Thursday, September 30, 2010

ohhhh paula

So the other day I was indulging my food porn addiction and looking at one of my favorite sites for everything heart-attack inducing, That was where I came upon this little gem: Paula Deen's deep-fried butter balls. Its literally little balls of butter that are frozen, and then battered and fried. You can see the recipe here:
My friend Kevin has this theory that Paula Deen secretly (slash not so secretly) works for a butter conglomerate. I'm becoming more and more convinced that he's right. I mean I love that Paula takes liberties with those trans-fats. I also love how on those travel episodes, where she goes to places like France or Italy, she gets plastered on the local wine and then attempts to sloppily make out with the men who work in the markets as her big-bearded husband awkwardly looks on. I also loved that time where she randomly had Jimmy Carter on the show and called him Mista Jimmy every three seconds and flirted with him so much that he became visibly uncomfortable. Classic Paula.
But really Paula... deep-fried butter balls? I don't know if you've heard but America is suffering from an obesity epidemic. You just took your show from bubbly Southern to semi-homicidal. Shame, shame Paula. Shame, shame.

Crabby on the Collectivo

So I’ve been feeling inspired by Julia’s “Sassy on the SEPTA” series (check it out here: --- its awesome), and thought I should throw in a little bit of my own adventures in public transportation. I’m calling it “Crabby on the collectivo” (collectivo is the word we use here for “public bus”).

Anyways, as previously mentioned, spring has finally arrived in Buenos Aires. People here kind of make a big deal about the first day of spring- everyone buys flowers, people wish you a happy spring, etc. It’s actually quite nice. So there I was, heading home from work, on the first day of spring. I was in a good mood because it was gorgeous out, and it just kind of seemed like the whole city was in a good mood. Except… this one woman on the collectivo. Apparently, another woman accidentally pushed her in an attempt to get out the door before the driver drove away from her stop. The first woman (the crabby one) was holding a huge bouquet of gorgeous flowers. Anyways, she proceeded to rip this complete stranger a new asshole. It was brutal, and oddly hilarious. I think it was the probably the first time I’d seen someone holding a beautiful bouquet of flowers verbally abuse a complete stranger. The contrast between the beauty of the flowers and the hideousness of this woman's attitude was great…

new beginnings...

So after a grueling winter that lasted almost a full 8 weeks (can you sense my sarcasm???)... spring is finally here! And with spring, comes new changes (and apparently a cliché blog post about how spring symbolizes a new beginning).
Well, to begin with, I have finally quit the rest of my institute classes and started my own business! I mean obviously its not a legal business as I'm not even in this country legally, but nevertheless I am finally my own boss. Its great because I get to work less and make more (win-win, right?). Well, theoretically. Now, if I want to spend my Tuesday mornings sitting in the park reading a book, I can do it. Well, theoretically. The thing about being your own boss is that your salary depends on... YOU. Last week I got offered a ton of editing jobs on the side, and as I'm still new to this whole being my own boss thing, I accepted everything. I ended up working like a crazy person all week, and spending the better part of Sunday working as well. So, I don't exactly have that whole working less part down pat yet, but I'm hoping I'll get there.
Sunday night I had another first--- I went to my first movie in Argentina! I know, its a bit hard to believe --- I've been living here for a year and almost 4 months now. Well, this is basically what happened; movies here are kinda pricey, and also really easy to download and watch for free online. Also, I wasn't making so much money before, so going to a movie meant that I was foregoing a night out with my friends (something that I was obviously not willing to do).
So the movie.... Hugo was super-boyfriend and indulged my "food porn" addiction by agreeing to go with me to see "Eat Pray Love". I loved it. Well, actually it was one of those movies where you don't really need to hear what they are saying, you just want to see the pretty places and amazing looking food. Later that night we were talking about all the food in the movie and I said, "You know that scene in Italy, where they place that BEAUTIFUL plate of pasta pomodoro in front of her with the fresh basil leaf as garnish? All I could think, the entire time she was shoveling it into her jabber, was how much better it would be if she cut up that fresh basil and ate that with it!" I know, I think I have some sort of sickness...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

politics and the internet

So my internet here is terrible --- I mean REALLY terrible. It cuts out all the time and we constantly have to unplug it and restart it. By constantly I mean several times a day. Its annoying. In the past month it has gotten even worse - sometimes when it cuts out it signal isnt restored for a few hours. One day I was sitting at lunch, eating my empanadas, reading the paper (super argentine of me, right??) and found this whole long article about how the government is trying to outlaw my internet provider and how within the next few months its likely that everyone who has my internet provider will have to switch companies. The article didn't really explain WHY this was all being done.
Then, a few days later, I was complaining about my internet to a friend and he told me that the company that owns my internet company has been speaking out quite a bit against the government, and therefore the government has been trying to sabotage my internet company by cutting their signal all the time (and then also that little thing about trying to outlaw the company). WTF???? How crazy is this? Not cool Cristina... not cool.

(PS Cristina is Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the president of Argentina).

I'm losing my ability to speak English

It's true. I'm definitely losing my ability to speak English. The other day I was talking to an American friend and I asked him to "pass me the direction" of a place where we were going to meet up. What I meant was "send me the address", which in Spanish is "pasame la dirección". Not good, not good. I have frequently made the mistake of saying "For me" when I mean to say "I think" or "In my opinion". In Spanish, they say "Para mi" (literally - "for me") to give an opinion. Yet again, not good.
I think part of the problem is that, aside from my job, I don't often speak in English here. This is a double-edged sword --- on one hand I love that my Spanish is improving a ton. On the other, it's a little alarming that an English teacher is starting to speak in Spanglish. In my job, I speak English with non-native speakers of English-- they make a lot of mistakes. However, I've been teaching many of my students for so long that I always understand what they mean to say, and even worse, I've begun to internalize some of their most common errors. For me, this is not a good sign...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birthday madness

Birthdays (and holidays for that matter) are tricky as an expat. On one hand, I have wonderful friends here who have become my Argentine pseudo-family. We are all expats so we work really hard to make holidays special for each other. On the other hand, the meaningful part of any holiday are the traditions you have, and it is often just simply impossible to re-create those traditions away from home. Though we have been lucky enough to find great friends to celebrate birthdays and holidays with, sometimes its just not the same as doing what you do every year, surrounded by the people who have known you the longest. This year, I faced my birthday with mixed emotions. I love birthdays (especially my own hahaha), but was a bit depressed about not getting to spend it with my family and life-long friends.

So a few weeks ago it was Hugo's birthday, and he was also feeling kinda down in the dumps about it. I wanted to do something really special for him, so I, being a nut job, decided that I would throw him a surprise party. I think I kind of wanted to prove to him that although he wasn't back home with his family, there are lots of people here who love him too. The funny thing is, in the end, I think I actually proved it to myself. The party turned out to be a much bigger undertaking than I ever assumed it would be (making a full Colombian lunch for over 30 people!) and I soon realized I was in over my head. What was really touching though was how much everyone was willing to help. Throughout the week before the party I was beyond stressed out (at that point I was still working like a 50 hour work week) but I received countless messages from friends offering to help in any way they could. We had friends who made birthday cakes, friends who dealt with distracting Hugo on that day and getting him to the party on time, etc. Hugo's aunt was AMAZING and helped out a ton with the food. In the end the party was a success--- Hugo was surprised (despite me being a dumb ass and repeatedly sending him text messages about he party that were intended for other people). Anyways, we ate really well, danced, drank, and had a great time. Only one thing was missing....