Back in the USA

I’m BACKKK. I’ve almost been home for two weeks, so I figured it was about time for my final blog post about my study abroad. 

After my parents left, I really needed to get to work and finish up all my homework! 23 days seems like a long time… but I had more than fifty pages to write!

I finished up my classes and was able to keep enjoying my internship. I wrote one of my papers on how art helps children learn about things like genocide, with a case study on my internship. I put in all kinds of photos, including this one:

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It’s a representation of a sequestered family that the kids really seem to understand.  Also this next one is great too:

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This one is made up of 25 poles and you can only really see the image from one spot… a representation of being “disappeared.” I really enjoyed writing that paper. 

I wrote another on the change in Argentina from state terrorism to a state of memory. And another on Bachilleratos Populares which are the school system Argentina has for adults who didn’t finish high school. 

We got out early on our last day of our human right seminar so Sammy and I decided to hit up 180 Burger Bar since we had been meaning to get there for forever. It was so so good. 

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Thank God that we didn’t find it until the end or that would have gotten dangerous. I went once more with my friend Layla after we finished our last day of Spanish class. So so tasty. And cheap too.

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Sammy and I spent a lot of time in Starbucks, clearly pretending to write.

I took breaks to watch the Argentina world cup games:

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It was so fun to watch the games there because everyone was so in to it and whenever they scored the buildings would ERUPT with screams and shouts.

I also went to my internship as much as I could and managed to capture gems like this:

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My birthday fell on the last Saturday that we were in Buenos Aires. Luckily I was done and had turned in all the work I had to do before we left… with only one paper hanging over my head. My host mom gave me a present the night before and I was greeted by this from my actual mother in the morning:

 

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How kind of them… they had no idea how much I wanted one of those cupcakes!!

We went to a burger place for lunch and then headed to my internship for a presentation and everyone there was so so excited about my birthday and it was so nice. I love them all so much. 

I honestly wanted to eat dinner and then crawl into my bed, but it being our last weekend and my 21st birthday, there were other expectations. We had a wonderful steak for dinner and I had three glasses of wine. We had more alcohol and then headed to a club where we got in for free and got free champagne because it was my birthday!! It was all very fun and it was wonderful time spent with friends:

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 It was a very fun night. Sunday was a bit rough but I walked the entirety of the San Telmo market the next day and bought some more gifts.  We spent the next days hanging out and watching soccer and trying to ignore the fact that we were leaving. I gave out all the Gettysburg tshirts and candy I brought and everyone that got them were really excited about it. 

I also finally captured a photo of Casa Rosada at night:

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I went to my last class class in BsAs and we took a photo after we bought our final alfajores from the cute old lady:

Then it was a whirlwind of packing and goodbyes. We shopped on Thursday and had some goodbye coffee at cafe Martinez. On Friday, Sammy and I had lunch before she left and I headed over to my internship at one. We watched the world cup game for a bit and then I helped translate things with the tour guides for a bit. It was really interesting because most of the concepts I had learned in Buenos Aires so it was really hard to translate. They gave me all these great books and other things as a gift. So sweet. I honestly hadn’t been really sad about leaving until I had to say goodbye to all of them. I stayed for the program that night so I didn’t get home until after nine. There were lots of hugs and goodbyes and it was super hard. I cried for a bit, woops. But how could I just leave all these smiling faces??:

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But I’ll be back, I will. I’m looking into a Fulbright to go back to do research at my internship. 

My last dinner was my favorite thing we ate in my house… Tortilla de Papas, made by Viviana. So delicious. Then I went and got ice cream with Allison in order to say goodbye. In the morning I ran to Plaza Francia in the rain and luckily found the gift I wanted to get for my sister Becca. Then I finished up packing, had some lunch and watched the Argentine World Cup game with my host mom. As soon as the game ended I had to catch my taxi to the shuttle to the airport. I grabbed a selfie with her before I left, so good:

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She said that her grandson thinks they’re called “Selfish.” Funny how that kind of works too ahhaaha.

I caught the shuttle with my friend Emma and we got to the airport pretty early so we got through everything really easy. My bag was only a little over and the lady let it go through! I got lucky on the plane and had an empty seat next to me. It was a long flight but I was excited to go home while being sad about having to leave. But I was awake when we finally flew over the coast over Florida, it was awesome! Then we landed and there was customs and we had more goodbyes which was sad. 

At that point I was just ready to go! Layla and I had the NY flight together so we waited and the boarded. I finished that flight just like my first:

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We were all so excited to have working phones again and we had to get each others USA numbers. It was strange! I found my parents and ate my requested cheezits in the car and then promptly fell asleep. We stopped at a diner for lunch and I answered the waitress’s question in Spanish which was awkward, that hasn’t happened again. 

Home has been nice! We celebrated my birthday when we got home:

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Yes, I made the cake haha. 

Also I made it in time for strawberry season!!:

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It’s just been a lot of time eating fruits and vegetables and visiting with friends here !!! It’s been absolutely wonderful. I’ve also been working on my final paper for BsAs – I finished it and sent it to my advisor yesterday. Just in time for our next adventure!

We are camping down to Santa Fe, New Mexico starting tomorrow… it may prove to be very interesting. If you’d like to follow along, you can here….: https://intentsfamilyreunion.wordpress.com/

It will hopefully be amusing. Thanks for reading!

 

 

11 days of fun!!

So it’s been over a week since my parents and my sister came… and I’m still exhausted!!

Somehow we managed to pack everything in to a short amount of time, I’ll do my best to give you a run down of their time here!

I picked them up at the airport on Friday morning, shortly after my last blog post. I was very confused but somehow managed to find them (I got off the transport at the wrong terminal, it was a mess). We got a taxi back… which was forever and a year long, but then we made it to their apartment! It was a cute little place very close to me:

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While everyone else rested, I headed off to my internship for a bit:

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For dinner we went to Scuzi’s.. a place a couple blocks away. We had milanesa and tortilla de papas and all kinds of tasty things with a bottle of wine from the Lopez Bodega y they gave us champagne at the end!

Saturday morning we headed out to Plaza Francia to shop the market. At one point we may have crashed a funeral in the nearby church (no one else could understand what they were saying, but let me tell you, it was depressing):

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We stopped at La Biela, one of the oldest cafes in Recoleta, for lunch/brunch/caffeination (the tree is supported by concrete pillars!):

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Then we visited the Recoleta cemetery and I successfully found Evita’s tomb all on my own:

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We explored for a while:

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Mom was really overwhelmed by all the dead people, and the cats:

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Outside the cemetery:

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Sarah decides on her purchase:

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Then that night we went and saw the Ballet at Teatro Colon!:

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(that jacket is really nice Julia)

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And for dinner we had incredible steaks at Edelweis and the waiter befriended me and it was great.

Sunday we headed out to San Telmo to shop as well. We ate some mani and saw some tango:

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I spotted a Papa Francisco fan that was incredible that Sarah bought for Courtney and I made some man’s day when I said that yes, my mother did in fact want to buy that many of his little purses:

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For lunch we went to the Pride Cafe which was very good, and two IFSA people happened to be eating there too, so my family got to meet them. Then we went on a tour of these underground tunnels in San Telmo which was super cool too! (click here if you want to learn more about them: http://www.elzanjon.com.ar/ ) And for dinner we ate with my host mom at Almacen de Pizzas… she’s a hoot. We followed it up with a stop at Perssico, just for you Fede!:

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Monday we headed out for our day of history, first stop, my internship where I gave them a tour and they got to meet all of the wonderful people that I work with!:

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Then we followed it up with Ex-ESMA (the ex concentration camp) after lunch of pasta and milanesa and other tasty things at los Platitos right across from my internship.

Then we headed back and stopped at Swami for submarinos (hot milk that you get to put a bar of chocolate in) and Alfajores!:

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We made beef stroganoff  for dinner in the apartment and Sarah and I bought snacks in a Kiosco for dessert!

Tuesday we walked out to the Bella Arts Museum, which has an incredible view from the roof:

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Then a tasty lunch at Rodi Bar in Recoleta where Mom had her tongue (ew):

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And Sarah found her one true love… the Lomo Completo sandwich:

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(I’m not sure if she’s ever given me that genuine of a smile…)

Then we hit up the Buenos Aires Library… which proved to be much more difficult then we originally thought. They needed our passports to put us in the system first. And then we got these receipt things and couldn’t actually see any books because they are all in like a depository. It was confusing. Afterwards we went to the Museum of Decorative Arts, which was actually just this mansion with all this impressive stuff in it and it was beautiful, with all kinds of carved wood, and it was free!

Then for dinner we went to la Fabrica de Tacos with Sammy! Lots of good tacos and beer. Then we hit up a cafe right near their apartment for some tasty desserts.

Wednesday we got out of the apartment early to make it to Palacio de los Aguas Corrientes, it’s a “palace” that used to be their main water source. It was incredibly interesting. The reason that it appears as it does on the outside is because when it was first created there were severe problems with sickness and yellow fever, and it was a monument to the power they now had with the clean water:

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While standing outside trying to take pictures of the building, an elderly man came up to Sarah and tried to talk to her. When I asked him what he needed, he asked me if I knew what the building was and when I replied that yes I did and that I had just had a tour he was very very excited. He then grabbed my face in his hand and besoed me on the cheek and off he went. Ha.

Then we headed back towards Palermo and stopped at a cafe called Delicity for lunch, quite tasty! And the fam got their first real maicena alfajores. Then we went to MALBA and Dad liked the benches like I thought he would!:

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Then for dinner Sarah and I went to Romario’s and brought some pizza back (Sorry Fede, we didn’t get it on the stone):

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And while going for the pizza, Sarah and I stopped at a sweet shop and picked up some tasty baked goods.

Thursday morning I brought fresh bread and a dulce de leche Starbucks latte over for breakfast and Mom and I sorted out the tickets and getting money for our trip.  Then we went to the Evita Museo and then took the subte and made it to Plaza de Mayo just in time to see the Madres:

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There were actually having a big celebration and it was awesome!

And then la Catedral:

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Then we stopped for empanadas and dessert and then we were off to Palacio Barolo.

At first I wasn’t to sure about this place… but it got interesting, really quickly. The palace is dedicated to Dante’s Inferno and the owner wanted to put Dante’s ashes there.

It’s at Av de Mayo 1300, there are three sections of the building heaven, hell and purgatory. We took the elevator up to the 14th floor and then we took a bunch of flights up by foot, the staircase getting smaller and smaller. Until we got on to a sort of circular landing with balconies and the man said “welcome to heaven” and let us go out and take pictures and it was absolutely amazing:

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Then we actually climbed more staircases up to the very top into the lighthouse and it was soo so amazing.

Then for dinner we got all dressed up for the Evita Museo, so tasty. And then ice cream at my favorite place, right across from my friend Sammy’s place.

Then Friday morning we got them all moved out of their apartment, had a quick lunch at Domani’s and then got a taxi to the airport and flew to Iguazu!

We got transportation to the hotel, had dinner there which was super tasty and then hit the hay!

Then we spent all Saturday at the falls… and due to our luck, it was POURING. Which is the reason for the hazmat suits. Still incredible, sorry there are so many pictures I couldn’t choose:

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This is la garganta del diablo or the devil’s throat!

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THE PHOTOS WITH US IN THEM ARE JUST TOO FUNNY. AHAHA.

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Mom really liked these birds:

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More falls photos:

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See that tiny little boat in the picture above? Yeah we road that. Underneath the falls. On both sides. Twice. Sarah and I loved it. Mom stopped breathing.

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Clearly we had a fab time. Dad really liked the part after the boat when we had a tour of the Jungle. Then we ate, while SOAKING wet (since it was pouring and we decided to take a boat under a waterfall) and then headed back to our hotel! We tried to dry out, not too sucessfully, had dinner and packed for our trip home.
We got picked up for the airport at 6 am and were boarded by 8.

I forever want to fly Aerolineas Argentina because they give you these adorable boxes of really tasty food even when you only have a two hour flight:

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Back in BsAs by 10 am, we got them all checked into the Alpino hotel and headed to brunch at a cafe on Santa Fe and then off to Casa Rosada for a tour!:

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This is Sarah and I on the balcony where Juan and Evita Peron gave their famous speeches!:

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Then back to Plaza Francia to make some final purchases:

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Then we went to the grocery store and bought so many boxes of Alfajores for everyone to bring home I think the cashier thought I was crazy.

For dinner we went to Don Julio’s and had incredibleeee steak. And once we had finished the bottle of wine he had us sign it and he put it up on this shelf with all these other bottles!:

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And then he insisted on taking our photo (I know I look stupid, don’t ask me what I’m trying to do):

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Then we headed to my favorite ice cream place to have ice cream with Sammy and Alison.

Monday morning everyone got packed up and we checked out and then wandered around the mall for a bit. Sarah bought a neck pillow for the plane and I finally gave in and bought myself a maté cup:

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Then we had a very very tasty lunch at Dandy’s, just down the street from me. Then we had a terrifying ride to the airport in a Remis with the worst driver on Earth. But we got there and they got all checked in and so on and I took a taxi home. The taxi driver was nice and I helped him with his English.

Everyone is safely home and I haven’t done much since except sleep and catch up on homework and classes since I clearly didn’t have any time for any of that while they were here!

But on Saturday I did go to my internship for the opening of a new gallery. It was incredibly interesting and I introduced to one of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo! And then we all were photographed together as a staff (most of) with the madres and the creators of the exhibit:

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And it was the first time I had seen the monument at night! Incredible sight:

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Now it’s back to papers, sleep, homework, and netflix of course. Only 23 days left, there’s so much to do!

T Minus 42 Days

I can’t believe that I’m quickly running out of time here… honestly now, it feels like we just got here! I’m definitely excited to go home, but I don’t want to leave here!

The last couple weeks have been filled with a lot of studying and good food!:

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(gnocchi at an Italian restaurant with Sammy)

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(incredible veggie pizza, with sweet potato too, with Al)

It’s been a whirlwind. A week and a half ago Sammy and I went together for our dinner with the Director for our evaluations. It was super fun and the food was INCREDIBLE. It was ravioli with a bunch of different sauces and I don’t even like Ricotta and I liked it. Sammy took my picture so I could prove to my mother that I was wearing tights and a skirt and boots and actually looked decent haha:

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We also handed in a parcial work assignment for our class, which is pretty much the equivalent of a midterm here and that was scary… but I got it back this week and I got an A!

Actually he gave me an A with three exclamation points hahhahaa. It was a really nice because it is a sign that I’m not terrible at Spanish like I usually feel like I am ha. 

I’m really feeling good about things here. I’m much more comfortable and I feel like now I’m at a level with my Spanish that I can really start to learn more vocab, it’s fun!

Classes are also becoming much more enjoyable and I’m deep within my paper topics for my finals that I’m actually really excited about! So I’d say things are going quite swell.

But to top that off… I’m about to leave the house to go pick up my parents and Sarah at the airport!!! Many fun adventures and photos to come, so keep checking back!

Mendoza!!

Mendoza was so so great!!!! 

Well, it didn’t start off too well. I packed in the morning on Wednesday and was sure I forgot everything I needed even though my bag was full. Then I had to add more things because Sammy said I might need to look nice one night (who does she think I am??). Then I went to class… and left at the break. It was actually a very interesting class about AfroArgentinians, but I had to go. I got home with a lot of time to finish packing the last things, eat dinner and leave. My host mom kept bugging me that I hadn’t left yet like two hours before my bus left… but when I finally left I gave her one of the Cadbury eggs that my dad sent me and she was so so happy (not sure if it was because I was leaving… or because of the Cadbury egg haha). 

Sammy and I met up at the bus stop across from my house to take it down to Retiro and we were waiting on Al who got held up somewhere so we ended up taking a taxi which worked out better since it took us straight to the door. At the bus station we found Hannah and then were told that our bus would be at a possible 20 different spots. At 9, it wasn’t there. At 9:30 it wasn’t there. At 10:30 we thought we had somehow missed it. But then we found a lot of other people who were angry and searching for it. We made friends with this man from Mendoza who was waiting for it too. Finally, closer to midnight, the bus came and we boarded.

Somehow the whole time on both bus rides I forgot to take a photo, but the first thing I thought when I climbed the stairs to get to our seats on the second level was the night bus from Harry Potter. It was great. Sammy and I sat in the front seats which was super weird because it was like you were looking out the windshield but you were high up and didn’t have a steering wheel. This was our attempt at a selfie in the dark:

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The bus ride was forever long. In the beginning Sammy and I chatted for a while since we were all hyped up because we had finally gotten on the bus. We discussed and made a list of all the things that I should do/eat with my family. Then we went to sleep… I actually slept for a while. We were in what they call “Semi-cama” so like almost bed. It wasn’t too bad except that it was FREEZING. I woke up later and started to read my book for class. We made a stop later outside of Mendoza to use the bathroom:Image

When we finally got to Mendoza (after 14 hours!) we checked into our hostel and lunched at Mr. Dog – a hot dog place that was quite tasty:

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Then we headed to an ice cream place and got too much ice cream:

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Then when walking through the park towards our hostel some man was walking right towards us and then attacked Sammy. We later discovered it was her friend Lukas. We chatted with Lukas for a while and then headed back to the hostel, passing through this park:

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For dinner we went to Black Sheep which was a bar where they were holding a couch surfing event. We ordered beers and burgers because Sammy said they were the best, and she wasn’t lying:

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At one point there was a piñata… and they blindfolded this lady and then they didn’t have a stick so they handed her a knife… it was terrifying:

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Then another friend of Sammy’s, Ruben, showed up and after a bit we went out dancing for a while:

That’s all of us with Ruby. Then we headed back to the hostel, chatted for a while and then headed to bed. 

The next day we got up to try to go to the place Sammy volunteered last semester, but sadly it was closed. I did snap some good pictures on the way though. The first is of the irrigation system in Mendoza that is made up of ditches on all of the streets:

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Some wall painting:

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And a shot of some houses:

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After naps and some homework, we met up with one of Sammy’s friends from the IFSA program who is in Mendoza for the full year. Her name was Katarina and she is from the Czech Republic and she was so so sweet. We ate dinner at a parilla and the when Sammy ordered, the waitress let her know that the meat was a certain weight in grams and Sammy said okay because well, we are from the USA,we don’t understand grams. When the waitress brought our food we understood what she had said:
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She ate so much cow. I had the Milanesa which was quite tasty:
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After, we met up with Sammy’s friends Truli and Walter and went to a “Game Bar” – a bar where there are board games! It was so so so so much fun. We played a couple different games and then we played Taboo in Spanish which was hard but so much fun. I laughed so so much. 

We went to bed but then got up early to meet Truli and Walter at the train station to head out to the winery that Walter works at for a tour which was also loads of fun:

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We tasted some wine, which Walter taught us how to do correctly, and then Sammy and I each bought a bottle for our host moms. We took the train back and split up for lunch. I snagged some photos of the Andes on the way back:

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We went to Tea and Company and had delicious food and tea. Sammy and I shared a chicken sandwich and a veggie burger and there was delicious tea and a very chocolatie dessert:

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Then we met up with Truli and Walter and took a long walk with them to what Walter called “The Central Park of Mendoza.” It was super pretty. The whole walk there Walter and I chatted in Spanish about all kinds of things from Tennis to school to families. He told me that my Spanish was good!

Once we found a spot in the park we played a little frisbee and then Truli showed us an awesome card trick and then we drank Maté and played cards. First we played a game a little like spoons and then we played bullshit. Walter was really bad at because he can’t lie to save his life so after I won I helped him win since he had half the deck! Then we played frisbee until it got too dark and we headed back. I snagged this:

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And this:

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And then back at the hostel we took these:

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(Truli is on the left and Walter is on the right)

Then we said goodbye and hit up Mr. Dog again ahha because we had to eat quick because then we hung out with Ruby and Luks again:

(Left to right: Ruby, Al, Hannah, Luks and Me)

The next morning we had to check out of the hostel and we hit up Tea and Company one last time:

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Here’s a photo of the outside of our adorable hostel:

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Then we headed to the bus station where we grabbed a quick lunch and Ruby came to see us off:

Then we were on the bus for 14 hours at least. We got dinner and I tried to sleep but wasn’t too successful. They showed Red 2 in english and then Minority Report in Spanish which I could do, but when I Robot came on with Will Smith dubbed in Spanish it was too much for me so I went to sleep. We got in a little late so Sammy and I took a taxi home. When I got home my host mom was super excited to see me and told me to go straight to bed and was very worried when I said I had to go to my internship and class. I took a shower and had breakfast and gave her her bottle of wine (which she was SUPER happy about) and headed to my internship. Turns out I was actually supposed to put the photos in the database, which I then did and then headed to my make up spanish class. Afterwards I headed home at about 7:30 to find my dinner on my place with a note that said pretty much “eat this and go straight to bed, you must be tired.” Which I did. I did a bunch of homework in the morning and then headed to class and then back home for a nap and homework. For dinner we had spaghetti and the rest of the wine my host mom had not fed to her friends! I must say, I never thought I’d say this about a city, but it’s good to be back.

So much to do, So little time!

The past week, and honestly the entire time I have been here, flew by!

Tuesday and Wednesday were class like normal. Thursday we started our Methodology class for the Human Rights Concentration which was actually fun because we all talked a bit about our internships and what we are doing. Then it was Spanish class and worked with a UBA professor for a little bit of time.

On Friday I was back at my internship, and I got a new project which was actually really awesome. I’m making lists now matching up photos with the personal data that’s in the database. It’s really sad and overwhelming being drowned in all the names in the database, all those people who were tortured and killed, and nothing else remains of them but this database. But it’s really cool to put faces to the names. On my way out I snagged this photo of one of my favorite sculptures on the site:

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It says “To think is a revolutionary fact…”

On my way out I also saw one of the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo coming in with flowers. It was awesome.

On Saturday I did a lot of work and then we headed back to La Fàbrica de Tacos. I had three wonderful tacos – with steak and onions – and we collectively shared two pitchers of margaritas, one lemon and one strawberry. Lots of tequila. When we went to leave, they gave us shots of margarita too!

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On the way home we started celebrating Sammy’s birthday with Queso 3ds, a Kinder Egg and an ajfajor from the kiosko! Sunday I did work and slept a lot. And at midnight I showed up at Sammy’s apartment to celebrate her 21st with a bottle of wine!:

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Monday I hit up my internship again and then after I bought two cheese and onion empanadas and they were so so so tasty. I was super tired so then I took a two hour nap. But then I was super productive! I took my laundry to the laundry place, went for a mile run, sent some emails and got ready to go out for Sammy’s birthday. We went to a sushi place for dinner:

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I don’t really like sushi, but I suffered for the sake of Sammy’s birthday. Then we went over to Casa Bar for drinks… and made friends with the bartenders! They were super super nice and they gave us each this spicy shot for free too, that was super tasty, because it was Sammy’s birthday!

After we got back, I put candles in some Alfajores for a very Argentine end to Sammy’s birthday:

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Then I got up this morning to go and try to get my package! It was insane. I spent a while waiting in a line outside the fence of the postal building, and then in another line outside the actual building. Once inside the building I waited in another line to pay and then I had to sit and wait for my number to be called. THEN I had to wait in another line for them to find my package and then I had to wait in ANOTHER line to see a customs person. In that line I made friends with this older woman who asked me if I knew what was going on. Once I had told her that I was an exchange student from the USA she laughed and said “Well they bring your packages to your house there, don’t they.” It was insanity. Finally the customs lady cut open my box, said she wasn’t supposed to let candy in, but then let me take it anyway… and I waited in one FINAL line to sign that I had received my package. It was so crazy, but so so Buenos Aires. Also I was rewarded by it’s contents, thanks Mom and Dad!:
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Since it took me almost three hours, I had to go straight to my class, since we were meeting at ESMA today instead of our normal place. I ended up taking a taxi because the buses weren’t coming… and then stopped at a Starbucks quick for a Vanilla Late and this strange but very good salad with lettuce, tomato, cheese, ham, pasta and ranch! Then it was off to ESMA.

ESMA is an old boarding school where they detained people during the state terrorism. It was all absolute craziness and a super sad, overwhelming and just a very heavy situation.

It’s a really different situation here with the terrorism than in, for example Poland during Nazi German power. There the concentration camps were in the middle of nowhere, but here for example with ESMA it was a functioning boarding school and they were detaining and torturing and killing people in the building where the directors were living.

The building was just really overwhelming. We toured the basement where they tortured the people and where they would inject them with the tranquilizers before they put them in a plane and dropped them in the ocean. We also visited the third floor where they kept the detainees in wooden dog crates, hooded and shackled. It was intense. And there was no way that the people working there didn’t know because they made them walk down the stairs hooded and shackled everyday. Plus supposedly people living close could hear the screams.

There were rooms on the third floor too where they birthed the babies before the took them away from the mothers and killed the mothers, before giving the babies away.

Some people survived because they worked. We met one man who had survived at ESMA for four and a half years. He worked in the basement making false passports. Incredible story.

The other crazy thing about the building was how they tried to destroy it so survivors wouldn’t be able to recognize it. An overwhelming experience or not, it was important, because we have to remember so that things like that won’t happen again.

Here’s a photo of the building where people were detained:

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It’s a great memorial park now… and I really liked this statue too:

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It says “Memory, Truth, Justice.”

After the park, we headed home, I napped and did some homework! I’m getting ready to leave tomorrow to go to Mendoza for the weekend! So I’ll be sure to post about it when I get back.

Also delayed, but I got the greatest mail from APO… such great friends!!

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Sarah and my parents come in three weeks, I’m so excited!!

Strikes, strikes, and more strikes

It has been a long time since I posted… but I’ve been taking photos, no worries. I made it to my appointment for my residency… somehow. For some reason the buses are ALWAYS packed full of people when I need to get somewhere. They told us we couldn’t be late to this meeting… so I squished on to the bus and had to move with the door pretty much as it closed. It was a warm warm ride. The residency appointment was pretty simple.. just had to pay and get fingerprinted. I think I am one of the few people who actually reads the emails from the office, because when I brought the paper we got directly to the office like the email said, Esteban was quite pleased. And he smiled at me… which is big because we are pretty sure those muscles don’t work in his face.

After that I headed home since class had been canceled and went to the park and napped! Naps are the best. Then we got an email that IFSA was canceling classes because of the bus strike… so I didn’t even have class on Thursday. We hung out in the park and drank Mate, a tea that is very popular here:

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While there we were watching people slack line which they do a lot here which also terrifies me:

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Then I hit the gym park again and caught this sunset on the way home!:

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For dinner on the weekend we went to this super nice Indian restaurant. Sammy and I shared a bottle of red and I had chicken and potatoes in this like green sauce over rice… it was super good but I was hungry so I forgot to take a picture. It was also super dark in the restaurant. We hit up McD’s after words for Dulce de Leche McFlurries.. so good.

Sunday I went to soccer and had fun as always! Then I prepped for my two day week… but Monday I went to my internship for the first time!

It is actually the most beautiful place I have seen so far in the city and I love it so much. It took me forever to get there and I got super lost… but I did it. Then I met all the people and they were so so nice and one of the girls was excited for me to help her with her English vocabulary for her English tours… it’s a super cool thing I’ve never experienced before… having the greatest knowledge in something on my first day of work. So cool! I did some data entry after and then headed home. Here are some photos of the magical beauty:

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The main sculpture is an idea like that of the Vietnam War Memorial… but in four pieces. It holds all of the names that they know of those who disappeared and those who were assassinated in the state terrorism. There are 30 thousand plaques in total (blank and with names) to represent the symbolic number that many people believe disappeared during the terrorism. Each plaque has a name, age if known and if they know if the woman was pregnant. Inside the building there is a station where people can (and do) use a database to search for their lost family members. There are also other very interesting and powerful sculptures on the site which I will post about as I continue to work there. Anyway… I love it there! I headed home after and finished up my reading for class. It was also the red moon!:

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Tuesday we had class with a woman who specializes in genocide in Latin America and it was super interesting. After Sammy and I tried to pay for our trip to Salta (up north) for the coming Semana Santa.. but by the time we got to the place, it was closed. Which turned out to be a good thing, because the next day Sammy was very sick and we weren’t able to go, but we didn’t lose any money! 

For Easter… my host mom left me a chocolate egg.. how cute! I went to my University class on Wednesday and we had a very interesting presenter… but that class is SO long ahha. But Al and I made a friend Erika and she’s cool. After class I headed home and ate the tuna and rice salad my host mom left me since she was off partying with her friends aha. Thursday we went out to lunch and Al and I shared a super good pizza and Sammy and I had a couple beers. Then we hit up this really cool bookstore across the street that used to be a theater!:

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After we stopped at a bakery for coffee and snacks:

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It was late at this point and Al took a bus and Sammy and I walked home. I was so so full. And an hour after I got home, it was dinner time. It was one of the most difficult things that has happened to me in a while. When my host mom called me to dinner, she had already put a heaping plate of Spaghetti on my place.. I tried to power through it but finally gave in (for the first time since being here!) and asked if I could save like half of it for later. I hardly moved Friday due to my food hangover. I cured myself by watching video clips of Portia and Ellen DeGeneres because they are just the best. 

Friday we had Polenta… which was the first time all month we haven’t had red meat on a Friday. Which is really surprising to me since my host mom is super religious… but one of my professors here said it’s not that big of a deal except for good Friday. My host mom and I have had some very interesting conversations lately. One were she told me she thought I was never going to survive when I first got here because it seemed as if I knew nothing but that now I was speaking quite well (how nice! hahaah). Another frequent thing is about cleaning. She told me a story the other day about how she worked in a school once and one day there were papers all over the floor and she went and told the headmaster about it. He told her that he was going to put a broom in each room and she said for what? I’m not going to sweep. I don’t even sweep in my home, why would I sweep here? 

Interesting. It’s just very different. And I keep thinking about it other ways here too. There are always other people cleaning up people’s messes here. After the Polenta my host mom got super excited because the maid was coming the next day… so she left all the dirty dishes in the sink and just went to bed. And she’s never cleaned her house before. It’s just different. 

My host mom has taken to painting the cupboards though… they look terrible. No offense.

Saturday we took to MALBA (the art museum) and it was wonderful. I hate art and I happily stayed there for a long time. Here are some highlights:

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(possibly my personal favorite – so funny: kernel plus heat equals popcorn, kernel plus excessive heat equals burnt popcorn)

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Then we walked to the market and saw people with these:

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I spent hourssss at the market deciding what bag I really wanted and I fell in love with this one. People who know me, yes it’s blue like everything else I own, what do you expect:

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We also hit up Starbucks for the first time since I’ve been here even though it is at my bus stop, just a block from my house. And it was heaven. That was another example of people not cleaning up after themselves… everyone just leaves their coffee cups and trash on the tables in places like Starbucks and McD’s… it’s weird to me. Later we went out to dinner and tried to go to a kosher place to eat with jess… but it was closed so we ended up going back to the super good Thai place, where Sammy and I shared a bottle of red and I had the same super delicious meal as last time. Afterwards some people went home but Hannah, Sammy and I went searching for a bar and on the way were gifted a bottle of Vodka by someone which was super great… then we were given bracelets to get into this bar free and have free beer, so we did that. And then on the way to another bar we met these USA people and bonded with them and tried to go to a boliche, failed and then ended up hanging out in one of their apartments. By the time I got home, it was six thirty am. The porter laughed at me and rode the elevator up with me because he was putting out the newspapers. I got into my apartment and my host mom was already up smoking and asked if I was going to eat breakfast…. I just kind of stared and said I needed my bed. It was super fun, but I had to sleep like all of Sunday and now am dying to try to catch up on homework. I saw the porter later and he laughed and asked if I had recuperated from my night out dancing. Funny Luis, you’re funny.

Today I went back to my internship, got to be a part of a tour and get closer with the staff… it was long and tiring but fun! Now reading in Spanish for the rest of my life. 

 

Fun In the City!

I have been keeping myself very busy!! And it has proved to be rewarding. I don’t think I have had this much free time to actually do my homework leisurely and still do other things since middle school.

On Thursday I again enjoyed my Spanish class. I really like the professor. After class I returned home and napped a bit before heading back into the center of the city to attend a performance (for free!!) of the Buenos Aires Philharmonic at the very famous Teatro Colón! It was a wonderful experience… the music, as well as the setting!:

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Friday I had to return my access card to USAL because I won’t be taking classes there and then I went to IFSA to straighten everything out for my residency appointment. While there I had a really interesting conversation with the program director about why there are so many people here that are missing legs and walking around on crutches. It was really interesting because we talked about how since he lives here, he doesn’t really notice it. We didn’t come to a conclusion of why they were missing limbs, but we did talk about how the city is not wheel chair friendly. After that I got off the bus a little early on my way home and stopped at the park:

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it’s hard to tell from the photo, but all of that is exercise equipment… out in the middle of the park! It is so cool and I think the U.S. should get on this boat. I worked out a little bit and then headed to the park across the street with the infamous metal flower that my host mom hates and says opens and closes which I’m not sure is true:

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Then I headed home and did some homework. On Saturday I started out with homework and then headed to a rugby game. It was the Argentina National League – between CASI (San Isidro) and Tucumán. We went with Goyo, who works for IFSA but also works organizing the games for the National League, so we got in free. It rained a little bit, but other than that it was super fun!

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For dinner we went out to get Thai food… which was expensive, but so so good. There were eight of us so they gave us our own room and were super amused by us and it was fun. The picture is dark, but here’s my Pad Thai:

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Then we went to this sports bar were they were watching the Wisconsin-Kentucky final four game and watched that and drank the 10 peso rum and cokes for ladies which I found more enjoyable than the game, though the game was exciting. Then we headed to this “Magic Party” that we got in free to and got a free glass of champagne. It was fun and I lasted until four… but then I had to go home. So I waited at the bus stop with this group of ladies that were really funny. Then a kid from my program came by and sat on me and then asked the ladies if they smoked marijuana but he said it super strangely and they laughed at him and I told him it was time for him to go home and he went. Then the ladies asked me if he was my friend and I laughed and they said good. And then imitated him saying marijuana the whole bus ride home. Sunday I did homework and then played soccer again, and didn’t hurt myself! I played goal for a little too which was fun since I haven’t played goal since high school. There were more younger kids there this time and one of the boys on the program was toying with one of them and it was super cute. And I almost died when the boy on the program missed the ball and the little boy looked at him with a menacing smile and then said in English with an adorable accent “You SUCK.” Hahahah.

After that my friend Laura and I went to McD’s to get an ice cream cone and then headed home. We head steak and potatoes for dinner and my host mom fed me this super good mousse that she had made for her friends. Today I had no classes so I did homework and slept and then worked out at the outdoor gym again! Tomorrow I have to go get my residency/VISA paperwork done – I have an appointment at 9 am. Hopefully the buses are running… my host mom says they’ll be on strike on Thursday.. but one of my professors at the Argentine University just cancelled my Wednesday class because she said the strike is going to be tomorrow and Wednesday… Guess we will see!