lunes, 9 de noviembre de 2009

DESTELLOS opens this week!



Just got back from taking a spanish certification test in Cordoba, and now it is FULL SPEED until the cabaret I'm directing goes up on Thursday. I feel very rushed, overwhelmed, anxious, but also strange. After this show, I only two weeks left in Tucuman, and only about 6 left in Argentina. In just this show I've seen so many changes in myself. I've found a lot of confidence to be ambitious and forward-jumping. Not only am I organizing and singing in this f'r, I also designed this flyer on my computer, contacted all the press folk, am creating the powerpoint and buying the props, paying out of pocket, and it all feels worth it as I see the show coming together in rehearsal. Now, how will these changes face the context I've spent 22 years growing up with? How will it face competition? debt? I want to make a promise to myself here that I can bring my Argentine "possibility-sight" to the states. Yes, i promise. Here. Now it's on the Internet, meaning that it's practically written in blood.
Cordoba was lonely, and of course, incredible too. I saw two plays almost every night, went to every museum I could until i passed out, talked to strangers about Cordoba's iron-gated elite art society and struggle with this year's drought, ate delicious sweet empanadas cordobeses at bar counters with cold grapefruit soda and a new bag (artesanal!! it has a picture of a detective and his ghost on it!) full of maps, and even spent a day on a tour to the dreamy mountain town of La Cumbrecita with three retired couples. (I was adopted under the nickname "Ohio" and made fun of the entire ride for being the only one continually fighting siesta fatigue) There were times were I felt tired, of traveling and being alone and spending without feeling like I'd earned and worked, but I also saw one of the best pieces of theater I've ever seen in my life and gained further practice in listening real real real close to what I want (lessons I can never be thankful enough for having), so I say it's worth it. Last week of real classes (now off to exams), but really my head is stuck in Destellos (flashes in spanish). I can't believe how fast this will all be over, and how little time I give myself to think of it. Wow, living without persistant analysis and regret...I can't believe how much i've changed! WOOPEEE!!!

miércoles, 28 de octubre de 2009

LA VERGUEZA AND SHAMEEEEEEE!!!



I honestly don't know what happened. It's like a really amazing friendship that you look back on at some random moment and think, "WhOA FUCKAAAA, what the hell happened to that?? What have I been doing for the past two months??" Ashamed to admit how many times I've let that happen in my life, but proud to say that I REFUSE to let my friendship with this blog fade out just yet. I'M BACK!!!! And with a lot of news.

The first is represented in these pictuhs. One thing that's been keeping me bizzay these past few months is the creation of a workshop that incorporates theater games into English language teaching in primary schools. I had the idea when I got here, but in August it all finally came together with the Ministry of Education. (beaurocracyyyyyyy) The workshop gives a little bit of background about drama education and then suggests 12 games, all of which I made up robbing acting techniques I've learned in other classes and adding a language learning objective. The games are broken up into warm-up, acting and cool-down, and should not only review vocabulary and sentence structure, but also KICK-ASS for shaking up the classroom dynamic.

This workshop has been DA SO BOMBAWESOME, and it's really continued guiding me in the direction of theater education. I've given the workshop now in two southern cities of my province, and here in the center. I also combined it with some playwriting techniques for a two-day workshop at the university. (Oh yes, you TOTALLY HAD TO PAY TO GET IN. I'm not giving out for free no mo') The ministry is also very happy (what matters most...of...course..), and tell me that teachers report incredible changes in their classrooms. (I know, it's like a Disney channel original movie-SO AWESOME), and I'm now being asked for another workshop in November. SOOOO AWESOME!!!

More on the other million projects I'm working on later, but for now I want to continue with some of July's last picture book. Here I am with Sheeva, and our lovely travel companions Andi and Andrew (loverssssss) at the salinas grandes in saltaaaaa. Perfect spot for a facebook photo, friends. AnDA! (translation: get yo' ass onto this continent and into the big field of salt remains!)
Also, I've included the hallmark photo from tren de las nubes, which was ALMOST worth the enclosed space/14 hours/view not as cool as it looked on that national geographic DVD...almost.

Aight, now I'm going to get some sleep because tomorrow I continue with an impromptu playwriting workshop I'm struggling through at the Arts University (fake smile: "IT'S GOING GREAT!) News on that soon. LOVE!

martes, 25 de agosto de 2009

A little something, something

I am down on my knees, begging in full "11 o'clock number" voice for forgiveness for taking so long to update, but I've basically had the work week from my Fulbright proposal's dreams. Creating and presenting a workshop. Setting up plans to present a play in English. Successfully teaching a full week class practically ON MY OWN! I am on an adrenaline high... My body's not quite catching up. And moments of quiet still open ugly doors. But my work to live in the moment continues, and I'm more than motivated with potential projects.

And it's been incredibly sunny. And Project Runway is back. And I had a really intense dream last night about my dad set in a forest-retreat/secret drug warehouse. Now the ideas are just coming out randomly. Let me reconstruct and get back to you.

Want to feel all emotionally see-sawy like me? Try not to get tear-filled shivers while watching thisssss:

lunes, 17 de agosto de 2009

If I may: a moment with my brain

Although I've been handed at least a thousand gifts this week, my mind still can't help but wander into a lost place sometimes. Living in another country is hard, especially at a time when my heart is feeling so ready to push some roots into the ground and start a more permanent stem of growth. Not sure if this is the right thing to do, but I find a bit of comfort in frequent visits to You Tube. Here's one of my current favorites:

JULY PICTURE BOOK 6: TUCUMAN THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS

Sheeva and I were by no means alone in Tucuman. You may have heard something recently about the Fulbrighter invasion of 2009? My house. July. Don't worry, we survived.

It started the night before Independence Day: July 9th in these parts. The congress that resulted in the declaration of Argentine independence from Spain was held here in Tucuman, and at midnight the event is celebrated here with a march of gauchos on horses, the totally random



manifestation of a crowd-plowing marching band, and FIIIIIIIREWORKS!








The next day, with everything closed and everyone (or at least everyone I've met here) completely indifferent to the fact that the president was giving a speech in the nearby plaza, we celebrated with a Fulbright night of wild peanut-butter binging and giggles. Three Fulbrighters were traveling with siblings (koinkeedink!!), so we took oodles of adorable fotos together, and generally threw around kindness and happy smiles. We had so much fun that we all returned two days later to do it all again over the best pizza on earth. Oh, you didn't know? The best pizza on earth is officially manufactured here in my kitchen by my roommate Gustavo. Something I'd like to bring home from this night: The idea of cooking several small servings of food with large groups of people that are meant to be served one taste at a time over hours. Imagine a group of about 15 starving wine-guzzlers being served one slice of pizza per 15 minutes over the course of two hours, each slice with different flavor and delivered (and eaten) by hand. Thank you to everyone who shared this night.


Before heading out, our crew headed up the nearby mountain of San Javier, a brilliant experience slightly tinted early on by our decision to follow a steep trail that lead up directly up Up and UP for about four hours. The workout was fantastic, but the uncertainty of whether or not we were ever going to arrive, well, anywhere, left the group slightly insecure. Kat, our resident hiking expert, calmed us by recognizing that while we may not have had much water left, at least we have a flashlight and warcm clothes. The speech had a mixed effect. Ultimately, we chose to trek following nature's subtlest of signals: horse shit. Reasoning that horses could only follow a path that led, somewhat, to some type of flat surface, we used the trail of dookie to ultimately reach the top of the mountain. Look at Sheeva's face. Clearly worth it, right?

sábado, 15 de agosto de 2009

JULY PICTURE BOOK 4: TUCU-FUN BEGINNINGS!

After a luxurious suite-bus ride (complete with champagne and bottom-of-the-barrel movies), we arrived in my host city, TuCUMANNN! After a delightful peanut butter and jelly picnic on my bedroom floor, I immediately put Sheeva to work helping me dictate a conversation class. She was rewarded for her hard work with a ride on a moto.

lunes, 10 de agosto de 2009

JULY PICTURE BOOK 4: SHEEVA AND BUENOS FRIGGIN AIRES!

After an 18 hour smelly-bus ride, and what felt like 3000 years of waiting like a paparazzi outside an international airport terminal, I MET UP WITH MY DAZZLING SISTER SHEEVA!

We spent about 10 minutes standing zombie-like in a hostel, and then we were already out and on the town. Here we are in front of the Casa Rosada, home of the infamous Evita balcony (and consequently famous Madonna balcony). In front of the Casa is a plaza where still today mothers of the thousands that disappeared during the dicatatorship of the 1970s march to demand answers. During this "Dirty War" period, the military took over the government and hundreds of thousands disappeared under suspicion of supporting communism.

After taking in a little history, we ducked into this "fine" cafe for Sheeva's first cafe con leche y medialunas, and for a touch at a little local culture. 50 points to anyone who can figure out why we took this picture and, therefore, why I look so creeped out!Hint: notice anything eerie about the background? group of ladies? dressed up? and alone? at tables by themselves? with waters?
We ran into random Fulbrighters with THEIR siblings!! Shout out to Christine! And we got caught in a creepy hail storm in La Boca (BA's colorful-isimo/dangerous when not on one of three designated touristy blocks), during which we found solace in a small tango club where our new best friend/tango dancuh! hooked us up with plans for Sheeva's first tango milonga. We were making friends everywhere we went!

domingo, 9 de agosto de 2009

It's 3AM


And I'm still awake because I decided to get all nostalgic and return to my college days of youtube binging! Today's obsession: So. You. Think. You. Can. Dance. LOVE IT!

Love it so much, in fact, that Sheeva and I decided to reenact some moves at the Salinas Grandes, a dried up lake, (FLIPPIN' CRAZY, RIGHT!!) outside of Jujuy, Argentina two weeks ago. Here we are!


Back to the July picture book in the morning, but for now I must report that I'm feeling very water color-y. It's definitely been a transition week, and the darks of this week's lingering chest cold (mixed with a splash of life-doubt) are now blending through the gray-blahs and into the brights. I must thank a weekend of theater (a Christmas-themed Cinderella and clown-set social commentary!), tango, "The L Word" in spanish, my Fulbright crew, dirty Skype with my grl Jaya and Sheeva Mostoufi for helping switch sides of the palate, especially because this bout of dark really had me falling deep. How to explain? Well, have you ever reached the point when you realize it's time to start sinking in roots? When you want people consistently feeding you good energy in life to physically be around you, consistently, and the people just passing through to go ahead and move on? I was there. I am there. And it's quite the lesson :)

In other news, word-of-the-day just taught me a new word to describe the last scrap of food after a meal: "ort"

miércoles, 5 de agosto de 2009

JULY PICTURE BOOK 3: The party just don't stop...holla


After my first full night sleep in weeks, I woke up on my birthday ass late, then met up with my theater history class to take in the local circus!

Turns out Argentine theater sunk in its roots through circus in the 19th century. Today, Argentina's circuses are still mostly family-run. Our guide was a trapeze-soarin' acrobat, who currently performs alongside her father, daughter, husband, both in-laws and pups.

I also treated myself to a delicious factura. How to describe the deliciousness of this sugar and cream-coated croissant-cousin? Let's just say I went to FOUR places to get one. Note: When in search of impossible-to-find-desserts on birthday, bring hot sexy-awesome friend with you to flirt waiter into buying them for you from a panaderia. Thanks Nicole!!




To close out the dreamy night, my pal Sheeva (yes, there is another Iranian Sheeva in the United States, and she just happens to now live in Tucuman, Argentina) and I whipped up some yummy Iranian treats for an intimate wine and dine. My current heart-holder Nicole (who made me a fucking CHEESECAKE!), primary school teacher-bestie Veronica, and the ever-special, sass-tastic Juancito were my honored guests. I've always marveled from a distance at long dinners, hoping that one day I could finally focus my attention on a moment long enough to stop fidgeting after my last bite and enjoy how beautifully food, good wine and brilliant people blend. How perfect that I finally learned to sit still until dessert ON MY BIRTHDAY. This four and a half hour dinner may have prevented me from blowing my bday on drunk-hazy club fun, but I think it was perfect.

JULY PICTURE BOOK 2: MI CUMPLE!


After returning from my theater workshop, I was chained to my institute to grade multiple choice and short answer questions for a million years. But after, I fled to celebrate my birthday!!

First my amazing apartment-mate/first-rate chef Gustavo made me his infamously amazing pizza the night I turned 23!!

He and his gf Daniela were also celebrating their one-month anniversary. If we could all end up in a love this cool, I think the worldwide infinite smile could be possible. Love these guys.

JULY PICTURE BOOK 1: THEATRRR!


Seeing as I seem to have lost all words for the past month, I will now use photos to help revive some of these memories.

July started at this cultural center in Simoca, a town an hour outside of Tucuman. (where I live, for those of you just joining us) The dude with the sexy beard and glasses is me, and next to me is my killer-awesome roommie Gustavo. Gustavo works with a psychologist in Simoca helping high school students focus their life goals and career aspirations. I wanted to help! So, I taught these cool kitties to make stage pictures, project their voices in a crowded room, and become comforable looking like a fool. I think they had fun, although it was a little hard getting folks to open up while several were handling their babies, others were coming in late or leaving early, and I stumbled through the entire thing in Spanish. Can't wait to go back!

viernes, 24 de julio de 2009

What a way to top it all off!

I KNOW!!! It has been a million years since I last posted. But I can explain. I have been passing the last three weeks traveling with the super-fantasticawesomalicious SHEEEEVA! Too much to update right now, but I thought Id go ahead and top it all off by spitting out how a wonderful vacation ended in the equivalent of a weezing fart. I am currently at a top-rated hostel in Buenos Aires, sitting at a public computer at 621 in the morning while someone behind me watches Will Smith-bomb SEVEN POUNDS because two douches in the top bunk next to me decided to have loud, creeky, weezily cliche 6am FUCKING SEX IN A FUCKING HOSTEL WITH SIX BEDS FUCKING IN FUCKING IT!!!!!!!! I tried to be polite, but bitches werent even trying to let me sleep, so I just left, mid-weeze. hehe. I really hope they are not stealing my stuff right now...probably should have thought of that. Details about the trip to come soon! Off to Rosario tomorrow for a few days, and then finally home. I think. nah, ill head home. the thought of one more bitingly cold hostel night of awkwardness sounds less appealing than biting into an empanada stuffed with dog shit. gross image, i know. but im SO TIRED!

martes, 30 de junio de 2009

A funk haze, denial, illness and the sweet "putita"


I spent almost the entire weekend with the same person, and it's freaking me out. I want to be a little stronger, I want to maintain my tendency to prefer independence. I don't want to ever utter the tonteria "why should I text first?" Is this what "Like, like" is? Now I understand why people both adore and abhor this electric bullshit. A cool bar, followed by a pizza/smoke/gaucamole/vodka supported game nite, followed by a "lost" viewing, followed by a cool curb-side post-yoga rendevouz defined my weekend with my new lesson. And I'm feeling good, and also a little out of control.

I also spent this weekend watching the fantastic final performances of the acting classes I've been following, earning a certificate and high school English-education book from a conference about using movies in ESL, watching the wonderful, haunting "La Mujer Sin Cabeza", cooking delicious asado meatiness with my roomie and correcting what felt like a ball-pit of midterms. And I'm still a little tired....but SUPER-EMOCIANADO to see my sister this weekend!!!

Illness refers to the fact that I've been SO TIRED it's worrying me. It also refers to the fact that my institute is closing a week early due to fear of swine flu.

Putita refers to the overwhelming haze of weirdness I've felt a few times this week, a weirdness colored by play ideas and yoga lectures. It's the title of a song by Babasonicos, an Argentinean band that's currently helping me from dipping too deep into "overwhelmed". So many ideas, so many projects, so little time and it all feels a little too dreamy. I'm feeling good, but I'm also missing Brazil. The tranquility. The seductive, smooth samba. The fruit. A warm breeze, and an indestructible smile. It was a beautiful week.

miércoles, 24 de junio de 2009

A sun, samba mystery fruit-filled week turned parcial grading muckiness

WHOOAAAAAAA!!! It's been practically a million years since I last wrote! SHEEEEIT! And I can't really even get into how heaven-like my trip to Brazil was, unfortunately, because I am currently grading (and feeling kind of uncomfortable about it) what feels like 100 gazILLION tests. Poop face!

Okay, maybe a little about Brazil. Essentially, I've fallen in love. From the first day I downed my inaugural caipirinha to my final samba-tastic hip bump, I had a smile stapled to my face. It was beautiful, friends, one of those paradise weeks that leaves a person secure that the down-turns in life eventually hit indescribable peaks. I know this sounds a little, digamos, too much. But one day when you visit me on the beach of my Brazil-stationed community theater/capoeira studio/independent movie theater/loft apartment, you will understand. Quickly, a list of reasons last week rocked:

1)Incredibly intelligent people determined to collaborate, celebrate and tan.

2)An seemingly undending plate of delicious pao de queso (a dream-realized creation of cheese and bread), and constant refills of fresh-squeezed guava juice

3)Brazilian pop and samba so smooth with tight melody and warm harmony that I couldn't stop dancing for five days

4) The beach. Pictures to come...

5)Quiet, peace, fantastic conversation, intense yoga and the ensuing body-tingles, singing along to "somewhere over the rainbow" on travel guitar, the unending service of delicious, grilled meats, dancing so jubilant it's like floating, being thrown into a game of capoeira, too many mystery fruits to name, and a constant sea of kind smiles.

6) PORTOGUESE IS SWEET! It sounds like a language cool, creative born-to-be genius kids made up to confuse their parents

7)The fantastic, theater-filled Buenos Aires trip that followed.

More details soon, but now I have to get back to grading and grading and grading and grading and grading and grading and grading. And I'm going to a folklore dance class tomorrow! Apologies for the short entry, but I promise to elaborate soon, and with photos! Hoping you're all well! Pray for all the brave Iranians demanding their due rights!

A quote to consider from my Fulbright pal Stephen: "Sugar is poison." HM.

jueves, 11 de junio de 2009

I'M OFF TO BRAZIL FOR A WEEK!!


I will try to update, but it might be hard. SO, here's another photo for the meantime. This is me teaching a writing workshop!! WOOT!

I haven't forgetten you blog!!

This is much to tell, but because I will be leaving for the aiport in four hours, I will keep it brief for now. The past few weeks have been like a marathon. Intense, sweaty, exhausting, exhilarating, exciting, refreshing, and quick. The sun was out most of this week, and so was I, smiling most of the time.

Since we last spoke things got CRAZAY at work because my "Five Paragraph Essay" writing workshop was finally put into practice. aaaaaaand I think it worked!! Teachers always talk about the "click" moment, where there students finally internalize the point of a lecture. Shit is true, my friends. As my students and I suffered through analyzing the essay "The Hazards of Movie-going" (three. fucking. times.), I worried. There were WAY too many pauses, silences, and then bursts of me flying about the room like a hired birthday party entertainer. But at one point, the students lifted their eyebrows. They sighed. They sat forward. "AH, so you all the sentences relate to the SAME theme." YESSSSS!!!! This workshop has been beyond rewarding. And I even got to "Nine Lives" to frame our in-class essay brainstorming exercize. haha, I love making students watch Dakota Fanning and cry!!

In the primary school, I fell in love with the fourth grade. It was instantaneous love. One of them jumped on my back just as another passed me a note that said "Te Quiero, Michaela," and this all happened while I was slaving (birthday entertainer once again) to remind of them how to ask someone's age. (They learned this about a month ago)

This week the primary school teacher Veronica and I got even closer as she took me out to the abandoned roads by Mount San Javier for my first driving lesson. She was TOTALLY patient, and never freaked out when I stalled the car...several times. Have you ever met someone who is so wonderful, so beautiful, so kind, and so unjustly placed amidst the spectrum of life's problems. I learned that Veronica is dealing with a lot at home, and I can't think of how to solve all that she's dealing with. I hope that being an ally will be enough.

I went to a shit-ton of theater this week too. WOOT! One started in the backyward of a house, then moved to the outside balcony and finally concluded in the theater's performance space. I can't begin to explain what it was about clearly, but the craziness that ensued in those 2 hours left me feeling even more excited about Argentinean theater. It's so body-focused, fearless, strong and intimidating. I love it! The play was developed over the past three years by a theater group that is mostly made up of students. The director, one of the best actors I have probably ever seen in my life, blew my mind again the next night when he starred in another ensemble-written piece about three transvestite nurses. I want to be a part of this kind of art-making. Anyone with me? The last genius thing I saw didn't even take place at a theater. The audience (only 20 allowed) met at a theater, but were then driven to a house outside of the center. There, a play analyzing daily habits, momentary conflict and momentary banality, and the complexity of seemingly common personalities proceeded to confuse, mesmerize and excite me. And the acting was da bombbbb. (it's been too long since I've used this phrase)

So the theater and the work have been great, as was the week-long seminar I took this week about theater under the dictatorship of Uruguay (although i didn't love having a professor that claimed I couldn't understand the plays because I don't know the context...pretencious), but the most exciting thing about this week was probably the continuous pushes that fate kept sending to me towards a few new people in my life. Yes friends, this was the week that my life turned into an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and I really don't feel like I pushed any of it. It's weird. I would see a person I found interesting, and then that person just kept appearing, in random places. This happened TWICE this WEEK! Along my daily routine, I would encounter the same person over and over, I would have an amazing connection with them, and blah blah blah (I'll tell you later). Has this ever happened to you? I'm not sure exactly what to do with all of this excitement sent from the forces above, the forces around, and the forces between people. It's a little confusing, but I'm choosing to just be grateful to finally receive a little push. It's been a smily couple of weeks, let's just put it that way.

domingo, 7 de junio de 2009

PICTURE PIT STOP!!




This is a picture of me with the infamous black glacier in Bariloche!!! The other is a picture of me with some of my students from the primary school. I was paranoid that the picture wasn't taking :) AND FINALLY, my acting buds and I pull out our tuff, rugged climbing faces at the nearby mountain. Mountains, woot woot!

martes, 2 de junio de 2009

Revelation of the day: I'm a winker!

I can't even begin to count the amount of times I winked today. After a joke. After something lame happened. When a bug flew past me. Am I becoming more friendly, more of tool? Who knows.

But I do know that I am PROUD of myself for finally making myself wake up before 11am today...when I didn't even have to be anywhere!!! In order to brutally put to death (like, with a stake, and chainsaw) my pattern of "vago" behavior, I forced myself out the door today at 9:45am. I wandered into the center and signed for a conference next week that will discuss theater has a form of resistance during Argentina's most recent dictatorship. (I KNOW!!! It's like the Fulbright fairies sent this workshop from South American research grant heaven) Of course they didn't have the definitive hours and locations for the workshop, which starts a week from yesterday, but they PROMISE to get back to me. I'll head back over there on Friday ;)

I then hit up the fotocopiadora, rushed home, blew my roommates' minds by showing them how well cucumbers and yogurt go together, and then spent the rest of the afternoon studying for Theater history class....which was pointless. We talked for all of one of the three hours, and then ended class early. AH! Still getting used to that.

After class, I headed to the fancy shmanzy downtown theater San Martin to watch students from my institute GRADUATE! I know, you are imagining something really boring. And at points, you'd be right. (They took THREE breaks, in 90 MINUTES!!!) But at OTHER points, the following lovelinesses happened: 1) The students entered while "We are the champions" played over the sound system. 2) Two singers entertained us with Spanish translations of Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart", Frank Sinatra's "My Way", and the delightful closer "New York, New York."3)Students received their diplomas while various Enya tunes accompanied. 4) Once again, just after the Argentinean anthem, the event's them was f'ing "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!!" I thought it was funny.

Post-graduation, I headed back to theater school to watch a rehearsal of my pal Alejandro's directing project. Innnnnnntense. The theater here is so strong, forceful, physical. It's confouding me a bit, which is a good thing.

Hope this was interesting....hm...mas o menos?

domingo, 31 de mayo de 2009

A red nose

I'm SO COLD in my apartment, and it's embarrassing. My google thermometer says it's 55 degrees, but i'm friggin' freezinnnnn! I think it's the lack of heat...anywhere. The tip of my nose has turned Revlon red.

Spent today at an asado with the family of my reference. Amidst small talk, continued bonding with my Canadian sistah and stupid jokes with my references 9-year-old nephew Juan (the only one who ever seems to get my jokes) I stuffed my face with every meat known to man: Chorizo, salchicha, carrrrrrne, and even Morcilla (vegetarians and lovers of animals, please do not look up this word). The event, celebrating the Natalie (canadian sistuh)'s birthday, was actually pretty suave, that is until all the adults had a little too much to drink and opened up the door to family drama. Let's just say there were tears, and a lot of embarrassed glances at the clueless foreigners. But don't worry, the event ended with our awesome, tango-dancing/table-pounding grandfather comfortably asleep in the living room.

After lunch, Adriana and I sat down to go over my writing workshop proposal, and it looks like everything is going to be sweeeeeet!

Spent the rest of the night at the house of my musician pal Fabian. The place, more of a garage converted into a sweet apartment/gear storage unit, was host to the keyboardist's birthday party. We celebrated with hamburgers!

I felt a nice balance of independence and being taken care of today. I also took a lot of pictures. Stay tuned tomorrow. I'm feeling in the mood to do some uploadin'!

A cinematic take

After a day spent lunching with my roommate, shadowing an acting class, coffee and smart-chatting with my new girl-fave Sheeva, stumbling through an improvisational play about three transvestite nurses, gnawing at delicious steak at 1AM with two of my students, and ultimately skating from "friend" to "WTF" with a buddy, I find that life in Tucuman is like a movie co-directed by the following auteurs: Christopher Columbus, Pedro Almodovar and David Lynch.

Please don't let me get stabbed by a drug-inhaling psychopath!! And PLEASE don't leave me dancing around the kitchen with my roommates, covered in flour and belting "Aint no mountain high enough."

viernes, 29 de mayo de 2009

A food-defined day

I can best describe today with the three following foods: mini alfajores maizenas, locro and good 'ole American chocolate chip cookies. I will acknowledge for one moment that this list includes nothing of nutritional value....okay, moment's gone!

Alfajores: Two sugar cookies formed into a sandwich by an inner layer of sweet dulce de leche, and then coated in sugar- These delicious, home-made baby sweets were purchased this morning at the primary school for the equivalent of 15 cents each from an adorable student hoping to raise money for a field trip. Today in the primary school, Miss Veronica (my super-fabulous teacher) and I hoped to rope the students in with an exercise where they write me a letter using the vocabulary for name, address, family, ability and dislikes. We also hoped to transition from the writing activity into that improv game where the class has to guess which celebrity I am by asking me questions about myself. (Just an excuse to finally embody Bob Esponja con los pantalones cuadrados...yes, that is how long it takes to write out the Spanish equivalent of "Spongebob Squarepants") Unfortunately, our divine dream class was interrupted by an assembly (NOW THIS IS TWO WEEKS IN A ROW!) honoring the adorable Kindgergardners. I'm serious. That was all it was about. It sucked to lose the class time, but I must admit that nothing beats teacher frustration better than kindergardners dressed as fruit that hold hands in a circle and sway.

Locro: a traditional northern Argentinean soup consisting of MEATTTTTTTTTTTT and other delicious soup items. The soup is only served in Tucuman on national holidays like 25 de Mayo or 9 de Julio, or on cold days. IT'S BEEN SO COLD!- I took in my locro with Pancho and Lenny, two old pals from my days spent at the Tucuman hostel. Pancho, an aspiring Frenchmen, took us to eat with his local clan of totally cool/totally chill/WHY CAN'T I BE THIS IN LOVE WITH ARGENTINA French pals in their totally dreamy movie-worthy patio-centered apartment. Later, Lenny, a turism major filled with language knowledge, pushed me to become fast bosom friends with a recent hostel guest named Maxi. Maxi has been traveling the world for the past 9 years getting in touch with his connection to nature, learning the art of reading people's auras using the Mayan calender, and smoking pot, Pot, POT! Maxi immediately impressed me with his seductive Jafar eyes (in a nice way). He read my aura and told me that I am a total serpent!! I admired his thirst for adventure, but I couldn't help by question this dude's understanding of the world. Maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better, but isn't it possible to become so in touch with your own connection to the universe that you lose the power of learning from the actions, successes and mistakes of human beings, the thrill of making human connection? And how in touch with your soul can you be when all talk of auras is interrupted every five minutes by the complaint that you haven't had a joint in 2 DAYS! Whatever, I'm learned something. And the guy was sweet. But my favorite moment from this meal came when one guest at the hostel revealed that he'd traveled from Cordoba for a Tucuman reunion of LOCAL DRAG QUEENS! Surprised? I was. I plan to investigate more, and will definitely keep you posted.

CHOCO CHIP COOKIES: You might be familiar- After puppet class and yoga, my gal Nikki and I went to see an amazing experimental play set in what appeared to be a local house. The play started outside in a backyard, then moved to an outside stairwell, and ultimately the interior performance space. Can't totally tell you what it was about, but the acting was incredible, and the imagery totally worthy of the Ivan von Hov for intenseness. (name not familiar? GOOGLE! This is the dude that presented Hedda Gabler with a scene where Judge Brack spits tomato juice in Hedda's mouth). Afterwards, Nikki and I went back to her house, where she taught me to bake homemade cookies. I admitted to her that I can't shake how much I'm feeling like I'm floating here, like I'm not building anything. And while she admitted to understanding how I felt, she pushed me to remain convinced of the idea that each day here is a gift. Ugh, she's right. I mean, look at today. Gifts, gifts and more gifts. Why don't I update this more? Writing down what I do does seem to help keep me in check when events like the release of the Cannes winners pull me into New York withdrawal. Staying positive...

miércoles, 27 de mayo de 2009

Funny Things happen on Rainy Days

I have MUCH to tell, and I was going to wait until tomorrow, but at 3am tonight things turned interesting when a friendly chat with a friend nudged, and then knocked over, the boundary into "friends". And all this after a mostly disgusting rainy-day mostly spent indoors writing the outline for a "Five Paragraph Essay" writing workshop, eating an entire family's load of sweet potatoes (I work with what I have), rediscovering how awesome Allison Iraheta was this season on American Idol, going to Yoga, and watching a VERY 70s movie from Spain at a local bar. It's funny what a little mate and a poorly lit doorway can do :)

I'm realize that I'm a week behind, and much of it was wonderful, so I mustn't demorar (wait) longer in telling....but I'm so TIRED! Here's a preview: I had a visitor from Mendoza, saw the signing of an accord in the most famous, and elaborate, room in the government house, pushed back recovery of my stomach pains during my classes' American foods presentation, bullshitted an awesome advertising class based on the finale of American Idol, saw some sweet Colombian guitar, witnessed an adorable 25 de Mayo presentation at the primary school (little girls in big, elaborate dresses, oh my!), belted out "I'm a Slave for You" at 3am with my students, went to the mountain for tea, saw a sweet aerial play, screamed obscenities at the referees of my first futbol match, secured free driving lessons from my AMAZINGLY sweet primary school coworker, watched a four-rehearsal for a play some friends are taking to Buenos Aires for a festival, signed up for a contemporary dance class, applied for my visa to Brazil, and now got doorway dirty.

But I save the deetz for tomorrow. I promise!

For now, I leave you with some Allison awesomeness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he9-BRfNxR0

martes, 19 de mayo de 2009

This is an honest country...whether you like it or not

So, haven't been having the best week of my life. It was definitely interesting, but the result has left me with the need to sleep for at least 18 of the last 24 hours:

In an effort to combat my weeks-worth of stomach pain, I decided to make a Friday comeback. I forced myself to wake up early, and yank my ass over to Tucuman's public university for an event pairing groups of English students with native American speakers. We talked romance, clubbing, British vs. American English and roller coaster obsessions before quickly resolving to cute photo ops and Facebook exchanges. And after a long string of goodbyes, I headed out to lunch with my new American friend Sheeva. YES! There is a super-cool Iranian Sheeva HERE in Tucuman! Sometimes I must concede that I am lucky.

Sheeva explained that she'd come to Argentina to 1)shadow a famous photographer 2) develop personal development programs for children and 3) TRAVEL! Girl is sweet, and she reminded me to refocus. The days are passing too fast here, and I haven't done all that I wanted. What am I waiting for??!

I took this new resolve into the rest of the day. Still feeling stomach yuckiness, I pushed through puppetry class, yoga class, and a super-sweet play about two reality show stars fighting to become waitresses in Dubai. I even allowed myself to go against my "I feel ill" instinct and go out dancing with a few friends! And not just to any club, to an actual tiny-town Tucuman GAY CLUB! Trust me, it is just as you are imagining. Big-voiced electronica divas belting out "sexy pride" tunes amidst over-active strobe lights and under-age cruisers. Still not feeling well, I pushed myself to stay at least as long as the drag queens' Christina Aquilera "Beautiful" lament, but quickly decided to head home.

The next day, I woke up with a sore throat that has persisted into today's chest-cold horribleness. Once again committed to making the most of my time here, I pulled myself out of bed, and headed into town. There, I waited for two hours while my new Argentinean pals pleaded for forgiveness and tardily prepared to take me on a tour of the nearby mountain. The experience was mixed: 1)The scenery was incredible, but rather than taking the sick American up the actual route, my friends decided to take a difficult side trail up the river. 2) We passed the time coming up with "Troop Beverly Hills" -style chants that forced me to rhyme in Spanish, but the songs were often interrupted as I continued to fall in the river (BOO, WET FEET!) 3) Near the end of the trail, I summoned up the courage to follow my friends out onto a suspended train rail high in the mountains for lunch, a rail so high that a mis-placed foot could have cost me a fall of hundreds of feet.

While I left the mountain trip with a smile, I also felt like SHIT! I went home to recover. But after a passive aggressive text message made me realize that I was no longer welcome in the house, I spent Sunday pushing back snot, and packing my shit. I got to the new apartment Sunday night, and have spent most of the time sleeping. When not getting comforting words from my awesome new roomies, I have earned these gems of honesty from my students:

1)While going over an exercise:

me: Do you understand the assignment?
student: (pointing to my feverish forehead) Hey, nice pimples!

2)During a break, while chatting with students

student: How old are you?
me: I'm 22.
student: Wow! I thought you were older because of your...(points to my balding spot). If you're only 22, why are you losing your hair?

3) After a really cool class where my students cooked American sweets!

Students: Where do you live?
Me: Off of Calle Alem and Lavalle. Close. Well, a lot closer than before. I just moved from a house far from here. America Avenue, way out there!
Students: Oh, I like that area much better than where you are now. It's nice, and the area you are in now is very dangerous. Be careful there. You're not going to walk back are you?

Until next time...

jueves, 14 de mayo de 2009

Like I'm walking on marshmallows

I'm moving. I know this. But I keep refusing to actually pack, pay the rent to my roommates, or basically do anything to take the next step towards making the move a reality. why can't I be an embracer of change? maybe I just need to shit to start being thrown in my face. A push. Anyone want to give me a little push?

A recent push: The teacher I'm helping in primary school arrived late yesterday, and asked me to give an 80 minute English class to a rowdy group of 5th graders...alone. Results were mixed. A couple of kids might of run out of the door on me (I retrieved them, don't worry), but I did drill family and animal vocabulary into their heads. Not bad, right?

Ever have so many options of things to do that you just sit in your room online most of the day? Guilty here. At least I can feel something stable under me here. Taking a step off the bed is like taking a step onto a giant, bouncy, sweet/unsteady marshmallow, so many cool opportunities available, but always the danger of a fall.

martes, 12 de mayo de 2009

A week of ups and downs, and an umpteenth bowl of jello

I know I haven't posted much this week, but I can explain! Shit's been f'd up guys. Shit has also been pretty great. Both. At once. It's a true roller coaster of emotions! Take a ride:

Up: My proposed Mother's Day greeting card lesson teaching advertising structures and colloquial language was a HUGE success. One of my faves: a card with an alien child telling his mommy she's "out of this universe!" (these are not native speakers!!!)

Down: I found out last weekend that I have to find an apartment, meaning I have to re-pack and MOVE everything. Any one of you that has seen my room before will know I am not prepared for this.

Up: I found an apartment for rull cheap with two cool Argentinean psychology students! It has a part in front of it!

Down: I keep getting told that the part of town I am moving to is where glue-sniffing teenagers rob people at gunpoint.

Up: I had three delicious home-cooked dinners this week: One by the super-cool/sassy reference of fellow Fulbrighter Eric. I may have spent all but my 2 peso bus fair on a bottle of wine for the occassion, but it was worth it for the riveting conversation (detailing her frustrations in Tucuman with the fact that shit-teacher's college-schooled people with hardly any English knowledge can get jobs in secondary schools while high-lever university students cannot) and the incredible, FRESH jamon y queso raviolis. The second was a delicious homemade lunch at the home of our family's housekeeper (that word gives me shivers) Ramona. Ramona lives in dirt-planted neighborhood made up of houses mostly constructed from cement blocks, bricks and pieces of other retired homes and sheds, and it is truly incredible what she's done with the place. True, Ramona had to personally come to a busy street to guide me into the neighborhood (she said it wasn't safe to go alone), but inside I felt incredibly comfortable. After learning about the art of cooking pastries from Ramona's daughter Andrea, and downing several cups of mate, I learned how to make a delicious chaucha dish and filled my belly in (questionable) style. The third delicious meal came after acting class, and a visit to a lovely (but a bit over-crowded) apartment I chose not to rent. I went to my yanqui friend Nicole's, and she made a delicious lentil/garbanzo/vegetable/rice medley...complete with CUPCAKES! We followed this up by sharing a delicious bottle of malbec/shiraz at the hip bar "El Arbol Del Galeano. All in all, good eating...

Down: ...Or so I thought. I woke Sunday morning with a fever, intense stomach pains, and the compulsion to run to the bathroom ever 20 minutes. The fever has passed, but the stomach pains persist with force. OW! I think it was all the veggies, and perhaps the wine didn't help, nor the week's intake of antibiotics. "What antibiotics," you say?

Down: I WAS BITTEN BY A DOG THIS WEEK!

UP: I'm feeling good about the new place. I'm loving that Elliott Yamin is making a comeback. I love Wanda Syke's roast at the White House press correspondent luncheon. I love that "Grey Gardens" on HBO is supposed to be good. I had a great conversation with my students today about Argentina food, and I actually had a great theater history class!

I promise to update sooN! And from a new home!

jueves, 7 de mayo de 2009

Two days ago: The swift fall down the rabbit hole

It started Monday night, when an MSN conversation a friend here turned way personal. It was a wonderful conversation, and full of dirty jokes (which I love)...just wasn't expected. Having only slept for 4 hours on Saturday night, and five on Sunday night, this late night HBO comedy-worthy therapy session left me exhausted on hazy on Tuesday.

After about five hours of sleep, I woke up at 9 to check in with the new primary school I will be working in. After lugging my body out the door, and defeating moments of confusion with some new streets, I arrived at the primary school, where I was told, "Oh, I know you're starting work tomorrow. Why did you come today to tell me that again?" My reference thought it was a good idea, and I totally agreed, but upon arrival I realized how stupid my ideas are sometimes.

On my way back, I was determined to break 5 pesos so that I could have change for the bus. Starving, I committed to buying yogurt at a kiosk. About one block from the kiosk, I noticed that a sketchy dude was parked right in front of my house. I stopped on the sidewalk to scope him, just as a neighbor was opening her door. I had just finished my polite/quick hello with her, when her monster-dog bounded out of the house, drove his teeth into my leg, then bounded back in. HOLD UP! Should I repeat? A FRIGGIN' DOG BIT ME THIS WEEK! Bitch smiled, and apologized, then went back in her house. And I, stunned, bought my yogurt and went home. It was only as I arrived at home that I noticed that the small bite had produced blood, and I quickly started washing. Long story short, I'm fine. Pissed. Embarrassed. Still without a determined place to live, and now the subject of a dog attack, but I'm fine.

After stopping in an emergency, and buying some nasty pills, I immediately had to rush to the center for my Theater history class...which turned out to be canceled. I tried to take advantage of the time by immersing myself in paper-grading, but I couldn't help but get stuck in the dumps. What a shitty day!

Ah well, at least I saw the Argentinean president ride by the Plaza Urquiza in a motorcade. The street was filled people, singing, waving banners applauding the efforts of President Kirchner. After hearing this month from almost everyone about the country's disappointment with this president, I couldn't help but giggle a little at the scene. How were these people assembled? Why were the people screaming immediately disinterested after the car passed? I learned later that most people that attend these functions are paid. As the parade ended, I was struck by the amount of trash and waste that the event had left in the street. Typical right, people falsely gather to honor a president they believe is throwing trash all over their country, and literally as she passes, her celebration leaves the streets with nothing by garbage.

lunes, 4 de mayo de 2009

I keep thinking about New York


It's weird. Maybe because the compiling stress of starting work in the primary school this week, teaching an impromptu lesson about conflict today using "Friday Night Lights", developing a lesson about writing greeting cards to celebrate Mother's Day for Wednesday, Reading my textbook for History of Theater Class for tomorrow, oh...and finding a new apartment. Hm, stress, this is familiar. *FLASH OF COLLEGE* haha. The soundtrack to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is definitely helping through this, but I couldn't help but feel sad today having a delicious lunch today with the three kids I live with today, laughing as we discuss favorite Disney movies, and all the time knowing I have to peace in a few days. It's so funny how the days just pass and pass, and regardless of new circumstances and conflicts, the time refuses to go any slower, or any faster.

Saw a few rooms for rent today, and this aren't looking promising. But I went to a lovely hamburger-focused birthday today, and I'm still smiling. I miss you all a lot. A lot.

domingo, 3 de mayo de 2009

what a weekend!

It appears that I've suddenly become one of those people that goes out at night...and into the early morning...and then the later-ish morning. It's shameful, right? I got in at 9am this morning, this after falling asleep on the public bus. And it wasn't the first early morning sneak-in this week.

It started Thursday, when my classes ended early in celebration of "Dia Del Trabajador", an apparently Chicago-born holiday celebrating a nation's hard workers. Refusing to saunter home to stream more "Gossip Girl", I pulled out the text-fingers and started making plans for the night. I started by treating myself to dinner, a "Mexicana" sandwich composed of white bread, ham, steak, mayo and fried egg. (Can anyone else hear my stomach lurching?) I then crashed one of Diego and Alejandro's acting classes, clung, and stuck with the group for a delicious ice cream outing. After, I joined my American pal Nicole to hit up a concert in suburban Yerba Buena. The singer, Shai, was a friend of hers, and probably one of the prettiest destined-to-play-Roger-in-Rent people I've ever seen. There was Coldplay covering, heavy glugging of Quilmes beer, and eventually a sad presentation of two tipsy Americans taking a whack at Salsa. Afterwards, Shai chatted us up like old pals, and before I knew it 4AM had arrived and we were at Shai's abandoned garage-turned charming apartment listening to music and talking "Lost". I'd only fallen asleep mid-conversation a few times before arriving home at 7am.

Spent the "Worker's Day"break mostly at home, but found time to fit in a conversation group with my translation-student amigas. I can officially check "Have conversation about "Los Rugrats" and "Doog" in Spanish while downing mate" off my to-do list.

Saturday, I joined Nicole for pizza, and a constructie discussion of how we both struggle with over-extending ourselves, and then making up for it by forcing separate friends to hang out together. Afterwards, I snuck into another acting class, where I got to walk weirdly, scream, and improvise in Spanish. (Not.Pretty.)

Quick change at home, and I was off to dinner with Shai and his family atop their three-story centro-penthouse. The family as incredible, adorable. Seated at a table of nearly 12, I chugged delicious homemade hummus and saurkraut, then literally drooled over the plates and plates of grilled fish. Shai's father and 11-year-old brother had caught the fish themselves, and the boyfriends of his sisters had prepared an incredible grilled pece-covered in peppers and cheese- experience. If that wasn't enough, the dinner also included deep international economy and security discussions, homemade banana cream pie and bins of yummy helado, and even magic tricks! I excused myself at 1 to head to a party with Diego, Alej and Lucas, one of my acting classmates. It was a party for the boys' friend and came complete with transvestite hostess, strawberry lollipops and lots of PDA. Oh yes, and beer of course. I spent most of the evening talking with Agriculture student Lucas about the state of Argentina farming, and kind of fell in love when the admittedly shy small-town farmer asked me if I liked Herman Hesse. The party was very...well there were lots of strobe lights, and afterwards Lucas and I met up with one of my college classmates for an afterparty...at 5...sigh. The party, in the backyard of someone's house, hosted everyone from gay men, teenage to elderly, to flogger chicks and their young suitors. The night got weird near the end, when my sleepiness led me to abandon my idea to grab a cab at 7am to follow my classmates all over the center looking for a bank. Losing patience, I bounded out of a cab near my friend's apartment and passed out (just an expression, don't worry) at the bus stop, lulled by bright sun and smell of freshly baked pastries.

Today, I saw "He's Just Not that Into You" and found out that I'm going to have to move to a new apartment. More on this later. I think it might finally be time for me to sleep.

miércoles, 29 de abril de 2009

The Flood

I'm asphyxiating a bit. I think the uncertainty of my schedule, the continuing unfamiliarity with everything, and my consuming need to be busy have produced enough ideas to literally drown my brain. It's a good thing, I think. But it's making it hard to sleep. Or legitimately participate in my yoga class. Every time we're supposed to be resting, falling into peaceful quiet, I realize half-way through my teacher's calming utterings that I've been lost in a plan to powerpoint the concept of high school cliques, lol.

Nice day tho. I bus'd, then trekked out to the jungly scenic Yerba Buena province to have breakfast with my interior design/tourism friend Lenny, and her lovely "I legitimally like people" mother. Later, I stopped by a local primary school to get acquainted with the staff. That's right ya'll, I'm going to teach little bitties!

After a mildly-focused yoga class, I spent a couple hours talking with the French-language assistant about universal health care and Adam Sandler. I then went to class, where I was asked by nearly 20 students what kind of music I like to dance to. I said hip hop. Beyonce "Single Ladies" dance party! WHO'S WITH ME??

Yesterday, I presented a powerpoint about food culture in the states. They were perplexed by our early dinner hours, disgusted by our fast food chains, and surprisingly intrigued by the idea of French Toast. How odd is it to have a job where you teach people about the cultural significance of potato skins?

lunes, 27 de abril de 2009

I made a powerpoint today


Still trying to find my footing. Making a powerpoint about American eating habits helped. Watching an episode of Friday Night Lights just made me want to melt. It's 3am. Perhaps that explains this strange entry. Do you ever feel like you're sitting right next to yourself five years from now? And you can't make yourself say anything...Gnight!

domingo, 26 de abril de 2009

On the Border of Chile and Argentina


I'm at peak of where the liberators of Argentina first crossed into the country from Chile!!

A weak week to start, but then it rained

I think I was a lot more tired after my trip than I'd realized. I haven't gotten up before 1:30pm ONCE this week. (I know, start hurling the tomatoes, I deserve it) But the exhaustion manifested in really weird ways. The first day back, I felt totally fine. I went to class, and even started preparing last-minute presentations about Earth Day and the American school system. But by Wednesday, I felt this exhaustion orb around me. Have you ever felt that before? I wasn't hungry, but I felt like I hadn't eaten in days. I was constantly drinking water, but constantly feeling dehydrated. I couldn't focus. It was so weird. The paranoid Iranian in me feared that the Dengue had gotten me. (Have I mentioned that my province has recently become infested with Dengue Fever? Don't let this curb your plans to visit!!) But a few days of excessive sleep pulled me back into reality.

Lots of teaching this week, and I'm really starting to love being in front of a classroom. This week we talked a lot about environmental issues, and what we can do to combat them. (YIPPEEE!!) Sadly. the outlook of Tucumanos is pretty bleak. There is no recycling here, and most people use gallons and gallons of water everyday to hose down their sidewalks. But at least we got the discussion started. I'm going to try to encourage my family to start using more canvas bags, and to take advantage of the fact that bodegas here collect used glass bottles. Not sure what else to do. Any ideas?

This week I also had a mini brain meltdown when I realized that I didn't have any concrete projects lined up here. I think I'm calmed now, but I really freaks me out how quickly I can get overwhelmed without wanting to do so much, and not actually doing anything. This "chill out" lesson is going to be hard to accept. I'm not used to having all this time to reflect. And sleep.

I started my puppetry class this week! Just wait until you see my skills with a toilet paper roll. Pixar is totally going to be knocking down my door. Sheeeeyit. My professor is adorable. Imagine an elderly lady with a lot of make up and sass slightly tripping while demonstrating how to make two puppets fight and storm off. I also continued following the adult acting classes taught by my adopted buddies Alejandro and Diego. It still boggles my mind how regardless of how much I continue to get impassioned about real-world causes, theater still seems to be the only thing to really light me up. I'm such a sucker for amplified emotion.

On Friday night, I cooked kabobs with fellow Fulbrighter Eric, and my new friend Alexis. There was a downpour of rain, and the streets flooded. Ah rain. Sigh. Smile. We are so lucky to have rain, aren't we? Hm.

Last night, I caught up with my German friend Sandra, who I met in Bariloche. We chatted for all of 20 minutes while she hurried to a play, and then I downed a bottle of beer and a plate of hummus alone. (it was nice, I promise) Then, I joined Alexis and some of his friends for my FIRST TUCUMAN CLUB EXPERIENCE. Bit less eventful than I'd imagined, but it was fun. Let me set the scene:

A long, seemingly middle-of-nowhere street flooded with adolescents. Pushed through some door by my new friends, I am immediately consumed by Reggaeton, slick Tucuman haircuts, catcalls (to the surrounding gaggles of girl parties), strobe lights, and neon...a lot of neon. There were several rooms, ranging in taste from electronica to "room where girls in thongs compete to be labeled hottest/best at bending while jiggling ass". I felt ancient. Everyone seemed to be in their teens, and the focus was easily "HOOKUP". Sorry folks, no news on my end, but I can assure you that many a teen succumbed to deep, sort-of-gross, seemingly painful bouts of making out against a wall. There was also the late-night appearance of a team of dancing floggers, who make there appearance known with there signature bop-and-jump dance that I can only compare to the mosh pit at an electronica concert. I stayed until 4, when all clubs close, and then was swiftly pushed (literally) by friendly police into the streets. After wandering, we ended up at the house of my new Peruvian gal pal Rocio, where my crew and I listened to Britney Spears and talked about movies. I got home at 730, then woke up at 1 to get ready for our family lunch.

I don't think this was a very structured post. Sorry ya'll. Maybe I'm still feeling the snoozies from my trip. Or maybe I'm going on 5 hours of sleep. I will post photos soooooooN!

martes, 21 de abril de 2009

Do You Remember?

After assisting in class yesterday, spending a heartwarming dinner back with my family here, and staying up way too late watching Gossip Girl, I woke up today feeling very heavy. It was very grey outside. I think that probably initiated the heaviness. It prob didn't help that I didn't leave my room until 2pm either, lol.

Spent most of the day looking for earth day-related videos to teach with in class tomorrow. I also prepared a general culture lecture for a class today. I also scanned youtube for hours, and went for a speed walk.

Not much happened today, really. My culture discussion went well, and my earth day research brought a lot of cool issues to my attention. I also think I'm thinking a new friend :)

The title of this post is in reference to my most recent you tube obsession: Pasek &Paul's "Do You Remember?" as sung by Gavin Creel. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqFnNr1mmMY

lunes, 20 de abril de 2009

WAAAAAYY OVERDUE!

I'm SORRY, I'm SORRY, I'M SORRY! It has been disgustingly long since I last posted. I really hope that is still being read....please (tear). But I have an explanation. I just got back from a 10 day, spur-of-the-moment trip to patagonia, and I've been fighting disgruntled hostel-goers the days just for 5 minutes of email-checking. Now, I did just arrive, and haven't really slept sufficiently in over a week. SO, I can't go into detail now, BUT I can easily present some highlights of what has happened over the past few weeks. Details to come...

1. The parents of my reference, a.k.a. my Argentinean grandparents, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a traditional Catholic mass and reggaeton/wedding singer in spanish-catered blowout. Image: Me, Natalie (the lovely Canadian exchange student that lives with us), my reference and her husband breakin' it down to the YMCA at 4am while everyone else watched.

2. My first History of theater class. The teacher was very welcome to meet a beautiful young American girl she'd spoken with on the phone about Argentinean theater history. And once again, I am mistaken for a woman on the phone.

3. (Overnight bus number 1)Took 35 hour bus trip to Bariloche in Patagonia. Image: An insanely tired me, and an adorable middle-aged Argentinean name Claudia belt out "Torn" by Natalie Imbruglia as we watch one of our bus's many music video montages.

4. Fresh off the bus in Bariloche, I meet some Argentinean nuclear engineers while hiking up Cerro Campanario. Forcing friendship, I tag along with them to another mountain and discuss politics. Image: That night, I sat in a local family restaurant eating delicious steak, and downing a 2L of cerveza...alone.

5. I saw Mount Tronador, and its beautifully creepy giant black glacier!

6. Refusing to listen to my butt's pleas to stop, I biked 24.5 km of Bariloche's circuito chico. I was surrounded by mountains, incredible lake views, and spent shit-tons of money at a craft fair. It. was. awesome.

7. At breakfast, I met a couple with a son in an Australian circus. The mother also informed me that her brother is an actor, and has been struggling to find work in the states. "Oh, has he been in anything I'd know," I asked, assuming that he was some extra on ER. "Did you see Moulin Rouge," she said. "He was the Duke." THE FRIGGIN' DUKE!

8. I stopped into a Che Guevara-themed bar to watch the movie "Che". I didn't understand most of it, but it was easy to translate the angry words everyone expressed afterwards towards the U.S. involvement in providing arms to South America. INTENSE!! But awesome. Afterwards, after being dragged out of the hostel (and then ditched) by an Australian couple, I went to a Reggae club down by the beach with an awesome group of Chileans. One was studying to be the person that regulates fish production. How cool is that!

9. I rented a car with two New Zealanders, and an Aussie, and drove around the Ruta de Siete Lagos. Pictures to come...so incredible.

10. Headed to the hippie town of El Bolson, where my New Zealand friend Matt and I took in the local crafts fair, toured a jam-making plant, drank fresh rasberry juice, and hiked. yay!

11. (Overnight bus number 2) Headed to Neuquen, and neighboring Villa El Chocon to see the bones of the world's largest carnivorous dinosaur. Then, after getting lost along the 6km hike to the nearby lake, I saw preserved dinosaur footprints!! I don't think I heard a single human-made sound for at least 5 hours. My legs were killing me by the end of this day, but it might have been my favorite.

12. (Overnight bus number 3) Rented a bike, and took in the wineries and olive oil farms in Maipu, just outside of Mendoza. At times, I felt like I was in the "Do Re Mi" sequence of "The Sound of Music. Spent the evening with my new German friend Sandra, and Fulbrighter Jenni. We ate HUMMUS!!!

13. Hit up a thermal springs resort in the middle of the mountains with my Americans-I met in Bariloche friends Beth and Rachel. I also spent much of the lazy day chatting with a girl from Rosarios that had the coolest eyes I've ever seen. Why didn't I tell her that?

14. ATE SUSHI! IN ARGENTINA! Then came home to find a drunk American dude in my bed, and one of his friends in the bed he said was mine.

15. Took a bus tour to the border of the original route between Argentina and Chile. I think the mountains and I fell in love on this day. Expect notices for our wedding soon. And Fareed/mountain-made babies before the end of the year.

16. Saw a free concert in a gorgeous theater, featuring a both incredibly talented/slightly Christopher Guest movie-worthy folk singer from Argentina. I admit that the dude could sing, but I think this dude could give Christina Aguilera some real competition for the title of "GREATEST/MOST ANNOYING VOCAL MASTURBATOR"

17. Arrived home, went to sleep, and then woke up two hours later to the drunk American's screaming, snoring, having sex and drawling on and On and ON about getting naked, being SOOOO wasted and fucking chicks...while in the bed with two girls from the hostel.

18. After three hours of sleep, and a bottle of wine from the hostel to apologize for the disgusting American students, I spent a lazy day just wandering around Mendoza with Jennie, and my new friend Parry.

19. (Overnight bus number 4) Came home to Tucuman with a really, really big smile.

Reflections later. Again, sorry for the delay. Now, to actually take in one of these sieste things.

sábado, 4 de abril de 2009

My connection with apples

In my efforts to combat this country's seductive obsession with red meat, I've started imposing a diet on myself. More produce. No more Milanesa (a delicious slab of beef pounded thin, breaded and fried, and then served with mayonnaise). This isn't really that interesting. I just wanted to explain the title...basically, while eating an apple on the bus the other day, I was suddenly struck by how wonderfully natural it is for humans to eat fruit. It's sweet, filling, nutritious, and grows without any human impact. What could be more meant-to-be than than the growing and eating of fruit? And how fortunate are the beings on this earth that apples grow everday, naturally, and with the satisfying taste and necessary nutrients that we need? Apples, in turn, rock.

Anyway, an update on happenings here. I HAVE KEYS!! And, bitch, I've been usin' 'em. (After finishing the first two seasons of "Skins", that is)

On Thursday, I spent the afternoon continually reminded why I wanted to go into television writing (SKINS), and then speed-walked to a nearby park for my daily cardio. Later, I went to an advanced acting class at La Sala Ross, where I've officially become the resident stalker. We had the class in a small rehearsal space, and the group were already a properly formed clique. Luckily, theater games pushed me very quickly into an improvised David Lynch-worthy dance party that had me hip to hip with several classmates. I had a blast, but the class was surprisingly demanding. As we improvised, I found myself continually falling into depressed, isolated characters. Luckily, I pulled out before I totally submerged into the woeful-princess I was becoming. Am I really so angsty? I think it's the recent You Tube-induced seclusion I've found in my room. I didn't realize I was so bad at going idle.

Luckily, activities commenced on Friday. I went to another yoga class, where the tranquil spanish commands and assurances kept getting interrupted by the teacher's constant scoffings at my gnarled poses. Try yoga in Spanish. It's a trip!

After, I went to a rioutous (literally) children's acting class at La Sala Ross. I felt for the teacher, who was easily, bull-dozed over by the 20-something room of screaming girls. We spent most of the class developing improvisations, and I tried to help, but the girls couldn't understand most of what I was saying. It's was very humbling. I guess knowing the words isn't the end of the work.

I closed out the evening over dinner with a cinema studies professor I had met earlier this week. Nice guy. Loves musicals. He also tried to convince me that the dictatorship of the 1970s, and the following "Dirty War" that left hundreds of thousands of people "missing", could actually be seen as a necessary end to keep communism out of the country. "We could have ended up like Cuba," he said. "It's horrible what happened, but the world is only getting half of the story." I don't think that any story could justify denying so many citizens their rights. I also didn't appreciate his scoffing at my emotional reaction to "Moulin Rouge," which he said only used pop music as an "ineffective device" to sell tickets. I don't know how much we'll be hanging out again.

miércoles, 1 de abril de 2009

Two days of establishing myself here

I still don't have keys, nor have I begun my jobs. BUT, I refuse to sit idle. These past two days, I have pushed myself on this city, and I think I'm getting a good response.

Yesterday, I spent the morning watching BBC's mind-blowingly complex/awesome show "Skins" on Youtube. I waited for what seemed to be hours for someone to wake up and open the door to let me out. (pause to acknowlege the waiting............)Finally, I hit up the center to meet up with Eric, the other Fulbrighter aca (here). It was weird being so exposed as American. Together, our growing Argentinean accents faded, and quickly we dissolved into English. Hearing Eric's three simple goals here (none of which really involved much pressure to weave into the workings of the country) made me calm a little in my hurry to become Tucumano. But while Eric looks at this year as a break, I can't help but struggle to cherish every second of this experience.

In the evening, I met up with Paul, a 27-year-old from Seattle who decided to move here to get a Philosophy degree. We bought some beer from a corner store, then popped a squat at a table right in front. (they provided us with plastic cups) In between his gawks at passing women in short skirts, we talked about gender relations in Argentina. He admired what he believed to be an understanding between men and women in this country as a compromise between female empowerment, and machismo. Everyone is very sexual here, and while many girls can be empowered to express their sexuality, men also feel that they have the right to sometimes objectify women. I disagreed with this admiration, and told him that I felt the culture pushed boys and girls to personify roles they might not really embody. The discussion pushed into race relations and feminism. It was frustrating, but fun. I need to be challenged more, I think. Anybody want to debate affirmative action??

After another night and day of "Skins" obsessing, I went to my first yoga class. I was not only the only male, but also the only person under 40. YAY! It was hard translating all the body parts, and also difficult to close my eyes and remain calm when not totally sure what was being said, but I definitely felt calmed. Yoga is...interesting. I think it might be really important. More on this later.

After the body-flexing, I headed to Barrio Norte for an impromptu conversation group with some of the friends of the girl whose apartment I was going to rent. (My English teachers all just had a spasm as that run-on sentence was written) We talked generational differences, and politics in Argentina. They are nervous about the country's socialist-leaning president, and are confounded by how rebellious teenagers have become. I opened up about my sadness for Argentina's striking farmers. We drank Mate (YAY, TRADITIONS!!), and then giggled our way to cerveza. I think i might be making friends!!

And now, more Skins. Is anyone even reading this?

lunes, 30 de marzo de 2009

The day of the sun's reflection

Everybody ready for the the resume of things I have done today?

Here goes:

1) Finished watching "Girl, Interrupted" while waiting to go the Center
2) Decided with my Canadian housemate to go the center after siesta
3) Watched "Power Rangers" in Spanish, and ate an apple
4)Online nothings
5) Talked with Rosario, the lady who cleans and cooks for us (I know, I'm ashamed), about her extended family, her daughter's struggle to graduate with a broken hand, and her many years of labor on citrus farms in the campo of Tucuman
6) Spent lunch eating delicious chicken, and discussing the guilt/knowledge/enlightenment acquired from meeting people of different classes. I brought up my water-color feelings after spending the afternoon in the Simoca pueblo. Adriana discussed how struck she was by the peace and wisdom she found working with the indigenous peoples in northern Santiago Del Estero. The entire conversation was conducted in English, while Rosario cleared plates and prepared dinner.
7)More Internet nothings (ex: Beyonce performing "Single Ladies" LIVE...what a talent)
8)Went swimming and sunbathed in the backyard, then played with our adorable, fluffy dogs.

Literally seconds ago, I was feeling like this day had been wasted. Now I feel the total opposite. I think I'm learning more than I thought here. How to chill out. How to let time go and relax. It's a different kind of education. I'm not used to it. Now I just have to stop resisting :)

I'm obsesed with this song by the way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsOIYuocQSM