Archive for the ‘Argentina’ Category

The End

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Okay, I know I said I would finish with Brazil but let’s take a pause first. Because it’s my last few hours in Buenos Aires. I’M SO SAD.

So here I am six months later. I know you may expect some kind of inspiring conclusion to my journey but I am not sure I can muster that. (And, let’s be real, it’s me, you were not expecting that!) I am first of all surprised I have written 43 entries. Anyway…

Allow me to be superficial. I am really looking forward to eating waffles, bagels, sour patch watermelons and chocolate chip cookies, lemonade, Dr. Pepper, french toast, and tacos as soon as possible. I am looking forward to driving, using ziplock bags, having coffee to go (and food!) and wearing sweatpants. I am looking forward to using my heated rollers. And doing my own laundry (except for folding.) And good customer service. Ah, the comforts of home!

I’m coming back and making as much money as I can before I settle back in Fredericksburg in a few weeks. It will feel nice to be settled. At least until May 2011…They say college isn’t real life, so I don’t know how you would describe studying abroad because this definitely hasn’t been real life either. Everything has not been on pause? It’s summer again? The world doesn’t revolve around me? Ha, just kidding. But really things might be strange. I’ve had a great time and I’m so sad but I guess as Maria told me “things come and things pass.”

Well, I guess that’s it then. I don’t think I have much else to say. See you soon!

Dale, bueno, chau, besitos,

Kelly

Brazil: Part I

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I have put this off for too long and better do it now before it’s too late!

Elena, Anna (Elena’s friend from High School who studied in Quito this past semester) and I left Sunday the 20th in the afternoon for Porto Alegre.

That was our first mistake.

Due to finals and my non-accessibility to internet in the proceeding days and weeks, I had done zero amount of planning for this trip. Yes, that’s right, no hostels booked…not even for the first night. This was actually completely fine although definitely not recommended during the high season. Oh well, everything turned out just fine.

Anyway, the Porto Alegre mistake was that Porto Alegre is definitely not a city for tourists. It just didn’t really live up to it’s name. I believe it was decided upon due to its relatively close proximity to Buenos Aires. Everyone we met there asked us what we were doing there. But it was funny joke later. No regrets!

(If you are curious, most people seem to go from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls to Florianópolis and onward.)

So we had one day in Porto Alegre in which we spent on a day trip to Canela. It was a two hour bus ride away. Canela is a cute little town and we saw a waterfall.

We felt guilty we hadn’t seen anything in Porto Alegre, so we planned to wake up early and go for a run. Two birds with one stone. (Clearly this was not my idea.) We knew this was ambitious but we decided to try anyway. At 6:30AM the alarm went off and everyone was up and willing to go! Yet, it was still pitch dark outside! Whoops. Too dangerous. We fell back asleep, woke up again and were successful! I was very proud of us.

Tuesday the 22nd we leave for Florianópolis. I believe that was a six hour bus ride.

I know that only covers two days, but that’s all for now. Stay tuned!

Coming to an End… and the Epilogue

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

So it is now July… the month of my departure. I have 2 more days here and tonight (Thursday) I will say goodbye to most of my friends as we go out for the last time. I don’t know how to sum up such an amazing experience into words or even into a long and rambling post, but perhaps I will try. I have met so many amazing people and made great friends over the past months- by far I will miss them the most. I will also miss the atmosphere of this city- to hustle and bustle but also the sense that time is kind of irrelevant, there always being something to do or somewhere to go and the freedom to do as I wish.

I wrote that before leaving the city… now I shall try to compile my thoughts as of returning home.

So the journey to get home was incredibly difficult. It began with possibly the hardest step- saying goodbye to my friends. By far my friends were the most important aspect of my study abroad experience. We spent lots of time together and forged friendships that bridged language and cultural barriers and came to mean the world to me. To say goodbye to these people who I came to rely on and some to love was possibly the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in my life so far. I have never felt so incredibly conflicted in my emotions and my desires- I longed to stay with my friends and remain in Argentina but I also wanted the comforts of home and a return to reality.  My American friends and I used to talk about when we got back to our real lives (aka when we got back to the states) and now the struggle is to integrate my amazing experiences and friendships that were so different from the realities here at home into my “real” life in the states.

Even once I got home things were still very emotional. I cried as I unpacked my suitcases- not because I was sad to be home but because I missed my amazing friends. Unpacking meant my journey was really over. A harsh reality is also that yes, Argentina will always be there if I want to go back but my study abroad friends and the circumstances will never be the same if I go back- the experiences I had may no longer be available to me. I guess realizing that circumstances and lives are constantly evolving is a hard pill to swallow. It makes me treasure the time and experiences I have had all the more.

By far the things that have made the transition easier has been my family and the people that care about me. It feels right to be at home but it feels like something is missing- my friends who I fit in with and who cared about me. So to have the people here that care about me show it and to see their excitement to see me after all this time makes me feel like this is really home. The personal interest people have shown in my trip and the welcome home balloons & banners makes it that much easier.

Upon returning to the states I could predict some of the things that seemed overwhelming or incredibly different to me but some I had no idea. I think I saw more fat people in the first 5 minutes in Atlanta than in 5 months in Argentina.  My first meal was a cinnabon in the airport but to my dismay I could not eat the whole thing- portion sizes are enormous. My parents camry seemed enormous. Basically everything seemed enormous- my bedroom, our house, wide open spaces, stores.  It is amazing how little things change or maybe nothing changes at all. Receiving side dishes, a bottle of ketchup, salad dressing, free refills, and having the check brought out immediately were all new to me at a restaurant.

I owe a huge thank you to my parents for putting up with my bad moods and sadness lately and for being understanding. I knew this would be a rough transition since I had such an amazing time abroad. But I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Although it kinda sucks right now, I loved every second of my time in Buenos Aires and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It was everything a study abroad should be and so much more.

Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog and thanks for commenting and showing an interest in my time abroad. I love you all!

Home from Brazil

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
Wow what an amazing trip! Brazil is magical and amazing and beautiful. I should be able to write more about it later once I’m not so tired (and also because I have internet in my apartment again!)

The route was from Buenos Aires to Porto Alegre, Florianópolis, São Paulo, Paratí, Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro and back to Buenos Aires. 16 days. A whopping 90+ hours of bus travel in total. Vale la pena. Absolutely.

It feels wonderful to have a nice clean bed and a hot shower…clean towel…they certainly are luxuries. I may go watch a movie and then get some real sleep.

Almost There

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I guess I will talk about my weekend first…

Friday was exhausting. I woke up really early (okay fine 9am but that’s really early for me now) and ran down to the Retiro bus station to meet Elena and buy tickets to Brazil (yes I said BUS tickets). Then we walked to the Brazilian Consulate hoping it would be quick and easy and they would grant us visas even though we didn’t bother obtaining all of the requirements. And they did! We just had to go back to pick them up on Monday. I’m all set to enter Brazil whenever I want until 2020. (Argentina, too. So start planning!)

Afterward I really wanted to go home and sleep but it was a nice day so I met Trisha and we went to the Rose Gardens and went paddle boating! Then to the Japanese Gardens, too. I’m trying to check as many things off of my list as possible! I should update with pictures but it is a lot of work so that will have to wait until later.

Saturday morning I woke up to the sounds of Argentina scoring! Then I went to go volunteer, but I checked my e-mail about two minutes too early and hadn’t yet received the e-mail about the activity being canceled. (It rained all day.) I went all the way to Recoleta and back and was very wet by the time I got home.

Because of  Brazil, volunteering will have to begin in July. That’s what I’ll be doing until I leave. I’m still trying to move my flight up though but there are no seats available. Yet.  I’m sure I’ll be happy volunteering but hopefully I can still get a few days in AND be able to come home sooner!

Sunday I went to Palermo and San Telmo like I basically do every Sunday but this time I actually did a good job getting presents. We ate at El Desnivel again and it was delicious! Steak, beer and french fries yum!

Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday have involved a lot of take home finals and late nights. But school ends TOMORROW thank goodness. Most of the time I still can’t believe I’m here. And now I am saying my goodbyes!

Mundial!! (World Cup!!)

Monday, June 14th, 2010

So as you hopefully know the world cup has begun! While this is not that important or necessarily airred on TV in the states it is a BIIIIIGGGGG deal here! Even if it is not your country playing people here will watch every game they possibly can. If that means going out dancing and then not sleeping in order to watch 3 futbol games the next day so be it. Argentina had their World Cup opener on Saturday against Nigeria and they won 1-0 which led to celebration. I was walking down the street with a friend and a man on a bike was chanting the universal Argentine futbol chant- ´Vamos! Vamos! Argentina!´ and he starts singing about how we must celebreate the win and then he sees me and says ´We have to celevrate with the blond girl!´ My porteño friends just laughed and we kept walking. The next Argentina game is this Thursday against South Korea so should be fun to watch. Unfortunately, or luckily- depending, Argentina doesn´t have very much competition in its division. The test will start once they begin the second phase of play, where they will take the top 2 from each division. Not sure if it is bias or really true but the talk here is of a possible Argentina win of the World Cup. If that happens I´m going to be devastated to be at home when the championship game is played and not here with my friends and to enjoy it. Oh well, as long as I´m here I´ll enjoy it!

Last week of class FINALLY

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

I can’t wait until these classes are over! As for June 19th, let’s just say I downloaded a Portuguese language iPod app.

Oh and they have these signs ALL OVER school now:

For those of you who don’t know any Spanish, they are basically notifying us that classes and finals aren’t cancelled/postponed for the World Cup. Haha. Oh but we can decide for ourselves if we are coming to class or not.

I Feared This Day Would Come

Monday, June 7th, 2010

So the internet I have been stealing in my apartment for the past four months is finally password protected. I think this will actually have a negative impact on my studying. But it will be good for my sleep schedule. We’ll see how that balances out. I am sad and it’s really inconvenient but I think I will survive.

I can’t believe I’ve never written about the Argentine time schedule before.  Everyone is late, including my professors. So class starts like 15-2o minutes after it is supposed to start which is usually kind of nice. Even though I still leave my apartment to get there on time. And of all the times I have been late somewhere in Argentina, I’ve never actually been late.

But when your professor decides not to come to class, and not tell anyone, you then have to make it up on a Friday when clearly you have better things to do. And then waste thirty minutes with the Academic Coordinator because everyone is so confused and trying to figure out what the assignment for the final is. It’s this week and we still don’t know what’s going on but it involves a paper and a presentation. I guess we’ll have one night to do it. Wonderful.

I am already prematurely re-organizing in preparation to pack. I don’t know how I’ve accumulated this much and I hope it all fits. I cannot believe I am already thinking about packing. But I am so ready to come back! But then I made a list of things I wanted to do before I left, and it is long. But that’s alright, I can’t do everything. I’ll save it for next time :)

Sunday I went to a Thai restaurant in Chinatown and it was delicious! I was given quite a warning before ordering the spiciest meal, but it was not too spicy at all. And I can’t handle very much. Argentines do not like spicy food. Not even a little bit.

Finally, Happy Belated 14th Birthday to my baby Lizzie! I found a little Golden Retriever puppy on the street in San Telmo yesterday and played with her. (Her owner and mom were watching, don’t worry. Otherwise I would have taken her home with me. I don’t think my host parents would have liked that.) She was very cute (obviously) but she was quite the biter. A sweet, awful teething puppy. Definitely reminded me of a very young Lizzie!

I better actually get to work noww.

I Feared This Day Would Come

Monday, June 7th, 2010

So the internet I have been stealing in my apartment for the past four months is finally password protected. I think this will actually have a negative impact on my studying. But it will be good for my sleep schedule. We’ll see how that balances out. I am sad and it’s really inconvenient but I think I will survive.

I can’t believe I’ve never written about the Argentine time schedule before.  Everyone is late, including my professors. So class starts like 15-2o minutes after it is supposed to start which is usually kind of nice. Even though I still leave my apartment to get there on time. And of all the times I have been late somewhere in Argentina, I’ve never actually been late.

But when your professor decides not to come to class, and not tell anyone, you then have to make it up on a Friday when clearly you have better things to do. And then waste thirty minutes with the Academic Coordinator because everyone is so confused and trying to figure out what the assignment for the final is. It’s this week and we still don’t know what’s going on but it involves a paper and a presentation. I guess we’ll have one night to do it. Wonderful.

I am already prematurely re-organizing in preparation to pack. I don’t know how I’ve accumulated this much and I hope it all fits. I cannot believe I am already thinking about packing. But I am so ready to come back! But then I made a list of things I wanted to do before I left, and it is long. But that’s alright, I can’t do everything. I’ll save it for next time :)

Sunday I went to a Thai restaurant in Chinatown and it was delicious! I was given quite a warning before ordering the spiciest meal, but it was not too spicy at all. And I can’t handle very much. Argentines do not like spicy food. Not even a little bit.

Finally, Happy Belated 14th Birthday to my baby Lizzie! I found a little Golden Retriever puppy on the street in San Telmo yesterday and played with her. (Her owner and mom were watching, don’t worry. Otherwise I would have taken her home with me. I don’t think my host parents would have liked that.) She was very cute (obviously) but she was quite the biter. A sweet, awful teething puppy. Definitely reminded me of a very young Lizzie!

I better actually get to work noww.

Lights Please

Sunday, June 6th, 2010
So last Saturday night we experienced the best of Argentine infrastructure. Around 5pm we lost power… We looked out the windows and every other building on our street had power but our building had no power. The people below us had candles out since it was beginning to get dark. We had some little decorative tealights in the dining room so we lit them. I went to the grocery store and bought some more candles just in case we were without power for awhile. Around 8pm one of our neighbors came over and gave us some more candles and told me that he thought the power would be back on in about 2 hours. Turns out there had been men working on the corner of our street and they messed something up… hence no power. So when I went to the grocery store there were two guys “working” at getting us power back. Basically, it was 2 guys with no uniforms just hammers trying to break up a concrete sidewalk. This ghetto operation pretty much signifies how most things get done here. There is a general lack of organization or efficiency. Luckily for us, these ghetto workers did get our power back on. When we got home from a long dinner out around 12am we had lights! Yay!

The next night,our power went out again… A unisom exclamation of “REALLY?!” was heard throughout our apartment. We walked across the hall and eveyrone else had power. We knocked on our older neighborman’s door ro ask for his help and the land lord’s phone number. He brought a flashlight and came over to our apartment to look around. Turns out we had just flipped the breaker so he just flipped it back and thank goodness we had lights again. Craziness.