Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mud and Mayo

Well this blog is a little behind schedule partly because I didn’t realize that La Rural was two weekends ago, not one, and when I did sit down to write the blog, my family mysteriously didn’t have internet for five days. I guess it’s because of the construction on the house, doctors here (well at least the pediatricians) have house practices as well as some work in the hospital and now half of our house is a brightly colored waiting room filled with toys, tiny chairs and magazines. It’s a little bit strange to me. Like I walked downstairs this morning and the living room is filled with boxes and boxes of plastic gloves, various medicine, Band-Aids and Shrek stickers. I guess it means that my parents will be home more often.

Thank you so much Sunrise Rotary for all your letters!!! It feels good to have mail, it is a million times better than an email. I got a very brightly colored post card today, happy late birthday Kaitin! And thank you Alice for your advice on keeping a journal. I had been keeping notes on what I did from day to day but I stopped around day twenty two, once things got semi normal. But after reading your postcard I started up again, to capture the little moments that otherwise might be forgotten.

This past weekend there was the last hockey game of the season. I didn’t play and that was great for me because I still play with the thirteen year old girls and they crack up when I swing, miss and almost fall over. The girls won the match by a lot and celebrated afterwards by smearing mud on each other. At first I was really surprised, is this some strange Argentine celebration? Then I remembered the last lacrosse games of the season when we smeared cake and paint all over the seniors.Similar but not quite....

Las chicas!!!! Okay I don't know all the names but here we go, from left to right top row first: Clarita, forgot!, Augustina, Lujan, forgot and forgot, Sofi, Eugenia, Pilar, forgot, Camila, Miru and Luz. I'm so bad with names...

Miru and Egue after Egue got chased down and smeared with some fresh mud :)

Then came the condiments....

And now Augs looks like this...

And this...hahahaha so evil!

Katia went to Buenos Aires with her school and we were separated for the first time in almost two months. It was odd because I hadn’t realized just how much time we share just because we live together. We often find that things are more similar in America and Austria than they are in Argentina and I guess we will find out if the similarities really are true when we visit each other in the future. :) Yes, we dream big.

School has been going really well lately. I’m a nerd and took the math test last week. There were some word problems that went right over my head. The test got handed back today and I didn’t get a grade for it or anything but my classmates started clapping and it made me feel so good. I just get bored stiff in school sometimes, this makes any boredom in WHS seem like absolutely nothing. I would love nothing more to be able to do something because I hate feeling stupid and so I’m trying when I can.

But the best part of school is my classmates. They all just have so much personality and they make me so optimistic about having the rest of the year with them. And guess what? I’m off to another birthday party. Hahaha it’s pretty insane because I didn’t know a soul here two months ago.

It is when my friends talk that it is so clear that I am not in the states any more. I have never seen so much PASSION. They talk like the stereotypical Italian, I guess is the best comparison. I wish you all could see it. When the story they are telling gets too intense for sitting they stand up right there and continue with even larger gestures. They talk so loud and laugh so hard, it makes my American friends and I look like dead stumps. And this is all the time, not just when something super special happens, so much passion for everything! If they need a model and I’m sitting next to them then suddenly I’m a demonstration of how the drunken guy in the club was flirting with them. I crack up just watching them because they are just SO animated and it’s even funnier when I only catch handfuls of words.

So far my time here has been so amazing and I hope it stays like this. I don’t want to hit culture shock or get super homesick all of a sudden. I wouldn’t say that I’m madly in love with Argentina because there are for sure somethings that I prefer in the states but there are other things that I just love. And I love them even more because there is nothing like it back home.

Thank you all so much for giving me this chance!


Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm Sorry My Elbows Are Above My Ears, I've Never Eaten with My Left Hand Before

Ah. It’s been a month. Where did the time go? I feel like I’m just starting to get my footing here but it’s a long way from seeming like home. I know that I’m starting to adjust because I don’t fall asleep right after dinner every night anymore.

My list of words in the back of my notebook has grown to a good ten pages now and I’m reading some stories of Hans Christen Anderson in Spanish. I still think it’s weird that I can understand nearly everything in my Biology, math and Geography classes but sometimes not a word that my classmates say. I wish it was the opposite but my brain panics when they start talking two or three at once.

So this past weekend all of the exchange students went to Mar del Plata for a Rotary reunion. (The joys of twelve hours in a combi.) I keep wishing the reunions were longer so I could meet everyone but I’ll be spending plenty of time with the other exchange students on the trips! The first trip is in December and we will go to southern Argentina for a week. We’ll visit the southernmost city in the world, walk on some glaciers, see penguins and probably be really cold the whole time.
The next trip is in February and it is a three week long bus tour of the north of Argentina. Hopefully all forty of the exchange students are going because it sounds like it’s going to be crazy.

The day after we got hope from Mar del Plata I finally went out with my friends to Yamo. Yamo (shamo) is the most popular boliche (club) in Suarez and most of my classmates go out there every weekend. Of course we didn’t actually go to Yamo until four in the morning. “Why so late?” I asked. They laughed, “Because it’s completely empty if you go earlier.” Silly me. So we hung out until four and then went to Yamo and danced for two hours. I wasn’t tired at all so when we walked out of the club and it was light out, I couldn’t believe it. Then I slept till three in the afternoon.

This is me with a few of my friends at a birthday party. (Magi, the girl I'm sitting on I actually don't know, Eugenia, Luz and Camila)

That weekend I also went to two more birthday parties (will this ever stop?) and to a place called La Rural. To my American mind it was like the fair, minus the carnival part. There were a few horse races, tents full of venders, live music and lots of tractors. I was able to see some very Argentine things. Like this:

I made peanut butter cookies yesterday. Despite the fact that this butter does not taste anything like butter, the milk doesn’t taste like any milk I know and the only control on the oven is on and off, they turned out well! I made them for a girl in my class who had an operation on her spleen. (It took me two weeks to find out what organ they were talking about. The Spanish word for spleen is not in my dictionary, I guess they never thought it might be useful to know.) I have yet to give them to her but most people here aren’t the biggest fans of peanut butter. And my biology teacher asked me to make an apple pie next week…..a bit more complex. I kind of feel like their opinion of American food depends on my culinary skills. No pressure.

See you later alligator,

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Happy Birthday!!! x7

No, my birthday isn't until May. (And the picture doesn’t match the title at all. This is Katja and I during a dinner with all the exchange students in Suarez. We decided to get together, all eight of us. And I’ve been really bad about taking pictures so this is the best I have. Haha I’m such a bad tourist.)

But since I've been here, which is three weeks today, I've been to five birthday parties. I just got home from one and there's another tonight. So that's mostly what I've been up to. Besides starting field hockey, going to school, craving spicy foods and reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. (I keep dreaming in a jibberish that sounds like Spanish and it's driving me insane. The days when I read in English are the only days the dialogue in my dreams makes any sense. Thank you Howard Roark for keeping me sane.)

The birthday parties here are very different here. There are usually thirty or so kids (everyone from our class at school) and we sit in a circle and eat and talk (and they talk a lot here) for three or four hours. (Except for the fifteenth birthday parties, which are a huge deal and usually last until six or so in the morning.) Gifts are given sometimes and are usually very little things. But that's about it. They are very fun actually but it amazes me that they just talk for so long. Me, I sit and listen, follow the conversation and talk when I know what is going on. But they change topics so quickly, from blood types to cell phones and Michael Jackson, it's just hard for me to keep up.

They mostly just eat sweets at the parties. And you know you are in Argentina when everything you bite into has dulche de leche. Dulche de leche (literally sweet of milk) looks like caramel in color but is more liquid than solid. It is very very sweet andI like it, in modest amounts. But not in six layers or piled on every piece of cake. It is insane. Even the ice cream is dulche de leche flavored. ????
Last night was a really good night for me though. I went to my friend Eugenia's (I love that name) birthday party and talked for the whole time. It was incredible and for once I felt in on the conversation. It was once of my best moments here and I wish everyday could be as easy as that.

After the birthday party I went home and then took a taxi back to Eugenia's house around one a.m. (that's normal here) to go out with my classmates. I've become much more independent here. If need to get somewhere I walk, bike or call a taxi. If I need something I walk around until I find a store that sells it or ask someone on the street. It’s nice I guess but very different than what I did in America. It’s just that I can’t drive, most of the time there is no one to take me because my parents are at work and everything is so close that it isn’t really a hassle.
For a while I got sore throats and that gross sick feeling during the evenings and went to bed thinking I was going to be sick for a while. I woke up the next mornings feeling fantastic. The first time I thought it was really cool because I magically healed overnight. After feeling sick after six every night for five nights in a row I was just really peeved. Why couldn’t I stay sick long enough to miss a bit of school?

But now that has passed for the most part and compared to the other exchange students I’ve been in really good health. I am tired a lot and I try not to nod off in school, which is close to impossible when everything sounds like white noise. But I think I am finally getting used to the Argentine schedule and I’ve stopped feeling hungry during American meal times.

This coming weekend all the exchange students are headed to Mar del Plata and while I’m not looking forward to the drive I’m excited to meet everyone and hear about the trips we will be taking later this year! La la la yes, I’m playing hockey, I want to start dance classes and I think that’s about it!

Thanks to everyone for these weeks and thanks for checking up on me!