Sunday, November 30, 2008

Driving in Buenos Aires

I haven't driven a car here and nor do I want to but I sure have taken notice on how driving works around these parts. Most intersections do not have stop signs. Most have a large inverted speed bump at the intersection to slow the cars down (would you call this a speed ditch?). The busier streets have traffic lights.

When cars come to an intersection they slow down, quickly look both way and the speed up again. Sometimes they beep their horn to warn others. ok ok, you're thinking 'how dangerous', but don't you do the same (or want to do the same) when your familiar with a street? So many times at home when I knew the area well I would slide through stop signs (oh come one you've done the same and loved it).

It wouldn't be a good idea to drive here if you don't know what's up, but if you do, I think it would be quite fun to drive with no stop signs to get in your way (provided that you know the streets of course)

day 8 (happy anniversary)

Happy week anniversary to me and Buenos Aires! I think I'm falling in love. I know Buenos Aires has it's downfalls, but who doesn't. It's so charming and I love the energy I feel here. I find myself just smiling for no reason. I'm in love with the city. I Love B.A.

Last night I went out with the other two students staying in the house. We just walked to a local spot and shared a bottle of wine. The german girl and I shared a slice of chocolate cake. It was just 21 pesos ($6.40) total. They're both very kind and fun to hang out with. We laughed out loud so many times.

(photo below: our bottle of wine was served with a small bowl of olives and a small bowl of cheese. The olives were wonderful...the cheese, not so much)

10:30 Sunday Morning
I rolled out of bed and showered. I quick checked some emails and left the house by 11:45. Along the way to view another apartment I stopped at the same patisserie as yesterday and bought just two croissants for 2 pesos (60 cents)

I met with an Ecuadorian girl to see her apartment. I love the neighborhood (my current hood), the building is on a busy street, but the apartment is in the back of the building so you don't hear the noise. The building is modern and has a security guard. It's on the 9th floor. It's cheap, just $280, BUT I would be sharing a room with a Brazilian girl. The Ecuadorian girl would be gone for one month and then return. I like the apartment, it's simply furnished and I really liked the girl, she seemed very caring. I like that it's very cheap, especially because I don't have a job yet and I may not find one until March (which is the Argentine September (when people return from vacation)) and I love love love the location. Going with my gut, it feels right.

I hoped the subte to head into San Telmo (another neighborhood) to meet with a classmate to study. Taking the bus would have been quicker IF I knew how to use it, so subte and walking I did.

When I arrived at the same subte stop I've been arriving at this whole past week but when I climbed the steps of the subte I thought I was at the wrong place. The downtown (business district) is always packed with venders and people. Today...nada! It looked like a ghost town. They really close up shop in the business district on weekends.

I walked about 15 min to the cafe to meet my classmate.

(Here are some photos from my walk to the neighborhood of San Telmo)





My classmate wasn't there. Eh, I just got a table and studied by myself. I had a large cafe latte (8 pesos or $2.40) and a tomato, mozzarella, basil sandwich (14 pesos or $4.20) and a plastic bottle of water (5 pesos or $1.50). I kind of wish my classmate was there, I still had some questions about pronouns and reflexive verbs. If the verb is reflexive do you always conjugate the verbs in the entire sentence or you just conjugate the first verb in the sentence? I wasn't picking up any patterns in the examples.

(photo below: my lunch. the sandwich isn't big, but for me it's the perfect size)



(photo below: this was taken across the street from the cafe)


I left the cafe to travel back to my barrio (neighborhood) to see another apartment. When I walked out of the cafe I noticed the San Telmo feria that everyone talks about. In this neighborhood there is a large street market with artist and antiques. It was just a block away from the cafe...I wish I would have know that. I walked around just for 10 min but had to leave. I must return next week!

(photos below: walking through the street market)



(photo below: tengo dancers preforming in the street)



(photos below: walking back to the subte to return home (can you tell I like the graffiti art?))





(photo below: my subte stop. i haven't been taking photos during the week because it's not a good idea to have my camera out. i don't want to target myself as a tourist. i try to blend. today no one was in the subte so i sneaked a photo)

When I returned to my barrio, I took a short walk to the next apartment to view. The building is one street off of the busy/shopping street and trees are lining the street. the girl renting the 2 bedroom apartment will be traveling back to the U.S for december, january and february. her roommate will also be gone during this time. she wants someone for these 3 months to take care of her cat. i sat and talked with her for an hour and a half. she's really a great person and her apartment is SO charming. It's on the second floor and has a super cute balcony off of the living room. she has it decorated very nice and I love the bedroom I would be staying in. the bedroom has a large window that opens in to a courtyard, so it would be quiet.

oh shit, i really like it! BUT, it would just be me in the apartment; I'd really like to live with someone and it's also more money than I'd like to spend (being that I don't have a job yet). It's $450 a month and it's only temporary; until March. ohhhh, what a difficult decision.

Both apartments I looked at today include all bills with the rent which would be: water, electric, internet, maid service once a week (they even change your sheets and launder them), and building security guard at the door.

On my walk home I finally bought a flower for my hair that all the Argentine girls are wearing. So so cute! Just 4 pesos! ($1.20)


Ahhh, I don't know what to do! I'll make a positive / negative list.

Apt. #1
inexpensive so i can be cautious with my money
i'll live with two spanish speakers
i love the neighborhood


i have to share a room
the apartment isn't furnished well, it's not very cozy

Apt. #2
I love the neighborhood
I love the apartment
I love the bedroom
I love the balcony


I don't want to live alone yet
I don't want to spoil myself with a nice place to live
It's expensive
It's only temporary
I can't move in on Saturday the 6th, it would either be the 8th or 9th, so I would have to negotiate to see if I could stay with the host family longer.

money spent today:
2 peso for two small croissants (60 cents)
1 peso for the subway return to San Telmo
(30 cents)
8 pesos for a large cafe con leche
14 pesos for a sandwich ($4.00)
5 pesos for a plastic bottle of water ($1.50)
7 pesos for a med. sized cafe con leche ($2.00)
1 peso for a return subway trip (30 cents)
4 pesos for a silk flower for my hair ($1.20)
42 pesos ($13)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

day 7 (saturday)

ugh... too early to be waking up after staying out so late. my feet hurt and i'm tired.

i left the house. i stopped for some small pastries at a small patisserie along the way to the subte. 3 small pastries cost 3 pesos ($1.00), they were very good and a perfect size!

i arrived at an apartment to view. it was located next to the same train stop i was at yesterday. it wasn't as 'bad' looking today, but i still didn't like it. the building was nice (highrise). the apartment was on the 13th floor. kinda strange since we don't have '13th floor' in the u.s....or we just don't call them that, we call them the '14th' floor... anyway, the argentine girl who lives there was very nice, she showed me the apartment. it was cute and clean, but there wasn't an outside space and 3 girls share one bathroom. i don't think i'll take it.

i walked to see another apartment. the walk took 40 min. the weather was nice, it was cloudy so it wasn't so hot.

(here are some photos that i took along the way)



this apartment was one street off of a shopping street. An American girl buzzed me in and showed me the apartment. She's returning home this weekend, so her room will be available. There are 2 Argentine girls living there now. The one that was there spoke little English. The apartment was nice. It was on the ground floor, but it was behind 3 locked doors (the door on the street, a metal screen door to enter an outside space and then the apartment front door). there was outside space, so that was good. the room had no windows, but the outside space made up for that. the only bad think is that the room is only available for one month (dec.6 - jan 6). i like it, but i'd like to view two more tomorrow.

On my walk home I bought two empanadas, they were really good! I thought one of the signs said "samon y queso", but the 's' was a 'j' which translates into 'ham'. eh, i just pulled the ham out and ate it anyway. it was still very good. two medium sized empanadas were 5 pesos ($1.50)

I also bought a small (2 inch by 2 inch) alarm clock with a battery for 13 pesos. ($4)

Once I returned home I crashed. I was so so tired.

I ventured out to find some black flip flops and a red silk flower for my hair, which seems to be popular here and so cute too. Very close to where I'm staying is a mall with very expensive designer shops. the mall was impressive. I just looked around. I tried on flip flops but didn't like them. ahhh, I finally used a spanish pronoun!!!! When I gave the flip flops back after trying them on I told the man "me gusta pero no los amo". I 'think' I said "i like, but i don't love THEM". it was a proud moment for me since I'm having difficulty with pronouns.

(some random photos)
^ (photo: my bedroom light switch and an electrical outlet. The outlet is for both European style plugs and the old Argentine style)

^ (photo: my apartment keys. The large one if for the door down stairs on the street and the smaller one is for the apartment) You have to use a key to get out of both the apartment door and the door downstairs. What would happen if there is a fire and you can't find your keys?)

My first Buenos Aires Salsa

Midnight on Friday
My America friend came to pick me up at my apartment. From here we walked to her boyfriend's. The walk was beautiful and the weather was perfect. Since I haven't ventured far this past week, because of my cold, I didn't even realize there is a charming city square just 4 blocks from here. Many people were sitting on the square, or out walking and some were having dinner.

We arrived at the salsa club. It was 15 pesos ($4.50) to enter. When we walked in, the lesson was still going on. We sat there until 1:15 until the dancing BEGAN. The American left me for a bit, I think to go make out with her boyfriend. It was awkward at first to stand there alone. I didn't know if I should be standing, sitting...are the salsa customs the same? It only took 1 song for a guy to ask me to dance (*ahh, relief*), and then I got asked to dance again and again. It felt really really good to dance again! I slightly forgot how good it feels after my 2 week salsa sabbatical.

The men danced similar from what I'm used to. I was able to follow their moves but there were a couple I didn't know. One guy (Cuban) danced just like my Columbian; it felt like a slice of home in a way.

The women dress very casual here, very! Not too many women had salsa shoes, many just wore flats that you'd wear on the street. They wore jean skits, basic tank-tops, jeans, and short shorts, but all very casual.

The American introduced me to a friend of hers. He's Mexican and a really good dancer. I enjoyed talking with him. I'd like to see him again, as friends.

We left the club after a good night of dancing; people were still arriving, and the club was more full than at 2am! That's nuts! But kind of cool. heh, 'New York, the city that never sleeps'....who ever said that has never been to Buenos Aires.

We all took a taxi ride home. My stop was first, but the American just told the driver to drop me off at my street rather than in front of my house. It happened so quickly; the taxi stopped at a traffic light, she said it's your stop, I said which is my street and she pointed as the cab drove away. crap...seriously? It's 4:15 in the morning and I have not a clue where I am, I only know that one of these not so clearly marked streets is mine. I walked in a circle a couple times to figure it out, which IS NOT a good idea. If anyone were watching me they'd know I was lost. crap crap crap....calm down, deep breath....ok here is the street...the numbers are close to my address...they're going up in number like they should be...ok. I know where I am.

Went to bed, replaying my first night of salsa in Buenos Aries.

money spent today:
1 peso for the subway to school (30 cents)
1 peso for the subway to view the apartment
1 peso for the subway to return
20 pesos i contributed towards 2 beers (for two 40ish looking beers with a friend wss 27 pesos ($6)
15 pesos for the entry fee into the club (included a drink ticket) ($4.50)
5 pesos for a plastic bottle of water ($1.5)
2 pesos i contributed towards the taxi to the club (60 cents)
10 pesos coming back via taxi. ($3)
55 pesos ($16.60)

Friday, November 28, 2008

day 6 (friday)

same morning routine at the house...but my cell phone that i've been using as an alarm is on it's last power bar. i need to purchase an alarm clock, pronto. even though the cell phone doesn't have service it still provides me with a feeling of security. once it's dead i think it will hurt a little.

this morning when i left the house with the two other students it was POURING outside; it was really coming down. I had an umbrella, so I didn't mind it, it was a new experience. Besides, we only have to walk two short blocks.

ohhh, problem...crossing the first street. The streets were starting to flood since it was really coming down. I had a pair of espadrilles on (high shoes), so it was a bit difficult jumping the puddle that was forming between the street and the curb. Second block we had to cross...well, there was no jumping anywhere but in the puddle. Ik, but eh, it wasn't so bad...then we crossed the street again (it's 2 blocks to the subway and across the street) and I just stepped right in...and in...and in....OMG it's up to my mid calves! So what do I do (as the chinese girl is following me and holding my arm)...I just stand there in a puddle up to my mid-calf and make a face and whine!! After a second or two I took a step, not knowing if it would get worse but with the next step I was almost out of it. IK!

surprisingly the subway was clear this morning(empty compared to yesterday). was everyone taking a taxi to work? The gross puddle was almost, almost, worth the non-smooshed train rain (I said almost right?).

ahhhh, class was much much better today. well, it's because we started to learn past tense of illregular verbs. I learned some of these on my own in the states, so I don't know know them, but it was a good refresher for me....I didn't have to think so hard for this lesson. We also did alot of laughing in the class today.

For our homework we had to write questions to answers that were already given in the book. I did my homework at midnight last night so I couldn't think of creative things...or maybe I was being creative. So, I needed to write a question for the given answer which was 'They're in my office". I wrote the question "Where are my shoes". When I read the question in class, my profesora said "That's a funny question, why would your shoes be in someone elses office"...the Swiss girl then had to read the same....she also wrote "Where are my shoes". All of us broke out in laughter. Then the american girl said "do you both know the same guy?"........this theme carried throughout class.

It's really nice that is just girls in the class (profesora too). Today, randomly, we starting to talk about clothing (it wasn't in the lesson plan). The profesora told us the words for bra, thong ect... the american girl added "Where are my thongs...they're in my office".

Later in the day we were practicing our pronouns. The profesora gave us many examples using Juan (a mans name). Some examples: I miss Juan. Juan misses me. Juan misses her. Juan misses which the american girl said to me and the Swiss "Juan seems pretty popular, is this the same guy you two know"....more laughter.

After class I grabbed two small empanadas on my way to the subte. Walking into the small patisserie looking place, there is a ticket machine at the door (like at the deli counter in the supermarket). It helped me with my numbers. I had to pay close attention. I kept repeating in my head - noventa y tres, noventa y tres, noventa y tres, until they called 93.

I then hopped on the subte to view an apartment. I took the same train line where I'm staying, but I went 3 stops past mine. As soon as I got off the subte I felt a little awkward (just that feeling). I came up from the subte and the feeling continued. i walked in one direction for one block and realized it was the wrong way. I turned around and continued on a pedestrian street. One guy yelled "turista?" (tourist). Oh shit, this isn't good. I was too dressed up for this neighboorhood. 'this doesen't feel good'. I found the street I needed and turned onto it. yeah, it still didn't feel right. 'what was i doing still walking....turn around turn around...abort abort.' there were trees lining the street, but there weren't any people on the street and some of the houses looked abandon but i walked the whole way to the apartment (many blocks later). once i arrived i went with my gut and justed turned around. sure, i should have notified the person waiting for me at the apartment, but i'd rather be safe than sorry. i just didn't feel good about this. humph...first attempt at finding a place - no success.

Tomorrow I will view an apartment at 11am, same subway stop as today, but it's much closer to the subway stop and it's in a highrise/condo looking building. Then at 1pm I'll view an apartment in the neighboorhood where I'm living in now; it's within walking distance. (my fingers are crossed for this one)

Sunday morning I'll meet with a classmate of mine to study in San Telmo (another neighborhood) and then at 5:30 I'll view another apartment close to here. I have a good feeling about my current neighborhood. The commercial street (where the subway stop is, where the busses run, where all the shopping is) is close, but where the apartment lies, it's not noisy, there is a green space a block away, there are bars and shops out my door, it doesn't look touristy, but there is a lot of activity...and did i mention the gorgous tall trees that line the streets?

Tonight agenda... SALSA! An american friend is coming to pick me up at midnight (oy oy oy, even later than at home, but that's when things get started here. bars OPEN at 1 or 2am...seriously). I can't wait to see what it's like...

I'm sitting in the livingroom...the electric went out 20 min. ago. when it first went out I wasn't alarmed, but it's 20 min later. No one else is home and I only have the light of my laptop. I looked out the window (I'm on the 8th floor) and everyones light are out, the only light I can see is the light from people's candles in their apartments. Some people have congregated on the streets. A group of them are playing the popular, international instrument, 'the coffee can' may be a the 'cow bell', anyway, they're singing the same tune with the rhythm of their cow bell, but it's not your Buenos Aires cumbaya kind of song...I'm hearing some words that their mothers may not be proud of. Crap, it's been a half hour now... Is it safe to go out on the streets? Is there maybe some kind of political unrest that I haven't read about? If I didn't have plans I would just go in my room and listen to my sounds like the elevator is working, I hear it beeping. It's almost 40 min. since the electric went out.

YEAH!!!!!! Electric!!! (*big sigh of relief*). Everyone else is feeling it too, there were cheers from the street!

Time to go get ready for salsa. Buenas Noches (good night)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

day 5 (thanksgiving)

^(photo: taken outside my door)

"Blissful: Extreme happiness; ecstasy.
The ecstasy of salvation; spiritual joy."
There's no other word I can find than blissful to describe how I'm feeling about this journey.

^(photo: where i come up from the subway on my way to class.)

^(photo: the door to my school: Academia Buenos Aires)

Class was frustrating again today, but just towards the end again. we're learning so much and so quickly. as soon as we are introduced to something new we move on without much practice. i wish we'd have just one day to spend on review of the last 3 days.

Todays lesson was reflexive verbs. Example: Yo me despierto (I wake myself up). I'm not quite sure I understand them fully in English and now I'm learning them in Spanish. I know I need to keep reminding myself that I've only been studying Spanish for 4 days, i shouldn't rush it.

^(photo: small fruit stands are all over the city)

During our class break I stepped out to get some fruit. A large apple and banana was 2.5 pesos. (75 cents) It was really good too.

After class I went to lunch with the American and the Swiss girl. We walked a couple of blocks down out of the tourist area towards the fruit stand. We found a non-fancy lunch place. Lunch was good. I had rice and chicken (typical Spanish dish) with a bottle of water. When we asked for the check the waiter just told us how much we owe; no check was given. It was 16 pesos ($4.80). When we went to leave the restaurant, an older man, sitting with others his age, yelled out in english ' I think you're beautiful'. wow, I thought, good choice of pick-up lines to learn. I smiled and said thank you in english.
(sidenote: I hear that its very common for men to cat-call or yell random romantic sayings to women. I hear it's because that in the past the men to women ratio was not in mans favor, so they really had to 'work it'. I guess it just became part of the norm)

My health is finally improving. Since I arrived I've been taking it easy by not venturing out or going on any excursions after class. My cold has cleared up, but my ears still occationally hurt when I blow my nose. Each day gets better.

So today after lunch with my classmates I felt daring... I took the bus to the Japanese Garden! (with the directions/instructions of a teacher at my school). It wasn't as difficult as I thought. The stop where I boarded was clearly marked (bus 130). When I boarded I put my 1 peso into a machine behind the driver. The machine gave me a receipt. I was told that the driver does not give change and you can olny use coins for the bus. When I thought we were getting close to the garden I asked the driver 'Where is the Japanese Garden?' (even after Spanish overload today I could make this complete sentence in Spanish). He said 'two stops' and then pointed when we arrived.

^(photo: argentine flag with the president's house behind. it's only a block away from my school)

^(photo: where i got off the bus for the Japanese Gardens. These purple blooming trees are everywhere in the city; so beautiful)

^(photo: Japanese Gardens / Jardín Japonés)

^(photo: me)

^(photo: Japanese Gardens / Jardín Japonés)

^(photo: Fishy)



^(photo: After the Japanese Gardens I walked back home (about 20 min). First I had to cross 13 lanes of traffic. I hear this isn't even the widest street here. The walk home was almost all under the canopy of trees.)

When I returned to the house I went back out again. I tried a different place for a drink and studying. Again I didn't venture far. This time I sat inside. I observed that when you sit outside mosquitoes aren't the only pests. Repeatedly venders come past your table trying to sell things. Sure they have to make a living, but I didn't want to be bothered today. Also it's quite hot (88 degrees). I love the weather, but I won't lie, it's a bit uncomfortable at times (You're probably cursing me if your in PA right now?).

At the cafe I ordered a beer and an empanada (mini mini calzone). The bottle of beer was huge, it looked like a 40. Maybe not that big, but it was big. The empanada was amazing and a perfect size too. The waiter was very kind as well. Like yesterday's waiter, he was also very patient and helpful with my Spanish. After I paid he gave me his phone number and asked me to call. He's cute, but it's too soon to date. Beer and an empanada was 17 pesos ($5)

I had a very enjoyable day. It really was blissful.

money spent today:
1 peso for the subway to school (30 cents)
1 peso for the bus to the Japanese Garden
16 pesos for lunch ($4.8)
5 pesos for entry into the Garden ($1.50)
17 pesos for a beer and empanada ($5)

40 pesos ($12)

day 4 (wednesday)

(a little slow posting these entries. here's my day for wednesday...)

7:00-8:20 - same routine as the past two days.

8:30 - todays subway ride was different. on the first day taking the train, it was crowded. on the second day we had to wait for a second train to come along because the first was too crowded. today we let two trains pass without boarding because people were just smooshed in there. 3rd train came along today and we made like an argentine and smooshed ourselves in there too. we were packed in there, really packed, and i'm not one to exaggerate either. i wasn't holding onto anything (except for my purse) and i was just fine when the train was moving and stopping, i wasn't going anywhere. to my surprise...or maybe it was shock, more people squeezed on at the next stop....i'm speechless....i don't even know how else to describe how packed we were. Luckily everyone smelled nice.
9:00- before i went to class this morning i 'finally' bought a note book. 27 pesos. ($8) not sure why it was so expensive. maybe because it was in the center of the city, maybe because it was a specialty store, maybe because it's a brand name? It's a sturdy little notebook, it looks like it's of quality...but the price was kind of steep, but i needed one. i went too long without one.

9:30 - i was off to a good start in class today with comprehension and speaking until hour 3 of 4 came. at this hour pronouns were introduced. I got it, but it just wasn't clicking, then i got frustrated, then i got mad at myself for getting frustrated and then no information stuck, nada. here's an example spanish sentence structure: "martin buys flowers. martin them buys." (in english- martin buys them) however 'them' needs to agree with flowers (plural/ singular) and gender too. it should be easy to grasp, but i just couldn't get it and got more frustrated knowing that this should be easy.

other than this mental road block towards the end of the class, the lesson went very well.

1:30 after class the american girl in my class invited me to lunch with her and some other girls. there were 5 of us total. we just ate at a cafe/restaurant around the corner from our school. the cafe was in a courtyard with a view of the busy city street. at our table there were us two americans, a belguim, a swiss and a german. i had a tomato mozzarella sandwich with a glass bottle of water. (32 pesos + 6 pesos were added for tip since we were a large group) ($11.50)

After lunch I came back to the school to use the internet. On I found two apartments, so I emailed two separate girls for more information. one wanted me to meet with her tonight at 8:30, but i didn't want to travel to a new neighborhood and take the bus for the first time in the evening. i hear buses are very complicated (no obvious place to stand for pick-up, no street signs to see where you are when your on the bus, no digital signs in the bus to display which stop is next. you just have to know) anyway. i asked her if i can meet with her to see the apartment during the day or this weekend.

i made arrangements to see the other apartment this friday at 2:30.

-2photo: my 'subte' (subway) stop
5:00 i returned to Palermo, dropped of my laptop at the house and headed out in our barrio (neighborhood) to find a place to sit outside and study pronouns. (i've near given up on trying to avoid my mosquito friends, this is life)

to my luck i found a very charming bar just one block down and two blocks over. the bar lies on a side street that has lush trees and there is a roof over the sidewalk where i sat at a small table. the waiter was very kind and patient with my spanish. i ordered just a beer. i thought it may relax me and help me let some spanish into my brain since i had a near brain melt down at school today. the beer was served with a small dish of peanuts, much like yesterday when my coffee was served with 3 tiny cookies. how cute. every so often the waiter stopped by to chat with me in spanish, he was very patient. i think i may return tomorrow. the service was great, the location was charming and the beer (stella artois) was 6 pesos ($1.80)!!! (the bottled water i had with lunch today was 7 pesos.)
after a beer and pronouns i met up with the german girl at the internet cafe for some more email / apartment search. i left earlier than she to come back and study some more. at 8:30 she returned. it was just her and me for dinner tonight. mirta and alejandro went to the movies. they prepared dinner for us and left it in the oven. they are such a cute couple. i like alejandro best. he's so animated when he speaks, i think it's to make sure his point is understood, and he always has a kind smile on his face.

money spent today:
1 peso for the subway to school (30 cents)
1 peso for the return trip
27 pesos for a notebook for class ($8)
38 pesos for lunch at a nice cafe: bottle of water and med. sized sandwich ($11.50)
6 pesos for a beer ($1.80)

73 pesos ($22)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

day 3 in Buenos Aires

(written tuesday november 25th in the evening (internet doesn't work at the host family's house))

7:30 i woke up to my cell phone alarm. it's strange to see no service on the phone. yesterday while waiting for the subway i had the urge to check my cell phone...what cell phone? It's been canceled.

8:05 tea and 'cookie's' with the chinese girl

8:20 the three of us students walked to the subway together. the weather was perfect, not hot or cold. both the chinese girl and i got splashed with water when we stepped on a loose sidewalk tile. (the sidewalks consist of large tiles. some are loose and a couple are missing. if you step on a loose one and there's water underneath...splash in/on your shoe you get) it wasn't a problem, but i can see how this could be a nuisance.

8:30 the first subway car was too full for all three of us to board, we waited for the next one. the second car wasn't much better but there was room for us to squeeze in.

9:30 class started. 'senor smarty pants' from yesterdays class moved on. he made sure he stopped by to tell everyone that this class was too easy for him. i was relieved, adios!.

for majority of the class it was just me, two other students and the profesora. half way through a swiss girl joined our class. the class was enjoyable, but towards the end i started to get tired, especially with my cold that's been lingering. the last hour of the class i could hardly understand anything and speaking was almost non existent. i couldn't put any words together. oh, so frustrating for me because yesterday i was on my toes with words and comprehension, but today....nada (nothing). i'm going to make sure i get enough sleep tonight, but it's so strange to eat and go to bed immediately. we eat at 9pm and finish around 10.

1:30 i stayed at the school to use the internet. my host family has internet but the password they gave me doesn't work. they insist it is correct and i don't want to disagree.

4:00 i came back to my barrio (neighborhood) Palmero and had a glass of wine and a small pizza. surprisingly (for me) I sat inside. normally i am crazy about sitting outside, but the mosquitoes are so bad i didn't want to get any more bites. my first glass of argentine wine was mm mm good. i also had a glass bottle of water 'sin gas' (without carbonation) and a small pizza (it looked like a pizzahut personal pizza) with mozzarella, provolone and onions. It cost 41 pesos ($12.50)

After some food I walked to 'farmacity' (the argentine CVS) and bought some desperately needed 'OFF!' cream to prevent more mosquito bites. Farmacity has many many American products like; Pantine shampoo, dove soap, etc... the small bottle of mosquito cream was 7 pesos ($2)

6:00 the german and chinese girl asked me if i'd like to join them for argenine ice cream, so i did. we walked just 2 blocks to the 'heladoria' , it was good, but i prefer american ice cream. the argentine ice cream is like the italian icecream we have in the states. a small ice-cream (american child sized ice cream) and a coffee was 16 pesos ($4.80)

7:00 we all wondered over to an internet cafe. 1.5 hours of internet was 2.5 pesos (75 cents)

8:30 i went back to the house to take a shower before dinner. it's really hot out and sticky too. it was around 78 degrees.

9:00 dinner. Another pie looking dish with corn in it. It was good, but plain with no spices. We also shared a large salad, but there was too much salt and oil on it.

after dinner mirta spoke more english with us and alejandro cleaned up the table and did the dishes

11:00 bedtime. i really wanted to go to bed earlier, but it was fun to stay up talking to the other two students and mirta. the chinese girl is really funny. both her and the german girl speak near perfect english.

12:00 still awake. it's really hot. i had to move the fan closer to the bed. the sheets felt like winter sheets. i didn't sleep very well. (am i doomed? this is just spring! summer isn't even here yet.)

money spent today:
1 peso for the subway to school (30 cents)
1 peso for the return trip
41 pesos for a glass of wine, small pizza and bottle of water ($12.50)
7 pesos small bottle of OFF! mosquito repellant($2)
16 pesos for a child size ice cream and cup of coffee($4.80)
2.5 pesos for an hour and a half of internet at a cafe across the street (75 cents)
68.5 pesos

argentine chickenpox

everything was perfect so far, almost too perfect about this trip until the mosquitos took a liking to me. for me, it is so so bad. i have so many bites already and it's only day 3. the german girl and chinese have no problem... just me. by next week i predict i will look like i have the chickenpox and or have west nile virus. if i'm to be thankful for something in this situation it is that they haven't bit my face, they just love my arms and back.

mi escuela (my school)

i'm really impressed with my spanish immersion school. to start, the building is amazing. it's located in the middle of the business district (very busy part of the city), in an old building that has marble spiral stairs up to the top (4th floor). the teachers and reception are so kind and very helpful. the classes are small and the teachers make the time fly by.




mi barrio (my neighborhood)

I'm living in the neighborhood of 'Alto Palmero' (pronounced 'paul-air-moe').


I had my first glass of Argentin red wine and a small pizza here yesterday (to the left of the image). I ate inside to avoid my mosquito friends.

mini cookies are served with coffee. me and the other two students in my house went for some argentine icecream (it's much like the italian icecream)

Ice cream delivery via moped! Sweet!

Little doggie spying on my on my walk home from class

my housemates on our way home back from ice cream

mi casa

Some photos of where I'm living....

The entry way into our building. We live on the 8th floor.

there are two very small elevators in the apartment building i'm staying in. each can fit 4 average sized persons (maximum). you must open both the security gate and the elevator door for yourself when you enter and when you exit. on two occasions (american me) just stood there when the elevator stopped moving. both times i laughed at myself for expecting 'something' to happen.

My bedroom. Very small, but it's just temporary. My window looks out into a court yard, so it's quiet in the evening.

My all-in-one bathroom. Thank god I don't have to share it.

My host parents Mirta and Alejandro. Both are super sweet and love to take care of us (me and the two other students). Mirta loves practicing her English (which is bad for our Spanish) and Alejandro loves helping us with our Spanish because he doesn't speak any English. Both are so willing to help with whatever we need. I got very lucky.