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!!

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