Monday, February 1, 2010

Heat Wave Breaks!

Hello again!
Well, this has been a very busy 2 weeks, mostly filled with lesson planning and teaching- the teaching is rather fun, but the lesson planning is horrendous! But now it is done and I am TESOL certified! So now it's job hunting time... the coordinator of the program was not very hopeful in the end- essentially telling us to try other countries if we wanted any real money so that's a bummer. But they took us out for a nice graduation lunch that was all you can eat- but not buffet style- you could just order as many things as you wanted off the menu- pretty gluttonous!
Some very sad news, my ipod was stolen out of my computer bag while at school! I guess I'm just glad it wasn't my computer but I'm definitely missing all my music :(
And during all this, Buenos Aires has been having a record breaking heat wave...some people have even died from it! it's been pretty painful. It said it was about 90 but it was the humidity that was so hard to bear. but at 5am Saturday morning came a crazy thunder storm that woke up the whole city I'm sure... the roads turned into rivers! I wish I'd gotten a picture.
And yesterday my TEFL class got a soccer team together to participate in a Haiti benefit tournament... Wade actually participated on the team, I just went to volunteer and they actually had too many so I sat in the rain and cheered the team on. They didn't win- they played really tough Argentine teams...but we all had a lot of fun!
And yesterday Wade and I checked out the Botanical gardens- pretty but not too impressive. Lots of feral cats that looked really content to be there! After that, my friend Shayla and I walked all over the city trying to find a park w/ a water spigot to have a water balloon fight for my birthday today and apparently water spigots don't exist here! But today it's raining anyway so we're trying to think of something else... maybe bowling? who knows!
We found a decent taco place! still no burritos though :(
and all those pregnant I see now have given birth and now there are newborns everywhere! too cute.
And every Monday night there's a really cool drum circle thing- I think a percussion school puts it on- it's called la Bomba de Tiempo (time bomb) you can search that in youtube if you're interested! of course the live atmosphere is always better though!
Well, Until next time!
Un beso!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Milk in a bag

Hola otra vez!
So, one more week down! The TEFL program has gotten even more demanding! Most days it's 10am-7pm, the last 2 hours observing classes and this week we actually start teaching! Very exciting... they have 5 different levels for their English courses and I think I'm most nervous about having to teach the basic beginners!
We're making good friends with the other TEFL students... most are other Americans and there's 1 Argentine, 1 Brit, 1 Brazilian, and 1 Finnish.
Wade is watching American football today so I decided to go to the pool with some friends... it was quite an adventure. I've wanted to go swimming since I got here so the 30 min bus ride and the 35 pesos sounded reasonable.. what I found unreasonable was having to go thru a physical before getting into the obscenely overcrowded pool! First they separated men and women into very long lines, told to strip to our suits and shower, then got into another line where they sent us to a doctor who checked our hair, armpits, then feet before giving us a pass to get to the pool area. It felt slightly Germany WW2. Then once in, there was hardly room to walk with all the ppl! But the water was cold and very refreshing.. but next time I think i'll just go to the ocean and deal with the silt.
In general the tap water is fine but sometimes smells funny... grocery shopping has to be often because everything goes bad so quickly! and they have everything in a bag... what do you do with a giant milk or yogurt bag once it's been opened? It's not like you can just close-pin it shut!
We've been going out to eat a lot... it still feels like vacation mode! Especially when the exchange rate is so good we feel like kings! We went out to a really nice steak house and it cost us US$39... not too bad! But as I understand, once we start getting a teacher's pay we'll feel it more. As of now on average my salary will equal my rent... so I'll probably be looking into a new place. And we won't just have 1 job either so no regular schedule which is a huge bummer to me.
But as February is a slower month for jobs, Wade and I have decided to enroll in a Spanish course- hopefully we'll be able to understand the Argentine accent then! We got a discount for being TEFL students- $320 for 4 weeks. Not bad considering I saw one that was $360 for 1 week!
Well, what else have I noticed?
If you order a tomato, potato, egg salad then that is exactly what you get- no dressing, no lettuce, just one of each.
There are hardly any Black or Asian people here!
Mullets and MC Hammer pants are common.
There's no peanut butter!

And here is a video of our Tigre boat ride!

Well, I love and miss you all! xoxo

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First Impressions

So! We arrived safely and have been incredibly busy ever since! But I'll give you the overview of the last week+...
Traveling was rough! 2 red eye flights in a row I definitely don't recommend... BsAs is only 5 hours ahead but we spent the first 5-6 days trying to catch up. It didn't help that our hostel was disgustingly hot! It's been about 80 but the humidity was overbearing! But we got out to Salsa- Wade is convinced he has to come back being able to do all those smooth moves. We also made it to 'La Casa Rosada'- some say it was originally painted in cow's blood to give it it's pink color! It is where the President works (although how she gets any work done there w/ all those tours going in and out is beyond me). This is also where Evita gave her famous speech to her 'decamisados.'
The TEFL course has definitely consumed most of our time- which is good, I suppose. It seems really thorough and I hope I'll feel ready for a language class by the end of it! There are 16 of us, most from the States doing this program. I did manage to find a home via craigslist- It's in the high-end Recoleta barrio and about a 25 min walk from my school. It's USD$400 a month and includes everything! Including maid service twice a week, 24hr security, and my own bathroom... I'm on the 6th floor and my balcony is right across from Wade's balcony! We'll see about making some cup and string phones soon :)
My roommate,Diana, is Argentine and beautiful! It's her parents' city home- they live in the country and come down 1-2 times a month and there's one more room she's looking to rent out. So far I've pretty much had the place to myself! well except for Shiva, her very talkative Siamese cat. He's VERY cuddly and is currently on my lap shoving his nose into my arm for attention.
Yesterday we went to Tigre, the Delta region North of BsAs and it was very charming...after lunch with some of the other TEFL kids, we took a nice boat ride- the water is about the same color as Thailand's canals but they don't smell as bad- it's just from the silt. I can't wait to go swimming! have I mentioned how hot it is?
And today we went down to the San Telmo Market and watched a free Tango show at the restaurant... I have some videos that I'll post on facebook if you're interested!
Well, I have to get back to homework, but before I do, here are some other random remarks:
Their tomatoes taste funny
Argentines are lovely! They look like Mexicans but taller (and less tacky)
I wish I knew more Spanish
Dog poo is everywhere! As are holes in the sidewalk to fall into
I see about 45 pregnant women everyday.
Nothing comes with condiments
we saw a woman nursing her baby while crossing a busy road. how's that for multitasking?
everything seems so cheap! Just wait till I'm earning pesos tho :/

well, I love you all and thank you for reading! xoxo Jilly