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October 2009

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Oct. 30th, 2009

NEWWWW BLOG

Y'all!

This blog was getting a little tired, I think.  I had an appointment today, who cancelled on me, so I was stuck with all this free time SO i started a NEW blog.  (why not?)  Here's the link.

http://calliejohnson.blogspot.com/

Sep. 3rd, 2009

colombia in argentina

sorry it's been a while since i last posted.
my life lately has been a struggle to get up at 7 am for my self-inflicted early-morning class.

hanging out with the roomies, i've gotten a good dose of colombian culture, which i've been enjoying.  i learned how to make arepas (which were featured in the new york times AFTER i learned, haha)
somewhat like this

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/08/28/dining/1247463991062/arepas.html?scp=2&sq=arepas&st=cse

and also i've gotten hooked on this drink called agua panela.  panela is sweet and made from sugarcane and comes in a massive block.  the taste is somewhat like brown sugar or molasses, sort of.  it's...sugarcane-y.  bad description, i know.  but delicious.  and you chip a chunk off the block and dissolve it in hot water and boil it for a little while with a cinnamon stick.  in the summer you can add lemon juice and drink it cold, and in the winter you can add a shot of aguardiente (anise liquor).

what else?  appreciating black coffee (the real kind).  and the occasional impromptu salsa lesson is fun.  i'm going to come back better at salsa than tango, probably, considering the number of tango lessons i've gotten around to taking lately (zero).

Aug. 22nd, 2009

FINALLY

i am enrolled at the UBA. 
three visits and eight hours later i am officially in level four.  SCORE.
the uba tried to get the best of me, but i won.

Aug. 21st, 2009

three new shirts

today i went shopping for the first time in FOREVER.  i forgot how nice it is to have new things sometimes.  i miss that about the states--i used to go shopping all the time and find cheap and fabulous things--i was always able to find these things because i had the time to look around and sift through all the sale racks, and more money to spend than i have now.  nevertheless, there are a couple great little boutiques here in san telmo, and i put in some time looking today.







i should hit up the vintage mall soon.  the trick is not buying more than i can take home.  actually, who am i kidding?  i have much more than i could ever take with me.  i seem to be going through these phases where one day i have to have so much stuff, and miss old things i purged from my closet long ago, and find myself incapable of throwing anything away, and the next day i have a zen moment and get rid of everything, all the while fancying myself a person who spends their time and money on experiences rather than things, who perhaps only owns enough (well-chosen) things to fill a backpack.
one of the problems with being 23 is that i don't know which of these i am yet.  i'm not completely on either side, but i AM impatient with things not being black-and-white and easy to figure out, and i wish someone would just tell me what i like and what i should buy and not buy, and what sort of person i should be and what i should do and all that jazz.  that would take the pressure off.
mom says what i'm getting in BA is better than duds.  i agree, and also think that would be a fabulous name for a website or blog.  betterthanduds.com?

Aug. 17th, 2009

(no subject)

today was ANOTHER holiday (why am i surprised?  argentina has them by the boatload) so most people didn't have to work.  in celebration of whatever holiday it is, the sun decided to come out and it was an absolutely gorgeous day.  soooo, i went to the palermo parks with my housemates and we walked around.





we saw people flying kites





and cool trees





catalina and ricardo





and from the front









when we got back, there was a brazilian drum group outside our door.  we live just to the left and hear this every weekend.



 

Aug. 16th, 2009

amerika

ben's in town this week. 
ben is another friend from the tefl class who left for a good job in the US just as we discovered our shared sense of humor and mutual love of salsa.  in any case, he's visiting with some family and friends from the states, so last night's order of business was of course pizza followed by a trip to amerika, a warehouse-sized, four-story gay bar known for the absolute chaos-fest that is friday night. 
being saturday, it was much tamer (no transvestites descending from the ceiling on velvet ropes, no male strippers, and the labyrinth was closed.  damn.)  i always have fun when i go out dancing, but every time i go to a boliche (nightclub), i am reminded of why i don't usually go: thumping techno music and terrible drinks.  i danced like a fool for a little while and then fell into people-watching mode on a bench.  there's world-class people watching to be had at amerika. 
for a while i was watching a thin man in an old floor-length 80s wedding dress--tall but made taller by a pair of ratty, sequined high heels.  the hair he had left was longish and tightly curled.  he didn't seem to want to be a woman--he didn't have any makeup on, nor did he seem to have any silicone anywhere in his body.  he flitted amongst the people near the bar, twirling to make the polyester ruffles on his dress stand out.  i wondered what he must do during the day.  i pictured him behind a desk, or possibly in a mechanic's jumpsuit, underneath a car on one of those little roller boards, wrench in hand.  none of those options seemed particularly realistic, and that led me to think about how many people we see every day, behind desks or working in garages, who await saturday night so they can dress up in horrible 80s dresses.  i love imagining peoples' secret lives.
i got home at 5 am.  my roommates got home from wherever they were even later.
now back to working and classes......

Aug. 15th, 2009

viernes

last night i went out dancing with caoimhe, my friend from last year's tefl class, her roommates (veronica from bolivia and andrea from peru) and a big bunch of their friends.  they have a cool little place in palermo and luckily they let me crash there when we get back at 4 am.  this was the first time in a long time that i'd seen them--last month they all went to bolivia for a few weeks to stay with veronica's family.  veronica is sooo latin american--she has the long hair and bright clothes and takes forty-five minutes to get ready to go somewhere like the grocery store, and she's such a sappy romantic--she always puts on this old-timey spanish music about prince charming and white horses and sunsets and what have you.  caoimhe and i had always rolled our eyes at this, whispering that cards and flowers would make us barf and that we'd much rather have a man who does the dishes.  i guess the trip to bolivia changed all this though, because my formerly sarcastic friend came back a changed woman.  now she cries at tv commercials and gets her nails done and recently bought a more expensive, smaller package of toilet paper because it had little blue and pink teddy bears printed on it.  i suppose it's four weeks of influence from a country in which it's normal for a man to actually go to a woman's house every night within a certain time window to hold hands with her and talk with her parents and whisper sweet nothings and all that.  i'm a little scared to think of what might happen to me if i went to bolivia--i better stay here in BA so i don't start doing things like batting my eyelashes and looking forward to valentines' day.
in any case, it was a blast to go dancing with them, and we went to this little place called liquid.  the highlight of the night was when this big bald guy dressed all in white, with chains around his neck, came up to me and asked where i bought my shirt--because he had one exactly like it!  (the shirt in question was a girly white flowy one with a sort of flower print on it, PLUS it was see-through (it's ok mom-i had something under it).)
that would have been quite the sight to see.

Aug. 14th, 2009

rant, part 2

as taken from gmail chat earlier today:

me
god getting anything done in argentina makes me want to kill myself
 Kay well, that's the price you pay for all the good stuff i reckon
school stuff this time?
 me today i went to the uba
waited in this huge line
they told me ohhhhhh, you want the spanish class? go to that other room over there.....
so i go and wait, and they go, ohhhhhhh, you want to take the level test?  come back tuesday!
and so i was about to leave
and then realized it might matter that ive taken classes with them before so i bring that up
and they go, yeah, of course you sign up today!  just wait in the next room.
so i go, and wait for like half an hour
and the lady finally tells me that the test ISN'T today after all and if i want to skip a level i have to come back tuesday.
 Kay ugh
 me this is like two hours of waiting around, after i went all the way back home to get my passport and receipts



i once thought i was a patient person, but this has proven otherwise.





(no subject)

so last night i had my first dream in spanish.  i always thought that starting to dream in another language would be the sign alerting me that i was finally fluent--a reassurance that i could speak without even thinking.  wrong.  in my spanish dream i was as lost as i often am in real life when my roommates jabber with each other, or when attempting to listen in on young argentines on the street.  i talked slower than everyone else, and said a bunch of things wrong, and realized i was mixing up the genders of the nouns, and blurted phrases out only to consider after the fact if they were right or not.  JUST LIKE IN LIFE.  it's always a tiny bit depressing when dreams EXACTLY mimic reality.  it's my dream, shouldn't i be more impressive?

Aug. 12th, 2009

rant

there are times where i just get soooo sick and tired of this country.  so here's my rant.
i am in the process of trying to join the gym in my neighborhood, and believe me, it is a process.  this is the sort of thing that should take HALF AN HOUR.  not TWO WEEKS of going, going back, scheduling and rescheduling appointments, and waiting for the counter guys to finish their inane conversations while there is a line out the door.
i went like two weeks ago to join and had to wait for the aforementioned break time behind the counter to end.  finally they ask me a million questions, keyboard clacking away as they enter my entire life history.  then i find out that i need to go through some sort of heart exam before they let me in.  fine.  i have to wait a week because they are SO booked.  i come back a week later, arrive five minutes late and the bitches drinking mate in the medical office say, ohhh, you're too late.  you have to wait another week.  (this is south america.  five minutes late = EARLY.)  soooo i come back the next week and have to go through this ridiculous medical exam, getting hooked up to these nodules and cords and colorful tape and blood pressure monitors while i pedal a bike.  of course they chat on their cell phones the whole time.  they give me this temporary card and say i can come in for the next ten days with that.  so i come back and the guys at the front counter look at the card and ask for the receipt they gave me two weeks ago.  umm what?  so i go home, come back with that, and then they tell me i didn't ACTUALLY pay to join but only paid for the exam, so i owe more and have to come back the next day. 
sorry if this story is getting long and complicated, but this is one of the things that drives me crazy about argentina.  everything takes WEEKS, multiple appointments, a ton of patience and more money than you think it will.  what, may i ask, is wrong with just making me fill out a waiver saying i won't sue them if i keel over and die on the treadmill?  then all would be over and done with, in about five minutes.  i don't even see what they're worried about--who could deal with suing anyone here anyway?  the whole process would probably take ten years, and by the time the money was sorted out, inflation would have rendered it not enough to worry about.
AND my neighbors with mental problems are screaming at each other.  AND i'm breaking out, and now i have turned into a person who complains about that on their blog.  AND nothing sucks more than being in a bad mood and having to explain it in spanish.

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