Here are the photos I've been meaning to upload for a few days.
Some shots from Les Luthiers are in there, as well as a few misc. shots I've taken in the last few days.
Also, we went to the Museo del Bicentenario today, which is the historical museum established for the 200th anniversary of Argentina. It was pretty interesting and the context of the books I've been reading about Argentina helped a lot. Lots of artwork, artifacts and historical information in there.
I also went to a cafe to have a café con leche and read one of the books for class. I was there for an hour or two and watched the Argentina vs. Ecuador game on TV. I miss soccer, I think I might start that up again.
Here are the photos I've been meaning to upload for a few days.
I went to a show tonight of a group Called Les Luthiers at a theater on Corrientes. They are a Latin-Grammy winning comedy/music act. We bought the cheapest seats they had and went to just check it out. The whole show was in Spanish but I feel like I caught a majority of the jokes. The puns and cultural references were a bit over my head, but there were quite a few entertaining songs.
The above video is one such act. Our teacher, Alejando, introduced us to this video and to Les Luthiers in class last week. Once we saw they were in town for two weeks, we decided to go.
Today was the final day of intensive language classes. We have a test on Tuesday, but from now on our classes will only be twice a week. We're done reviewing all the grammar and now get to delve into some literature from Buenos Aires. I can already tell that my Spanish has improved and my Anki vocab deck has grown to about 300 words already. I catch myself using new words almost every day. I have to read the introduction and first chapter to two books by class time next week.
It has been fun, but I am really looking forward to the change in daily routine. More than three hours in a classroom every day has been exhausting. Today I brought my mate to class, which made a world of difference. I was quite alert all hour, to say the least, haha. I can now say that I now know first hand why porteños are all about the mate.
The other fabulous thing about no longer being in class from 2:30 to 5:30 is that my eating schedule can return to normal. I don't wake up early enough for breakfast, go to class around when I'd eat lunch, then sit in the classroom all day. After class today, we went out for pizza since we were so hungry. I had a pizza with palm hearts, mozzarella & Roquefort cheeses. And a Quilmes - duh. It was awesome. (Sorry, no photo today. Here's the one from the website of the pizza place though...)
I'm getting used to the slower pace of life and service around here, too. I've realized that there is a certain charm to the extended meal. I feel like Americans miss out on that sometimes. We've got places to be, we have plans, we've scheduled a time slot to be at this restaurant. But here, waiters mind their own business until you catch their eye. There's no rush to leave. There's an emphasis only on the present and on the art of conversation. I can really dig it.
As much as possible, I'm trying to immerse myself into the life of a normal Buenos Aires citizen.
Last night, I switched all the music on my iPod to be Spanish musica. This means all the runs I go on and all my time on the bus are gonna be spend dissecting the music and lyrics of various Spanish language artists. I'm not too familiar with most of them, so it's fun to see what I like. Also, my roommate Trevor and I no longer speak English in the apartment. Yes, really. I'm looking for gaps in my vocabulary.
One such incident that revealed how much more Spanish I have to learn is when the pilot light on our water heater went out. We had to read the instructions, call down to the front desk a few times, and, ultimately, almost blew ourselves up. No biggie, it was a minor burst of flame. We did figure it all out without the help of someone else, just like any other resident of this town would.
But just because I'm trying to immerse myself here doesn't mean I'm not thinking about home.
Today's run was set to the Ska-P album my brother Derek gave me a long time ago. I never really dug into it, but it's a great album. This also made me think of Nate, who recently graduated from high school and has a few concerts with his Ska band this summer, all of which I've had to miss. It was nice to be skyped into his gradution party, but that's not the same as getting to see my entire family. It's such a shame to have to be apart from all the great stuff happening at home.
That said, I wouldn't change my plans this summer. I just wish I could have it all. I know when I get back home, after spending all this time getting used to life inside another culture, I'll have a whole new perspective about all the things I love.
This week is going to be just about the same as last week. Lots of class, homework every night. The usual.
But today was slightly different. It started this afternoon. We were about 20 minutes late for class because there was a strike outside of the Ministry of Labor. Our bus had to route around the closed street, which took about three blocks of detour.
That's one major difference I've noticed about porteños - if they are upset, everyone is going to know about it. People take to the streets and make their voices heard. I admire that and I wish the US still had the same attitude. Sometimes I feel like we just sit around and complain. Our generation doesn’t ever really take action when we feel passionate about an issue.
I also really admire our teacher because, after we came into class so late, he simply said, "No pasa nada" and started explaining that this is how Buenos Aires is. We got to talking about foreign policy, about the domestic political environment in Argentina and we shared opinions on quite a few topics. It was great to have a conversation like that, though it didn’t technically fit into the scope of class.
After class, we had a meeting with Carolina and went over the syllabi for the other two classes, which start along with our internships next week. This is going to be a busier summer than I had thought. Here is my weekly schedule:
Monday – Internship
Tuesday – Spanish Class, Internship, Gender Seminar Class
Wednesday – Internship, Journalism Seminar Class
Thursday – Spanish Class, Internship
Friday – Internship
I have two papers due in each of the seminar classes, multiple tests in my Spanish class and three full books to read. All in Spanish. Oh, and an internship. And Tango classes, and traveling.
Speaking of the internship, I don’t know exactly what work I’ll be doing, but I’m pumped to start working at a real-world advertising agency! You can check out their website, and the brands I’ll be working with here. As soon as I know what I’m doing, I’ll let you all know. Until then… saludos.
Today was a very relaxing day. I went to la Feria de San Telmo, which is an antique market held every Sunday. It was large and touristy, but a lot of the booths had intruiging stuff.
I'm a sucker for antiques. I love to hold a hundred year old book in my hands, or read the fading Spanish on the back of postcard sent between two strangers, ages ago. I got a few books, saw some tango, and heard some music. Here are my photos from today.
I bought both of these books today for about $10. A Spanish Huck Finn and an absolutely amazing English book called "Legends of Vancouver." It's a collection of Northern Native American legends, written in the early 1900's. This edition is beautifully illustrated and is from 1944.
See all my photos here
This is a video of some of the clips I've filmed in my first two weeks here.
It's not meant to be an amazingly coherent video or anything, but it's got a lot more life than the photos I've uploaded. There are clips from my flight, of the city in a thunderstorm, and Plaza de Mayo during yesterday's holiday celebration.
Let me know whatcha think!