Two Weeks

Well… I’ve officially been here for two weeks now. So weird!

I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of getting around the city. Wednesday night, I took the bus to Acabar to meet up with some friends to celebrate Abigail’s birthday. Acabar is this really cool bar in Palermo, and the decor is very modge-podgey (or crafty haha). They also have a huge wall of games you can take to your table, so we played Jenga with giant blocks and 4 en Linea (Connect Four). We didn’t stay out too late since everyone had to be up early the next morning either for class or for the visa process. I split a taxi with a friend on the way home, and I was very proud of myself for figuring out how to get there and back.

The group
(photo credit: Abigail)

Thursday morning, half of my group had to meet the ISA staff to complete Step 2 of our student visa process. We had to meet at 7:30 which meant I left my house at 6:30 AM. The place was pretty far away, but even after a bus, 2 subway lines, and a phone call (couldn’t find the stinking building), I made it there on time. Thankfully, the process was pretty painless, and two ISA staff members were there to hold our hands the whole time (couldn’t imagine doing it all on my own).

Two hours later, we were finished and completely famished. Most of us didn’t eat anything before leaving the house at the crack of dawn, and we were seriously craving some classic American breakfast food (which does not exist here. Breakfast here is usually toast, and maybe fruit, with coffee or tea). Paula (an ISA staff member, and my favorite person of the week) directed us to a restaurant called Muu Lecheria in Palermo.

My placemat

Guys, seriously. The things you appreciate so much more when they are hard to come by. The restaurant was diner-themed and it was all light pink and light blue on the inside with big booths and American signs decorating the walls. The waitress even spoke perfect English! We all ordered eggs, bacon, french toast, waffles, pancakes, and even milkshakes. I got a bagel (egg, ham, cheese) which I was convinced did not exist on this continent, and the BEST coffee I’ve had since I’ve been here in a HUGE mug.

I didn’t have my camera with me so….. thanks Google Images

I will most definitely be returning here whenever I need a little taste of home 🙂
In other news…
– I actually have some reading and homework to do for class now which is weird, yet cool. I went to the store yesterday and stocked up on school supplies: spirals, post-it notes, highlighters, pens, the works.
– I saw a dude vomit on the Subte
– Peanut butter costs more than Nutella #onlyinargentina
Again, if you have any specific things you want me to talk about, leave a comment or email me at ryanemilyabroad@gmail.com
Nos vemos!
Ryan

Hay más!

Hello again! I still have some much to tell ahh!

Last Saturday, we had our first excursion to Tigre, and it was nice to get out of the city and have a little change of pace for the day. Tigre is about 20 miles north of Buenos Aires, and the town sits on an island on the Panará Delta. It truly is a river community. Even the supermarket comes by boat. My group took the train to Tigre, then took a boat to this little “beach” where we hung out for a couple of hours. It wasn’t hot enough to swim and there wasn’t much to do besides eat, so we took some pictures on the dock.

Type of boat we took

 

(photo credit: Abigail)
Next, we went to Puerto de Frutos which is now a crafts fair located in the old fruit market by the riverside. We didn’t have much time to look, and it was pretty overwhelming, but it was really cool to see all the things being sold. On our way back into the city, we stopped at a restaurant for some snacks and to take a look at Bs As from a distance. There was a huge grassy area where Argentines were spending their afternoon laying out on blankets or playing soccer.

Pretty view

 

And there’s the city

Probably the most important thing that has happened recently is that I started school on Monday! I am supposed to be studying abroad right? I took a cheesy first day of school picture, you’re welcome Mom 🙂

My beautiful school
 
View from classroom window #vertical campus
Totally not distracting. Oh wait, it is

My class schedule here is SO different than what I’m used to at home!

 
Monday 2:30-5:30 pm
Tuesday 2:30-7:00 pm
Wednesday 2:30-5:30 pm
Thursday 4:00-7:00 pm
Friday     NONE
I’m taking 4 classes in Spanish, one class in English, and all my classes are with other international students (as opposed to taking class with locals). The teaching style is a little different here- a lot more lecturing (no notes/powerpoint) makes it hard to pay attention for 90 minutes straight. One cool thing though is that class materials are cheap. Our “textbooks”/cuadernillos (large spiral bound packets of photocopied papers from many different sources) only cost about $20 USD for each class, and some are even less.
So far, I think my favorite classes are going to be Tango Danza, of course, and Literatura Latinoamericana (Latin American Literature). I’m also taking an Argentine culture class, an Argentine literature class, and a Latin American history class.
That’s it for now. We’ll see how long I’m able to keep this blogging thing up…
Nos vemos!
Ryan

Finally!

Hey guys!
I’m finally here in Argentina and I’m finally posting something-it’s not like I’ve been here over a week or anything… This past week has felt like the weirdest “vacation” of my life. I’m going to try to sum things up the best I can, but no promises that this post won’t be incredibly long.

“A journey of a thousand miles better begin with an aisle seat” (#faketravelquotes) and thankfully it did. After a 10+ hour flight, sweltering in the immigrations line for an hour, and waiting for everyone in the group’s flights to get in, we were finally off to the city. We met our host moms at the university and they took us back home to eat. My host mom’s name is Elina and there are two other girls who live in the house from a different study abroad program-Fallon (Canada) and Megan (Kentucky), but we all go to the same university. The rest of the weekend was filled with orientations and a long tour of the city on Sunday. We visited quite a few neighborhoods (or barrios) that were all completely different, but only got to spend a little time in each so hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back.

Cementario de la Recoleta

 

“How do I pose with dead people?”




La Recoleta Cemetery contains almost 5,000 vaults, all above ground, and the entire cemetery is laid out in sections like city blocks. Eva Peron’s tomb is located in this cemetery, but I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to see it. 

 

Plaza de Mayo

 

La Casa Rosada (Pink House)
It is said that this color was chosen in order to defuse political tension by fusing the red and white colors of the country’s opposing political parties.
 
 
In San Telmo, we visited una feria that they have every Sunday. There are TONS of vendors and quite a few street performers as well (see video above).

Caminito in La Boca
Conventillos

The neighborhood of La Boca is pretty poor so the people live in buildings called conventillos.  A whole family lives in one room and all the families in the building will share the bathroom and kitchen. They used to use leftover paint from the boats to paint their houses, so that’s where the tradition of all the bright colors came from.

Graffiti (photo credit: Sydney)
Puente de la Mujer (Women’s Bridge) in Puerto Madero

The rest of my week was filled with a lot of orientations, errands, adjusting, hanging out with friends, and of course, getting lost once.

Barrio Chino a.k.a. Chinatown
(photo credit: Sydney)

On Thursday, I completed part one of my Student Visa process really early in the morning, and in the evening my group enjoyed a free tango class. A bunch of us also stayed for salsa which was a blast 🙂

Basic step of tango on the sidewalk
(photo credit: Kelly)
Salsa at La Viruta-actually got a lot more crowded
(photo credit: Kelly)

Well that’s it for now! More to come soon. If you want to get email updates when I post something, you can enter your email in the box at the top-right of the page.

Nos vemos!
Ryan