can be summed up quite easily: sickness. Maybe I had the gripe A, maybe I didn't. We'll never know, because I'm a currently an illegal American citizen living with out health insurance in a country where if I did go to the doctor, I probably wouldn't understand anything they were telling me, anyway. So, unable to speak well enough to teach classes or socialize, I drank hot tea with lemon and read. All in all, it was quite a relaxing week aside from all the phlegm. Last night I did come out of my gofer hole to make new friends, eat delicious Peruvian food and drink some beer. It was a nice entrance back into the social world that I had been missing.

Last week I began my dance classes, which ended up being a lot more entertaining than I expected. It's contemporary dance, so there are a lot of hand movements, pillets, and rolling around on the floor. Yes, I just said rolling around on the floor. It's an exercise to get the muscles warmed up, well, so I think. I can only understand about half of what she says, the other half I just make sure I am always keeping one eye open towards the person next to me to make sure we didn't just all stand up and I'm the only one laying on the floor rolling around, still. Of course when the instructor participates in this activity there is much more grace and finesse to her moves, but regardless it looks like a bunch of people having seizures in slow motion. gracefully.

Making friends with Argentines is about as difficult as trying to learn Spanish. I don't say this with any pun intended, but honestly I can't think of a more suitable comparison, plus I'm going on about 4 hours of sleep, so give me a break. Friend making is a challenge in general, especially once you leave University. Because Porteños live in their own world makes it notably more problematic. They have their own lives, their own judgments, cynicism, friends, etc. And when you meet them, even if they are genuinely excited to meet a foreigner, which is a rare occurrence, that is probably the last time you will ever see them, no matter how many times, in your conversation, they insist that you hang out together. I have a theory that there is a secret poll for Argentines of how many people they can meet in their lifetime, and every time they meet a new person it goes into the count. I haven't decided if there is a winner or a loser in this 'poll,' but knowing Argentines, I'm sure there is. And it's most likely a corrupt system, so who knows who actually wins. In fact, now that I think about it, my Spanish is developing at a much faster rate than my rate of making friends.

It's not that I'm doubtful about making friends, it's the whole process. Learning Spanish, trying to find a job, working, moving around the city, making friends, enjoying the city, keeping in touch with people, and somewhere in there I'm supposed to be setting life goals and working on a screenplay (ha.)? I'm trying to make this easy for myself, but sometimes, it's just life. Shit happens. You have bad days. To give credit to my dear friend Meg, "...everyday living abroad is hard. it's exhausting." Esto es verdad. I'm constantly evaluating myself, and asking myself if what I'm doing is enhancing my 'experience' or if the decisions I make are wise. But it should be enough that they are my decisions, I shouldn't need to validate them with someone or something else. I forget that it's not important how others perceive your life, it's about how you want to live it.


gluttony for dinner in a sin city

The weather is getting warmer, therefore any excuse to prepare an asado is made. I love the Argentine asado. Last night was no different, except for the fact that it was finally nice enough to eat on the terrace. I had just come from work, so I didn't have my camera, pitty! The key to an asado is to designate the cooking to one person. In our case it was Gustavo, because he's the parilla master, so the rest of us sit back toss around the soccer ball, listen to music and drink beer. Then commences the eating: sausage, beef ribs, chicken, steak, more sausage, salad, potato salad (but not smothered in mayo like in the Sates) and bread. I suppose there was a grilled pepper in there somewhere, but I was more concerned with the delicious array of meats. I'm too poor to afford meat much anymore, so this was a nice change from my beans and rice diet.

Last weekend I was invited to a concert with a friend and before I start this story I have to explain my hesitations about live music in Buenos Aires. Normally 'live band' here means one of two things: Cumbia/Reggaeton or Tango; neither of which I particularly care for. Much to my surprise upon arriving at the concert the music was wonderful. It was a 8 or 9 piece band made up a cello, flute, bass, violin, keys, drums, accordion and various other music makers. Impressed, I was. Then it was followed by one of my very first conversations in Spanish. I held my own quite well, I was very excited. The first few moments are the worst, and usually incomprehensible, but then after that, it's not smooth sailing, but let's just say I'm no longer a ship wreck. It's a good feeling.

Tonight I start my dance classes. I'm nervous, but I'm not as nervous going into things that I used to be when I first arrived. I could hardly stand in line at the bank without the fear of having a panic attack. Most of these anxieties stem from the fact that every time someone goes to speak to me it's gamble for understanding. At first my normal reaction to not understanding was simple: deer in headlights. Nothing. I tried responding with "Sí" for a while, but people caught on fast that I really had no idea what they were talking about. Apparently not everything in this world can be replying with simple 'yes' or 'no' answer. Politicians have gotten away with it for years, why can't I?

After three months here I have made a wide stride in progress; in my Spanish, in myself, in my happiness, and in finding work. Some days it's hard to put it all in perspective and be proud of myself, rather it's easier to focus on all the things I still want to do or have yet to set goals for.


In reference to your application, you are currently under review and we will get back to you when we know anything.

With all the unemployment problems going on in this world you'd think I'd have more applications for a lover. Seems as though Argentina's hiring process requires a little bit more recruiting. The closest thing I've come to any Latin romance lately was spying on my neighbors making out for ten minutes before they closed the curtains. When did Argentina get so modest?

Making friends in Argentina has proven to be more difficult than originally planned. I suppose it doesn't help that I unconsciously developed a small crush on my only friend. Then I come to find out that I accidentally put his application in the wrong pile. Apparently not everyone is interested in applying.

But next week I begin my 'danza' classes. It should be exciting. I plan on intensively studying Spanish this week so I at least have an entire paragraph of things to talk about with new people. Mostly I'm going to stick with the basic topics: what people are doing here, have they taken dance class before, do they like to drink wine, where are they from, are they willing to be my friend aside from the fact that I can only discuss a baby's handful of topics.

My next challenge to try to make a joke in Spanish. It's very strange because when I speak my baby bird's nest of sentences in Spanish I'm like this other person. The Elise that speaks Spanish.....and not very well. I have to say I'm not in love with the Spanish speaking Elise, she's a little awkward, and she doesn't say much, I mean she doesn't even laugh at the right jokes. In due time they say, puede ser. puede ser.

Spring is coming, spring is coming, I say! The weather has been gorgeous lately. Not that I could ever really complain about winter here, it's so mild. That only means one thing though, it's gonna be hot in the summer. And this is South America, and by that I mean apparently they're not firm believers in air conditioners. I'm not really sure what all that non-sense is about, but I'm just going to enjoy my 63 and sunny for now.

Well, my Argentine holiday weekend is coming to an end. Back to the teaching mill this week. Ready to shape suceptible minds with the wonders of the English language.


Please return to sender, recipient uninterested.

Warning. This entry is what you've been waiting for. It's about realizations. self-image. self-discovery. personal goals or lack-there-of. After almost three months you knew it was coming.

Realization #1. Like most women in and outside of The US, I have a self-image problems. But not enough to care about them. Is that a problem?
Blame it on what you will, being teased as a child, being a statistic for over-weight children, always being in the back row for class photos, never kissing a boy until you were 18, etc. So I've had a lot to overcome in my battle of self-confidence, and given that there are many women who are a size 6 and have manifested the idea that they are fat, I would say I'm doing OK.
Every country in the world can attest to providing women with a reason to have self-confidence issues. In The US, there have been wonderful, short-lived, campaigns which promote positive self-image, but none of which effectively made a dent in the industry, as a whole, of which targets women and young girls. Here in Buenos Aires the women are skinny. I mean skinny. While walking the other day, I noticed that not one of the women I saw did their thighs actually touch together. So, in a continent which habitually encourages women to embrace their curves, I seem to be living in the one country that promotes women to mold into the one-size-fits-all clothing size. I will admit it is encouraging for a weight-loss program but attempting to look for clothes in this city is like a prom-dress nightmare. So in acceptance of this realization, and discourage you from writing me comments telling me how beautiful I am, I would just like to say one thing. I like myself. Regardless of how thin or over-weight the peering eye may consider me, I would rather have someone's respect than attraction. And to be honest. It would be worse to tell me that I was terrible writer than that I was over-weight. (This is the point where I subtly encourage you to write comments on how I'm such a great writer).

Realization #2. I need an Argentine lover.
I'm now accepting applications. My vocabulary is lacking and I need practice with my Spanish.

Realization #3. I need life goals.
In a recent discussion with my roommate, Alonso, it was made apparent to myself that I lack sold long-term goals. While, I'd like to believe that being a world-traveler and living life everyday to its fullest is an achievement, it's not, at least for me. It's not a lie. Nor is it a mistake to do the sort-of thing that I'm doing. In fact I'm more and more proud of myself for this decision everyday. So while I'm here I will figure it out. And how I expect to go about it, whatever 'it' is. I don't need to draw up an itinerary for my monthly goals for the next 10 years, but a sketch is a start. No worries parental authorities my future goals are mapped out with-in the continental US.

Realization #4. I'm proud of myself.
Not enough people are proud of themselves. I haven't done that much, I'm young, but what I have, I'm proud of.

In conclusion of my 'realization' blog entry, I would like to thank all those readers whom made it through this entry of self-convictions. And next time I'll try to fill the pages with more sarcasm. Until then, you think about your realizations and when they're as good as mine, let me know. We'll have a 'realization assembly.'


Otro mes.

Persistence is key in this country. I mean you could go as far as to say that a small amount of harassment does the trick. I’d rather not group myself as a ‘harasser’ I teach young minds the wonders of the English language, and I don’t want anyone getting any ideas. So about six or, just to make the story better maybe even eight weeks ago my iPod has a little malfunctioning problem. I chalk it up to the fact that it wasn’t used to how the waves links run on this side of the equator. Needless to say, it was all in good timing, the day before my warranty expired. So I took it, and my bad Spanish, over to the iPod store here in Buenos Aires to get a little work done, pro-bono. They said it would take only three weeks, well I was naïve back then and I thought, “Wow, three weeks that’s great.” Now I know better than to trust an Argentine with a time frame. After a few pop-in visits from me and my continuously broken Spanish, a few terribly written e-mails, one back-up woman, and about seven and half weeks my iPod is safely in my attuned ears. It’s a wonder how much better a 30-minute commute is with some music.

In other news, I attended my very first Socialist Party fiesta after being here for almost two-and-a-half months. How you ask? Well a small amount of what I like to call “confidence”, two Frenchman, and an average amount of curiosity. Who knew that The Socialist Party threw birthday parties with laser lights, amazing DJs and cheap beer? Oh and allows anyone to come, I suppose it is the Socialist Party.
I’ve been feeding my addiction of curiosity by spying on our neighbors. Last weekend my roommates and I spent our Friday night eating epañadas and sipping on cheap wine by candlelight, as to not be suspected by neighbors. We have names for the most interesting ones, usually pertaining to tasks that they do frequently, ie. Pinky (always wears a pink shirt), Ironing Boy, Phone Boy, Computer Boy, Teaser Boy, Gay Boy, Dancing Lady, Naked Lady and Masturbating Man. As you can see there are a lot of men that live in that complex. Most of the time we find the dullness of their lives more interesting than they do. But it’s like bird watching, if you turn away for even just a second you may miss one of the most migrating patterns known to man. In fact it’s better than bird watching, because their not birds, their people that you don’t know who have real lives that you get to spy on for free. Who needs cable when I’ve got this?


Movin' on up.

I'm living in a more marvelous place than you. There's a plaque in my new apartment to prove it, too. It says that Peron's used to live here. I'd like to get my hands on a copy of that plaque, people will believe anything printed on brass. Why do you think so many kids believe "Good Sportsmanship" is better than first place? Suckers.

Sunday was moving day and I was all too excited to sleep on my new mattress. The one in my other house was a disgrace to the world of sleeping. It was made of foam, but before you get any ideas about it being like memory foam, allow me to rephrase. It was like sleeping on a deflated air mattress. I know memory foam and that was not it.

Only in Argentina do people find it appropriate to hold a fiesta on a Sunday evening. That's why I love it here. And the fact that there are only two types of people on the bus at 5:30 in the morning, drunks and cleaning people. You can always have a good time here it doesn't matter what day, or if there's signs warning against the dangers of Gripe A everywhere, or if it's raining, or if they close everything at 8pm because you're supposed to vote the next day. Oh, Argentina, your whole country should attend weekly AA meetings.

Yesterday was day from a cold, rainy, English hell. It was not Argentina yesterday it was England. In February. And I was feeling invisible to rain. What that really means is that I forgot to pack an umbrella, and because I'm poor and know that I own 400 umbrellas at home I refuse to buy one here. But yesterday, as it sometimes happens in life, it poured. And while I like to believe the marketing labels and the picture of fisherman standing on the storm drenched boat that comes with my 'waterproof' rain jacket. It's all lies. Umbrellas just have what I like to refer to as 'height advantage." I should know this, I'm tall.

I have a theory. So, I think I've mentioned before, but in order to take the collectivo (the bus) you have to pay with monedas (coins) and only monedas. But, there is a slight moneda shortage in this city of over 13 million people and 500 buses. There are three different rates, depending on the distance you are going, that range from 1.10 peso-1.25 peso. So sometimes when I'm feeling frugal I like to fib to save 5 or 10 centavos, and without a doubt something always goes wrong. One time I didn't pay because, well because I just didn't, and sure enough I had gotten on the wrong bus and it took me to this sketchy part of town. Then the other day I only paid 1.20 when I knew I should have paid 1.25 and I spent an hour and half job shadowing the bus driver through half of Capital Federal (Buenos Aires). Then last night I did the same thing (I don't learn my lesson easily) and paid only 1.20, and the bus driver decided to just 'go a different route,' which took me about 30 blocks from where I was supposed to be for a job. So I had to take another bus. So if you were to ask me if I believe in collectivo karma, I would say sí, por supuesto. Moral of the story, don't lie to those who control your destination or people behind the wheel.


Facts with a splash of opinion.

Fact. There have been many departures of North Americans out of EZE airport this week. I'm sure the airport security suspects something, they're very observant of the presence foreigners. Which leads to my wonderment of why several people have asked for directions from me this week. Well one person was a foreigner himself, asking me where the subte (that's the metro) was. Only to make my job easier, there was a sign directly in front of us. Because my Spanish is impressively better than when I first arrived I showed off my skills by informing him "obvio chico" we could see the subte from where we were.

Fact. My housemate, Victor, gave me a bunch of music this week. There's been a lot of James Brown and Jamie Lidell coming from my cuarto this past few days. Some may say they've heard a noise that sounds like a dying robot but I have no idea what they are talking about. No idea.

Fact. I move into my new place on Sunday with Alonso and his cousin Xavier (pronounced Savier in Spanish). And since it's not exactly 'legal' for Alonso to sublease the apartment to me so we've established myself as Alonso's girlfriend to Juan the doorman. This will be an excellent scandal if I ever meet myself a nice handsome Argentine man. But Juan looks like he enjoys a good scandal. And really who cares about legalities in Argentina? Not Argentines, apparently.

Fact. For now I'm saying ciao ciao.


Otra semana.

So things are good on the Southern front. Looks like gripe porcina has made it's way out like a bandit. We'll see if he returns. As I mentioned before schools were closed because of the pandemic and seeing as though a handful of my students are teenagers they have all become fairly unmotivated. Not that they ever need encouragement in that department. Let's take today for instance, it's Monday, not much going on, but I had to take a 35 minute plus bus ride out to this girl's house and when I got there, no está. ¿Por qué? You ask. No sé. I'm hoping since it is such a beautiful day her excuse is a good one, like she valued her intake of vitamin D more than learning English. Or her friend's dog was just having way too much fun catching the Frisbee she couldn't bare to make him stop. I still get paid, though.

In other exciting news. I officially found my favorite cookie in Buenos Aires. Bon o Bon tres. I got my first paycheck. Now, I won't be breaking the bank with this one, but I can maybe buy more bread and rice. I made a new friend. She works for two of the institutes that I work for teaching English as well. My mother sent me a package last week so I've had a wonderful week sleeping with my dinosaur that she sent me. I've also been staring at photos of my doggggiesss that were in the box, too.

On Friday, my tutor had me speak in Spanish for 45 minutes. Let's be honest though, I probably made a record for how little can be said in a 45 minute period and it still be considered a 'conversation.' It's word constipation when you're learning. There's so much you want to say but it just won't come out. Sometimes not even with the mental laxative, alcohol.

Last night I went to this club with live music with my housemate, Victor. On Sundays they hold jam sessions and play mostly funk and soul. It was 'black music tribute' night so who better to put on the cover of the flyers other than Michael Jackson himself? Circa 1984 Thriller video. I love how versatile the offensiveness of advertising is.
Victor and I both found it enjoyable that we found a place in Buenos Aires that appreciates different types of music besides cumbia and reggaeton . It's a rare gem here in South America so when you find it, you gotta hold on to that puppy.

¡Hasta luego!


cumpleaños de UU. EE. y gripe porcina

So first of all the hype of gripe porcina, swine flu, has gotten way out of hand here in Buenos Aires. It's ridiculous. Click here to see the laundry list of things that are being closed in Argentina because of it. There was talk of closing the night clubs and bars, but pahhlease. This is Buenos Aires, they'd have to be out of their minds to do that. And good thing because I partook in some dancing anoche.

I'm progressively getting more teaching jobs. Let's all get excited, because once I get some money coming in I can start taking classes at the culture centers. I've decided I would like to take a hip-hop or yoga class. My house had Yoga classes the other day. Yoga in Spanish is an interesting experience. Good thing I brushed up on my spanish vocab of human body parts. The best part was when the instructor called,"Elise....[insert something in Spanish I didn't understand]," and I looked up from my pose and everyone had moved on to the next position. Sometimes being in country where you can't understand people is like being deaf. You see that the mouths are moving but your not entirely sure what is coming out.
I will say this experience is making me a better listener. I mean let's be honest I float around a lot in my head. You'll be talking about how the walls are beautiful and I'm thinking, 'What happens when the collectivo (those are buses here in Argentina) drivers have pee and their on a route? Maybe that's why they're always pulling away before you can even step all the way off.' So, while I do often still wonder about various things such as that, I have been forced to reserve those thoughts to when I'm not trying to hang on every word of Spanish that is coming out of someone’s mouth. So not I just have to stop my brain from going, 'Oh GOD what was that last word. Shit. Can I pause this conversation and rewind? Did they just use empezar or encontrar? Why do they speak so fast!?,' while someone is speaking.
In due time. In due time.

Tomorrow I will celebrate the independence of Argentina. So many independences in one week. World, can you handle it?

Ciao Ciao.


Mi semana

So, MJ is dead. The South Carolina governor went on hiatus to Buenos Aires with his lover. Farrah passed into the heavens. I started teaching English in a foreign country. ¿¡Qué qué!? ¡Este semana es loco! I mean some of those events are more important than others. In fact I will devote my day to listening to MJ. That's only because I already taught my lesson today.

I got off to a good start with teaching. Tuesday, I taught two different lessons. First I teach a 15-year-old boy and after that I have two more 15-year-old boys. There were no antics or disorderly contact. All of the boys are upper intermediate, meaning they have a good use of grammar and a wide vocabulary. I have a lesson book, but I'm going to try to bring in other media for them to listen to English, ie. music, TV shows, magazines, newspapers etc. My two other "students" are women, about my age. Each of them works in a company, so I go to their work to teach. I have freedom to vary my curriculum with the boys and one of the ladies, it's nice because I can go at whatever pace I feel is necessary and I don't have to follow a book. The corporate training company I teach for I have to follow a English buisness book, but currently I only have one hour a week with them.

Good news! Next month I will be moving to a different place. I'll be moving into an apartment that my tutor and his cousin just got. It's a great apartment in one of the nicest parts of the city. The apartment is on the top floor and my room is part of the servants quarters so I have my own bathroom and entrance to the apartment. And, I don't mean to brag but The Perons (Eva Peron) used to live there. That's right. Evita re-enactment time, here I come.

This week has also been full of back-to-back dinner parties. Monday a couple of my house-mates and I made pork with rosemary and white wine, cabbage and squash mash. This proved to be the first delcious thing I've made since arriving. Somehow Buenos Aires has impaired my ability to cook well or vary my diet outside of pan, queso y jamon. Of course, we accidently sided it with three bottles of wine. Accidently, I tell you. That was fun getting up for orientation/training the next morning. Wednesday, yet another dinner party consisting of yummy potato mash and veggies and empanadas for dessert. Ending the night with a little cumbia dancing. Tonight there is a gallery night in Palermo (it's a barrio here) where all the galleries open for the public and you can go and drink wine…por gratis (for free)!

So, things are starting to come together. I'm beginning to leave the honeymoon period of my stay and enter reality. The only thing about that is that reality isn't as brightly colored all the time. Reality is a good thing, especially when you wake-up to a reality that's a little bit sweeter than some of the other options out there. Hey people, I live in Buenos Aires.