My biggest challenge, as of late, has been maintaining optimism underneath a sky of gray clouds. (Both literally and metaphorically speaking.) A friend today was telling me about this woman in South Africa who built a completely solar-powered, eco-friendly hotel in the middle of a poverty-stricken neighborhood, whose profits would go towards the community. Shortly after it was built, it burned to the ground. Though no one was quite sure if it was an accident or intentional, though suspicions were greater towards the latter, she put herself together and had it rebuilt. This week, I felt like a house collapsing into ash; hopeless, tired, defeated. It felt like I was being punished for some terrible wrong... but I hadn't done anything. Then this story got me thinking. Maybe it wasn't the world's way of being a bully, but of teaching me that I'm stronger than I think I am; that I'm strong enough to rebuild myself from scratch without my friends, my boyfriend, or my family. Though I never want to admit it while I'm in it, it seems the most important lessons are the ones preceded by the most pain. I'm not quite back to rainbows and gigglesnorting just yet, and I'm still considering legally changing my middle name to "Murphyslaw," but things are beginning to look a little less bleak.
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This morning I woke up feeling much better. I got some antihistimines in my system and felt ready to go hit the town! My first mission to go to San Telmo, however, fell through after I realized I had no idea to get to the subte, and the Police Officer I asked directions from proceeded to speak really fast repeating "Lejos, muy lejos" (far, very far) a lot. I ended up walking around the Recoleta Artesan fair again, and then meeting up with a friend Talia in the neighborhood. We found this little cafe which turned out to be kind of really awesome. The tables were glass tops over a bed of dried flowers and such. Everything from the napkin holders to the tea-kettle parts to the menu were carved out of wood. Overall, it was a very pleasant atmosphere.
Oh and did I mention their heavenly collection of pastries illuminated under flattering incandescent lights? Living on the wild side, I bought a mini cookie!! (It's the end of the day and so far so good-- ie: no stomach ache.) Oooohhh chocolate tasted sooOOOooooo gooo000Oood!!!!! After some time of life/philosophy/religion chatting, Talia took me to the Subte (Subway).
It's really not so difficult, but it seems like there aren't many stops, which isn't so convenient. After walking at least 10 blocks, we got on, and WHOOSH! That thing can really move!! At only about 30 cents (USD) a ride, it's not a bad way to go. We got off two stops later and met Steffi, Melissa T, and Kate at some mall in Palermo. I swear, you'd think Christmas was coming with how crowded it was! Okay maybe I'm exagerating a bit, but there were a LOT of people. Shopping seems to be a major pasttime around here. When we met up with our shopping amigas, they were famished, and had heard about a very specific kind of place to eat dinner. We went back on the Subte and were off again...
We then entered the Once neighborhood (pronounced Own-Say) and found ourselves wandering NOT the finest of streets. (By this time, by the way, it was night.) Realizing we were not "in Kansas anymore," we used our trusty Guia "T" guidebook to find the place. Finally, we made it to the Restaurante Parrilla, a Kosher Barbeque Restaurant.
(Brief pause so my mother can break for plotzing.)
Inside, Jewish artwork hangs on the walls amidst a sea of bright yellow tablecloths. We were early- it was only about 8:00- and the place was pretty empty. As the night went on, however, it became PACKED. Talia and Steffi, who keep Kosher, hadn't been able to each much exciting food since getting to Argentina, so this was a REAL treat. We decided to get the group barbeque, and to not read exactly which parts of the cow it included. Now speaking after the fact, I couldn't care less. That meat was all sorts of awesome.
As the tables began to fill up, so did the room with a mix of English, Spanish, and Hebrew. It was a bit odd but also crazy cool.
Fortunately, I can say my body has not rejected that delicious meal. (Or at least, not yet?) Hopefully, this means I'm on the road to recovering from the evil lord stomach virus. Steffi and Kate decided to later go out tonight for clubbing, but the rest of us took ourselves and our food comas back home.
This Tuesday we start classes, but maybe I can sneak a bit more fun in for tomorrow?
Besitos y abrazos to all,