Lunes el 8 de agosto – día 22
Today I got up around 9:30AM and had some honey grahams and a banana for breakfast, along with some hot tea. I took the subte and I made my way to USAL for my examen oral, which did not go at all as planned. Apparently after 8 years of studying Spanish, 6 college level Spanish classes, and getting accepted into a study abroad program for advanced students my Spanish is not at an “advanced level” only “high intermediate” and therefore I am not eligible for 2 of the classes I was interested in taking. This is absolutely ridiculous, as I know that I would be perfectly fine in these seminars, which are for foreigners, especially since I tested high enough to take classes at UBA (the large public university which is much harder than USAL). There’s not much I can do about it though, so oh well.
After this setback I went to lunch with Melissa. I opted for a salad because I feel like my diet has been seriously lacking in the vegetable department as of late.
|Our meals came with rolls and these (which tasted like cardboard)|
|Thousand Island dressing in Argentina|
After lunch I walked home and stopped at DISCO (a grocery store) on the way. I bought some things to make sandwiches (it was very hard to find lunch meat that wasn’t ham, which just grosses me out), some vegetables, soup, and almonds. I decided not to buy eggs because they don’t refrigerate them here, they were just sitting out in the aisle (I’m sure that’s perfectly fine otherwise all of Argentina would be ill, but it kinda weirded me out). At the checkout (the 15 item or less lane) the cashier told me I had to pick 2 items not to buy because I actually had 17 items (I knew this when I got in line, but never have I ever been told I couldn’t be in line for being slightly over the limit. I also didn’t want to wait in line for 20 minutes behind the women in the normal lines with 2 carts full of groceries). This annoyed me, but hey, if you don’t want me to spend more money at your store fine, I’ll pick two things not to buy. I also had a 15% off coupon that I got last time I bought groceries, so my total was only $104 pesos ($21). I got another coupon for 15% off, so that’s nice, although it’s annoying because the coupons are only good for a 2 day period, so I’ll have to go shopping next Monday or Tuesday.
I came home and started working on my homework assignment for my taller de gramática for IFSA, which was writing a newspaper article about a headline they gave us “Hallan graffiti sobre pinturas de miles de años de antigüedad.” I hate assignments like this, so I decided to take a break and read some food blogs I have recently become addicted to.
I came across a recipe for dulce de leche coffee (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/11/dulce-de-leche-coffee/ I basically want to be this woman. She’s going to have a show on foodnetwork starting Saturday August 27th at 11:30AM. You should all watch it for me). Normally I don’t like coffee unless it’s disguised by so much sugar, cream, or other flavors that it can’t really be called coffee, but here it’s actually quite delicious. Much richer, and with a deeper flavor than anything I’ve tried at home. Plus, anything with dulce de leche can’t be bad. I headed downstairs to the kitchen to make some. Clarisa always has coffee made, which she just heats up throughout the day, so I got a cup poured in some coffee, and put it in the microwave. Meanwhile I got the dulce de leche out of the fridge, had a spoonful while I was waiting for the coffee to heat up, and then got another spoonful to put in the coffee (the original recipe calls for kahlúa and whipped cream but my resources were limited). The dulce de leche turned the coffee a really pretty creamy color, and it tasted divine! If you can get your hands on some dulce de leche I highly suggest trying this. It was kind of like a caramel macchiato only much much better, and it didn’t cost $4.50.
After this break I went back upstairs and finished my homework. After Clarisa got home we had dinner (rotisserie chicken and salad with shredded carrots and soy sprouts with balsamic vinegar and oil) and watched Susana Giménez and her show “salven el millón” which is basically million dollar money drop. It was interesting but I didn’t know the answer to a majority of the questions because they were about Argentine culture and history, but I guess it’s a good way to learn. After the show was over I showered and went to bed.
Martes el 9 de agosto
Tuesday I got up and had some cereal and a banana for breakfast, then I packed lunch (a sandwich and carrots) and headed to IFSA. After my taller de gramática Melissa and I took the subte to UBA for semántica léxica, un seminario.
I would like to take this time to tell you all a little bit about UBA (Universidad de Buenos Aires). I am in la facultad de filosofía y letras (filo). UBA is a very prestigious university, with lots of famous alumni and teachers. However, it is a public university - completely free for anyone who attends – completely funded by the government. This means the building resembles what I imagine a crack house looks like. It is very dirty, and not all pretty, in fact it looks sort of like the building should be condemned. The bathrooms don’t have toilet paper or soap, and the entire building is in dire need of a good cleaning. It is also a completely different atmosphere. There are people handing out political propaganda, posters for different candidates plastered on every surface, lots of politically aware students, and in the past the school has been shut down by student protests. Taking classes there is definitely going to be an interesting, and very different experience.
|Classroom or prison cell?|
|Hello random pigeon in the hallway...|
Now, more about my specific class - I didn’t care for it, but I have 3 other options (really only 2 because one of the classes is at the same time as 2 other classes I need to take). Interestingly though a lot of the texts for the class are in English, and some of the other students in the class said they couldn’t really read English very well. After class Melissa and I took the subte home.
For dinner Clarisa and I had a tortilla (omelet/frittata type dish) with pasta and queso. It was definitely interesting. I wouldn’t think to make an omelet with pasta, but it wasn’t bad. During dinner Clarisa and I watched Susana Giménez again, this time she was interviewing (like a talk show) this woman who was born without arms. It was really interesting, she used her feet for everything - eating, writing (her “hand”writing was better than a lot of people I know *cough*Jared*cough*), putting on makeup, cooking, talking, holding “hands” with her husband. She was also such a positive person and talked about how optimistic and supportive her parents were. Her story was very inspiring, and now she works as an advocate for people with disabilities.
After dinner I took a shower and read some of “La Cautiva” which was my homework assignment for mi clase “Literatura Argentina” en la USAL.
Miercoles el 10 de agosto
Wednesday I had to get up early to go to un seminario “Gramatica Espanola como lengua segunda y extranjera, adquisicion aprendizaje.” I had some yogurt with kiwi and banana for breakfast before heading to UBA. The class seemed really interesting and the professor was really nice so I’m really upset I can’t take it. It’s at the same time as another class that I need to take, so that’s really unfortunate. I had to leave the class 2 hours early to go to a class at la UCA called “Registrando Buenos Aires.” I arrived 10 minutes late but the professor didn’t show up for another 10 minutes and class didn’t start for 10 minutes after that. I still can’t get used to ArgenTIME. Everyone is always late (Dad would not do well here), and nobody cares if you walk into class 40 minutes late - it’s very different from back home. Anyway, the class is a basic photography class where we learn a little bit of technique, but mostly we just go out into the city and take pictures. It seems really great. My other option is the literature class in my program. Since I’m already taking a literature class it seems a little redundant to take another one, but the class ends 3 weeks before the photography class ends. I’ll probably end up taking the photography class though because it seems really interesting to me.
After class was over I took un colectivo home. When I got home I talked to Clarisa for a little while. She told me she was going to the movies so I would be alone for dinner. She left me some vegetable rice on the stove. I don’t mind eating alone because it means I get to eat before 9:30.
After dinner I finished reading the first 3 chapters of “La Cautiva” for my lit class and then I showered and went to bed.
Jueves el 11 de agosto
I had to get up early again today (I’m really not a fan of mornings, but you all knew that already). I had some cereal for breakfast and packed myself a lunch. I went to my taller de gramática at IFSA – there were only 2 other girls there, and there are supposed to be like 15-20 people in each taller. It wasn’t bad though because we got more individual help, plus this is our last taller, and our Castellano classes don’t start until the week of the 22nd. After my taller I walked to USAL for my literature class. I got there early so I ate my lunch and waited for the class to start.
Since the class is so long (here we only have class once a week for 3 hours instead of three times a week for one hour) we have a break in the middle. Emily and I went to go buy our next readings at the kiosko close to our class (instead of buying textbooks here the professors just drop off readings at photocopy shops and then students buy those instead of books. While this is completely against copyright laws I’ve only spend $9.50 pesos (~$2.50) for 4 readings so I’m not complaining. Also, I didn’t have to buy the books for this class because one of Clarisa’s former students left most of the books here). Then I bought a café con leche from this machine at school for only $2 pesos - $0.50.
|This was on the board when I entered the classroom...|
When my literature class was over I took the subte to UBA for psicolinguista. The class was packed when I got there (20 minutes late) but it hadn’t started yet. There were no seats left so I had to sit on the ground in the front with several other students. We signed up for our practica sessions (sort of like labs – 2 hours each week, in addition to the 4 hours of class) and then the professor gave us a brief overview of the class. It seems interesting, but I feel like it’s going to be a lot of work. After class I talked to the professor about where to get the class materials and she seemed really nice so I might end up taking the class (it also interests me more than the semantics seminar from Tuesday).
I took the subte home and I discovered this delicious chocolate bar which is filled with strawberry yogurt (not really yogurt, it's much thicker) and puffed rice. It has a nice tang, and is really delicous!
Then I did some random things online while waiting for Clarisa to get home. Unfortunately she was late getting home so we didn't have dinner until 10, but it was really good; pasta with a creamy chicken sauce with pieces of green beans (I think). We watched "salven un millon" again while we ate. I think Clarisa felt bad for getting back so late because for dessert she gave me an alfajor and told me to put on extra dulce de leche. It was sooooo rich and sooo good. Then Clarisa made us both some mint tea and we sat in the kitchen and talked for a little.
I don't have class tomorrow but Melissa and I are going to go to the zoo and the botanical gardens close to my house, so that should be fun. Check back for another update and pictures on Sunday!