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


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?