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, July 7, 2009

Anabel is Coming!


I'm not really sure how many people read this blog anymore, but here's the newest update.

Anabel got her tourist visa today and is coming to visit me in Minneapolis next week! I'll be seeing my my sister Holly, who is coming home from El Salvador, for the first time in over a year. We're going on a true family vacation, Mom, Dad, Holly, Lindsay, Adrian (Lindsay's husband), Anabel, and myself, to see my mom's family in northern Minnesota. After that, we're going to head to Chilton, my hometown, and maybe swing through Chicago so Anabel can see the city.

The summer has been going really well and it just keeps getting better.

Patrick

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Accent and the cooks

Hey,
So, life in Minneapolis is going pretty well. I'm living with 9 other people in a huge campus house. It's a pretty fun situation, with everyone adding something to the unique mix of people. Work is going well, and I hopefully will become a salsa bartender before the end of the summer. I was recommended by a current salsa bartender because she is looking to cut back on her shifts. They want someone young, good-looking, with bartending experience and spanish speaking to take over for her shifts. I fit the bill.

However, this post is about something else, the Porteño accent and the cooks from work.

I was really worried that the cooks from work wouldn't respect me because of the Argentine accent that I speak with. It's a well-known fact, throughout the Spanish speaking world, that the Porteño accent is the cockiest, most arrogant accent to have. The reasons behind that are a whole other post, but either way, it's just a very well-known accent.

Well, all my fears were completely unfounded. The cooks at work are so cool with me. I've become "El Argentino" when they want to get my attention or talk to me. They make light jokes about my accent, to which I rebuttle with jokes about their use of "Oye guey!" and "Chinga (fill in the blank)." They also respect the fact that , a year ago, I left the restaurant speaking horrible gringo spanish and I came back speaking almost like a native. These guys, the majority of which arrived in the US with absolutely no english experience, know how difficult it is to learn a foreign langauge. Lastly, I actually have real conversation with them. So many people just know spanish swear words or other vulgar phrases that they think are funny to use. I'm sure the cooks get sick of always hearing these gringo-ed phrases and enjoy having a real conversation once in awhile.

It's pretty cool.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Interesting Statement

So I've been talking to a lot of people about my time in Buenos Aires lately. The usual questions, but it's still nice to talk someone's ear off about a city that means so much to me, and why I enjoyed myself there so much.

However, I've gotten similar responses from a couple people when talking about my plans for moving back down there after graduation. As most of you know, I hope to graduate in May 2010 and get back down to BsAs by Christmas 2010. On more than one occasion, people have asked/told me, "So, you think you really want to live down there? How do you know that's the right city? Where else have you been to know that's the right place to go?" To which I think, "Hmm...I did spend 13 months in Buenos Aires. This isn't some irrational tourist saying they want to move there after spending two weeks in the city."

I must say, this was not the response that I was looking for. Hearing it from these people, it almost came off as an insult, something along the lines of, "So what makes you so special that you can just up and leave the US and move back to Argentina?!?"

I just found it really interesting that these people would somewhat verbally attack me for saying that I planned to spend another year or so in Argentina. Maybe it should be chalked up to jealously, but I'm really not sure.

Thoughts?

-Patrick

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In La Crosse

So I've had a great weekend so far. Ian, Holly's old bf and family friend, graduated today. I had originally planned on taking the Amtrak on Friday morning to La Crosse. However, at the last minute, the price went up from $31 to $52 dollars for the one-way trip. Seeing as I'm a penny pincher, I decided to just take the Megabus to Chicago, which costs $25. I got out of work at 11pm on Thursday night, packed my bag, and jumped on the bus for Chicago at 11:45. At 8am I arrived in Chicago and Lindsay came to pick me up. We had some food, hung out for a bit, and then went to pick Adrian from work. We left directly from his work and drove up to La Crosse for the weekend. So, instead of a 3 hour train ride, I spent about 12 hours driving, but it was worth the drive up to hang out with Lindsay and Adrian on the ride up.

We had a fun night last night hanging out with Vicky, Bob, Jen, Kim, and Todd, and then we went out to the bars for the night. Today we went to graduation...at 9am!, and then Adrian and I hung out with Bob and Vicky for awhile. Currently, I'm hanging out in Ian's house with everyone, getting ready to hit up the town.

Don't worry, those important posts will soon be posted.

Patrick

Sunday, May 10, 2009

All Well

Life is going great right now in Minneapolis. I just finished up my training shifts at the Loring and tonight was my first night serving. Had a good time and got to see a lot of old familiar faces. I've got some posts I've been thinking about that I'll put up sometime this week. Also, I'm planning on writing the post on Argentine poverty that I was going to write a while back.

Patrick


ps- if you have any ideas that you want me to write about, let me know by leaving a comment.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Loring Surprise

Last night was incredible. I was finally able to surprise all of my coworkers from the Loring Pasta Bar. A little backstory, I worked at this restaurant for 2.5 years before I left for Argentina. During the last three months before leaving for Argentina, I was practically living inside its confines. I worked a number of 15 hour days, absolutely crazy, but I made good money and all the work allowed me to live, on my savins, for 14 months in Argentina. The smell of the restaurant is like home to me.

Anyways, last night, I just casually walked into the restaurant and surprised everyone that was working. It was great to see so many familiar faces. Seeing as I worked so many hours, these people were basically my family. Lots of fun was had, and many plenty of strong cocktails were drank. The highlight of the night was when I was talking to one of my bartender friends. As he was making a drink for someone else, a server who I didn't recognize came up to me and said, "So, you must be the Patrick that I've heard so many good things about." It's great to think that in a couple of weeks I'll be back working with all my old friends again. So many stories to tell!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Minneapolis

So I've made it back to Minneapolis. I couldnt have chosen a better time of the year to come back. Yesterday was about 75 and sunny, and today, equally as beautiful. Blue skies and a light breeze. I'm really happy that I came back to the US during Spring. I can't imagine having come home at the start of a cold winter, having left Argentina at the start of the summer. I left just when it was starting to get chilly there, and I arrive in Minneapolis at the start of summer. Everyone has told me about how miserable this last Winter was, and now, with the warmth, the trees starting to sprout leaves, and the birds chirping and flying around, you can see the happiness and joy in the faces of everyone you pass on the street. I'm looking forward to a very productive summer, and I'm sure I'll have stories to pass on. Well, I'm off to go biking. Tim loaned me his bike and I'm going to give it a workout.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Being Back Home

It's about time I actually finish this post. I had the intention of writing it a couple days ago, but got sidetracked and wasn't able to fill in the text. Hence why it was just a blank post with a title.

A little rundown of the past few days. I landed in Chicago on Wednesday morning and, after a bit of confusion, found Lindsay. She was expecting me in the international arrivals gate, but I landed in Washington DC first, and was therefore on a domestic flight. Seeing as I was completely helpless, without any US currency and no cellphone, a nice women at the gate let me use her phone and call Lindsay's cell.

Spent a couple days in Chicago with Lindsay and Adrian, and I was lucky to be able to see my good friend Mitchell. He studies in Chicago and we were able to work it out so that we could hang out for a little bit. It was really refreshing to not be questioned about Argentina, how I felt, what it was like to be home, etc. He understood the fact that I was still processing everything, so we all just hung out and talked.

Lindsay and I made it back to Chilton on Friday morning. After getting out of the Chicago traffic, we switched seats, and I took over driving. After 14 months without the slightest contact with a steering wheel, it felt good to drive again. Given, I'm still nervous driving around town, in Chilton. My depth perception for cars isn't what it used to be, so the people behind me probably suspect that a grandma is driving in front of them, nice and careful.

I went to a friends wedding reception on Saturday, and it was there when everyone asked me what it was like being home. Then, and still now, it still really hasn't hit me that I'll be in the US for quite a few months to come. In my mind, it's like I'm on vacation, and I'll return to Argentina in a short while. Once that mindset wears off, I think I might start missing it more. Right now, I'm just enjoying the time with my family, talking/chatting with my friends on Skype, and just kind of relaxing.

No worries about the blog being left behind. I have plans to keep it up for quite some time. I'm sure I'll have just as many new and interesting thoughts and perspectives about the US as I did about Argentina.

Patrick

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Buenos Aires --> Washington D.C.

Hello,
I'm back (USA as my home) and I've left (Argentina as my home), but that's another post.

The Mac wasn't working so I had to pen down my thoughts as I was flying home from Argentina.

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April 14, 2009

I'm somewhere over South America and I feel absolutely empty. I thought I was prepared for my departure from Argentina, everything just seemed to be going so smoothly. However, I am just completely overwhelmed by emotions, thoughts about my friends, and the most about Anabel. Just seeing her in the bus station, I broke down and was finally able to cry. I had been trying to be the strong one, just saying how excited I was to be leaving, and I honestly didn't expect to be feeling like I do. I can't comprehend the fact that I won't be seeing these people for many many months.

Sudden crying urges just hit me and I've already used a handful of Kleenex. All my friends who have left told me it would be hard coming back, and I truly believed them. However, it wasn't until now, and actually experiencing it firsthand, that I really understand the sense of loss and emptiness. I always knew I had so much time left in Argentina ("I'll buy my flight home soon.") that I never really understood that sadness in their eyes as they were leaving for the airport. Now, I do.

Yes, the internet will make staying in touch with my friends very easy, but nothing can replace Juan asking, "Jonesy boy, queres un Fernet" , Eugenio yelling, "Tu vieja!", Pablo making his Boy voice, "Si si, a Boy le gusta vivir en Pramer" or Anabel shouting "Lechuga" at some irrational idea or plan. These, among so many more, are the memories that I will forever have from Argentina. "Che chicos, tengo una idea..."

Being on this airplane, leaving a place I have called home and the people I have called friends, is more emotionally painful than expected. I could have escaped all of this by never opening myself up to the experience, by closing people out of my life and living as the distant study abroad student. The pain, sadness, and sense of loss I feel right now show me, in the most real way possible, that I truly let these people into my life, that I didn't try to escape, and for that, I don't regret one thing and would do it all over again.
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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Final Night

Well, tonight is the last night I will spend in Argentina for quite some time. Today was a day filled with last minute errands, picture taking, and emotional goodbyes. I took Holly´s advice and took pictures of very common things; city buses that I use, kioskos that I frequent, streets that I bike, and the subway that I have learned to love and hate. The pictures won´t make any sense to anyone expect me, that that´s exactly how it should be. On the emotional side, I had to say goodbye to my first group of Argentine friends, the UMSA(my school here) girls; Maru, Chechi, and La Guacha. Without them, I don´t know where I would be. They introduced me to so many people, taught me so much about spanish and friendship, and really introduced me to the Argentine way of life. I also saw Belen after months of not seeing each other and said goodbye. She´s doing great, is happy, and all is well. We ate a sandwich from our favorite restaurant, a perfect way to spend our last night.

I´m currently in "el living" which is actually Pablo´s room. We always chill in his room, use the computers, listen to and sing music and just generally hang out. He, Eugenio, and myself are drinking, what else, Fernet & Coke, but Fernet Branca from Milan, instead of Argentina. The cousin of Eugenio lives there and came to visit, bring him a fabulous bottle of the world´s best Fernet.

I´m about to start packing my suitcases now. I want to have them done by tonight so that tomorrow I can spend the day with the guys and Anabel and not be worrying about packing. I just wanted to do an update post for you all. I think I´ll probably write a doozy post later on tonight. Keep an eye open.

Patrick


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Friday, April 10, 2009

Una Verdadera Conversación Porteña

In order to demonstrate some truly Argentine vocabulary, I've put together the following conversation of what one would overhear inside our department on any given weekend:

Los Personajes:
Patrick- El yanqui que vive con los dos Porteños, Pablo y Eugenio.
Pablo- El pibe que tiene una adicción a Dr. House y Go.
Eugenio- El chabon que vive durante la noche y duerme por la manaña.
Juan- Él tipo que realmente no sabe donde vive.

*Todos están en el living*

Patrick- Che Juan, me hacés un fernet?

Juan- Estoy re pancho. No tengo las ganas de moverme. Ponéte las pilas y hacételo vos!

Eugenio- Dale Boludo, no seas pelotudo! Preparáselo.

Juan- Basta! Basta! Ya voy! Bueno, como lo querés Patricio, cargado o suavecito?

Patrick- Sorprendéme

Pablo- Euge, para mañana, qué bondi me lleva al centro de Pompeya?

Eug- Pompeya?!? Eso está en la loma del orto, a la vuelta!

Pablo- Tu vieja está en la loma del otro.

Patrick- Te tapó la boca mal Euge! Pablito, por qué te vas para allá?

Pablo- Un torneo de Go.

Juan (entrando con tragos)- Go?!? Boludo! Qué ñoño que sos! Jonesy boy, te enteraste sobre la fiesta?

Patrick (emocionado por el hecho de que haya una fiesta)- Qué fiesta?

Juan- La de tu culo y ésta!

*Todos se ríen de Patrick por no haberse dado cuenta antes*

Patrick (sonriendo)- Andáte conchuda de mierda.

Eugenio- Hablando de fiestas, la de anoche, qué bárbara!

Pablo- Che Euge, escabiaste a full no? Estabas chupando como si fuera tu trabajo!

Juan- Posta? Te pusiste en pedo y me lo perdí? Me fuí temprano porque tuve que levantarme temprano y mi casa, en Coghlan, está lejos de allá. Fissuraste Euge?

Eugenio- Primero, no fissuré. Segundo, vivís en Villa Urquiza, no Coghlan!

Juan- Boludo, dos cuadras!

Patrick- Dos cuadras? Viste la "Guía T" una vez? Me parece tipo ocho cuadras.

Juan- Calláte la boca nene!

Pablo- Bueno chicos, tengo una lija enorme, tenemos algo para morfar?

Patrick- Ni un pedazo de comida. Si tenés la guita, hacé un pedido.

Juan Si, pero helado, no comida. Pedimos del Lado Bueno, no?

Eugenio- Tu vieja es el lado bueno!
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There you have it kids, Argentine slang at its finest. This is just the tip of the iceberg too!

Patrick

Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, April 6, 2009

Iguazú Falls

Bueno chicos,
Después de vivir en un país hispanohablante más de un año, debería haber escrito algo en castellano. Entonces, para hacerlos feliz y para cumplir otra meta de la lista de 'goals', voy a escribir un post sobre el viaje que Anabel y yo hicimos a Las Cataratas de Iguazú.


Arrancamos el miércoles a las 2 de la tarde, preparados para la excursión en micro (un tipo de autobús para distancias largas). Arriba, tenemos a Anabel tomando un mate súper rico ¡que cebé yo!


Después de 18 horas, mucho mate, un montón de sanwiches (el estilo Jones, exactamente como los viajes a Noahs Ark hace años), y un par de libros, llegamos a las 8 de la mañana al Puerto de Iguazú, una ciudad alrededor de 20 minutos de distancia del parque nacional donde están las cataratas. Abajo hay una foto del hostel. Re top, con pileta, desayuno gratis y una mezcla buena de extranjeros y nativos!

Llegamos al hostel, dejamos las mochilas en el guardamochila y fuimos a las cataratas. Una cosa genial sobre todo esto fue que Miguel, el primo de Eugenio, y su amiga, Yanina, estuvieran en Iguazú al mismo tiempo que nosotros. Ellos estaban viajando por el norte de la Argentina y lo arreglamos para que pudiéramos ir a las cataratas juntos.

Pues, entramos al parque nacional y fue entonces que me enteré de que los extranjeros tenían que pagar tres veces más que los nacionales. $20 pesos para los Argentinos y $60 para un yanqui. ¡Qué bajón! ¡El parque es gigante! Hay un tren chiquitito para viajar de un lado al otro, pero caminamos la mayoría. Dado que teníamos dos días, elegímos recorrer una parte el jueves y la otra el día siguiente.

Arriba está La Garganta del Diablo, The Devil´s Throat. Si seguís a lo largo del río 300 metros derecho, estás rodeado por cataratas. Muy flashero. En la foto, el lado izquierdo pertenece a Brasil y el lado derecho a la Argentina.


Durante el recorrido, pasás por lugares tipo selva y no podés ver nada. Entonces, de golpe, una vista asombrosa se presenta a través de los árboles. Para mi, la foto de arriba es mi favorita del viaje.

En total, hay más o menos 40 cataratas, algunas grandes, algunas pequeñas. La Garganta del Diablo es la más popular pero realmente, en mi opinión, las otras son mejores. Se puede acercarse más a las otras y tienen más onda.

Esa noche, después del primer recorrido, Miguel, arriba, nos invitó a un asado en su camping. Como Eugenio, mi compañero de cuarto, Miguel puede armar un asado bárbaro. Tomamos vino, comemos carne súper rica, y hablamos durante horas.

Como la mayoría de los lugares afuera de Capital Federal, había un par de perritos callejeros corriendo por el camping. Uno era súper callejero, una mezcla de todos los perros de la ciudad. El otro era un cachorro súper tierno con pelo enrulado. Le pusimos el nombre Conchita al cachorro ése.

No se ve bien en la foto abajo, pero estoy alimentándolo con pedazos de asado y otros desperdicios de comida. Conchita se comía la mayoría de la comida y siempre estaba al lado de la mesa, esperando algo. El otro perrito estaba muy tímido y no quería salir de las sombras del camping.

El día siguiente recorrimos un sendero hasta una cataratita y después fuimos a la Garganta del Diablo en el tren. El poder de la catarata más grande es immenso. Conozco las Cataratas de Niagara y ellas tiene nada que ver con las de Iguazu. Hablamos de lo que pensaban los primeros exploradores al verlas. Navegando con una canoa en el río y a la vuelta del río se encontraron las cataratas más magníficas del mundo. También, el área estaba llena con mariposas de todos colores.


En total, nos divertimos un montón en Iguazú. Definativamente vale la pena verlas. Ahora, por fin, puedo tachar dos metas de mi lista.

Patrick


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Friday, April 3, 2009

Open Your Eyes

"Oh my god, Buenos Aires is so beautiful. It´s like the Paris of South America."


I can´t begin to explain to you how many times I have heard, and subsequently cringed, at the sound of study abroad students/foreigers repeating this overused guidebook phrase since I´ve been in Argentina. I, myself, even used to regurgitate this line back in Minneapolis when I was telling people about my future study abroad plans. Every guidebook, be it Frommers, Lonely Planet, or TimeOut, always introduces Buenos Aires in the exact same way...


"Welcome to Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, where sensual tango music escapes from the confines of a San Telmo milonga while cigarette smoke lingers in the French-architecture lined cobblestone streets."

I have two arguments against this whole "Paris of South America" image that tourists and travelers cling to so strongly.

First and foremost, this is Buenos Aires, not Paris. Give the city credit where credit it due! Yes, French, English, Spanish and Italian architecture exist in the city, but these types of architecture also exist in New York City, yet I don´t see people calling New York City "The Paris of the New World." New York City gets the celebrated destinction of being called a melting pot, whereas Buenos Aires get the distinction of copycat. Buenos Aires is a smorgasbord for the senses with its slums and mansions, cumbia villera and tango, as well as the large and thriving immigrant populations nestled in the hidden corners of the city.

Argument number two never would have occured to me if it wasn´t for staying in Argentina for more than one semester, and actually seeing the REAL Buenos Aires. To all those tourists and students who boast about how Buenos Aires is the South American Parisian paradise, I pose the following questions:



Have you ever gone south of the Riachuelo, the southern border of Capital Federal, which seperates Buenos Aires City from Buenos Aires Metro? Do you even know what the Riachuelo is? Have you ever taken a train into the western metro area from the Once train station. Or, for that matter, have you ever gone south of Avenida Rivadavia, the north-south povery/wealth divide between the city. Have you seen the sprawling slums, like the one above, scattered throughout the city? Have you taken a city bus from somewhere besides Recoleta to somewhere other than Palermo?

To everyone who claims Buenos Aires is Paris, please break your comfort zone and get out of Palermo, Recoleta, Belgrano and Barrio Norte. These barrios are not a fair representation of what Buenos Aires is as a city. They are 4 of 48 barrios that make up this city. Take a bus from Plaza Constitucion and go south until you cross the Riachuelo, one of the most polluted rivers in South America. You won´t need any forwarning about its whereabouts. The horrid smell of the river is noticeable hundreds of meters before you ever cross the bridge. I translated the following quote from an Argentine news site:

"The problem is agravated by the more than 88,000 squar
e meters of industrial waste poured into the river on a daily basis by the 3,000+ factories that reside along its 40 miles of shoreline."














I am in no way trying to talk down or disrespect the city that I have come to love so strongly. I cherish my bike rides through the different barrios, each with its unique "vibe" and demographic. Everytime you turn a corner, you´re likely to be surprise by a unique building or a beautiful plaza. I am, however, trying to explain that if you claim that Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America, you obviously haven´t seen the majority of it. If you really want to see and feel what Buenos Aires is all about, take the first bus south.

That being said, I understand that a guidebook isn´t going to direct its readers to the less beautiful parts of town. They try to make the city shine in the best light possible. This post isn´t directed at them. It´s directed at those travelers who come to Buenos Aires without ever seeing the other side of the city, without ever leaving the comfort of Barrio Norte.



Looking back at the last 14 months here, and all the experiences which I have had, I guess I could call this city "The Paris mixed with New York mixed with Milan mixed with Detroit mixed with Bogota mixed with San Francisco of South America" but I just prefer to call it Buenos Aires.







Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, March 30, 2009

Questions...Answered

Holly gave me the swift kick I needed to get this post done. I´ll answer all the questions, and then tomorrow I will probably upload some photos to go along with the answers.

How does your water taste?
- I think the water in the city tastes completely normal. When we first started in the program back in March, they warned us to slowly drink the tap water to get used to it. I had already been drinking huge glasses of water from the sink and nothing happened. However, mix Colombian mountain water with plates of beans and rice, and you have a whole other story.

What's the weirdest cartoon on television?
- All the cartoons that they have here are US cartoons that are dubbed over. However, one thing I did not know, but that Anabel told me the other day, is that Dora the Explorer is in spanish here, with small english frases that the kids can learn. In the US, it´s the other way around. I never really thought about it, seeing as I dont watch it, but I thought it was pretty neat. To add to the TV subject, Argentines love shows or characters of men dressed up at females. Not drag queens, but just men, dressed up overly female, and acting as if they were a women. Kind of weird

The strangest guy in the club: what's his deal?
-It has literally been months since I´ve went to a club club, but from what I remember. Usually, if it´s a electronic club, you have the blacked out sunglasses guys that are in their own little world, or the creepy Porteño who is listening for girls speaking english so can he do the, "Hi, you espeaka englis. I love you country. You very beautiful. *attempt to make out*"

Breakfast cereals: give us a list and a description of the boxes.
-I´ll snap some pictures and answer this tomorrow.

What's dominating the political news circuit?
-Currently, exactly like one year ago, the farmers, el campo, are angry over government retentions on the export of soy. Last year I was uninformed, but this year I feel better informed.
No one in Argentina eats soy, it´s a product only for exportation. The government needs to import other grains because the farmers refuse to grow anything besides soy. By farmers I mean huge multinationals that coerce small farmers to rent out their land for soy production. The soy that is planted is a transgenic hybrid. It´s called something like Soy R, R stands for RoundUp, the superchemical from the US. This chemicals kills absolutely everything minus the soy, destroying the land for future planting. I recently read that about 5 or 10 years ago, 1 million liters of RoundUp was purchased by the multinacionals. The past year, 180 Million liters was purchased. On a sidenote, I feel the news is really lacking here. The "nightly news" really doesn´t exist here. There are multiple news channels, but nothing like NBC News with Tom Brokaw/Brian Williams. The news websites are broken up at follows. 50% about Cristina(the president) and what she and the government are or aren´t doing, 35% sports(I´m sick of reading about futbol!) and 15% gossip about showgirls and trashy telenovela stars. I really miss the the community, technology, and cultural stories than run on US news channels.

It's Wednesday at three. I'm a local. What the am I doing?
-Wednesday at 3am the majority of locals will be sleeping if they have to work the next day. Right now, it´s 2:10am and Eugenio is study for school and I´m blogging. However, if you change it to Friday at 3am, it all changes. Besides the usual party scene, every outdoor patio at the numerous coffee shops in town is filled with anyone from 25-65 years old, drinking a strong cup of coffee, smoking cigarettes, and conversing as it if were 6pm. I still find it amazing to walk through Palermo and see groups of people older than my parents, having a cup of coffee and laughing the night away. I wish it was like that back home. On a sidenote, if you meant 3pm, its still the workday. However, banks in Argentina open at 9am and close at 3pm. "Late night drivethru banking" like in the US will never exist in Argentina.

What was the luckiest thing that's happened to you in the past month?
-I can´t think of any specific event that would be considered super lucky, but I would consider the fact that I found my roommates(and through my roommates all of their friends) to be the height of good luck. I´m living the Argentine summer exactly as I imagined, I couldn´t ask for anything more.

What was your wtf moment? It happened, and you literally thought: what. the. fuck.
-This question has to do with the cartoneros(people that collect cardboard and recyclable goods to resell for money) in the city and the harsh poverty that intermingles with the wealth of the city. I will dedicate a whole post to this tomorrow. It´s an intense theme.

What smell will you miss the most when you leave?
- One of the most distinct smells in the streets of Argentina during the weekend around 8pm is the smell of the parilla. This is the big grill that people usually have on the terrace of their building where they cook the meat. The smell of the dripping fat of a chorizo burning on the large chunks of natural wood charcoal is something that I´ll never forget. You get the slightest wiff, and you someone in the vicinity is about to start a great argentina dinner with red wine, french bread, and absolutely amazing meat.

I can literally smell the smoke just look at this picture. The red sausages in the middle are the chorizos.


What do you think you won't miss immediately after you leave, but probably will miss six months after you've left?
-I just talked to Eugenio and some friends about this. In the US, if you have a house party, everyone plans on getting hammered. By the end of the night, someone has puked in the bathroom, and someone is probably passed out on a couch or the floor. Here, drinking doesnt have anything to do with getting drunk. Last night, we all went to a large house party, and everyone just drank beer and fernet, and talked all night. No one needed to carry anyone out, and no girls were in the bathroom asking "can someone hold my hair while I puke." So, that being said, I´m sure the first time I go to another big house party in the states during the school year next year, I´ll remember what it was like drinking to have fun and talk, and not to get drunk.

Of all the Buenos Aires strangers you see on a semi-regular basis (convenience store clerk, bus-drivers, etc.), who's the weirdest?
- I´m going to toss this one around in my head for awhile. I´m sure something will come to me.


The best thing you've eaten had in Buenos Aires. In the past day.
-Today I wanted to try making una tarta. Imagine a piecrust, pilled with sauteed vegetables, ham and cheese(or however you want to make it), covered in whipped up eggs, and then cooked for 40 minutes in the oven. I made my first one today, and it was absolutely amazing.

I even took a picture of it because I was amazed at how great it turned out.


McDonald´s Double Cheeseburger
-McDonalds in Argentina are EVERYWHERE. I´ve seen more McDonalds in this city than anywhere I´ve ever been. However, they are usually really nice buildings, super clean, with a McCafe coffeeshop inside, nothing like the majority of McDonalds in the USA. They are also quite expensive. Obviously there is no Dollar Menu, but even the cheapest hamburger still costs U$S 2. A combo meal costs around U$S 7. This may not seem too expensive, but you can get a bottle of wine, a huge steak with a side of potatos, and dessert for less than U$S 20.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jones Family Music

Seeing as I´m cruising down the emotional highway right now, I just turned on some Van Morrison and James Taylor, the kings of Jones family music. Listening to "And It Stoned Me" followed by "Carolina in My Mind" I get goosebump excited thinking about when we will all be reunited again; Holly, Lindsay, Adrian, myself, Mom and Dad, with Greta on guard duty(sleeping) under the table; drinking a big bottle of red wine and listening to Van the Man and JT on the patio, talking, telling stories, and laughing.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Leaving One Home, Returning to Another

It´s official, I purchased my flight back to the US. My roommates and I have continually joked about the fact that I was always saying, "I´m going to book my flight tomorrow." Someone would ask me when I was leaving and Pablo would chime in, "He´s booking his flight tomorrow." This went on for about two months until two days ago, I booked my flight.

During those two months of joking, I never had an exact date to return to the US, so it more or less felt like I wasn´t going home. I knew I would eventually leave, but not really sure when. Now, having that exact date, the reality has hit me. In less than three weeks, I´ll be stepping foot onto US soil for the first time in over a year. Im pretty much split down the middle on how I feel. On one hand, I´m excited to see my family, friends, and coworkers at the Loring, as well as to restart my life back in Minneapolis. On the other, I´m going to have to leave the friends I´ve made down here and the city that I fell in love with.

Before leaving the US, I wasn´t too sad to leave, because I knew I would be coming back after classes ended (though I did stay 4 months longer than planned). I say that I´m coming back to Argentina, and I wholeheartedly believe it, but I can´t guarantee a date, nor can I guarantee that my friends from now will still be around when I do eventually come back.

One thing I can say is that once I leave here, I won´t feel like I´ve left anything undone. Sure, I won´t have seen the north or south of Argentina, but that gives me all the more reason to return. What I really mean is that, I moved to Buenos Aires and spent over a year of my life here, in turn, accomplishing one of my largest life goals. Right now, I don´t feel that an extra month would add on any great cultural breakthroughs. You can quote any student that leaves Buenos Aires after a semester as saying, "you know, if I only had another couple months."

Luckily, I never had to say those words. I had my "extra months," nine to be exact.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, March 23, 2009

Free College? Healthcare too?

I just recently watched Sicko, the Michael Moore documentary on the US health care system(and our society of debt), and I realized that I never wrote about one of the first, and most surprising, incidents I had when I came to Argentina.

The UBA(University of Buenos Aires), where 14 Argentine presidents have graduated from and four Nobel Peace Prize winners have taught at, is the most famous university in Argentina, and arguably in South America.

Oh yeah, it´s free too.

I don´t remember the first time I heard that the UBA was free. I believe I was talking to a group of friends down here and I asked them how much it cost to attend the UBA, a public school. I attend a public school, the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, and still pay between $10,000 and $15,000 per year. They couldn´t believe what they were hearing.

"A public university that isn´t free? Isn´t that completely against the point of being a PUBLIC school?"

I, growing up in the US, equally couldn´t believe what I was hearing. A free University? How could such a thing could ever exist. Everyone(in the US) knows and expects that after college,
you´re going to have thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in loan debt.

Another thing that surprised me was about the quality of education. The majority of the top professors in the country teach/research at the UBA, despite a large number being paid less than what they could make teaching in a private university. These professors want to give back to the UBA, the university which taught them, despite the money.

On this similar subject, Anabel is a medical student at UBA, the top medical school in Argentina. Everyone will agree that the doctors that come out of UBA are the best in the country, without a doubt. The majority of the internationally published doctors from Argentina graduated from the UBA. And, like the other 12 faculties, it´s free!

Beyond that, quality public healthcare is free too. Talking to Anabel about my envisioned return to Argentina in 2011, I told her I was worried about not having insurance. Here is the summed up conversation.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Patrick: I´m hoping to come back to Argentina after I graduate. The thing is, right now, I have insurance through my dad´s employer. However, after I graduate, I won´t have insurance.

Anabel: And...

Patrick: Well, what if something happens and I need to go to the hospital?

Anabel: You, um, well, go to the hospital.

*enter "I was raised in the USA for 21 years" mindset*

Patrick. Yeah, but you don´t understand Anabel, I won´t have insurance.

Anabel: No, I understand completely, but it´s free!

Patrick: Free, I don´t believe it?

Anabel: What do you mean, you don´t believe it.

Patrick: A hospital can´t be free, it´s impossible.

Anabel: What do you mean, public hospitals aren´t free in the USA?

Patrick: (Laughing at the outrageous thought of a free public hospital existing in the US)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

An expat english-teacher friend of mine recently had to go to the hospital after a few nights of painful vomiting. I went with him, hoping to see how the hospital was. We waited no more than 25 minutes to go see a doctor. After the examination, they said he probably had a intestional something-or-other and gave him some medication. We left the hospital without paying a dime with a prescription in hand. At the farmacy, the 30 pill prescription cost US$4! No insurance necessary.

Pretty impressive isn´t it. Maybe we should think about a makeover of our system.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, March 16, 2009

Need Ideas!

Every so often I get the bug to write a bunch of blog posts. However, instead of me thinking about topics of write about, I want to answer questions or write about subjects that interest you guys. I really dont know what to write about anymore. I dont want this to become an online-diary where I just write about my daily experiences here. "so today I woke up, drank mate, read the newspaper, yada yada yada"

I´ve been here for over a year and know the city quite well(for being a foreigner). Most of the stuff I see doesn´t surprise me anymore, but I´m sure it would be eye-opening to a lot of the new arrivals in the city. A protest in the street with m-80 fireworks being launched over the crowd doesn´t even catch my eye. Cars running red lights and almost hitting pedestrians is a daily occurence to me. What I used to think was "picture worthy" is now just normal.

I know there are topics that you want to hear about or questions you´d like answered, be it personal ones about my experience here, or ones about BsAs in general, but that I havent written about, because, to me, they have become commonplace. Therefore, give me some ideas by leaving a comment(lower right corner of this message), and I´ll write about them.

Patrick


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Iguazu Falls

Anabel and I just got back from the bus station, and we´re officially going to Iguazu Falls this week!

We leave Wednesday at 2pm, and we arrive on Thursday morning at 8am. It´s about an 18 hour bus ride, but we are going in a really nice coach bus, so it´ll be all good. With maté and a couple good books and magazines, the time will fly. We are spending all thursday at the waterfalls, and then spending one night in what appears to be an amazing hostel. It got great reviews on Hostel World, so I guess we´ll wait and see. We´re then going to spend Friday doing the same thing. They say that after two days, there is really nothing left to see. The city is all about the waterfalls. So, in case it rains one day, we have another day to see the falls.

I´m super excited to go on my first big trip in Argentina. The classic study abroad student in Argentina arrives and immediately uses every weekend for bus trips to all the well-known tourist cities in Argentina: Calafate, Mendoza, Tucuman, Bariloche, Cordoba, etc. However, the majority of them will never venture out of their Buenos Aires neighborhood, be it Palermo, Recoleta, Belgrano, Barrio Norte, etc. They might go to La Boca, a southern neighborhood, but I can guarantee they only went their to see Caminito, the most touristy street in Buenos Aires. I chose to explore Buenos Aires(and the metropolitan area), and now, I can really say that I know the city pretty well. I´ve also went to the southern suburbs, where 95% of them will never venture. So, yes, I´m going to leave Argentina without knowing Bariloche and Cordoba, but I´ll know Buenos Aires, and that´s the very reason I came here.

Patrick





Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday

So it's Sunday, and it's absolutely gorgeous out right now. I feel like a broken record, but when I continually tell you that it's warm and sunny, with blue skies, I'm speaking the truth. The weather here is absolutely amazing! Anyways, I'm going to go for a nice 50+ block walk right now to a neighborhood that has circular streets, Parque Chas. With my camera and mate, a good Sunday afternoon is in store.

Patrick


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Almost

Well, we almost made it to Carnaval the past weekend. My friend canceled on me, last minute, because his boss changed his schedule and he had to work over the weekend. Thinking quickly, I went to Retiro, the bus station, and bought a ticket to Gualeguaychu, the city where Carnaval is at. I, however, did not buy a return ticket for sunday. This would later come back to haunt me.

I get to Gualeguaychu at around 12:30am, because the bus was delayed for an hour in Retiro because the A/C was broken. Once we finally get there, the bus stop is in the middle of nowhere. I luckily find a girl who is also going to the same campsite as me, and we take a taxi there. Once there, I find some other friends who were there, and we all got settled in. It was late so we didnt do much.

The next day, we enjoyed the hot hot hot weather on the banks of the river. The campsites all have these big beaches along the river that goes through town, so we enjoyed our day there. My friends informed me that they didnt have plans on even going to the Carnaval celebration, because it was too expensive, 80 pesos they said. They were just going to stay on the beach all day and then go out at night. I still really wanted to go, so I planned on going by myself to the parade. Well, at 6pm, we all crash to take a siesta because we're drained of all possible energy. A short siesta turns into a 6 hour nap as all 6 of us slept until 12:30am!!! It was too late to go to the parade, so, super upset, we went out in the area surrounding the campsite.

The next day, someone kindly informed me that it only cost 40 pesos to get in, and that the parade went really late the night before, until around 2am. So, in turn, we majorly screwed up our Carnaval weekend. However, I had a very good time with my friends, apart from missing the parade, and now I have another thing to do when I come back to Argentina after graduation.

Patrick


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Boo Rain´!

So we didnt go to Carnaval last weekend. It was cloudy, overcast, and rainy the whole weekend up there, and, seeing as we´re staying at a campsite, we decided to call it off. We´re now going this weekend and should be leaving tomorrow around 3pm or so. So, once again, pictures will follow in due time.

Patrick

ps- Isma, are you from Buenos Aires or the USA?


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Carnaval!!!

It´s just been confirmed, I´m heading to Argentina´s largest Carnaval celebration this weekend in Gualeguaychu!!!


I´m going with the cousin of a university friend of mine, and his five good friends. He invited me a long time back when we had a party at the house and he just came through on his offer. I´ll be heading to the WAY south suburbs tomorrow to stay at my friends house for two nights, and then her cousin, who lives in the same city, will come pick me up and we´re off!!!

Here are some pictures that I found on the internet.




Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina





Sunday, February 15, 2009

Publicidades de Argentina

Ever since I arrived in Argentina, I´ve noticed that they have great commercials. Seldomly do you see a car commercial, the very type of commercial that pollutes US television. Commercials here are just genuinely good, well thought out, and perfectly executed. I´ve compiled a small sample of the commercials from Argentina that I like.

These first ones are from the Buenos Aires Film Festival. All of them have the punch line, "If it´s not for you, it´s not for you." You´ll see what I mean.

Commercial for the Buenos Aires Film Festival. Making a joke of the people who look too far into art or movies to seem sofisticated. The painting is supposed to be the "the saddest painting in the world" but the guy in the orange just doesn´t seem to find it that sad.



This one has three guys with moustaches talking about "what it´s like to have a moustache." The first guy says having a moustache is like lighting a torch, and they all agree. The second says its like grabbing a frisbee, and they all agree. The third guy says that, for him, it´s always been like the color blue. They all full-heartedly agree. The fourth guy says it´s like being a Viking warrior, galloping on his horse, with tempest wings. They all touch their moustaches, trying to feel something Viking-ish, and then they find out he has a fake moustache.



Amazing Budweiser commercial. Here is the exact script of what happens.

"A young man goes to the fridge for a beer and is surprised by a man in a cowboy outfit accompanied by a white horse. He introduces himself as the young man's imaginary friend from when he was a kid, and is disappointed that he has real friends now and no time for imaginary ones. The young man plays along and opens a pretend bottle for him, but the cowboy says that there is no such thing as imaginary beer, and opens and drinks a bottle of Budweiser from the fridge."




Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Asado at Eugenio´s



A couple days ago, Miguel, Eugenio´s cousin, returned from a month in Australia. To celebrate his return, and to also wish him off as he heads back to Mar del Plata, his city, we decided to have a get together. Instead of having it at our place, Eugenio´s parents are in Paris for awhile, so we decided to have it at his place.

About 12 people were there in total, Anabel and myself, along with friends of Pablo and Eugenio. The night was filled with amazing meat, as usual, lots of wine and fernet, and plenty of laughing. We started out with a great salad of greens, tomatoes and onions, followed by choripan, which is Argentine sausage, eaten on a little baguette. After that, the meat started flowing, lots and lots of it. The last food was something I´ve never had before, but was absolutely amazing. Red peppers, sliced in half and grilled. However, when you´re grilling them, you crack an egg and put it into the pepper half. They look like overeasy eggs inside the pepper and are amazing. Definitely going to make these when I get back.

As the night continued, we snacked on the leftovers and hung out around the dinner table for hour upon hour. This is the common asado. No one was itching to go out, or looking to get drunk. We all just happily sipped on our drinks and talked the whole night. On top of it all, Eugenio has a gorgeous 4th floor terrace at his place, which is nicely hidden away in the Almagro neighborhood. A clear sky and 70 degree temperatures accompanied us the entire evening.

Back in November, when I was apartment searching, I was really hoping to find a group of Porteños to live with, so I could spend my last three months perfecting my slang, drinking fernet and coke, and having tour guides of the city at my disposal. It appears I found exactly that.

Eugenio Monitoring the Meat

The Parrilla


Eugenio Cooking
The Group

Anabel and I



Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Playing Against Argentines

Yesterday I went to play soccer with my roommate Pablo and some of his friends from high school...today, I can´t walk.

Wow, am I sore. Back in the day, circa 1997, I was really good at soccer. However, times have changed...especially when you´re playing against Argentines who grew up with a soccer ball at their feet. I did my best to attack the ball and keep up with the game, but any bystander would have definitely noticed the foreigner amongst the locals. After 60 minutes of running in 85 degree weather, on a breezeless day, on an astroturf field, my body hates me.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Neighborhood Journey

So I decided to go for a bike ride into a new neighborhood today, Saavedra. I´ve been looking at this park on my city map for a long time, and I´ve really wanted to go. Today was warm with a breeze, so I decided to pack up my mate, termo, some reading material, and a chicken sandwich, and I was off for some exploring. Here are some of the snapshots from my journey, in chronological order.


Here is the map of Capital Federal, Buenos Aires. I live inside the red circle and the parks that I wanted to visit are inside the blue circle.

The Colegiales Train Station
Old Men Playing Tejo, Bocce of Argentina
Very Nice Neighborhood

Same Neighborhood
Cruising on the Bike
Parque Saavedra
Cool Beetle
Church in Parque Saavedra
Train Station Belegrano "R"


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Pinamar Weekend

Well, the past weekend in Pinamar was pretty great. Calvin and I set out at 9am, with six hours of Argentina prairie ahead of us. Good conversation and a couple mates later, we arrived. Neither Carlos nor Pablo had called us back, so we were kind of worried about our living situation. We arrived, called Pablo, he answered right away and told us that he didnt have credit to call us. They were waiting for us at their restuarant.

First night with the old roomates in a LONG time
We arrived at the restaurant, a very cool lounge bar that does dinner and music shows. We hung out for awhile, and then they had to get back to work. They gave us the keys and directions to their house, and told us to meet them on the beach later. Calvin and I took off on our walk, expecting to find their apartment situated in the ghettos of Pinamar...WRONG! They live in a beautiful 3rd floor apartment, with balcony and an ocean view. On top of if all, the restaurant they work for pays for everything. Thats the way it works in these resort towns; you come to work for them, and they hook you up with lodging...good lodging, not like Wisconsin Dells worker lodging.


Day view from their department


Sunset from their department

Well, to cut a long story short, Calvin and I lounged on the beach for four days and really enjoyed ourselves. Calvin turned 21 on Saturday night and we went big, as planned. A night out on the town with Pablo is always a good time. Carlos went south to party with his Mexican friend Radim for the night.
Calvin´s 21st birthday


On a sidenote, Speaking english in this city was the coolest thing in the world! We would talk down the main city street, just talking about whatever, and everyone, be it young girls, old men, families, etc, would crane their necks to see who was speaking english in Pinamar. After hearing english, they would slowly move themselves close to us until they were able to ask us where we were from. The people from Pinamar are definitely, without a doubt, the richest people in Argentina. So, of course, they love American culture, movies, attend bilingual schools, brag abouting going to Miami, what have you. Seeing as the OC, and The Hills are popular TV shows here, the young girls immediately attacked Calvin(from Cali) with questions. Calvin despises these shows and hates how they´ve tarnished the California reputation, which is exactly what we saw in the questions they asked him.
Calvin, the Cali boy, getting swamped. Classic scene throughout the weekend.

It was a unique feeling being in a city like Pinamar. I definitely didn´t belong in a place like that, seeing as it´s the Hamptons of Argentina. I, a young midwestern male, would NEVER be allowed into the Hamptons. I have neither money nor a famous last name. However, in Pinamar, being from the US is like being a Kennedy in New England. It was fun to be so popular for four days, but it definitely felt good to get back to regular BsAs. The attitude in Pinamar is what they call, Cheta. Super wealthy upper-class people who look down on the rest. It was a daily experience to hear rich northern-suburb kids talk smack about barrios in Buenos Aires that I feel have lots of character. Many of these kids despise coming into "the city" because its so dirty and hectic. It seems very very similiar to what my friends said about the relationship between the northern suburbs of New York City and the city itself.

Anyways, fun weekend, great to see Carlson and Pablo again. They are doing really well, enjoying the beach seven days a week with a great group of coworkers. All in all, I had fun.
Pier in front of the house during sunrise












Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Over A Year

I´d just like to reference that it has been over a year since I started this blog. I never knew if I would like being a blogger, but I really enjoy it. I know the family is out there, reading this, being reassured that Patty Boy is safe and sound in Buenos Aires. It has been fun writing about my life here, and having people from all over the world read it. I get the occasional comment from some random person telling me that they´ve read my entire blog in one session. I know for a fact that I´ve excited a few people for their upcoming experiences in this city, and for that, I´m very happy. This city will blow your mind, and you´ll forever have Buenos Aires in your blood.





Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cruising Los Parques de Palermo

This is a clip of my ride through the Parks of Palermo a couple of days ago. Great afternoon bike ride, lots of people jogging, walking their dogs, biking, rollerblading, etc. If you´re from Minneapolis, imagine the Lake Calhoun summertime atmosphere, but about 10X bigger. Great place to hang out and relax after the afternoon sun starts cooling down. The parks are packed with little green parrots that you´ll hear in the video.




Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Biking through Parque Las Heras

Heres a little video of me cruising through Parque Last Heras after spending the day drinking mate and hanging out with Valeria and Calvin. This is a HUGE park, probably one of my favorites in town, and, about 25 years ago, it was a prison. They knocked down the prison and converted the location into a park. It´s located in a very nice neighborhood. Crazy to think a prison was here not too long ago. Enjoy!




Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pinamar!!!

Just a little teaser post here. This Thursday, my friend Calvin, from California, and I are heading to the coastal resort city of Pinamar. My two roommates from last semester, Carlos and Pablo, the cooking students, got jobs as chefs at a restaurant there for the summer season. They´ve got a house and everything, and invited us to stay there for a couple days. Calvin turns 21 on Saturday, and we´re definitely going to go big! Here´s a taste of what we´ll be spending four days on.

Patrick




Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Apartment Tour

Here´s a tour of the new apartment.

video


ps- Yes, as you probably noticed, I invented the word, "pequaint" during the filming of this video. Those spanish speakers out there will realize that this is a combinacion of pequeño, meaning small, in spanish, and quaint, the english word. Seems that I´m starting to forget how to speak english...a great sign for my spanish.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Still a Challenge

You know, I recently read an old email I sent my college advisor about a year back. We were talking about my classes that I would take in Argentina and the language barrier, etc. One line that really struck me as funny was, "So, after my first semester in the IES program, I´ll be fluent and will be registering in the local business school there."

Right! Given, I speak this language very well. I can talk to just about anyone and understand what they´re saying. However, I still make mistakes. I still get upset if I use an indirect object pronoun instead of a direct object pronoun, or an article of the incorrect sex. I´ve been speaking english for 22 years of my life, and spanish for merely 9 months. I regret not taking more classes in college, giving myself a base to work off. I feel I´ve learned EVERYTHING here, like I basically started from scratch. I believe I was overly confident that I would master this language in just one year. There are so many ins and outs, phrases, words, secrets, and shortcuts, just like english, that take years to acquire. I find myself getting down on myself for not being a perfect speaker, but then I also realize that I continaully compare myself to Holly and Lindsay, my bilingual sisters. How did they do it so easily in a year. One day I´ll need to stop doing these comparisons.

Ok, well, sorry for the bummer post, but, if you want a view into my life, this is where I´m at.

patrick



Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Facebook Night of the Ages

Wow,
So I don´t usually use Facebook that often. At least I wasnt using it that much when I didnt have a computer. However, now that internet access is at my fingertips, I´ve been on it a bit more lately. Today, for the first time in roughly 8 months, I turned on the chat function for more than 5 minutes. Que loco! I just spent 4 hours talking with people from back at home, chatting about life down here, and just catching up. After that, I found myself browsing pictures of college and higschool friends, seeing them all hanging out for Halloween and Newyears. It so weird to talk about everything from the past, and see pictures from the present, knowing that in a matter of months, I´ll be back in the city, reimmersing and restarting my life from where I left it. Did some quality skyping as well. Talked to a very good friend from school and got some quality Mom time in. All in all, a pretty emotionally eventful day.

pato


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Friday, January 16, 2009

Long Night

Well, it happened...I fell asleep on the subway after a long night of clubbing. Last night, though it seems like eons ago, I went to GOA with Miguel, Calvin, and Jenny. We entered around 3:30AM, the usual time to enter a nightclub in Buenos Aires. We danced the night away, I made some friends, and then eventually we got pushed out by security at 6AM.

I walked myself to the Green Line subway, hopped on, and happily found a seat. The next thing you know...it´s 10AM, and I´ve ridden the subway for at least 6 cross town trips. I woke up, on the opposite side of town, sweating because of the unbearable heat, and realized what had happened. I then had to get up and walk for 10 minutes to get onto the other side of the tracks to catch the train to my side of town. I pushed my way into the line to make sure I got a seat for the 15-stop ride. I was happily nestled in when a pregnant women got on. Of course, everyone pretended that they were sleeping, or extremely focused on a hang-nail, so that they didnt have to give up their seat. I, being from the Midwest, stood up, soaked in sweat from the 90 degree subway heat, and gave away my precious seat.

I then clung onto the subway ceiling rail for the next 13 stops, each one hoping it was the last. Once I finally reached the Olleros stop, I exited and was greeted by the overwhelming power of the summertime sun. Nothing worse than coming out of the underground catacombs of Buenos Aires after 4 hours, to find the morning sun waiting for you.

I battled the heat of the sun, and immediately crossed the street, hoping to salvage what little strength I had left. As I walked, I thought it would be a great time to stop at COTO, a large chain grocery store. Surely, for once in my life, there wouldnt be a 45 minute line...Well, what do you know, I walk in the door and I´m greeted by what appears to be some cruel joke...incredibly long lines of retirees!

I walked in and was overwhelmed by the smell of old man cologne mixed with that common, rose-smelling grandma perfume. I felt as though I somehow left the streets of Buenos Aires and entered a grocery store of southern Florida. Seeing as I had been clubbing for the last 6 hours, I immediately retreated and walked fullspeed home, which is where that leaves us. I´m happily sitting at home, eating some squareish oatmeal cereal, ready to go to bed. Just another Buenos Aires night.


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Drinks of Argentina

Seeing as my time as a bartender has come to an end, I´ve composed the following to help you understand the popular drinks in Argentina, and who´s drinking them.


quilmes, the most popular beer in all of argentina. Drinks of Argentina
The Drink: Quilmes Cristal, the most popular Argentine beer in existence.
The Who: "I´m just hanging out in the bar, looking to meet people and have a good time. My nationality isn´t obvious because everyone loves Quilmes."

fernet and coke is the most popular mixed drink in Argentina
The Drink: Fernet and Coke, the most Argentine mixer one can order.
The Who: "I´m a true Argentine, just hanging out with my friends for a night or maybe scoping girls with my friends. Either way, I´m Argentine."

speed, a variation of red bull that isn't nearly as good
The Drink: Melón con Speed, a ridiculously sweet, awful tasting/looking liquor, mixed with an equally sweet Redbull-like drink.
The Who: "We´re just a bunch of fun 20 year old girls, looking to flirt with the boys, party hard, and smoke cigarettes until dawn.


chandon is a popular sparkling wine that is mixed with speed energy drink
The Drink: Chandon, or any bubbly mixed with the aforementioned Speed energy drink.
The Who: "Me and my boys are ready to party and we´re hitting the city up. (see South American Guido post) We´ve decided to start the night with Chandon and Speed to get some female attention. I´ll have my blacked-out sunglasses on pretty soon, and I´ll eventually wind up in a techno club until 7am, with the Melón con Speed girls above."


caipirinha are very sweet brazilian drinks that aren't that good, if you ask me
The Drink: Caipirinha, a sickly-sweet drink made with muddled limes, sugar, and Cachaça aguardiente liquor from Brazil.
The Who: "I have no idea what this drink is, let alone can I pronounce the name. Therefore, seeing as I´m a tourist, I´ll order it!"

american tourists/girls doing shots and getting drunk
The Drink: Any Shot
The Who: "We´re definitely North American tourists in Argentina, between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. We´re looking to get hammered. However, We´ve already forgotten that bars are open until 6am, and seeing as we haven´t paced our drinking, we´ll be passed out by 2."


Capital Federal, Buenos Aires, Argentina