Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peruvian Christmas!

OK so I have to wait for Andrea to come home since I don´t have a key to the house.

Christmas was a couple days ago, and still super exciting. We didn´t open presents or eat until midnight on the 24th. To tide us over we ate cookies and drank Whisky and lit sparklers in the living room, which turned out safer than it sounds. Shaun and I joked around with the little kids until they fell asleep and then we made friends with the cousins Andrea didn´t know.

finally midnight came and all these other family came rushing into the room and suddenly everyone had to hug and kiss each other and it was such a flurry of activity and happiness and everyone had been drinking slightly and it was super fun and amazing!!! then we had to sit down while select people served plates of turkey and applesauce and served everyone else. After eating as fast as possible, we opened presents. Andrea´s family got me a present! it was super exciting. Then we danced Cumbia for way too long and at about 2 we drank hot chocolate and went screaming home so we could sleep. the next day we spent eating leftover turkey, and Shaun made a novela out of Barbies. it was fun!

I will update you about New Years soon! I bought my yellow underwear today!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sorry Guys...

So I put up that schedule, but I haven´t written about Ushuaia, Calafate OR Machu Picchu yet. I know you´re all sad. But I don´t have free internet so it is expensive to blog. But ten minute summary!!!

1. Ushuaia was really cold. Seeing as it´s Antartica. But it was light forever because it´s summer there--roughly 4am to 11pm it was light out. I ran around with penguins and went canoeing and it was beautiful. I also got wind and sun burn at the same time, which was a new and interesting experience.

2. Calafate was warmer and looked like a desert. We went on some hardcore hikes and started to get really sick of each other, but had a really good time running around on the glacier!!! There are almost too many pictures of it.

3. BUS RIDE!!! I forgot, probably because I tried to block it out of my mind. It was 60 hours of the same salsa mix and every Nicholas Cage movie. People kept throwing up because of the extreme altitude changes and the guy next to me tried to convince me to have his children, but it was an interesting experience. I´m still flying back to Buenos Aires.

4. Machu Picchu and Cusco was beautiful! Totally intense hiking and I did the sissy hiking, but also I did it cheaply so I had to walk on the train tracks intead of taking the train. You guys should go too!!! And eat peruvian food.

5. LIMA!!! I am there now. I met with Sergio yesterday and I am probably going to be doing production and development of maca beer, which should be super challenging but super interesting as well! Lima is really cool and super delicious! Also it is a ton cheaper than Buenos Aires so I am unhappy about having to return. I am living with Drea´s Grandmother right now, and she is adorable. I am super sad that I don´t have my own Peruvian grandmother.

I will try to write more eloquent and interesting things later okay!? About Lima and Lonche and Life!!!

Christmas is soon!!! I am super excited.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


In the flurry of papering, I forgot to write about Uruguay part 2.

Colonia was pretty much everyone pretending they didn´t have large amounts of essays waiting for them in Buenos Aires. As such, everyone tried extra hard to be calm and just enjoy life. Colonia, it turned out, was the perfect place to do such a thing. There are very few permanent residents there--everyone is a tourist. They accepted Pesos of every kind and even Dollars even at the most hole-in-the-wall places. It had cobblestone roads and flowers everywhere. I would move there in an instant if I had the money and a job that let me work remotely.

for Thanksgiving, we went to Mario´s house. He owns a bed-and-breakfast in a lemon orchard and we all ate ourselves silly. A lot of people went swimming, but I just sat around and enjoyed the, as we call it at camp, nature. He even had pumkin pie! Which was super exciting and better than I expected. I want to get married there. With the large tent and wads of happy people, it felt a lot like a wedding. Also, the weather was incredible. We couldn´t have asked for a sunnier day or a gentler breeze. It definitely didn´t feel like Thanksgiving, but it´s fun to break with tradition now and again!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


So I am totally supposed to be writing my very last paper right now. My last tango class is in 2 hours and I'll definitely go out with the gang afterwards because it's our last night.

It is already December first!!! I realized that December is going to be every flavor of crazy. I also realized I won't have time to do laundry for the next 2 weeks, so I bought 3 more pairs of socks and another outfit out of desperation.

Also I am going to be online really rarely from now on. If you catch me online, you might want to talk to me. I'm sure I'll have a story to tell you.

here is my schedule, in case you're wondering. which you probably are.
1-that's today
2-Castellano final
3-get on the plane and ship myself to Ushuaia (the end of the world)
4-5-Explore Ushuaia
6-Get on plane no. 2 and go to Calafate, a glacier. (snow in december! my goal!)
7-8-explore El Calafate
9-Haul @** back to BsAs
10!!!! Board the bus to Lima
11-lose excitement over being on the bus
12-Probably be in Chile by then. on the bus.
13-Arrive in Lima! Minus my sanity
14-Get on plane no. 4 to Cuzco (which I will have driven by on the bus)
15-16-17-18-19-hang out in MACCHU PICHU!!!
20-Get on plane no.5 and go back to Lima
21-realize i'm broke
22-do nothing
23-eat soup
24-start celebrating christmas
25-celebrate more christmas
26-calm down about christmas
27-explore lima?
28-Shaun leaves-ish
29-Drea and I cry
30-start preparing for new yeras
01/01/11 wake up hung over on a beach. i've been promised that's what is going to happen.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

the not-so-good but not-really-bad day.

So I FINALLY finished that 20 page paper. Well, it was 16 pages but Griselda told me it'd be okay as long as it didn't suck as hard as my drafts. I rewrote it completely, so I figured 16 pages was pretty solid.

my throat infection came back, so i spent the first half of the day trying not to cry. However, I found my old prescription and it has 1 refill on it. So I took it to my beloved Farmacity and a very nice man gave me some pills. In celebration I bought a bottle of orange juice and a pack of ramen and stuffed myself and slept the rest of the day off.

I am en route to Tango now, and then Uruguay tomorrow!!!

Happy Thanksgiving, you guys!!! i'll see you on the flipside.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Philsophy Final

Little note: I can now no longer spell things in English--especially words that I frequently write in Spanish. Such as filosofy/philosophy or delinquent/delincuent.

So I rush into my classroom at like 9:01. Argentine classes start like 15 minutes late, so I figured, even for the final exam, I'd be okay. I run in, and there is absolutely nobody in the room. Finally a guy I didn't recognize came in, and I asked him if I was wrong. Which I was. I saw a guy in my class and creepily followed him until he lead me to the group of people in our class, standing outside of a room, taking roll. They went over it several times, but there was a lot going on so when I wasn't called I figured I was just dumb and asked them to see the list. I wasn't on it so they sent me to the office to discuss it with them.

The office ladies spent a long time asking me what class I was taking and where I was from. Finally one of them told me that the semester ended for foreigners on the 6th and that I was either not going to get a grade or I already had one, because we were supposed to make arrangements to take the test earlier. They told me I'd need to talk to the foreign student office and I tried not to cry. I went to say goodbye to my professor, but figured I should ask him about the form anyway. He hadn't realized it was for my final grade and was really nice to me about messing up. So I didn't have to take the test!

In other news, not including the trips I'm taking and the awkard 20-hour period in-between one trip and leaving for good, I have ten days left in BsAs. I am FREAKING OUT.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

is finals week.

so leona please don't yell at me about how I haven't posted. I had a wonderful weekend and I took a bunch of food pictures, so be excited for like Friday when I am not writing my paper and studying for my final.

unless i need to procrastinate. we will seeee. wish me luck!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Things I've Learned

I've got 30 more days until I go to Lima, but I'd still like to relfect on this now that I'm officially Argentine (until January which means I can't fly back to BsAs on a discount ticket. lame.) I'll probably do this more again later, but w/e. The more cheesy, the better!

1. It's okay to imitate people. They generally don't call you on it.
2. Don't follow people you don't know to the bathroom when they ask you there.
3. When someone says "tengo que decirte una cosa"(I have one thing to tell you) it's never something you want to hear.
4. When in doubt, get in line.
4.5. Ask everyone around you in line plus the person creating the line what the line is for and if you're supposed to be in it.
6. North =/= up
7. There is no name that is easy for everyone to say.
8. Even if you don't know what it is, you probably won't die if you eat it.
9. Being afraid to ask is a waste of time.
9.5. Asking official-looking people things in a foreign language is both twice as terrifying and half as hard.
10. Sometimes it's okay to pretend I don't speak Spanish.
11. You can never have enough underwear.
12. It's okay to spend money on things that you want.
13. Only say no to the people selling things on the street.
14. Carrying water is an excellent idea. So are mints.
15. If you don't have it, you can usually buy it.
16. Even 30-year-old Argentines know who Justin Bieber is.
17. Despite what Smith thinks, 5:30 is not an appropriate time for dinner.
18. Americans are dumb, and we make good use of it.
19. If the question is "do you have change?" the answer is ALWAYS no.
20. When crossing the street, cross when no cars will hit you, not according to the light.
20.2. When in doubt, follow a mother with children. At least if you die you'll end up on the news.
21. Never tell anyone from outside your country that politics are complicated.
22. School has nothing at all to do with real life. We students blow it out of proportion.
23. Sometimes you have to use people that are using you.
24. Pretending you are drunk is cheaper and easier to control than actually drinking
25. Drinking beer is a life skill and you shouldn't be friends with anyone that doesn't do it without good reason.
26. Don't bring anything you don't want to lose.
27. These lists are super hard to do and please don't hold me to most of what I have said.
29. Make eye contact with people! Just not for too long.
30. People that complain about Americans are just people that don't know how to have fun.

omg this got super cheesy. sorry! I am just watching all of my friends wrap up their adventures and it's starting to freak me out.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Penguin´s Funeral

Yesterday was rather epic, in terms of Argentina and important events. Everything--even the 25hour kiosks--was closed because Argentina was taking the census.

The way the census happens here is that everyone stays in their house and waits for the censist to come and ask them questions. Everything must be written BY the censist and on the card that they provide. It seems like a pretty good deal to me. I had a picnic and ate some salami and drank beer in front of the cementery, which was super fun.

The other major event was that the ex-president and current president´s husband died of a heart attack. They thought about calling off the census, but realized it was a bit too ridiculous. There is a lot of speculation about what the president will do without him because he is so involved even though he is no longer the president, and I am super excited to see what happens in the elections next year.

So today before going to class, I went to the Plaza de Mayo and looked at all of the mourners. The line to walk by the Pink House--the Argentine White House--went for blocks and blocks, so I didn´t get in. But people have letters to him taped all over the plaza and all of the graffiti is wishing strength to the current president. It was super exciting to see everyone together and I was almost surprised how positive everyone was. Nobody was saying that they were happy he was dead or putting down Peronism/Kirchnerism as would probably happen if we were in the US. He kind of looks like a penguin, so my friend and I bought little penguin pins and I will hopefully find someplace discreet to put it so my host parents don´t kick me out. They weren´t sad that he died, but were more positive than I thought they´d be. I wanted to buy an Argentine flag with his face on it, but they were U$S 10 and I can do a lot of other things with that much money. Also I would have been creeped out when I looked at it hanging in my Smith room a year from now.

Basically it was really cool! I am going to class now and I will upload pictures when I´m at home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last Day of USAL!!!

I know, right?! I now have only my IFSA Spanish class and Tango, if that counts. However, today was exciting!

As usual, and as you might expect, getting up at 6:30 was a challenge and I was convinced I was going to be late. Of course, I was early and had an awkward chat with someone in the other class about the test that I so gracefully bombed the week before. He told me that the exchange
students fail every year and I shouldn't be worried. When the professor finally came, she was in a super cheery mood and decided to let me and my friend go early because we didn't have any other material to learn that we'd be tested on. We sat in a cafe and watched Animal Planet and drank orange juice.

Then Andrea and I went to Abasto Shopping (a super fancy mall) with a sheet of coupons and looked in all of the stores on the list. Really, we just found them and determined that they were too expensive for us. We turned it into a a scavenger hunt and had a great time!

Andrea is writing her 20 pages on Peruvian food in BsAs (clearly I took the wrong seminar to make up credits for) so we went to a really fancy Peruvian lunch. In Buenos Aires, it's common to have a "menu ejecutivo" option for lunch. This means you pay in cash (usually about A$R 20-30) for a drink, a meal and either soup or a dessert or a coffee, depending on the place. This place had soup, and it was probably one of the best meals I've had in Buenos Aires. It was pretty healthy considering some of the things I've been eating here, and for A$R 20 it was an incredible price!

After lunch, Andrea had to go to a hemeroteca. I was as mystified as you are, but it involved going to the city legislature and pushing through a large crowd of people to tell the security guard we wanted to go there. We went through super back-room looking hallways to small storage rooms full of newspapers. It is probably against fire code, but the people there were super nice to us and let her copy her papers for free!

To top today off, I went to the grocery store and bought some ham-flavored crackers for the picnic we are having tomorrow in celebration of the census. You know you want to try them.

And here are the pictures!

I forgot to go to this but I was excited about it!

This is the church right next to the Plaza de mayo which was really cool! It has the tomb of Saint Martin in it, so you get two pictures for this day!!!

I had Sushi with Shaun on Monday, and it was super exciting! This was also a menu so it cost about $6 for two of these things of sushi and a drink.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Intense Weekend!

I have been slacking on the leona challenge for a week already, although I have been taking pictures for it religiously!

Saturday we went to a David Bisbal concert in an (American) football fie
ld! I never realized quite how bouncy he is, in the most adorable way!

Sunday Andrea and I escaped Buenos Aires and Argentina to go to Uruguay. I was super excited to use my Argentine residency to leave the country and I even made a friend! We got super los
t when we first arrived, but clearly we are okay now! I will write another entry about MVD when I am more motivated...

Monday we woke up not in Argentina! But fell asleep there.

Tuesday was Katie's birthday! We went to Farrici and ate Dulce, per her request.

Wednesday I saw this ad for this show I always watch with Aldo, called BREEEEK.

Thursday Katie and I had amazing fake iced coffee at Milkaaaa!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Parque de la memoria

OK so I am starting the Leona Challenge today! This is a park dedicated to people who were "disappeared" during the dictatorship starting in 1976. The walls say the names of all of the confirmed deaths, but there are also empty plaques for people whose entire families were wiped out or just never had the guts to announce the disappearance.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

3 months!!!

OMG I haven't updated in forever!!! Important things that have happened:

  1. Rosario
  2. Iguazu
  3. Residencia Precaria
  4. Tea Connection
  5. UBA toma
OK I will try and do a quick summary of each of them!

1. Rosario
We went to Rosario with IFSA, which is a city about 4 hours outside of Buenos Aires. It was really, really chill and I was really excited to get out of Buenos Aires! As much as I love it. I ate some Pizza and laid in bed in the hotel and watched TV. (That isn't as bad as it sounds because it's not something I can do here and sometimes you get sick of clubbing.)

2. Iguazu!
We (Shaun, Andrea, Morgan and Katie and I) went to Iguazu because soon it will be too hot to go. Katie and I went up a day early, which was really fun and I felt made seeing the park easier because it was a pain trying to keep the group together the next day. The park was SO BEAUTIFUL!!! For those who aren't in the know, Iguazu is one up on the list of the world's biggest falls compared to Niagra, and the widest. It is about 20 hours away from BsAs and we went by "semi-cama" which is like a bus with airplane bus and airplane food. That I didn't die from eating it was a minor miracle, but overall the bus experience wasn't that bad. On the ride back we got boarded by the border police 5 (five!) times to make sure we weren't drug trafficking or something. Shaun didn't bring his ID and almost got deported...and they gave us disapproving looks because my visa expires next Tuesday!

3. Residencia Precaria
However, I got my Residencia Precaria yesterday! This means that I will have full student residency (this expires in 6 months) next month, after I have the precaria for a while. However, I can leave Argentina with this and pretend to be Argentine!

4. Tea Connection
Is a cafe chain. Imagine if Whole Foods and Starbucks had a child--that is Tea Connection. I'm there right now, sitting in a leather chair next to a pot of bamboo, drinking grape-ginger-pear-apple juice--excuse me, naturally-flavored water--that sets me back $2.50 a glass, corked bottle (that they reuse, of course.) The food is overpriced but super delicious.

5. UBA Toma
So the situation has gotten from bad in a fun kind of way to bad in a ridiculous sort of way. Although I enjoyed not having class the first two that we missed, having class in the parking lot was a pain. That only happened once, and we had normal class last week. However, today the students decided that the talks with the Ministry of Education were going badly, and thus they decided to take the Ministry as well. Hopefully that won't last long, but now IFSA is saying we won't get credit for these classes, and UBA is saying that the regular students might not get credit for this either--which really ruins everyone's life plan. IFSA's solution is to make me write a 20 page paper, researching the subject I was studying. We will see how this goes...

AAAHH i don't know what else to say! Leona wants me to start doing a picture-a-day instead of writing because I'm bad at writing, so I am going to start that....tomorrow. Never do today what you can procrastinate on, right?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Puerto Madero

Last night I went to a dance concert called Fuerza Bruta (I, know, it took me long enough Izzy). It was half a dance party and half really artistic dancing. It was fun, but kind of strange because I ran into 2 people I knew--one from my USAL class, but another girl from Smith! Who I didn't know was in Buenos Aires. It was kind of ridiculous, but also fun! Clearly Smithies are everywhere.

Today I went biking in Puerto Madero! We rented these super jankey bikes for ten pesos an hour. I'm still surprised we didn't die or get sunburned, but it was super fun! We took a lot of ridiculous pictures and a lot of us are sore. The weather was beautiful and I can't wait to go again! Today is Morgan's birthday, and we are going to eat ice cream at Faricci and then go drink wine at a bar. Super classy!!! Hopefully Leo/Daniel don't mind that we are singing.

If I haven't told you about Faricci before, it's this cafe where Andrea and I go nearly every day. In fact, I'm there right now! The coffee is kind of expensive, but Daniel (one of the waiters) gives us free ice cream when we go so it ends up balancing out. We think Leo is the owner, but we aren't really sure. We will probably find out soon because we talk to them so much. OK It is time for dinner! We are going to a Middle Eastern place I think. Last time we went to a Middle Eastern place, I talked the waiter into giving us free hummus. Hopefully it will happen again!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Volver a vivir

We'll start with Wednesday. Per usual, I had philosophy. Afterwards Shuan and Andrea and I decided to try one of the places Claire suggested for lunch. However, after I got rather lost Shaun picked another place and we ended up eating there. It turned out to be the first place I ate empanadas here! Discussion section of Crime/Society was cancelled so lunch was long. However, eventually lecture rolled around. Because the buildings are still taken by the students, professors must have class outside in the parking lot, where all of the chairs were conveniently placed to demonstrate the taking of the building. We then had an hour-long conversation about whether or not it was appropriate to even have class during the demonstrations. It was a rough hour of my life, because the end result was still a waste of time. We all wrote down our email addresses, and the poor man was very confused as to how I could have an email address that didn't have any country abbreviation at the end.

Yesterday was IFSA-day! I had to register with the police at 10, and I'm no longer allowed to leave the country. That is, until I fill out the rest of my forms in a month. Then I had class and a meeting with my adviser. I made up some information about the readings I haven't done and scampered home. Then I had dinner with the director of the program at his super-swanky apartment in San Telmo. I met someone else who is staying for a year, and he offered me his seat on the Kayaking trip. It was super gracious and a great way to relax!!!!!

After the Kayaking, I got to see JORGE!!!! It was amazing. I'm sure I died of happiness every time I realized I was singing along with real-life Jorge and 3,000 other people that also loved Jorge and not just myself alone in the car with a recorded version. My friend and I were sure we were the only Americans in the theater, but it just made us feel slightly cooler.

Ok so this was actually a really old entry and now I'll write one for today.

Friday, September 3, 2010


So on Wednesday I tried to go to class at UBA. I walked into the building, and the entrance was filled with chairs. (none of the chairs in UBA match, adding to the look of chaos.) I climbed over them and the desk in front of the stairs to the first floor, which was also filled with chairs. I finally took my chances and asked a guy wearing a North Face what was going on. (This is generally a good indicator that they are American, but not always!) He said, literally "we [the students] have taken the building! so you probably don't have class." And then told me to go ask downstairs to make sure. The guys downstairs told me to check back later. Since I had no idea what to do, I sat in the sea of chairs and read the literature they gave me.

The paper said that a pane of glass had fallen in this particular building (I go to CeSos/MT, whichever you prefer.) So the students were/are (it's still happening) protesting for safer, newer buildings. Since I am useless/didn't know what to do with all this free time, I decided to sit there until I saw someone I recognized and would stop them and ask them for direction. Finally 1 of the 2 other American girls showed up, and I stopped her from going into the classroom and we awkwardly chatted about what to do. Finally we recognized these two guys from class and waylaid them to see what they were planning on doing. They were making a bee-line for the door, but one of them decided to stay and talk to us! So he is on a soccer team and hopefully we will go see him play sometime! HOWEVER, on Tuesday I am going to the friendly Argentina V. Spain match! I am super excited and it should be a smashingly good time. I am going to 2 other concerts this month as well! Apparently I am spending all of my money on tickets to things I never thought I'd even get the chance to buy tickets for. Y'all should have jealousy pouring out of the jealousy pouring out of your pores.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Week of Normal!

Yes it is! I have all of my classes figured out, which is why I haven't been posting anything--I've been running around Buenos Aires finding readings, classrooms, and schedules.

For two weeks we've been having workshops on Spanish. I found mine rather useless because they taught us how to conjugate in past tense (maybe it would have been good to learn this before enrolling in the southern hemisphere of Harvard, people?) but it was challenging for the kids in my class who were still working on...present tense. They kind of stress me out because I'm confused as to how they expect to pass their classes and/or function in a Spanish-speaking country.

So, for comparison, this was my schedule last semester. 21 credit-hours of ridiculous.

and this is my schedule for this semester. I have a class on Thursday, but it's a Spanish class through my program and it makes me really angry so I am going to pretend it isn't happening. Since I'm mature and deal with things well. It was originally at the same time as Literature and I was told I wasn't allowed to take Literature. After I'd missed two classes of Lit, my adviser emails me and tells me that maybe we CAN change it if I come in and ask nicely. He was super angry that I hadn't gone (but he said I couldn't take it?!) and told me that if IFSA was going to let me change my special grammar class I would have to go to USAL directly and plead for my life with them to let me take this class. And pretend that I'd been to filosofia and that my life wouldn't be complete if I didn't get to take that class as well.

The IFSA man made me agree that I was changing the Spanish class against their recommendation and then told me to take a different one that wouldn't conflict with my classes. (this was a lie and caused later drama.) Then I walked to USAL and, after sweating in the waiting room for 15 minutes, the exchange student representative looked at me like I was crazy and told me that of course I could take the classes, as long as I didn't skip any more and registered right away. (IMPORTANT NOTE! I am now the proud owner of an USAL email address: allison.iuliano@usal.edu.ar be jealous.) However, I couldn't register for filosofia. This concerned me a lot. The next day, when I went to ask where the classroom was, I off-handedly asked if I could register for the class or if I, as an exchange student, wasn't supposed to take it. This amazing woman named Carolina helped me register (which you aren't supposed to do, apparently) and found someone to literally hold my hand and walk me to my class. I was super late and sat, terrified, in the back of the room. We had a short break after which we called roll, and of course I wasn't on it. I had to announce that I was an exchange student (like it wasn't obvious) but the professor is super chill!!! I used one of my cool new Argentine words, which is apparently not very polite. I looked terrified when he explained it to me as using "son of a bitch" to a professor in English. But he said it was fine if I used it around him.

He is not very similar to my UBA professor. Pegoraro is his name. He very illegibly in chalk scribbles "turn your phone off" on the top of the board every class and flips out if he sees anyone using a phone. He yells about how he doesn't text during class, so we can't either. Argentine students do not like this at all. He is rather intense...and I am super glad to have such a funky professor!

AH I don't know what else to tell you about! Right now Aldo's sister Daniela is visiting from Montevideo. She is awesome and I am going to secretly be very sad when she leaves, because she is the only person that talks to me a lot--since she doesn't have tons of exchange students and I haven't been living with her for a month. UMMM maybe I'll make a post about the weekend later? It wasn't super exciting. I only did one culturally valuable thing. But pictures will make it more fun. SOON SOON SOON!!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Aldo is my host dad. For the past week, my host mom has been in Uruguay dealing with some legal stuff. She is from Uruguay, so this isn't particularly crazy. At the beginning of this week, I was super terrified that Aldo was extremely bothered by me and that a whole week of the two of us alone would end with me sleeping in the elevator and subsisting off of empanadas and piropos.

This week I've learned that Aldo is not Argentine, or even from Uruguay, but is Italian. He's never bothered to naturalize, but also spends about equal time in Argentina and Italy. He's 77 and is an architect.

Aldo likes to watch TV. He's kind of on vacation right now I think...he loves watching the news. However, he absolutely hates every politician and is very conservative. I have yet to admit to him that I voted for Obama or that I like tofu. Every time they mention Obama on TelEspana (IDK why we watch this instead of like, an Argentine channel) he scoffs and complains about how little he's done. Maybe we don't watch Argentine channels because he would murder someone if he had to hear about Kirschner doing anything "good." Today there was an accident with this building and the announcer would say "we don't know if the victims are alive or dead." Aldo spent about ten minutes explaining to me that it wasn't that hard to check if someone was alive.

We also had a long conversation about the microwave. We were having a "pasta thing" for dinner (that's what he called it--it was a lasagna with spinach, slices of ham and...hard boiled eggs...in it) and he told me I could microwave my portion, but there was no way he was going near it. He called it "the monster in the corner" and promised me that if it didn't have fire in it, he wasn't going to use it.

Last night I was heading to my UBA class. I had my backpack and was unlocking the door when he asked me "what's that thing on your back?" I stared at him, confused. He then informed me that the only thing I really needed for class was a notebook and a pen. He wouldn't let me leave until I'd put everything else in my room and then was like, isn't that better? it was awkward in a caring way.

This was also true of Saturday, when we aren't supposed to eat with our host families. He asked me if I wanted to eat with him and I was like, we aren't supposed to? He told me to fuck the law and offered it to me again. I told him I loved his food but i'd already made plans with everyone else who wouldn't be getting food. He told me that "it's better that way" in response to that his food was good.

In short, I'm really glad we've had this week to bond in silence, though I will be excited to see Cristina whenever she comes back and brings conversation into our lives.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jardin Japonesa

At the urging of our beloved hanchan, I'll make this post, but it'll be fast. Today we went to the Jardin Japonesa after a lunch of salami sandwiches, which are surprisingly/luckily popular here. We had to pay in cash, but that is always acceptable.

Then we went to the Japanese garden and walked around and made fun of all of the couples who are accidentally in our pictures. The PDA here is really intense--it's not that it's bad, it's just taking some time to get used to.

Now, because it's Saturday and my host family isn't required to feed me, I'm going to go eat cheap Chinese food from this lady whose Spanish is so heavily accented she could be saying practically anything. It's about 20$ a person, which is roughly $5. AMAZING, I know. Then we're going to go to a gay bar maybe. If we can find one we like, and we're bad at making decisions. So it might end up being another night of ice cream? Which I'm never against.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


So I didn't have internet yesterday, but it was okay because I didn't have class either. Apparently cancelling class on the first day is fine and conventional if you're from Buenos Aires. So I walked and walked all day and never went anywhere. I went to bed at 9:30 to confirm, yet again, to my host parents that I'm completely insane.

Today, despite the rain, we went to Tigre! although it is still a province of Buenos Aires, it was my first time leaving the city since I've been here! We took 3 trains to the end of their lines and then got off at a theme park. Because it's winter, it was closed. Practically everything there was closed, so we ended up going to a really expensive Parilla. However, it was super delicious and, coupled with the cute houses we had just blown by on the train, Katie and I have decided to definitely move to Tigre when we are rich enough to live in the middle of nowhere and train dogs. After the grand adventure of eating, we wandered around and looked at the ocean. Everything else was closed so we went and found the cheaper, less scenic train and fell asleep on the ride home.

Well, it's Thursday, which means free drinks for ladies night at my obviously favorite bar. Last time I made some interesting friends, so I am going to make a go of it again! Ciao!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First Day of Class!

Despite being sick of posting already, I figured I should start writing about current times as soon as possible so as to not let everything build up.

So today was my first day of class! It was at USAL, or the University of the Savior. My class was at 8am and I was fairly convinced that I was going to sleep through it. However, I woke up and was walking by 7! Since I had no idea where it was and figured it would be a bad day to be late.

And I wasn't! By roughly a half-hour, so I just circled the block a couple times until I saw other students go in. Then the security guard and I tried to figure out what classroom I was in. We got it wrong and I had a super-awkward conversation with this guy who kicked me out of the room. I
ran into a Korean exchange student, and we awkwardly talked about being lost. Then she helped me find this woman with a large binder who knew where the class REALLY was. The Korean girl and I kissed each other goodbye and I went and sat awkwardly in the classroom.

There were 2 other exchange students there! But the other 7 students already knew each other, so we stood out like black sheep caught on fire. The professor asked us to list what authors we liked from Latin American literature, and I just told her I'd never read anything in Spanish. So she thinks I'm illiterate. But the other kids in the class were very nice! They took us photocopying and will probably make adapting to the class a ton easier than they could. I got lost on the way home, but that's to be expected.

Afterwards, I went out with Morgan and Andrea and Katy to Avenida Florida to find the IFSA office and go shopping. Both of which were a fail, but we did find a Milka Cafe and got really cheap submarinos!

Submarinos are the coolest drink ever. They are a cup of really hot milk, and are served with a chocolate bar. You drop the chocolate bar into the milk and stir furiously, so the chocolate melts and you are left with hot chocolate! Sometimes the bar of chocolate comes in the shape of a submarine. We took the Subte home and I registered for my UBA classes! It was, overall, successful!!!

So I'll tell you more tomorrow?

Catching Up Part 2!

So I just finished Orientation. Most of it went like this:

I would walk to orientation at 9 am, and usually be late. But still early. They tell us that when boys ask us over to their house, we shouldn't go unless we want to have sex with them and that we gotta supply an
y birth control. And that we shouldn't go near...anywhere...late at night. Then we have a break for coffee and then go back to orientation until about 1. Then we get to have lunch! I have been trying to eat as many empanadas as possible, because they are cheap and oh-so-delicious. Sometimes I mix it up by having salami sandwiches, which is the only thing I would eat when I was little.

As a side note, for breakfast I have 2 pieces of toast and an alfajor(alpha-whore). They look like this:
and are probably everything you could ever want out of a breakfast food. That's dulce de leche in the middle, for a frame of reference. When my host mom doesn't watch me eat breakfast I usually put it in my backpack because I'm not quite gutsy enough to eat it that early. Today I discovered that if I do not eat breakfast my host mom takes it as a major insult.

After orientation is over, we usually go get more coffee. Or hot chocolate, which is super delicious. Because when I show up home too early, my host mom asks me why I don't have friends yet.

This was the first lunch that I bought. With real coke! and flan for dessert!!!

I Finally Did It!

I knew you figured I wouldn't--I figured I wouldn't. But I actually made a blog! Probably because Paul did it first, and I can't let him one-up me. I'll try and write every time I do something interesting, which will hopefully be often. I'll try to get everyone up to speed on what I've done so far.

On the 18th I flew from Boston to DC, from DC to Bogotá, and from there to Buenos Aires. DC was rocky because the airline had overbooked by like ten people and was trying to find a way to get rid of people, but I told them I absolutely had to be on the plane and eventually they put me on. The Colombian airlines were actually really nice, except for the very vague boarding times. And taking off times. I was sure I wouldn't make my connecting flight, but because of the air traffic in Bogotá it ended up being fine. I even made a friend on the flight! But I haven't seen her since. When I landed, I was super confused by having not slept in a day and not being sure of what the time difference was. Eventually I found my program, and we awkwardly stood around talking about how tired we were and where we were from.

From there they put us in RadioTaxi and sent us off to our host family's house. Despite my best efforts, I was asleep for most of the ride. Eventually the driver made me get out of the car and plopped me in front of a really expensive-looking apartment building. The doorman let me in and asked me if I was Cristina's new student. I was amazed that he knew who I would be with, but she has had 13 exchange students before me and this is all old hat for her.

When I arrived, she had just woken up and was full of energy and ready for lunch. She was really excited for the fried fish over which we discussed what foods I don't like. I figured it was too late to tell her I don't like fish, and forgot to tell her about peppers. Of course, that meant we had more fish and some peppers for dinner. Then my host mom went out to meet her friends and told me I'd be able to do it someday soon. That was my first day!