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


Whoa! Where in the world is elise wyatt?

New York. I know, I know. New York? You may ask, "I thought you were going to Chicago? Wait. Are you in Argentina still? I thought you were in Miami? Did you live in Minneapolis or something?" Me too, No, Miami Ad School OF Minneapolis, and Yes. So now that that's all out in the open, I should quickly update you. The Office Max pitch ended up going quite well. Our team won the pitch and received a generous high-five. I've recently been informed that both the Mall of America and Jimmy Kimmel client work our team put together received awards at Miami Ad School. I might even say that deserves a hug.

Now onto what's happening in the job-hunt. To keep it short, I went to Chicago for agency tours, but I didn't seem to have much luck. No one seemed to be hiring and I was having crying breakdowns almost every day. I came to New York to visit Megan and suddenly something happen. I had two interviews in one week. And I was invited to the Planning-ness conference here in New York.
I started writing people and people were writing back with other things to say than, "Sorry, but we're not hiring anyone at the moment, but keep looking." After much debate and changing of flights [twice] I have given myself until Nov. 12 to find something.
"Looking for a job is a full-time job," is an overused phrase that I want to punch in the throat every time I hear it. But. It's true. If I didn't dedicate the time I have been to looking for jobs and networking I wouldn't be having the luck I'm having. Plus, this city loves me and I love it back, which helps. I'm falling lustfully in love with this city, making it hard for me to want to look into other cities. Even though I should be more open.
I'm going to follow the leads I currently have and I'm building a pretty good network for only have been here less than three weeks.This process can't last too long because I can see myself getting to the point where the thoughts trail to, alright let's get this shit over with already.
But the good thing is that people are willing to help out. And I mean really help out. Like give leads and drop names, email, meet for coffee, beer, whatever. They want to help. Maybe it's because people who have gotten jobs in New York know how hard it really is, but also how awesome it is to live here.
I'm excited. I'm eager. I'm broke. So, I say let's do this!

I have to give a huge shout out to my befri, Megan. Without her I couldn't be where I am today. Literally. I'm sleeping on her couch for free.

As far as what happens if I don't have a job by November 12. Well, we'll address that issue when/if we get there.




It's all winding down. Or more, gliding down on a steep mountain side. I've had to set my Steromood to things like "soft" and "calm" and "breathe in deep" just so that I can feel some sense of balance and quiet.
I'm stressed. But [not] out of control. I haven't had to break down and start crying in the shower, at least not yet.
Office Max rough presentations are Wednesday with our instructors, with the real one to follow a week from that date. The school is closed for four days this weekend, it's apparently a holiday for the rest of the individuals in this country. So, instead of heading out to the Minnesota State Fair or basking in the 70 degree weather this weekend, I'll be sitting at a cafe in front of my computer. How exciting!
The reality is, I'm not sure if I'm more freaked out at the pressure to finish this f*ing portfolio or to look for a real job. I suppose the motions will be followed through regardless.

So my life until September 9th at 12pm will be my portfolio and the Office Max presentation. Any further concerns should be directed to my cell phone.



WEEK 7: Presentation throw-down

It's Friday night and I'm sitting in bed watching Anchorman and eating homemade peanut butter cookies. Life and times in Miami Ad School Minneapolis are getting tough. Clearly, since you haven't read a peep from me in over 10 days.

Things are going well. I'm not too stressed, just busy. Really busy. My planner partner and I are whippin' through our clients. Considering all I do six days a week is eat, breath and think school I just can't bring myself to continue a blog writing about it, too. And since I don't have much of a personal life these days, there really isn't much to talk about, is there?

I guess that I could share that things are coming together for my portfolio. In our portfolio class we had to choose a theme. My theme is giraffes. Yes, I know, big surprise, it's about animals. The connection I made between giraffes and account planning is quite clever, if I do say so myself. Lately, I'm only willing to spend my money on food and booze, so I clearly I won't be paying anyone to design the layout for my book. Psh. There's nothing a few grid lines on InDesign and a little confidence can't do. I'm getting my alumi money's worth from this Adobe Creative Suite I paid an arm and leg for after undergrad.

For our book, we select three of the seven client case studies/presentation that we've done in the quarter. I'll be putting our strategy for Jimmy Kimmel Live, which we hit a home run with in our social media campaign we presented. Possibly this next weeks client Patron (hey-oh!) or this past week's client Mall of America (hey-ho!). We're already get head nods for our final client I'd like to say that Office Max will be going in there as well. So, this should give me a nice well-rounded portfolio. Of course, what I'm most excited about is the "about me" page that I'm putting in at the end. Penny and Spencer (my dogs) will be making guest appearances.

As we crawl into Week 8, I'm getting restless. I'm ready to live somewhere and have it feel more permanent. Since 2004, I haven't lived in one place consistently for more than a year. It's becoming exhausting. I'm even having dreams about vomiting. Whatever that means.

On a final serious note, since I am trying to be all serious today anyway. I would just like to say that I'm learning a lot. And that's an understatement. I'm learning about the kind of work ethic I have and what I expect from others. I'm also learning a lot about this career I want to go into, and good news people, I love it!

Signing out.

y saludos a Diego! ;-)


holyyyy. Well, I'm alive. In case you were worried.



WEEK 4. The drama gets hot.

note: thoughts and explaintions in this blog are opinions. And also may come typed out incoherently.

The director of the school gave her notice on Monday that Friday (tomorrow) will be her last day. Although, the reason for quitting wasn't based on a problem she had with the school, but really just the problem with the proximity of her house and the location of the school. But, it really couldn't have come at a worse time.

The Duck, Duck, Goose class (the one with all the presentations...yeah that one) in effect was stepped in by corporate (aka: head office honchos in Miami) and evaluated and "re-instructed." Allow me to explain. Apparently, Miami Ad School of Minneapolis isn't running the Account Planning bootcamp the way "things are done in the real world." Annnndddd because this phrase is so well liked by people in the claimed "pre-real world" this speech went over really well by the creatives and planners. Allow me to further clarify. Miami Ad School of Minneapolis Account Planning Bootcamp should make everyone loose sleep and work their asses off until September 10 at graduation, meaning, all work must be fully executed (example: f you have a TV commercial idea for a campaign you have to actually shoot the commercial) and presented in a professional manner. Says the man wearing black socks and shower sandals. I was also told that I can sleep when the break is over. Oh, and, also, not to forget, this is advertising. So, have fun.

Don't get my wrong. This is a great idea. And over-all it is going to create a better portfolio for me and the creatives. I'm all for better work. High five, go team! And I love the account planner I'll be working with as well as the copywriter and art director. In fact. We're a pretty bad ass team. I have no doubt that they can do the work. But, it's the middle of the quarter and course expectations are drastically changed? Oh, Miami Ad School. You're the bomb. diggity.

For the end of the course final presentation the school brings in a real client for us to produce work for. Our client this year is Office Max. Some suits are flying in tomorrow to give us a briefing on the situation and expectations for a campaign. The work that will come out of this will be presented to Office Max at a corporate level, and if they like it, they're able to use our ideas and work. Fo realz. That's what I'm talking about.

Our client presentation next Wednesday will be for General Motors. This was the most difficult brand situation yet. The assignment was to decide how General Motors could re-enter the market as a brand. This was an interesting client, given the shitter GM is in with it's customers and the general public. I'm not much of a "emotional" car owner, but I'm finding out that a lot of people are. Some people freaking love their cars. And they love their brand of cars. While my fascination for this could go on, you're already disinterested, and probably stopped reading after the first sentence.

On a final closing note. I'm alive. I haven't killed anyone, yet. And I've been cooking a lot. My housemates and I have officially famed another Thursday Night Dinner tradition. Another noteworthy solid move: I took myself to a $5 matinee to see Inception, which totally blew my mind with amazingness. And, no, I haven't seen Matrix to compare the awesomeness with, sorry.
Oh, and I cut my bangs with paper scissors.



creative nonsense

Writing a blog while being in this program is proven to be more challenging than originally thought. This week has only had two days, but not having weekends means that the week really started...hmmm...three weeks ago? That's right, the bootcamp is already three weeks in the making.
I managed to keep my hands of Sharpie until this week, too. Since, I'm not a creative, I technically should never need to touch one. But in our Switching Sides class we put on the full right brained hat and step into the creative side's shoes. I particularly enjoy that class, especially since I've decided that my role in advertising stems from the fact that I am Smart Good Idea's biggest fan. There's nothing more I enjoy seeing than a few creatives getting together and putting ideas together. I mean some people get all excited about economics, love for German philosophers, animated superheros, or even sci-fi novels. Me? Really great ideas.

Tomorrow we present our creative for the Hennepin Central Library. My excitement for this can be expressed through the out pour of sarcasm in every one of these letters I've just typed. I never want to advertise a library ever again. And clearly neither does anyone else at Miami Ad School.

It looks like the APU did get a voice heard. The program director sent out a more thorough itinerary of the program today. Which is great, because I wasn't feeling stressed enough without further enforcement of how quickly things are going to go. But it does look like the school will be closed for the three days before our portfolio books are due. So, isn't that wonderful news?

In non-Miami Ad School related news, yes this is possible, the weather is absolutely lovely. Why can't Texas get it together. Highs in the mid-80s and over-night lows in the mid-60s. But I have heard that 'warm' spring temperatures are 32, 33 degrees. Fahrenheit. what. the. what?!

We'll see about all that non-sense.



APU is for you.

So apparently the Account Planners at Miami Ad School have taken upon themselves to organize and elect a president for a "Account Planner Union." I myself have never been a huge fan of the organized union. But I do however support free speech. I suppose in the long run I'm too positive and passive (if that combination ever sounded so imperfect?) to really organize complaints about anything. Except maybe if they decided to stop selling cheese and wine. There's a cause to fight for.

I pulled the famous "I'm a single woman" move today and bought myself a beautiful bouquet of flowers today at the Minneapolis Farmers Market that is held every Thursday downtown. Also, a friend of mine who works at the zoo took me for a free look around at what Minneapolis animal kingdom has to offer. There was four inches of glass between me and a 300lb swimming grizzly bear. And I realized that I could spend hours watching turtles swim. They're just so cool looking.

Our first presentation was last night. Our team, appropriately team named Gryffindor, presented a campaign for Dunkin Donuts. After a few slides of superman and the statue of liberty and the creative giving their speech it was over. Quick and dirty. That's how I love presentations. especially when they are sin powerpoint. I'm feeling a little rough with presentations and getting back into the game. I just need to push myself into it.

So I'm currently too exhausted to constructively talk about anything else.



Dipping in.

Dueling pianos with only 80s numbers. That's where the cheap drinks are in downtown Minneapolis on a Wednesday night. Introduction into Miami Ad School apparently includes a Pop-Rock shot courtesy of some seasoned art directors in the program. There shouldn't be too many questions why this field is so exciting.

Classes are kicking off well. The structure of the program is completely new to me. The classes are taught by professionals in the ad industry. So, it was first time since my freshman year philosophy class that I'd heard a teacher curse in class and have them call you by their first name. It feels good to be in a learning environment again, especially a more creative one.

Classes carry on throughout the weekend, so my only true 'day off' so to speak is Thursdays. Which will be a self proclaimed "laundry-food shopping" day.

I scored myself a free bike for a few months while I'm here. The people I'm living with are well connected, so it seems. The ride to school is about 3.2 miles through the nice and lovely industrial warehouse strip along the clap filled Mississippi river. Although, the summer heat isn't nearly as intense at Texas, but biking at least six-and-a-half miles each day is going to have me looking real hot. and sweaty. So I'll be keeping a dark chocolate bar and bottle of wine at my hands for nightly tuck-in. that or a cold beer.

I've decided that I'll probably end up explaining to people for the rest of my life exactly what it is that I do. I work in advertising. Then I suppose people can make there assumptions from there. Because when I start to explain account planning people automatically think numbers. And let's all be honest, I like to claim my fame to a lot of things, but numbers is a the bottom of that list.

So I'm not sure how much I will actually be blogging. Considering I've attempted to start writing an entry for almost a week now, I'm guessing not much. But maybe every once and a while you'll get a sentence. Statement and verification of my livelihood. maybe.

Alright folks.



packed. de nuevo.

Packing for three months is much easier than packing for a year. Especially when the hemisphere is the same. I'm excited. I'm starting something amazing and new and from here on out it's the talent and passion I have that will drive me. Of course, the recession will be right there to remind me of reality when I'm looking a for a job in three months. Until then I will sharpen my pencils and take notes diligently. 'Cause I'm back in school. And in an entirely new territory. I dig it. bring it.

Ohhhh, I hope I can watch Fargo on my netflix online.



Moving On. Again.

The American soil has seeped back into the soles of my shoes. The sweltering Texas heat has broken my sweat. The wonders of the English language have re-filled in my brain. I'm adjusting back to this american life. The first few days were like walking through a sand box with your eyes closed. Then, I opened up my eyes and started laughing again. And driving like the irresponsible driver I am. Sometimes a wave will come over me. Thinking about those delicious empanadas, you ask? oh you know it. Especially that fugazetta. Besides food, there are certain things, even things I love, I'll have to leave behind. And time will make that easier. that is just life, isn't it?

As you may have noticed I changed up the format. The content will be changing, as well. I'm currently in San Antonio, after a weekend of visiting old friends in Denton and Fort Worth, but only for two more weeks. I take off for Miami Ad School....which let's all remember the misleading confusion that it is actually in Minneapolis. Either way, I get to say chau to 100-degree summer days here in Texas and give the north a chance to show me it 'warm' side.

My blog will document my adventure through this Account Planning Bootcamp, running from July 6- September 20. After the program is over I will be taking a short trip to Chicago and New York to visit agencies and friends. Once this course is over I think I'll be ready to pack up my suitcases for a while. Where? Quien sabe?

Warning: These entries will not contain as much adventuresome stories as the past year in Argentina, but I will do my best to hide great cynicism.


Don't cry for me, Argentina.

We've come full circle. One year later. I've got all kinds of emotions running through my body so I should not write an elaborate entry right now. But, I am home. I am missing certain people. Certain things. Nothing that I could put in my suitcase, though. So, I'll take a deep breath and look at the fancy things I just found today at Super Target.

I just need to settle my brain. my body. I'm in Texas. I'm in Texas.

That's all.



Bebé de comida

I just ate my weight in Argentine beef. and it was so deli(cious). My housemates and I went to a tenedor libre, which literally means "open fork," but what it really is a wonderful all-you-can-eat meat heaven. There was a nice salad bar with fresh beats and all, then you get to choose which and however much of the meat as you want. Of course, you have to start with the steak then work your way down. By the time I got to the sausage I was meated out, with a food baby named carne. Don't worry I topped all that off with some helado (ice cream).

I could give you a play-by-play of what I've been doing since Sunday, but really it would just be descriptions of the different food I've been eating, and good company as a side order. My mind doesn't really go around thinking, this is the last time you'll be able to do this, but apparently my stomach has caught on to the fact that I'm leaving and it's taking me for a ride.

I'm going to miss so many things about this city, but one of the things I have to most shame to admit that I'm going to miss is the dirty old men that stare at you on the street. Men are trained from a young age to stare and whistle at woman, and most of the time it's harmless. About 90% of the time it just makes me laugh at how ridiculous they are about it, and obvious. Today this old man stopped me in the street to ask me something and when I couldn't make out the first time what he had said, upon his repetition of his question I could only make out one word between his slurs with four teeth, "beso." and I kept on walking.

This time next week I will have gone from Fall to Summer, moved back two hours, eaten Tex-Mex and possibly driven a car for the first time in a year. que raro.




Mi última semana.

So my favorite bus let me down tonight. The 59. It's given me so many great memories and I swear when that bus driver looked at me tonight as I was running toward the stop in a breathless manner, he smirked at me as he hit the gas. Smirked. at me. Well. I'll show him. Yeah. I waited 25 minutes for the next one.

Tonight was my last class with the family I've been teaching English to on weekends since August. They made me a cake that said "Bye, Bye" on it and called it my Bye Bye Cake. There were even little white hearts written in icing on it. I was very touched. Then i started making jokes and singing "Bye, Bye, Bye" from NSYNC, including hand gestures. I'm always in for a laugh.

We're on the home stretch. Literally. I've had so many emotions since arriving here, and now I really can't feel any of the ones that see fit. All I'm feeling is the my life moving and the way I feel about being in it. The only things I want to plan for this week are eating and drinking. And a little snuggle time, since the weather is getting cold.

I'm going to be annoying and try and write a play-by-play of my last days. Well, see how many days go by before I realize I'm sitting in my bed in Texas connected to the internet and no longer able to walk across the street and buy bread and milk. Hmm. Strange.




I've decided that banana-chocolate chip pancakes and Jamie Lidell are a wonderful way to begin your Friday morning slash afternoon. Especially when you have nothing but a care in the world. I realize that my extreme happiness in this world is probably stabbing you with a spoon. I also realize I'm a much better writer when I'm bitter and cynical, but I tried those emotions and they just don't work right now. Maybe it's the company I keep. Just so damn wonderful. This happiness has become so infectious that I've begun singing on the street and slightly skipping to the beat under my headphones.

I don't have departure on my mind. I've come to the conclusion that it's better to leave all that emotional baggage for the taxi driver to the airport. What a wonderful experience for him that will be. But my housemate was telling me that they don't let crazies on planes, so I'll have to compose myself before take off.

I'm officially finished teaching English. Thank god. I wasn't doing a disservice to this world or anything, it's not like I was shaping young minds, but I was simply dissolving in boredom. Now, in just a few months I will enter into a career that I couldn't be more excited about. I love chemicals that make your water taste like orange drink, and I want to sell it to you for breakfast. Mmm. Drink it up.

Lots of besos.



Me encantan tus ojos, mi amor!

It's been a few weeks since my last update, but really what been going on isn't very interesting. Just a few lessons on latin love juggling, empanada eating, a substantial collection of payment for "transportation coverage" from my internship, the cooking of: chocolate chip cookies, veggie stir fry with asain fried rice, chili, potato-spinach tarta, apple pie and chocolate banana pancakes; the turning on of heaters, a few free concerts in the park, one new pair of funky purple boots and, last but not least, one circus act complete with people propelling from 20 story buildings and 1.5 tons of feathers released into the crowd. Other than that, really not a lot going on. Just a few thoughts on leaving and a few thoughts on returning.

Things never turn out how you expect them to. Like that apple pie I made yesterday. Deeelicious, and even looks like it's from out of a magazine. Didn't expect that. But lately I've felt the need to fill my life with only things that make me happy, and eliminate those things that require too much effort. So this past week, when I didn't feel like teaching, I played "sick," but of course Karma came and bit me in the ass for that, I fell ill a few days after that. No worries, there's nothing like a strong antibiotic to cure anything. I must be careful with my words. With only a few fingers and toes left to count down the days I really have nothing to loose. As we get older we have to realize that choices we make are how to keep ourselves happy. and how to react to those things that which we can not control is how we keep our sanity.

Buenos Aires, I'm starting to feel like this is goodbye. and I'm not quite sure how to feel.



I just got accepted into the Miami Ad School Account Planning Bootcamp. I'll toast to that. even eat a damn empanada.
So, if anyone knows anything about Minneapolis, MN feel free to tell me.



So, by Tuesday I had already eaten empandas for two meals. in one day. I also threw some fugazetta and cured ham in there. Gave it a full on bad-eating week. I've got things on my mind. Mostly unimportant things that will weave themselves out of my life sooner than later. Some which will and cannot weave, nor would I ever dream it. And then sometimes I just think about things like not having to put my mattress on the floor anymore so I don't wake up with paralyzing back pain. Or never having my coffee taste just right because I'm forced to by pre-ground beans and strain my coffee by hand through a filter. Then there's the unmistakable news from Miami Ad School. Still waiting.
But the good news is, my coffee cup has resurfaced. yes. victory.

Really I'm just killing time because as odds have it I've been spending too much time around my inbox. But now I must go and earn an embarrassingly low amount of salary teaching adults English. Or rather, pretending to give a shit for an hour about something other than my personal life.



playing the field.

Little things in our apartment keep disappearing. Not things that are mine, but things I like to use. When I drink my coffee in the morning I like to use a certain coffee cup. Not only does it help me feel grounded in my morning injection of caffeine but it's slightly bigger than all the other mugs. And a few ago it just disappeared. I have a theory that P-diddy (fourth wheel roommate) confiscated it and put it on a fancy shelf in his Palermo apartment of a bedroom...along with the griller that I loved to cook my meat on. He's a mystery, that one. Although, he did give me a chance to hold over 10,000 pesos in my bare hands. my bear hands.

Tonight, I treated myself to some alone time. An activity, I realized, that I haven't participated much in lately, except the time I spend on Fugi, which isn't really alone time. One of the museums was featuring silent films accompanied with live music. El gabinete del Dr. Caligari (1920). It was really interesting, even though I had to read the script in Spanish for an hour. I may or may not have shut my eyes for an extended period of time lasting more than 2 minutes. The music was telling the story for me anyways, so I didn't miss much.

This week I'm going to try and not eat as many damn empanadas as I did last week. Maybe just two meals out of the week instead of four. But it's not my fault everyone loves to make them. and that our [h]oven was fixed in our apartment and I wanted an excuse to use it. and that there was a concert in Recoleta, and everyone knows you can't go to Recoleta without eating empanadas at Sanjaunino. that's just a crime. Those blue cheese empanadas have nuts in them, and the guy at the counter always gives me extra and tells me things like, "well, for you we have that kinda today." but in Spanish, so it's sexier. obviously.

So many things are just sexier when they're said in Spanish.

I find out this week if I'm accepted into the Miami Ad School program. I haven't decided if I'm going to obsessively check my emails or if I'll make every excuse not to be around computers this week. I'm predicting that the former is much more likely to occur than the later. I just hope I'm not rejected over that one tiny little spelling error in my video that was pointed out by my non-native English speaking friend and overlooked by all the other natives that watched it. including myself. oh god.



reading material.

It was a strange Sunday on the subte. First, there was a man was dancing barefoot on a cardboard box while balancing a suitcase full of clothes on his head. Later there was a dude with a crazy make-shift boom-box who wore old rags and mesh bags on his head while break dancing and doign head spins. Not to mention, the woman selling dual flash light/lighter contraptions. It was a shame that I was alone in all of these happenings, all I wanted to do was snicker and make some comment about these crazy dudes. And even if I had something clever today it wouldn't come out the same in Spanish. sigh. general language barrier frustrations.

Sietske (roommate) and I have been parading the city buying shit this weekend. She's good though, she won't let me buy any purses, but she has no restrictions for the amount of hair crap I want buy. Since my shoe size is impossible to find in any of the stores, I drool and support her in her purchases of gorgeous boots. But, I have an amazing pair of boots on the way that I had an artisan custom make for me. And in return for me using Sietske for her Spanish skills she uses me for my room/closet with a door. That's what roommates are for. That's what friends are for, too.

With only five weeks left I've been mentally preparing for my return home. My mind takes a few minutes to wrap itself around the idea. I haven't been living on Mars or gone for 20 years, but I have made a few self-changes and discoveries. Like now I know how to live without a microwave and brew coffee without a machine. Some of these I know will fit into my life at home perfectly and others will need some adjustments. Like driving a car a distance that I normally would just walk in the city. Then there are just things I miss. Like my tiger and lion necklaces, bunny earrings, and my other large obnoxious accessories I used to wear. My Saturday's revolt of going out and purchasing red nail polish is just my body's way of saying...we know you want to put on some new clothes, but you're going to have to wait a few weeks to leave the land of crap materials. But now my finger nails are all pretty and I have a pink flower for my hair. and a yellow/orange one. and a black one. and maroon one. Life is good.



Tax Day.

It's Tax Day in the US. But when I woke up this morning it was April 15, 2010, raining and cold in Argentina. And I thought, tax day was April 16. Of course I hadn't filed my taxes yet, I'm in Argentina I get an excuse to be lazy and late for everything. But lucky for me I have one fantastic Mom who knows how to use a scanner. So I thought I could escape taxes...but technology always finds you way to do something, doesn't it? And next year I'm sure the IRS would love for me to explain the year gap in my employment as "working illegally in Buenos Aires." How do you claim sketchy Western Union errands I make for my roommate, where I get to hold 10 thousand pesos in mis manos for about 2 minutes? I'm sure that's non-taxable.

Miami Ad School has informed me that they have all of my application information. Well. This is it people. Now we wait. Until this I must twiddle my thumbs. toes. legs. anything that moves and displays my sever anticipation to know. Then I must figure out one thing. How the hell am I going to pay for this? And what the hell is in Minnesota?

So today I didn't prepare for my classes. Surprise surprise. But the thing is my institute just added three new students to an existing student I already had. Which is already quite awkward since we had already built a nice one:one classroom environment. Let's be honest, with one student I can pretend to teach, I've gotten away with it for almost a year now and it seems to be working out quite well. But four students? You can't hide bad teaching skills with friendly conversation. There just 'aint no where to go. So what do I do? Pretend to have a thought out lesson plan and somehow get my students talking about foreign immigrants from Peru and Bolivia in Argentina that are taking all of their "dirty jobs." Obviously.

My goal lately has been to see how awkward I can make a situation before some shuts it down. Or someone just ends it by kissing someone else. now, that's what I call locking it up.

Tomorrow I joyfully get to go to my internship where everyone is generously spreading a cold around the office. In a one roomed office of 10 people you would think someone would say, "Mira, tienes que ir a tu casa." But, no. This Argentina and everyone shares everything. Even there mate when they're sick. Dudes. You wonder why Gripe A [swine flu] is so out of control in winter. Exhibit A. Next, we'll tackle hand washing.



Si pero No.

How are you my eight readers? The demands for better posts was just too much, I had to meet demands. Plus, I missed you, Blog. It's nice to write about other things besides fixed questions for an application. Like how amazing my rainy afternoon nap was. And scrapping the last of the peanut butter from the jar Meg left me. And how I'm really confused what to fill my free time with now that I don't have an application to avoid working on.

It's been brought to my attention that I only have six weeks left here in this wonderful country. Yes, I just said Argentina was wonderful. For all its ridiculous and obnoxious things I love to complain about, I adore it for everything it has been to me. Even if I had to jump over the urine from the homeless man laying in the street peeing last night. Even if.

Also there are some pretty great things just getting started in my life. pretty great things, I say.
Yesterday, my internship had me making phone calls to the US. Simple task. Of course the man on the other online was confused when I responded to questions with Si, por favor. I never thought it would be so confusing to speak English. I guess I have my niches where I speak it. And one of them for the last year has not been cold calling strangers.

So now the next few weeks I will be worried about my application. I will have to find distractions. As someone brilliant I know says, "Distractions are the spices of life."


leaves are falling

The date from last entry is spaced out further than normal. At this point, to get on the computer and do anything else besides work on my application I just feel guilty. So this is really just an update to let you know that I am alive, and no my application is not finished.
But. I did help bring Meg's 24th Birthday in style. I also went to Uruguay last week and rode a bike around the beach-side. Had a wonderful asado with an Argentine family on Easter. "Un"celebrated the departure of Meg, also in style. And now I'm here. In my apartment slaving away at this damn application.

Write again soon when I'm not so bitter.

I better get accepted into this school, that's all I'm saying.



piece of mind.

I'm getting itchy for new clothes. The clothes are a. one size fits all and b. overly expensive for their worth. I miss the Target clearance rack. sigh. I've been wearing the same clothes for about ten months now. It's getting repetitive. Mom sent some new shirts a while back, but it's just not the same.
I'm gonna miss this country. It's been so long since I've had to say goodbye to something without knowing when or if I'll see it again. It's a strange concept. I came home the other day and greeted my tiny closet of a room and I was overcome with that feeling. This is my home for the moment. I like it. I'm happy. But I know I can't stay. Maybe that's why I've been holding something back. Another part thinks the place is too exhausting and unappreciative of my greatness, I've gotten what I was looking for out of my time here, and now, it's time to return back home. Did I just write the beginning of a time traveling novel?

Next week I'm heading off to Uruguay for a few days. Just like all those regular ex-pats do to renew their visas and pretend like "they really just felt like getting away for a little while." We all know it's a lie, one day the Argentine government will catch on. Oh, who am I kidding, we all know the Argentine government doesn't give a crap about the foreigners living in this country. Every single job I've had here has openly been "under-the-table." This how people run effective businesses in Argentina. That and letting their employees come in at 10am.

My mental deadline for my MAS application is the week after next. I'm getting closer with ideas for this video. Don't worry, I work really well under pressure. I think.



what the wwhhhaaat?

I only have two more months in this wonderful Argentine journey.
That's really all my thoughts right now.
And this application, which I'm secretly beginning to call names.



Take the bus story and you read it. you read it!

I love starting my morning feeling like a cow in a holding pin. The metro in this city before 9:30am is a disaster. Un quilombo. But I was forced to ride on this rodeo of city transportation because my translation skills were needed before my regular arrival time. But I was greeted by someone else getting me, the intern, coffee. What the what?! I love this place.

So, for those of you whom are dedicated readers you may remember Tales from the Collectivo...also known as bus stories. Well, they're back. With the mother of all stories.
Meg and I decided to take the bus home on Saturday night with the trusty number 59. As luck would have it we caught one just as we arrived at the stop. Late-night riders were occupying all the seats, so Meg took her luck next to the number one hottie on the bus, while I hang out next to the handicap bars. Then. Out of no where pops in this dude to wedge himself into the small space between myself and the bus window. My nose smells him before my eyes can even grace his presence. Some cutie across from me darts his eyes at me, then Smelly Man, then back at me. You wish, dude. What can a girl do? I guess politely mumble to her best friend (still rubbing shoulders with Hottie Mchotterson) "Yeah, that´s just not going to happen," as she moves away from the smell.
Smelly Man does some tricks, like tries to light his cigarette backwards and drop & pick-up his lighter a million times. Meg and I are thoroughly dialoguing the events when we realize the bus has stopped and in storm six Argentine Policia to begin harassing Smelly Man. How they were able to get so close to him without wearing Purell, I don't know. There was about 5 minutes of authoritative yelling. some bitch slapping. woman police officer holding Smelly Man back. Smelly Man shouting "No tengo nada! No tengo nada!" Me squeezing Meg's hand with extreme excitement of events unfolding in front of our little American eyes.
The police officers finally drag Smelly Man off the bus and have their way...something not as excited I'm sure as they make it seem in those cop shows. But it was definitely material for TrueTV.

Oh, number 59.

St. Patty's Day was a bust, unfortunately. Being soaked before I even arrived at Meg's apartment was quite the downer. But don't worry we have the final installment in Thursday Night Dinner coming up. Lots of potential for hat wearing. If you know what I mean.

Also I purchased my tickets for Uruguay. I'm ready for my fourth South American country visit. It's a small one, but lots of potential. And there's a boat ride involved.

Application coming along like road construction in San Antonio. And speaking of home, I'll be there in about two months. No puedo creerlo!



You never fail.

Yesterday, I saw a man trying to hail a garbage truck, what I can only imagine he thought to be a bus. At least one hopes. Of course yelling at the garbage men for not being collectivo drivers is taking the situation a little too far, dude.
It must be crazy week. This morning some older lady stopped on the sidewalk to yell at me "HELLO" in English. Something I only hear from drooling men staring at my chest, and surprising not interested in learning anymore words in English. Unless, they come before words like "yes, please" or "tell me more."

Tonight will continue the new tradition Meg and I have of Thursday Night Dinner. I feel like I'm cheating a little bit on my original Thursday Night Dinner that I used to have with Liz in college.

But it's nice to have a little bit of stability in this city, especially when you deal with the crazies I have been dealing with.

The girl that sits across from me at my internship has a cookie jar on her desk. The problem is that her desk is my desk. She's my desk buddy, if you can say that. Frequently, she will stick her hand in there and eat a cookie. Everytime she does this my hand wants to jump out and snatch the damn cookie from her. and eat it.

The other girls in the office usually play terrible 90s mixes on their computers for the whole office to hear. Yesterday featured Whitney Houston's, "I will always love you." Including a sing-along. People would agree it's one of the best international hits to play in the work place...besides "whoop! There it is" Nothing is better than that.

My roommates are coming back next week. I'm really excited. The "fourth roommate" and I have been in the tiny apartment alone together for weeks now. I'll go days without seeing him, but I know he's home because sometimes I see that the bathroom floor is wet. Or there are food stains uncleaned on the stove. Sometimes, just sometimes, the door will be cracked open. And even though I can't see him, I'm comforted that some fresh air is breezing through the dark cave.

I've completed to two of my application questions. Only eight more and a video. Because of my inherent ability to procrastinate I've told myself the deadline is actually 10 days before the real one. But shhhh don't tell my brain, he's convinced.

Also, updates on my attitude: I'm getting excited to come home! I'm already planning a trip up to North Texas for about a week to hit all those cool peeps in the Denton, Dallas and Ft. Worth area that I haven't seen since pre-South American experience. Don't worry Austin-ites I'll be muy cercita de vos.

Chau amigos.



My brain is tired. I really missed this feeling. I spent the afternoon writing my bio for my application. Only nine other immensely creatively destructive questions to go. I should have started saving up to spend all my money on café en los cafés. There's no way ideas can come to me in this closet of a room, so I'll have to find alternative places to pass my afternoons. Outdoor public places are definitely out of the question, unless I would like to never see Fugi again. I'm not sure I've seen a single library the whole time I've been here, either. And there's no campuses where I can fake that I'm a student for free wifi. That only works for museum and movie discounts.

Time to put myself to bed with a few episodes of 30 Rock and humidity that you could swim in.



[moment of ]

It's hard to think just a year ago I was in Chile, traveling the south with Meg. And even a month ago I was parading through the streets of Santiago de Chile. Now the country is in a state of disaster. And turmoil. I'm lucky to be where I am, safe and alive. [Moment of silence.]

Someone smokes in the ad agency office where I'm interning. Actually in the office. Because it's not very frequent, it doesn't bother me as much as it just plain strange. Sometimes I close my eyes and pretend I'm in an episode of Mad Men. The internship is going well, though. First day I showed up on-time to find myself waiting 30 minutes until someone arrived. Oh, how I love Argentina work ethic. I'm working directly with the project manager. There are only about ten people in the agency, so it's nice small feel. Of course me being the only gringa in the house makes it a little bit more obvious, not that it's ever that subtle. But sometimes I try not to be so obvious with my Spanish-stum-bling--st-u-tter.

Meg and I finally figured out a way to make fast cash. Even though she does live on calle puta (whore street) we've decided to use our skills in another way. Baking! We had our first successful cookie sale on Sunday at the San Telmo fair. Of course I had to perfect my "Galletas.galletas.galletas" voice. Nothing will compare to the pure raw talent of the old men on bicycles who yell out "heeellladoooo.helado.heladooo." but I can always strive. So now that Meg and I are actually cookie artisans we expect to getting a little bit more respect, even if the majority of our customers are old men wanting to sneak a peek at my chest and ask us where we're from. He's giving me 2 pesos, the least I can do is flash him a smile. But the staring I'll have to start charging extra for.

I started going to G.A.P. classes at my gym. Don't let the Spanish acronym fool you. It's an ass, legs and abs class that had me feeling like a 90-year-old lady. It left me to put on very embarrassing display of inability to do crunches at the gym the following day. Meg insisted that I do 10 even though it really ended up being 20 because I half-assed about 30 before she counted them. She's a good gym partner. But. There was lots of grunting. maybe some yelling. definitely some cursing. And as opposed to former thoughts in the week, I am still alive. Next adventure: Spin class!



It takes more than...

This week has been a bit confusing for my body. First of all it went from mid morning rise n' shine to 7am alarm-slamming wake-up calls. In order to not only eat tuna and rice for the next three months I found it necessary to take any class offered to me, which is usually the 8am ones, well, because no one else wants those obviously. Nothing functions well in this country before 10am, so really during my morning commute it's just me, the street cleaners, a handful of crazies getting to work early, and drunks stumbling home from the night before. Really it's the only part of my day I don't get starred at profusely with laser-sharp eyes of old men. They must all be having their morning coffee then.

Meg and I joined the gym. Thus, leading to further confusion for my body. Cardio? Elise. I've refrained from joining a gym the entire time I've been here because I was under the illusion that they were expensive, when in fact this is the cheapest physical activity I've done the entire time. While on the bike, Meg and I engaged ourselves in our favorite pastime, Twenty Questions, but it wouldn't have been so weird if, a) I wasn't given a private stare-down from the, b) the gym wasn't the size of an average two bedroom apartment, c) filled with a sausage fest of vein hombres pumping iron. So I'll be purchasing an MP3 player this week, this will help avert the stares and the sounds of faint grunting.

On Monday, I spoke with the admissions director at Miami Ad School. After some confusion on the requirements for job experience I have decided to apply to the summer Account Planning Bootcamp in Minneapolis. I quickly went searching for an internship as some job type of agency experience is a requirement for the program. The process was faster than I expected: A simple email titled::Will Work for Free:: and an interview in Spanish (silent victory dance!!). ¡Listo! I landed myself a spot at Cactus Advertising. I'm not entirely sure what it is I'll be doing, I offered to lick stamps and file papers. But this operation seems a little bit more creative than those tasks. It's fifteen hours a week and I get travel expenses covered. This is one of the most exciting things I've started in a while. Getting back into my advertising box feels right. Now let's start my application.

This also means that I will only have to teach two 8am classes now. big smiles.

I feel some great things coming this way. Just when you're starting to doubt yourself. This world is funny.



sign me up.

I need more classes. Pronto. I'm getting bored. There's only so much internet time my mind allows. Leisure book reading in the park isn't as much fun when you gotta pack on the OFF! and sunscreen and you're still sweating bullets the entire time because that Dengue brochure lying on your floor haunts you every time a mosquito comes within twenty feet of your skin. Late Christmas gifts received from your Bestie in Denton are perfect for passing the time researching new music.
I mean I'm already broke, and there's no amount of complaining that will change this but the facts are these: I only have a few more months here in this country. I've been here for nine months. My roommates are leaving for three weeks. My creativity is lacking on the things to do.

Joining to the gym is definitely on the priority list. I want my arrival home to be like the season finale of those extreme makeover shows on E! Entertainment. Everyone is always crying cause the other person looks hotter than them. Or they're secretly jealous of their awesome new free wardrobe. I can never tell. Also,it's been raining a lot here lately. I'm not really sure how to handle this. It's making me a little sad on the inside. Mis ojos miss the sunshine. This is South America, not England. I already did that shitty weather gig.

Oh! I think the sun just made a shy slide into the open sky. I better get out my to-do list. I feel motivated. kinda.



Big Return

I'm back. I spent the first day or so watching Gossip Girl and eating fruit. After a month of moving constantly everyday, my body was yearning for a day in la cama. I also spent some valuable time with my computer uploading photos to Facebook. I don't know what's going on with technology but I would really appreciate it if Facebook didn't change it's format every two months.

The trip ended well. Northern Argentina has it's charm. More than I expected. Vineyards in the middle of the mountains. Rivers that run through charming towns. Jungle, or what appears to be tropical lands, with birds. Green hills and valleys that look like they've come straight out of Sound of Music. Rocks with thousands of layers, that you would think it's the largest layer-cake you've ever seen. Roads that are paved with painted lines on them. It's just a wonder. Really. We had the opportunity to road trip it in a car for a few days as well. So, fun car games, like twenty questions and eye spy, were the main activities.

Now, I'm back. In the city. It felt good to come back. Comfortable. I have just over three months left here. I'm still on the hunt for that hot Argentine love affair. And most importantly there are so many things I still want to do in the city. But seeing as though my bank account would highly object to any thought of a with drawl at this point, I'll be doing a lot of "park-like" activities. It's all about the simple pleasures in life.

I'm applying to Miami Ad School's Account Planning Program. The questions for the application are quite intensive. I tried to give them some thought on the trip, but it didn't go so well. The one that is really stumping me is what kind of animal am I most like. Exotic bird? Dog? Giraffe? And a paradox that explains my life? I don't know people. I suppose I'm too tired to come up with anything at the moment. It's just been so long since I've really thought creatively. I need to do creative brain cartwheels or something. Any suggestions? Richard Simmons? Anything is possible really. But I have a feeling that staring at this computer screen anymore is just going to further impair my poor eyesight.



Land of vos

Back in Argentina. A world of paved roads and buses that don't break down in the middle of the night or have two flat tires. A land where I can drink the water without fear of contracting some crazy bacterial infection.

If I weren't completely travel exhausted and broke I would be relishing in more of Northern Argentina, but I'm currently out of resources considering that I bought everything I touched in Bolivia.

Tilcara was beautiful, and full of sexy Argentines on vacation. Salta is wonderful and less hectic than Buenos Aires, but with the nice Argentine flare. Tomorrow I am off to indulge in wine and delcious scenery in Cafayate.

My boss emailed me, and I'm back to the teaching mill on Monday. So let's enjoy it while it lasts. Exhaustion is saying otherwise, sadly.

Back in the city con fotos by the weekend.



Bolivia Uplivia.

Been in Bolivia a while. It's wednesday. I know this because my watch has a little tick next to the "WE" on it´s face. Apparently it's the 3 of February. When I filled out the paperwork this morning at the hostel that is what he told me. So, I've been in Bolivia for a couple weeks now? Time is so relative when you're traveling. You begin to clump them together as an itinerary. Well, I went there before there. So it must have been after that. Yeah. Who knows? All I know is that I've seen some pretty great things in the last few weeks of travel.
Meg and I just left the Amazon Basin. Near Rurrenabaque, Bolivia. We had a run of good luck adn were able to take a flight out. Even though upon seeing the actual plane I was slightly frightened by it's Barbie size. It held no more than 20 people and since a door to the cockpit would have just been silly, you felt like everyone was flying the plane. But not everyone has a pilot license dudes!
During our pampas tour I did participate in the unsuccessful hunting of anacondas, but I did not however choose to have the guide put a banana on my head so wild monkeys could eat off of it. Have you ever seen monkeys in the wild. Freaky. as shit.
The tour ended well. I have some funky tan lines and a few mosquito bites. Thanks 100% DEET! No Dengue for this one. I tried to get my mack on with the 6 foot 8 inch cutie in our group. But three days of pampas and sleeping in bunglos will have you wanting clean sheets and a shower more than anything.

After a plane ride and a 14 hour bus ride we're currently in Sucre. This next week we will try to fit as many 14 hour bus rides in as we can. Our plan is to be back in Buenos Aires in about a week. Still have Northern Argentina to discover! Let's see what this camera memory card can do.

Chau chicos!!



Bolivia bolivia.

Arrived in La Paz, Bolivia this morning after a ten hour bus ride trough Bolivia. Buses in Bolivia. Like a ten hour massage chair. That you can get out of. Now around 3,700 meters off the ground I´m feeling a bit dizy. Life is colder and full lots of touristy things here in La Paz. But around eight dollars a night for a hotel room with a private bathroom. Sold! Wait I forgot to mention the Bolivian cable TV. What?! I love Bolivia. In reality, I really should put a limit to how many things I am allowed to buy....we´ll see how that goes. A two week festival starts tomorrow and there are lots of mini trinkets involved. baby llamas? Don´t think customs will mind.
I have been in the desert and salt flats of southern Bolivia for the last three days. This blog tends to keep the sarcastic mood but I would like to take a moment to write about how wonderfully beautiful this country is. A 12,000 square meter salt flat. Llamas with there cute little babycita llamas roaming the grounds of a lagoon. Thousands and thousands of flamingos. just hanging out. You know how I like the birds. Huge mountains of seven different colors. Really. It really can´t get any better.

So I´ll be in La Paz for a few days. Enjoy life my friends.




Meg and I have been a little mislead about the facts supporting our visit here in the remote Uspallata, Argentina. While beautiful and remote, nestled between the edge of the mountains and a nice mountain stream, it´s lacking in it´s helpfullness and honesty. We didn´t end up booking the hostel online, just walking in, so if this entry begins to feel more like a hostel review than an entry....appologies. Also there isn´t a spell check on this, so there will most likely be a lot of spelling errors. We were lead to believe that our trip to La puenta de Inca would take all day, but appon arriving we imediately were confused if were at the right place. Does a small bridge take all day to visit? Maybe. But I think not. So Meg and I found a tour group that was leaving from the bridge site and was going to visit a Christ statue on the top of a mountain. What Catholic doesn´t love that shit? Juan, our driver for the day. Took us to see the tallest peak in Latin America and, of course, we made friends with some of the older couples on the tour. We love new friends.
We came back this afternoon and I waded in the near by stream with a new doggie friend. Such as life. I´m sure the hostel won´t be vegetarian friendly...last night meg´s option was milenesa de carne and salad. And I´m not sure we feel like walking a 1k to the nearest ¨store.¨ I´m starting to notice that I´ve been living in a big city for a while. Hmmm. But I don´t miss BA, just yet.
We´re off to Santiago tomorrow. Crossing boarder patrol should be fun. Vamos.


un viaje.

I'm vaccinated. No yellow fever for this lady. Now I'm ready for our viaje. Meg and I leave on Sunday.

In case you're curious what I'll be doing for the next month while my entries will be scarce to non-existent.
We'll start off in Mendoza, Argentina spend a few nights out there in the mountains and wine country , then head to Santiago, Chile for a few days. Take a bus up to the north in the Atacama Desert and breath in some sand. From there we will enter into Peru and Lake Titicaca. We'll spend a day or two on the lake and head to Bolivia. This is where all the real excitement starts. We have an attentive plan mostly making sure we see the pink dolphins, anacondas, crocodiles, salt flats and join the mile high club in La Paz. We'll make our way back down and head through Salta and Jujuy.

I really couldn't be more excited. The city feels desolate and isolated this time of year. All the Argentines are on vacation. And since I live the vida argentina I will be doing the same. But I can afford to head to Brasil so Bolivia (the cheapest country in South America) will just have to do.

My crafty thriftyness even found two slices of pizza and a drink for 6 pesos (1.50USD) today. But somehow I can't find a 2010 Agenda for less than 50 pesos (15USD). This is proof this country really does hate organization. And loves eating.



2010, it's rainin' men. Alleluia it's 2010.

Feliz Año Nuevo! Meg arrived on Wednesday so I've been mildly distracted by said activity and therefore have not had time to sit on my bed and write out my awesome list, that I've been building in my head for days now, about the decade in review. Asi. Ahora. Tengo tiempo.

This how it's been the last ten years. Bear with me. It's a long one.

2000: Ending of the worst three years of my life--Middle School. But, not until I saw the Backstreet Boys, live in concert. Made my first big trip out-of-state to New York and Washington DC. The taste of travel officially lands in my veins. Ending the year by entering into a student body population of over 3,000 where I will spend most of my waking hours. For the next four years. The rejection of High School sports. And a summer spent working as a camp program aid. All squeezed in there. End the year in style with my new friend: Megan Colnar.

2001: A year of blurry transitions--in hindsight. Still in the process of adjusting to High School, but unsure of where it will lead me to fitting in since I've been exiled from the basketball team (thanks Coach Ralphs, you're a bitch) Strangely enough on my way to school one morning I hear on the radio about the greatest single terrorist attack our country has ever experienced. While it was happening. Strange day. Without knowing it, everything suddenly changes. I joined Key Club. And somehow I find my niche. Meet Heather Hurst and Alexis Duda. Turn 16-years-old. Experience death of a grandparent. End the year with some hesitation and confusion. What can I say, I'm sixteen?

2002: Academically I'm not doing so hot. Distracted. Trying to survive being sixteen. I join a non-denomination church which doesn't go over so well with my 'born and raised' Catholic mother. Turns out that God can lead you to some pretty cool places: like winter ski trips to New Mexico. First time I saw snow. First time I skied. Last time I skied. My parents were feeling very generous for their spoiled daughter that year. I acquire myself a nice car which I forbiddingly drove to school and popped a tire. My first experience of Karma. Summer starts with my car and a job as a lifeguard. I adventure into one of the greatest summers of my life. I turn seventeen. And end the year in one of the biggest high school crushes in the history of high school crushes.

2003: More involved with Key Club and finally feeling settled in puzzle piece of high school fitting in. Still in love with high-school-boy-crush. I got it bad. I start writing a lot more. Emotional teenage-blog bullshit, but at least I'm beginning a passion for something, because obviously Chemistry and Physics are not my strong suit. Work as a lifeguard for the summer again. This time joined by my brother and a new friend Kristian Jonsson. Enter into my last year of high school and into a new group of friends, as well. I also start babysitting for one of the greatest families ever: The Longeneckers: current kid count: 2 girls. I loose 30lbs in three months and I'm elected Homecoming Queen. I turn 18 and my parents throw me a casino party--out of our house. I love birthdays. The year ends with the excitement of my last semester of high school to come.

2004: Spend the first half of the year pretending to not still be in love with my high-school boy crush, but let's be honest those things never die. And when they do, they die hard. and fast. and in unexpected ways like with arguments over pirating music off the internet. The Spring time bring college applications and I'm still undecided about what I want to do with my academic future. I start undisguised rumors to the yearbook staff that I will be attending Harvard. Some narc gets in there and destroys my plans to fool the school and I go unmarked into the future. Because I was distracted and hammered by all the other people in my life getting accepted to NYU and other prestigious schools I decide to stay at home and go to the local university for a year. Not my preferred option, but seeing as though I spent my first six-weeks of college with Mono, looking back it was the best choice. I end the year in recovery from Mononucleosis (thank you first boy I ever kissed) and 15 credits into a college degree. I continue babysitting for the Longeneckers: current kid count: 3.

2005: I spend the beginning part of the year between my house, the university and the Longenecker house. I earn enough money to buy myself my first iPod. Welcome to the beginning of the iPod generation. While at a study abroad fair I get the itch to travel. live. internationally. I apply to University of North Texas. Accepted. Pass my summer by working at Starbucks as a coffee barista whore. But I did learn that eating lemon bars and iced soy lates all summer will taste delicious but also add 15lbs. Also, that people love their Starbucks. I mean, really fucking love their Starbucks. So I enter into the world of Denton, Texas. And I find out that living with someone from somewhere 'exotic' like Alaska isn't always the best match for me. Especially when they ask you questions like how do you spell "orange?" Make friends with my college algebra TA while both swooning over the teacher's red-headed-beared glory. Oh, Stephen Muir. In realistic world: I find myself a college boy crush and I am smitten. Until I realize he's not. Getting serious about the idea of studying abroad in England. Beginning devising a plan to convince my parents. Semester ends. New Years with Megan Colnar.

2006: Second semester at UNT. The crush I have on my college algebra teacher is now heightened by the fact that I am single. "Random" encounters are plotted out along with project ideas around his friends' band. Living with a different roommate now, dorm life is more tolerable except for the fact that we're always getting noise complaints every time we want to watch a Disney film. Begin dating a opera singer. And I enter the world of house parties and hipsters in Denton, TX. College party experiences have fully commenced. Parents are sold on the idea of my going to England for a semester. My first year at UNT ends. My first 'official' college relationship ends. My summer job at Hobby Lobby craft center as a cashier begins. Summer love: I see him. I want him. I start dating him. I'm falling. Spend ten of the most significant days of my life backpacking through the San Juan Mnts in Colorado. Learn the meaning of type two fun. And that eating dried food for a week does wonders for your figure. Enter back into the world of UNT. Officially an Advertising major. Officially going to Leeds University the following spring. Semester ends and I'm head over heels in love. But leaving the country in a few weeks.

2007: I get on the plane. I cross the ocean. I'm in England. First few weeks were very accented. But I find my homies. And I realize. I'm in England. And the fun begins. Looking forward to four weeks of travel. Then. I'm dumped. In an email? I think. Four weeks of travel: England, France, Italy, Spain. Story books of wonderful, marvelous things seen. Spend the rest of my time enjoying myself (drinking.). Learning about myself (shopping.). Discovering myself (writing.). Changing. Mom visits and we travel: France, Holland, Czech Republic. After five months of describable fun. Time to go home to Texas. And someone just took all the helium out of the balloon. I make a quick summer turn around to Denton, TX so that I'm no longer reminded of all the things (one particular person) that are left behind at home. Summer school. New apartment. New job on campus at the Study Abroad Center. New friends. My last year of college begins and I'm heading straight into advertising world. where happy hour is before our 6:30pm class. I pass the New Year with Camilles on Wheels at her sexy Texas ranch. Too much tequila.

2008: Liz Dwelle has entered my life. And life with Liz Dwelle is fun. Thursday night tradition commences: dinner. wine. chatting. wine. dancing at Hailey's. Last semester in college hasn't brought much luck with the boys, but it has brought a very nice boyish-style hair cut. And no plans for the future. I seek advice from advertising resources, but the Dallas lifestyle does little to appease me. After four years of intermediately hard work periods. I graduate. C'est over. I visit Portland, Oregon in hopes for it to be my future home. Somehow I end up broke, at my parents house, surrounded by cardboard boxes and job as the wine department head at World Market. Seven months pass. The year ends. I'm still no where I want to be. Happy New Year.

2009: I save enough money to visit Megan in Chile for three weeks. Hello South America. Three weeks in Chile and I'm sold. My four semesters of college Spanish is failing me, but I don't care. I finally feel like I can breath for the first time in almost nine months. I return. Faced with the reality I left behind in South America. And I realize: I'm unhappy. I make a decision. I will quit my job. I will scrape together what money I have. I will post-pone my college loans. I will move to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I will learn Spanish there. And I did. And people thought I was a little bit crazy. But in all honesty it only crossed my mind once, in a rare moment of shear panic on the way to the airport, and was never to be seen again: What the fuck am I doing?
I did one of the bravest things I've ever done in my life. I got on that plane. I started from scratch. I found a place to live (three in fact). I found a job. I found some friends. I found a small skill for speaking Spanish (if I'm not so lazy). I found my happiness. I turn 24. And appreciate my current roommates for all their amazing kindness. And Spanish skills. Megan Colnar arrives two days before the New Year. And we begin our second decade as friends together in South America.