Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Religious Theme Park?


You heard it right...a religious theme park.

I, myself, was surprised that such a thing existed. However, when you're in an amazingly relgious country, things like this tend to pop up...by the airport...and the driving range.

Anyways, a little back story.

My friend Betsy texted me on Saturday asking if I wanted to go to Tierra Santa. Thinking that this was some place in Patagonia, and knowing that Betsy takes last minute trips, I told her I couldn't go. I'd need more time to find a cheaper flights, etc etc etc. However, she quickly called to let me know that it wasn't a place in Patagonia, but rather, a park in Buenos Aires. Seeing as I'm always up for a park on a nice Saturday afternoon, I took her up on the offer.

Well, seeing as we knew of its general location, we decided to walk from my place. After the 45 minute walk from my house to where we THOUGHT it was, we were told that we were still about an hour away. After another half hour of walking along the Rio de la Plata, we decided to get Chorizo and un litro de cerveza at a nice little park. However, knowing that a park awaited us, we decided to get a move on. As we're walking, Betsy informs me that this park is actually a religious theme park. What fun!


Anyways, long story short, it was pretty cool. They recreated Jerusalem so you can...just translate the picture.


After getting inside, I had no idea what to expect. I'm about as non religous as one can be. I am, however, an animal lover.



However, it turned out great. Betsy attended Lutheran school from start to finish so she was very well-versed about the Bible.

Our first "presentation" was the birth of Christ. Turns out it also doubles as a techno show.



After that, we toured the park for awhile. It's not really an amusement park, but more of an educational park. Besides the 747s flying over every couple of minutes and the distant THWAP of the driving range, I really felt like I was visiting ancient Jerusalem. I even had time to snap a sunset picture over the holy walls.


After techno birth we continued on to Creation. This was a pretty cool automated character show.


After the Creation show, we stumbled upon a belly-dancing show. I didn't know the Christians knew how to get down like this!



After belly-dancing, we hauled ass to catch the Last Supper show. All the shows were with automated characters and a voice over. After every show Betsy explained what we just saw. She definitely knew her Bible.


From the Last Supper we went to the hillside where Jesus was crucified. Talk about a realistic picture!


Now...for the cream of the crop, the bread and butter of Tierra Santa...Resurrection!!!

Every 1/2 hour, an 18 meter tall Jesus comes out from inside the mountain. Intense!



All said and done, I had a pretty good time. I learned an incredible amount of information. So, if you into techno births and all of the above, check out Tierra Santa.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

House Tour

Here ya go. A quick little tour of my house. Also, since I just found a program to compress huge video files, I'll be able to load longer videos now. Enjoy!




Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, April 21, 2008

Crazy Dreams

I've been talking to some of my fellow IES-ers and many have been experiencing the same thing: absolutely crazy, super vivid dreams.

I don't know what it is, but I'm convinced it has to be our brains expanding from all the intense Spanish we're learning. I can remember detail by detail dreams I had more than three weeks ago. I've had dreams about being in high school and forgetting to study for a Mr. Stubbe history test. I've dreamt so many weird things. The most intense and vivid ones come after nights where I speak in Spanish for the majority of the time.

Can anyone else confirm that they had really vivid dreams when they were learning a foreign language?


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

It Just Clicks One Day...Right!

You've all heard it before. When you're learning a new language, one day it just clicks and it all makes sense.

LIES!

Don't let anyone fool you; this is a blatant lie. I, myself, believed it before coming down here. I just imagined that I'd be down here, hearing people talk Spanish all the time, and then one day, it would all click and I'd magically start speaking perfectly. Well...that's not how it works.

I've come to realize that this is going to be a long process. Each day I learn a little bit more. Maybe it's using a new phrase like "acabo de (I just...)" or maybe it's hearing a object pronoun in a sentence that I'd never noticed before. Whatever it may be, there isn't a click moment. I'm not angry at all the people who've written this or said this, I'm just confused about what language they learned. I'm guessing it was Pig Latin.

Anyways, I'm not worried. It's exciting to feel yourself learning new things and getting a little more confident with speaking. It's comforting to know that I can get my point across now. It won't sound like flowing Argentine prose, but at least my general idea will be understood. I must say that the coolest thing is when I'm reading a newspaper and I find myself at the end of an article, having understood it completely.


Here's a cool article about how your brain learns a language. It's quite comforting to know that even when I don't think I'm learning, my brain is working overtime to figure it out for me.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Future Posts

Look forward to these juicy posts in the near future!

Argentine Women (as per Holly's request)
Tierra Santa (Holy Land) Theme Park Visit
Internships News
Crazy Dreams

I'm sure I could write them all right now but it's 5:07AM, and I'm thoroughly exhausted. It's actually kind of early though. My friends keep texting me to see where I'm at...at 5Am!!!

Chau!


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I've Found It!

Time has been flying in Buenos Aires. Like everyone said, you really need to make the most out of each day. It's like we're living in a microcosm. Everything happens at a super-accelerated rate. People are friends at 1pm, dating by 4pm, exclusive by 8pm, and officially broken up by midnight.

The night started off with my friend Sol's going away party. She's 1/2 argentine through her dad, and 1/2 american. She's been living here for six months with her parents and they're heading to Europe for two months next week. They had a really fun party at their apartment with tons of food and some live music as well. Great time. Afterwards, Daniel(Ecuador), Sol, Adam(Sol's friend), and I headed to a bar that I heard was pretty cool.

Anyways, as to the title of this post, I've found my bar. It's not "my" bar in the sense that I go there and..."everyone knows my name." It's more in the sense that I've been missing live music, especially jazz, and I've been searching for my bar. Well, I've found it.

Tonight I went to an absolutely amazing jazz jam session. The bar was pretty small and there was a stage at the front of it. When we arrived at 2am, the music was already going. Musicians just show up and form impromptu groups and throw down 25 minute sets. It was amazing. There were some very talented blues and jazz guitar players as well as two phenomenal saxaphonists. The groups of musicians melded very well. The bassist would stay in for two sets, as the guitarists and drummers switched out. The saxes would find a time to squeeze in a kick ass John Coltranesque solo. At the very end of the night the drummer got his moneys worth (he made his solo worthwhile.) Turns out he's actually a locally famous recording drummer who likes to come and get some improv/jazz time in every weekend.

Anyways, it was wild. Super good ambiance with many people who were definitely into hanging out and talking. I'm looking forward to going back and meeting some fellow jazz/blues lovers. Next time I'll remember by camera so I can take some video of the craziness.

Besitos!


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Plaza Francia

Location: Plaza Francia, Buenos Aires
When: Every Sunday
What: Friendships Being Formed to the Sounds of Live Music

This is a little video of Plaza Francia on a Sunday night. There is a huge market there all day and night. During the evening, a guitarist sets up on a hill and plays for a couple hours as about 250 people drink mate, smoke cigarettes, and hang out.




video


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why?

I came to Buenos Aires because I was angry with school. I was sick of the Carlson mentality. I couldn't handle the "Corporate Backstabbing 101" and "How to Fire Employees and Save Money" classes. I was sick of people bragging about there Target, Best Buy, Wells Fargo, Cargil, etc etc etc internships.

I came to Buenos Aires because I needed a new challenge: Spanish. English is just too easy. You will never understand what it means to take your language ability for granted until a 8 year old can outwit you in daily conversation.

I came to Buenos Aires because I was getting pent up in Minneapolis. Gran Buenos Aires has 13 million people. I love MSP, but it was just time for a change.

I came here for the right reasons. I suggest you get out of your comfort zone too. It's horrible, it's amazing, it's enlightening, and you'll learn a lot. And guess what, I have 8 months left!!!

Besitos a Todos! I'm going to make some friends.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Friday, April 4, 2008

30 Day Pause

From what I've gathered from the news, the fam, and my friend Sol, the farming strike is being lifted for 30 days. If talks arent commenced and an agreement reached within 30 days, the strike will start again. They news showed the stock yards being filled with cattle again. Many of the herders and butchers have been out of work because there was absolutely no meat to be found.

Carlos told me that 15,000 cattle are being brought to the stockyards right now. You know what that means...RED MEAT!!!!

The pictures is of a small grocery store in my neighborhood. Imagine this same emptyness, but about 10X larger at the big name grocery stores like Carrefour, Disco, and Coto.




Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

New Camera Feature






So I found this new camera feature a couple weeks ago. How bad ass are these pictures?!?

The pictures from the famous Recoleta Cemetery, an Embassy, Mar Del Plata, Parque Las Heras, and a bridge on the way to the estancia.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Some Well-Deserved Photos






I've been pretty lax in uploading photos so here are a bunch. There are some from the estancia(biking and the steak), of Andy and I, of Andy, Carolina, Vero, and I, and then Natina, the famous dog from the post below. Notice how she has the same Libby photo eyes. It's the cataracts. Also, notice the very posh recliner she gets all to herself!

Well, it's 11:06PM, and Andy is on his way to my barrio to start our festivities. Con suerte, I'll write about it tomorrow.

Besitos A Todos!


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Argentine Grandma Ruby

Unless Jones blood runs through your veins, or you were lucky enough to come to Grandma's house for some family event ie canoeing, wildcat, etc, this post won't make any sense. Your loss.

The Argentine Grandma Ruby

Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I've finally come to the conclusion that my host mom, Sylvia Posse, is the Argentine version of my late Grandma Ruby. What follows are a list of similarities.

1. Dog Love
When I first arrived I was very happy to see that I was going to have a dog down here. Her name is normally Nati (with a long A) and Natina when she gets yelled at, and she's a 13 year old mix breed though Sylvia refuses to believe she isn't a purebred Cocker Spaniel. She has Greta's niceness and bone density issues(she's a little chunky) and has Libby's "I own this god damn house" mentality. So, if you remember the Libby & Grandma Ruby relationship, you're on the right track for Nati and Sylvia. They're joined at the hip. Nati has her own special recliner in Sylvia's room that is all hers. It has a nice blanket on it, and it's kind of small so she can climb into it without any help. Every dinner, Nati stares at me with her beautiful blue (read cataract)eyes and eventually starts to whine. In the most stern voice Sylvia yells at Nati to quit crying, and immediately afterward spanish baby talks Nati and apologizes for yelling. Nati can do no wrong, much like Libby at Grandma Ruby's. I'm sure Nati gets salchichas (hotdogs) when I'm at school because she's fat, but I never see any food in her dish. Occasionally when they're both in the kitchen I hear Sylvia asking Nati how her days is, and telling her how beautiful she is. If you come visit, you'll see what I mean.

2. Owl Collection
So grandma Ruby had an owl cookie jar, usually filled with kit kat minis amongst other tasty morsels. Slyvia has a collection of about 15 similar owls in the living room. They're the EXACT same as that cookie jar owl.

3. Bad Ass-ness
Once again, if you ever came to Grandma's with the fam, you witnessed her bad ass-ness. Be it yelling at Katie for some random thing, or telling Grandpa to go downstairs and get more powdered doughnuts. She was a powerful women. She could hold her ground in any argument and Sylvia is no different. Her and Carlos (my host brother) get in arguments about various things, but the best ones usually involve futbol. Carlos is a River Plate supporter and Sylvia supports Boca Juniors. This is a bigger rivalry than the Yankees and the Red Sox or the Packers and the Vikings. Well, about a week into my stay, futbol came up at dinner and it eventually got around to what team I support. Carlos started stumping for River and then Sylvia turned to me and said, verbatim, "Beware Patrick, who makes breakfast for you every morning, and who makes your dinner at night? So, what team do you support?" I'm a Boca fan through an through!

4. Force Feeding
As my family will remember, Grandma Ruby was severely worried about my small stature and light weight. I know for a fact that she asked Dad on a regular basis if I was being fed whole milk at home. That being said, every time I went to Grandma's house, I was fed like a king. We'd pull into the driveway and BLTs would magically appear out of thin air before I could even give her a hug. I could do the backstroke in the amount of Hostess Cupcake I ate at Grandma's house. Well, once again, Sylvia is no different. At dinner, my plate is the first one filled, the first plate refilled, and I'm the first to be questioned why I'm not having thirds that evening. "Am I feeling sick? Would some chocolate mousse with dulce de leche help my stomach? Well look at that, I made four cups of pudding but there are only three of us eating. Looks like you're eating double dessert tonight!"


The similarities are pretty crazy. If you come visit, you'll notice them right away. I'm sure I'll think of more examples which I will of course post. I also hope everyone in the family enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I miss Grandma but it's nice to remember all of the stories she gave us to pass on.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina