if you only looked at the city flag and went around its very hilly city. I wrote that randomly in my cuadernito, keke.

My family vacay wasn’t la mejor. I won’t even get into that, but being able to travel and see another country and Argentina with fresh eyes was, well, refreshing.
(Welcome to a long and winding post.)

———–I would like to first say that I’m so proud that my Spanish has improved SIGNIFICANTLY since I first arrived in South America/Buenos Aires. I lacked the confidence to ever strike up or maintain a conversation in Spanish, but now I do it with everyone that is fluent in the language. Taxistas, bus drivers, fellow tourists, tour guides, waiters…. everyone! I LOVE IT! And there’s no HUHs or UHHH…REPITE POR FAVOR? from either end. I understand it now, and can give and receive in conversation so fluidly, which was my number one priority this semester. I wouldn’t say I’m fluent, but I’m definitely but a few notches away from it. YAY YAY YAY!

———–And I’m obsessed with the World Cup games. I’ve watched as many as I can and updated my itty bitty schedule score card I got in Argentina in my cuadernito. I’m rooting for Argentina 100%. Everywhere we’ve been, everyone is glued to the television, mesmerized by their favorite players passing the pelota back and forth, making goals and fouls alike. The spirit and passion for the game here….unlike any other. Yes, more than a football, baseball, or basketball game, I believe. The hinchas don’t need to scream and holler all throughout the games: in Argentina, at least, everyone sits and watches intently, quietly, without a peep. Until there’s a foul or a GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL made. I LOVE the fútbol craze here.

The fam came on Monday the 8th, and I pulled an all-nighter packing and said bye to my lovely Ezcurra host family. Gave the real fam a city tour and they very intelligently lost their passports. I had told my dad to keep them in the hostel, where they’d be safer, but he’s insistent on thinking he’s smarter than me. He’ll continue to think he was robbed of them, but his wallet, keys, and expensive dSLR camera were still in his bag, so the reasonable deduction would be that he’s a fool that misplaced the little sack of all their passports. Thus, we couldn’t go to Uruguay the next day as planned, but instead spent a whole half day retrieving wallet-sized photos and a police report and a ticket exchange and emergency passports at the U.S. embassy, which was oddly not that far from where I had lived. Always listen to the person that has been in such a place longer than you have– usually they know what the eff they’re talking about.

Blah blah blah. Montevideo sucks. It’s literally Buenos Aires’ ugly sister or stepsister. The same sort of metropolitan-feel with less appeal and personality, me parecia. After having gone to Uruguay three times, to the three most popular destinations in said country, I’d like to say I don’t ever want to go there again. And yes I watched my passport very carefully as we crossed back into Argentina.

El Caminito in La Boca

We got creative with the Obelisco.

Iguazú was amazing. There, I said it. Why NYU took us to Córdoba…I’m wondering that now. Not that I regret my decision, because the day NYU had taken everyone to Iguazú it was cloudy and melancholy-looking and I doubt any rainbows were to be found. And what’s an epic waterfall without pretty rainbows to boot. I finally get it, guys. I truly can’t justify what I witnessed there with words. Or sounds. Only first-hand experience can truly capture the puniness you feel when standing above La Garganta del Diablo, your insignificance compared to something so fantastically and naturally-created.  Something that could send you to oblivion in mere seconds. It’s astounding.

La Garganta del Diablo

Indescribable.

The next day, Argentina played its first game in the World Cup versus Nigeria and we watched it surrounded by Argentines of Puerto Iguazú. The streets were quiet, many shops closed up for the game. People–young, old, touristy, balding–were all gathered around the nearest television, usually having DirectTV, watching with exhilaration and souls full of hope and zero worry. We boarded the plane back to Buenos Aires moments after the 93 minutes were up, with Argentina of COURSE winning. I wore my jersey proudly, blending in with the many exuberant Argentines.

We left for Ezeiza airport to fly to Perú that rainy day. Driving away from the center, from the barrios I’ve walked and cursed and admired…I felt a pang in my heart. A surprise, really. I swore to myself I was ready for change, ready to get the heck out of dodge (story of my life, ain’t it?) and leave behind tango dancers and Borges’ labyrinths and the Subte and colectivos….but cruising along the highway away from Capital Federal….all I wanted to do was hop out and run back. Waiting for departure in Ezeiza, I recognized the place where Kate and Pedro welcomed me with a little NYU pennant and clipboard, where I sat excitedly and worriedly in the La Madeleine cafe area, first meeting Layla and forming our soon-to-be penguin-honking, Sassiano-lovin’ sista bond. All the nervousness I felt then seemed like a crazy dream sequence to me at that moment. Was that really me then? Is this really me now? The changes were so minuscule, but compare me in February to me in June/now….it’s quite the difference. I still didn’t even understand the vos form then–now I live and swear by it. Funny to think what four months and a lifetime of experiences squished into that brief time period will make of you.

And so we came to Perú. Spent a day in Lima, and stumbled upon el Parque del Amor in the very Palermo-esque barrio that is Miraflores. First of all, the huge statue in the middle is of two men embraced and locking lips. Think what you will, small-minded conservative fiends: it’s adorable and gawh-inspiring. Surrounding it are beautiful gardeny greens and a sort of bench made of collages of broken tile bits (why do I ALWAYS forget the word for this?!) and it was literally the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Not only is it colorful, but within it are lines from random South American writers and their poems or just lovey-dovey lines. Me muero. SO romantic. And I was infinitely joyous that I could read and appreciate all that was present.

"Tonight for the first time I feel the intensity of the ocean beneath my hands"

Every Valentine's day, there's a contest in the park for which couple can kiss the longest. This couple just might have a shot at the title.

But…most of it just couldn’t translate directly, the sentiment I mean. It was just so terribly beautiful and romantic in Spanish, but in English….it seemed more like words slabbed onto a bench than lovely poetry. Por ejemplo: AMAR NO ES UN DELITO. Translation: To love is not a crime. Well, that’s obvious to English-speakers, but to me, it just doesn’t translate the immense compassion and passion and intimacy that every South American–or every Argentine, por lo menos– inherently has coursing through their veins. To me, that statement is saying to love is to live. To love is to be human.

Anyhow, Lima is an extensive city. Or maybe I feel that way because its public transportation isn’t as up to par as is Buenos Aires’, and certainly not New York’s, so we had to take cabs to the city center, way way away from Miraflores. SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Every main square in Peruvian cities is called La Plaza de Armas. I don’t remember why, but go with it. So we went to Lima’s Plaza de Armas and they have this huge stage and screen and celebration going on for the World Cup. They air the games that day live, and then the whole nation tunes in to celebrate with Lima afterward. SO COOL. Goddamit, I love the rest of the world and how much they love fútbol.

Celebracion a La Plaza de Armas

We went to Puno the next day via plane. It sits on the highest inhabitable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca, 12,500 feet above sea level. Imagine the altitude sickness we experienced, and multiply it by 65. It sucked majorly. Well we went to the floating islands lying on the lake. That’s right, islands float, whatever. Except these are MAN-MADE. As in they’re bunches of reeds blocked together and scattered on top to create an island. It’s magnificently-brilliant, and quite awesome to stand upon. And people live there! And have TV signals (no wi-fi though) and are even recognized by the Peruvian government. Que impresionante.

La isla de Uros

These islands float on those blocks put together with many blocks. Each island has two or three families, and one mayor/president/leader fellow. The guy to the left is the Alpha male of Uros, Carlos.

It was the most exhausting excursion, mostly due to our not being able to breathe/adjust to the high altitude. So enough discussion of that. The lake is beautiful and large, though, spanning from Perú to Bolivia.

Lago Titicaca

Next was Cusco, aka the gateway city to the Sacred Valley and MACHU PICCHU. If you don’t know the epicness that is Machu Picchu or haven’t even heard of it, boy do I pity you. It’s so cool and expansive and just wow. But we didn’t get to experience much of it. Day one was the Sacred Valley and Ollantaytambo.

Sacred Valley and the Urubamba River

Ollantaytambo

And it was here that Zack and I made the first of many many llama friends to come.

Como asi.

There was a lame two-day strike in Cusco, protesting the government selling oil to Chile or something like that. Not only was it not violent or effective, but it stalled all transportation to and from the city, meaning NO tours went out to Machu Picchu. We were supposed to spend the night there and thus have two days there to soak it all in, but alas we spent too short a time there instead. Screw you, Cusco and your ineffective political quasi-movements.

There are too many sad tiny Peruvian women and children who sell their souls to the tourism devils and try to sell their handmade items to hapless tourists, or to force them to take pictures with them in their pretty outfits and holding their baby llamas. I got very annoyed after a while. 60% of Cusco I believe does something along the lines of this, and that makes me sad.

At least the baby llamas are cute.

Oh and there’s another old temple with the funniest name, Saqsaywaman. Pronounce it like “sex-ay wo-man,” no joke. If you look at it aerially it looks like the head of a fierce puma, a meaningful symbol for the Incas. Oh, and touring all over Sacred Valley, I learned too much about the Incas.

Saqsaywaman (the jaggedness is supposed to be the puma's teeth)

Finally, MACHU PICCHU. No words can describe it. Yeah that sounds like a cop-out to anything I “can’t describe,” but you don’t know until you’ve been and seen it with your own two googly eyes. That’s South America for you, and it sucks that most of  yall just don’t understand the sheer amazingness of everything it beholds.

Okay first I should say it’s near impossible to get there. You can only get there by train, PeruRail, which has monopolized transportation to the majestic site and thus you have to take an hour plus-long ride on a shuttle tourism bus to the train, and then ride it for an hour, then take a bus up the mountain, then scale up the stairs to Machu Picchu. Oh and the terrain is anything but easy. It’s rocky and hilly and most of the time you ride along the train track and the roads are only one way so you wait forever for the opposite side to pass befor you can go. It’s very similar to riding the Texas Giant rollercoaster for four hours straight, and then taking it back.  I wish I could say I was exaggerating. Oh, and our tourism agency was weird and we took a car to get to the bus to get to the train to the mountain bus to arrive to Machu Picchu. Total travel time there and back? 8 hours. Good thing it’s a spectacular, must-see view.

This was literally my sole goal for this excursion: To take a picture of Machu Picchu with an overlooking llama. Mission Accomplished.

Holy llama, I can say I've been there. Pinch me, it was real.

Oh, but in reference to the title of this here post, Cusco’s city flag is very gay-friendly, and I’m sure they get many many eyebrow-raises for it.

Left: Cusco flag. Right: Chile flag

Next was the Amazon. It’s been my dream for forever to experience the Amazon jungle, and now I can say I have. We stayed in this reserve owned by a resorty place, though that description doesn’t justify it. They preserve copious amounts of hectares from farmers and other dumb humans that destroy the rainforest. Inkaterra’s huge lot of the Amazon actually has over 365 different species of ants, which is a world record, and we all love having bragging rights….even if it is about having a lot of ants.

Our guide, Marco, showed us these particular ants that are really sweet. Literally. He ate them right off his hand soon after, saying they have a citrus-y taste. No gracias.

If you can see the bumpy-looking vine in the middle, it's called a Monkey Ladder since it looks like stairs fit for a little primate, and it's actually super thick and hard. It grows in the direction of sunlight upwards towards the sunlight.

Oh and I saw lots of caimans! (Crocodiles to you gringos)

Caiman at night!

Canopy climbing

We found a sloth!!

Lago Sandoval. We saw black caimans, billions of birds, and hundreds of itty bitty monkeys there!

We also walked through the forest in pitch black at night. I was hoping to see the glowing eyes of a leopard or jaguar or even hear the slither of an anaconda, but I settled for a hopping cane toad.

We saw tarantulas too! During the night walk we saw six sibling tarantulas that likely ate their mother since they were a big clan, but they scattered quickly. We bothered some in their nests during the day to compensate.

I’ve never been treated so poshly on vacation ever. But it’s only expensive because they use a huge chunk to preserve their land and fund research and stuff. And the entire place would make earth lovers and treehuggers very very pleased. Even our shampoo and insect repellent was all-natural, made from plants and their juices in the area. Oh and they have energy-saving periods and shut it all completely down during sleeping hours and mid-day. It’s SO AMAZING! I kept thinking Victor Galli would love and approve of it most sincerely.

Our waiter for those three days, Carlos, was super nice, and developed a crush on me because I spoke only Spanish to him. We became buddies and talked about the World Cup often.

Inkaterra Amazonica Reserve Cabins

Finally, we went to see the Nazca Lines. First we went around the Ballesta Island and saw lobos del mar and penguins and booby birds.

The Nazca lines are pretty ancient, and a worldly mystery. They’re huge carvings in the sand-duney ground and have lasted for forever. We took a plane that seemed like something out of Indiana Jones and flew around crazily for 30 minutes trying to spot them all.

The guy in the mountain is called "The Astronaut." And it's really really big, as you can see it's carved on a mountain, not a pile of sand.

It's faint, but the Spider is near the lower left corner.

The Hummingbird

You know how crazy planes fly when they're getting shot at? Ours was very similar to that, and Zack felt very close to death for the 30-minute ride. Pobrecito.

Afterwards, we went to an oasis in the middle of nowhere. And rode a dunebuggy and sand-surfed. At night. So. Freaking. Fun.

La luna y la arena

DUNEBUGGY OF DEATH! :)

And then….we went back to Lima, and headed back to America. We had a layover in Miami, and immediately…I felt weird. Worse than when I left Buenos Aires. I felt like a foreigner. Everything was in English. People were overweight. I heard southern drawls. Arriving in Dallas, I immediately saw a guy in a ten-gallon hat and considered hopping back onto the plane to wherever. Everything was weird, unfamiliar, not likable. The heat and humidity sucked. All around me was expansive land, filled only with residential areas, highways, and malls malls malls. And SO. MANY. CARS. There was so much…space, and I immediately wished I was in Argentina instead. I can’t truly explain it all without sounding stuck-up or whatever, and to those who haven’t ever spent time abroad…you just wouldn’t understand, really. The reverse culture-shock was, for lack of better words, quite the bitch. I just felt….sad, coming back, being back in the state and metroplex where I was raised. The closer we got to our house, the more melancholy I became. I don’t fit in here anymore. It’s like trying to fit a Lego piece in any empty space of a jigsaw puzzle– it sticks out like a sore thumb because it just doesn’t match the rest of the picture. That’s how I feel: displaced. I enjoyed seeing some friends again, but…it wasn’t the same. Immediately I longed for my long Buenos Aires nights and fellow abroaders and the sense of different-ness I felt away from here.

I don’t belong here anymore.

My life has changed. My attitude and mentality and life plans and perspective have DRASTICALLY changed. I realized that we live in within a box, THE box. We abide by the preordained rules and live our miserably monotonous 9-5 lives. High school, college, maybe grad school, real world jobs, family, taxes, age, death. The same line, similar sequences. I don’t want this anymore. I refuse to stay in this box any longer. I am impatiently waiting to live life outside the box and never return. Too many of us forget there is a world outside of our own, outside that comfortable country border, city border, or even neighborhood border. We’re so caught up in the monotony that is daily life that we don’t even consider to aprovechar the life that we could have and that exists out there. We think we’re #1 in any aspect, and on paper, sure, that’s the case. But I will not settle for “same-ness” anymore. Regularity, monotony will be the death of me.

I’ve lived a life outside the box, and I refuse to ever step back in.

To be continued…

Posted by: Phoebe K | June 14, 2010

Don’t cry for me, Argentina…

Okay, so it’s been way too long and I’ve not updated since the Bicentennial…oops. The semester is over, people have left, my family came, and I’m now in Peru. So much has happened I don’t even know where to start.

Well, exams weeks were definitely not fun. I cared very little for my Pop Culture essay (which I posted previously), but got an A- so yay! Thanks, Fermin. I actually got into my Borges essay, about history repeating itself and the likes, and of course whenever I start getting interest in that silly old fart of a writer, I get a worse grade on the paper. Ni importa. I completely gave up on my Reporting stuff, which I know is awful, but I’ll explain in a bit.

For La Lengua, I worked really really hard on my presentation, which was covering graffiti in Buenos Aires. I’ll post more pictures or something one day, but the day before it was due (nothing’s better than a procrastinated presentation), I went to 6 different barrios in 7 hours and took more than 350 pictures of graffiti, almost all different ones, mind you. It was fantastic. Doing so, and completely alone and sans an iPod, made me a tad regretful of not spending more time around the city I called home for 4 months. I was truly exploring new parts for me–two Subte stations in Flores, Caballito, the edge of San Telmo and La Boca, the inners of Once, and more– and I fell a little more in love with the city I claimed to grow weary of. And then I worked on the actual presentation, which kept me up all night. I really appreciate professors that let us work on something of which we feel a passion for, in any sense, and Mariano’s final brought it out in me. I tripped a lot on my vocab and speech, but I think he could tell that I really cared about this presentation, his class, and what I was talking about. I think it helped my final grade infinitely, yay! (I even put a picture of a graffiti-ed wall that said “Bad Romance” at the end, which I think he liked, kekeke.)

Oh, well, the reason why I didn’t care as much as I definitely should have for finals….I was leaving soon. We all were. Did we really need to bogged down by silly finals when we should’ve been enjoying our last days in this amazing city? The answer is claro que no. So I enjoyed myself. With my friends, on my own, with new acquaintances, with old, and then some. I allowed myself to fall again for the city that had captivated me for this long and yet brief time.

Anyway, we had a despedida (farewell party) for NYU near my house, and that was a fun night. Layla, Arielle, Rachel, and I basically party hopped like only true-Porteñas can, from Layla’s mom’s art opening (she had a few paintings of cats up, and we went to support her amidst old rich people and champagne and tinto vino), to Mariano’s new exhibit opening at MiauMiau (because we HAD to support our favorite sassy prof!) and got kisses on the cheek from the curator himself, and then to the NYU shebang, and boy did it she-bang. It was an open bar and minimal foods, which meant everyone got piss-drunk and danced crazy. I don’t even want to go there. NYU should know better than to give its students free booze! Haha no complaints anyway, I took enough fun pictures of my favorite people being all tipz to enjoy the night. And of course, I accomplished one of our goals this semester:

Oh, Mariano.

Kekekekekekeke. I took one with him looking, but I feel this one best presents his glory.

The rest of the semester is a blur, and not one that was alcohol-induced at all. A few fails, too many laughs, too many goodbyes, copious amounts of food that didn’t have to do with empanadas or alfajors (YAY), no tears (yay!), and mixed feelings all around…for me, anyway.

Emma, my adventurous roomie, off to Mendoza and the rest of Argentina

Noel, Lily, Me, and Layla after our last meal

Layla's last day.

My host family! Margarita, Fermin, and me

I have taken something in the ballpark of 10,000 pictures while being here, and I encourage you and whomever to look through them to get a better sense of my experience here, because words only go so far. Sentiments are better left to the senses rather than feeble attempts to explain them through words.

Some notes I jotted down while riding a colectivo somewhere:

I’m heartbroken. By distance and time. The right moment never exists, it seems. I fell in love during my stay here, though with nothing and no one quite tangible. Argentina showed me a whole other side of life I refused to even consider before, one of tranquility and self-pacing. Unrooted lifestyles without looming deadlines, where your first priority is happiness, and anything else is just an add-on, a convenience for you, an added dose of “miravos“. I ride the 39 3 without fear, without rush. Muros marked by grafiteros and tags woosh by as cabs honk their anachronistic honks and old gents and ladies wobble across the painted pedestrian paths. Children play on merry-go-rounds, oblivious to their motherland’s pain and suffering and instability of yesterday and today, dogs defecate on already-stained sidewalks and their walkers pay no heed. Cartoneros get a head start on the night, collecting cardboard from stores not quite yet closing up shop. Porteños use their sobreactuacion to get their points across, waving hands this way and that in a very Italian-esque manner, adding in as many “rrrrr’s” as one tongue can really roll and handle. Students puff their cigarettes as a queue forms in front of the banks, waiting for 10am (and show no surprise when the locks retract at 10:32am). The smell of car exhaust fills the lungs of natives, ex-pats, and tourists alike. Girls, intoxicated by life and maybe a drink or two, hobble in their black boots or too-high heels, regretting their footwear of choice. Bikes zip in and out of traffic, wearing a death wish on their backs, it seems. Monedas spilled on the ground are quickly snatched by the eager. This is life. This is love. This is Buenos Aires. And now this is me.

Masomenos, I love Buenos Aires. There was so much I hadn’t yet seen, but then again I had experienced more than I could ever have imagined to. Some say my four-month stay doesn’t constitute a proclamation of Capital Federal as my home, or one of them. I completely disagree. Because, obviously, home is where your heart is. My flesh, my being, my soul, my love, my everything was in and slowly became Buenos Aires for those amazing few months. I could go on and on and on about everything here and gush and whatnot, but I guess you can scroll through previous entries for that. A few highlights of this semester abroad:

The Coldplay and Beyonce obsession we first experienced upon arrival.

Black Eyed Peas’ “I’ve Got a Feeling” playing at every boliche, every bar, and then repeating in our heads. We got annoyed, we got drunk, we got happy, and suffice it to say, we knew the song couldn’t have been a more appropriate pick to describe our new experiences.

My taking creepy pictures of couples making out in the park (on the bus, in clubs, in restaurants….the list goes on), of Sexiano in class and wherever else I could manage, and of all my friends (those are–mostly–in the private album, no worries guys). I’ve found my back-up plan of being a PI or papparazo if all else fails.

Forgetting a time when the ll in words wasn’t pronounced like “schhhhh”. And being terrified when we heard people who said it differently (i.e. Cordobeses, with their oddly-used “zzzz” sound)

My immensely unhealthy diets of medialunas, Paso de los Toros, empanadas, avoiding alfajors, and eating all the CARNE CARNE CARNE that I could handle (I’ve yet to find a stopping point)

Meeting my wonderful friends and making up too many inside jokes to remember, and then laughing so hard so much that I never have to use 8-minute ab workout videos again. And nicknames, oh the nicknames we made. :)

SUPERCLÁSICO!

Uh, SEXIANO. ’nuff said.

I can’t even finish the list, because there isn’t an end. I love everyone I’ve met here, of NYU and not, of Buenos Aires, and…not. I’ll keep posting some stuff on here relevant to BA, just to entertain myself if anything.

I’m currently in Peru, leaving for Lake Titicaca in the morning, and after, Cusco/Machu Picchu/the Amazon. Blah blah blah. But can I say…leaving Buenos Aires was the strangest experience. For weeks I’ve been eager to get away, to get back to REAL food options, to get back to the FAST and STRESSED world I have come to love, to see my friends again and brag of my tales and give them their awesome souvenirs. But….climbing into that cab and driving away from Capital Federal–in the rain, mind you–I felt…nostalgia. I just wanted to jump out and run back to Palermo, open a Quilmes and relajarme. Stepping onto that plane in Ezeiza, and flying away from the land I’ve feared, gotten annoyed with, adored, admired, and fallen for…my heart sunk. I was more anchored to the silly city than I had admitted, than I had thought.

I love you, Buenos Aires. Gracias por las memorias, las experiencias, el mejor tiempo de mi vida. Y ahora, vamos a la proxima aventura.

Posted by: Phoebe K | June 7, 2010

Ever wanted to know about Maradona?

My final topic for Argentine Popular & Mass Culture: Caracterice la figura de Diego Maradona en la cultura argentina, tomando como ejemplo el análisis de las canciones “Maradó”, de Los Piojos, y “La mano de dios”, de Rodrigo.

Después de la época de la dictadura en los años 1976-1983, los argentinos no tenían nadie en que podían creer. Su gobierno desapareció una generación entera, la economía fue ruinada, y el país estuvo atrapado con la guerra de las islas Malvinas con Inglaterra. El espíritu y orgullo argentinos fueron dañados, y no había un héroe que podía salvarlos. Las personas que habían prometido protección a la gente no eran de confianza. Pero había un constante que no cambió: el fútbol. Cuando Neil Armstrong caminó en la luna en 1969, 350.000.000 personas lo miraron en la tele; el partido Copa Mundial entre Brasil e Italia en 1970, más que 540.000.000 personas lo miraron. Diego Maradona representó una esperanza patriótica y una época nueva de estabilidad para Argentina.

Maradona tenía un sueño como cada niño argentino: “jugar con Argentina y ser campeón Mundial”. Era un niño de la villa fuera de Capital Federal, nació de padres pobres y eludió su difícil  realidad con una pelota y un deseo. Jugó para las Cebollitas, después Argentinos Juniors, y cuando transfirió a Boca Juniors, logró su llegada. La gran cosa de Maradona es que tiene un nombre tanto conocido, en lo mismo nivel como “el Papa, Bill Clinton, Tom Hanks, y Michael Jordan”, pero era un “pibe de Fiorito”. Su ascenso de la villa a gran fama fue más que un sueño de los chicos, fue el máximo deseo de los pueblos de Argentina. Esa historia de “rags to riches” parece como un cuento de hadas, y en ese tiempo, era bien para tener algo que daba la esperanza a un país derrotado.

Su estatus fue cementado después del partido contra Inglaterra en la Copa del Mundo de México en 1986. Los dos goles más famosos en toda la historia de futbol—“la Mano de Dios” y el “mejor gol de todos los tiempos”—dieron a Argentina un triunfo exitoso. La victoria y el premio fueron más que un trofeo: reconquistó Argentina su patria. Era un triunfo perfecto contra su adversario en la Guerra de las Malvinas, una perdida desagradable para el orgullo de Argentina. Que Maradona hizo los dos goles sin ayuda de sus compañeros le pintó como un gran héroe patriótico. Su clama que sólo estaba “defendiendo a nuestra bandera, a los pibes” tenía un sentido patriótico que aún mejora su imagen pública.  Se hizo una imagen hercúlea para Argentina, un fuerte defensor de la patria. Maradona fue un sujeto común en la cultura popular, y su nombre aparecía en películas, noticias, y canciones de todas partes por décadas que vinieron. “Maradó” por Los Piojos expresa la buena opinión que el público tiene para Maradona, creyendo que puede triunfar sobre todos en fútbol y en poder. Cantan “caen las tropas de su majestad/ y cae el norte de la Italia rica/ y el papa dando vueltas no se explica”, que significa la creencia en que Maradona podía proteger la patria de Argentina nuevamente.

Por lo tanto, se hizo la nueva figura épica para Argentina. Era el nuevo “Martin Fierro”, el héroe clásico de la cultura argentina. Este personaje gauchesco es el símbolo masculino, un personaje que domina los poderosos para la gente. Así que Maradona es de la gente, la figura moderna del machismo argentino. El héroe nacional de fútbol simplemente agregaba  machismo al deporte masculino. Los hombres no tienen miedo de declarar sus amor para el rockero de cultura popular, como el fin de la canción “La mano de Dios”, cuando Rodrigo grita “Te quiero Diego!” con una pasión tan fuerte de su héroe. También, el ascenso de Diego Maradona ocurría al mismo tiempo con el resurgimiento de peronismo con la elección del presidente Carlos Menem en 1989. Ambos eventos significan el regreso de peronismo. La gente estaba preparada para creer nuevamente en su gobierno y su líder otra vez, después de la larga pausa desde el último gobierno de Juan Perón. Es muy interesante pensar que un jugador de fútbol pueda tener tanta influencia como un presidente histórico.  Muchas personas consideraban a Maradona como “el Perón de los noventa” porque unía la gente con un fuerte apoyo para él. Como Perón creyó un país unido con su ideología, Maradona restablecía una unidad que en Argentina faltaba. Rara vez están los jugadores al mismo nivel de los políticos, pero era obvio que Maradona fue la excepción.

Como todos los famosos, Maradona aprovechó las buenas y malas cosas de su fama. Su uso de la cocaína causó muchos problemas en su carrera y su eventual caída del fútbol. No tenía una buena relación con la prensa, y siempre usaba las groserías. Su reputación como “un negrito deslenguado” fue hiriente a su carrera, pero sus fanáticos todavía le amaban. Respetaban su actitud desafiante, aunque actuaba como un canchero. La canción de Rodrigo le apoyaba, y pregunta que “si Jesús tropezó, por que el no habría de hacerlo?”, que implica que tan épico es Maradona, también puede tener algunas tendencias humanas. No les importa a los fanáticos si usa la “blanca mujer” (cocaína); todavía “todo el pueblo cantó” su nombre con orgullo.

La gran fama de Maradona ha influido a cada argentino desde los años 1980s. Sirve como un símbolo de continuidad, la que faltó a la cultura argentina por muchas décadas, y desde su llegada  hasta su caída, y aún hasta ahora, sus fanáticos todavía gritan su nombre con una creencia más fuerte cada vez. En Argentina, donde el fútbol es la religión, Maradona es un Dios humano que salvó su gente de la época sin sueños y héroes.

——

Yes, I wrote that. Yay me and castellano! And I got an A on that paper, and an A- for the whole semester  of that class :) Woohoo!

Posted by: Phoebe K | May 27, 2010

Un foto vale un mil palabras, no?

Yeah, I don’t have time/ganas to write about things right now. So I’ll leave y’all with some neat pictures of the past week.

MALBA sneaky picture.

Eloisa Cartonera, where we painted cardboard books and played with voodoo dolls.

Graffiti tour for my La Lengua presentation.

We were overwhelmed by how thick that bife de chorizo was.

The only time I'll be able to stand in the middle of Santa Fe and not die.

Yes.

Onda Vaga, again.

Monumental (River Plate) Stadium, Argentina vs. Canada bicentennial game

Fireworks after the game. Layla loves this picture. I love the little boy to the right.

Posted by: Phoebe K | May 19, 2010

Mis clases son tan raras. [My classes are so weird.]

In Borges class on Monday, we read this brief passage that Julio Cortázar wrote (might I note that I prefer Cortázar’s works to Borges’? JLB can suck it.), and well, it consisted of several made-up words. So Professor Amante (yes, her last name is Lover.) had us group up and try to decipher it as how we saw/heard it. Uhm, except we came to the conclusion that it was about sex.

Listen to/Read it real quick:

Understand it? I sure as hell didn’t. So…we were a little dirty-minded with writing ours. But I’ll spare you the deets.

HOWEVER, towards the end where he says “¡Evohé! ¡Evohé!”… that’s basically the climaxing part. So Prof. Amante went around the room and asked each person how we would translate that to real castellano. Ay díos mio…

Some highlights:

¡Bueno, ché! — ¡Dalé, dalé! — ¡Boludo, boludo! — ¡Sigue, sigue! — ¡Así es, así es! — ¡Ay, qué rico! — ¡Más, papí! — Bárbaro, bárbaro! — ¡Ay, jefe!

Okay, so that was awkward fun. In Popular/Mass Culture, we listen to too many songs about soccer fans and their penchants for weed.

Couldn’t get this melody out of my head:

This one just has dirty lyrics:

I’m going to start a tab on here with all the castellano lingo I’ve picked up here. Since it’s pretty much the only thing I’ve learned of value.

Today, my Reporting class had a screening for the movie Paco, which is the nickname of the name ‘Francisco,’ as well as a drug [pasta base de cocaina] that is all up in Buenos Aires’ lower and now middle classes, and it’s highly addictive and super cheap and made of mierda. By that, I mean it’s made of leftover material from cocaine, as well as solvents, rat poison, and other gnarly stuff you definitely don’t want in you.

Anyhow, we watched the movie (again for me, since I watched it for La Lengua previously) with English subtitles and afterwards, the director, Diego Rafecas, chatted with us.

Director Diego Rafecas

Sucked that we had to be there from 7-10:30pm, but this guy was hilarious, even if he didn’t mean to be (and he’s rather lindo, not bad for a 40-yr-old successful director). Layla and I were cracking up about one thing in particular, but that’s another tale. But he was super cool and intellectual and actually kinda deep. He mentioned how the area of BA we live/stay in isn’t Buenos Aires but “Disneyland,” and that we as Americans/students are sheltered from the real BA, in the suburbs, unaware of the corruption and downfall the city experiences day by day. How right he is.

On a different note, next Tuesday will be Argentina’s BICENTENNIAL. Uh, hello, it’s going to be a big-freaking-deal. How many times do we get to experience a nation’s 200th birthday, particularly a country as awesome as Argentina? Pretty much never– this is a once in a lifetime extravaganza. There’s going to be so many festivities and desfiles and parties and happy hours and I totally can’t wait. Oh, and I might be going to the pre-World Cup game of Argentina vs. Canada on Monday. No big. (Argentina is No. 8 in the current FIFA world rankings, while Canada is 57th.)

Despite mounds and mounds of stress piling up from my insoportable final papers and presentations, MY LIFE HERE IS TOO LEGIT 2 QUIT.

Posted by: Phoebe K | May 16, 2010

That inevitable Córdoba post and stuff.

(Note: this post is totally all over the place and long and short and leaves out particular details on purpose. Primarily because I’m lazy/awesome at living life here. But that’s all subjective. What fun!)

CORDOBA

It was really fun. Now that it’s been so long, I’m almost hesitant to write about it/recall all that happened. Ah hell.

I went to the Onda Vaga concert with Lily on Wednesday night, which was great. Argentine indie-ish rock band… wish I had intelligent words to use in describing them, but I can settle for awesome.

Onda Vaga

Kaarin met me at my apartment at the ass-crack of dawn (5am) to get to the airport at 5:30. BOO for making us wake up and  get to Córdoba so early when no normal Argentine even is awake then and have us wait in the lobby of the hotel and then leave us to fend for our own nutrition until check-in time. BOO. Anyway, mall food was the only thing available at 11am. Frack. Napped when we checked-in to our rooms, then took a cute little tour in the drizzle of historic Córdoba. Some notes I jotted down (because I’m the ultimate dorky tourist, save having a fanny pack):

1) First women’s college founded there, and still remains the ONLY women’s college in all of Argentina

2) 15% of Córdoba is college students. Not quite the caliber of Austin, but still.

3) It’s a popular Córdobese custom to mix Coca-Cola with every alcoholic drink. Fernet, vodka, tequila, rum, whisky….and mas, but you know I know nothing of alcohol.

4) Here are the oldest churches in the whole country, built by Jesuits in the 1640s.

5) There are 16 McDonald’s in Córdoba the city.

Our tour guide (the NYU group was split into 3) was named Dávid, and he was bomb. He knew so much and was really into talking to us and joking and just legitimately showing us a good time in the city. Man, how I would love to be a tour guide in a foreign city.

We ate at a random restaurant that night and attempted so many places for the nightlife, since we heard it was la mejor, but alas, we only found one place where a local band was playing. At least the back-up singer/dancer was beautiful.

We woke up way too early to leave and go to… THREE ESTANCIAS. That’s right, as if one wouldn’t suffice, with its Jesuit history and churches…we needed to experience it three times over. AGH. I took notes for the tour, but it was so blah I don’t think I’ll make you guys suffer by reading it. Might I note that the last estancia was a museum, Estancia Jesu Maria, and being a history nerd, I love museums. David loved them too, and was spitting out facts left and right. Oh, and our entire tour was in Spanish for all three days. Loved getting to listen it all throughout our trip. Anyway, we came upon a castigator belt (think The Da Vinci Code, where the evil guy punished himself for evil thoughts with a barbed belt) and David was telling us how the priests and nuns and stuff wore them to keep themselves from thinking sinful thoughts. Anna thought he was saying something about keeping them from thinking about men, and she said aloud that she had a lot of guy problems or something. David said he didn’t really need to know that, but she could always use the belt if need be. It was funnier if you were there. She pretty much fell in love with him, and called him, endearingly, “gringo” (his nickname amongst the tour guides). She provided many laughs on the trip.

We stayed in Alta Garcia that night, which is where Che Guevara’s childhood home is. Unfortunately, we got there at 6:30, and the museum closed at 6:45. WOMP. And the nightlife sucked there too. But dinner was good. I had a delish paella. mmmmmmmmm mariscos.

Saturday was another early morning wake-up call. Oh NYU, me muero. BUTTTTT we got to go zip-lining and canopy-frolicking at Penón del Aguila, some mountain area in the mountains.

Most fun ever. Though, because you had to cross your legs in front of you as you rode the zip-line, it totally rips your abs the day after. I felt like I had just done 1000 crunches, which is funny because I can’t even do 10 without taking a break.

Afterwards, we went to a German town and saw an itty-bitty waterfall, to compensate for those that wanted to go to Iguazu but instead got stuck going to Cordoba.

Womp. Sorry Geoff.

(Can you tell I’m very apathetic about writing about Cordoba?)

All in all, it was a great time. My usual group of friends went on the Iguazu trip, so it was a nice change of pace hanging out with others that I’m not as close to. And being with Kaarin is always great :)

School has recently become not fun. We’re getting down to the wire with the semester ending in three weeks, so of course all the professors are throwing finals crap into our faces left and right. NOT COOL, CHE. Too much that I have zero ganas to do. I’ve mentally checked-out on New York time, rather than NYUBA time. Oops.

The other day in La Lengua, we read some contemporary Argentine poetry and Mariano wanted us to translate it as best we could. Lily, Nick, and I did this one:

Manual de autoayuda

“Ponete a leer. No importa si tenés que pasar la máquina por las alfombras o si tenés que limpiar los vidrios del living, del cuarto y del escritorio. Vos ponete a leer. Dejá para otro momento la necesidad de ir al supermercado a comprar desodorante, queso blanco, un pan lactal y alguna gaseosa. Lo que leas hoy no lo vas a leer nunca. Si tenés que ir a trabajar, no te olvides de llevar un libro con vos: abrilo en el colectivo aunque viajes de pie, aunque vayas cabeceando por el sueño. Al mediodía, cuando salgas a comer, poné el libro a la izquierda del plato, y que te sea indiferente si la comida se enfría. Postergá todos los compromisos que tengas para la noche; pasalos para el fin de semana. No vayas al teatro, ni a a oír ningún concierto. Ni que hablar de ir al cine. Si alguien quiere charlar con vos por teléfono, que sea en otro momento. No importa cuándo. Lo que importa es que no sea ahora.

Ahora lo único que importa es leer.”

It’s so interesting because some of the sentiment can’t be translated directly from castellano to English. But we did it as best we could:

Start reading now. It doesn’t matter if you have to vacuum or clean the windows of the living room, the bedroom, or the study. You need to start reading now. Put off going to the supermarket to buy deodorant, cheese, sliced bread, or a soda. What you read today you’ll never read again. If you must work, don’t forget to bring a book with you; open it on the bus even while standing, even if you’re nodding off to sleep. At noon, when you go out to eat, put the book next to your plate, and it won’t matter if it gets cold. Put off all your nightly obligations; leave them for the weekend. Don’t go to the theatre, or see any concert. Don’t even think about going to the movies. If someone want to talk on the phone, leave it for another time. It doesn’t matter when. What matters is it isn’t now.

Right now all that matters is reading.

Translating is harder than you’d think!

——-

As for my personal life, it’s been all fun.

Went to Chan Chan, the other Peruvian place in Congreso. SO SO SO good. Can’t wait to go to Peru and eat ceviche ALL. THE. TIME.

CEVICHE <3

Love hanging out with my friends, even if we have quite a few fails in one night. We (I) finally made our way to Las Cañitas, the ritzy restaurant strip of Buenos Aires which is surprisingly close to where I live. Made two reservations at places: first one was “too touristy,” second one was a temakeria sushi place, which ultimately blew because Argentines don’t know shit from customer service.

Don't go here unless you want to be endlessly frustrated.

They’re so slow and apathetic and RAHHHHH I miss the speedy New York life I’ve come to love with all my heart. This slow, 80-year-old geezer-paced life is NOT for me by any means. So we were all hungry and went to a Mexican restaurant, Lupita, and gorged on guacamole and stuff. Yum.

It's on FIYAH!

I don’t want life here to end. And yet, I can’t wait to get back home. Wherever that is now. Okay, enough procrastination. (Promise next post will be more organized.)

To recap on my fracasa of the whole immigration situation: I didn’t receive my stamp of entry when I left Punta del Este, Uruguay in February, thus Argentine Immigrations wouldn’t grant me a student visa because I was technically nowhere, and I waited 3 1/2 hours at the place for them to tell me this. Marcela, our program vice-director or whatever, tells me to basically flee the country for a day so I can get said stamp to obtain said visa. Well, alrighty then. “Ever been to Colonia?” she asked me.

So early Saturday morning, before even the butt-crack of dawn, Emma, Lily, Layla, Ben, and I take the SeaCat Colonia (rawr) to…Colonia, across the Rio de la Plata from BA. Oh wait, that’d just be too nice and easy for me, wouldn’t it? We go through immigrations, and Emma and Lily get stamped sin problemas. Then it was my turn. Frack. The lady gets up to ask her superior about me lacking a stamp, and I had been hoping she’d ignore it and focus on munching on a morning alfajor or something. But NOOOOO. She tells me to go to the window next to her booth and take care of it there. Emma and Lily look at my perplexedly and I want to strangle something. The old guy comes up to the window minutes later and says I need to pay a multa (fee) for evading the law…even though it was their fault, and I made damn well sure he knew that. Well, in the best pissed-off rant I could muster in castellano. He told me it’d be 300 pesos, which is $79USD and what I would’ve paid for the visa anyway, and our ferry was leaving in 20 minutes so I was like, FINE. I finally got stamped out of Argentina and into Uruguay and we ran off to meet Layla and Ben at the ferry.

During the ride, I got a little seasick, and the nature-y video of caves and its inhabitants–including bat-eating cucurachas and drippy yellow goop from stalactites– didn’t help para nada. Arrived and roamed along the main street, a little worried that nothing would be open since it was Labor Day here, and people actually take the incentive not to work. But we managed to get lots of yummy foods, walk barefoot along a beach and rocky areas, scale a faro (lighthouse), and walk unevenly on the city’s cobblestone streets. Hurrah! Colonia is pretty much the most beautiful South American city I’ve seen thus far (aside from my beloved Buenos Aires, por supuesto). It’s rather quaint, yet has that cursi touristy-vibe, with old-ish buildings and cute streetways. And the beach to the river is linda. Not to mention the perfect 75-degree weather day we had, on top of so much sol! I got way tanner, though that’s not exactly first on my priorities list (for once in my life)…

Lighthouse

View from the top

Calle de los Suspiros (Street of Sighs...que sexual)

Unfortunately, I was a real smart one and used half of my camera battery previously, so it died before the end of our day trip. No matter. I was totally nervous coming back into Argentina, and watched carefully to make sure they didn’t screw up this time. We got back home (Buenos Aires) and went to the Festival del Dia de la Ciudad at Plaza Italia, where there was a horded mass of people. I feel like half of Capital Federal was there to see Caetano Veloso, this really rad old Argentine acoustic guitarist that sang in castellano, Portuguese, and English (well, his rendition of Billie Jean was in English). (Layla and Emma insist he sounds like a Devendra Banhart, but idk who that is.)

Caetano Veloso

It was really quality music, and what was astounding was the unanimous silence shared among the crowd. People did NOT say a word, until he finished the song. This was an outdoor CONCERT with fifty billion people in attendance, young and old and tall and short and even babies were silent during his set. Wow, I dig the respect factor here. Afterwards, the entire mass migrated to my hood of Palermo Viejo, and all the restaurants were crowded. Ay dios.

—–

Today was my one-on-one meeting with Mariano about my final presentation. Nick asked him in class where we were meeting, just for clarification. Mariano quipped “¡Ya te dije, en el telo afuera! ¡Con tu cocaina!” (I already told you, in the telo outside! With your cocaine!) Oh, that sassy creature. *For the gringos: a telo is a clandestine hotel that people use exclusively for bonking (garchar-ing), and the rooms even come with different themes of your choosing! And yes, we have one of those RIGHT across the street from school!* And Nick is doing his class presentation on Wednesday over Paco, the popular (not in a good way) form of cocaine here, and he joked about bringing samples for the whole class. Yes, La Lengua is seriously the best class ever. Anyway, Mariano encouraged me (nicely, to my surprise) to speak up more, since our class is full 0f “parrots” and everyone loves to talk, it’s especially hard for shy little me. But it was a nice chat (aesthetically and academically).

In Pop and Mass Culture, which is the bane of my existence on Mondays and Wednesdays, we listened to the Beatles, which I cannot complain about at all. LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Though, we listened to a song I wasn’t as familiar with, “She’s Leaving Home,” which is ironic because it seemed like the story of my life.

She (what did we do that was wrong)
is having (we didn’t know it was wrong)
fun (fun is the one thing that money can’t buy)
Something inside that was always denied for
so many years (bye bye)

She’s leaving home (bye bye)

As for my visa fiasco, I told Marcela I got the stamp, and she said she’d have to talk to the omniscient lawyers about me not having to go through the visa process again–not that I can, because it takes months to secure another appointment for it. THIS SHOULDN’T BE A BIG DEAL. ETRHJGSERKGBJDKFV anyway, I’m good now. I’m legal, and safe, and…stamped.

——

Well, this week are our NYU-sponsored trips to Córdoba and Iguazú. It’s going to be so much fun, I’m about to spaz thinking about it. It’ll be the first time I’m not with my group of friends, which will be weeeeiird, but I certainly have Kaarin and Lily and more to have fun with in Córdoba. Plus, Lily and I are determined to go skydiving. I’ll let y’all know about it if I survive.

Hasta domingo!

Posted by: Phoebe K | April 30, 2010

Eight days a week

Okay. I have a whole week of fun and crazy and ridiculous things to update on. Now that I have the chance to breathe and listen to some Glee (<3 I’m obsessed), vamos.

First off, I’M ON SEASON FIVE OF LOST! I was barely into season 3 when I got here, and I just MIGHT make it in time for the series finale on May 16th! Oh boy oh boy oh boy! Man, I love that show.

Last Saturday, we went to the Festival del Día de la Tierra (Earth Day for you gringos :D). Ironic, right? Since Argentina doesn’t believe much in recycling and the likes of Earth Day things…unless you count marijuana. Which I surprisingly didn’t smell much of at ALL there. It was right by the Floralis Generica sculpture, which seemed appropriate. Lots of hippie kinda stuff and vegetarian/vegan/healthy food, which I surprisingly consumed much of (but then again, I consume anything). A few of the girls got their faces painted and that was cute. We frolicked in the grass and chilled like the liberal arts college students living in BA that we are :) some people walked around handing out free vegan desserts, which are ALWAYS good (shoutout to Victor Galli!) and another group was having people decorate eggs for the upcoming World Cup, because 1) Soccer is its own religion in Argentina, and 2) it’s a play on words, because their way of saying “Got balls?” is “¿Tenés huevos?” kekekeke. And there were several psychadelic bands and musicians playing, and even though I’ve no idea what it feels like being high, hearing the odd music gave me some awkward sense of it…and I assured myself that ignorance is in fact bliss.

All of us with our painted huevos

Mmm organic foods. Those apples were literally las mejores del mundo.

Lauren and Sam with their cute butterfly faces

Sun and Moon with stars..she spent a lot of time contemplating her design too, haha

Floralis Generica

Later that night, Layla and I went with Hannah Foster to a parrilla in San Telmo for some supposed steak that is supposed to put Lo de Bebe to shame. Now, if you’ve read my posts, you know Lo de Bebe is mi amor and I’ve eaten there 7 times and have I mentioned how much I love it? Well…dammit, she was right. The place was called Desnivel and we had legit STEAK, not just bife or carne. And the BEST papas fritas with garlic and stuff, and the best mashed potaters  that South America probably has to offer. Oh my god, foodgasm to the MAX.

Oh my gah.

And of course, we had some helado after.

On Sunday, we went to the Feria de Mataderos, all the way on the other side of Captial Federal, which is great because I literally have not ventured out into any other barrio aside from Palermo, Barrio Norte, Recoleta, and a tad of San Telmo/La Boca/Congreso. Anyway, we took bus 55 to the Mataderos barrio, and it was quite the nifty crafts and gaucho fair. Lots of cute stuff to spend yo’ pesos on, and lots of good food. And entertainment. Win-win.

Llama and a midget pony

Cinturons de cuero, aka leather belts

Alpargatas, aka the original TOMs

On Monday, I gave my presentation in La Lengua. If you know me, you know I am pretty shy with class discussion, especially in spanish. So I was very nervous for this, which covered this Argentine artist, Daniel Santoro. whose exhibit we were going to visit on Friday. But I actually did really well, according to Mariano’s head nods and repeats of “exacto“. ¡Que bárbaro! And I guess my presentation was actually interesting, so even better. After school, I went to Marcela to ask what I was to do about my visa fiasco. To sum it up, she said this was an irregular case, and while it was definitely not my fault that I didn’t get stamped, this is now my problem. Uh, what? And she literally told me I have to leave the country and return so I can get an entrance stamp into Argentina. “Ever been to Colonia? (In Uruguay) Well now’s your chance to take a day trip!” Oh. My. God. Why is NYU so USELESS when it comes to my immigrations nonsense? So I spent $50 on a round-trip ferry to go to Colonia for tomorrow, May 1st. Luckily, lots of my friends want to go too, so it’ll at least be fun. I just can’t believe it’s come down to that. I’m seriously a fugitive of the Argentine law, existing in neither Argentina nor Uruguay…ay dios mio.

I met an ex-pat (ex-patriot, aka an American that lives elsewhere than the States) on Tuesday at the Alamo. Which was fun, since he was from New Mexico and thus we’re practically neighbors. Good American conversation, makes me miss not being so self-conscious about what to talk about in another language…

Wednesday, we had a screening of the documentary The Take, which I recommend to anyone interested in economics or stuff with co-ops and the like. Not that I understand ANY of it, but it was very interesting nonetheless. And we had two speakers that work for a non-profit organization that lends money to co-ops and such. They showed us some stuff that co-ops fail to sell with the money lended, like bright-colored skinny jeans.

Nick and Jesse modeling the...jeans

Afterwards, Emma, Layla, Arielle, and I went to Rachel’s house and we had a girls’ night, doused in caprichia and lime and funny picture-taking/video-making.

Thursday was the 33rd anniversary of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo marching, so Layla, Lily, Arielle, Geoff, Mariann, and I decided to finally go and see them. Not the most exciting thing in the world, but the historical context is too important to ignore. Layla pointed out how fascinating it was being at the Plaza de Mayo, such a vital area that took part in so much recent history of Buenos Aires, and that we don’t really have places like that in the States (of recent history). The closest thing is probably the Lincoln Memorial when MLK gave his ‘I Have a Dream” speech. But I digress. They were also holding a press conference and debate about journalists that sided with the military regime of the Dirty War era, and who are going to be tried soon.

Then, Emma and I were eating dinner with Margarita, a yummy mixture of veggies, humus (for Emma), milanesa and hamburguesa (for me!).  Our host-sister, Manuela, comes in, as we tell her about our day visit to see the Madres de Plaza de Mayo march at the plaza, as they do and have been doing so for 33 years today. Margarita–very surprisingly–told us she was VERY contra what they do, and also the current administration. She actually seemed angry for the first time that I’ve witnessed, saying that the gobierno is all aggressive and very much acting like the dictatorship and military regime of the 70s and 80s. Manuela comes in and is like, I completely disagree, and it was a rather interesting debate of sorts. She was saying how she supported the Madres and the Kirchner administration for bringing all the bad guys to justice and trying to make things right, because future generations are and will be asking “Que pasó?” and trying to understand  the logic and mysteries behind the Dirty War. She brought up so many good points, and thoroughly argued her point, and Margarita just sat grimacing and said “I must not have a heart”. And we were laughing and joking and stuff, except they both really felt strongly about their positions. Margarita’s is what I found most interesting, because she LIVED through that era in Buenos Aires, and to think so strongly against what the Argentines suffered..wow.

So after a late-night of partying, I had to wake up at 8am on Friday for my field trip with La Lengua and the Mitos class at 10am. We were freaking out because Mariano wasn’t at the Academic Center, and there would be hell to pay if he made us get up early for an excursion that he wouldn’t be attending. Luckily, our van picked him up somewhere near Flores later on. He explained he was teaching an early class at UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires), because he’s an Argentine Renaissance man and does fifty-million things. Anyway, the exhibit was cool, especially since I actually knew all about Santoro’s works, having given that presentation. (Kelley–you were right! Studying up beforehand on the artwork actually helps with self-engagement!) Basically, he’s a painter who is obsessed with Peronism and Evita, and pretty much puts her in nearly every one of his works (you know Where’s Waldo? It’s like Donde esta Evita!). There’s also tons of themes of the importance of the number 3, capitalism/communism/peronism, Descamisados, and la Mama de Juanito Laguna. Dang, I feel so intelligent and artsy. Of course, it was also the perfect opportunity to be a creep:

Mariano, what an intellectual being.

And then…we had a fun spur-of-the-moment excursion that Mariano made us promise not to talk about. So I’ll leave it up in the air :)

Apologies for the long-ish post. Though, no apologies for having such an awesome, fun-filled week/life. I really don’t know what I’m going to do once I get back to the States. I’ll be stuffing all greasy food things American into my mouth, sure, but I won’t be around the same 106 (well, 15 really) people I’ve surrounded myself with for four months; I’ll be using my ll‘s and scha- sounds and vos and no one will understand what I’m saying; I’ll be kissing people hello on the cheeks like the Porteños do and people will be offended by my invading their private spaces; my sleep and eating schedule will be so off it’s going to hurt. Yes, I’m starting to worry about reverse culture shock, which I’m 100% sure it’ll be way worse than coming to Argentina in the first place, because I embraced the culture so easily.

Anyway, we’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it. Tomorrow is Colonia. And hopefully IRON MAN 2!!! AGH!

Chau chicos.

Posted by: Phoebe K | April 29, 2010

An Unexpected Question

While I have many uperdates to post about, I just wanted to bring to mind something at this moment, at 3:35am.

I took a cab this morning (don’t ask.) and I had by far the most interesting cab driver ever, and I only shared a 9.78 peso cab fare/ride with him. His face is but a blur, his name I never caught, his voice is just another whisper of the past. But what caught my attention was his playing Christian folk music on his car stereo. In English. He said he used to be a piano player and really enjoys music, especially the folksy-sounding kind from the States. He learns English from listening to said songs. Steven Curtis Chapman’s “February 20th” was melodically played as he told me these few tidbits of his life. It was one of the nicest-sounding songs I’ve heard, and that’s saying a lot, because if it’s got a folksy rhythm, or has the word “Jesus”/”Savior”/”Holy”/”Rejoicing”/”Heaven” and such…I steer clear of it. But I tuned in. Also strange, since the titled date is two days after my birthday.Anyway, he reaches my destination, and as I pay him with a ten-bill peso, he looks at me, and asks sincerely, almost with a worrisome tone: “¿Tenés Jesús en tú corazón?” I answered with a flustered, somewhat-delayed “Yeah…si, por supuesto,” and rush out as he blesses my day with God’s love.

I get attacked by evangelists all the time. It’s like they have some sixth sense of who is a believer and who is a skeptical. I’m in-between, in case you haven’t noticed. I was baptized six years ago in a different circumstance than I feel I should’ve been in, but nevertheless, I accepted the religion and the Savior. And then….that was that. Literally. I hear my friends talk of religion like a dear beloved close to their hearts. I can’t think of it as any more than…well…I’m not even sure. So much I’d like to have a nearly impeccable confidence in a Higher Being, but who it is, and what He/She wants for my life and the world in which I live…I don’t know. I don’t know much at all, really. It’s a frightening thing. And the strangest thing of it all is that I almost feel I’ve lost a sense of trust when I accepted Christianity. Trust in the world, in people, in those who I say those three icky words to, in my future, in a form of deity, in myself. It’s the hardest thing now, to trust fully, but I’d never let that show. I put on a pretty good facade of believing in people, and you know what? I do indeed look for the best in others, giving them the benefit of the doubt, yadda yadda. But unquestioned faith in a person, much less a GOD…is that even possible? Am I even capable–or moreover, will I EVER be capable– of such a power?

I’ve been contemplating this more than I should, maybe. Tal vez it’s from watching so much theory-stuffed ‘Lost’ episodes (ON SEASON FIVE, BOO YAH I’M ALMOST THERE!!). Between Benjamin Linus, John Locke (my hero and the doppleganger of my father), and Jack Shepard…there’s so much to consider about life, in midst of their quotes and lines. Well, all this thinking and pondering is a little much at…3:52am. So off I go to dreamland (aka falling asleep whilst watching Lost, kekeke).

Chau, gomias.

Posted by: Phoebe K | April 23, 2010

ARGENTINA, why do you hate me?

I’m currently fuming with anger. And disappointment. And all sorts of negative, unnecessary feelings. At least I splurged on a Caesar salad with fried calamari as my only meal thus far today, or else I’d have strangled a baby animal by now.

SO, half of the NYU program had their visa appointments today, including me. I was one of the lucky 5 that had theirs at 12pm, while some unfortunate souls like Layla and Kaarin had theirs at 8am. I take the Subte and transfer over to Retiro, buy myself a Paso de los Toros to quench my thirst/hunger for the time being, and saunter over to the yellow Immigrations building. It’s 11:45am and I’ve made great timing, since no one else from my time slot was there yet, and Marcela tells me to go through the first line and make a card with my cute 4×4 picture I took yesterday and a number for me to be called in the queue. I get #50, and right away, #5o is called. What luck!

So I get my forms and walk over to the other side of the lobby to caja #4 and she takes my papers and checks my passport…and then asks for my guidance person (Marcela/her immigrations friend Veronica). I’m like, shit. They come over and Ms. Caja #4 informs her that while I have an exit stamp from Uruguay on 28 de Febrero (from my awesome time at Punta del Este), I’m lacking a stamp back into Argentina on that day. And she says she can’t go through with my visa application. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT?! Veronica tells her it’s the Buquebus’ and Immigrations’ incompetence to blame, not me nor my passport. “Yeah…too bad.” (or something along those lines) So I’m freaking out on the inside while Marcela says it’ll be okay, they just need to give me a stamp saying I actually exist in some country, and it’ll just be a little longer, since the computers have it down that I did actually enter the country.

Keep in mind it is just now 12pm. The last of the 10am appointments are leaving and the rest of my time slot has arrived. They get through the process JUST FINE and saunter out by 12:40pm. I’m still sitting there, listening to Glee on my Blackberry (thank god I brought it here, or I’d be music-less), and waiting for my passport to return to me. So 1pm rolls around…and 2pm….and 3pm… Yes, this is no joke. I wait for THREE AND A HALF HOURS. Marcela leaves by 1:30 because she has to be somewhere, leaving me in the care of Veronica. I find out soon after that now they were going to try to find the card I filled out upon returning to the country on Feb. 28 at Buquebus’ Immigrations office. OH. MY. LORD. I sit VERY begrudgingly, as Argentines, Americans, and other foreigners pass through sans any sort of difficulties. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN TO ME ?!?!?!?! Remember the fiasco with American-freakin-Airlines where I almost didn’t come to Argentina at all? WHAT. THE. FRACK. One amusing thing was that Mr. Caja #1 looked EXACTLY like Jim from the Office. I tried my best to be a creep, but holding up my Blackberry “conspicuously” is rather hard.

A scruffy Jim Halpert?

At 3:30pm, Veronica tells me to go home, handing over my passport in defeat (at least, that’s how I felt). She said they couldn’t find the little tarjeta that said I came back into Argentina…which makes me nonexistent basically. On paper. I feel like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, and that’s not cool. I start tearing up a bit, because dang nabbit, I WANT MY VISA. I DON’T WANT TO BE KICKED OUT COME MAY 7TH. Veronica says Marcela will explain it to me on Monday, and we’ll try again. Shoot, I don’t wanna do this ever again! So I walk out angrily, and hop on the Subte to find this unofficial iPhone repair place. Except the place I went to ended up being private, as in someone’s apartment, and they didn’t answer the phone when I called. Great.

Oh, what happened to my iPhone you ask?

Last Tuesday, Buenos Aires had a freak rainstorm. Like, it rained for more than 24 hours straight. My roof in my room leaks, which I deal with by putting a vase underneath the spot, and little cups wherever the other ones pop up. I go out to the Alamo and things get nuts. I come back, and find–to my horror–HALF OF MY DESK IS FLOODED. CONVENIENTLY, the new leak falls RIGHT ON MY IPHONE. It had been drowning for HOURS. OH MY GOD. And not only that, it was on top of all my school work, and there were also new leaks right next to my desk, all over my backpack and some clothes and random stuff on the ground (I live my life in piles). And it had just started splashing onto my LAPTOP when I got home. Thank god, at least, I salvaged my computer. I’m FREAKING out. And my iPhone won’t turn on. I get on facebook and freak out, find out I should put it in a bag of rice for 4 days, and do just that. Saturday night rolls around…and nothing. It’s dead. And a part of me is dead inside too. It’s not like I just haphazardly put it in any place in my room. It was on my DESK.  Imagine if my computer had gotten drenched…heads would seriously roll.

Oh, even better: I go to Mac Stores, Claro (cell phone company here) and other places, and discover that ARGENTINA DOESN’T SUPPORT IPHONES. As in, if they break in this country, too bad so sad. WHAT. THE. FRACK. Thus me trying to find unofficial places that fix iPhones, because really, my iPhone is that important to me. And I’m in crisis mode still trying to figure out how to fix it and how to pay for repairs. UGH.

Yay for too many epic fails. I’m so utterly pissed and upset…Well, here’s to next week.

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