Truth be told, I am freaking out…! That’s all I have left here in this beautiful country.
What a small worldis the phrase of the day! I came here by myself, not knowing anyone living in Buenos Aires. There are 3 million residing in the capital federal, and I am only one small fish in this big sea. My network of friends here isn’t that enormous, but I have only been here for around 7 months, and it is sometimes difficult to make a large set of friends (who are porteños) when there is a language barrier or when you enter a culture where the majority of your friends are from childhood. But not a week goes by without me bumping or running into someone I know in the street. A friend, a friend’s friend, a student, people that help you in the stores that you know, or someone that knows one of your friends…no need to continue, you get the point. It’s always a strange occurrence to hear my name being shouted across the street or someone tapping me on my shoulder. Of course this happens to me at home (Baltimore) but I have lived there for over 18 years, it’s somewhat expected to run into people…funny thing is this never really happened to me while I was studying in Philly, oh well!
My friends down here have agreed with me on this subject and have told me multiple “small world” stories.
Small story number one:I met one of my good friends down here from a girl that I went that I went to high school with and that she went to college with…turns out we were both in BsAs!
Small story number two: I was at a café and my friend Elise came by with her friend Laura, whom I never met. Laura’s mannerisms were familiar, and she looked like someone I met. I started to spout out facts about Laura because when I first arrived, I met her twin sister. Elise started to call me a freak after that.
Small Story Three: Met a guy down here from Maryland who knew a friend back at home…and possibly many others (it gets weird after you ask about the 10th person).
Small Story Four:My friend was in Patagonia in the middle of nowhere at a bus station…while she was getting off the bus she encountered several of people that she went to college with…SMALLLLL WORLDDD!!!!!
There are many more small stories to tell and some of my friends have even smaller world stories that never cease to amaze me. Maybe there is truth when you say everyone he world is separated by 6 degrees…!
With over three quarters of Argentina’s population declaring itself Roman Catholics, it’s only warranted to have a Holy Land here, right? Well, sit down and brace yourself while I tell you about my pilgrimage to “Tierra Santa”…
It was a hot and muggy Friday night, and my friend Chrissy from back home was in town. We needed to repent our sins from the all-night partying the previous night. It was called upon us to go to “Tierra Santa” – The Holy Land (actually, we were just curious). We gathered our monedas, cameras and spirits for our religious adventure that was ahead of us. As we were halfway there, the bus stopped and the driver told everyone to get off the bus because this was the last stop — of course that would happen. Our journey to the sacred place was now by foot. A true pilgrimage if I say so myself. Our feet dirtied, faces glistened, and hair wind-blown as we arrived to our destination. Upon entering, we were greeted by several Virgin Mother Mary’s and some apostles in biblical garb then paid them our entrance fees to see where the magic really happens.
After having a moment to take in what was surrounding us (lots of plastic), we climbed up Mount Calvary to see Jesus’ crucifiction. On the mountain, we could see a public swimming park in the next lot over, along with a multitude of restaurants, nightclubs, a golf course and the local airport. We hurried our way down to make it to our next sight, which I have to add is the best attraction at the theme park — Jesus’ resurrection. As Jesus rises, the majority of spectactors take pictures & videos, pray and some snicker and cheer. Halfway to ascent — this caught me by surprise — Handel’s Hallelujah began to play. Oh no worries, I have a video — contact me if you want to see it. During the resurrection, Jesus robotically moved from side to side while opening and closing his eyes. He has 36 mechanical movements – more mobility than some people I know. We were fortunate to see him resurrect twice. After the clapping was finished, we were on our way to our next attraction — The Creation Story. Ok, we didn’t really follow the order of the park, but we managed to see what we wanted in the limited amount of time. I’m going to omit the details on the creation story, but it was “3D” and you can see pictures below. Among other attractions within the park, we were able to see the Wailing Wall, Pope John Paul II, the Last Supper…all the works of a Jesus Theme Park at it’s kitschiest.
My suggestion is since Tierra Santa is only opened on the weekends during the summer. Take advantage of (APROVECHAR) what is around the surrounding area. Take a dip in the public swimming park and after drying off, go for a round of golf. You have to be quite famished by now so hit up on of the many restaurants and bring your dancing shoes to go clubbing next door when you’re done. As it is usualy dawn here when your “night” is over, head to Tierra Santa to complete your weekend…
Buenos Aires has been my home for the past six months and there are two simple words in which I have been living by. These two words have become my mantra day by day, because that is the way I can survive down here. My newfound motto is something that is unusual for me, especially for those who know me well. I am not forward but a reticent individual. There are limits and exceptions regarding my motto but exhibiting this, sure feels damn good in the end.
No, I have not endangered any self-dignity or respect by breathing in and out the motto. And respect for others has not been lost, as well. It has been a whirlwind of experiences for which I am so grateful and as I said before, this motto is how I pull through down here. Curiosity killing the cat already?
No shame – my life revolves around these 7 letters (and one space). I hope my my motto doesn’t let anyone down, because it hasn’t for me yet, rather it has surpassed my expectations. No shame when speaking Spanish. No shame telling someone you don’t know the answer. No shame when I get angry for someone ripping me off and confronting him/her. No shame in telling someone I don’t have any monedas (coins) when in reality I do and no shame in getting really excited when someone hands me monedas (ask if you want to know…). No shame in asking a person to repeat something several times. No shame in asking for what you want. The list is infinite, but the most important is as follows – have no shame that your motto is no shame. Living by this has enriched my experience and ultimately makes me happier at the end of the day. I have been learning more Spanish. I haven’t been getting ripped off. I have been living a less stressful life in a more stressful environment. I’ve been living life with no shame, and I am proud of it!
Essential Side Note: “APROVECHAR” is the motto of 2009 among my friends down here in Buenos Aires, but it suits anyone and should be applied in every situation.
V. To make good use of; to take advantage of (i.e Let’s aprovechar tonight, We definitely aprovechar-ed in the city of Buenos Aires, I am ready for some aprovechar-ing at the club.)
And my non-sense rambling begins…
Oh so weird it is to be below the equator during this season as an N.American girl. Sweating profusely while walking pass a decorated tree is not exactly a white Christmas. Nor is wearing my linen dress with my Rainbow flip flops. Before leaving the states, I remember bragging that I would be without winter for awhile. Well, can I take that back and have a cold, powdery winter…only for two weeks though and if I didn’t have to drive in it? Ha, only if my requests were feasible.
Even if I was in a sauna like atmosphere, I did get to see some snow on top of the Andes mountains during Christmas and felt a brisk breeze while crossing the border. Not quite like home, but it gave me a little bit of the season’s spirit.
Despite all the happy times and awesome experiences I have been going through down here, I am not a robot. I do miss my friends and family! So to everyone back home (and to my new friends down here), Happy New Year’s and Carpe Diem! In the words of The Zombies, What’s your name, who’s your daddy? BESOS!!
Fotos from my trip to Mendoza and Santiago de Chile this past week. Feliz nuevo año, señores y señor(it)as.
We went on a wine tour in Mendoza and stopped at an olive oil factory!
Bus trip crosing the Andes over into Chile.
Pacific coast, southern hemi in Viña del Mar, Chile
In Santiago in front of the president’s office. Hola Michelle Bachelet!!
As many of you can tell, I love food. Eat to live? No, I live to eat! The gastronomy of a city I find to be a very important aspect of any culture, and it is a way to define a different culture from the next! In this city, it’s a cycle of meats, sweets & carbs. To follow a balanced diet is quite the feat here! The taste buds aren’t complaining but the waistline is! So in my search for a more balanced and health-conscious diet, I came across a quaint, comfy cafe/juice bar that nailed it – Pura Vida (Pure Life in English).
So what makes PURA VIDA different from other cafes here? They actually offer quality sandwiches, soups, muffins with the finest ingredients that are good for your health, and you leave feeling satisfied. I met with one of the owners, Marty, and a Swedish girl, Andrea, and I had the opportunity to speak with them about the concept of the store. Now, Argentina is a country of PASSION, and Marty was passionate to tell me about Pura Vida. Argentina’s idea (and maybe many countries) of health is what we can say is set in the stone age ,which I truly believe. This is truely nutricious food — not just some lettuce piled on top of a white bread sandwich with light mayo that’s thought of as healthy. Simply put, their menu is natural and pure (hence the name). They prepare the majority of the food on its premises (even the almond milk!) and are now offering sushi quinoa rolls.
While at Pura Vida, the best part I may add, Andrea introduced to me a shot I have never tasted before. No, it’s not your Lemon Drop Shot or Soco & Lime, instead it was wheatgrass , which was just as potent. Incredibly healthy and quite nutritious. To give some background information on wheatgrass:
- cleanses your blood
- reduces blood pressure
- contains almost every nutrient for your body
- helps fight the battle with cancer
- the list of benefits can go on and on…!
I downed the shot then sucked on an orange afterwards! A juice BAR at it’s finest. Suprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined and I think I may make this green shot a part of my lifestyle now. I wish all shots were just as good for the body…
My typical order at Pura Vida: Mediterranean wrap thats filled with avacado, quinoa, hummus, carrots and other delicious nutritious ingredients and a Mango Mistico smoothie. And now, with a wheatgrass shot! My mouth is just salvating typing this…!
As always, my words can never do full justice. You’ll have to visit and let your taste buds make the judgement. I’m sure they’ll agree with me on this one.