Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm making a list...

Hi everyone! I hope you're all doing well.

This week has been strange, to say the least. I just had almost all my midterms (my most difficult one - I think - will be on Wednesday). They went well, which is good because I was not feeling it and barely studied. Our tango presentation went well; during the class our "professor" (he's really only a dance teacher) was being very critical of everyone's presentations, but at the end of the class he told us he liked ours and wanted to keep it. So, I'm taking that as a good sign. My second one was Social & Political Change. It took me 25 minutes. It was simple: 4 questions and the one that was worth half of the test, I know I got right. So I'm not overly concerned. Then I had my Latin American Cultural Studies test. We really didn't have to study for this one because she told us there wasn't much we could prepare. It was 2 short (20 lines) writings comparing the things that we've done in class.
On Thursday I had my presentation in my Gender class. I think it went alright. I didn't finish putting it all together until the night before, but it's not like a presentation that we have to really prepare for. It's on a reading and you have to summarize it for the class and talk about what it argues and how it relates to what we're learning. Mine was really interesting; it was about Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution and how sexual promiscuity and syphilis were huge problems that the government was facing, and by looking into these problems, the government was able to gain access into homes and family lives. You know me, nerdy.

Anyway, I was in quite a strange mood for the last half of the week, but fortunately for me I have some really awesome friends back in the United States who never mind hearing me out and have helped me out of my funk somewhat. I was just really frustrated because there are so many things I've wanted to do and see, and I thought that all my friends were on the same page with doing them this weekend, and when we weren't I was thrown back. Then I was starting to wonder if I was even spending my time here correctly. Should I be more concerned with my in-the-classroom education here (clearly, it's not that important to me if I didn't even study for my midterms...) or should I even be worrying about seeing everything? What's more important in study abroad: seeing everything or just living day-to-day and seeing where it brings me?

Anyway, I tried to stick my mood aside and have some fun. On Thursday night we went to this bar that has boardgames. I was thinking it would be so much fun to go and play, but the majority of games are (of course) in Spanish and aren't the same games at I grew up with. But the atmosphere of the place was really good, and everyone had fun, so I'm sure we'll go back. On Friday I finally picked up my real visa, and let me tell you ... all that money and time for two pieces of printed paper! Nothing cool for your passport, not even like a notarized bump on it. Just a stamp and a signature. Whatever, it gives me special permission to travel for a cheaper price (and stay in the country for 6 months, and get my transcripts from the Universidad, etc.), so I guess I shouldn't complain too much. After that, Jen and I met up with her roommate Roxanne and we got lunch. We didn't picnic like I had thought we were going to do, but that's okay. I was starving and when I got my food, all I wanted to do was eat - there was no time for waiting. I left them and went home to run a little bit before I had to get ready and go to Tango class.
Maria (Jen's "Mom") and her BFF/tango instructor.
Tango was really good on Friday! There were a lot of people at our class and Roxanne invited a girl and her friend from her classes at the Universidad. During the class I might not have learned many new moves (well, one), but I got a lot of practice on getting my arms right. I danced with the female instructor who is probably like 5 feet, with heels. And when I have my heels on, I tower over her. She complained to me about my arms being too lose, and that I need to keep them tighter so she can signal moves to me better. Then I danced with Jen's mom, who told me that I was pushing too much on her arms (apparently, I have a problem with trying to lead when I'm supposed to be led - who would have ever guessed?!).  But then when I danced with the male instructor (who models on the side, did I mention that before? He's absolutely gorgeous), he told me that he could tell I've been practice and that my arms were really good! (It's important to keep your chests like parallel or something, and mentioned that I'd done a good job.) After that we ate dinner at the milonga - it's vegetarian. Cheap, but it wasn't that good. And I ate ice cream before going home. At home I stayed up really late making a list of all the things I wanted to do and see in the city before I go home. Now I'll have a way to measure my successes of being touristy.

On Saturday I finally got the Arab food I had been craving with a few friends, and then we went to the grocery store to get some things because we had plans to go to dinner at my Argentine friend's house! He had told his parents about us, and they wanted to have us over for dinner. Jen and Roxanne baked chocolate chip cookies and brownies, and I brought over peanut butter (which none of them have ever tried) and Oreos. We stayed at the dinner table talking for 4 hours! It was so sweet, and they've told us that we're always welcome - all we have to do is call Matias and tell him we're coming!, and now that it's getting to be nice every day, they're going to cook asado (Argentine BBQ) for us one night. It was so amazing that in just a few months I've made friends from this country and even their families want to get to know us. Also, their house is really cool because they live in the top floor (Matias, his little brother Nico, his Mom and Dad) and then his Uncle and Grandmother live on the lower floor, so his Uncle came up and hung out with us too. It really was a good time.
After that we intended to go to this club that's supposed to be one of the best in Buenos Aires, and after waiting, and waiting, and waiting ... they closed the doors and weren't going to allow ANYONE else in for the rest of the night.  It was our second time trying to go too, so .. third time will be the charm?! Instead we just went to a bar and sat around and talked.
Roxanne and her bondiola.

Today (Sunday) none of us woke up into well into the afternoon. So we all gathered to walk to Parque 3 de Febrero and get this sandwich called a bondiola that Michelle and Roxanne had been talking about. After walking for FOREVER (I hadn't eaten yet and it was 4 when we met up, 5 when we got our food), we arrived. At first I was hesitant to try the bondiola, but I figured I'd give it a whirl. It was amazing! We all got "bondiolas completas" which is a pork sandwich with an egg (completa in Argentina always signifies an egg on it, for reasons unbeknownst to me) and ham (jam - haha) on it. Then you can add your own toppings. I added a sauce that kind of resembled Italian dressing, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. It was deeee-licious! We've decided it will become our Sunday tradition. AND it was so beautiful out today, and we sat and ate in the park, so it was essentially the picnic that I had been looking for on Friday. Things always have a way of working themselves out... After that we each ate a giagantic container of ice cream, and we went our respective ways.

This weekend wasn't everything I had planned on it being, but I guess sometimes we can't plan things and we just have to be open to them happening. I think that's actually the answer to all my questioning about my time here: I should attempt to do everything, and if it doesn't work out exactly like I wanted, it'll work out in some way or another.

Side note: Running. I stopped running after high school and have restarted here. It's not an every day thing, especially on days that I don't wake up until mid-afternoon, but the other day I ran about the same mile time that I had been running during high school when I was in-season running. I was so excited! So we'll see if I can keep it up and get either a) faster or b) go farther. But really, it's a nice way to see the areas around my apartment here.

I hope you all have a great week! Tuesday is the first day of Spring and we don't have school! :)
We intend to go to the most dangerous zoo in the world, where you can pet the tigers and ride camels and elephants! This one really better work out because I really, really, really want my picture with a tiger cub!

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