Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Well, it's official.  I'm done traveling outside of Buenos Aires.  This past weekend my roommate Katia and I took a weekend getaway to lovely and historical Montevideo, Uruguay.  Katia and I had a peaceful weekend seeing sights, sharing in the hostel's chivito dinner Saturday night, and renting bikes and riding along the coast on Sunday before getting on a ferry back across the river to our lovely city.

I wanted to see Montevideo because we had discussed it in my history of tango class as a sort of twin city of Buenos Aires.  My professor continually emphasized that the tango was not argentino, but rioplatense, belonging to both shores of the Rio de la Plata.

And as far as shores go, Uruguay is supposed to have some of the best beaches.  Unfortunately, once again, it looked pretty much like this all weekend:

I mean, I walked on the beach, but it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for.  I guess I've just got to get used to the fact that I lost my summer and I can't get it back.  Spring break, anyone?

I had a little border scare on the way into Uruguay: I forgot to bring along my student residency document and all they had to go on was my expired tourist visa stamp in my passport.  So at 2 a.m., we're stopping at the border (we entered the country on land) and I'm standing there, exhausted, face to face with someone who's telling me that at the very least, I'm going to be fined three hundred pesos.  Thank God for technology: they were able to look me up in the computer system and see that, yes, I had obtained the necessary documents and had simply neglected to bring them along.  Won't make that mistake again!

Now it's just a few papers, a take-home exam, a concert at the Teatro Colon, packing my suitcase, and a relaxing few days of soaking up all I can of Buenos Aires before going home.  Bittersweet.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I have an oral exam today, and I'm incredibly nervous.  I had to do the same thing in my lit class last week: give a short presentation (just to the professor, not in front of the class) and then answer a few questions about everything we've studied this semester.  Not my thing.  But what makes it even worse here?  The recuperatorio.  It's an opportunity for a retake, so it should be reassuring, right?  No.  Instead I see it more as, "We expect that enough of you will fail that this retake will be necessary and thus is already scheduled."  It makes me even more anxious, especially since I don't understand exactly how professors determine grades so I can't feel confident about passing.  But luckily, this is my last sit-down exam; everything else is just papers and projects, so once this is over, I can breathe a little easier.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Clapton and the avalanche of work

Okay.  I don't have much time, but I wanted to write a little something about the Eric Clapton concert I went to last week.

I know Clapton is an untouchable god of rock and blues, but I didn't realize how much I admired him until he walked on stage (already jamming the hell out) and I burst into tears.  It probably surprised me more than it surprises anyone reading this.  He continued dominating for two solid hours, with a rotation of three guitars, hitting some of the classics: "Layla," "Lay Down Sally," "I Shot the Sheriff," a faux-closing with "Cocaine" and, coming back on stage for an encore, blew us away with "Crossroads."  I was riding a concert high most of the weekend, and then I realized that this week is the week from hell.  I have an exam tomorrow, a paper due next Tuesday, and two papers due the following week.  So I'm buckling down (finally) and powering through the next fourteen days.  Then I have four days to pack my suitcase, do my final gift shopping, hit the city sights I still haven't gotten to, and get ready to board a plane back home.

Things I will not miss:

  • the toilet being in the shower
  • living in an all-girls' dorm
  • the complete absence of comfortable furniture ANYWHERE in this country
  • being a foreigner
  • the glitchy Internet connections
  • strange paper products (i.e. napkins that are basically wax paper)
Things I will miss:
  • food
  • friends
  • the opportunity to exercise my Spanish skills
  • the wine
  • being of legal drinking age
  • the city itself
  • the prevailing feeling of adventure
Things I'm eager to go home to:
  • my family
  • my house
    • couch
    • bed
    • kitchen
  • my dogs
  • my friends
  • my town
  • English
  • my country
I'm going to Montevideo this weekend, so hopefully I'll get a chance to write about it next week.  If not, I'll do a reminiscing entry my last week here.  I leave you with this:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mar del Plata

Back in June, Maria and I set out to choose our trips, where we would go and when.  We scheduled Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires' #1 beach town, in early October, supposedly when the weather was getting nice and just before finals started.  As usual, the universe laughed at us.  Spring in Buenos Aires is rainy and windy.  And exams started the week before we went on our long-awaited beach weekend.  We were both dying for it, too.  We'd missed our whole summer at home; we'd had to see pictures and statuses from friends who had vacationed at the beach; we'd seen their tans and been filled with envy.  But now it was our turn, right?!


Here's what Mar del Plata looked like the entire weekend that we were there:

But, guess what?  We didn't care.  We rolled with it, as we have become so adept at doing.  Luckily, we had gotten a private twin room in the hostel/hotel we were staying in, and even more luckily, that room had a TV.  Instead of lazing around on the beach all weekend as planned, we lazed around indoors.  I believe this captures the essence of the weekend:

We did leave the hotel plenty: we went out to eat, we shopped in the Guemes area of Mar del Plata (where we both splurged a little on some nice and highly-discounted clothing items), we went out to the Monumento a San Salvador and saw more sea lions, and we went to the Museo del Mar.  The weekend wasn't our typical high-speed, exploratory adventure.  It was more an escape.  With a week or so of finals over and two or three more weeks to go, we needed to get away and just relax.  And that's exactly what we did.  Movies, ice cream, Malbec, seafood, shopping, and mate.  Mar del Plata.



I don't know what this is.

Ship graveyard

Monumento a San Salvador
(aka "Creepy Jesus" statue)

More sea lions!


I'm hoping to get some beach time if and when I visit Montevideo in Uruguay in a few weeks.  It should be warmer by then...right?  I guess we'll see.