Autumn’s Adventures


Loungin’ by the Pool
July 1, 2010, 6:05 am
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Amber and I had a half day off today and we decided that we wanted to go swimming since it was 80 degrees outside.  Barb helped us find a pool, which ended up being at a private sports club, and then she drove us there instead of making us hike up the driveway and take 2 buses to get there.

The pool cost 9 euros for the day and we arrived at around noon, so half the day was already wasted!  There were actually 2 pools, just square and simple but really clean looking.  When we arrived we saw a young couple there that we had seen on the bus a few days earlier.  We recognized them because they were sitting across from us on the bus, making out and fondling each other…and we noticed them also because he looked much older than her and she looked about 12 years old.  Well anyway, they were there, all over each other again but this time with much less clothing on…and we were like HOLY HELL VARESE IS SMALL.  They awkwardly stared at us on and off while we were there, mostly because they recognized us and partially because the girl kept being shy about her affection with her boyfriend and thought we were watching them (which we were, buy very covertly…haha).

I was very excited to be wearing my new American flag bikini.  I was hoping for some reactions, good or bad, but I really got none for it.  I’m in LOVE with this bikini on so many levels, and I don’t care what people think of me (be it my friends in America who are embarrassed for me, or anyone else!)  So far, the foreign people I’ve told about my bathing suit, and shown, have thought it to be awesome.  Point proven that patriotism can be cool and I’m totally going to rock it.

So the pool is cold and the only way we could manage to fully immerse ourselves was to jump in — so we did.  The water was wonderful and the pool was incredibly clean, which we noted with fascination.  I started to do hand stands and diving, soaking my hair in the water and letting it float around like octopus legs.  Everyone at the sports club knew each other because they were all members.  Amber and I were the only ones wearing stupid wristbands…standing out like the foreigners that we are (and my bikini, ahem…).  They were staring at us swimming and we couldn’t figure out if they were envious of our youth and mobility (since most of them were old) or if they didn’t like what we were doing.  After about 10 minutes, the young couple followed suit and jumped into the pool, doing as we did.  After a while this old woman said to us “shower cap” and showed us her shower cap for her hair.” We replied “no thank you!” and kept diving under the water.  When we got sick of swimming we got out of the pool, rinsed our bodies off at the outside shower, and go tan for a hot second.  It was bliss.

During our second round of swimming, someone who worked at the club came over to us after we had done our normal “jump in” routine and politely informed us that we needed to rinse off our dirty bodies before getting into the pool and to also wear a shower cap to ensure that hair does not fall out and float in the pool.  Whoops!  We are such grungy Americans that we didn’t even realize these 2 things — no wonder the pool was sparkly clean! No wonder people were glaring at us and the only ones to swim like us were the rebellious teenagers!  No wonder all of the old people were wearing shower caps and showering before they got in the pool! We just thought they were strange.  After this news we were a bit embarrassed and a bit bummed that we couldn’t keep diving unless we wore a stupid swim cap.  We had been there for a good 3 hours so we just decided to rinse off and leave.

But all in all we had a wonderful time swimming and soaking up the sun.  It was awesomeeeeeee.



To Market, to market!
June 18, 2010, 9:12 am
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Today was our first day off so we decided to head into town.  We desperately needed clothes for the farm so we were on a mission to find the ugliest and cheapest clothes possible at the open air market.  We also had a long list of random items that we needed to buy for our every day use.

The market was huge and it was full of amazingly beautiful clothes that I really wanted to buy.  I had expected them to be selling some gaudy going-out wear but they had nice lightweight cotton and linen pieces that were very basic and totally my style.  I had to refrain from looking too much because I was really going to have a weak moment and spend the rest of my savings on these wonderful clothes.

To our surprise, the market didn’t have much in terms of ugly and cheap farm clothes so we only got one or two shirts and a few knitted sweaters to keep us warm.  I bought a pair of black gym shoes for 8 euros to work in that looked like soccer shoes.

After the market we headed to the grocery store to buy some toiletries and some lunch.  Everything was so expensive I wanted to just die.  We bought the cheapest liquid hand soap in the largest container to use as our body wash.  Their body lotion section was lacking and all smelled like baby poo so we bought Johnson and Johnson baby lotion.  We also scoured the place for a matchbox but found no matches anywhere in Varese.  We are getting sick of trying to light the gas stove with lighters that do not work!  Bahhh…

We had so many bags from the market and the grocery store that we decided to just go home since we didn’t want to explore like bag ladies.  On the bus home there was an old dude who had just lost or someone stole his wallet.  He freaked out on everyone in his general vicinity and even patted down a girl and searched through a woman’s bag and purse.  Then he got off in a huff, still without his wallet.  It was quite the uproar!

When we got home we took a nap and read our books about Italy.  When dinner rolled around Amber cooked up some of her special chicken and I was poppin’ cherry tomatoes like it was going outta style.  We chilled in the kitchen for a while and the whole family started to congregate there and drink tea.  We listened to them speak in Italian and we hung out for a while.  After a while everyone left but Barbara so we ended up having a nice chat with her and really started getting to know her.

She told us that she loves the UK and wanted to move back there last June but when her father became ill in May with cancer, she stayed to take care of him until he died a few months later.  After that unfortunate and sudden tragedy, she decided that she couldn’t leave her father’s dream of the farm to rot because she cared too much so she left behind her own dream of living in the UK to stay on the farm.  Damn.  She also said that is the reason why she joined Helpx — not just for the help but to meet people from around the world and to bring the UK and English speakers to her.  She wanted to make friends even if she couldn’t travel.  I really liked that about her.

She also told us about the crazy laws in Italy that prohibit self defense of any sort.  Basically, if someone comes on your property, you aren’t allowed to hit them or they could call the cops on you and get you sent to jail.  If you kill them in self defense, then you also go to jail.  The only way to get a trespasser off of your property is to call the police and wait for them to come.  This also applies to shoplifters in stores.  You are not allowed to stop a shoplifter, you can only ask them to return the goods if you think they stole them from you.  You can’t hold them there, you can only call the police but if they know the law, they can just walk out of the store without paying because you cannot touch them or keep them there.  Crazy…



Patagonia, Argentina
October 25, 2009, 7:09 pm
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I sit here writing this, broke as a joke, because my Patagonia trip took all of my money.  I knew it was going to be expensive but I didn’t realize how much the south squeezes out every last moneda from your pocket.  They really have a hold on tourism and know what they are doing.  Regardless, I had a fabulous time and I don’t mind eating tuna from a can for the next few weeks until I go home.

The south of Argentina is like another world compared to the north.  The mountains are snow capped versus rainbow colored.  There is grass for miles versus dry, red dirt.  The people are whiter and taller and wear nicer clothes than I do.  Penguins seem to be the exploited animal of the south for tourists while the llama is the pick of the litter in the north (though the south has llamas too they call them guanacos).

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Patagonia, Argentina
October 25, 2009, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

I sit here writing this, broke as a joke, because my Patagonia trip took all of my money.  I knew it was going to be expensive but I didn’t realize how much the south squeezes out every last moneda from your pocket.  They really have a hold on tourism and know what they are doing.  Regardless, I had a fabulous time and I don’t mind eating tuna from a can for the next few weeks until I go home.

The south of Argentina is like another world compared to the north.  The mountains are snow capped versus rainbow colored.  There is grass for miles versus dry, red dirt.  The people are whiter and taller and wear nicer clothes than I do.  Penguins seem to be the exploited animal of the south for tourists while the llama is the pick of the litter in the north (though the south has llamas too they call them guanacos).

Continue reading



Iguazu Falls, Argentina
October 25, 2009, 6:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When I first came to Argentina I didn’t give two hoots about Iguazu Falls.  I thought to myself, “I’ve seen Niagara and if I don’t see Iguazu before I die I won’t regret it.”  I know in scale Iguazu trumps Niagara without fail but to me water is water is water.  Seeing the rest of the country first was more important to me that wasting time going way out of my way to an isolated part of Argentina that only had the falls and nothing else.

Even as I planned my last big trip in Argentina before heading back to the states I didn’t think about Iguazu.  I only ended up going because my friend asked me to go and the timing was perfect since she wanted to go just a few days before my trip and it was kind of on the way.

In the end I’m glad I went.  Argentina and it’s natural wonders don’t cease to amaze me.  I expected to arrive to the falls and have one lookout point and be done with it in less than an hour but I was surprised to find that Iguazu is literally a maze of waterfalls ranging in size and force.  I saw multiple rainbows and spent the whole day going from waterfall to waterfall — there seemed to be no end to them.

Continue reading



Iguazu Falls, Argentina
October 25, 2009, 6:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

When I first came to Argentina I didn’t give two hoots about Iguazu Falls.  I thought to myself, “I’ve seen Niagara and if I don’t see Iguazu before I die I won’t regret it.”  I know in scale Iguazu trumps Niagara without fail but to me water is water is water.  Seeing the rest of the country first was more important to me that wasting time going way out of my way to an isolated part of Argentina that only had the falls and nothing else.

Even as I planned my last big trip in Argentina before heading back to the states I didn’t think about Iguazu.  I only ended up going because my friend asked me to go and the timing was perfect since she wanted to go just a few days before my trip and it was kind of on the way.

In the end I’m glad I went.  Argentina and it’s natural wonders don’t cease to amaze me.  I expected to arrive to the falls and have one lookout point and be done with it in less than an hour but I was surprised to find that Iguazu is literally a maze of waterfalls ranging in size and force.  I saw multiple rainbows and spent the whole day going from waterfall to waterfall — there seemed to be no end to them.

Continue reading



Herbalife – my experience with a healthy pyramid scheme
August 17, 2009, 2:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have been going to yoga here in Jujuy for about 10 months.  The studio is in the center of the city and is run by an awesome gay couple that I love.  A few months after I joined their studio, they started displaying products with the brand “Herbalife” on it.  I was a little suspicious.  I liked these guys, but have they fallen into a pyramid scheme? These smart yogi bears, one who is a dentist and one a psychologist.  Were they tricked by an even more powerful psychologist themselves? The salesman?  I couldn’t believe it.  But maybe they weren’t into the pyramid scheme.  Maybe they were just buying the supplements from someone else who was tricked into the scheme.  I mean, fish oil and multivitamins are really great for you, any yogi should subscribe to great supplements. Continue reading