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


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.