So in a need to catch up to present day blog entries I'm going to try to summarize last weekend, this past week, and this weekend (finde, semana, finde!) all in one.
So last weekend was one of our first chill weekends. We're finally feeling settled and we have time to explore the city because we don't have plans to travel until Easter weekend, Semana Santa. The weekend was actually a lot of fun since we did some exploring to areas in the city we are less familiar with.
Thursday night I went out with a group of friends that don't have Friday classes. We went to this really awesome hip-hop club called LOST. For the first hour or two that we were there they were having step-up -esque hip hop show downs. It was really cool to see all the talent, especially from the girls!
When they finally opened up the dance floor the place was packed. I mean you barely had enough room to do anything that constituted dancing. Before the end of the night I had an interesting 'dancing' experience with a guy from France named Pato. A friend who had been dancing on a platform jumped down into a gross mess of beer, cans and cups and lost her footing. She scrapped up her back pretty bad so we ended up going home around 5:30. Still not bad for a night in Bs As!
Friday we explored some places in Palermo including:
-The botanical garden (pretty but not the right season)
-The Evita Peron museum (kinda cool despite my lack of interest in museums)
-Various monuments and parks
We also found some time to play on a playground in one of the parks. Made me very happy. One thing that most people don't know about me is that I'm a big KID. I love swings, teeter totters, and playgrounds. Most of the time parks don't have teeter totters anymore. When they do either no one I'm with will be a child with me, or there is no one that is my size to make it worthwhile. I was so happy when we found one and my friends were willing to look like weirdos with me!
That night my friends Allie, Dana and I decided to splurge a little and have a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Dana's neighborhood. Trying to kill some time b4 respectable dinner hour, we decided to walk around some stands and stores in Plaza Serrano near the restaurant.
At one point I was walking in front of the girls. This guy runs up behind us begging up to wait. He comes straight up to me unabashedly and says, 'Hey wait, I was walking behind you on the street and I liked you. How long are you here for? If you have a boyfriend it don't matter, if you need more time we can get to know each other on facebook..." I didn't know what to say, my friends were standing there laughing (or trying not to) and I didn't know how to say no. Finally I just said no thank you. He wasn't going to let it end there. He said 'ok beso?' which means 'ok can I give you a kiss?' I said no and went to turn away, but he grabbed me very forcefully and tried to pull me in!
Thankfully my friend Dana was on duty and pulled me away just in time! We were able to laugh about it over dinner but it really highlights the diffence between men here and in the states. They are not shy or bashful. They don't know how to beat around the bush, and will tell you they want you straight up. Piropos (catcalls) are a part of my everyday life her. Men whistle and call out to woman of all types. It's a part of the culture. You'll be walking along minding your own business and some guy (15-90) will call out about how much he loves you and wants to marry you right now. Sometimes they are not so clean, and others they are very clever. If you're in a group and they hear you speaking English they'll even try their hand at that.
There are days when it boosts you up and gives you a little bit of confidence, even if you feel silly about it. But there are definitely days when you're walking with your head down to the world, and you just don't want any extra attention, especially from men. It's something you have to get used to. As I learn more lunfardos (slang), and get more accustomed to the accent and language I am able to understand more and more of what is said. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.
Saturday Dana, Allie, Sharon and I went to check out Puerto Madero. We walked around the street markets and ecological reserve for a chill afternoon. That night Dana, Allie and I decided we were going to a club called Pagana. We pre-gamed outside a park thanks to the lack of an open bottle law :)
It wasn't sketch at all I promise :P
The club had a different vibe than the other boliches we've been too. It was pretty clear that we we're the only Americans, especially when Ke$ha and the like came on.
We were enjoying ourselves immensly (despite the lack of attention from the locals [they had their own hotties to focus on ;) ] until Dana somehow noticed that her purse was open. Yup it finally happened, we were robbed. Thankfully she only lost her camera (in her words 'at least it was from highschool'). I can't say its a suprise. The sidesling purse is not the greatest when it comes to clubbing, its low on your waist or hip and depending on where you carry it, it can be easy to lose track of. (ALWAYS KEEP IT IN FRONT DANA! hehe) But now we know to be more aware. I think we did pretty well though, made it 6 wks in a foreign country without anyone in our group getting robbed.
Needless to say it brought down the mood drastically and we left very soon after. It made for an early night, about 3:30/4 :P
Monday: was a veryy long but vveryy satisfying day overall. I was up bright and early in order to leave for Casa del Nino at 8:30 am. I mentioned it in one of my previous entries, it is where I will be doing the service end of my service learning class. Being our first day they split us up among the different age groups to help us get to know the kids. Katie and I were in the 5-6 class. They were playing with playdough. I made them one heart (corazon) and all of a sudden I was the master of corazons and estrellas (stars). I was suprised how quickly they became attached to Katie and myself. I'm not sure if that is typical of the age group, or more of a consequence of their situation. After they cleaned up it was snack time (alfajores: a type of chocolate covered sweet with dulce de leche in the middle) and not a minute after they had finished it was play time. I had at least five kids drag me out to the playground.
It was great. They were all over me, hanging on me, tugging me, and wanting my attention. Their patience with my Spanish is astounding. A lot of times it leads to us staring at each other and making silly faces to show that we don't really understand. Some of the older kids are better able to help me and explain words to me so that I understand their meaning. One little girl was using the line of different colored stars on her shirt to quiz me on my colors, how cute of a role-reversal!
I'm very happy in my choice to work with kids. I think I'm going to learn a lot from this experience, and I can't wait to start working with a smaller group in our mini classes. Katie and I are hoping to do an art class with the 5-6 yr olds! We were warned not to bring cameras right away because it tends to look like a group of tourists getting off a bus and snapping pictures. I do hope to eventually have a lot of photos to share!
As much fun as I had it tired me out! I'm not going to deny that I went home and took a nap! I only had a few hours free though so I got some work done and went to my grammar class at 5:30. After class I had a bit of free time to go home and get ready for futbol! I'm apart of a cultural immersion group that uses the national sport futbol (soccer) as an excuse to get together once a week. We play soccer for an hour with a mix of Americans and Argentinians. Following the game we head upstairs with a few beers in order to socialize.
It was a lot of fun! I haven't played soccer since middle school so I'm pretty rusty. The difference in levels is pretty funny. Some people are soo intense and others not so much. Definitely got my toenail less toe stepped on my someone in cleets though! Despite this and a few other harmless injuries I really enjoyed the experience. Its nice to have some time to just run around and let out some frustration on the ball :)
I can't wait to go back and do it every week. There was only 3 Argentinians there last week, but I'm hoping there will be more in the future. The leader of the group was telling us that we will learn more in the hour of socialization after the game, than we could ever hope to learn on the field in the three months that we will be playing.
Also on the way home from class Monday I saw two people covered in a wet gross mixture of flour, eggs, and water in front of the Facultad de Medicina (A medical college). This was the third or fourth time I had seen this, and it got my attention. I finally remembered to ask my host mom about it. Turns out its a tradition! Whenever a student completes their carerra (the only way to describe this is that its equivalent to our major, its really a lot different, but we dont have a closer equivalent) it is tradition to stand in front of their University and have people throw flour, eggs, and water at them (regardless of the weather!). I can't say I really understand why one would want to be covered in this slimmy combination, but its a cool tradition never-the-less.
The rest of the week was very chill. I'm settling into my classes, and finally going to the correct grammar class. I like most of my classes but am slightly frustrated with my service class because I was expecting more discussion. I'm hoping that in future classes it will shift. Also my grammar class is making me run in circles. We are studying preterite. Like studying it, not reviewing it, studying it. And next up is imperfect. I'm feeling slightly held back in that I don't feel I'm learning anything knew. These are concepts I've had a reasonable grasp on since junior/senior year of high school. I'm a junior SPANISH Major! I'm not going to say that I couldn't use the review but seriously I need something more challenging. I have an exam next week so I'm hoping I'll do ridiculously well so that I can request to be bumped up to a higher level of grammar.
Finally almost done! This weekend was actually very relaxing. Friday we went to Nuestros Caballos, which is like a horse exposition much like Equine Affaire. My host mom had been telling me about it for weeks, and an alumna from my high school who is here in Bs As, Rachel Clough, had mentioned it as well. Turns out she's really involved in the horse world down here! Her boyfriend had horses in the expo, so I got to meet her at the expo. Katie, Allie, Dana and I went to check out the Confirmation class. Unfortunately we had missed show jumping the day before, but we still got to check out some very beautiful caballos:
Rachels boyfriend and his horse Texas
Some random gorgeous gelding :)
That night the girls and I decided to go to a club that was doing a 90s flash back event. They played Backstreet Boys, mambo #5, Spice girls wanna be, among many others! There were a lot of songs I was unfamiliar with that my friends knew. Apparently I didnt listen to the radio much! It was a rather fun night. We ran into another group of Americans, and one happened to be a kid that's in my Revolutions class. I think it might have scared him that I knew his name, whoops ;)
Saturday the girls and I found ourselves running low on our budgets. We decided to just go to a street market about 12 blocks from my house. There were a lot of different types of items from the fairs we had been too. There were even tarot card and palm readings! I think I might go back for that. Seems like it would be a lot of fun!! Also I fed the kid in me with a candy apple!
Today, Sunday has been a really relaxed day. I haven't even left the house, I think this might be a first! I've been in my room reading for class, listening to music, and of course BLOGGING.
Gosh I'm so glad I'm finally up to date, hopefully I can keep it this way!