Friday, February 27, 2009

5 floors up

Last night I had a full nights sleep. This set the stage for a wonderful day.

I'm feeling much better. My body no longer has that exhausted feeling and I'm blowing my nose much less.

At 10am I met a friend at the Evite museum for breakfast. The museum has a beautiful patio out back. It's very charming. We spent a couple hours chatting over coffee and scones (scons). The scones turned out to be sugar cookies; like the kind you eat at christmas. Much like the nachos served with mustard here...I should have learned not to get my hopes up. I'll be sticking to the medialunas from now on.

At 12:30 I returned to the apartment to finish up packing. My strategy (even though it's just 5 floors up by elevator) was to take majority of my clothes (that were dirty) to the lavendaria (place that washes the clothes for you). Even still, to my surprise, everything fit in my two suitcases and one backpack....ok ok, plus two plastic bags too.

(photo below: Mitch ready for the move)

My roommate said she would help me move. Even though it was just an elevator ride away I wanted the help / support, but she bailed. She bailed because my new landlord / neighbor moved the move-in-time by one hour. After I told her the news, she groaned and said 'oh but it's so beautiful outside' to which i replied 'you don't have to help'. 'oh are you sure?'......

It's not that she bailed that upsets me, it's that she didn't want to do it in the first place, even though she offered. Last night at 1am she said 'oh i'd rather go get sun' to which i replied 'no problem, can you just let me know so that i can ask a friend'.....she wavered then said 'no, i promised you, i'll help you'. This morning she asked me to be home from breakfast at 12:30 so that we could walk to the lavenderia together. I was home by 12:30, but she wasn't ready to go until 2pm.

3pm (moving time rolled around) and she was still at the apartment. I already texted my friend who I met up with for breakfast asking her to help me. She was so kind to come over. Once she was in my room, ready to help me move my roommate came in and said, 'i can help you if you want'. My roommate also wanted to come up to ask my landlord/neighbor about another apartment that he has that she is interested in. I told her that my friend just came over to help, that I didn't need her help and that I rather meet with the landlord/neighbor by myself to get everything straightened away with the apartment. (just a lil bit peeved by her not keeping a promise, then bailing on me last min, then asking to help so that she could 'get something' out of the deal.)

My friend helped me jam everything into the elevator (which is tiny...we both barely fit with all my things, but we made it happen).

5 floors up....even though the new apartment has many, but little, needed repairs (that he will fix while I live here) my neighbor / landlord went Well-Well-out-of-his-way to make it feel like home instantly. There were flowers on the table and everything was clean and put away. Just today he bought new sheets, pillow and comforter. He not only bought new sheets but he made up the bed too. He wasn't pleased with the dishes he found at the store, so he is loaning me a few of his until he finds nicer ones. How Welcoming!

He showed me around and then he excitedly showed me the kitchen. He opened the frig where there was a bottle of sparkling water, one beer and a bottle of champagne. He said "here's some champagne for you to drink tonight to celebrate your new apartment."

These past few months I've felt so lucky that so much has gone well for me. Today is one of those days. Much like an unlucky person, I can't stop asking 'why me'?

(photo below: my new livingroom. he told me it gets blindingly bright in the mornings.)
(photo below: the ruff part of the wall is where there was once a hallway that connected the neighboring apartment. the plaster needs to dry first and then will be painted)

(photo below: once the other room is finished being repaired I'll move my bedroom there; it's bigger but for now this room is cozy with a large closet. it's also freshly painted)
(photo below: balcony WITH PLANTS (which i love). i'm also above the tree tops, so i get to look at more green)
(photo below: another view from my balcony)
(photo below: all the way down....)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

getting over my summer cold

Again, not too much sleep last night. I went to bed at 10pm only to wake up at 1am. I just listen to the iPod until I fell back asleep. Thank god for NPR podcasts. I love NPR.

I was up and out the door by 9:30am. The subte was wicked packed today. It was the worst I've ever seen it. People kept pushing on and pushing on. I can't even describe just how packed it was. I'm just happy everyone smelled nice.

I taught 4 students today (no cute ones). By my last student I was exhausted. My job isn't difficult or exhausting, but I'm still getting over my cold. My body was so tired and worn down. As soon as I returned to my apartment I crashed; I slept for 2 hours.

I'm feeling better. Tonight I went to an outdoor ballet with my roommate. The ballet was held in a nearby park. We were able to walk there. The ballet was free, it's part of the B.A. summer cultural program.

Afterward we went for ice cream!

Money spent today
2.20 pesos for round trip subte
13 pesos for hot tea and 2 empanadas
5 pesos for a head of lettuce, a tomato and an avocado
6 pesos for 10 oreo cookies
9 pesos for ice cream
35.20 pesos / $10.12

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

China Street

(Tuesday, February 24, 2009)
Still no sleep. Last night I went to bed at 1am and woke up at 6am. I laid in my bed until 9am, then got up, got showered and went to a cafe to study. I was up all night blowing my nose. I thought it was allergies, but now I know it's a cold. My head is stuffy, my nose is congested and my throat hurts.

Around 11:30am I returned my new Puma shoes that I bought almost a month ago. I never wore them, I just looked at them, all 270 pesos of them with guilt, so I returned them without a problem. I never wore them, but I hear it's difficult to return things in this country. I got lucky. The deal I made with myself is that if I return the 270 peso shoes than I can buy 2 other pairs of reasonably priced shoes. Deal!

After returning my guilt, I met up with a friend. We walked to Chinatown. As soon as we got close I said "It smells like Chinatown". She warned me to walk slowly because...Chinatown is more like a Chinastreet (not kidding). B.A.'s Chinatown is ONE street. Nevertheless, it's cute. We stopped at a place to have some lunch. I wanted hot tea and soup for my new cold, but they didn't have any hot tea (one of the downfalls of having a cold in the summer time). 16 pesos for miso soup, egg rolls and water.

After Chinastreet we went for some ice cream. 10.50 pesos bought us a small cone at an ice cream shop that is said to be the best.

Afterwards I came home and slept, but had to get up to go see my Spanish tutor. Things are moving along.

A week ago I planned a salsa night with some of my friends for tonight. Even though I didn't feel well I still went out. There were 6 of us total. Some took the salsa lesson and some just socialized. It was nice to have everyone there. I just danced twice, I didn't want to over do it.

(Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009)
After dancing I took my precious U.S. Nyquil (it's worth more than gold). I didn't really sleep through the night like the advertisement say, but I did have good sleep when I wasn't blowing my nose. I woke up at 10am and was still miserable so I took some more Nyquil. At 3pm I woke up and moved my sick self to the sofa. I feel better if I'm laying down, but the moment I get up I feel exhausted, my body hurts.
Tengo que sonar la nariz. (I have to blow my nose)
Word for word translation is: I have to to sound the nose
Just thought that was a cute way to say I have to blow / sound my nose.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

B.A. Playmate

(photo above: This has to be my favorite graffiti so far, I like the play on words. The "mate" part of "playmate" is pronounced "ma" as in mama and "te" as in take. "Mate" is the Argentine drink that is typically drank out of a gourd (as shown in the graffiti). Play-ma-tay.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

tres meses

It was a suggestion of my friend Janet that I write something in Spanish each month so that I can see my language progress. I didn't do it for my first and second month anniversary, a little too embarrassed... but now I'm over being embarrassed and I'm already at my three month anniversary. Everyone needs to start somewhere, so I'd like to begin writing in Spanish on my blog once a month.

I won't use any Spanish dictionary or translator, so for anyone who knows Spanish...sorry for butchering the language:


Tres meses atrás de llegué en Buenos Aires. Cuando llegué estuvo un poco enferma. Me primera semana descanse y estudie español, nada mas. Después de una semana me sienti mejor. Me segunda semana estudié español mas y buscé por un departamento. Con suerte recordé un buen departamento. Por dos / casi tres meses vive en un barrio hermoso con un simpática gata que tengo que quedar.

En los tres meses que vivé aca, tuvo encontrar mucho amigos simpáticas. Con mis amigos, fui a la playa, Uruguay por el día, andar rollers, a un cine afuera, bailar salsa, a un boliche (disco), caminar en mucho barrios y sace foto, a fiestas de las casas de mis amigos, un ballet, y mucho mas pero no recuerdo todos.

me extraño mi familia y mis amigos en estados unidos. me extraño pasar con todos. me extraño comida americana también; la comida picante. jajaja, me extraño también conducir un auto...rápido con música ruida.

Ahora, tengo un nuevo profesora de español. Ella me da mucha tarea. Nos encontramos dos veses por semana por un hora y media. Espero que poder escribir mucho mas y mejor la próxima mes.

Me gusta mucho Buenos gente, la ciudad, la vida nocturno y la cultura.

three months

Today is my 3 month anniversary with TINA! (argenTINA) yeah!

All my friends went out tonight to see 'La Bomba del Tiempo" again (the percussion band), but I stayed at home. I'm not feeling well. My shoulders hurt and it feels like I'm going to get a headache any second.

Also last night I didn't sleep well. I think it's because I really messed up my sleeping schedule by staying out so late on Saturday. I went to bed Sunday morning at 6am and woke up at 3pm. By 10pm I was extremely tired so I went to bed. At 1am I was wide awake. I didn't fall back asleep until 3am.

6:30am came too soon. I had to wake up early to shower, eat and meet my first student by 8:15am. I also had to give myself enough time to 'get lost' since I was going to a new office for the first time. I only arrived 5 min late, which is acceptable here. We met for one hour and then I left to go meet two other new students. By the 3rd student I was so tired and hungry. (side note: cute student peeked his head in the conference room where I was to talk to my student. Cute student is back to being cute. damn-it. He shaved his beard and had a blue button down shirt on. The blue shirt matched his clear blue eyes.)

When I came home I ate, talked to my roommate, who is now back in B.A. and then took a 2 hour nap hoping to feel better. Unfortunately I'm still feeling under the weather.


I feel so lucky and thankful that things have gone so so well for my first 3 months. I really didn't expect things to go so well. I've met so many good friends; friends that I trust and friends that I'm on the same page with. I've also got to do and see so much.

Thank you TINA and thank you to all my friends and my family back home that have been so supportive.

I feel so lucky!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Argentine Oreos

(photo above: Oreo cookies with "Dulce de leche")
(*this one's for you Nancy)

lil bit argentine

i was invited to a girls night at 10pm last night. my argentine friend replied to the invite saying that 11 was more appropriate. i'm starting to form to argentine customs now, so i got ready by 11pm and left the house by 11:15 thinking (honestly) that 11 was early. (the night before i went out at midnight and returned at 5am)

so, we arrived at the girls only party at 11:30pm. food, girly drinks, more food, good times. by 3am we decided to leave and go to the club. someone mentioned that 3am was too early to arrive to the club. i honestly was not tired but thought that 3am was a reasonable time to arrive.

nevertheless we arrived around 3:30am. the club was called 'Amerika' and it cost an astonishing 50 pesos ($14.50) to get in...that is an extreme amount of money for an entrance fee in B.A. i was pisted at first, then we learned that drinks were 'free'. "ok, then let's get a drink!". we all ordered a fancy drink. the club was something out of a movie. loud electronic music, huge open space, balcony, people crazy dancing. after we were served we made our way upstairs but after we just turned around from the bar two somewhat gay guys stopped me and said they liked my familiar accent. they claimed they were from the states. something was fishy about them. how they phrased their questions and the sentences they used.... i didn't by it. good accent, but not from the states.

the club had a crazy mix of people. many were gay, many were straight and a few were transvestites / transsexuals. the only way you could tell what gender they were was by their facial structure. some of these man-women had nicer boobs and butt than me and were dressed way more girly than me.... but their faces had man like qualities rather than soft features like a woman.

when we made our way to the second floor men grabbed at our arms, put their chins on our shoulders, put their hands around our waists to pull us in. it was crazy and a little bit scary how forward these men where! we danced for a bit while trying to fend off the men that came up from behind.

after a bit we started dancing with 4 extremely gay men / boys. it was fabulous! they were so much fun to dance with. as soon as another guy came up to us the gay guys grabbed us and pulled us in like we belonged to them, then let us go. they were so much fun to be around.

one of the gay guys took my hand to lead me to the balcony (we were on the second floor). once i got to the balcony i could see that the whole first floor was filled with foam. the foam was up to peoples knees.

6:15 am came and my friends wanted to leave. i honestly thought it was too soon. why? why not stay until the wee-hours and then go for breakfast?

6:30am and i didn't want to go to bed. i'm finally feeling a lil bit argentine.

Friday, February 20, 2009

ladies of the night

Last night around 7pm I met up with a friend. The sun was starting to go down, so it wasn't as hot. We walked over to the Las Canitas neighborhood to have a drink and some food. It's a small neighborhood but it's packed with bars, cafes and restaurants.

After walking around a bit we had a beer at a Holland style bar. I had my first 'Hoegaarden' in 3 months. It tasted amazing. (common beers to see on the menus here is a Brazilian beer called Quilmes and Stella Artois).

After a beer we walked across the street to have sushi at 'Sushi Club'. I was looking forward to eel (my favorite) but it wasn't on the menu. It seemed like majority of the sushi was salmon or a white fish and most of the sushi had Philadelphia cream cheese in it. Nevertheless, my first sushi in 3 months was really yummy.

After sushi we walked around looking at menus to have some dinner. The one restaurant that I know of in Las Canitas was packed full of people and there was a line of people waiting to be seated. So we continued to walk. Then this guy asked us for directions to a bar that was next to our sushi place. It took me 30 seconds to recognize him. (I've met him before, but I shouldn't say where). So we told him where the bar was and said we'd walk with him because we wanted to find a place to eat. He said he was meeting with friends at the bar and invited us to have a drink with them. "Sure, we weren't on a schedule". We walked up to the second floor, got a table and 5 min. later his 'friends' showed up. Immediately I felt out of place. Both girls were really 'done up' with lots of make-up, one had extremly bleached hair and both had really big fake looking boobs. We just stayed for one drink and then we left.

On our way out of the restaurant I said laughing "that felt really strange? did you feel that?"...we both laughed when both our first thoughts were, the girls were hookers. I don't want to sound rude, but I'll just say it.....the guy wasn't good looking, was a bit awkward and didn't dress him with these really made-up fake boob girls seemed a bit off. Also, the vibe at the table was just strange.

After having a drink with the ladies of the evening, we couldn't find another restaurant to my liking so we returned back to the sushi place for some more raw fish then another beer.

We called it a night at 5am.

Casi 40

(Thursday, February 19th, 2009)
Casi 40 means "Almost 104"...... degrees Fahrenheit that is.

It's actually 90 degrees today but feels like 98.6 (37 C)

No complaints from me...but it was a bit hot.

This morning I taught 4 students at the same company. Both cute students were there. I was relieved that the really cute student wasn't as cute today. He grew a beard. meh. After teaching them I walked about 10 min to the next student's office. I was early so I had a cup of coffee and a bland toasted white bread sandwich with cheese. 16 pesos. At 3pm I went over to his office, checked in with the receptionist and 2 min later he called down to her to cancel our class. I still get paid for the hour, but it was really hot to walk all the way there. I don't mind walking in the city when it's hot because you can always find shade next to one of the tall buildings, but where this student's office is, it's in a newer area, so there aren't many tall buildings and the trees aren't mature yet.

I've written before about eating 'on the go here'; it's not acceptable. No body does it. I watched a tourist video about Buenos Aires and they even mentioned that eating on the go is considered rude. This morning I didn't have any food in my apartment for breakfast, I was running behind schedule so I grabbed 3 medialunas from a pastry shop near where I teach. I didn't want to eat in front of my students, but I didn't want to be 'rude' and eat them while I walk to their I stood next to a building and picked off small pieces in the bag and then I sneaked them in my mouth. Eating on the go is sooooo normal in the U.S., so it felt so strange for me to know that, if I want to blend in, I shouldn't be eating 'on the go'.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I'll admit that I don't eat well here. I'm just bored with food, it's always the same...pasta pizza and empanadas. I don't eat beef or pork so that throws 80% of the menu out the window. There are other types of cuisines here, but they're not plentiful, or nearby, and they're also not in my budget to eat at on a regular basis.

I eat everyday, but because I know I have to....rather than wanting to.

Last night an amazing opportunity was presented to be a guest as a mystery shopper at the Hard Rock Cafe.

I'm not kidding when I say that I shook as I read the menu. Food Food Food, Food that I know...

Me and two other friends evaluated the restaurant, the wait staff and gorged on the food. I can't express how good it felt to eat like a pig. (I promise I don't have an eating disorder. When yummy food is presented to me I'll eat like nobody's business)

Real Nachos (that weren't served with mustard), Salmon, broccoli, baked potato, Fajitas (real ones) and a real (as in authentic) soft brownie with ice cream and whipped cream.

I went to bed last night with a full was a wonderful feeling.

to slum it: part deux

(Tuesday, February 17th, 2009)
I volunteered again. I volunteered with the same organization and at the same villa (slum). this time i arrived at the volunteer office at 9am, no earlier. the van / taxi picked us up at 9:30am. it was me, two other volunteers and a family of four that had two young girls. We piled into a van; 3 in the front seat, 3 in the back seat and 3 on plastic chairs in the back (there was a driver and a guide too). I don't know which was more unsafe...sitting on a plastic chair in the back of a moving van or sitting on a seat with a broken seat belt?

Speaking of safety in automobiles, it's a common site to see children sitting on the laps of their mothers in cars or taxis. Sometimes the children stick their heads out the window like dogs in the U.S. At first, this sight horrified me, but now it seems normal. If you live in the city and needed to take a taxi with your small child, would you have a car seat on you at all times? Should all taxis have a car seats in the trunk just in case they pick up a passenger with a small child? I don't know? How do people from the U.S. who live in big cities do it? Nevertheless, child safety in automobiles isn't the only 'safety violation' that my American eyes have seen. That is a whole other blog post of it's own.

Back to volunteering.... Some of the same children came as last week. Two of them are small boys that I adore. One is 12, the other is 8. They're brothers. They are quiet and both a little shy. You can tell the older boy looks out for and takes care of his younger brother (in a brotherly loving way). The older one always helps me out with my Spanish. I frequently ask him in Spanish "how do you say.....". He is also very talented. He enjoys reading books to us, being quizzed on his knowledge of English words and he draws really well for his age. It makes me sad to think that he may not have as many opportunities provided to him as other children.

Before visiting a villa I assumed the the children would be dirty and smell since I assumed many didn't have running water. However, yesterday one of the volunteers smelled badly of B.O., where as children were freshly showered, smelled really good and wore nice clothes. Just thought it was funny how the volunteer smelled badly and the poor villa children smelled good.

After volunteering, at 5pm, I met with a new Spanish tutor. My regular tutor is on vacation for two weeks. I also want to try a new tutor. I know how I learn best (structure structure structure). I'm sure I like structure so much due to years in college.

My new tutor is older. She brought many helpful worksheets and learning aids with her. She gave me a ton of homework too (which I like.... (I know 'nerd alert')) and most importantly she didn't put words in my mouth. I get so frustrated when someone fills in my sentences for me...I have the words in my brain, it just takes me a while to spit them out. The only bad thing about her is that she is a 'low talker'; it was difficult to hear her. Well, I guess that means that I'll have to learn the Spanish phrase for "speak up".

Even though it was just one class, I think I really like her. I meet with her again on Friday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

monday sleep

This American girl can't handle the Argentine life. I went to bed at 1am last night and woke up at 11am this morning. That was 10 hours of sleep! ..... well needed sleep from this weekend.

At 2pm today I went for coffee and medialunas at a local cafe. I read some of the newspaper too. For the first time here, when I ordered in Spanish, the waiter answered in English. This sort of thing would always happen to me in Sweden, but not here. I like that I "have" to speak Spanish here. I just answered the waiter back in Spanish, but then spoke to him in English....I felt bad for him, I didn't know if he wanted to practice.

At 4pm I went on an interview. The language school didn't have a copy of my resume and the woman who interviewed me didn't speak English very well. She told me about the school and asked me to come back next week for a second interview where I would give a 10 min. class demo. She wouldn't tell me how much they pay. She said that would be discussed after the second interview. It may be a waste of my time, but I have time to burn. Next week I'll go back and give a 10min lesson.

I had a student scheduled tonight from 6-7, but she canceled last min. I was looking forward to teaching, but it's ok, I still get paid for the hour since she canceled less than 24 hours before the class.

Tonight I'm going to have a low key American night here in Argentina.

Carnival in B.A.

Last night I went to a carnaval celebration. I hear the BIG celebrations are in Brazil. There is another big celebration in Argentina but it's up north. Buenos Aires is getting in on the fun too, but the city's celebrations are more family oriented.
Carnival is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during January and February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations. (from Wikipedia)
For the B.A. celebration a street was closed off. There was a gated circle where the people performing danced and played music. They reminded me of a high school band with their big drums and funny looking uniforms. Not only were there "bandos", but they had girls and children dancing along with them. Spectators stood around the gates and watched....

...behind the spectators who were watching the show.... there were children having "espuma" fights. Each child had a can of foam and they were covering anyone who walked by, even the old people. It was a real mess, but they looked like they were enjoying themselves.

We went to the celebration at 8:30pm and left around 11pm (how non Buenos Aires of us). It was a good time.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

the argentine way

last night, saturday, i went to a salsa party (yeah salsa!). the party was thrown by a friend of a friend who also invited my friends. (ya follow?)

at midnight i met my friends at the colectivo stop a couple blocks away; there were 6 of us total. on the colectivo ride to the party we passed a restaurant that was packed. people were outside, in line, waiting for a seat (it was 12:15 a night!)

after we got off the colectivo we walked the rest of the way to the party. on the way we picked up another friend. at 1AM the 7 of us ARRIVED at the party. i'm not kidding when i say this, but we were early. around 3AM majority of the people arrived.

the apartment was on the second floor and there was a huge patio where everyone was dancing. i had a really good time. i got to dance and spend time with the people i'm closest to here.

at 4am we left the party. me and a friend just wanted to go home, the rest of the people went to a club to go dancing. so, at 4am they WENT to the club. i still can't believe how crazy that is, but it's starting to feel normal.

my friend and i caught a cab and i was in bed by 4:30am.

at 10am i woke up and went rollerblading in the park with my neighbor and his wife. i really wanted to speak spanish with them but my tired brain just couldn't do it. i'm surprised english came out.

after some rollerblading they treated me to lunch at a cafe

i was home by 2pm and back in bed for a siesta.

expat shuffle

(Saturday, February 14, 2009)
it's almost been three months that i've been in Argentina. my 3 month tourist visa is about to expire, so to get a new one, like most expats, i took a day trip to Colonia, Uruguay. Uruguay is just 1 hour by boat.

at 10am my friend an i met and took the colectivo to the "buquebus" boat terminal. it was a really nice building, very modern with one wall all glass that looks out onto the buenos aires sky line.for a saturday the line was short. we checked in, went upstairs, then went through customs where they looked at our passports and then we got on the boat.

the boat was very nice. it had rows of '1st class looking' seats. there was a small cafeteria and a duty free.

we arrived in colonia at 12:30 (we departed at 11:30). the town was so charming. it's quiet, almost all roads are cobble stone, there are trees lining most streets and the buildings seem to be well maintained and some painted colorfully. it looks like a town in the Caribbean.

we walked around, took some photos, had some lunch then some ice cream. we both ordered caesar salad for lunch, but both were aware that it would come out not so caesar salad looking. we were right. the dressing was yellow and could have been mustard? i just opted for the vinegar and oil. my ice cream was perfect though: a scoop of coconut and a scoop of pina colada.

(photo below: school children's uniforms)

(photo below: this is the river, not the ocean. there is a lot of silt in the water...making it brown)
at 4pm we headed back for the boat terminal. went through customs, got our new 3 month tourist visa, got on the boat and fell asleep for the ride home.

this could have been one of the best valentines day i had...and not because there was someone romantic in my life. it's because it's not celebrated like it is in the states. i think there is a lot of pressure in the states 'to have someone' to spend this day with. if you don't you're made to feel bad for yourself. here, the flower stand had a v-day sign and i saw one advertisement in the newspaper for v-day, but that was it. no pressure of "what did you get" "what will you do". it was just a day. for me, yesterday was a very good day and not because i did anything romantic

yesterday was 92 degrees and sunny. i loved walking around colonia; it's so charming and quite. i can't wait to go back with my first visitor. i want stay a little longer and rent a mini dune buggy or maybe a moped?

Friday, February 13, 2009

moving up

hip hip hooray, i have an apartment for the next 2 months!

i met with my neighbor today. i went over to his apartment at noon. he had a checklist of things he wanted to speak about. not sure why, but i didn't think it would go well. however, to my 'luck' things went very well.

on february 27th i will move 5 floors up in my same building. the deal is, that i will 'share' the apartment with him and his wife. 'share' meaning that they will need to be in the apartment doing repairs, they won't actually be living there. the repairs that need to be done are: separating the A and B unit (one was his mothers and one was his fathers. they're two separate apartments, but they are now joined through one of the bedrooms and a hallway.), refinishing the hardwood floors, patching some minor ruff spots / pealing on the walls and removing some of the old furniture. he predicts that this work will take about 2 months. during this time i can live there for $300 in march and $350 in april. that is really an amazing price.

after april he predicts that the apartment will be in proper renting condition. at this time he wants to charge a normal rent. so, i can choose to get a roommate or find another place to live. rent would be somewhere around $500 each, for two people.

after our conversation he showed me the apartment; it's cute. it has old furniture and is a little grandma like, but it's not bad. it's also not bad to once again get my own apartment.... Now that is luck! the apartment has a balcony that is above the trees, so it gets a lot of sunlight. i imagine it would be quieter up there too?

i can't express how happy i am to stay in my neighborhood. i love the park next door, my empanada place near by, my sweet vegetable stand lady, my nice lavendaria lady and i love living so close to the subway and grocery store.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


my boss:
she has been treating me with more respect lately. after that crazy meeting i had with her last week, she called me on the phone that same day. i was still feeling upset and frustrated by her behavior during the meeting, so i told her in a professional way that i felt like my time wasn't being respected. i told her i was serious about this job, that i held a professional position at a large corporation in the states and that i know how to handle myself and i didn't feel respected. at the time of that call she didn't own up to her actions, but now, i can tell my talking to her helped. she calls me sooner now to tell me which students i'll teach, she also keeps reminding me to bill the students when they cancel less than 24 hours in advance. i can also tell that she speaks to me differently. i'm glad i spoke up for myself.

work today:
today i met with my cute student at 10 for 1 hour then his colleague at 11. my 12:30 student at a different company canceled last min, so i had a cup of coffee and some medialunas while i waited for 1:30 to come around. my 1:30 student was late coming down to the lobby to get me. then at 3 i headed back to the company i was at earlier in the day to teach the other cute student; who really could be in an abercrombie advertisement. my 8pm student canceled but i'm glad he did because i get to go to my friends party tonight on time (on american time).

apartment situation:
i'm still emailing apartments, but not too many people emailed me back. i'll go see two apartments tomorrow. also, another possible option, but i'm not holding my breath is to move into an apartment in my building. the neighbor guy who talked my ear off two weeks ago has two apartments in my building. the apartments were his parents, who have now both passed away. in the one apartment, his mothers, he still has all her furniture but didn't go through it yet. he said no one is living there and he can't rent it until he goes through it, but said i could live there and give him rent until he gets things in order to go through her apartment. i haven't seen the apartment yet, i know it looks like the one i'm in, but i don't know it's condition. also we didn't talk specifics when it comes to money, but i did tell him my range. he said i could move in on the 27th of feburary. i'll meet with him tomorrow at noon. my fingers are crossed. i'm also viewing another apartment in the evening.

so the mammoth chocolate bar (5lbs Hershey's chocolate bar) is gone. i finished it within 2 weeks of receiving it. yes yes, i admit i have a chocolate problem. well, to tell you the truth it's not completely finished. there is still a corner chuck left. i'm trying to save it.

luck or positive thinking

(Wednesday, February 11th, 2009)
I didn't have any classes scheduled for today so my whole day was open. around 11 i headed out to my new favorite cafe that has "illy coffee" and good 'non-bathed in sugar' medialunas. i read the paper and watched some news on tv (my spanish practice for today). 10 pesos.

afterward i walked to recoleta (a neighborhood). it was about a 30-40 min walk. the weather was beautiful and i like to get to know the streets, so i walked. i went to purchase boat tickets. a friend an i are planning on going to uruguay for the day. (just over the river).

when i found the sales office i almost asked "hablas ingles" but decided to be daring and just speak in spanish. I said (in spanish) "i need to buy two tickets to colonia uruguay" to which the woman was able to understand me and she told me to sit down and wait. i sat down, waited for 5 min then my name was called. the office where you purchase the tickets was a pretty swanky place.

so, when my name was called i ordered the boat tickets...all in spanish. this was a proud proud moment for me. again, much of my spanish comes from the context of conversation but i still have enough knowledge to understand and get by. yeah!

after purchasing the tickets i started to walk back towards my apartment but then i noticed how close i was to the recoleta cemetery. i visited there once when i first arrived but it was on a weekend and crowded, so i decided to go back. it is really the most amazing / interesting place. i think i spent an hour just walking around admiring the mausoleums. it 's a really big cemetery and on the weekdays it was dead (no pun intended). at one point is was really quiet, kind of eery, and then, someone around the corner of one of the mausoleums, sneezed. i jumped.... and then laughed at myself.

there was a guy in the cemetery taking photos. we kept walking into each others photos. it happened about 3-4 times. we both kept apologizing. finally we started talking. he was also was bit by the travel bug. he's traveling around south america now. he was easy to talk to and interesting. so we spent the day having coffee, then having wine and then dinner (the best mexican food i've had here).

a couple of times the topic of luck came up. i said that i really feel lucky to be here and to have the life that i do. but he questioned whether it was luck or did i create this life for myself? we also talked about the possibility that it's positive thinking rather than luck or that we view our world with a positive approach. i think it's a little bit of all three.

nevertheless, i feel lucky to be having this experience. i also feel so lucky to have my friends and family and their support.
(photo below: taken at my favorite park: the botanical garden)
(photo below: not sure what this sign is trying to warn me of? drunk people...dancing people?)

Did I mention how lucky I feel?