A bad day to have a bad day

Came home yesterday to my host mom telling us that we’re not going to have gas in our building for the next six months, or for me, the rest of my stay. Apparently the building owner is boycotting the gas company or something outrageous like that. Anyone who knows anything about my life knows that this isn’t my first rodeo, so I’ll survive, but needless to say, I might smell a little worse a little more frequently than I did before.

I’ve also been a little down lately because all of my friends are planning awesome trips around the country and continent and I can’t do any of them for a lack of funds. It’s really disappointing hearing about all of their experiences and plans when I’m stuck in Buenos Aires, and it’s really easy to resent them for having more money than me. But recently I had the revelation that I’m not STUCK in Buenos Aires- I’m damn blessed to be here. If you would have told my poverty-stricken self three years ago that I would be in this country right now, I wouldn’t have believed you. I am so lucky to have the opportunity of living in a foreign country and bettering myself in a way that no other experience can. I am learning so many valuable life lessons and have already become a much more understanding, patient, knowledgeable person for having lived here. Just gotta remind myself of that sometimes.

It’s also midterms this week, so these days have been a bit stressful. Waking up this morning was one of those days where even the color of the walls bothers you. STUPID EGGSHELL WHITE GO BACK TO YOUR FARM. Anyway, I was trying really hard to have a bad day. Turns out life had other plans for me.

Things I saw on my walk to school that made me grateful for my flawed life:

1) A lack of degrading and quick-lipped construction workers

2) Three people sleeping in the park- I’m lucky to have a bed and four walls and lots of fuzzy socks!

3) A freshly stepped-in pile of dog poop

4) An old woman in a wheelchair helping a young blind man cross the street

5) A dog wearing a Gap sweatshirt

What’s that saying about if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back? I would rather be in my showerless situation than be a rude construction worker, sleep in the park, step in dog poop, be immobile, be blind, or be a dog wearing a Gap sweatshirt. I’m not a very spiritual person, but today it really felt as though the world was trying to prove something to me. So, here’s to going with the flow and enjoying whatever life throws at me.

dog sweater

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Buenos Aires, Schmuenos Schmaires

Went to Mendoza this weekend. What an experience! It’s the wine country of Latin America and for very good reason. The equator hates us right now so it’s winter here, which means that the vineyards were not in their full beauty, but somehow I managed to drink that problem away.

The city of Mendoza is very similar to Buenos Aires except way better in virtually every aspect. All of the benefits of being in an Argentine city and none of the annoyances that come along. And by annoyances, I mean dog poop and people who have nothing better to do than ram into you so you get the picture that this is THEIR city and THEIR sidewalk and you can hop your blonde self on a plane back to where you came from if you have a problem with that, gringa.

Saturday, August 17, 2013 hereby goes down as one of the best days of my life. Woke up early, slurped a breakfast of coffee and several spoonfuls of dulce de leche (cleverly nicknamed DDL by my friend Reilly), and then headed out for the day. We met Juan, who just started learning English two months ago and probably already speaks it much more better than my mother, and then we took off on a 40-minute bus ride to the foothills of the Andes to meet our new horse friends. Some people immediately named their horses and developed life-long bonds with them and invited them to have a sleepover next weekend where they could braid hair and talk about boys. I didn’t name mine cause he was kind of a douchebag and I didn’t want to get emotionally attached to him like I have to other douchebags in the past. Look at me, learning from my mistakes.

Anyway, we hopped on and trotted off into the horizon. I’ve only ever ridden horseback with Mormons so this was a much different experience filled with many more curse words as Unnamed Douchebag walked along narrow paths with steep drop-offs and continuously tried to eat the horse behind me’s face for lunch. We finally reached a really beautiful spot in the mountains with a nearby creek where we hung out for a little bit. Then, we headed back to the ranch where our recently deceased friend Dead Cow (may he Rest in Peace) was waiting for us to eat him and our old friends Fermented Grapes were waiting for us to drink them.Image

We hung around for several hours after that, marveling at the real-life Gauchos (with knives and all!) and enjoying the guitar playing and broken English songs of Juan. P.S. Juan is the absolute cutest and I’m still in love even though my mom told me I’m not allowed to fall in love with anyone skinnier and/or browner  than me. She thinks racism is funny. Thanks, Obama.

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On Sunday we were supposed to go to the hot springs but it turns out you have to sign up for these things the day before and not just flirt with Juan all day, so we were out of luck. Instead, we strolled through Mendoza and found an awesome park called Parque San Martin. It was also Día del Niño so there were way too many children around but I made it out alive and cootie-free. After the park we sat around our hostel with our new friends and enjoyed wine happy hour (“All You Can Drink” for free… Not mad about it). Then we went to an amazing restaurant and drank more wine and reveled in how perfect our weekend was. Never been happier.

Seriously though, I’m leaving Mendoza feeling optimistic and energized. Which is ironic because I probably got less sleep this weekend than I have any other weekend in this country and I almost got woman-napped (I’m not a kid anymore!!!). I’m sure you’re all dying to know the story but I’ve elected not to tell my horror stories until I’m safely back in the US. That way, my mom and Ashley’s mom are less worried and I have more motivation to make it home alive and rape-free so I can watch their faces when I tell them about the scary stuff that happened to me. Great plan if you ask me.

I digress. Mendoza is like if Buenos Aires and Denver had a baby. Awesome Latin American city with the gorgeous Andes as the backdrop and breatheable air. Sorry for all the whining but I just really like Mendoza and the only way to express how great it is is to compare it to BA. That being said, now that I’ve had an incredible weekend I am ready to take on Buenos Aires again. I mean, the only reason I had such a great time in Mendoza is because we actively sought out great things to do rather than sitting around whining and blogging.

I suppose that’s my cue. See ya.

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The Final Countdown

Well, here we are. Or I suppose I should say here I am. Sitting in Denver International Airport, about to hop on a flight to Dallas and then to Buenos Aires. Until a couple minutes ago, I had been on the verge of tears for about 24 hours. My friend Ashley called me and I spoke to her mom who encouraged me and ensured that everything will be alright. During that phone call, I realized that I really have nothing to be worried about. Sure I’m going to a new country, but I have been preparing for this for months, even years! I have done everything in my power to ensure that I have a safe and well coordinated flight, arrival, and stay and this is the easy part. I wouldn’t be this anxious if I were only going to Dallas, why should I feel this way about Buenos Aires? I’ve done my research, I am smart and capable and can figure things out as I go. I know the language of the country and should have no problem getting around.

And if I do? That’s when the learning begins. That’s when the real experience of studying abroad will begin, allowing me to learn things I’ve never known, see things I’ve never seen, and feel things I’ve never felt. These reasons are the entire drivers of my desire to study abroad, so all I need to do is let go and embrace what is about to happen to me, because of me. If you would have told me three years ago that I would be on my way to Buenos Aires today, I would have told you to stop harassing me and let me live my life at UNLV in peace. I  am so thankful for all of the circumstances that have allowed me to go to DU and travel the world. I am also incredibly proud of myself for making this happen. Thank you to everyone who has helped me prepare for this trip; your guidance means more to me than you can know. I will update everyone as soon as I land!

Hasta luego.