New Gem

As I was looking through my Facebook newsfeed after a summer class today, awaiting for the next class, I found this on Tumblr: http://whenyouliveinargentina.tumblr.com/page/5 It is quite interesting because it does summarize most of everything I have experienced. Haha, enjoy folks. I know I haven’t posted in this blog in awhile. I’ll try to keep up more information about Argentina, here and there.

Chau por ahora!

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AFTER THOUGHT

Forewarn: Blog contains personal opinion and experience. Also it contains many errors: grammar, spelling, etc. I will eventually go back and fix what I can.

Also visit, copy and paste this link, VAMOSALAPLAYAENPUERTORICO.WORDPRESS.COM, to follow my journey in Puerto Rico. 

And follow my travels for the upcoming summer after Puerto Rico, I think it will be more of a quote challenge with photography– less of words. Copy and paste link: dreamertravels.wordpress.com

And don’t forget to check out the sub-heading for links about food, restaurants, etc.

Enjoy! =)

21. JUNIOR. INTERNATIONAL STUDIES. SPANISH. MINOR IN JAPANESE.

So I bet you guys think I forgot all about this blog; well, I haven’t. I have been so busy since I have been back on December 16th. It seemed like I have something to do every day and every moment of the day. As soon as I landed in New York, I was swept off my feet and went to Flushing, from there I traveled from Flushing to Brooklyn to Chinatown, whatever the order was– I forgot already. Then I have to fly to Missouri and stay there for couple weeks. Then I have to drive to Alabama and then drive to school. A lot of thens, as you can see. I kept thinking that I should be posting a wrap up conclusion for my experience abroad but things keep happening.

And here comes the conversation starter– things keep happening.

One thing I have noticed since I have been back is that pace of life. In Argentina, I was able to be more carefree and lenient on time. Now that I am back I am constantly put on schedule and pressured to always to do this or that. This week, well I crashed. I was so sick, never has been this sick before– at least, I don’t think. So I’m not saying that I’m having a hard time adjusting back but I’ll say I am definitely not enjoying the workload. I know it’s inevitable but it would be nice if I have a breather, like now. I am able to put everything aside, after my 1 pm- 7 pm dash: I have to catch up and bring myself up to speed in classes because I have missed out so much. So… all in all, one of the most noticeable cultural differences is the idea on time orientation and how we value the quality of time.

One thing that I have regretted most about my trip is the fact that I didn’t get to practice Spanish as much I liked, but in Spanish class back home, I do realize a significant amount of improvement. I’m more courageous to speak out, and my listening skill has improved significantly compared to before.

One of the most important thing that I regret is not getting involved in the community. I think a part of me was too scared to branch out. I don’t know why but I was held back and did not volunteer as I anticipated– another downer.

Change in me:

Well, I keep telling people that I have changed. I have changed a lot, perhaps. I am more open and aggressive, meaning I am able to speak out to what I want or what I believe. I am also more patient than ever before. Use to when something goes wrong within my friend circle or from something that I am doing, I would freak out and let thing go crazier. Now I notice that I am actually calm and collective. I just let the wrong pass by and eventually I was able to right the wrong. Not only am I more patient, but I am now more willing to try new things without pressure or force of friends.

I can honestly tell you that I have become more independent and mature. Most importantly, I have developed a love for Argentina, Uruguay, and TRAVEL.

I like to thank the 20 other folks plus the staff of my program for being part of this experience. We have been through good times and rough times. Let us keep our memories and pass it on.

P.S. Apply for Gilman Scholarship! (http://www.iie.org/en/Programs/Gilman-Scholarship-Program) It’s definitely worth your time and investment. I was given the opportunity of a lifetime because of this scholarship.

Un pais tranquilo: Uruguay

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Uruguay Adventure:

For our Spring Break, we traveled through Uruguay– Colonia, Montevideo, Punta del Diablo, y Cabo Polonio. Punta del Diablo is one of the most amazing places on Earth, though Cabo Polonio was also amazing. Each place has its own uniqueness. For me, both of these beach towns are a paradise. It’s a place where there seems to be out of touch of the world problems. It is definitely a sweet escape, no stress and no worries. Though we did worried a lot about the money situation but it was because the deal of not having credit machines and exchanges for Argentine pesos. These places aren’t out of touch with the world. It is more of the preferably of the locals to live in a Tranquilo lifestyle.

If you ever end up in Uruguay, just hop on a bus and go all over. The transportation cost is reasonable and the distance to get point A to point B is relatively short. I will definitely go back one day and explore more than the first time around.

More photos for you to enjoy:

Montevideo

Cabo Polonio

Colonia

Punta del Diablo

La Bomba del Tiempo, Sarmiento 3135–por mi cumpleanos 21

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For my 21st birthday in Argentina, I decided that I wanted to go to La Bomba; it was one of the best decision that I had ever made. I had so much fun. The drum beats and the crowd were on fire. If you are ever in Buenos Aires Capital Federal, please make it an agenda to do this! It is definitely worth attending. It was definitely a very memorable and exciting 21st.

Cost: $50 pesos entrance fee.

For me, La Bomba was a perfect celebration because it was from 19:30-22:00. I don’t like to stay out late so it was what I had in mind for a 21st for the longest time. It’s hard to explain how much I loved it through words. I feel like you will just have to go and you will see for yourself why I liked it so much!

Sea of gente

Two months anniversary, really?

Argenina, mi amor!

 

I can now say that I am celebrating the end of the last Midterm before Spring Break, wooohooo!!!! And this time, the celebration includes URUGUAY: Montevideo, Punta del Diablo, Cabo Polonia, y Piriapolis. (: with Sandra, Jordan, Alex, Grace, and Jas and her cousin.

So far, so good with the two months in Buenos Aires, there might have been some ups and downs, mainly due to illness… fever, cold, congestion, excess sneezing, overflow of phlegm and headaches. All in all, the experience here has not been bad at all. It’s just that I can’t believe the time is going by so fast and the money is running like water (not an important fact, but my budget planning is too soft– I just want to buy everything!).

Notes:

1) Yerba mate is a ritual, building social ties and strengthening relationship… and on top of it, the tea tastes super good., though it can taste like Chinese herbal medicine.

2) The people here are friendly, depending on their mood, but most of the time, people here are very nice and very helpful. Same goes for anybody and any where in the world, I believe.

3) I live really close to the city center, walking distance to just about anywhere, other than far out into Palermo or Belgrano. It’s usually 30 minutes walk or more… not bad in my standard, because I’m also lacking exercise since I have been there so walking everywhere makes up for it.

4) Transportation is available but finding bus stop that goes the right direction is a hard one. I stick to the basics, as long as I get home fine, I’m okay. Sometimes taking a cab isn’t that bad, for safety reasons.

5) Amazing grafetti everywhere in the city, though sometimes not as pleasant.

6) I love love the architecture here, especially in the neighborhood of San Telmo.

7) The ferias are definitely a favorite to go, always something to or something to watch. Last week, I met up with a friend from UAB and went to the Recoleta feria and saw a Brazil show (not exactly sure what it was…it was dancing combined with comedy). It was a good show but it would have been greater if I can understand most of it… all spoken in Spanish. San Telmo feria is another one of my favorite. Also the fair at Tigre was good, we didn’t have enough time there so I definitely want to go back.

8) Kiosko visiting might be an addiction for most. I have had this problem but I have been told. It’s a little convenient store where you can grab and go sandwiches, ice cream, chips, candy bars, candy, gum, drinks, and even alcohol (I think). Most of them are open for 24 hours and closed on holidays (maybe). I don’t visit them often but I felt the need to mention this little amenities of Buenos Aires.

9) The city never has a dull moment, unless you are a boring person. There is always something to do during the day and into the night and early morning.

10) I heard… I heard that most people here have maids. They come either once a week to the houses and clean or some is once a month, depending on the household.

11) They always like to help but even when they are wrong. They still felt inclined to do so. For example, giving direction when they don’t really know if it’s right.

12) Very lax attitude towards time and planning… it’s frustrating to me in the beginning but I have slowly adjusted to it. My only fear now is bringing this back to the states with me. I know it won’t work with the pace there… cultural reversal shock?

13) Grabbing an apple from the Verduria is a must. It’s always on the way to school and on the way back. In fact, it is right around the corner from me. I will miss the most from this trip is the ability to pick up fresh veggies and fruits whenever I want. I am definitely taking advantage of it every chance I get.

14) The meat here is top notch, no doubt and no regret. It’s the best ever! Even without seasoning nor salt, it is tasty. Asado, ohmylandta, it’s mouth-watering. Though asado usually takes about 4 hours, it’s definitely worth the time spent. (Asado is known as BBQ)

15) Seeing the Obelisco, or the Washington Monument as we like to call it, every day while walking to school… it’s like the lighthouse that guides me home. It’s weird reference but that’s how I felt. I always figure my way home if I see this structure.

16) Tango is an art, for sure. We went and watched a choreographed Tango show, though I don’t prefer this form as much, I still enjoy the beauty and passion behind it. The milonga visit though was a good experience; not only did we get to dance ourselves, we also got to watch the pros at work! And oh my, they were amazing and had so much fluidity in each single step they took. And not to mention, the music… it sets you freeeeeeeeeeee!

17) It’s very common here for a plan to not follow through, I don’t dig, but I can hang. It’s part of accepting a culture. It was definitely challenging at first but now, I learned and adapted.

18) Common gestures for words: the back hand under the chin slide means “I don’t know” or “what.” The index finger on one hand to the palm of the other means “one moment, please.” Also at a restaurant, putting your hands up and motion a pen writing means you want your check.

19) Things to say: “Permiso” to pass someone. “Perdon” to apologize for unintentional incident or sometimes intentional– “lo siento” is not very common here. “Gracias” to someone passing a yerba mate to you means you don’t want anymore. “Gracias” to a mozo/a means you don’t want change back. “Dale” is very common here… it simply means let’s go, go ahead, or okay. “Baja” is something they would ask you on the subte or colectivo… asking you if you are going to get off the subway or bus because you are in their way out of the vehicle (haha, though most nicely put than how I have it written).

20) Medialunas plus a cafe con leche is a typically breakfast for people.

21) Submarino is the bomb! It is hot milk and adds a bar of chocolate (to your choice) mixed– so yummy!

22) Clothes are relatively cheap, though I would categorize them as expensive and of poor quality, not all but that’s the items I have seen so far.

23) I find my Chinese to be super helpful here, though maybe I shouldn’t rely too heavily on it.

24) Salta y Jujuy is the best trip I will ever take in my life, though I got sick because I was miserable from high altitude sickness and its dryness.

25) Iguazu Fall is a sight to behold, a must see and a must go, through rain and cold… It is definitely worth it. The ending was perfected by a boat ride under the Fall. If you must, if you want to buy souvenir, buy it at the store at the entry/starting point, beyond that the other ones suck and are over priced. By poncho if you must, but you will get no matter what…

26) Walk fast or you will get trampled, haha, just kidding… I think I just tend to walk faster than necessary. You know I’m always on a secret mission… shhhh!

27) There are random concerts, free, everywhere in the city. You just have to keep an ear open.

28) Yes, you can get lost in this city but you can always find your way back to something of familiarity.

29) Yes, it’s dangerous but it’s like everywhere in the world. You just have to play your smart and not be stupid. Be cautious at all times, they do have a lot of pocket-pickers here, especially on subte or colectivos when you are all squished together and also a big crowd walking through the calles. At night mostly, the streets are dead and never smart to walk alone, take a cab if you must. There are buses but they take forever to come, unless you are THAT lucky. Subte opens at 6:00 but closes at 20:30. There are a lot of people sleeping on the streets…  not all are dangerous but you can never be too careful.

*FACT: one of the guys in the program got held at gun point and basically robbed; fortunately, he is all safe, just lost some pesos. A guy in my program saw a man snatching a necklace right off another man’s neck and ran off. A girl who was walking on a street with me got pick-pocketed and lost her phone and some pills. A girl who was walking on a street with another girl in the program close to Florida saw an old man getting beat up and robbed. The robber just jumped on an accomplice’s motorcycle and they sped off. Police can over and said there is nothing he can do…

*LESSON: it is the same everywhere. It could happen anywhere. The matter is you. If you take care of yourself, you will be alright. Yes, I am paranoid about these things but I know that as long as I don’t do stupid things I will be safe and I will be okay.

30) I saved the best for last: No way to the hot dogs in the states anymore, a favorite called CHORIPAN has taken over the world! This is something you should definitely try… adding the chimichurri o salsa criolla!

The list, of course, goes on and on, but the matter is I can’t think of much any more. I will make other posts as time goes on. As for restaurant recommendation, you should check the tabs on the top of the Home page.

Cheers to the 2 months in Buenos Aires, I will probably celebrate it over Chinese food (this place on Sarmiento 2015 has the best Chinese food of Buenos Aires as far as I can tell)… Sickness calls for soup and familiarity, so I have noticed. Let’s celebrate! =)

Center City

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It always surprises me on how close I am to everything– the main streets of Buenos Aires. At any angle, just about, I have this amazing view of the obelisco. It has saved me numerous time from getting lost. Any time I found this, I find my way home. It serves as my personal light house, no joke. When I travel alone and get scared, I always figure a way home because as long as I see this white monument, I can get home.

Life in the city definitely has not been a bore. Every weekend there seems to be something going, never a dull moment I would say. There is always something to do early in the morning or even late into the night. Sometimes though, I wish I can be all alone, away from the noise– car horns, car driving by, and people yelling outside the window. I’m yearning for that peace and quiet. I miss my weekends in the countryside. Now that I’m sick, it would be nicer to go and chill for awhile.

Midterm is coming up. I need to buckle down and study for the exams, ASAP. Until then, I’m out and update later. Probably nothing interesting will happen much from now till midterm is over. I do however have an idea about my next entry. I just got to take a picture to go along with it.

A random stairway

06/10/2012, sabado

Random, everything is so random. Sitting in this grand church gave me such peaceful mind. It’s bringing me back to a year ago— a year ago and how I planned this trip. I was so eager and so stressed at the same time because of financial concerns, but today, this instant, made me realize how much I didn’t lose. I realize that hardworking does pay off. I realize that life doesn’t pave your path smoothly and that you have to work yourself to make it none turbulent. Because of my persistency, my will, and my stress, they all helped to build up me. I’m really here having the time of my life. Experiencing all that I could and all the stories to tell.

I had the awe moment I was waiting for couple weeks ago. It was the discovery of what I want to do with my life. Though it might change, I can say it was a really nice feeling to have that book opened. Now my strategy for when I go back to the states is to work on the flaws and to better it in order to be better suitable for my chosen career. I’m thankful for the revelation but at the same time I’m scared. Regardless of the situation though, I’m going to work hard towards it and hoping for the best outcome.

I’m so thankful for everyone in my life, thankful for my honors program, thankful for the Gilman Scholar program, thankful for to being a blazer, thanks for my study away program, and thankful for my parents. This experience has beyond amazed me so far, with many more to come of course.

Till today, I don’t think I ever took the time to think nor took the time to be thankful. I’m a lucky girl.

Thank you for making this all possible!!!

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