Thursday, July 21, 2011


My first blog entry (I feel so hip...)!  Today marks día 4 en Buenos Aires, and I figured it was high time I actually posted a blog, since that appears to be the in thing to do while abroad.

It's about 16:00 (4PM) here, and I just got home from orientation.  Today when we got there we had some more general orientation where we learned a little about the elections coming up en octubre, the major candidates and their political parties.  We also talked a little about the recent history of Argentina (since the economic crisis in the early 2000s).  We had a half an hour break and my friend Julie and I got salads with little pieces of ham and cheese rolls from this small deli, it was about $19 pesos (~$5) Next we had a session about the different universities we can attend and the different concentraciones that we can do (I'm not doing a concentration so it was a pretty boring 2 hours for me).  

After the academic session was over I went and got an empanada de jamón y queso (ham and cheese), which was absolutely delicious and was only $4 pesos (~$1).  Then I had my examen oral, which wasn't hard, but I was really nervous (like I always am when I have to speak to someone in Spanish... I have no clue why) and I know I messed up a few things, but for the most part I think I did ok.  I took the bus home when I was done and the traffic wasn't too bad at the time, it was definitely the fastest commute I've ever had (about 30 min).  

When I got off the bus I stopped at the correo (post office) to get a monadero (card for the bus/subte (subway)).  After waiting for ~15 min (it reminded me of the DMV...) I got my card, but the cashier informed me I have to take it to a subte or a kiosko to put money on it, which in my opinion is a little ridiculous, why can't I just do it all in one place????  Anyway, when Julie gets done with her examen oral we're going to go explore el barrio for a little, and maybe stop at a cafe for some pastries (which all look AMAZING!!!!)

That's pretty much all I have for today, but I'll include emails from my first three days if anyone wants to catch up!

Dia 1 (7/18)
I just got to my house a little while ago, and my host mom seems really nice.  She even made some tea and lemon cake for me to have, it was delicious.  She speaks English really well, but she said she'll talk to me in Spanish so I can learn but if I have questions I can ask in English.  My room is nice and has a lot of closet space (more than my room at home...) and a little window, although the view is mostly of this wall by the back deck type thing.  It turns out the plug I got was NOT the right one, and I should have taken the one with the slanted prongs, but luckily one of the girls staying here before left an adapter so my host mom just gave me that to use.

I met a bunch of people on the plane, but I can't remember everyone's name and we had no phones so basically I'm not in contact with anyone yet, but my host mom's friend has a student too and they're both going to take us to orientation tomorrow. The flight was ok.  I had a pasta dinner with salad and a delicious caramel topped cheesecake dessert, and then watched the movie country strong.  I had a hard time falling asleep and an even harder time staying asleep.  I think I woke up every 30 seconds.  This morning my back was killing me when I woke up, but oh well.  Oh, and they gave us those little sleep masks on the plane :p.  This morning we had eggs, shredded potato hashbrowns (which tasted like cardboard) and fruit.  We landed and going through customs was really annoying, the line was forever, and I had to pay a $140 reciprocity fee (my receipt said $581 and I almost had a heart attack until I realized that was in pesos... gotta get used to that!)  The IFSA-Butler people met us at the airport and put us each in our own taxi to take us home (which they paid for with a pre-filled out credit receipt for $120 pesos (roughly $30)).  My taxi driver was really nice and asked me a few questions about my "castellano" which is what people in Argentina call Spanish due to the whole colonial rule thing they don't like to call it Spanish, or atleast that's what I've read.  Anyway, on the drive there were about 23478098094385 billboards relating to Argentina's futbol team (that's soccer for you Americans).  He was listening to some strange Spanish talk show type thing on the radio which I didn't fully understand.  Also my taxi driver was super religious, with a crucifix and a picture of Mary on the dash, and everytime we would pass a church he crossed himself.  When we got to my house (about an hour away from the airport) he took my suitcase out for me and used the push button thing to tell my host mom I was here (luckily, because I had no clue how to get inside).

After I finish unpacking my host mom is going to take me around and show me where the laundromat and the grocery store and the bank are, so that will be good. 

Dia 3 (7/20)
Yesterday was my first day of orientation, we just talked about general stuff (they had us each write 3 questions and then they answered them) and we also talked about how to get around the city with the buses (very confusing, there are a TON) and all of that jazz.  When I got home my host mom made dinner.  It sounds disgusting, but was actually really good.  It kind of reminded me of a shepards pie, but it was ground beef, green olives cut up, hard boiled eggs cut up, i think some onion, and some spices and mashed potatoes all baked in a casserole dish.  Then I showered and went to bed. 

This morning I had cereal (basically frosted flakes) and milk (which is really strange, because it comes in a pouch... ) and tea (my host mom is big on tea and coffee). 

Anyyyway, today I bought a phone :)  it's very tiny and very light and it only cost $179 pesos (about $70) for the phone and 200 texts.  We took a written exam today to test our Spanish level, which was just writing 2 essays.  I have no clue how I did, ok I think... I got un sandwich de vegetales y queso para almuerzo, fue delicioso!  Then we had a session about the different colleges and such (we meet with an advisor friday to pick classes) and then one about security and different customs in Argentina. 

Orientation ended at 4:30 and Ludi and I decided to walk home so we could see all the different shops and check out prices and such.  She lives 2 blocks before where the bus would drop me off, so I figured I might as well save some bus fare and get some exercise.  It was a pretty far walk (about 3 miles according to google maps) but it was nice to see the city.  Plus the buses are ridiculously crowded, there is no such thing as too full for the drivers, last night we were packed like sardines.  There are so many people EVERYWHERE, one of the kids in the program said that he's from Nueva York y los subtes (subways) this morning were busier and more packed than he's ever seen one.  Also, el transito (traffic) es HORRIBLE!  The drivers are insane (especially the motorcyclists), and I would be sooo scared to have to drive here.

When I got home my host mom and I had some tea and torta (cake-we had lemon cake today) and now she's making dinner (I still don't like this not eating until 9 thing...).  Then after dinner I'm going to shower and go to bed.  I get tired really early here.  It's barely 8 and I already want to go to bed, probably because it gets  dark so early (like 6ish).

A lot are going out tonight, because it's dia del amigo (which I don't fully understand, but I think it's basically an excuse to party), but I don't think I'm going to join because I'm super tired.

Un beso desde Argentina!

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