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

Friday, January 25, 2008

Estudiando Esta Idioma Dificil!

I've started my intense studying regime. So far, it's going pretty well. I've got two great books that I'm currently using that will be immensely helpful if you're looking to learn the ins and outs of the Spanish language.

Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions

Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Verb Tenses

Both books are amazingly beneficial. The school system tends to teach us things that aren't the most useful, por ejemplo, environmental problems, movie stars, and famous inventions of the 20th century. Those were 3 of the 6 lessons I had last semester. Not to say that I didn't learn anything during these lessons. However, I just don't see myself conversing on these topics when I can't even form a syntactically correct sentence. The basics would have helped University of Minnesota, they really would have.

However, now that I'm making noticeable headway on these books, stuff is starting to make sense. I'm learning so many basic things that should have been taught to us, but I just don't feel they were covered fully.

In addition to my studying, I've taken to listening to Pandora, the BEST internet program ever! You search an artist or song that you like and it plays similar songs non-stop. I'm currently listening to about 90% Spanish rock. Hearing the music while studying really helps. I'm starting to pick up words and phrases from the songs, and I'm also getting used to hearing Spanish spoken by natives at average, or more than average, speeds. The best is when an Argentine band comes on and I hear them say Buenos Aires in their special Porteno way. I can't WAIT until I say it that way!!!!

Given that I still have about a month until I leave, I think I'll be moderately prepared for when I arrive. The housing placements should be coming within a couple weeks, and I may or may not have a surprise announcement within a week. Cross your fingers!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Human Pincushion

So I'm off to get my final vaccination today, yellow fever. I received Hep A, Influenza, and Malaria about a week ago and my immune system definitely got its ass kicked. Trying to fight off three newly injected diseases while simultaneously having the worst cold of my life made last week rather sucky. I was working a few 12 hours days as well, so between blowing my nose till it bled and trying to look presentabl, I felt like shit. I must apologize to all of my tables that inadvertently heard me and then watched me hawk up a big loogie and swallow it down. Hope your pasta was great!

I'm buying three Argentina books with my Amazon gift card today. Thanks to mother, I'm about the best bargain shopper this side of Mississippi(I live on the west side, mom's on the east), and I've finally concluded that I'm getting the best deal possible.

The books are:
Time Out Buenos Aires
Argentina - Culture Smart!
Che Boludo: A Gringo's Guide to understanding the Argentines

The last book is about understanding BA's rich cultural slang. Back in the 40s, Italian immigrants settled in the poor neighborhoods of BA and transformed the language into what it is today. Their slang is called Lunfardo, and it's essential that I understand some of it before I get there.

Time's A Tickin'!!!


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hitting The Streets

Today was my first day, of a few, using my newly created sign in downtown Minneapolis.

A little backstory; I watched a story on the news about how much you can make bumming, and I'd also heard of a man "bumming his way to the top." Seeing as I really had nothing to lose, I set out to create my own little sign, complete with a worthy cause which they would feel happy contributing to.

The response was decent. I met some really nice people and informed many of my future travels to Argentina. I passed out my blogcard to quite a few people as well, so hopefully some of them are reading this post right now.

I'm not sure how many more days I'll do it for, but it was a fun experience. I printed 100 "blogcards" so I think I'll just do it until I use them all up.

pictures are soon to come!

Friday, January 4, 2008

And so it begins...

Wow....I'm a blogger. That being said, let's get started.

Buenos Aires is less than two months away. I'm amazingly excited, yet I know the gut wrenching nervousness will soon kick in. Having had Holly and Lindsay both study abroad, I feel somewhat ahead of the curve on what to expect as to learning the language, culture shock, etc. However, hearing their stories and experiencing it myself will be two completely different things.

My Spanish is coming along at a decent rate. Flashcards for every imaginable word will soon be made. Having read what seems like every possible Buenos Aires spanish/slang website, I've come to accept the fact that the Spanish I'm currently studying will be almost completely worthless. They'll understand what I'm saying, but they sure won't like how it sounds.

I've got a great little money-making project in the works right now. I'll be posting on that later.