Friday, April 22, 2011
It's frustrating to think that returning to the states will mean such systematic monotony. Whether it's true, or every day ACTUALLY is what you make it- disregarding the northamerican workoholic manifesto- I still feel this pressure to take advantage of being here. Yet, I'm so close to the end that investing myself fully is tricky: it's this weird dynamic of trying to be present in the moment and fully comprehending that the departure is near.
I've been "seeing" this fellow for a bit here, whatever that means. He speaks using a more .... er.... complex vernacular. I never understand him entirely, but it never seems to matter. Breaking the stubborn language barrier is truly a remarkable thing. We speak a lot in "what ifs" so I get to practice the conditional and subjunctive tenses plenty. What if things were different? What if we had met each other earlier? Equally, there's something dreamy and unreal about starting a relationship that- from the beginning- is known to have no future. Who knows, perhaps the foundation of our connection is a mutual romanticism of the impossible. Is all affection based on some sort of disillusionment? He sends me poetry and kisses my neck when I'm not looking. I buy into less that I understand. As much as I try to trust these gestures as genuine, which they very well could be, the end is so near.... I feel sooo timeworn and burned that perhaps "the dream" can never become the reality; like parallel lines that go on forever but can never touch.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Anyways, seeing as I'm already awake, I may as well do a little update.
1) Failed at the blogpost everyday thing. It's hard! Oh well, I'm already over it....
2) Thursday night I went out for drinks with this nice musician dude I met randomly. He was really nice but the downside was he thought it was a date and I clearly had not been given the memo. How many times must I remind myself that men and women simply cannot be friends in this country? Or maybe my gorrilla mask would help for any time I leave the house.....?
3) On Friday we went on a class day trip to San Antonio de Areco, about 2 hours outside the city. To sum up the bus ride briefly, it consisted of a lot of singing with a Minnesotan accent. "Baby Got Back" has never sounded so good, donchaknow? Anyways, here are some pictures from this incredibly beautiful estancia....
We all rode horses..... ate a ton of great food..... I fell asleep in a field...... fresh air! (What a treat!)
All in all, it was incredible. Everyone was really sad to leave.
The night before I had hauled my butt over to Olivos (after getting back to BsAs from the estancia) to pay for a cabin for one night on an island in Tigre. We took the hour-long train ride there, and got to Tigre at about 4:50 in the afternoon (the last boat out of the day leaves at 5!) Quickly, we bought a bunch of water (the tap water there is virtually undrinkable) quickly bought our boat tickets, and made it with about 3 minutes to spare. Three creative but poorly organized girls? I'm surprised we made it at all. The boat ride was about an hour and 45 minutes, which is considerably longer than the last time I stayed the night over there. The details of this beyond perfect experience and pictures..... are for another day.
It's now 6:05 in the morning and I think I can get back to sleep now. Before I go, though, let me do a quick recap of some other things....
5) Arrived back to the city on Sunday night at around 10pm, exhausted, shoe-less (I'll explain later), and happy.
6) Today wasn't too exciting: class from 11:30-6:30, some window shopping with Cody, Photoshop lesson in Spanglish with my friend, Kiosco. Got to bed early.
7) Finally no longer sore from my last boxing class. I was limping for a little bit/going up and down stairs like an old lady with hemorrhoids. I think I'll be ready for some more ass-whoopin' by the Wednesday noon class, though....
Got a calendar FULL of things to do every single night, but we'll see if energy and homework allow for it. I think this is our last week of class before finals which is SO WEIRD. I feel like I've been here forever, yet there are still quite a bit of things I want to do before I leave..... or more people I want to see, rather. I suppose all I can ask for is some sort of closure? Anyways, much love to all, and remember to always check the dates of astrological events before suggesting to friends to wake up at 4 in the morning!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
To name a few....
-Barefoot children sticking their tiny hands out to you and asking for change.
-Evita Peron's face plastered everywhere
-Everything having the option of involving dulce de leche
-Eating dinner at 9
-Regularly seeing women breastfeeding in public
-The presence of tango
-Having to watch out for dog poop
-Buying fresh fruits and vegetables from the market each day
-Strikes. All of the time.
-Parties that start at 1 am and run until 8am
-Constantly being stared/whistled at (just for being female)
I feel like I'm going to return to the states and feel like a martian. Maybe I will be one. Is it supposed to be easy to go from walking down Avenida Florida - being attacked by people trying to sell you things or hand you flyers - to walking through Old Orchard shopping mall and watching preteens with their parents' credit card acting like they're entitled to something(/everything). Upon returning, stock characters will rotate: suburban soccer moms will replace señoras with plastic surgery addictions, tribal tattoos will stop being cool, men with long hair will be creepy. How do I prepare myself for such things?
Above all, it will be weird to stop speaking Spanish. Any conversation with any given stranger is valuable, at the very least, because I'm practicing a language. Maybe when I go back I wont want to talk to anyone because it will be too easy. I guess I'll have to wait and see...
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I had been there several times before, but this time was different. There was this incredible guest performer from Brazil named Mauricio Tizumba, and I swear if someone were to tell me that this was God in human form, I would have believed them. He's about 65, I'd guess, and with this unbelievable spirit that left us all dancing with our mouths open in awe.
It's pretty hard to describe how wonderful this moment was, so I'll get to the point. Afterward, I felt INCREDIBLE. I had been feeling so crummy and all of the sudden the world was good again. Yesterday, all day, I had been asking people, How can I do homework? How can I force myself to do something that I so badly don't want to do?! The fact is that I had been putting so much energy into NOT wanting to do the work, but energy all the same. What has been tiring me out lately is not so much the work load but the stress of having the work at all. Basically, the only way to not stress about the work is to get rid of the work; to do the work. Ugh it's so annoying when the responsible solution is also the best one. I realized from the concert that the only way I'm going to get the most out of this last month is to knock off the other junk. Otherwise, I'll feel so weighed down and bitter than I won't have the energy nor the desire to do the fun stuff. Granted, I'm blogging about responsibility while ditching politics class and drinking coffee at a cafe, but I prefer to think of this as "spiritual prioritizing." Mission: accomplished. The problem is I had been thinking about this motivation thing all wrong.... it's not about the incentive of anything physical, like a grade, but of being one thing lighter.
Okay, enough Oprah talk.
I'd like to go out tonight. Tuesdays are the best for tango dancing. Plus, I met the manager of "HYPE" night at Kika Nightclub and got a card for free entry as his "personal guest" so I should probably use that while I'm here. Also, a couple weeks back I bumped into a dude in the food court at the Galerias Pacifico mall and we started talking and he works for the Centro Cultural Borges (Borges Cultural Center) and gave me a card to see a free tango show with whoever I'd like, also as his "personal guest(s)."
As crazy as living in a big city is (and how horrified I would be to live in New York), it's really cool to see first-hand how conducive it is to networking. Since successful networking is contingent on having something to network, I can also see how inspiring it is for artists living in big cities, as well. I've met a lot of working artists here, and knowing that- should I want to return someday- doing the same is doable. Living here has definitely made me realize how many options there truly are.... how many labyrinths of possibility run through our day-to-day lives.
...but I wonder... when is opportunity an option, and when is it a responsibility?
Sunday, April 10, 2011
What's the point of all of this? Forcing us into knowledge? This can't possibly be with our "best intentions" at heart. One of the guys staying on the third floor from my program came up to our apartment, a ball of nerves, trying to study. I sat down with him for about 40 minutes and helped him with his Spanish, which he said was the best tutoring he's ever had. It seems like none of the teachers actually want to teach, just spit out material, pick up their pay check, and call it a day. Is it an Argentine teacher thing? I talked to the head of this program and she said that North Americans, because we pay so much at our universities, are accustomed to feeling "entitled": to outside-of-the-classroom help, to hand-holding, to catered education. Here, the public universities are free, and as such, it's not customary for the teachers to do anything outside of the basic job description. However, we ARE paying. We aren't some dumb gringos feeling that our parent's money has earned us assistance..... well, at the very least, that's not ALL we are. We're young adults who are still struggling with culture shock, with the challenges of wrapping our minds and tongues around a new language, and making sense of the histories that surround it. I never had to learn about the politics in the United States, and suddenly I have to learn about them here, about the history of the military dictatorship of the 70s and 80s and the thousands of people that went missing during that time. There is no sensitivity training, only the responsibility to concentrate, to read hundreds of pages about it, listen to teachers recount it, and regurgitate the information back out in the form of a detached, semi-informative essay.
Education system, you are even more of an ice queen that I could have ever imagined. And I support it. Fiscally, at the very least. Boycotting is counter-productive.
There is no space between noting someone's drink order and placing their glass on the table to state my position on the monopoly that is the university system, only half-genuine smiles, wiping down tables, and picking up my 2 peso tip stuck behind the bill.
Currently I'm on the Art Education track at the U of Minnesota. Whether this profession would allow me to take part in the bettering of the education system in some way or not is contingent on me participating, on getting my diploma.
So here I am, 3:23 in the morning, with a bottle of Malbec and a to-do list with a superiority complex. No matter which way I spin it, however, the idea of watching Dead Poet's Society makes me want to slam my head into a wall, and doing the work is the only exit-plan. Still, the strength to accept the bullshit is hiding just beyond the horizon line....
Friday, April 1, 2011
We got back into Salta about an hour or hour and a half later. After dropping off the french group at a hotel, the tour/coach bus driver drove me around in that big thing to find a hostel. I found a nice one, and we split ways. The sun had finally come out, too! Here are some pictures from the hostel.
By the time I got back down to the bottom of the mountain, it was dark. Just before a little mountain kiosk closed, I bought a big hunk of goat's cheese and a big circle of bread with pieces of sausage baked into it. I hopped on a bus, headed back to the hostel, and got to bed at about 11:30 that night.