Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Comienzan las clases

Domingo 31 de julio - Continued

Sunday I  had a pretty lazy day that entailed lots and lots of emailing and trying to figure out what my schedule for the week was.  I also had my first experiences with Argentine television.  I was really surprised by the number of American shows in English with Spanish subtitles.  There were also all the regular kids channels (Disney, Nickelodeon etc) dubbed in Spanish.  I ended up watching the movie Premonition (not that great) in Spanish.  I also watched an episode of Los Simpsons which was really funny to watch because all of the voices were different.  On Sundays we have leftovers, which meant I got some more of the delicious tarta from Friday.  Then I showered and went to bed. 
Pumpkin - ham - cheese - onion

Sooooo good.

Lunes 1 de agosto - día 15
I got up around 10AM and had some cereal ("wheat and oat pillows") with yogur de frutilla (strawberry, it took some getting used to calling them frutilla because in school we learned fresa was strawberry) and a banana.  Today was our first day of orientation at the IFSA (institute for study abroad, my program) office, so I met Julie at her house and then we met Emily at the subte station.  It was veryyyy crowded but the trip only took about 30 minutes (it would have been MUCH longer en un colectivo).  As soon as we climbed the stairs to the street we could see la Plaza de la República y el obelisco.

IFSA is only a few block from the plaza en Avenida Corrientes.  We had a "charla de orientación por genero" where we talked about different topics about being female in Buenos Aires like machismo, piropos (men here are not shy about commenting on your physical appearance or making cat-call like statements in your direction even in the middle of the day on a crowded sidewalk/street) and the like.  We also discussed how it is completely unacceptable for a woman to go out in public with shorts or a sleeveless shirt if she hasn't taken the proper measures for hair removal.  In essence, hairy woman are stared at.

After that enlightening session I headed out to find someplace to eat with Julie, Melissa, and Shawn.  We found a pizzeria two doors down from IFSA that advertised some very enticing specials and looked absolutely divine.  Once we seated ourselves our masero brought menus and we all thought special sounded like a great deal: 2 slices of pizza or 2 empanadas and a beer or soda for $14 pesos ($3.50 - unbelievable right?).  I opted for 2 porciones de muzarella y un agua sin gas (I'm really not a fan of the carbonated water here, I just think it's weird).  A little while later, this is what arrived:

It was divine!  I have a feeling I'll be returning frequently for some more delicious slices of heaven.

After we finished lunch I headed back to IFSA to try and figure out more details about classes and try and get people to respond to my emails.  Then I had Orientación de Residencia where they told us all about how to apply for our residency.  The next session was about traveling but unfortunately I had to leave early to go to my first class.  It was at la USAL and was entitled "Introduccion a la Literatura."  In short, I won't be going back again.  The class was a year long class (keep in mind it is second semester here, so I missed the first half of the material) and right now they are discussing theater and plays, which isn't really what I was looking for in a literature class in Argentina.  Fortunately (because I didn't have to sit through 3 hours of a class I wasn't interested in, and was completely lost in) after about 20 minutes the electricity went out and an administrator came around and told us the rest of the classes for the night were canceled.  I met up with Emily (who had a different class in the same building) and we went to get some coffee with 2 students from Escocia (Scotland) who were in her class.

We stopped at this really neat little cafe.  I got a cafe con leche and a muffin de durazno (peach).  The guy who owned the cafe told us his girlfriend was from America.  When she came in (she had been out buying groceries) she talked to us about how she was from New Jersey and she met her boyfriend in Spain where she was teaching English.

When we were done we all headed to the subte station.  Emily, Jennie, and I all got off at the same stop and then Emily and I walked home together (she lives a few blocks me).

Clarisa was making dinner when I got home, so I went upstairs to drop off my stuff and then went back down to the kitchen to eat.  We had a really delicious stew of sorts, with big chunks of pumpkin, zucchini (or some sort of green squash like vegetable), onion, and chicken.  I had a mandarina (orange/tangerine, I'm not sure which) and then went upstairs to shower and go to bed.

Martes 2 de agosto
I had to get up at 7 AM to go to class.  It was terrible.  I had some frosted flakes and then headed out for the subte station.  After making a connection from my subte line to the line that would take me to my class I somehow missed my stop (I'm still not sure how it happened) and had to walk 6 blocks to the building in the cold.  Had I gotten off at the right stop it would have only been one block.  The class was at USAL and was entitled "Seminario: Procesos y ideas de America Latín."  In all likelihood I won't be taking it.  1. It requires me to wake up at 7AM (ew).  2.  It's a political thought class about all of South America (I think I want something more focused on Argentina, and I'm not that interested in politics anyway).  3.  There is a 20 page research paper as a final (since I'm not very interested in the topic I feel this would be TERRIBLE).  On the bright side there were 3 other IFSA kids there, so that was nice.

After class Melissa, Andy, and I went to the same pizza shop as yesterday for lunch.  This time I got 1 empanada de polla y 1 empanada de verduras y un agua sin gas ($14 pesos - $3.50 - amazing).  It was quite delicious :)

Chicken empanada in front - Vegetable empanada in back
Next I had my taller de gramática where we talked about las diferencias entre preterito y imperfecto.  We had a homework assignment of finding a noticia de un diaro (newspaper) to present to the class the next day (I found one about un paro de trabajadores de trenes (a strike by the train drivers)).

After class I went to a little store I saw yesterday when I was walking to class and bought 2 scarves and some earrings for $125 pesos ($30).

When I got home the maid who comes once a week was cleaning my room so I watched TV in the living room.  The maid is really nice and asked me how I like Buenos Aires and if I was adjusting to the city.  She greeted me by exchanging a kiss on the cheek (which is customary here, kind of like a hand shake) which I still haven't gotten used to yet.  I watched "Los Hombres de Negro" in Spanish and I started watching Spiderman, but the maid needed to clean the living room so I went upstairs to my room and read.

Clarisa told me she wasn't going to be here for dinner but Lu (my host sister) should be back around 10 PM, so I could either wait for her or just eat by myself.  I figured there was no way I was going to last until 10 without eating, but Lu got home early (around 9:15PM) so I ate with her.  We didn't talk much, but I asked her a few questions about her school (she is an art major).  We had pastel de papas, which I had my first week here.  It was a mixture of ground beef, green olives, onions, hard boiled eggs, and spices, with mashed potatoes on top (kind of like Shepard's pie).  It sounds disgusting but is actually delicious.

After dinner I showered and did some things online, then went to bed.

Miercoles 3 de agosto
Today my only class was taller de gramática in IFSA because my other Wednesday classes don't start until next week.  I woke up around 9:45AM and had breakfast (wheat and oat pillows cereal with milk and a banana and hot tea), checked my email (I'm still trying to set up a time for my oral exam to see if my Spanish is "advaned" enough to take a seminar I want to take at USAL).  I got dressed and headed to the subte station at around noon.  It was busier than I had ever seen it before (which I didn't think was possible).  In order to get on I had to force my way in, and was then pushed farther into the car by the people behind me.  It was very uncomfortable and I also feel like every surface of the subte is crawling with germs, so I feel gross everytime I get off of it (thank God for hand sanitizer).  I walked to IFSA and took the elevator to the 8th floor (which is really the 9th floor because they don't call the first floor the first floor, they call it planta baja (ground floor)).  When I got there I used the computers to register for program classes (a literature class I hope to take and a culture class I'll take if I decide to take a literature class at a different school) then I went to my taller.  We discussed our noticias and then got a homework assignment for next week (write an article about a headline they gave us).

I took the subte home and then made myself some lunch (toast with olive oil and toasted tomatoes).  Clarisa was working in her office so I went upstairs, worked on my schedule some more (the universities are so unorganized I can't even begin to describe it) and then read some of the book of poetry I bought by Jorge Luis Borges.   Clarisa called me down for dinner at around 9:30PM.  We had a soup with tiny little pasta rings (called ava maria) and carrots, pumpkin, and zucchini.  Then we had pasta (penne and bow tie ish pasta) with olive oil and spices and cheese.  It was pretty good.

Now I'm going to shower and go to bed.  I have another class to try at USAL tomorrow, wish me luck!

Un beso,

Random picture:
Classy graffiti by my house

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