This weekend was a long weekend because today was a holiday, and let me tell you, it was long. Friday I was supposed to visit the site of my internship… but the visit got cancelled because of rain. I felt like I needed to leave the house and get out of the way of the maid… but I was tired so I stayed around for a bit. Which I am now really happy about.
I chatted with the maid for a bit and it was incredibly interesting. First off, she asked me if my parents were Argentine and when I replied that no they were not, she was very surprised because she said that my Spanish is very good – aka she has an A+ in my book. After that we talked about how I am from the countryside and she is too and she really liked that. But then she talked a lot about how poor her family is and how she has a four hour trip into the city every day to clean different houses. Which brings me to the whole topic of maids and service here – it’s all very strange to me. The night before the maid came my host mom didn’t wash the dishes saying “oh what luck, the maid will be here tomorrow, I’m going to bed.” And other times it’s just very well known that they maids will do it, or someone will be doing the things you don’t have to do. For example, we leave our trash in the garbage can right outside our door… I’ve never seen any garbage in it because the Porters come and take it three times a day. And no one recycles here because the poor people go through the trash and separate it. Also we have this tiny room with a bed where a maid once stayed. And there is a bathroom attached and it has like a gym shower in it. Not like a real shower. The whole experience is reminding me of a movie about just this in Argentina… Live-In Maid. It’s craziness.
Anyway, post chat with the maid I went to the mall to explore. The mall here has this like everything you could imagine store on the first floor which I explored for a while because it was cool to see the names of all the stuff in Spanish. Then I wandered the mall and ended up in a bookstore where I discovered that movies were cheap. With the excuse that it will help me learn Spanish since I know the movie so well in English, after searching for like an hour (nothing is organized here) I purchased this gem:
Watching dubbed in Spanish later that night was quite possibly the funniest thing ever. After the mall I came home for a bit and then went for a walk in the park right next store and snagged these photos:
(scooters are a really big thing here)
(as is any form of soccer)
(as is post school hide and seek from the boys)
(and some scooters are pretty tricked out)
(it’s a nice park)
And with the sun starting to go down I went home to a dinner of steak and finished off my night laughing at the dubbed version of National Treasure post FaceTime:
Saturday morning my host mom left for the weekend to stay with a friend of hers with one instruction: to take care of the house. I was very excited to just that by never leaving my bed and watching tv on the internet. But of course, my luck could not be so great. Approximately two hours after she left, the power went out. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I went into defense mode which for me is sleep. Then I went to the starbucks and stole their internet and finally worked up the courage to ask one of the guys in the garage why I didn’t have power because I didn’t want to freak out my host mom. He said all the apartments didn’t because they were replacing the wires that they didn’t do last week. Super. At least I knew I didn’t do anything but I was still mad I didn’t have wifi to watch tv haha. I spent the day walking around and buying some snacks and school supplies. Then I returned home to do my homework and we still had no power. I sat out on the balcony and snagged this as the sun went down:
As it got darker I got more and more worried and I finally got ready to leave and ask someone about it when it was pitch black… and then the lights came on!!! I was so ridiculously excited. After a bit I went out to get pizza and waited for my take out (which I totally asked for in Spanish successfully) by this cute fountain:
And I headed back across the well lit street:
And bought myself some ice cream:
(I thought I deserved all of this post my stressful day)
And then I gave my parents a FaceTime tour of my apartment and FINALLY got to watch some TV haha.
Of course, just my luck, when I woke up the next morning, the power was out again. But I was very afraid (and I turned out to be right) that it was just our power because my phone was picking up other peoples wifi and I heard someone vacuuming. So again, I went into defensive mode and slept some more… until I heard my host mom come and start flipping all the switches and freaking out a bit – cue me pretending to still be asleep. Cue her then throwing the breakers and pretty much blowing up the switch in my bathroom. I let her talk call down to the porter before I emerged asking if we didn’t have electricity… ooops hhaha. But we got it mostly figured out (though I still have no light in bathroom). She freaked out when the TV initially did not work (girl is obsessed) but I got it on for her and she grabbed some cigarettes and all was well. Later she even told me I took excellent care of the house!
At four I ventured out for a soccer game with IFSA and some Argentines which was super fun. I really miss soccer and especially indoor like we were playing. I didn’t have turf shoes though and was wearing my sneakers and when I fell I think I rolled my foot. It didn’t hurt too much at the time and I walked it off but much later it hurt a lot… thankfully I had Marli to cry to on the phone about my pain ahaha (again thank God for Viber and free calling). I put it up and iced it and was really mad because I was supposed to go on a bike trip today and it hurt so much I didn’t think I’d be able to go. But when I woke up it felt some what better and I decided I would just go.. and I’m so glad I did.
We took the train 45 minutes outside the city where we each got a bike (there were 9 of us and three IFSA staff). First we rode to the water nearby and a nature conservancy:
Then we biked to a church and stopped there and looked around:
I also spotted this there (there are a lot of painted VW vans here):
Then we biked through the beautiful suburbs for a while:
Then we biked until we reached our destination of El Tigre, where we turned in our bikes at the end of our 13 mile ride and had lunch here:
Then we took the train back to the city. This is Javier, one of our trusty guides (he doesn’t know I took this):
We had a very interesting conversation with him all the way back about politics and Argentina and a lot about the shanty town. On one side of the tracks at the Retiro station is a wealthy part of Buenos Aires, but on the other side is a shanty town with no electricity, schools, police or anything – and 8 million inhabitants. Pretty scary.
I also took two more photos on the train. The first of this sign outside of the train referencing names of los desaparecidos, or the lost ones during the state terrorism in the 70s in Argentina:
And another thing that kills me here… the tattoos that people have here in English:
(that one says life goes on..)
It just makes me really think about the tattoos that people get in foreign languages and how cool they think they are… and how dumb the look to people who speak the language. My favorite one so far has been “we found love in a hopeless place…).
In the station we also witnessed a very loud protest:
Afterwords I headed home and tried to do some reading, but slept for a while because I was so tired. But I finished my reading for my class tomorrow!
My host mom fed me loads of Polenta for dinner and that brought my long weekend to a close!