Autumn’s Adventures

Halloween sin disfraz
October 30, 2008, 8:33 am
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I will not be celebrating Halloween the way I normally do this year and I’m quite sad about it.  I will be going out and getting drunk as per usual but without a classic Autumn costume.  This will be the first year that I don’t wear a costume on Halloween in 24 years.  Down here Halloween is only for the kids and really it is just a commercial holiday that Argentine’s added to their culture from America.  I asked a few of my friends if older people dress up for the clubs and they said no.  Whyyyyy?
I must remember one of the reasons I am here is about experiencing a different culture and not pout about missing out on one of my favorite commercial holidays.

This morning I was rudely awakened about 4 times by a phone call from a local english teacher that lives and works down the street.  She called me yesterday as well because she wants me to be a native english examiner for her student’s final english exams.  The woman is nice but I know the gig won’t pay well. I told her I would meet with her anyway to talk details.  She only has 2 students that need to take the test and she pays each examiner 10% of the fee that she charges for the student’s semester fees.  For me, that equaled about 54 pesos or roughly $18 for what will probably be 2 hours of work.  I didn’t want to say yes but I did anyway.  I have this weakness for always saying yes even when I want to say no. I don’t know why but when people are nice I have a hard time telling them no. I know I should be more firm, especially when in financial situations…I just can’t.  I know I need to milk all of my skills for as much as I can because I’m running a tight budget, especially my english skills.

I am still searching for apartments and the newspaper classifieds aren’t proving to be very helpful with my search.  I can’t believe it is this hard to find a good apartment.  My next stop is the realtor’s office to try my luck there.

October 27, 2008, 10:17 am
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This morning after my class at the university I told Alabi that I wouldn’t be taking private classes with her anymore.  I think she took it pretty well but I can’t tell because she is not the type of person to show emotion.  I told her that I still want to spend time with her because I think she is a great person so we will be having lunch this Saturday.  She’s also going to invite Leila so I can talk to her and ask her more questions about the apartment.

I have decided that Glenda is my new best friend here.  I thought Gabi was but she never hangs out with me so I can’t really say we are besties.  Also, Glenda speaks English so we are able to understand each other and get to know each other better.  Glenda introduced me to her friend Gabi (different Gabi than mine). Gabi #2 also speaks English and has a lot of time to hang out with me so we decided to go look at apartments together.  She took me to a type of house called a pension where I could rent out a room in a big house that shares the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry.  I was hesitant because I expected it to be like a sorority house or some type of socialist living situation.  I’ve already been in that situation with my old college roommates so no thank you.  I’ve learned from my mistakes.

We arrive at the pension and it was a beautiful antique house.  I was sold.  Pensions can either house only women, only men or both.  This one was just for women.  Unfortunately there were no private rooms available and I didn’t want to share a room.  We checked out another pension and I fell in love with it.  You walk in and there is a long hallway.  On one side are the bedrooms and the bathrooms, on the other side is a sitting room, the kitchen and an open courtyard with flowers and trees climbing the walls.  In this courtyard you can also dry your clothes on the clothesline.  The house is antique so everything is perfectly amazing.  The price of the private room was 430 pesos per month which is $143.  Niceeee.  I found out later though that you can’t have guys stay over. I wasn’t happy about that.  Not that I plan to have tons of company, but I do want to keep my options open in case I find a boyfriend.  At this point it isn’t a deal breaker because I don’t have that many options but it really urks me that I would be paying to be living in a pseudo nunery.  There are always ways around the rules, though…

Socialists and Communists
October 26, 2008, 10:14 am
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So far I have had 2 political conversations in castellano that I didn’t want to have.  On Saturday, I had a conversation at 7am in the back of a car on my way home from the boliche with a socialist.  I don’t know how the conversation began but it took me by surprise and I had no idea how to communicate my argument of freedom to him in castellano.  It didn’t matter though because he was so stuck in his way of thinking that nothing I would have said would have made a difference anyway, it was like talking to a wall.

A week later, at my favorite karaoke bar, I spent the entire night hanging out with my friends and I met a new friend.  His nickname was Sapito (froggy), he was funny, a little bit emo and we all had a great time together.  I decided at around 3am that I wanted to go dancing at La Peluqeria because all of my other friends were there and half of my friends at karaoke had already left.  Sapito asked if I wanted someone to walk me to La Peluqeria and I wasn’t exactly sure how to get there from the Karaoke bar so I said ok.  I don’t know how but on the walk to Pelu he started talking about Communism and telling me how he is a communist.  I had to refrain from dropping my jaw to the ground.  I couldn’t believe I was talking to an actual communist.  This was my first communist-in-the-flesh ever!  The way he talked about communism was so passionate it was scary.  I politely told him that we could talk about this some other time, which I never intend to do.

I left DC and came to Argentina to escape talking about politics.  Every potential guy I met always wanted to talk about politics and everything was centered around politics.  I didn’t realize that it would be the same here as well except way more leftist.  I’m currently drafting a response in castellano that says “I’m not political, I don’t like politics, Let’s change the subject.”  I hope it works.

The Hunt Begins
October 23, 2008, 9:44 am
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A few days ago papa told me that I would need to find a place of my own in December because their other 2 children are coming home for the holidays as well as their old host daughter (the one before my sister) and her husband.  The house would be too full for all of us.  I’m actually totally fine with this deadline because I was planning on moving out in December anyway.  This gives me 2 months to look for a place to live.  All of my friends are going to help me look for a place which will be really nice because I don’t know how I’d manage on my own.  I’m still considering living with Leila (the 70’s decor apartment that I saw the first week I was here) but I don’t want to settle on the first thing I see without comparing it to my other options.  I’ve been told there are not very many options here for renting so we’ll see what I come up with.  When I asked my friends about posting a notice in the colleges to see if I could live with student, they said I wouldn’t want to do that because all of the students are socialists and they know how I feel about socialists. haha.  In the beginning, I was set on living with someone because I wanted a person to talk to in castellano but now I’m thinking that living alone won’t be that bad.

Mother’s Day
October 19, 2008, 10:21 am
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At 8 am, when I returned back from my typical saturday night out, I slipped downstairs with the flowers for my host mom and set them up on the kitchen table with a card tucked in one of the bouquets.  I had to recruit my host papa to find more vases because the one I bought wouldn’t fit all of the flowers I bought.  When I woke up at 1pm I heard mama walking downstairs and gasp at the bouquets.  She gave me a giant hug and kiss on the forehead and thanked me a million times for the flowers.  We had a nice Sunday asado as a family and mama made the most delicious lemon marange pie.

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Flowers and a Mariachi Surprise
October 18, 2008, 2:53 pm
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Tomorrow is el dia de la madre (Mother’s Day) and I have been planning for a week to buy flowers for my Argentine mama.  I have asked many people where the best place is to purchase flowers and they all tell me the terminal (the bus station).  To me, the bus station was a million miles away because I have no concept of distance or direction so I was trying to figure out how to get there with the little knowledge I have of the bus system.  Luckily I was mistaken and the bus station is actually walking distance from Centro.  Another thing I didn’t realize was the bus station has wonderful shopping.  Since I was on a mission to buy only one thing I had to refrain from looking and buying other things.  I ended up buying 3 bouquets at 2 pesos each (less than $1 each).  That is so ridiculously cheap that I intend to go there weekly and buy flowers for my apartment so I can be surrounded by them always.

On my way back from the terminal I stopped in a clothing store and directly after me a mariachi band entered, dressed to the T in their sombreros and fringed velvet suits.  They began playing their instruments and signing while everyone in the store just stopped and watched. I quickly whipped out my camera and started taking a video which you can enjoy below.  To make things even more strange, the employees of the store started passing around sandwiches and champagne for everyone in the store.  I don’t know what they were celebrating but I went along with it.  I can only imagine it had something to do with Mother’s Day…I mean, I that would make sense, right?  But here not many things make sense, like some provinces deciding to change the time for daylight savings and other’s deciding not to at the very last minute.  I actually changed my clock and had to change it back when I found out they changed their minds.

Pizza Pouter
October 17, 2008, 10:23 pm
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I hadn’t seen Gabi since last weekend so I decided to go to her shop this afternoon to catch up with her.  We ended up painting shirts again (it never ends!) and she said she wanted to have people over for pizza later on.  I was happy that there was some sort of plan because there never is.  Gabi called Dani and Seba and they agreed to come over.   She then texted Pato but Pato was already on her way home and didn’t want to go back out.  Gabi got upset and I believe she was going to cancel the whole night just because Pato wouldn’t go.  I could be mistaken though because I only understand about 50% of what is said to me but she seemed like she didn’t want to have it anymore.  I couldn’t understand why it was so important for Pato to be there, why my company wasn’t good enough.  It made me feel kind of bad and want to go home and forget the whole night but I just brushed it off.

I realized that we were still sticking to the plan when Dani showed up and we all went to the empanada place to buy empanadas to eat instead of pizza.  I hate that I am so out of the loop when plans are made because I’d really like to know what is going on.  I know they think I won’t understand so they don’t include me in the details but how am I supposed to learn if they never talk to me about it?  That is the only way I’ll get better.  Oh well.

The empanadas were delicious and we drank beer and coke (mixed) and it was pretty delicious.  We watched part of a fútbol game and Gabi and Dani talked most of the time.  When I’m in big groups I tend to get left out of the conversation because they talk so fast that I can’t understand a word they are saying.  This sucks for me because I really do want to be able to talk and want to be part of the discussion.  My brain can’t handle the multiple people talking at the same time — it is too much to process so I usually just tune out.  I am way better with one-on-one conversations.

At around 2am, me, Dani, Seba and their friend Arnuqui went out drinking.  Gabi wasn’t going because Gabi never goes.  We first went to this bar called Babylonia and it was ok.  The beer was expensive and the waitress was “too cool for school”.  We stayed there for one drink and then went to a boliche called “Kolor”.  My friends kept telling me that it was the rich people’s boliche and that they didn’t like it.  I don’t understand why we went there if they didn’t like it but I didn’t complain.  I liked it and I had fun.