Thursday, June 10, 2010

El fin

This feels like the end. Argentina and I had a good run. Though, I don't think the nation wanted me to leave, due to the hell I went through trying to get back to Michigan.... but I digress.

Four months went by so quickly. I feel like it was forever ago and also never ago. Did it really happen? Did I really go? And live? And learn? And speak spanish? The best, most challenging, most enjoyable, hardest, fun-est four months ever. I wouldn't change a second of it for anything. I did exactly what I wanted, pushed myself, and did not sell out. I consider it a sucess.

Was I ready for it to end? Never. I know myself and I know when I am done with something. I was not done. But life happens. Do I want to go back? Por supuesto. Will it happen? No sé. Tengo mucho para hacer.... mucho que quiero hacer y para hacerlo, no puedo estar en Buenos Aires... Pero no sé. Things change. Ideas, wants, life. Life changes. So, who knows? Maybe I will become an ex-pat afterall.

Being home is not completely miserable. I've had a few rough culture shock moments and am relatively grumpy/on edge. I'm hoping it will go away. But I've also spent time with one of my best friends EVER and her family. It's just nice to walk into her house, plop down on the couch, chat with the 'rents and brother, and just be. Be called "honey" and just be part of the family. Just the comfortablilty of it all. It just feels so normal and easy. Right now, it's comforting. Keeps me from getting overly emotional, but could it hold me over forever? Doubt it.

Today, I talked with Sam about what I want to do. I feel passion that I've never felt about ideas or possibilities. But none of that would lead me back to Argentina or Latin America in general, and that breaks my heart. So, it is really what I want? Quién sabe... ¿quién sabe?

It feels like the end. But it isn't. That much I do know. However, it is the end of this blog. : )

Gracias por todo- por su ayuda y amor y por leyendo. Buenos Aires- Te extraño querida y te quiero para siempre. Chau mi amor!! Te veo pronto!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


My host mom just came into my room, asked if I had taken my last final yet, and then we did a happy dance while shrieking and screaming "I'm done!"/"You're done!" Am I done.

The next two days are going to be really sad ones. Tonight, I have to start packing. Last dinner with my host family.

Tomorrow- Final gift getting. A goodbye lunch or two. Mini- Despedida/birthday party for one of my favorites at our favorite bar. Staying out all night long.

Saturday- Final goodbyes to host family, friends, and Buenos Aires. 10 hours on a plane, and then I am home. It's so crazy to think that something so substantial can end in the blink of an eye. I get on a plane, and then POOF!! Chau Argentina, Hola los Estados Unidos. Within the next 10 days, my life is going to drastically change.

For some people, BsAs has satisfied their travel bug. They are ready to go back to New York or where ever, and be. Set down roots and live. But for me, it has made me question if I can ever truly enjoy "normal" life. I have always set out to challenge myself, so how am I going to fare being in a nation whose language I speak fluently? Where everyday is not testing my knowledge, my comprehension? How am I going to handle things being easy? My life has never been easy. Being here has changed so much. I seriously question if the EE.UU. is where I want to live my life. The more I think about it, the more apparent the answer is... How scary is growing up?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Faltan diez días...

Things are wrapping up here pretty quickly. In ten days, I return to the States.

Pros: Home, American Food, English
Cons: Home, American Food, English

I kidd, I kidd...

I am ready to come home? Ish? The past few days have made me really miss my home base. I need my friends. Granted, I am always away from them, but this time it's just been a little harder. I feel like calling them friends does not even get to it. They are family. I mean, who sits online with you, while you rapidly rant about and whine, sobbing, until you calm down and can function again? I had a rough few days, and now that they are done, I just really miss the people who make my life simple, or help simplify it when it goes crazy.

I also miss my doggies, my bed, TELEVISION!!!, radio, TACO BELL!!! To name a few.

I don't think I could ever say I am ready to leave here though. This now feel natural to me. I am used to sitting down at dinner, being made fun of for my constant lack of energy, while my host siblings argue over the computer and my host dad just shakes his head at me. Little Rambo, knawing my LEG off. My cuarto IS my cuarto and I just feel at home. And now, I have to be uprooted, readjust, and try to act like Michigan or the States are really what is normal.

Plus- No one in Flint speaks spanish... which is fine... except that I went to a bar with an American bartender last weekend, and couldn't remember how to say "menu" and then had difficulties ordering food in English...

Next ten days will be epic!! Time to enjoy the city, enjoy the life, and enjoy the friends who won't be coming back to the States conmigo. : (

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Yesterday was a good day.

I wrapped out my volunteer project yesterday. I helped plan, organize and EXECUTE a huge painting project at the Hogar. Four of the girls rooms had recently been "renovated." Renovation in this case means fixing door sized holes and patching nearly entire walls. When I first visited the Hogar in February, these four rooms were definitely in the worst shape I've seen in a while.

So, another NYU student, who I love dearly, organzed a Happy Hour to benefit the Hogar. We made some pesos, and then proceeded to organize this event, a 6 hour painting day, to make these rooms more liveable and homey for the chicas. Needless to say, it was a sucess.

The group consisted of a few of my close friends here, a few other classmates, but the majority were people I have never said more than two words too. Our program is small, but not that small. It's amazing that you can spend so much time in the same building, yet never have a conversation with a person.

We all just worked really well, the girls were in good spirits. We danced, sang, joked around, spoke english and spanish, sanded, taped, painted, ate panchos, and just had a good time. Completely different than when I used to go on Mondays- girls were in school, busy, didn't have time. But yesterday, we all made time for each other. And it was just great.

So today, I am sore. My foot is nice and swollen. My shoulders are killing me. And I am mentally exhausted. And it was all totally worth it. What a great way to start my last three weeks here.

Yesterday was a good day.

Friday, May 14, 2010

"'Tienes?' Well that just sounds odd. I prefer 'Tenés.'"

I took another hiatus. Clearly. So much has just been happening. It's hard to actually experience life if I feel like I have to remember all the important, amazing, spectacular things to write down. Alas, I try. I try.

Three more weeks. It's crazy. I'm going to say it, so be prepared: I, Briana Avery, speak spanish. Now, am I fluent? HELL NO!! But can I hold a conversation? Can I understand what is said to me? Can I function in a spanish speaking nation? HELL YES!! Check that off the list!

Recently, I've seen so much. Taken the colectivo more, spent time with different people, gone to CÓRDOBA!!! Traveled into the mountains, saw a mini Igazú Falls, and gorgeous lakes in the valleys. The realization that I will soon be parting is just insanity. I feel like I've been here for such little time and for a lifetime simultaneously. I honestly do not remember what it is like to function in the States, or New York. What? Ordering food in english? What? Not kissing people as a form of greeting? What? Not talking about myself using "yo" "soy" "estoy"? What is this?! Transitioning back is my biggest fear. (My english has suffered... a lot)

I love Buenos Aires, but I can't lie, I miss home. As I write, I am listening to the smooth voices of a track some of my friends from home made. Hearing their voices both makes me long to be home with them, to be experiencing what they are, instead of this weird, out of body thing that is Argentina. I almost want to go home because I feel like I can be so much more productive, useful there. Here, I am living for myself for the first time in my life, and its hard. Every day, I go through the motions, acting carefree like the rest of the NYU population, but I'm not. I have other things on my mind. I know how important my goals are and I know what I need to do. Being here just seems like a pause in my life. Necessary? Yes. Hard, almost painful? Definitely.

New York is another issue though. Almost senior year. Almost done!! Going back in August no longer means living in the same building as my friends. Or even the same barrio. We're all spread out, not to mention minus one. The past 5 months have changed the meaning of so many things. I will now have to manage, maybe even meld, two distinct groups of friends, from the village, to Brooklyn, to midtown, to Queens, to UWS and not to mention myself in Tribeca, and three of my favorites being abroad. I just have to develop a new way of adapting.

Cosas que yo extraño (Top 10):
  1. Taco Bell
  2. Cottage Cheese
  3. Ebbie Webbie y Monte Carlo Di'Vinci
  4. Ranch (ahora, sé que existe en Buenos Aires... tres meses despues..)
  5. Starlite
  6. My shoes that I couldn't fit in my suitcase : (
  7. Mi cama
  8. BORDERS!!
  9. Black people (legitimate concern. Google ethnic break down of Buenos Aires)
  10. People
Three more weeks!! Lets make em goood!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

"How do you say cheesecake in spanish?" "Cheesecake."

Last night, I forced a confession out of my host dad. My brother was explaining something to me and needed to know how to say "hill" in english. My dad told him and he finished his explanation. Okay. Someone who is NOT fluent in english does not know words like "hill," "wardrobe," and "seashore." So I asked him "Perdón Fernando, pero, ¿Cuantas idiomas hablas?" "¿Aparte de español?" "No... aparte de español Y inglés..." and he laughed. And then asked what made me think he spoke english. And I gave him the same logic explained above. Then he confessed. Apparently, he speaks "only" english and spanish, but understands italian as well. He learned English in school and used it a lot when he worked for Citi Bank (closer to finding out what he does!!!), but he only used "technological" terms, which he says are easy... Lies. Anywho- I finally know all about his language abilities. And that when I was epic-ly confused back in the day and he would just explain things to me in spanish in like three or four different ways, he could have just told me in english. I greatly appreciate his dedication to improving my spanish skills. Can I please put my host family in a suitcase and bring them back to the States with me? Garrrrry can stay here...

Just had dinner with the fam though and understood everything. For a while I was plateauing, but now I think I am back to improving. I've had some pretty good conversations recently. All in spanish. I can express myself pretty well, which is amazing seeing as where I was 10 weeks ago.

Only 6 weeks... actually not even. It is just amazing to think of everything I have done and how much I have grown. I am ready for America though. I have so much to go back to. This is not the time for me to become an ex-pat, though I cannot promise that it won't happen eventually...

For now, I am trying to do as much as I can. Like today- I took the colectivo to Starbucks with Titi, met Raquel, did some homework, took the colectivo back with Raquel, got off, hugged her goodbye, and then face-planted into an old man. These are totally the life changing experiences I am looking for. : )

Until then, I will just stare at my Argentine amante, wondering how I could EVER dream of leaving him.

I mean seriously... Tell me thats not adorable?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Canadian-English-Speaking-Colombian-Named Pri... Perspectivas

This week. Ugh this week. Many a test. Many a study session. Many a freak out. Many a good friend. And many a judgy- wudgy Argentine.

1st Argentine:
I was sitting at McDonald's with my friend after a horrible volunteer experience. Just enjoying my "Doble McNifica," speaking in English and having a really good time. Then this woman, about 70 or so, next to me asking (in english) "Where are you from?" So I respond in Spanish (it's just a natural reaction now), saying we are students from New York, but studying here, yadda yadda. And she looks at me and says "No. Where are YOU from?" So I repeat it all.. in spanish again. And she looks at me and says "But you don't speak American english..." This coming from an Argentine.... whatever.

So she begins to talk about the fact she is a journalist, yadda yadda, and has roadtripped through Ohio, Michigan, and Canada. And she keeps on talking about Canada. Canada this, Canada that. So finally I ask her if she is insinuating that I speak Canadian English. She responds with: "Well yes. You speak like a Canadian, but she (pointing to my friend) speaks clearly and friendly." Well thank you Argentina for judging MY english. Muchas Gracias. It was all in good fun though... right? My friend and I got a great laugh about it.

Argentine #2 however, was not so enjoyable

2nd Argentine:

I came home, took my nap, got up, did some homework and then for some reason went into the dining room. I saw the good table cloth out, with the good china on it, and heard a strange voice in the kitchen. I knew what this meant- Dinner guest.

So, I looked horrible, sporting track shorts and an NYU sweatshirt. Met said dinner guest (DG), she seemed nice. Cultured. Apparently a friend of the family. Initally, she assumed I spoke no spanish. My host mom informed her that I understood most of what is said, but DG just assumed I still didn't. So she spoke to me in English, I spoke to her in spanish.

She found it necessary to translate everything for me. Which I mean is fine... I guess. Except that if I wanted to speak in English, I would, because my host dad is definitely fluent, two of the kids are close, and my mom and other sister understand english. But I do not want to practice my english, so I speak spanish. But still. That was fine. I can handle that.

Then she asks me where I am from. I tell her I go to school in New York. And she persists on knowing where I am from. So I tell her (still in spanish) I am from a city in Michigan that is an hour North of Detroit. "WHERE?" So I tell her I am from Flint. And she scoughs, which is always great because then I know what is coming. But still, she caught me off guard.

DG: "The Infamous Flint Michigan?" "Umm... es posible.." and my host dad, now joining the conversation, wants to know why she is calling Flint "infamous." Our conversation went as follows:
"No les dices sobre Flint?"
"Sí... un poco..."
"Ohhh *scoughs* Ja! Pues, Confesa ahora."
"Confeso? No... está bien..."
"Well... Flint, a veces, en partes especificios, no es muy seguro. A veces, en esas partes, es un poco peligorso..."
"Un poco? En serio... Un poco? JA! BASTANTE! Well, Briana, at least you don't live there now."
"Mi familia vive en Flint..."
"Well. At least you are ALIVE."
"Yes. And so is the REST of my family..."

At this point, my host dad, picking up on how not comoda I was, said "Bueno..." and changed the topic.

What made her think that she knew more about my hometown than me, I shall never know. But she surely did have guts to tell ME that MY city is "bastante" dangerous and that "at least I am alive." If you have never been to Flint, if you have never seen the city, then, honestly, Callate la boca. I do not want to hear your shit. You are Argentine, so please do not act like you know all about MY país. I politey ate the rest of my dinner and dessert and then left to my room. I did NOT tell her goodbye. Go suck an egg DG.

Besides that, this week has been pretty good. After tests, I have had lots of time to hang out with different people. It's nice to get some diversification in there every once in a while. As my time ticks down in Buenos Aires, I am in a really good place. Happy with where I am, where I am going, and how far I've come.

Buena vida.