Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mom's visit, Day One.

Hello readers. I know it' s been quite a long time since my last blog. I do apologize. The last two weeks have been most exciting, and most "exciting". For starters, my mom and sis-in-law came visited me here in Buenos Aires. We'll begin there:

Mom and Amanda arrived on April 15th at 9 in the morning. I wanted to pick them up from the airport to save them the hassle that I endured upon landing in a country will no native language skills whatsoever. But in order for me to get to the airport (quite far from my place), I would have needed to take this bus, that bus, this shuttle, and such. I would have had to wake up around 6am and spend around $50 pesos to get there. Then we'd need to spend about $100 pesos to get back to my place. Well, Juge made a wonderful suggestion: hire a driver. We did, but wouldn't that be really expensive?

Oscar was his name and he was such a sweet little older man. He picked me up at my front door, speaking no English, and we headed off; successfully picked up the family and went back home, costing me all of $120 pesos. Amazing! Lesson learned, call a "remis"! Heck, call Oscar. I'd certainly pass his number along. We used him time and time again.

This has been a tough time in "renting an apartment in BsAs". Noah, Margot and I have been having problems with our living situation and the height of the confusion and turmoil was at its peak around this time (so I thought... it got worse), during my mom's visit.

Plans: as soon as mom and Amanda arrived I wanted to show them how to make homemade empanadas. But dealing with apartment issues were abound. Well, I finally decided that I was not going to be stopped! We rushed to the supermarket, got some tapas and roast; to my local veggie stop, got some tomatoes, red peppers, etc.; to my laundry lady, got some clean blankets for the family. Rushed home. Made some yummy, yummy empanadas.

I rushed to a job interview and let mom and Amanda check out Caballito. Then we headed downtown to exchange their US dollars. But we ALL left our passports at home!!! And you need your passport to exchange. So, no money for us. Well, that's not entirely true. I had money. Not tons, but some.

Met Juge in Puerto Madero, walked around. Checked out the "pink house" where Presidente Kirchner "works". We saw her take off in her helicopter too. She left work early, it was around 3pm. Hence, "work". Walked, and walked more.

Showed them San Telmo. Mom had her first mate from a little shop owner in the market in San Telmo. Showed them lots of pieces of meat. Lots and lots.

Mom and Amanda's first "bondi" experience:

To see more photos of this first day, click:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Here's what I remember.

I remember thinking, after I finally arrived in this country, on my insane journey into almost complete unknown, "oh my, these folks don't speak the same language as me."

Then a few months later, I'm told, "your Spanish is really improving." "Nah," I say. But it's true, it is. I must realize, I've had three weeks of formal classes in Spanish. Total. Ever in 29 years of life. Yes, "having" 29 years. But I've lived here, and that makes me hard on myself.... like, "why aren't I totally fluent already?"

Well, Spanish is hard. Harder than I thought. BUT!, I did go to a job interview yesterday where the employer spoke in Spanish. And though he said, "stop me if you don't understand" (in Spanish), I decided to let him go. Vamos! Ramble on! And you know what? I think I caught 70% of it. Sure, in the lacked 30%, he could have said, "hey listen grasshopper, you're an idiot and if you agree to eat this job, I'll roast your toes for lunch and make whoopie in your cheese," I wouldn't have understood. But I'm 70% confident he did not say that. I mean, that would be a really, really odd thing to say in an interview, right? (I doubt myself in oddness these days, so bring reality to the forefront if you're capable. POR FIII!!!!)

Certainly one of the reasons I moved here, opposed to a French or German speaking country, is because I have NO experience with learning this language. And indeed, I didn't really KNOW French or German, but I had some knowledge and had studied both of them. And sure, I knew 7 words in Spanish before I moved here. But the challenge was being somewhere with a brand new language for me. Yippie! And yikes.

Alas, Spanish will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine. It has to be. And not just Spanish Spanish, but Argentine Spanish, which in many ways is quite different. Of course, Spanish speaking folks from wherever can understand one another, I'm interested in this dialect most. Why? Well, ummm, I live here. And will be back here. And need to talk to people who also live here. Said and done... (mostly).

Random, surfacing thought of the moment: Riding behind a 4-wheeler with a "ski rope" through the sand dunes of Villa Gesell on my bum for Easter vacation is fun!

P.f'ing.S. My mom and sis-in-law arrive tomorrow for a fun-filled vay-kay. They get to see my life down SOUTH!!!! SOUTH, SOUTH, SOUTH! I am totally ecstatic! Updates, pictures, and fun-ness from the visit will be displayed and reported here. And only here. Look out!

Chau! Besos!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not for children.

You know I had a really funny dinner the other night, with a “porteño” family; father, mother, sisters. (“porteño”? See: folks that inhabit this city.) My Spanish is still so far from anything worth writing home about, but luckily for me, like in most recent situations, their English is far better than my terrible Spanish.

But here’s the new topic, after a little wine, yummy pizza, and laid back chatter: bad words. In English. Curse words. They know several! And because English isn’t their native language, these words have little meaning to them. At least, true meaning. They’re just sounds, words that they vaguely understand the deep context of. I’m not saying, they don’t understand their meaning, mostly, I’m just saying, it ain’t their native tongue so there’s a distance there; between them and these word’s meaning.

Here are the sound bites, transcribed to “paper” of course, that ensued over the next several minutes:

(Oh and first, this is rated R. Or maybe rated, “I can’t believe I’m actually posting this”. Kids, turn and walk away, there’s nothing for your innocent ears here.)


(I can’t stop laughing at this point; maybe I’m blushing too?)

Shit fuck slut.

(And yes, I decide to join in, just a little.)


(and last but not least, my favorite, de Papa…)


P.S. Thanks for the kick in the tush Jenny.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Once you accept you live...

Once you accept you live here or anywhere, life is different. Eventually you realize, it's your life. Your "regular" life. And that doesn't seem very interesting. Which is terrible, I know. I couldn't imagine a blog about the great city of Chicago because I lived there but it would be super interesting to many. I didn't always see or discuss the beauty of Chicago with the world. Because, well, I lived there. And the same is happening here... I live here. Sure, sooooooo many things are still interesting and different here, different from the states. But it's becoming, and is, more natural. And I forget, it's not for you. It's odd and different and/or interesting for you. Or at least, most of you. I've slipped into the "regular" life here. And I say that with caution... I am still no where near fluent in Spanish and I still cannot understand most conversations! NO ENTIENDO!!!!! But the lifestyle, or at least, my lifestyle, here has become. It is. I grocery shop in the few same stores I have; stores that would be odd for you stateside folks, but that are "normal" for me; now. Odd. Walking. Streets. Ahhhhh! I've adjusted. I needed to be reminded that you don't know this world. And this world is so interesting and worth bloggin. It is.

And I've fallen.

And yes, I've had some wonderful cocktails tonight, after some homemade "Philly cheese steak sandwiches". Yummy! ...Jui agrees.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Things not to forget about Uruguay.

(crazily written... stream-of-consciousness taken word-for-word from thought-from-memory journal entry of Uruguay; translated a tad for a slightly easier read.)

Colonia: is amazing. Met Aussie Jackie as we're getting into our Thrifty rental Chevy Corsa. She joins us in Punta del Este at hostel after Andrea heads back to Montevideo.

Montevideo: Picked up Andrea in Monte from her Spanish school and from the short time there, I realize I want to spend lots more time there. Rental car was genius. Montevideo!!! Red Hostel. Horse-drawn trash collector. UR folks drink even more mate than AR folks. Counted 1 out 7 at one point in time while strolling the streets. (P.S. I just bought my first bag of mate and had some in the comforts of my home... it's yummy.)

Punta del Este: "Conrad Girls." Had "paella" (pronounced: "pah-eh-sha") seafood gumbo at HOP in Este. Dinner ended at 2am. Margot and Andrea get carded at Moby Dick... 1st time ever in South America. They didn't have IDs. We went to Soho. Danced at Soho. Tight, tight. Too many people standing around on the dance floor. Hard for us to move.

Waves at Bikini Beach kicked Andrea and I's ars! I had so many colorful little rocks and shells in my trunks, it was a bit crazy. Bumper sticker ads.

Route 10 from Este to Diablo: had to cross a river w/ the craziest ferry, only held 3 cars and was powered by a tiny boat tied to its side. Free.

This route stayed unpaved for miles and this countryside along the beautiful coastline made me so excited!! I want to to know how much land is!! These (all over) super cool, square, windowed beach houses inspire the architect in me. A LOT! I love them.

Jose Igancio: most beautiful, perfect beach so far; little getaway town; $$$; beautiful peeps; best ocean experience ever.

Punta del Diablo: tiny little fishing town w/ very small fishing boats, amazing house rental for us (no HOSTEL!!!!), square, windows, feels like I'm outside w/ all of them open. Diablo seems like a cheaper place to hang at the beach; can't believe same of these "houses" but lots are still super adorable. No ATM. Had to go to Chuy.

Chuy (the last city before Brasil): got searched by UR police on return to Punta del Diablo 'cause we were so close to Brasil; cracked-out mate drinking guy tried to help us park; Noah not allowed in supermercado shirtless, gets one of Margot's.

Lost outlet adapter so phone, iPod, and camera are dying. Dang it. Bicycling on the highway seems dangerous. $ conversion: about 26UR$ to 1 US$.
living in Buenos Aires