Thursday, June 21, 2012

Indecisiveness Strikes Again!!!

Hi everyone (aka the 4 people who read this blog)! Its been a year (or maybe two???) since I've written on this blog, but I figured new country, new posts.

So for those of you who don't know (but I'm sure if you're reading this you do) my boyfriend and I recently left Argentina and moved to Medellín, Colombia.  As the name of this blog suggests, it wasn't an easy decision to make.  There were plenty of reasons for us to leave --- the Argentine economy was tanking fast and neither of us were from there so we were paying insane amounts of money to go visit our families, but we had good jobs and we had created our own little systems to deal with whatever Argentina could throw at us.  We had a good apartment and great friends who felt like family.   Buuuut my boyfriend had always waxed nostalgic about how great life was in Colombia and I was sick of being an illegal in Argentina, so one Valentine's Day the boyfriend and I got good and liquored up and bought ourselves some one-way tickets to Colombia.  About a week later (the day after we sent his mom back to Colombia with the vast majority of his belongings) the buyer's remorse started to set in.  What had we done??? Sure we complained about expat life and how hard it could be at times, but we had become masters at dealing with it.  I had even found a way to wire my savings to my US checking account for free! We had it all!  What followed was a period of extreme indecisiveness about whether or not we would actually leave Argentina that ended in us basically losing our minds to the point where I suggested that we get therapy.  Does that even exist? Indecisive expat therapy???  In the end we decided to give Colombia a shot, so here we are, in Medellín.  I'm looking forward to all the new experiences that await me, and will try to keep the blog going this time so look out for lots of new posts!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Buenos Aires Graffiti Tour

As part of my job, I basically get to organize cool things that I've always wanted to do in Buenos Aires, and get work to pay for me to do them. Also, I bring a ton of students along. Anyways, one of the coolest things that we've done so far is a Graffiti tour. Buenos Aires is filled with all sorts of amazing street art, and I'd always wanted to go around and document it. An enterprising group of individuals realized that many people always wanted to do exactly that, so they started up a graffiti tour. They also maintain relationships with all the artists, so they give you background info on each of the works. Here's one of my favorites, but also check out my facebook for a complete album.

Crabby on the Collectivo 3

This post should more likely be called gross on the collectivo but it still fits in nicely with my Crabby on the Collectivo series.
I spend a lot of my time on public transportation, which means I see people do a lot of crazy shiz on public transportation. Here are two of the outstanding events from the past week or so:
1. I was waiting for the train, sitting on a bench on the platform. A woman sits down next to me, and starts digging around in her purse. She pulls out a q-tip, licks it, and then proceeds to sit there cleaning out her ears. I was just staring at her horrified (who cleans their ears in a public place?? let alone sitting so close to a complete stranger??). When she was done digging for gold she threw the dirty q-tip onto the train track. lovely, just lovely.
2. This next one is gross too, but its more a hilarious example of the things that parents will do when they're stuck in a bind. The other day I was on the subway when I saw this father get off at a stop with his preschool-aged child. She was obviously screaming that she had to go to the bathroom and NOW. There on the subway platform he pulled her pants down and held her basket-style over a wastebasket that was hanging from the station wall. The train pulled away and I cracked up laughing. Some poor subway worker is in for a nasty surprise when he has to take the garbage out...

Crabby on the Collectivo 2

The other day I was on the collectivo (public bus) and I saw this woman with a hard-core sourpuss face on. What was interesting about this particular crabby collectivo-rider was that she had obviously had insane amounts of plastic surgery. she was nipped and tucked every which way possible (maybe her face was just stuck that way from a botched procedure??)
Anyways, I got to wondering-- why is someone who has the money to have so much plastic surgery riding the bus? where is her car??? In the US, if someone has the money to have plastic surgery they surely have a car as well. I just couldn't stop thinking, what happened to her finances that she is forced to ride the public bus? did she spend all her money on surgeries??? did she have some sort of fall from grace??
I guess maybe the more interesting question is: is plastic surgery considered such a necessity in porteño life that one would chose to spend their money on that rather than a car? Plastic surgery does seem to be far more prevalent here than in the US...


For those of you who don't know, I have a new job! I'm the student coordinator for a group of 74 California kids who are studying abroad here in Buenos Aires. The job only lasts until May, so I've kept a lot of my classes and am still doing translating work on the side. Basically, I work an insane amount (which is why I haven't been able to spend so much time blogging).
Extreme exhaustion aside, I love my job. It provides me with the opportunity to do lots of cultural activities and travel throughout Argentina, and whats more is that I get to do it all on work's dime! Most of all, my job provides me with an endless stream of insane stories. Being in charge of 74 American, college-age students who are likely abroad for the first time in their lives means that I'm constantly dealing with someone's crazy.

The first few days the students were here we held an orientation session, which provided us with some truly classic questions. We held a little break-out session on safety and getting around town (how to use the buses, which taxis are safe and which aren't, etc). One girl asked me, in all seriousness, "If I'm lost, and I don't know where I am, can I call a taxi company and ask them to come find me? Also, can I ask them to do that in English???" I think my jaw dropped. "Ummmm, noooo" I responded, and moved on. This is what I actually wanted to say: "Where the f*** would you be able to do that??? How the f*** would a taxi be able to find you if you don't know where you are?? Also, this is Buenos Aires, a taxi driver does not speak English!!"
Two days later the students were all moved into their homestays and after working many 16 hour days during orientation, I was getting some much-needed sleep. then, at around 5 am my cell phone goes off (I have a work cell that the students can call in case of emergency).

Me (incredibly groggy): hello??? what happened??
Student: yea, I forgot my keys at home and I went out so now I can't get back into my house.
Me: did you call your roommates?
Student: yea, they're inside but they aren't answering their phones.
Me: did you ring the bell??
Student: No
Me: Ok do that. (wanting to scream- "you called me at 5 am because you cant get in your house and you didn't try ringing the flippin bell first???? what do you think I'm going to be able to do for you??? do you think I have some sort of magic button that opens all the doors in Argentina???")

Well, at least its funny now....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


When my family came to visit one of the places we went to was Bariloche, in Argentina's beautiful lake region. The landscape was gorgeous - stunning blue lakes set below the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Bariloche is a strange place though- its like a little German town. The architecture is Swiss/German (see picture), all the street names are German, there are Saint Bernarnds with little beer barrels around their necks placed in every plaza for your cliché photo op convenience. Bariloche is famous for their excellent quality beer and chocolate.

The thing that makes me slightly uncomfortable about Bariloche is its history- the town was founded by former Nazis who came to Argentina in an attempt to escape punishment for their crimes. Is it wrong to support the decedents of former Nazis by buying their delicious chocolates???

500 Days of Summer

Hi everyone! I know I've been terrible about keeping up with my blogging but I've had a really busy summer. Back in December I moved to my new house (more about that later), then my family came to visit and we went to Bariloche, Argentina and La Paloma, Uruguay. As soon as they left I started my new job (again, more about that later).
I've titled this post 500 days of summer because here in Buenos Aires it feels like summer weather lasts forever. Its not the fun kind of summer weather that we have in the US- its the insanely hot and humid, no air-conditioning kind. You're pretty much hot and sticky from late November to early April. Most of January it was like 95 degrees with 80% humidity. As we have no AC we spent the majority of the month taking several cold showers daily. At night it would feel so nice to just stand under the cold water for a good 1/2 hour to cool off before going to bed (I know- not very environmentally friendly, but you gotta do what you gotta do).
There are a few nice things about summer here though- its so insanely uncomfortable that the city kind of empties out. There's little traffic, lines are way shorter, and you don't often get stuck behind a gaggle of slow people on the sidewalk (actually a huge annoyance). Also, the heat provides a good excuse to eat ice cream all the time and feel like you deserve it.