Resolutions?

1 Jan

We look at a new years as a clean slate, a magical moment where all our sins of the past year will be replaced with good intentions, perfectly organized file cabinets and juice cleanses. Perhaps we need to go through this exercise to feel like we’re moving forward or to remind ourselves that the best of us is yet to come. Rarely, however, do we take New Years to look back and acknowledge the ways we did progress throughout the year, often in ways that our resolutions did not anticipate. Instead, each January 1st we rinse and repeat. Instead of starting completely from scratch, we should look at what we did right in 2012, and only resolve to continue doing what we did right and to treat mistakes not as failures, but as opportunities to become even better.

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Bom Dia, São Paulo!

13 Jan

HELLO!
After a long flight with too many brazilian children on sugar highs from their summer trips to Disney World, I am happy to say that I have arrived safe and sound in São Paulo, surprisingly not that tired and with most of my sanity in tact (not that there was much there to begin with).
I have not had any time to explore the city, since I’ve only been here for 24 hours. I do know that this is going to be an awesome semester. The group is really cool and people are super friendly, while the leaders are helpful and very enthusiastic. I find my understanding of Portuguese is very good, while my speaking still falls more under the “portañol” category. I am super excited and I will try my best to be more diligent about posting pictures and photos (Mom threatened to take away my camera if I didn’t).
So cheers to a new year and a new adventure! Stories to come!

La Cabrera

30 Nov

No more whining about how I don’t post about myself anymore!  I just find it much easier to post little blurbs than full-out entries. ANYWAYYYYYYY

La Cabrera is one of the best steakhouses in Buenos Aires, meaning by default, one of the best in the world.  As someone who was dined a few more times than prefered at Berns Steakhouse (*gasp!!* its true, I hate Berns. sacrilege!) its nice to go to a steakhouse without that oddly pretentious haute soceity meets French bordello atmosphere.  The place is nice enough that you don’t feel stupid dressing up a bit, but comfy enough that you can easily linger houuuuuuurs after your meal chatting about Costa Rica, cradle robbers/ cougars, or who would win in a boxing match between Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi, as we did last Friday at the restaurant.

Thomas, Matt, Angel and I at La Cabrera. Note the obscene amount of food.

La Cabrera is definitely a big favorite among us at FLACSO mostly because not only does they serve the most delicious steak with craaaazy huge portions (a half portion can easily serve 2 people), but the prices for the quality are so low compared to they would be in the states. I myself have gone 3 times and each time have justified finishing my plate of entraña (no a small feat) by the whole “waste is a sin” mentality (ignoring the fact that so is gluttony).

The affordability of a nice dinner with friends is one of my favorite parts about Buenos Aires and definitely one of the things I will miss most when I leave.

wikileaks

30 Nov

It seems not even Cristina Kirchner was saved from embarrassment in this whole wikigate scandal. Some of the documents claim she has extreme anxiety issues and question her mental stability. While not critical of her per se, the claims are certainly a vergüenza.

who you calling loca?

You can read about it here: http://noticias.terra.com.ar/politica/wikileaks-eeuu-sondeo-el-estado-mental-y-salud-de-mandataria-argentina,243730dd8999c210VgnVCM4000009bf154d0RCRD.html

Ridiculous thing #3

28 Nov

So its springtime here in Buenos Aires, meaning that the fashion here is either a season ahead or a season behind or in some cases, 2 decades behind (read: mullets) . I haven’t quite figured out which yet, but I hope its the latter.  Why? Floral leggins. I really hope Argentina is not ahead, or else we’re looking at our fate for the next year.

Floral leggins are everywhere, and I have yet to see anyone that actually looks good wearing them.  As you can see, even when not on a human body, they give a lovely little camel toe and are just all around unflattering.  Now I tend to be pro leggings as pants, believing that most people who say they cannot be used as pants say that because  they look bad in leggings, but in this case i’m gonna have to agree that these should not be used as pants… or dishrags for that matter.  So in the chance that you go to the mall, try these on, I ‘m gonna save your boyfriend/shopping buddies from having to answer an uncomfortable question.  Yes, these make your ass look fat.

Happy Thanksgiving!

26 Nov

I may be thousands of miles away this Thanksgiving with no turkey in sight, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a little time to reflect on the things I’m grateful for:

1. Lack of Christmas music blasting everywhere. Maybe I’m a grinch, but I get annoyed with all the Christmas stuff when its waaaaaay to early to be thinking about Christmas. Here there is no sign of the upcoming holiday season except the occasional paneforte in the cafe windows. Nor is there black friday, cyber monday (though Lorena did inform me that some Argentines fly all the way to Miami just to go Black Friday shopping).

2. Clean beauty salons. They are hard to come by here in Bs.As. and this makes life surprisingly more difficult than you would expect. I am grateful that at home I don’t have to ask the salon owner if they used the wax they’re about to put on my face was used on someone else’s ass, or wonder if the chemical being put on me to clear my pores is even legal in the U.S.

3. Pooper scoopers. Argentines don’t pick up their dogs’ poop. It is gross. I appreciate the people back who literally have got their shit together.

4. Amazing steak. Yea, it sucks that there isn’t turkey here. But the steak here is so good, I hardly noticed. And its cheap. And I no longer have to worry about my iron levels.

5. Living with little kids. Most people my age would hate it, but as someone who for some reason has always tried to act older than her age, its nice to have playtime again. It keeps me grounded and reminds me to take the time to let loose once in a while.

6. The fact that I’m here in the first place.

7. The 3 pounds I will NOT be gaining this Thanksgiving.

8. Natural Peanut butter. Just can’t get that stuff here. I’m surprised I miss it as much as I do.

9. My very warm alpaca sweater. Only not so much now because ITS SO FREAKING HOT HERE right now. But I’m grateful for warm weather as well.

10. My lovely friends and family (and online stalkers) that take the time to actually read this. Miss you all!

Ridiculous Thing #2

18 Nov

Think U.S. politics are getting dirty? They’ve got nothing on Argentina’s. This is happened today in Congress:

ridiculous thing #1

5 Nov

I’ve decided to start a new weekly segment that will only focus on ridiculous things I see while abroad.
This week comes from singer Tony Dize. I saw it today on some MTV like channel, “HTV.” Its so dramatic, and strange. Enjoy

Cristina addressing the public after her husband’s death

3 Nov

For those of you who either read my last post or read in the news about about former president Nestor Kirchner’s death, the following is a very emotional address from his wife and current president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

For those of you who don’t understand Spanish, she is basically thanking the public for their support and condolences, especially the youth of the country, in whom she sees the face of her late husband when she first met him. Even with the language barrier, you can get the sense of how emotional this moment is, especially towards the end. I personally thought it was very interesting how she says that though this is the most painful time of her life, it is not the most difficult.

The past month, part II

27 Oct

I woke up this morning to some pretty huge news.  It turns out last night former president and first man, Nestor Kirchner died of a heart attack early this morning.  To put it into perspective, imagine that Hillary Clinton won the election back in 2008 but Bill was still pretty much running the country.  Then he suddenly dies.  Now image that in a country where the politics are much more highly personalized than they are in the States.

el matrimonio

The Kirchners are Argentina’s Clintons, and Nestor was arguable the most powerful political figure in the country.  His popularity far exceeded his wife’s and often when there was a big problem, it would be Nestor, not Cristina, who would go out and negotiate with another world leader or address the general population.  He may not have been president anymore, but many believed it was he that was actually running the country.  Very often I hear people refer “el matrimonio” (the marriage) as the one making decisions,rather than the actual president.  Add to the fact that today, due to the national census, no one is allowed to leave their house until 8pm, meaning a population of Argentines that surely want to go out to Plaza de Mayo are basically trapped in their houses just watching the news on T.V.

It will be interesting to see how the politics out here play out now.  Kirchner was undoubtedly a polarizing figure, but for modern-day Peronists, including my host family and many of the leaders of my program, he was an incredibly important politician in a time of a lot of turmoil for Argentina.  He was the first stable president since the economic crisis of 2001 (which for the record, was a lot more dramatic and immediate than our current economic situation).  Like him or not, it was during his presidency that things began to normalize once again in Argentina.  He was an important international player, especially in the context of South America, where he worked hard for more cooperation and integration among the countries of the region.

His death comes at a particularly difficult time.  A week ago a 23 year old student was killed by a labor union that is usually supported by the national government.  The past week the streets have filled with prostests and marches.  It has been hard to find a magazine or newpaper whose cover is not in some form demanding justice.  How la presidenta holds herself on her own, especially concerning this issue, will in a lot of ways affect how politics take form in the next few years.

There’s really no easy way to transition from this news to the stories of my life from the past month without being slightly tactless, but at some point I do have to post this stuff.  So… excuse me. Continue reading