Friday, March 26, 2010

High-lighting, High-lifing (haha! I'm lame, I know!)

In another week's time I'll be closing this utterly amazing chapter titled Buenos Aires; it's like eating an incredibly amazing treat and suddenly find yourself at your last bite, wanting it to never end. The friend's I've made here have been unreal, just absolutely amazing. The city, the culture, the scenery, the people, this magical feeling in the air  -what more could you ask for? BA, I shall return someday...on the flippity flip: I'm super excited to be able to attend on of my bestest friend's wedding and see all of my friends and my fam back at home!


Since my trip to Chile and moving into a sweet house, loads has happened! I'll try to make it short and sweet, but then again I'm not so good at that...good luck digesting!

1) NYE was a blast! I was told the city goes bare around this sparkle of a holiday as everyone here evacuates town and hits the beaches. But I stuck around with friends and wound up pulling a quite active all nighter, it was a blast! A group of friends and I went to an all inclusive dinner party: tasty 3 course meal, never-ending supply of various alcohols, dancing, and fireworks (lit on the street RIGHT out front the restaurant in a residential area); all this at an Italian restaurant located nearby mi casa. We stayed well into the night, but on my walk home, after departing from my crew, I bumped into another group of friends on the street! Naturally, I just had to hang out with them! Just then, a guy comes up and tells us to come to a street party around the corner -belissimo! Esp cuz my new group I had just stumbled upon had no idea what they wanted to do since the clubs looked packed! And it really was just that, a street party! A dj on a rolling table, big crowd grooving to the music, and corner bars serving up beers to quench they thirst right there in the street! What a blast!!! Later, just as this other group decided to go home, I bumped into another friend with some of her friends....yup: i stayed (though everyone in the second group left -unlike me, they can say "no"). After a while, as the sun was getting hire and hire, the cops finally came and with a smile, told everyone it was that time. DJ simply unplugs and rolls away! haha! awesome!! I gather I got home about 8 am....oy!!
2) A girl from Paris moves in. She gets a spot on this cuz she rocks!!! She's great and so much fun! She's fascinated by American life and asks me all such questions, especially those pertaining to what high school life is really like -do the bullies really throw milkshakes on people!?!! Also, she eats peaches with a knife and fork pretty much almost every night for dessert!! It has been 2 months now and it still makes me crack up whenever I see her doing this!! I asked her once why the heck she would do this, her reply you might ask? With slight shrug and in all seriousness: "Because I'm French." LOL!!!! Perfect!!!

3) Finally got rid of the Joes. JK!! They left early in January on their journey up through the continent and then fly home from Panama. They tried to convince me to come, esp to at least meet them in Colombia where they board a sailboat and sail to Panama to catch their flight home...I looked into flights (as they are there as I type, perfect timing for me on my way home for the wedding), needless to say it didn't work Turkey, flying out of the country is crazy expensive. Bummer! But since they're Cali boys, we plan to reunite shortly thereafter from our arrivals back home.

4) Suyen and I have become super great friends. I actually met her the second night of my journey here. We kept trying to get together but with diff scheds, etc...time got away on us until Xmas! We found out we'd still be in town (everyone leaves for xmas = summertime here, which of course = beach!!). So we hung out over Xmas and have been complaining ever since that we wished we really did hang out sooner! Suyen's from Nicaragua and is studying to be a professional photographer. She has used me as a model in her lighting class (needed someone to practice on, of course I helped! Really hopes it will aid in her dream!). We had SUCH a blast!! We laughed the whole way through! One of the shoots we did, we bought a whole frozen fish (completely whole, just like a fresh catch only frozen). I had to have it held over my head (and you can only imagine the horrible smell, especially with the HOT, HOT heat of the summer quickly melting it!), I kept having to dodge drops of bloody water dripping from its nose. Haha! Luckily I was successful with my cat-like reflexes!
5) What's a post without putting in some more classic mishaps with my faulty spanish skills?! So my cleaning lady, Lydia, who comes twice a week (Tues. y Sat.) is super sweet, but intense. She has no concept of people's personal space and business -even the boys flee when she comes, or thereafter are super stressed out. She rambles on and on in her Saltan Spanish (a very fast and different Spanish, it's from the North of Arg.) to any and everybody, never stopping -even if you are clearly on your way out the door! On the flip-side, she's super sweet and even makes us homemade empanadas now and again! Yum! 
K enough side-tract rambling, the story: one day, she was rambling on and on to me and asked when my bday is and how old I'll be. Well, I'm telling her (in Spanish) that it's March 30th and I'll be 25. I was so proud of myself for fully understanding her (my roomies know spanish fluently can't even understand her), and answering her questions without a problem! YES! But then she gets super excited, telling me we'll make empanadas while drinking and dancing in the kitchen! Now that's great, but omg, she was sooo excited as if it was tomorrow or something! It was only early February -woah there lady, we got some time here! So she leaves (it was a Sat) and Tuesday rolls around. I had a hectic sched and was able to make it home in the middle of the day to shower, eat, and race back out the door again. But I walk into the kitchen and she greets me with 2 (not the customary 1) kisses, and such grace and adoration mumbling all this Spanish I couldn't comprehend to finally land on "Feliz Cumpleanos"!!!!!! Shit!!!! Haha! What did I say the other day?!?!?! She shows me how she has already begun making the empanadas!!!!! Crap!!!! And all I could think of was I can't even stay to have one! I have to leave!! I tell her no, that my bday wasn't until March (Marzo). Then we quickly learned that on Saturday, I had told her my bday was Martes (Tuesday)!!!!! Lol!!!!!! I felt HORRIBLE and quickly got my roomies to tell her in Spanish to make sure there were no further mishaps!! She thought it was hilarious, and actually has been teasing me ever since, as does my roomies...great! Haha!
The best part of all of this? My bday this year, happens to fall on a TUESDAY!!!! lol! What are the odds?!? I guess I didn't make a mistake after all...mwhahaha!

6) February came, and of course, you know what that means in the southern hemisphere: CARNAVAL!! Now I sadly, sadly, haven't made it to Brazil (DYING to go...dang expensive visas!!!), but a group of friends and I went to Gualeguachu instead for the largest Carnival in Argentina. It's a short few hour bus ride to this middle-of-nowhere, poor, run-down, hick town. The Carnival wasn't anything like I imagined. It wasn't a huge street parade. Instead, it was caged off in a long runway with bleachers on either side for spectators. The floats were intricately and incredibly done, and not to mention MASSIVE -I'm pretty sure they were worth more than the town itself!! Crazy!! The costumes were also killer...literally!!! Intricate, did I say that already, we intricate as well: ladies wearing, well really, nothing but sequencey bits around their parts, and they had to wear beautiful, gigantic bunches of feather pieces going down their back or head or what not. Now that doesn't sound heavy I know, but these women were shaking their booty bending forward as if to keep from falling backwards, all on stilettos! Crazy! They literally looked like there were struggling from falling backwards!!

7) Suppose I should say something about work: Got a handful of classes -all great! One of my students told me one day that she treats my class as her therapy! (Weird, but really, quite a compliment!) The students here are sooo chill and easy-going. Plus, they're advanced-speakers so they just need speaking practice, meaning I just have to come up with things to make them talk the whole time!! I also got an internship with Bueno, Entonces -a whitty and captivating computer program (sort of Rosetta Stone-esque). I learn Spanish in trade to help come up with ideas for supplemental material as they don't have any writing practice incorporated in the program. I also enrolled in a Spanish class (right before I got the internship), to help set me on my way to getting to be fluent in the language. So with all these things going, not to mention running around the entire city, going from class to class (takes a loooong time!), modeling for Suyen, and then keeping up with my social life (something to do/someone to see every night of the week!) -made the time not only fly, but kept me at home only to literally sleep and shower! Nuts! But I loved it...past tense now as I'm down to Spanish classes and finish my last class this Monday since I'm leaving! Akkk!

8) I'm going to be in a Vaseline body lotion commercial airing April 1st across North America. Lol! I still can't believe it! A friend is studying acting down here and she saw a posting for North American girls to be in a commercial. She sent it to me (she thinks I should be an actress, apparently I'm very expressive in my photos!) so I applied! Next thing I know I'm in a focus group! Must have been 40 girls there, we went in 5 at a time to answer various questions about body lotion. Then we were sent on our way with cash in hand and a bottle of this mystery body lotion (they wouldn't reveal the brand). The following week, I got 2 calls telling me I've been selected to be in the commercial!! The filming day comes, and we get our nails, hair, and makeup done in a trailer as we wait for our turns -there were 12 other girls selected to be in it. Now they didn't tell us a thing about it, still had NO idea what body lotion it was (and you bet I had been racking my little brain trying to fig it out!), and NOOOO stinking idea what we would be doing in this commercial!! Top secret stuff going on here! Finally, my turn comes and this guy walks me over to the mansion they've rented to film us in. Still, no idea what I'm about to do! Urgh! I get lead upstairs to this TINY room of this HUGE, gorgeous house, and all these camera lights (though not turned on) and crew seriously surrounding a chair which I get to sit on -no pressure or nothin, psh! The director then asks me questions about body lotion, only instead of replying as I look at him, I'm instructed to look just to his left into the huge camera. Trying to focus on not looking at the person I'm talking to, and not knowing what was going on, and all this pressure of all these strangers watching me: I wasn't much for words! Lol! Oh the humility!! I'm pretty sure I used the word "smooth" in all my replies!!! Lol!!! Arggg!!! Then they FINALLY revealed the lotion to me....but apparently my expression was bigger than I was aware of. I was TOTALLY flabbergasted (as I had forgotten about the brand since they don't have Vaseline body lotion in Turkey nor Argentina! So when I was trying to fig it out, it never came to mind!). So it was a surprised and a OHHHHH YAAA!! I remember now reaction. All the people standing in the room (there were lots behind the unused lights and the director laughed (silently) and then I saw the director smack his hand to forehead as in doh! this isn't good for business (cuz she/target market has forgotten about my brand!) Haha! Woopsy! Haha! Afterwards, he asked me to put on the lotion as I had a summer dress on and was bare armed. He asked me to put it on like I do everyday, make it seem natural....I have problems with that one. First off, I put lotion on after a shower -not the case here, so not so natural already. Then, it's a pump bottle and I'm sitting in a chair. So I'm pumping it as it's wobbling on my knee, and I strategically decided to have the front of it face the camera for good marketing purposes, only that made the pump face the other way! So now I'm really, really awkwardly pumping! Haha! Then I had this bracelet on my arm near my elbow -which he didn't want me to take off. So i'm trying to work around that obstacle -awkward. THEN, I figured I should smile, happy to be using this lotion...right?! Only he wants it natural, don't know bout you, but I don't typically smile when I put on lotion -call me crazy! So I'm trying to decide what to do in my head as I'm sure my mouth is constantly changing from smiling to normal face to smiling to normal face. OMG!!! I am a Complete disaster!!! If I just had some sort of prep as to what I would be asked or had to do, I would have been perfect! Like in the focus group: spoon fed them everything I knew they wanted to hear! urgh! Afterwards, this guy was taking the mike out of my dress and asked if I was really that one could believe it. Oooof!! Haha! Then I talked to the market researcher as they secretly and "discreetly" filmed our conversation..wonder if that'll be in the commercial. Then I signed the contract and got asked not to say anything, especially to the other actors. Finally picked up the check today (it has been over a month and boy I was starting to lose hope, crazy hassle of a story just getting the money)!!! Woohoo! When they told me I would get paid in about 30 days I straight up asked the guy if they were actually going to pay me. He got really worried and made sure I believed it would happen as I could sue them if they didn't! Monday will tell if I can cash the check or not though! So check out Vaseline Body Lotion commercials beginning April 1st. Though just like the date (April Fools Day), I think it's a complete joke!! After that disaster I gracefully whipped up, I can't imagine them using me!! Major bribing material for friends and fam out there if they use any of it, I'm sure!

9) My parents and one of my substitute parents: Reg n' Cheryl came to visit!!!!! I couldn't believe it! My Mama always says they'll come visit wherever I go, but at this point in my adventures abroad, they were just words that go in one ear and out the other! But then it actually happened!! And better yet, Reg n' Cheryl came!!! One of my faves!!!!! It was a blast and a whirlwind of a trip! They were here for 2 weeks and packed in soooo much at a rapid pace, like they were young backpackers!! Awesome! I sent them to Iguazu -as that is a must see. We went on a day trip to beautiful Colonia, Uruguay. Then I got to pick where to go in Argentina, as they have knowledge now of where to go. I picked El Calafate (to get to see one of the biggest in the world in the world and other ones!) and Ushuaia (interaction with wild penguins and for the sheer fact that it's known as "Fin del Mundo": End of the World -how cool is that?! Plus it's where the 2 oceans meet!!)!! They were all stunning! Esp the penguin island we got to go on!!!! Only 20 tourists are taken at a time to a small island inhabitied by wild penguins!!!! Wondrous, jaw-dropping, rad!! Even the scenery of the mountains surrounding the island! We even lucked out with the weather as it was quite warm and never rained on us (it's supposed to do that all the time there)! It was even hard to wrap our heads around that we were so close to the Antarctic!! The Perito Moreno Glacier was really spectacular. The sheer size of it and it's just, so, glorious too! We took a boat ride which took you by several glaciers, finishing with the Perito Moreno Glacier. Wild! As chunks of ice break off, you hear loud bursts of thunder...only it's just the sound of ice breaking off!! Crazy incredible!

Unfortunately, they had a miserable time with food here. I'm not much of a meat eater (as many of you all know), esp when it comes to red meat. But here, it's just sooo freakin good!! I mean I now crave big, juicy steaks! I was stoked that they would get to try it; I mean if it changed me and they already love red meat -just think of how delicious it would taste for them, right?!!!...right?!!! Well, nope. Que mal. I was even unimpressed by what we were served, and we went to good places! Urghhh!!! My dad at the end of the trip was fully back to eating chicken, which is a rare thing to eat here. But, they thoroughly enjoyed all the cheap wine -mostly sensational Malbec (which has changed me as well -didn't really ever care for wine, and now I'll drink it before my love: beer), and all the cheap bottles of Stella Artois and/or Heineken!

OOO!!! Almost forgot!!! My dad, Reg, and I got to go to an intense football/soccer match!! Insane!! You kinda forget you're there to watch a game cuz the fans are just going wild the whole time screaming profanities or singing well known songs at the tiny, fenced off section of the opposers. Balloons, streamers, hands waving in insult to the opposers. Mad crazy, but soo much fun and entertaining!! At the end of the game, they keep all the home fans (we were with the home team, it's too dangerous not to be) at our seats until the opposing fans have all left! Not to mention the scary police that lined the field at the end, which were wearing protective gear typically used for an out-of-control strike!!! Awesome!

10) Now that I'm on my sad, last few weeks here (time of writing = 1 week left), I've ended 2 of my jobs, down to 1 job (this student fought to have me for just a few, short weeks as they were going to give him another teacher that is permanent here, instead of me when he returned from his vacation), and Spanish school.

I'm trying to soak up all my time here in BA, especially enjoying the company of these amazing friends I now have but must part with. Which reminds me: when my parents came, I had to say farewell to Linda, another great friend I've made here. She's from Germany, so hopefully we can reunite sooner than later! Ever since I've gotten back from my wild ride of a trip with tha fam, I keep thinking to call her and can't!! She's gone!! I never got the chance to adjust to that. I'll miss her dearly.

Also, I've been playing tourist again. Going to places that somehow have escaped me and have been pushed aside to do at the end of my journey here. Example: the Recoleta Cemetery!! Ooopsy!! Haha! AND museums, ahem Reg, did ya get that one?!!? Went to the Steve McCurry exhibit that's currently in town!!! (Reg: I thought you'd be proud to hear that one!!)

Hmph...welp! I think that's about all the highlighting of my high-lifing I can think of to tell ahora!! I'll post pics to go with the above soon!

Chau y besos!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chillin in Chile

With days to go before my intended date of departure, about to be on my way to the bus station to buy my tix to saaaaanti-aaaaago, chile; i realized that i no longer had my debit card in my wallet....!!!!!!!!!!!! Great, so I had to leave Pipa’s by Friday, I had to leave the country by Thursday, and NOW I had no denero!!! I couldn’t believe it, I literally check EVERY SINGLE time i get home, daily, and again at the end of the day to make sure my bank card is still in my wallet. i was so dumbfounded. i seriously remember seeing it in my wallet the entire week at pipa’s!! it had to have been in my tiny room in his house. it just had to!! so i tore apart my suitcase and backpack THREE times, checking every nook and crannie to have absolutely no luck. I of course checked my online statement and had an unusual charge to a different cell phone company made the past is now sunday. wtf?! no way. no way. the last time i had used it was that past monday to take money out, and the atms here, it’s ridiculously easy to walk away without your card. but i’ve gotten good at checking...or so i thought! and what’s more, is that i seriously remember having it on friday. soooo confused!! anyways, called the bank and of course, they won’t ship overseas. way to be there for me bank, way to help me get access to my own now it’s going to take longer for it to arrive here in BsAs. Not to mention, now i have to involve my parents in this situation, as they’re the ones that have to send it to me. so i quickly thought of my 2 options. 1.) Stay in BsAs and do a day trip to Uruguay one day before Thursday. Figure out where I’ll stay after Friday (gotta be out of Pipa’s by then) until my move in date of Monday. Or 2.) Borrow money from a friend, go to Chile as I have a place to stay there, and continue on with life as hoped for. So! I purchased the bus tickets on my credit card (I don’t like using the thing), turned down Laura’s really generous offer of using her credit card to pay for my bus tix. And decided to ask Joey to be my Suga Daddy ;0) K not really, but he’s a great loaner!! He happily gave me lots of money to cover what I thought would be 2 weeks with no cash pronto. So lucky to have great peeps around me here! Oh and on Monday, I went to the bus station to purchase my tix and found out if I left on Wed (as hoped) I would cross the border too late (for my visa expiration). I wanted to chance it, but decided I didn’t need a fine to subtract from the money I would have to live off of for the next few weeks. This meant I was rushed into leaving on Tuesday, dragging half my stuff back to Cassie’s, racing around the city for work, AND saying my final farewell to Tiffany.

The bus company I went with was not as great as the one we went with to Iguazu. No free alcohol. It was supposed to be about 20hrs, but turned into 24 as a manzana (apple) was found in someone’s stowed backpack. plus there was traffic into the city once down and off of los Andes. Though it wasn’t as luxurious, big, or had free flowing alcohol, it was a fine ride. I took sleeping pills -which normally I do on long distances! But for some reason, instead of knocking me out for the typical 8, it seemed to affect me for pretty much the whole ride. And even a day into being in Santiago. Weird. I travel long distances mucho, along with my Simply Sleep pills, but holy moly never had such an effect! Can’t complain though, just very surprised!

Anyways, went straight to California Cantina where my friend, Melissa was working. She greeted me with a nice, strong beer! Good friend indeed! Also, it was ridiculously hot there, despite the lack of humidity as compared to BsAs!
About 1-2hrs later, Melissa got off and she went to her place and I went to her Brazilian friend’s Rodrigo’s place so we could shower and meet up at this restaurant/bar where some famous local band was playing. I stayed at Rodrigo’s as he has an extra room right now and Melissa is currently living with her boyfriend in a studio. Rodrigo was super nice and more than accomodating. He gave me keys and let me go and come as I pleased. Super nice guy and we’ve might have constructed a way for me to sneak into Brazil! Yay! but shhh!

Anyways, that night was fun. Tried some Chileno drinks, strong, interesting, sweet. Like a very sweet lemonade that you don’t really realize has a strong, strong alcohol in it. It’s fairly cheap. Some of her friends met up with us, and afterwards we ended up going to some club to dance. Poor Melissa, she worked all day that day and was about to work a double the next day! Ouch!

The next few days Melissa had work so I discovered Saaaantiaaaago on my lonesome! Walked around different barrios, went to the top of Cerro San Cristobal (you take a finicular up to the top of this big hill where they have a huge statue of Mary, and able to look out on to the city), was highly amused by all of their advertisements from hot dogs to sandwiches with guacamole on it, becuase they call it “Italiano”. Thoroughly confusing, def makes you think twice and study the picture trying to decipher if you were really looking at guacamole or not! I told Rodrigo one night and he said that anything with guacamole on it is auto called “Italiano”! Haha! Somebody got majorly mixed up along the way!! I wonder what happens when a Chileno ventures to Italy for the first time and realizes guacamole is not on any venue, whatsoever!! Haha! Anyways, thoroughly enjoyed the mounds of guacamole (which I’ve decided Chile really needs to be called Guacamoland), and all the cheap chicken!! Loads of cheap fresh produce (it’s sorta cheap here in BsAs, but produce just don’t happen -they’re too focused on the cow). 

one day I ventured to Valaparaiso y Vina Del Mar. They are both on the ocean and are popular beach destinations. Valaparaiso actually means “going to paradise” as that’s what they used to say, and then the words just got smudged into one and became the city name! Now Mike told me if I ever make it to Chile, I gotta make it to Valaparaiso. I was under the impression it was this tiny town with really beautifully, colored houses along the coast. Well, when i got there, all ready for my much missed day at the beach, it was foggy and it was a really sketchy area! So i quickly got myself on a tour which would take me all over Vina del Mar, Reneca (a really cute beach town on the other side of Vina del Mar), and Valaparaiso. Of course, within an hour or so, the fog wore off and it was perfect beach conditions -there goes that one! But I’m actually really glad i did it, not only was it safe, but Valaparaiso is huge!!! And really sketchy! I thought I would be able to walk around and see all the wall art and colored houses, man, no way!! So it worked out great! But i must admit, Valaparaiso is no paradise. Easily skippable. It’s a huge port town, so your view of the water is docks and shipping stuff. The city is jammed packed with crappy houses, this would be the very poor version of San Fran. Buzz kill. However, Vina del Mar and Reneca were beautiful. It was mix of the way Socal beaches are, hills right to the beach at some parts and a fair amount of beach other parts, and lots of rocks right off the shore like Monterey. Really, it was in my face that I just wasn’t at home for Christmas!

Anyways, the next day I took it easy and wondered around town some more. (It’s really pretty with tons, and tons of super green trees everywhere, and los Andes in the background. Everything’s really spread out. But other than that, looked just like any western city. Nothing special, and really, not a whole lot to do). Went to the Central Mercado, which had some stands but really was filled with fish restaurants and halls and stalls of fresh fish to buy. If you love fish, this is your mecca. The men working at these fish places would show me how the clams were still alive by slapping the piles of clams with their hands and then you would watch them open and close. Now that’s fresh!

Now I wanted to go on a winery tour (lots of wineries near by), but with Melissa working and not off until the weekend, it didn’t happen. Wineries don’t really do weekend tours and Saturday didn’t work out for us. So this meant Sunday wine tour but the ones that run on sunday were expensive! So we decided to do our own! We bought a more expensive bottle of wine (mid-range, but not in our usual budget) of Carmenere (which is a very rare grape and you can only get it in Chile), some cheese, some cherries, and went to this cool park she knows of called Parque de las Esculturas! They have all kinds of funky statues in this park! That was a great adventure, playing on the statues and talking, catching up! It was great! Afterwards, her boyfriend brought us to this super yummy restaurant for some lunch. Then we went to beautiful Bella Vista (such a beautiful neighborhood with loads of places to eat outside on the sidewalks, really close view of small foothills -los altos, ca type, and lots of colors too!) with his friend to have some Chileno wine and appetizers -actually was more of a meal! Haha! They all tried to convince me to stay longer, which I was very close to doing (Melissa was granted more days off at work), but we found out the bus company actually charges to change the ticket (which her Chileno boyfriend was so sure they wouldn’t). so that was an immediate nope.

Overall, Chile looked much like Cali, just with less money and more color. Even on the bus ride to Valaparaiso! It look like I was driving on the 5 from Norcal to Socal. So weird. It was also really nice to be able to have access to the foods and beauty products that Argentina doesn’t carry, or if they do, is much too expensive. It’s really weird, I wonder why it’s so different. I don’t get why a bottle of shampoo, the same brand, is way cheaper in Chile than in Argentina! What am I missing? So the trip made me a little homesick! I felt like I was in Cali, never felt so close but so far away like that before!! Plus with really missing any sort of Christmas festivities this year (it exists here, but a very minimal amount of it), it was sorta depressing! Don’t get me wrong!! I’m really happy here and had a great time in Chile and hanging out a bit with Melissa, but it’s just that time of year when ya need a little more -ya know?

Of cousre, my bus was a few hours late in arriving to BsAs and I wasn’t able to get to Cassie’s to get to my stuff before she left to work. So I went straight to my new casa! And I’m writing from within!! I absolutely love it!! It’s soo great!! The guys I live with (I live with 4 guys) are super nice. It sucks though that most are leaving fairly soon -I hope the vibe and the new people to come will be just as rad. One is from the Netherlands (he leaves this Wed), one is from Ireland, the other from Paris, and the owner of the house whom also lives here is from England. There’s a really sweet cleaning lady who comes twice a week. She doesn’t speak English and she kept talking to me like you wouldn’t believe! She’s so friendly and cute and knows that i know very little spanish but she kept talking to me and at such a rapid pace that after a while i just nodded and smiled! it was like one of the days i was running around the city looking at places to live and for some reason, every single grandma wanted to talk to me and i would tell them i didn’t understand, and they just kept talking and talking. and i said again louder and clearer, and they looked at me and then kept on with this story they were so in to telling me! nod and smile...nod and smile. haha! 

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Una muy Feliz Navidad a todos mi familia y amigos belilisimos!!!

Translation: A verry Merry Christmas to all my wonderful family and friends.

I love all of you and hope you have a fun-filled Christmas filled with love and smiles and an even better new year!! I miss all of you!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Que Quilomba!!

A mess of fun things and horrible things have happened since I wrote last!

The fun:
Lots of what i call: asado Sundays (i hear of one every Sunday! best thing ever!), including one at a huge mansion that used to be the Russian embassy, and is the very first house of Vincente Lopez (towards the outskirts of BA). It’s now owned by the owner of San Juan Winery (in WA). They do lots of asados, opening up their home to strangers (all expats really) during the summer at this shwanky, huge place. Also got a tango lesson from my good-for-nothing-now-ex-landlord. Actually, she’s really, a nice woman. Being a landlord is just not her calling, by any means! Anways, it’s way more fun dancing the tango than watching it! It becomes quite fast (it looks like a slower dance to me) and is more sexy dancing it than watching it too! The instructors thought I was great (yay! inlcuding an old man who looks like a professional). But then they chose me to get passed around to dance with one guy from the next (which they totally could have got the other girls doin it too). Oh! And they spoke English for me so I could understand! Haha! They kept translating for me, so that was super nice of them! Hopefully I’ll go again at this Pena (a bar where they play live folk music and offer cheap lessons on Wednesdays! -Jeff, Mike, this is my Munzar substitute place! 

Also got to go to the Creative Advertising Awards, which as an Advertising major is like a kid in a candy store! Tiffany’s student gave her 4 tickets and she invited us (not just anybody can go)! It was held at a huge club and it really seemed like it was just that, a night out at a club. We missed the awards -finally something Argentina was right on time for and we were late! Weird! All drinks were free the entire night and they had hors d’oevres. It was like a giant company party, only for all companies. Advertisers sure know how to have fun! Upstairs they had all these print advertisements posted for all to see. 

We also enjoyed a gigantic Thanksgiving dinner at that huge mansion I mentioned earlier. I also invited Joaquin, Laura, and Linda (a new friend from Germany!) for their first Thanksgiving dinner.! Joaquin actually liked it, which says a lot considering they know how to do meat here and turkey doesn’t make the cut. 

Also started taking Spanish courses!!! Sooo exciting!! I absolutely love it (but then again, i’m in love with languages!)! Though it’s kinda funny cuz I keep wanting to speak French to her, since it’s soo similar! I won’t remember a word in Spanish and want to say the French word, but realize it’s French so I ask her how to say it. It usually turns out to be pretty much the same word! I take one-on-one course so the time can change according to my schedule! This means I finally got a few classes from 2 of the many schools i’m employed at! Only I’ve just been told that classes end Dec.11th and resume in March....?!?!?!?! Unless, of course, students have taken a tests that allows them to continue during this break. Would have been nice to know about this way before Dec.10th (when I got this friendly reminder email! wtf!) But! a day after that, one of the schools informs me that my students will carry on during the break -though I’m a bit skeptical since they’ve never took the test...we’ll see what happens....Oh, they have a break until March, not just for Christmas, but it’s summer here meaning it’s summer vacation. And everyone, E-V-E-R-Y-ONE gets the heazy up outta the city come January. Apparently it’s too hot to stay here so everyone runs for a beach town....I’m scared for the weather to come! I was talking to Joaquin the other day, and he was telling me it gets to 40C here in January -including the crazy humidity!!! I was like “ often?!” And he replied with: “when it’s not raining.” So I said “how often does it rain here in Jan?!” hoping to god it rains a ton, but then he replied with “maybe twice a month”....shit. haha! Think I need to go live at a beach town myself this Jan...perhaps slather suntan lotion on people’s backs for money!....Or maybe just do some traveling! haha!

Also got to go on a late night radio show -though only said a sentence or 2! haha! (Lack of Spanish). Fernando and his friends do a show Friday nights and invited me to come. After we went out and got in to champu/shampoo (sp?) for free! Apparently it’s a very popular and fancy-shmancy club that you gotta know someone high up to get in. Fernando cooked up an asado for his friend’s company party earlier that evening, and they went to that club that night as well -letting Fernando in and bringing friends!

Tiffany (among with many others -whether it be for good or for a month’s vacation) is leaving this Friday for good -SD is geting her back :0( So we celebrated this past Saturday night. Gonna miss my dancing partner!

The gypsy reaches a whole new level:
Well everything always happens at once and omg did it happen!!! We were supposed to move into this rad, RAD apt Dec.1. We even put a holding deposit on it and such. Well ONE week before move-in date comes along and all of the sudden we’re told by our new landlord that we can no longer move in. He gave us bullshit story after bullshit story. Plus it was too late for us to ask to stay longer at the national park (aka my old place. ya know, the one that often show-cased Iguazu Falls in my living room when it rained) cuz that landlord already found people to take over in Dec. With finding a 3 bedroom at an affordable price like finding a needle in a haystack here, I told Cassie and Brian we’ll keep searching for a 3 bedroom, but I’m also going to look on my own. And that they should find a 2 bedroom together. I figured this way would make things easier -esp considering we had only a week to find a home! ooooff! But i guess they also decided not to search together as well, and we all ended up a part. So that week I was literally running around from apt to apt to apt, and having no luck. Not to mention how we didn’t have internet for almost a full 2 days! One of those days also included no electricity, since it went out on my entire block for a very good portion of the day! urgh! Not only that but that very week, 2 of the many schools I’m employed at, gave me classes! Then I also have my Spanish classes -which I had also just started a few days prior to the shit hitting the fan. And I had some job interviews! And I’ve been having this really bad pain in my hip from outta no where! So much so that it hurts to walk on the leg! One time i pretty much hopped home! And i have a really high pain tolerance (exibit a: staple sticking clear through my toe and i went to sleep with it in cuz i didn’t know it was there). But of course, after all of that, had no luck with finding a place! I didn’t want to just chose anything and have to move again in another month. Luckily, I have really amazing friends here and everyone offered up a place for me to sleep until I find something. Even the Joes, offered up their “nice” hardwood floor! haha! And one of my private students, whom I absolutely love, wanted to have me stay at her office (which is really a one bedroom apt). Man she was sooo in to it, so cute! She tried to convince me how she would just bring in a mattress, told me she was there only 3 days a week for a few hours (she has another office, she’s a child psychiatrist), and I wouldn’t even know she was there when she came! How she wouldn’t charge me anything cuz i’m “like her daughter” and i could stay as long as i needed! But Cassie was the lucky winner and I moved into her place -and man what a great choice! woman greeted me with fresh baked cookies! yaa!! (Cassie’s mom’s friend lives here and happens to own a studio and a one bedroom. So she’s charging Cassie peanuts to let her stay at this awesome place.) I was only to be there for what was to be a few days. I say this cuz i found this sweet apt the day before move out of national park date! Only the girl that was planning on moving out, had no where to move to. On top of that, her bro was comin to visit that very week! Well, she was going to stay the first few days of Dec. and then move out. The apt is a good size, but for 4 people (I would be living with one other girl), way too crowded and just wouldn’t work! So i decided to stay at Cassie’s until she moved out. 

All though this place was awesome, it’s a bit more than I wanted to spend. With not having many classes and worried I won’t get more for a long while, I really didn’t want to have to pay so much. So i decided to keep searching that week. Running around all over again, including seeing a really, really cheap apt with a pool. I thought no way could this be right! what the heck’s wrong with it?! So I go see it, and the guy shows me the place (now at this point, I’m thinking the usual i get my own room and he has his own room, ya know -the usual!). He shows me the kitchen and living room while telling me he’s gay and another gay couple have the other bedroom. Then we get to the tiny bedroom with ONE DOUBLE bed in it and he casually says: “this will be OUR room.” Considering he’s Argentinian, I just figured he mixed up his possessive adjectives (which being an English teacher, i know is a very common thing students do). So to clarify, I say back  “so this would be MMMY room, right?” and he goes “ya, we would sleep here.” i’m looking at the ONE bed and am really stunned that this guy would think he can just find a stranger off the street who wants to sleep with him in a double bed!! So I think no way is that right! I try to clarify again: “you mean, i get this room to myself, and you sleep in the other room, right?????” and he goes “no, we sleep here” ?!?!?!?!?!?! i go “we (hand gestures) sleep in that bed...together....??” and he goes “i suppose that could be a little uncomfortable for you. I could see if i can get two single beds, but I think it’ll be ok with just this bed.” I go “no I don’t think this is going to work, don’t worry about it.” Then he’s like “well you think about it and let me know”. And i’m like “no, no. i’m not going to take it, but thanks!” We walk back to the living room and he continues to try to sell me on moving in. He shows me the view of the gigantic pool off the balcony, while continuing to tell me to just let him know what i decide. i again, tell him it’s a no and then go to leave. on my way out, he AGAIN says “k you just think about it, and tell me what you decide.” I say “i’m telling you right now: i’m not going to move in, but good luck! hope you find somebody! bye!” he says back, “ok call me and let me know!” haha! oy vay! dude’s thicker than brick wall! haha!

a few days turned into a week, and a day before move-in date (with the sane girl, separate beds, even separate bedrooms -phew!) i find an awesome place!!! it’s a house with random people from all over the world and the owner, who’s british lives there!! Super great location (yes kidman, you called it! palermo it is!), a rooftop terrace, AND a foosball table!!!! oh! AANNNNNDD my very OWN bed! haha! 

so why am i not in it right now you ask?

it’s not avail until the 20th! crap! so i talked to cassie and she’s movin from the one bedroom to the studio with no couch on the 9th. having many offers of places to stay, i planned it out to stay at cassie’s for another few days and then to joaquin’s -which means my own room! only he’s going to visit his sister in WA on the 18th, so gotta be out by then. crap. But! i have to make a border run (visa expires) on the 17 (remember: it all happens at once)! i have a friend living in santiago right now, so i figure i would use this opportunity to make it out to chile! so i though perfect, i’ll leave the 15-16th and come back the 20/21st. So i make it out of pipa’s a few days earlier and i get back and have my very own room awaiting for me! que bueno! oh cassie is generously letting me keep my bags at her place while i make my border run! perfecto!

wait,!my life is still a quilomba! ha!
i realized yesterday that i no longer have my debit card....i have a feeling it’s here at pipa’s somewhere. I tore a part every inch of my suitcase and backpack looking for it with no luck. called the bank, they won’t send it over seas. so in 10 days, my parents get it. Then it’ll prolly be another 10 until i get it from them. sooo now, i had to figure somethin out, and quick (bus to Chile is 24hrs)! Either make a day trip to Urguay or still go to Chile. The bus tix aren’t that expensive (to Chile), considering i have a place to stay there, must be out by the 18th here, and if i go i’ll come back in perfect timing to move into my pad: i’ve decided to go anyways! joey is generously letting me borrow money until my card comes! So that’s a huge relief!! phew!!! again, i have ah-mazing friends here!

meanwhile, i'm getting eaten alive here at pipa's pad. hope none of these 'squitors have dengue, cuz that would just be my luck!!

but hey, “life is learning to dance in the rain”, and i think i’m mastering a storm! i’m pretty lucky that these classes are magically going to continue. and actually, the second school mixed up on the dates as well! I found out today that my student really wants to continue! so i think they’re going to make it happen! i also just got a new private student who wants to meet daily and begged me to hurry back from Chile today! haha! I’m even more lucky to be blessed with such great friends! And more importantly, i’m still enjoying living here immensely!! i’m also really lucky that i just lost my card and it wasn’t stolen along with my backpack containing my passport and green card (ahem, Barcelona)! So at least I can still leave the country, and even get back in to the USA or Canada if I wanted! haha! schwing! 

Now I just need the trip to Chile to be safe and a blast! I think i deserve it at this point! be continued....duhn duhn duhn!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Iguazu Falls

A few weeks ago I went to Iguazu Falls with the Joes for a few days! It truly was amazing, completely understand why they call it a wonder of the world, completely worth the 40 hour roundtrip there! Put this location high on your places-to-go-before-I-die list!!!! i think what really made it, is they have catwalks which lead you right over, right next to, right infront of the falls -it's not just a grand view. it allows you to become a part of it and you get this whole other experience of seeing it rush under your feet or look over the railing right below to see where it lands. magical!

We took a 20 hours bus ride and it was great! I was really dreading the trip, ya know, considering i have like 4 feet of legs to squish in between seats. but oh my! i'm even going to go as far as saying these buses are better than first class on an airplane! i guess when that's the prime way to travel here they make it goooood! loads and loads of leg room, comfy seats, free flowing alcohol, questionable dinner, english movies. on the way there, the server dude kept coming back to us to re-fill our drinks, instead of re-filling the other costumers -guess we musta looked thirsty! so that was sweet! and then the server goes and hides for the night, and the kitchen is up top (it's a double decker and we were on top, both times); so naturally, we just helped ourselves to more! but on the way home, i had to move to the back of the bus, cuz my recliner wouldn't stay reclined! well the server was hitting on me like no tomorrow; which in one way was great -more alcohol, and he found out the joes were my friends, so he kept filling them up as well! but then i had to deal with the slimy, luckily they only serve ya twice! eww gross, just remembering that dude. ick!

(above pic: at the 3 frontiers. i'm in arg., pushing brazil, on the right, away from paraguay, on the left).

we rolled in on saturday afternoon. we had just missed a brutal storm. the city was a mess! trees were down, electricity out in sections, we found a hostel (that was an adventure in itself. this one hostel wanted us to stay in the pitch black, one candle to light our room) and wound up at a really sweet one. we strolled around the city, and went to the point where you can see 3 countries at once (arg, paraguay and BRAZIL). so rad!! and brazil was soooooo close (i have a burning passion to go and travel around that country)!!! ...which we didn't go to the brazil side of the falls cuz the visa is mucho expensivo, even though i've heard lots that it isn't necessary and/or it's easy to escape the visa part -but we decided not to chance it. we also didn't go into paraguay (which is supposed to be super good for cheap shopping) cuz it just sounded highly unattractive -so dirty and crazy busy. plus, i'm with boys, i gotta be in the mood to shop myself, so shopping?! ya right! pass!

the next day, or should i say at the butt crack of dawn, we made it to the falls. it was a bit overcast, but absolutely breathtaking no less. we also saw our very first couple sighting -which was the game of the weekend. now, they aren't just any kinda couples. these couples, where the SAME EXACT thing (see below pic)! down to the shoes! so much so, they make you wonder if he's wearing a matching bra and if she's wearing boxers or briefs! ridiculous! and there must have been a special somewhere in town (his and hers for the price of one) bcuz there were loads of these in the park! who told them that this was ok? high spotting time: they come out primarily early am, making it harder to spot later in the day. anyways, that was fun to constantly look out for, as well as all the other wild animals in the park!

other animals you ask? MONKEYS!!! i've always wanted to see one, heck i used to want one when i was little, and we spotted a few in the trees! cute little monkeys!!! AWESOME! we also saw these weird anteater (but smaller) looking things. they come right out and snatch food away from the tourists (see below pic)! they looks so cute so people get up and close to them, taking pics left and right. i heard they can be quite vicious, so i didn't get too close, but joe sure did. i'm still trying to figure out how he didn't get bit! ooo but speaking of which, he was bitten, by a bug, and his left hand ballooned -no joke! it looked like it was going to float away! it was madly swollen for days! unfortunate! the whole time the boys, esp joey, were like girls jumping everytime they thought they felt a bug. me and david, this guy in our hostel room that hung out with us, were both like oy vay whilst shaking our heads. those boys would not survive canada! actually, joe was pretty good about it, up until the bite, but then it was downhill after that. so he had good reason. lets see, also saw little baby looking toucan sams!!! that was neat! and then i craved fruit loops...also, loads of butterflies everywhere! they even land on you!! lots were huge and had amazing, vibrant colors. one in particular was like this silky, shiny, bold blue. incredible. didn't see fishes though. was hoping to see some try to jump up stream before falling down the mass waterfall (is that mean?...i think so, dang) but no such luck -and trust me, i looked.

apparently the river has been flooded for the past 5 months! which means we couldn't go to the island in the center. nor could we do a lot of other activities they offer there. BUT, we were able to still take a boat which takes you right INTO the falls!! it was soooo rad!!! well worth it!! plus, i have to say, we were lucky it's flooded. this makes the falls that much more powerful and makes it that much better! plus, i met a guy at our hostel who said his parents came last year (they're from italy) for their anniversary, and it was dried up! went to go see WATERfalls and there was no WATER. weird. whoddathunk this thing actually dries up?! so we were super lucky there was too much water!

(the joes have a waterproof camera, this was taken right before we headed into the falls)

every time we went to the falls and walked all around, walking back and forth between them all (so many falls), they kept getting better and better. first day, took an obscene amount of photos. i tried not to take barely any the next day, trying to focus more on seeing it not through my camera, but then it was just jaw dropping all over again (the weather got better) and made it all look sooo different! so obvi, i had to take more!! it's insane how many i have. there should be a limit to the amount you can take there.

anyways, other than that it was super relaxing time. one night, the joes, david and i went out for dinner. oh man, we got hosed. we went to a parilla (bbq place) and got the deal where they serve up a grill of mixed meat. well i think bcuz we're foreigners, they creamed us with the bulk of the intestines and kidneys and what not! gross! one of them looked like a long fried fat penne noodle. oh gross. joey was a champ though, ate all those innards! haha! and the rest of the meat was awful, and this is argentina!! wtf? anyways, i'm sure the restaurant folk were amused and we gotta story out of it.

back in ba, i've been landing teaching jobs left and right, but no classes to be had. summers fast approaching and nobody wants to spend it learning a language! hopefully that'll change soon, real soon!!

oh! halloween passed! i was the jolly green giant! super easy costume! great fun! we went to a club that had a halloween night, which was pretty much all expats/travelers, seeming as how this country doesn't celebrate it. it was loads of fun though! this one guy was dressed as a professional swimmer, goggles, speedo, swim cap, and all -pretty hilarious! it was more of a foreigner thing, so it got started pretty early (not at 3 am), which meant that if you came at the typical argentine time, you weren't gonna get in -or so we found out. i invited two diff groups of my argentine friends, they showed up well into that typical argentine clubbin time, and they weren't allowed in! the ticket lady had already gone home for the night! crazy!

lets see, a celebrated a few bdays here and there. the weather has been getting really nice out, so we've been enjoying plaza dorrego just blocks away from our house. only every time we go we come close to getting food poisoning! but it's just so beautiful out, and to be in the plaza, and there's tango dancers (they're just like street folk here, so they come and beg after the show), that we just don't give up! haha! lots of restaurants, there's gotta be one that has food which won't be questionable! right?! lots of sunday asados (bbqs) starting up, which i've taken full advantage of!

my spanish has been increasing at a turtle rate. looking to enroll in classes though! also, i know 2 italians who know spanish. so we've started up a cambio thing -they want to learn more english. so that has been fun, esp bcuz these boys cook real italian dishes, right down to the dough! unfortunately, that's gonna stop for a bit, they're both going back to the motherland for a while next week. otherwise, i've been trying to use my spanish while i'm out n about. but almost every time i do, i somehow manage to tell the employee that i'm some sort of degree of horny! lol! woopsy! one time, i tried to tell this lady it was really hot out, and instead, i told her i was really horny! Plus, i made the super hot action where you fan your face and close your eyes as you tilt your head back! lol! joe ran out of the store cuz he was laughing so hard when he heard me tell the lady! haha! dang! and i was so proud of myself too! well, at least i'm saying those sentences right?, no, that doesn't work. haha! oy vay!spanish classes here i come!! haha!

we're also moving out come december!! thank god!! today it stormed pretty hard, and iguazu falls is now in my living room. sweet. typically we get rain when there's rain, but this one tops the charts. whole bunch of new...i'd say holes but that sounds small and these def aren't! anyways, can't wait to get out and on to our new place!!! we're at the top of the building and apparently nobody uses the terrace (which is our roof), so we get it to ourselves!!! so stoked! plus, this place is in WAY better condition and bigger!!

anyways, buenos aires is still absolutely amazing. i can't say enough how great it is! all my new friends i've made here are awesome as well, and i'm super thankful for them!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mi Gusta

An update soon coming about my 4 day stay in IGUAZU FALLS!!!!!

In the meantime 2 more reasons to add to the list of why this place rocks:

1.) "Doing laundry" here means taking your laundry to the laundromat 2 blocks away, give it to a woman who does it for you. 10 pesos per load (ahem $2.6 USD) and you don't have to bring any detergent or anything. You go back in a few hours and it's all folded and dry, ready to go! I really like this translation, "doing laundry", here!

2.)  When you rent a fully furnished flat here, you also get a cleaning lady who comes once a week. When inquiring about not having one come (you know to save money) the rental guy was like well it's not worth it, you won't really be saving anything, maybe 7 pesos per month. Beautiful. Though i do have to wonder how the heck these cleaning ladies survive off that kinda salary...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Horse Shoe Up My Butt

Well there must be a horse shoe up my butt or something! this week I've been training people the TEFL methods of how to teach English as a second langauge! lol! I'm laughing because I'm technically underqualified for the job! i only have a TESOL, which is lower than a TEFL, and was barely trained, never mind knowing any methods! so how did it happen? morgan works at a language school in the marketing department and they desperately needed a substitute for the tefl trainer course that started this past Tuesday. they were adamant to start on tuesday (instead of the following week when the trainer would be back) and morgan immediately thought of me! she called me up and i was like you know i don't know the TEFL methods, i only have 1 year experience, i'm in no position to do this -feeling rather uncomfortable about the whole thing, really flattered but uncomfortable to do it. but then she told me they pay and i was like YES! no problem! done! haha! so i'm officially "one of those" -ya know, that person that has that wicked high-paying job that they shouldn't have, and there are plenty of other people well-qualified and should have it over me! but it's only for this week, so i gotta figure out how to get my butt in there, or at least sub once a week each month or somethin!! i'm soo grateful to know morgran! she's super rad and just oozing with help!

found another great reason to love this city:
went out for dinner last night with morgan and her roomie and her friend. we went to this parilla and had to wait to be seated. if you wait to be seated here, for more than like 5 mins, they come around and give you a free glass of champagne/wine/beer!!! so you're standing outside on the sidewalk, drinking a free drink, as you wait! AND, you get free refills!! my friends also told me that you cold potentially swoop in on the free drinks, and then if you're still waiting, you can just leave! just tell the host that it's taking too long and leave! and they won't charge you a cent!! crazy sauce! needless to say, i'm gonna make sure i always go at busy eating times, so i have to wait to be seated! now that's what i call "worth the wait"!

we waited last night though! and it was super good food! can't wait to go back! there was a fight though, that broke out at this restaurant -which was a sausage fest (a true sign of how good the meat is: all men at the restaurant, barely any women, and they still pile in). so i suppose with the lack of women, the men need to prove their masculinity through fighting. one dude busted out a knife. got a bit scary but was stopped within minutes. and we were at a nice place too, like business men there, dimmed lights, weird! this italian guy that came out with us was like this is the point where we dine and ditch (mid-fight), but they place was so full with tables we would have had to climb over them to make it out, causing a scene -needless to say we didn't do it. those italians are smart though! anyways, the 2 sides of the fights went back to their respective tables, one of them with a steak knife in his back pocket as everyone in the place carried on with their meals. it was weird, they weren't asked to leave. though 10 mins later a load of cops came and escorted them out. it was an interesting way of handling things. but i'm glad nobody was injured, esp since one dude had a knife! and loads of men in there, who were ready to fight if necessary! that could have got ugly fast! esp with it being so hard to walk inbetween the tables! not an easy exit! and then they came and gave everyone a free glass of champagne for the disruption! morgan's right: she never gives me a dull time! haha!

anyways, back to the job hunt! can't believe in 2 days it will be a month since i've moved down here! it has gone by insanely fast! i only feel it has been 2 weeks tops!! love this place!!