There is a store down the street from where I live that is simply amazing. It is a genius collection of all you could ever want to own, and things you’d never even thought of, and it is called COTO. My favorite thing I’ve purchased at this store is Milka brand chocolate*. However, I also bought my hairdryer here, and omelets at the cafeteria upstairs. There are computers (laptop and desktop) in the hairdryer aisle, and frozen meat across the aisle from the TVs. So of course, COTO was my first choice when I needed to buy some lined notebook paper for class. After walking around the giant store that has a section that belongs in the Container Store and another that could be the Argentina equivalent of Crate and Barrel for at least 15 minutes, I decided to ask someone where the notebook paper was.
After following what I consider to be poor directions to the far end of the store, I hunted around several aisles before noticing that the store’s entire supply of paper was a stack of 10 or 20 reams plain white printer paper (legal and standard sizes). *sigh* The one thing not available in this entire gargantuan metropolis of an Argentina Walmart is a spiral notebook. Such is life.
Riquísimo: delicious beyond comprehension. Applies to Milka bars and mediolunas*.
Medioluna: Croissant. A bit smaller and heftier than your Costco or Safeway croissant, I would happily settle down with this delicious breakfast treat and spend the rest of my life with it. A typical BA breakfast includes tres (3) mediolunas, café con leche (coffee with steamed milk) and fresh squeezed OJ. On Sunday afternoon I purchased all this at a cozy little coffee shop for seis (6) pesos, or $2.
Sometimes when I´m just walking around the city, I´m like, hey, I´m in ARGENTINA. Like, what is that about? Oh, just to warn you, this entry might be a bit overwhelming, because I had a super fantastic day, and now I have a runner´s high. And I may or may not be eating wafers drenched in chocolate.
OK, where to start? There are really cool kids from DC here, and I´m in an intensive spanish course with a bunch of them for 3 weeks. Today, a few of us went out to lunch (a good lunch here is between $3-4 US) and then I decided to go out on my own to find a post office. Rachel went with me for a while, but it was a bit of a wild goose chase, so she headed home after prob. 20 minutes. So I totally found it, and my credit card was denied (something I need to fix PRONTO!) so I just got the one stamp. Anywho, on my way to the Correo Central (post office) I met these guys selling a newspaper/magazine thing and I was like, no gracias. But they said (in spanish) “do you know what this is?” and I said no. Well, it turns out its like Real Change in Seattle, the magazine that homeless people produce and sell to make a living. So these guys were really nice, and apparently homeless, and I bought a magazine for like 60 cents from them. And then I realized its really good for me to be reading stuff in spanish.
And this is also so perfect because I have a new game plan for spending my time in BA. Are you ready for this? Its pure genious. OK, I´m going to volunteer with a non profit. Perfecto, no? That way, I´ll meet argentines and have so much life experience I won´t know what to do with myself. Then, walking back to the subway from el correo, I walked past the ministry of justice and human rights. O heck yes. I´ll be googling that later, most definitely.
Then when I got home, I went for a run. Sometimes my host madre and I dont have a lot to talk about, but she sat me down at the dining room table and drew me a map to a park along the rio where I could run. So fun! Well, fun to chat with her (again, in spanish!) but I had decided already to go find the church I´m going to go to. Its a 15 minute run from my apartment, so now I need to figure out the bus. I´m excited for that.
And now to adress the title of this blog. BA looks so european its not even funny. well ok, maybe a little funny. The neighborhoods vary SO MUCH, from looking exactly (EXACTLY) like Iasi, Romania, to little residential streets in London. Its so cool here, and completely flat I might add, I haven´t encountered a hill yet, but it doesn´t quite seem like BA to me, because there are so many outside influences. But it´ll be cool to really get to know it and then travel other places and see how they remind me of BA.
And I love that its winter! The air is so crisp, I had a really good run, and saw a lot of the neighborhood I hadn´t seen before, so that was really good. The only problem is that the chilly air reminds me that I´ll be home in the Northern winter and then I´ll be wrapped up in my down comforter on the couch watching the holiday (which, by the way, I talked about in my class today), and that makes me want that to be like, next week. Or maybe later this week. Liz, and devan, this is for you: I don´t want to get my hopes up, but I noticed that the room I´m going to move into next week, has what looks awfully similar to a down comforter on the bed. Now, I don´t see where it would go, unless it belongs to Fernando, so I´m thinking…I´m going to be enjoying that in approximately 7 days. Could I be more excited?
Anyway, more to come on my class and all the coolness. I´ll also be sure to keep you posted on all the goings on of my life and the people in it. I expect to begin changing the world soon, too.
Hola familia y amigos,
I arrived safely in BA yesterday and was incredibly tired from having been awake for about 30 hours. I totally LOVE staying up all night on long flights. Wait, no I didn´t mean that, sorry. What I meant to say was that in all honesty, I really liked the movie Catch and Release, and on the bright side, I got to watch it twice on the plane. And in between I watched Music and Lyrics. I recommend both to girls everywhere (sorry guys, not so much, I´ll try to come up with something for you…).
It´s really been a blessing to have another North American girl, Kim, living at the same apartment with me. We have to be a bit independent because our host mom, Marilu doesn´t speak English (which in the long run is IDEAL!) and she´s had MANY estudiantes live with her, including 2 others right now, and 2 that moved out in the last 2 days. Her son actually left to live with his novia for a week or 2 to make room for all of us! So actually, I can´t unpack all the way yet because I´m in Juan´s room, and I´m moving over to Matt´s room when he leaves soon. Tyler is also living with us, and he´s helped us find the grocery store, internet cafe, etc.
Today the 15 students in our program went on a city tour and had a bit of an orientation with our program coordinators. From where our tour ended, Augustí y Liza, were like, OK, we recommend the market, see you at 9am at school! And we all dispersed and after checking out the market/fair, Christina, Kim and I went out for coffee and then found our way home! We were PRETTY proud of ourselves (we totally rock at navegating BA, if I do say so myself). Hm, I wonder who´s going to read this blog (hi mom!) I guess I´ll just start puting in random lines and see who notices. Beth, I think you´d really like the jewelry/arts here, and Gator, you would have been a RIOT if you´d been with us trying to find the subway station tonight. I miss you guys!
OK, well this is it for now, creo. Photos coming soon. I love you mucho (yes, you).