Thursday, February 25, 2010


On a side note-


I mean I've had like chucks of beef, and beef in stir-fry and beef patties. BUT THIS WAS LIKE STEAK STYLE, AMAZING, 100% ARGENTINE BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEFFF!!!

And then I was given fruit. Glad I chose grapes because apparently here you eat peaches with silverware and I surely would have looked like that American, biting a peach like a Yankee savage. : )

Because Anna told me to...

This week has been filled with me learning to appreciate the differences.

Difference #1- Walking. When you walk here, you don't look up, you look down. The sidewalks are one reminder that you are in a developing nation. They are pieces of crap. Some tiles move. Some are cracked. Some are even missing. So for those of us who have issues with balance, every day is an adventure. Do you have a conversation with someone and risk falling flat on your face (anyone who knows me understand the likely hood of this) or do you look at the ground, being a hermit, and running into every single person in Buenos Aires?

Difference #2- Eating. People here don't really eat. But they think you do. For the first few nights at my home, my mom would give me these HUGE portions of food. Like enough to feed two people. What are you supposed to do with that? I don't want to be rude, and not eat, but eating all of that food was a task. Eventually, I think they figured out that I really don't eat for like 5 people. Just for one. And my portions have significantly decreased. Sidenote- It's also really hard to avoid cheese or milk when eating out. I am popping like 5 lactaids a day... which is a lot.

Difference #3- Time. What is time? Being on-time? Schedule? In Buenos Aires, people are chill. 1230 really means like 115... maybe. Everything is laid back, no one is ever in a rush. So you put a group of anal-retentive NYU kids in a city where the pace is slow... it's a pretty funny thing to watch.

Of course there are more differences- I tried to eat a hamburger last week and got this thing that was, well scary. Tried to help my friend refund an adapter she had bought, and was basically told "We don't do that here" (Argentine attitude included)- but now, instead of being angry and thinking as I walk down the street next to an unleashed dog "I hate this place," I have developed an ability to respect it?

Some things are still a little too cray cray for me- Like men don't wear wedding bands. Wha? You better believe that if I have to wear a piece of metal marking me as yours, that you will have to wear one too hombre. Machismo my culo.

My point is that I am happily progressing along the adjustment line. Ya gotta acknowledge and accept the differences before you can progress right? My low point probably involved getting my laundry done (which was super cheap) but when I went to pick it up, closed. My friend definitely heard the extent of my 4 and 5 letter vocabulary (as did the rest of Recoleta).

But en este momento, I'm pretty tranquila. My classes are progressing. My chicas make me life enjoyable. My familia is great. Instead of looking for American food that I like (before this trip I would have argued that "American" food didn't exist, but not any more..), I am beginning to find some stuff typical of here that I enjoy. Like tostadas? Basically a grilled cheese minus the grease. I also found that most places do have ketchup, so I can get papas fritas con ketchup, which is seriously auh-ma-zing. I'm adapting and we all know how I feel about change.

Hope everything is going well in the States. I feel so out of touch even though technology makes keeping in contact so much easier.

Sidenote- Apparently "copy and paste" translates as copy and paste. And according to my host dad, everything that is written nowadays is just copied and pasted from something else, which a few words changed around.

(So there ya go Anna. Happy now? Get out of class so we can go get some tostadas con papas yo!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You know you're at NYU when...

I'm sure many of you have heard my lovely rants about the kids at NYU. Sometimes, many times, they can simply just be jerks. Apparently NYU in Buenos Aires students are included.

You are in a foreign country. A nation who's official language is NOT English. On top of that, You are demanding to be taught in English. So when you are in a class, and you have a professor who's English is almost impeccable, and every like 15 mins, he asks if he translated ONE WORD right, you really think it's okay to act annoyed with him? Our professors are highly intelligent guys. And bi-lingual, which many of us are not. I mean how disrespectful can we be? If you want a teacher who doesn't slip a spanish word in every once in a while, go study in London.

For me, la luna de miel está terminada. It's not a bad thing though. It means that I'm adjusting and trying to figure out my real place in this place. Just in the past week and a half, my Spanish has gotten better. At dinner last night, mi familia de acá told me that my Spanish was good (which apparently means a lot since the last girl only said "Perr-Fect-O" according to them...) and that they could only imagine how good it would be by the time I left.

Don't get me wrong though- half the time I still have no idea what is being said to me. My problem is that I don't listen as well as I should. Example: I was lying on my bed studying, and my mamá stopped at my door and said something, to which I responded "Bien. Bien. Sí. Sí." and just kept on reading. Two seconds later, Manuel comes to my door, and, speaking to me in his nearly perfect English, says "Don't you have class at 3 today?" I nodded. He just kinda stared at me and chuckled. "That is not what you told her." Apparently, what I thought was "How was your day?" was really "How was your class?" Manuel thought it was hilarious. Just to clarify (espeically since this conversation was one of few in English), I asked him if I had just lied to his mother. "Yes. Yes you did. (laughing) I will go tell her." Well thanks bro.

Luckily enough, I've found a nice group of people that are hilarious and all around fantastic. Definitely making this week a little easier. I mean studying abroad is hard for everyone, but when you're seriously living with another culture, another language, you hear music and TV that you don't understand, arguments in the house that you only get half of, and only hear your native tongue when you're at school or out with friends, it kinda wears you down. I would die for a hamburger right now. Or cottage cheese. Or a bagel. Mmmm bagels.

Also, my 11 year old hermanita has returned. She's my buddy and makes me stuff and gives me cookies. : )

If I can make it through this week, I can make it through anything.

Monday, February 15, 2010

"Pueyrredón y French, por favor."

This past week has been (como mi amiga TiTi diría) "cray cray."

Between orientation, making friends, being social, and trying to figure out where in the world I am ALL THE TIME, I'm simply exhausted. Everytime mi mamá o papá de acá ask me how I am, I always say "Cansada." Now it's kinda a joke between all of us- I'm always tired, but always going places.

I don't think I've talked much about the nightlife here, but things happen really late. You eat dinner late. Typically en mi casa, we eat around 10-1030pm. And you also go out late. In Buenos Aires, it's normal for people to meet up and go out at like 2am and not come home until 6 or 7. CRAZY but I am proud to say I know 3 people who have successfully done that. Me on the other hand, I am in capable of staying up that late. Gotta work up to it.

Fun Facts:
1. 2% of the people in Buenos Aires are black
2. They don't have cottage cheese
3. "Tú" is not used here. Instead "vos" is. The only differences are in irregular verbs in the present tense (Like "Vos tenés" instead of "Vos tienes") and mandatos afirmativos.
4. Mullets are in style
5. There are stray dogs en cada barrio, cada calle, EVERYWHERE!!
6. "ll", which usually makes a "y" sound, in Buenos Aires, makes a "shh-e" sound. It's hard to describe, but if you don't know to listen for it, you don't understand ANYTHING
7. Porteños like their helado. Thank goodness every place I've been has helado sin leche. Makes me life lovely
8. People stare like nobody's business. All the time.
9. My birthday ( 9 de Julio) is a el Día de Independencía en Argentina!! To bad I won't be here then. : (

I just love how it feels here. It's a big city, but the pace is definitely slower. Being here isn't as exhausting as New York (minus the heat and the nightlife...). People stay up late, sleep in even later (when there is no school), and just generally enjoy life, instead of rushing through it how we Americans do. My mind feels at ease even though my body seems to be rejecting everything.

Sidenote- We went to el Tigre, which is pretty amazing. Its a river (that happens to be brown...), where we got to swim and just chill out with everyone. Make some new friends, and have an ASADO!!! Which is basically when you eat a bunch of meat. Mmm

For the most part, I think I'm pretty well adjusted. Though I think the Honeymoon phase is ending. Real life starts tomorrow, balancing classes, homelife, spanish, and a social life. But I'm lucky enough to know a bunch of people going through the same thing. ¡Hasta Pronto!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Umm... Qué?

So much has changed within the past few days that I don't even know how or if I could ever fully express my mental state right now. When I write and speak in English, I have to fight inserting Spanish words. My mind is lost somewhere en between Flint y Buenos Aires.

I was lucky enough to have a friend on my flight. Apparently there were a lot of kids on the same flight, but none of us wore NYU stuff as advised by the staff. Oh well. But even the ppl picking us up, the Student Life ppl, lacked visible NYU anything. A group of us just stood in the middle of the lobby, outside of Customs, until the guy found us. He was wearing an NYU shirt hidden by a white button up. Way to go man.

On the ride to Buenos Aires from Ezeiza (the international airport), the first thing to hit me was how poverty in the US is not at all equal to poverty in Buenos Aires. It's comprabable to the "shanty towns" outside of Mexico City.

My family is really great. At dinner a few minutes ago, my host mom asked me if I had been able to choose if I wanted to live with kids and pets or if I was just put somewhere. I told her I chose it, and she was like "Bueno- porque estamos locos." (Good, because we are crazy). Mi madre is really sweet but definitely firm with her kids, which I can respect. Mi padre is the typical Dad, watching fútbol from the dinner table and explaining to me that my computer charge has a converter in it. Basically tech savvy, like any dad.

Mis hermanos are funny. Manuel is the oldest (15), followed by Elena (13), y Ana (11). Ana is adorable and loves to speak to me in English. She made me a necklace and likes to explain how to use everything like the light switch, fan, keys... its cute though. Elena is the total 13 year old, wanting to be independent from her mom, but still being a little too young for that. I'm not sure about Manuel, but he's nice so thats all that really matters at this point.

They all speak some English, so when I get totally confused, usually one of them can explain it, but even today my Spanish is so much better than it was yesterday. My madre said that the first girl they hosted had perfect spanish, but could understand nothing, and the second just said nothing. She knows that I understand what she tells me even though I have a hard time expressing myself without using Spanglish. The goal is to both listen better, so that I understand more of what is being said in general and to not be affraid to speak. They understand my interesting Spanish so it's working well. Next week will be better. Having such a large family is kinda intimidating, but I like it.

We went on basically a tour of la mayoría de Buenos Aires which was really nice. I'm starting to piece things together, slowly but surely. We went all over and it took 3 horas, but we saw placed like La Boca, Puerto Madero, Plaza de Mayo, la Casa Rosada (where the president works and apparently comes in via helicopter every day...), el Cementario de la Recoleta, y lots of other famous places.

The past 3 days have just been really long, but I am definitely content right now. And exhausted but thats a pretty good introduction to my life for the next few months. My goals for tomorrow are to make a successful phone call on my cell phone, remember more names, and befriend Gary our cat (She's a girl... still haven't figured out why her name is Gary...).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

D- Day

I leave tomorrow!!!! It's been 7 weeks since I left NYU and have been chillin' in good ole Flint, Michigan. I'm dealing with a lot of mixed emotions- What if they don't understand me? What if I don't understand them? What if no one likes me? I feel similar to how I did before college, except for a few differences. For the next four months, I'm going to be in a completely different country and climate, living in a language that is foreign to me, and trying to enjoy as much of it as I can, while only having a limited amount of time to really adjust and ward of culture shock. Part of me wishes one of my friends was coming to Buenos Aires with me, but I know that would only stifle me. Sometimes ya just gotta go for it and oh baby am I goin' for it.

The Spanish is really what scares me the most, but this is exactly what I signed up for. It's going to be a rough first week, but after that I have a feeling things will ease up, and frases will flow more smoothly.

For now, I'm off to my last meeting, last trip to Target, and last meal at Starlight. I need to finish packing my LIFE into a little tiny suitcase (okay, its huge but still...) and just enjoy the English before I spend the next 24 hours in transit. Hasta pronto!