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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You Learn Something New Every Day!

Things I learned today:

1. It doesn’t matter how many years of a language you take or how long you study or how many times your profe writes “fantastico!” on your paper, the locals of whatever country you’re in will always be there to verbally kick you in the nuts as soon as you think you’re able to speak at the level of a 3rd grader.

It’s strange, because I’ve learned to say “Claro” after pretty much every sentence someone says to me, which directly translates to mean “Clearly.” Literally the opposite of clear. If you took a puddle of mud and poured in some marbles and then stirred in some macaroni and a couple bricks, that’s about how “claro” your last sentence was. Actually, I recognized about two-fifths of what you said, ma’am, but I’m going to say “Claro,” walk over to where you’re pointing and hope there’s someone over there who is more patient with a Spanish 3rd grader trapped in the body of a 20-year-old gringa looking for fruit. Thanks so much for your time.

Maybe I’ll start saying “sucio” instead, which means “dirty”. Then people will think I’m coming on to them and trying to make every word they say sound kinky. “The melons are over there.” “Oh, dirty.” Yep, that’s gonna happen.

2. Argentinians value alcohol over food, and pretty much anything else except maybe cleaning supplies. (Señor Clean gets the job done.) We went to the mercado today and I swear to you, their alcohol section was as large, if not larger than their food selection. You’re hungry, Gringa? Here’s some crackers, jam, and coffee. Godspeed. Oh, what’s that? You’re happy/sad/thirsty/apathetic/literally any other feeling besides hungry? Here’s about 8 million different types of wine, three aisles of liquor, and some sugary fruit drink to hold you over. Oy vey. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, but hungry is starting to become a part of my permanent state.

3. Until today, I was under the impression that deodorant was one of the few things on which the world was able to agree. This presumption came crashing down when I decided to bring a deodorant that was almost empty and opt to buy a new one in AR. Turns out, Argentina is too good for our normal glide-on deodorant. Silly Americans. The only deodorant they have here is aerosol-powered. I apologize, but having a frigid blast of floral-scented air shot up my arm is not my idea of a pleasant way to deodorize myself. Snooty Argentinians and their gusty armpits.

4. MILK COMES IN PLASTIC BAGS HERE. LIKE, IT’S A BAG OF MILK. I don’t get it.

5. Everyone in Argentina is an architect, apparently. Went to look for a notebook to use for my classes that start Monday. Out of the six they had to offer, five were on grid paper. WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING WITH ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY PAGES OF GRID PAPER? Not to mention the only notebook I could find with regular lined paper was 55 pesos. (That’s about $10 US for those of you who are less cultured than I am. I know, I’m super fancy.)

I suppose that’s all I’ve really learned today, but this seemed like a good format at the beginning of this post and I’m not about to change it. I got a siesta to take. Sorry dudes.

Also, I’m thoroughly aware this post is disappointing in comparison to my last entry. You win some, you lose some. Miranda- 1. Readers- 1. Tie game, kids.

Adios.

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.