Wednesday, December 19, 2007
the weirdest thing is that it´s summer here. i have the Yesss! Summer vacation! feeling from my head to my toes and usually that comes accompanied with summer job and my birthday being right around the corner. but i can´t get a job and my birthday´s not for 6 months so it feels weird. i´m kind of floating around without any agenda.
it´s been almost four months and there´s a lot of things i can no longer do. i can´t play stupid, or ask people to talk slowly, or ask people to come pick me up or take me home. i can call a taxi, i can walk to just about wherever i want. i´m not dependent anymore, and it feels weird. the frustrating thing is that i still can´t understand when all of my friends talk to each other about whatever subject they´re all discussing and i can´t understand who they´re talking about, what happened. who died on a four-wheeler or where one girl bought her shoes. i still don´t get it 100%. it´s okay though.
i´ve gotten pretty used to the time schedule. i go out at 3 am and come home at 6.30 or 7 am without exhausting myself unredeemably. i also have gotten used to cigarette smoke and eating ridiculous amounts of meat and hearing about people dying all the time. because here they do. all the time. it´s kind of ridiculous. i´m used to not wearing my seatbelt and to eating dinner with the fam at 10.30 pm and my host brothers playing soccer all day long. no really, all day long. i also can predict the post-hanging out with another exchange student and talking in english feeling and have learned to deal with it.
and i´ve given up on rationing my peanut butter that arrived a week ago. to hell with it, i eat all of their plum jelly and raspberry jelly and oh my god! blue berry jelly.
i spend a lot of time travelling. but i really really treasure my time at home. if no one sends me a message or calls me i am perfectly content to stay at home all day and read or go to the supermarket with my host mom to buy ingerdients to make really delish food or edit pictures or read some more. sun tan. play soccer or ping pong. watch my brothers and admire how they get along so well but secretly hope that someday i´ll be included in on the secret. because i´m not yet, and i hope that doesn´t mean i never will be.
i´ve accepted the idea that time is meaningless. that i´m not here for 10 months or 40 weeks or 280 days, but that i´m here to make realtionships and go places and meet people and experience Moments that i´ll remember and treasure. and that this isn´t a chapter or a part of my life that begins and ends. sure, it´s an experience that will shape me and change me, but so can every other experience that follows. i´m not riding a roller coaster that´s going to slow down and screetch to a stop any time soon, i´m gliding down the hill that will give me momentum for the whole ride to come.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
overall, i´ve been having a great time travelling and seeing great places and meeting interesting people!
|From RYLA weekend|
Sunday, October 21, 2007
TOP FIVE MOMENTS (in no particular order)
1. Standing in a field of corn with my friend, getting eaten alive by mosquitos, the sun shining down on us and the wind blowing through our hair. In my area, the land is completely endlessly flat and you can see for miles and miles, the only thing obstructing your view tall lines of trees. The sky appears unbelievable immense and overwhelming, the clouds right at your fingertips. After two seconds of absorbing all of this in, we began to run through the fields of corn completely carefree, my grandparents´campo rushing by as we were chased by literally packs of mosquitos.
2. At a rotary conference, my friend and I were hanging out on teeter-totters after eating dinner. Somehow we missed when everyone left to go back to the cabins, and we began to look for them frantically. When we realized that they left, there were about 40 bicycles by the side of the building, and we were in a communist community (no, seriously) we decided there was only one thing to do: snag some bikes and ride as fast as we could back to the cabins. We rode down a long, very dark, slightly creepy road, with really tall, impressive trees on both sides (i love argentinian trees. they´ve got more character than north american ones) as fast as we could, adreniline pumping, trying to catch up. I had tears running down my face from the cold wind in my eyes and in that second i really felt Alive.
3. One of my groups of friends has a tradition that I really have started to love. We all pile into the auto of whoever has a car that night, drive to this little unknown drugstore, and buy about 25 or 30 empanadas. After, we all pile back into the car, desperate to eat those supremely delish empanadas as soon as humanly possible, and drive out into the country to this random dirt road that leads to this random field that has a completely random palm tree just hanging out in the middle. We never go in the field due to the possiblity of stepping in cow poo in the dark, we just hang out, listening to chill music and eating empanadas and drinking grapefruit soda. somtimes there are about 8 or 9 of us, sometimes just 3 or 4. It is the greatest opportunity to look up at the stars and feel ridiculously tiny. When you really really want to explain something, like some crazy theory about stars and perspective, you´d be surprised about how much you can actually communicate when you don´t speak the language. One time, the Titanic song came on the radio translated into spanish. I started singing in english loudly and passionately, and the two other exchange students soon joined in. To balance it out, 5 or 6 argentinians began to sing in spanish and soon enough we were all standing in a circle, swaying, with our arms around each other, bilingually singing "My Heart Will Go On.¨The thought I had in this Moment of feeling totally enveloped in the sound (not necessarily the song, but the sound of all of the voices together) was that ironically enough, I could imagine singing the Titanic song with my friends in the states, our arms around each other, dramatically swaying back and forth. We are so much more similar than we think.
4. The first few weeks, we had painters in the house, fixing up all of the rooms. For this reason, all of the furniture in the living room was covered and pushed against the walls. To some, it would be a hassle, but to my little brother and cousin it was only one thing -- a really great opportunity to play extreme soccer. And thus, one formerly boring night, my host mom and I played soccer two on two against my host brother and my host cousin. We were so awful they were really just messing around with us, but it was such a great time and in that Moment I really felt at home. The best part was that they asked me to play again the next day :)
5. I don´t think written word can do this one justice. Just for background knowledge, the guitar player is my friend´s cousin, and we´re singing "El Sensei" by Las Pastillas del Abuelo.
Link if there are technical difficulties.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
- ¨Fotografia¨ - Juanes ft. Nelly Furtado
- ¨En el Muelle de San Blas¨- Maná
- ¨Me Vas a Extrañar¨- Se Te Pega
- "El Sensei" - Las Pastillas del Abuelos
- "Mi Dulce Niña" - El Chili
- "Ella" - Damas Gratis (favorite song of my little brother :X )
Popular cantantes : Ricardo Arjona, Andres Calamaro, Intoxicados, Joaquin Sabina, Miranda, Bersuit Vergarabat, Fito Paez, CHARLY GARCIA, Shakira, Maná, Las Pastillas del Abuelos...
But do you know who is the most popular? AVRIL LAVIGNE. seriouslyyyyyy.
Andddd, if you want to hear something truly scum-tastic, try ¨Nena, a tu cola le falta crema" by El Empuje. I went to a concert of theirs! hahaha.
4. Learn some sweet Argentine slang. to begin with...
Che - you can use this like soooo or heyyyy or hey you! ¨cheeeeee, laura.... querés ____?" is a common usage.
Boludo/a - This is like "stupid face" but it is as harsh as calling someone silly. "boludo, porque no llevaste más cerveza?" Sometimes it is pronounced b´ludo, without the first o, to optimize efficiency in saying it many times in a sentece. "B´luda, donde estás... ehh callate b´luda y venga. venis, b´luda?"
WITH THESE TWO WORDS YOU CAN NOW MAKE THE MOST FAMOUS OF ALL ARGENTINIAN GREETINGS:
5. Get sideswept bangs or really long hair, put on your converses, and go out at the break of dawn!
...and get a really sweet nickname! above we have... delfina (delfi), josefina (jose), laura (lau, laurita, lauri, lora, lo, lor, lorita, malala, loravi), la pipi (i don´t even know her real name)
Friday, September 28, 2007
I can probably tell you the most about my life here in Argentina by telling you about a typical day for me. It´s a lot harder to upload pictures from this computer than I thought, so i´m sorry for the lack of visuals.
I got up just before 7 am and got dressed. My uniform is a light blue polo, a navy blue sweater, jeans, and black leather shoes. my dad usually makes me breakfast and takes me to school with my brother. Below, you´ll see me, agostina, memo, and vir hanging out during class.
|From with friends|
I took my first math test since junior year of high school during first period. I don´t really do anything for credit here, but for me taking a math test is better than sitting there doing nothing while everyone else suffers through it. Also the math that we are learning is Algebra 2 which I sort of remember...
Between each period is recreo (ray-cray-oh). It is ten minutes of free time during which everyone goes outside and hangs out. My school is pretty big : there are maybe 75 kids in my grade and it is a k-12 school. durning recreo you also have the opportunity to buy some snacks to tie you over since school ends before lunch, so i always buy a jamón y queso (ham and cheese) sandwich for the equivalent of forty cents. and they are delicious!
|From with friends|
Above you can see some of my compañernos (cohm-pahn-yer-ohs -- classmates) and I hanging out during recreo. After recreo I had catequesis. At first I barely understood anything at school, but it is definitely improving now. I can understand almost everything if I pay attention, but it is really hard for me to focus all the time because it exhausts me. After catequesis, we had another recreo and then Lengua. The book the class is reading is too hard for me, so I´m reading another book that it seems that everyone´s read and is really good. It´s about drug abuse or something... i´m only 9 pages into it haha. After lengua, we had psycology, and then we got out of school at noon.
|From with friends|
In the photo above you can see pretty well our classroom. I stay with the same 38 kids all day long and the teachers move around. We also move around our desks and chairs to wherever we want and kind of just hang out most of the time. There really is no academic integrity : everyone copies other people´s work. Basically school is just wayyy informal. Every couple days the preceptora (kind of like a secretary) comes in and tells us when we get to get out of school early. This week we got out early today and Monday too. Last week, monday and tuesday, the week before monday, thursday, and friday. School starts at 7 am on tuesday and thursday and 7.30 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I´ve been going to school for four weeks and I haven´t gone to a complete week yet.
After school I usually hang out with my friends and drink maté or walk around. I´m slowing starting to have a mental map of my town, but i´m not quite there yet. One thing about 9 de julio that i absolutely love is the park. It is gorgeous! I go there with my mom to walk or with some buds to drink maté.
As far as events or things that I´ve done so far go, I´ve been relatively busy.
2nd week -- started school. got a cell phone. hung out with loads of friends.
3rd week -- went to go visit a girl who is from wyoming in a town that is about an hour away. got sick!
4th week -- got sicker! went to the doctor. since it was La Semana de Primavera, there was a dance every day. i was sick so i only went to one :(
aaand my friends just showed up to go drive around in a rusty old citroen so i´ll finish this up later :)
chau for now!
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I left detroit at 4 pm on last Saturday. I went to the airport with my parents and Heather and everything went very smoothly. The flight to Atlanta was easy -- though I had started to get a little bit nervous. In Atlanta, I met up with a girl from Hawaii, Aileen. She´s an exchange student with Rotary like me, and she lives in the next town over, Bolivar. We had a great time flying to Argentina. We saw lighning in the clouds when we were flying and we spied on the guy in the seat in front of us reading ¨magazines.¨ It was also our first taste of Spanish since everything was bilingual. We arrived in a raining Buenos Aires around 8 am and went through customs suprisingly easily. After, we got our suitcases and went to find our families. Inés (my host mom) spotted me right away and Aileen found her family soon after. What we forgot was that on my cart with my baggage, there was one of her bags. it wasn´t until we were loading our truck that we found it, and by the time she was gone. It was her carry on -- with passport and all. We took it to her the next day, which actually was really great because I got to see the country and talk with my parents in the car.
The drive to 9 de Julio took about 3 hours. I could hardly speak spanish because of nervousness and there was a lot of smiling and nodding. I slept a little bit. Alejandro was driving and Inés and Fermin were in the front seat. Since it was raining, all my baggage was in the back seat with me. We arrived safely in 9 de Julio and went to the house of my abuela, Tata Tere, my mom´s mom. She made a delicious meal and I met her and Bocha (abuelo), Fede (uncle), and Fede´s son Pedro. When we got home, Santi was just leaving for futbol, so I met him for a second. After that, we went to la cancha -- the soccer field -- for my first truly argentinian experience. In la cancha, the most popular food is sunflower seeds and mate, which i was introduced to.
Mate (mah-TAY) is the national beverage of Argentina. Every day I have mate at least 4 or 5 times. The most important thing about mate is how it is drunk with other people. A server fills the mate and passes it the first person. The first person returns it the the server who refills it and passes it tot he second person. The straw is metal and is never washed between persons, and there are only about 6 or 7 sips in one mate. Probably less. It is an acquired taste for most extranjeros (foriegners), but I love it.
That night I had pizza with the fam and hung out for a bit. Pizza here is a little different, but delicious never the less. for example, a ham pizza is covered completely in ham. An onion pizza is covered completely, and i mean completely, in mountains of delicious grilled onions over mozerella cheese and ham. Every Sunday is pizza night in the carilla household and it´s amazing.
The next couple days were dedicated to meeting family and going to places the family loves. I met my grandparents on the other side, Cuca and Carlos, and my Tia Maria Ines her son Tómas. I met my great aunt who exchanged with rotary to PA in the 70s and is still a TOTAL hippie at heart. I met so many people I can´t remember any of their names. We went to el campo -- the farm -- at which my dad works. It is his family´s farm. they have an absolutely beautiful house there full of antiques and tons of rooms. There must have been 8 bedrooms. All of their fields are with crops, not cows, because the land is very high quality. cows graze where the land is low quality. we also went to la quinta which is the casita (little house) of my mom´s family. It has a bunch of animals on it... dogs, horses, MASSIVE bunny rabbits. The house isn´t for living in, but every birthday of anyone in the family or party for anything is in la quinta because it is one huge room that is perfect for a party and there is a swimming pool and a tiny futbol cancha. My brother Fermin is having his birthday party there on Thursday because today is his tenth birthday! later we are making chocolate chip cookies.
Speaking of food... I brought marshmallows and peanut butter and THEY LOVE IT. Santi and I tried to roast a marshmallow on a gas stove but it didn´t work that well haha. Everyone wants to try marshmallows because they´ve seen them in American movies all the time. we usually stick one in the microondas (microwave) and melt it with chocolate. They also adore the peanut butter. I think fermin is sneaking it when i´m not looking because there´s only half left. and three marshmallows... oh well. the food here is delicious and i haven´t not liked something yet. i think the most exotic thing i´ve eaten is cow tounge... but i´m not really sure if it was cow tounge or not. the meat is fabulous of course. the big meal here is lunch, and they have a quick bite to eat for dinner around 9 or 10. We had gnocci one day and i told them that i love pasta so we´ve had pasta too. everything is re-sabrosisimo! :) i taught my mom the word ´tasty´last week and now everything is tasty too hahah.
Well, I´m going to go take a quick shower while there´s still hot water. There is a link on the right for my photos and with picasaweb you can leave comments even if you aren´t a member... so tell me what you think!)
To be continued.....(with tales of Buenos Aires and the first day of school! and mate, of course.)
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
So after a cup of hot mate, we went to a meeting with our country correspondent for argentina. i learned a little about argentina and my area. After that, we had a meeting with all of the outbounds and the travel agents. looks like i won't be getting my visas for a while :( afterwards, the weather cleared up and we were able to have a great time at that brasil vs. the world soccer game! below, you'll see some photos of some fans.
in the end, THE WORLD WAS VICTORIOUS. and there was much celebrating among the nations. literally. we went back to our dorms and chilled for a bit, then went to the variety show. there was a lot of really great talent! the thing that impressed me the most -- and forgive me if i sound lame -- was the respect all of the audience showed the performers. no one talked through the whole thing, no one made obscene noises. it was really cool, considering there are few times when 700 teenagers can do something like that. it kind of struck me that that's what being an exchange student is about... being respectful to others and what's really important to them.
THEN we headed out to the dance. the music selection significantly improved the second night, so that made it a lot more fun! Afterwards, our district went downstairs and joined another district's party and had a grand ole' time. it was a weird environment though: the rebounds were depressed to be home, the inbounds were devastated to be leaving, and the outbounds were ridiculously excited. i got to hang out with my new rebound buddies again and attempt to learn truco (euchre gone shady), but my brain was too tired for that kind of work. so i just sat around and said goodbye to the outbounds and watched andrew tie things to his earrings.
the next morning was a sad one: lots of goodbyes and good lucks. i fell asleep soundly on the way home to make up for my serious sleep debt i built up over the weekend, and immediately came home and started to research what i found out on friday.... that next year i'm going to be living in the Ciudad de Nueve de Julio, in the Pcia. Buenos Aires, in the great pais de ARGENTINA! more on that and my family later! below you'll see mariana (IB arg), case (OB denmark) joe (rb south africa) melissa (ob italy), myself, and eduardo (IB Brasil).
Friday, July 20, 2007
Afterwards, we went to the opening ceremonies. it was so dramatic! the stage was flooded in fog as people holding flags were raised from the floor, all the while bathed in red light. oh, and 2001 space oddessy was playing. quite... epic. we listened to a couple speeches afterwards, and then met in meeting rooms with our districts. i met some rebounds who i didn't know before. After, we went and hung out with our countries which was really cool. There are four of us outbound to argentina: Adele, Haley, Tom, and myself. We met five rebounds and about 9 or 10 inbounds. it was one giant argentina lovefest! A lot of my questions were answered and my parents were sufficiently terrified. Afterwards we had a picnic-ish lunch (yes, all 1400 of us) and hung out.
The next thing I remember is getting ready to go out. My roomies were Lauren (OB India) and Melissa (OB Italy). We then got dressed and prepared to go dance the night away with seven hundred of the coolest kids out there :) On the left, you'll see me with three girls from my hall: Melissa, Chelsea (OB Belgium) and Jackie (OB Finland). The dance was pretty fun, and I met a lot of cool kids! Afterwards, we went back to our dorm and hung out for a bit. I was all enthusiastic for sleeping, but my roomies unfortunately were not :)
The next day we got up at 6:45 and went to breakfast. I sat with new people and got to know them a little bit. We went to a general meeting and got to experience the Rotary Rap Singers... who don't rap at all! My favorite song was the neverending one where we listed off every single country that RYE sends kids to. Emphasis on neverending :) Then the outbounds hung around and watched a presentation about body language by Sister Mary something from Aquinas. She didn't end up being very... nun-ly, as she flicked off the audience in order to translate international symbols for... well... everything! She then taught us a lesson in personal space, as illustrated in the picture on the right.
Afterwards, we ate lunch, and Adele and I met up with some girls who just got back from Argentina. They kindly invited us to make the traditional argentinian drink with them... MATE! it's highly caffinated and very much an acquired taste. It's also a very social thing, because in a group of people you will pass around one cup in a certain order dictated by tradition and make the tea in a certain way, also dictated by tradition. Sharing that experience with them was one of the coolest things of this weekend. Below, there's a picture of me with the argentina rebounds (and one inbound). From the left, Rita, Kelly, Carolina (IB), Jessica, and Brooke. On the right, Adele is enjoying a cup of mate.