Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Citas y clases

Lunes el 15 de agosto – continuado
Clarisa called me down for dinner, which was lentils with potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes and spices.  It was quite delicious!   As we were finishing dinner Clarisa got a phone call and went into the living room so I washed my plate and went upstairs.  After about a half an hour Clarissa brought me up some torta con dulce de leche y un té, it was really sweet of her, and I gladly ate it.  

I was exhausted from getting up early and kayaking so after my little dessert I got ready for bed and went to sleep (at 10:30).

Martes el 16 de agosto – día 30
Today I got up around 9:30 and headed downstairs for a bowl of honey nut cheerios (the Argentine version) and some tea.  Then I sent some emails, figured out how I was getting to my meetings this week, and took pictures for my homework assignment.  For my class at UCA (Registrando Buenos Aires) we had to take 40 pictures of the same object.  I chose my desk lamp, here are a few of the pictures I took:

After that I made myself a sandwich and then headed out to the elementary school for my meeting.  I got there about 30 minutes early so I decided to walk around.  The area was full of shops selling things for very cheap and there were a ton of people buying garbage bags full of things, I have a feeling this area is where all the street vendors buy their wares to sell.  I saw another girl from IFSA so we went into the building together and then waited for the rest of the group to get there.  In total there were about  7 of us.  We went into an office of a woman whose name I can’t remember, but we were meeting with the directors of the school and then the headmaster stopped by as well.  The school is a private Jewish primary school, with kids ranging in age from 6-12, which promotes a tri-lingual education (Spanish, Hebrew, and English).  The headmaster told us that a good percentage of the students come from low income families and attend the school on scholarships.  He also stressed how important it is for us to be committed to our volunteer work as the students will be very excited to work with us.  It sounds like a very interesting opportunity; the school wants us to have informal lessons with the students so they can practice their English in a non-classroom setting.  I’m really looking forward to working with the kids, and I think it will be a nice break from classes and the hustle and bustle of the city.

After my meeting I took the subte to UBA for my practica en psicolingüística.  Basically, this is an extra 2 hour class where we learn about different linguistic theories and experimental methodologies.  I was early again (this is a recurring problem for me in Bs As) so I stopped at a little kiosko and bought some candy.

Chocolate covered banana cream, delicious, and only $1 peso!
 I also took a few pictures of the UBA building:

El bano

When I got to UBA the room number for my class wasn’t listed so I attempted to find the department office for Letras.  Luckily when I went a girl from my class was there who was really nice.  The woman in the office gave us a room number so we walked to the class together.  It turns out the woman gave us the wrong room number so we went back to the office and then headed once again to a classroom.  When we got there another class was going on so we waited in the hallway.  Never in my life have I seen so many people crowded into a school.  The amount of people in this building probably came close the number of students on the entire Gettysburg College campus (keep in mind this is only one of the UBA facultads, there are numerous others throughout the city).  When class started the professor had one of the students go make photocopies (which cost us each $3 pesos) and then she explained that we have to do un trabjo de campo (basically we have to do an experiment) working with elementary school kids to study language adquisition.  We could work in groups of 1-3 and Antonella (the girl who I met earlier) and I paired up and another girl named Paula joined us.  They both seem very nice and I like the class topic (although I think it could be a little difficult) so I’m tempted to just take this class, and not even try out Etnolingüística (the class on Saturday), we’ll see how ambitious I feel Friday night/Saturday morning.  After class Antonella showed me the photocopy place where I could buy the readings for next week ($7 pesos – $1.75) and then we walked to the subte station together.  After saying goodbye with the customary kiss on the cheek I got on the subway and was lucky enough to find a seat.  

When I got off the subte I stopped at DISCO (the grocery store) to buy some things for my lunch.  I got in line with 14 items (since last time I learned my lesson that the 15 items or less rule is strictly enforced) and waited for about 20 minutes to check out.  I had my 15% off coupon from the previous week (which they give you every time you shop there, but the coupons are only valid Mondays and Tuesdays) so my total was only $61 pesos (~$15) for a week’s worth of lunch and snacks. 

I arrived at home  around 9:15 and headed to the kitchen to unpack my groceries.  Clarisa told me we wouldn’t be eating until around 10PM so Lu’s (my host sister) boyfriend could join us.  I talked to her about my day as she made dinner.  She is really happy that I’m doing volunteer work and ensured me I would love working with the kids.  When Manuel arrived the four of us sat down to a delicious meal of ravioli verde (stuffed with ricotta and spinach) with a really good red sauce with vegetables that Clarisa had made.  Manuel said the sauce was good but a little spicy, I thought it was delicious and tasted no spice at all.  Clarisa and Manuel then discussed how hot the brand of black pepper she bought is (which was just normal black pepper).  I’ve noticed that in Argentina they don’t very much spicy food, and anytime something has a little heat to it, they think it’s a lot.  

After dinner we had a delicious postre called postre de vigilante, which consists of dulce de membrillo (basically a very thick jam-type dessert made of quince, I had no idea what that was so I had to look it up) and queso.  I was a bit skeptical about the combo, but it was actually delicious!  Then Lu made some peppermint tea and everyone talked for a little.  I had a hard time following the conversation because everyone was talking so fast, but I understood the basics.  Manuel asked me some questions about where I was from.  Trying to explain American geography has proven to be very difficult, because the only references people have are big cities.  Lu told me she watches Cold Case, which takes place in Philadelphia, and wanted to know if that was close to me, so that was kind of neat.

When we finished dessert I helped clear the table then headed upstairs to shower and go to bed.

Miercoles el 17 de agosto – día 31
I woke up this morning around 9:30 and headed downstairs for breakfast.  I made myself a bowl of cereal with a banana and some hot tea, then I went back upstairs to get ready for the day.  I double checked my directions for my meeting with Lorena (the volunteer work coordinator at IFSA) then went downstairs to pack my lunch. 

I took the subte to Lorena’s neighborhood, arriving 45 minutes early (I’m really hoping I get this timing thing down better sooner rather than later).  It was a big shopping area so I walked around and did a lot of window shopping.  I came across some neat stores like this:

All edible!!!
Pretty church

I love the palm trees here

Possibly my new favorite graffiti
I definitely plan on visiting this area again and going actual shopping! 

When it got closer to our meeting time I made my way to Lorena’s apartment and buzzed up.  She came down and let me in and we went to her home office.  She had a really nice apartment and really cool office. 
Our meeting was about doing biochemical research at La Facultad de Medicina en la UBA.  I told her that I was a little nervous as I know absolutely nothing about Biology.  She told me not to worry because I had a lot of laboratory experience and the people I would be working with are very nice.  I decided I should atleast try it out and see how I like it, so I have a meeting sometime next week at the lab!

After our meeting I headed back to the subte to go to my class at UCA.  I got the class about 10 minutes early only to find other students in the hall because the classroom was locked so I sat down in the hallway and ate my lunch.  A security guard came and unlocked the door and we all filed in to wait for our professor.  She showed up 25 minutes late (last time she was 20 mins late).  I still can’t get used the Argentine concept of time… 

She started class by having us show our 40 pictures.  While it was interesting in the beginning it got very boring very quickly.  A few people (including myself) misunderstood the assignment, as apparently we were supposed to photograph a LARGE item.  I missed that part of the directions, but she still liked some of my photos so that’s good.  After 7 people showed their pictures she gave us a 20 minute break (which is common here because classes are so long).  I read some texts for my literature class tomorrow and talked with a girl next to me. 

When everyone got back to class she showed us a short clip from a video and then we looked at more photos.  Our assignment for next week is to take pictures at night with no flash, and then select between 5-15 photos that are good, or we are unsure of to share with the class. 

At 17:00 when class was over I walked to the bus stop and waited for 15 minutes for the colectivo.  I don’t understand the colectivos here.  You can wait for 30 minutes for your bus, and then there will be 3 in a line, it’s annoying but just part of life here in Buenos Aires.

My bus ride home was about an hour and it was packed!  I was really glad to get off the bus and walk the rest of the way.  I hate to imagine what the colectivos and subtes are going to be like in the summer…
When I got home I went to my room and worked on some homework, then Clarisa called me down for dinner.

We had beef and potatoes in this really good broth, and more postre de vigilante for dessert.  Lu ate with us, but she's sick so she went upstairs before we were done to rest.  I'm really hoping I don't get sick (yes Nanny I'm taking my vitamins).  It's been rainy and overcast here the past few days (which just makes me sleepy) and Clarisa told me it's supposed to be cold here the next few days, which I'm not looking forward to, I'm very ready for some warm weather!
After dinner I made some tea for Clarisa and I then went upstairs to shower and get ready for bed.  Clarisa has to get up early tomorrow because she's going to be on a radio program talking about astrology.

I have some more reading to do, then I'm off to bed.

Un beso,

Random Photo(s):
A continuation from last time...
Old school bus

A taxi, just because I haven't posted a picture of the taxis here yet

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