Friday, December 25, 2009

eat a peach.

This past month, I have been consistently impressed, surprised, and brought to tears by the kindness of strangers you meet in the places you travel.

A random woman we met in Dublin invited us into her home for Christmas dinner with her amazing daughters. It was incredible.
Someone in Galway let us stay in their home for a WEEK, for FREE.
A Scottish couple in Spain let me into their home for two weeks to harvest their potatoes and meanwhile gave me a place to sleep and great food to eat.

Sometimes my faith in humanity is restored. Then I read the news.

I try to hold on to the former part through everything else. Happy holidays, all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

the bogs.

A LOT OF THE TIME, people in Ireland are harder to understand than people in Argentina.

Customs control guy: "Whyyyre here?"
Me: "What?"
Customs control guy: "Why are you here, in Ireland?"
Me: "Oh, vacation."
Customs control guy: "Wo'ee gon with?"
Me: "....what?"
Customs control guy: "WHO ARE YOU GOING WITH?"
Me: "Oh, that girl over there."
Customs control guy: "somethingaboutchristmasandwhydoiwanttospendchristmasinireland?"
Me: "What?"
Customs: *throws passport back at me through window* "Go through, please."

I LOVE it here. People are so fucking nice. Colleen and I went out to a bunch of pubs last night, danced to Irish music, drank lots and lots of Guinness, fell asleep watching a movie somewhere, woke up at 4 a.m. and had to find our way home. Luckily, people here are soooooooo nice and everyone we asked for directions (approximately five or six people) helped us out (except one girl that ran away from us, scared). Galway is also really walkable and easy to get around. Dublin was nice but I think I like Galway better.

We go back to Dublin Christmas Eve to make a nice holiday dinner for ourselves in this neat little hostel we found, then maybe a nice Christmas breakfast as well. I'm partly bummed I won't be with my family for Christmas, but I think it'll be a great one with Colleen anyway.

One highlight of last night- walking into a pub, hardly saying anything, and a group of three guys asking us "Are you Americans!?"

p.s. the farm was absolutely incredible and had some of the most amazing mountain views I've ever seen. Every meal we ate was ENTIRELY from the garden, with exceptions like salt and sugar. I think that'll be a longer entry some other day.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009



I AM IN SPAIN! Granaaaaaada.


Tomorrow, Barcelona. Then, a new adventure on Saturday I think.

Anyway, just wanted to stay I'm still alive. I miss my Sams and my Kate and Abe very much. I miss everyone and am excited to see them all again in a few weeks. SO PUMPED FOR WINTER TERM.

besotes, mis amores.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

i'll be your baby tonight.

Galesburg was everything I wanted it to be and more. So much love and loving and wonderfulness.


Oh, so Sunday I leave for Spain. Gonna live with a Scottish couple on a mountain in southern Spain off the grid planting trees, gardening, learning to cook new things, learning backgammon fucking finally, and hiking around.

Galesburg New Year's. Oh baby oh baby.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

mira vosss!


Going to Peru until next Friday. Gonna hike the Inca Trail and do weird spiritual things in the Sacred Valley.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

sleep is the cousin of death

Alright, alright. Getting better all the time.

ONE exam stands between me and BLISS. I will annihilate that thing tomorrow.

Then it's just gonna be mate-sippin' and blue skies and searching the city for a sleeping pad (for camping in Peru) and a few more souvenirs for amigos back in the states. Oy oy oy. I love bringing people things, but I hate it because I just constantly think of new people to buy gifts for. It ends up being twenty million people and I knowww I'm gonna have to check three bags at the airport. LAME.

PERU PERU PERU!!!!! horse ridin' & inca trailin' & spiritual ritualin' in the mountains

Sunday, October 25, 2009

built to spill. RIGHT NOW.




Okay. Calm down.

Thursday everything will be so good. NO MORE HARD HARD STRESSFUL WORK. Just hanging out drinking mate and going to boliches and finding face paint for Halloween (I'm gonna be David Bowie) and thinking about Peru and packing for Peru and GOING TO PERU. Yeah yeaaaaaah, baby.

Oh, next term:
Statistics Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri, 1st hour. Oh yeah.
Spanish 230, Culture of Mexico Mon/Wed/Fri 2nd hour.
Dylan Thomas Tues (or Thurs?) 7:30pm-midnight.

Even with Math. And FIRST HOUR. And WINTER.....

I am still so excited for Galesburg.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm afraid of Americans.


"Taser makers say don't aim at chest."


Monday, October 19, 2009

huck finn

I love planning. I am trying to figure out exactly what my winter term will look like back in the homeland...

The classes I will be taking:
1. Dylan Thomas
2. Spanish 230, focus on Mexico
3. Statistics (vomit) OR Gender and Women's Studies 101 OR Translation of Poetry. Up in the air.

-Register-Mail internship (winter and spring terms)
-RADIO! Sweet Hot Jamzzz
-Zine Club! and making sure it doesn't die
-Hopefully still SASS also
-maybe putting together my Honors project, since I got the beginning of an idea in my head...

Oh sometimes I miss being busy. I mean, I'm busy here sometimes, but a lot of times it's because transportation time factors into the mix so much.

OH I don't know what I'm going to write about for the newspaper this week... eeek eek eek.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

oh oh uruguay

Took a boat to Uruguay with Katie and Claire and it was lovely lovely lovely and I am the tiredest I have been in MONTHS.

I am so excited for everything.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

miss marisa.

I don't think I've mentioned enough what a kickass job Knox did of placing me with the perfect host mother.

I know I mentioned she's an artist, but she's also a feminist and kind of a crazy cat lady (without the loneliness part).

She's constantly talking about the two cats we have now (Max and Vito... I don't know WHAT I'm going to do when I have to leave them), and their past cats. Morgan, who was this orange striped tabby that was REALLY fat. This other one whose name I can't spell that was the son of Max (and whose photo hangs next to my bed) and now lives with a friend. Also Max's papa also. They talk about him a lot and there's something close to a shrine to him above Marisa's (host-mama's name) desk.

Yesterday, my host mom was telling me that it was the anniversary of Morgan's death. She then showed me this drawing that hangs in living room of a very old man with enormous wings, which was in fact based on the Borges' story "The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings." Under the man's wing, a cat is drawn in to the silhouette. She explained to me that that cat was Morgan and she did the drawing. It's so cool. The title is "Borges," but the "ORG" are really big, so the name "M-ORG-an" is written beneath it, sharing the ORG. It's hard to explain. She's crazy passionate about her cats and I love it.

THEN today, she told me that she was walking somewhere like 20 blocks from our house when she found this injured bird. She put it in a box and carried it around with her all day and then TOOK IT TO THE VET and set it free again in a park by her house. Jajaja.


Monday, October 12, 2009

hey, beave!

I just got back from Patagonia.
Part of me would love to live there. Or a place like that. Even though I've never been to Alaska, it made me think of something that would be similar to Alaska. I really want to go to Alaska as well.

But Patagonia. OH, Patagonia!

We hiked an enormous glacier for two hours and then hiked a mountain and then had a snowball fight in the Andes and then warmed ourselves up in a geodesic dome with Baileys and wine and hot chocolate.

How is life so amazing? I am doing so many things I never thought I would do. Seeing so many things I never thought I would see...

I think it mostly hit me on the glacier. You never think you'll be ON SOMETHING that you only marvel at when it's on Planet Earth. I was so in love with it.

Photos to come. I am tired now.

Also I got a hat that makes me look, as Alejandra says, like a beaver. That's my new name. Beaver. Oh, Alejandra.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

che, boluuuudo....

Allow me a moment to gush about the Argentine accent.

I don't get why there are some people on this program that don't like it. It's one of the most BEAUTIFUL, expressive, enthusiastic, sexy accents I have ever heard in my life (granted, it's also the first foreign one I've lived submerged in.. but still).

Of course, accents are hard to describe. Especially to those reading this who don't even speak Spanish. But ... I don't know. People seem to open their mouths more, have a friendlier way of talking, a more expressive way of being pissed off, have prettier slang. For example "Che, gorDIta," (pronounced "chayyyy, gor-dee-ta!") is so much better than "What up?" The roll of the tongue, the rising and falling noises of the throat... ah!

Some of my favorite Spanish words to hear with an Argentine accent:
-Por alla (por ash-AH)
-vos (y "con vos")
-Racing (name of the big futbol team here)
-que paso?

Even the way they say "No" in conversation is pretty. I don't know how that happens.

Hah, I was searching YouTube for something, anything, in an Argentine accent to show you... and I don't know who this ass is, but he has all these segments of himself doing different Latin American accents. HAH. He just yammers on for the first minute or so, and then he starts talking with the Argentine accent.

It's really interesting to compare accents from different Spanish-speaking countries because before learning Spanish I never would have given that a second thought. Sure, Chicagoans sounds different from people from Boston, but there's just something prettier about these comparisons. Oy.

And, of COURSE, the "shhhh." The shhhhh is the best, BEST part.
Okay, a lesson:
In Spanish, the word "rain" is "lluvia." In Spanish, you pronounce a double-l like you would say the letter "y," so you would pronounce it "yuvia."
HOWEVER. If you're an Argentine, you pronounce the double-l as "shhh." Well, really more like "jjjuuu," but it's harder to explain on the internet that way. "Shhhuvia." How is that not the prettiest thing in the world? You just purr every time you talk.

More videos you should watch/listen to:

I'm not totally sure what has happened here, but pay attention most to the guy sitting on the ground in the deep blue t-shirt, how is words have their own rhythm (girl's accent is great, too...but I don't think she's Argentine?):


You can look for more but I guess it's annoying, me putting these here for you when maybe you don't speak Spanish and maybe you don't care. But ay! Que linda.


Friday, October 2, 2009

artisan crafts and new opportunities.

I´m sorry I don´t update this more often.

I guess I should start this one by saying we´re all...well, more than shocked that we only have four weeks left here in Buenos Aires. It´s insane. I never realized how long you really have to live in a place to truly know it. Especially in a city this big... well, it ain´t easy, as David Bowie would say.

Also, shit just got real for all of us at school. Up until now, we´ve essentially had no assignments/exams/essays/presentations to do. For two months. Nothing. It´s been smooth sailing. But NOW? We have all of those things at once. And of course it´s even less clear what exactly is expected because, well, it´s all in Spanish. I´m sure we´re all going to come out doing decently well, but right now we´re all in a whirlwind. Buckling down & whatnot...

Also, I think it is being in Buenos Aires that has made me realize my true desire to do journalism for the rest of my life. I could go into that self-discovery for a long time... but really, it just feels so good to be in a different part of the world and still be able to write stories (even for a small college paper like TKS).

most of all- it felt SO GOOD to interview people during an abortion march and interview them IN SPANISH, then translate the quotes and write them into an article. I love it.

In addition to all that neat stuff, I got my Richter Grant for winter break 2010 (awhile from now) to go research/explore/live in/do some Gonzo reporting about communes, co-ops, ecovillages on the west coast. YES YES YES I cannot tell you how excited I am.

Being abroad and seeing what all of the friends I have made within our group have done with money from the school made me realize how broad my opportunities are, I guess. And so, I shall take advantage. For this coming month of December, I have a plane ticket to be in Spain for the month, and though I had the initial plan of working on a farm, I am now applying for an internship with either women´s rights groups in Barcelona or something related to journalism there. That, too, would be amazing.

Overall, life is swell. I might have to actually start studying somewhat intensely, but no matter. Next weekend we go to Calafate (big ass glaciers that we hike on). I cannot wait for Calafate and then Peru and then GALESBURG! Oh, and Uruguay somewhere in the middle of all that.

P.S. - the colectivo is still my favorite part.

Monday, September 21, 2009

bein' mice elf.

Life is great.

Here is my future:

1. Finish up my stay in Argentina, which will end on a sure-to-be-lovely Halloween
2. Go to Peru. Hike the Inca Trail for 4 days and spend the other 6 or 7 days exploring.
3. Go home a bit, Thanksgiving.
4. Go to Spain for a month on my own and work on a farm or eco-village. I found a few places on Workaway (website) that need volunteers, and since I already bought a plane ticket, why not? It costs me nothing- I give them work and they give me food and a place to stay. And of course, more Spanish practice!
5. Go back to Knox at the end of December.

Yeah. I like that a lot.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

burned my credit card for fuel


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

thanks for the pepperoni.

Okay. I've officially decided to go back to Knox for winter term.
Some of my friends seemed almost mad at me for making this decision, but, oh well. 'tis what 'tis.

My awesome dad, however, DID offer for me to STILL go on the 2-week trip to Spain at the beginning of December. SWEEEEEEEEEEET.

That said, I'm a little more at ease now with the money situation in Argentina now since I don't have to worry about having a lesser exchange rate in Europe. Ay, Europe... some day. Part of me wants to do something with (website) after college for a few months before getting a "real" job. That or maybe WWOOFing in Spain or Italy. Ay ay ay.

I can FEEL my Spanish tongue getting better. I love it.

I REALLY very much hope that I can get off board back at Knox so I can cook again. I miss cooking and I miss the summer.

Oh! This weekend we are going to Puerto Madryn. Google that ASAP and get all good 'n' jealous. I get to scuba dive and see whales and penguins. YES.

The classes here are driving me insane. In my cultura class, the teacher seems like he just jumps from one thing to another while eventually just talking about how mate is such a big part of Buenos Aires culture. In my evolucion class, the teacher talks about the upper class in Buenos Aires in the 1890s-1920s (ish) and rambles too quickly to always understand and it's just THREE HOURS OF BORING. The literature class, I genuinely like, and the teacher seems to be really into what he does, which is always a nice incentive to give a shit.

Tonight I explored a new barrio by the name of Caballito. Well, not new, but new for me. It's where my friends Maja and Anni live and it was quite quaint and adorable and the houses were lovely lookin' from the outside.

I'm getting all kinds of excited for Peru and Bolivia in my future. We are also tentatively planning a camping trip for a weekend in October when it's a tad warmer. Sometimes, just gotta get outta this smelly, littered city. Ay ay ay.

besos y ciao for now, amigos.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


'yankees' pronounced with the Castellano (Castejahno) accent.

So, my internet is a piece of shit. Sorry for not constantly writing like I would at Knox when I live on a computer most nights doing homework.

And yeah, what about homework?

We have started our classes, and I don't know what to think. On the one side, they are ridiculously easy, and on the other, I often have to make sure to listen very closely in class to make sure I understand. There's hardly an "emphasis on class discussion" like at Knox. It's a trendy fashion design school, and I'm taking lit and cultural evolution classes there. Lawlz.

Oh, speaking of school, look what my summer job hath wrought:

I wrote the information for EVERY FUCKING CLUB AND ORGANIZATION at our college. That was my summer job. Good stuffffff. ELVIS WAS A TKE.

Hmmm.... so they give us two weeks to travel after our final exams end here (Oct 31).... I'm thinkin' Peru and Chile. Backpackin'! Wooooohoo!

now, some eye candy.

MAX AND VITO, the LOVES OF MY LIFE (when they're not being the loves of each other's lives)


in one of our first Spanish classes before real classes started, we learned how to make mate (MAH-tay), a traditional tea-like drink here

some Argentine poetry reading

Well, I have a lot lot LOT more photos, and wanted to make these bigger, but I can feel the internet starting to crap out on me already.

Tomorrow I have to:
-take my clothes to the lavadero (THEY wash your clothes for you... I don't even know of a place around here where it's an OPTION for you to wash your own clothes. well, have fun swimming in my funk, dude)
-BUY THE BOOK I HAVE TO READ FOR NEXT WEEK'S LIT CLASS (El reino de este mundo, por Carpentier, creo...) OY.
-Maybe get a bit more done in terms of Peru/Chile travel plans
-nap and try to make this nasty cold get the fuck out of my system.

I think I'm getting better at this whole study abroad thing. I mean, I still miss everyone like mad (especially both Sams in my life and Gabe and Abe) and thinking about everyone that just graduated and left (Maddie/Will) and ABBY AND KATHY.... gahhhhhhhh yuck.

...oh, right, I think I'm getting better at this whole study abroad thing. Sometimes you just have to learn how to leave things and realize the beauty of being able to travel. I keep forgetting that I'm also going to Spain and will get to travel on weekends and shit. EUROPE!

gonna go finish my tea and snooooooooooze.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Can you get to that?

Fun and frustration - these two things both fill my days here.


Today, Katie and I walked down the big street market in San Telmo. Again, our neighborhood is very touristy, so there are lots of visitors walking around, but it's still great to see people who live here and what they sell and what they make and the music they play.

But the best part? The REALLY FUN part?
After walking through the whole (huge) market, Katie and I were getting some coffee around 6p.m. and heard a lot of drum music outside. We pay and walk out into this huge crowd of people dancing around a group called Radio Roots, I think. A few guitars, trumpet, trombone, drums, wooden boxes for hitting. It was impossible not to dance. Good, good people.

We thought it was over when they ended, but they pointed down the street, where we heard another band playing. So, we walked down, and there was a drumline of at LEAST twenty people. Again, amazing. This happened a few more times with a few more bands for a few more hours. God, I love it. Our neighborhood is so great because it's less busy than areas like Palermo, but awesome shit like that happens.


Getting honked at and yelled at by EVERY FUCKING moped/motorcycle/taxi/BUS/car that passes you just because you're a lady? What the fuck. Honestly, I didn't think it'd bother me that much, but it REALLY does. Got into a heated argument at some restaurant with some folks about why I think this society is a bit mysoginistic and I told them that any place where a woman feels like she's unsafe walking around is mysoginistic. It's BULLLLLSHIT. Bullshit. I'm also not at all saying that there aren't places in the USA where I feel unsafe walking around - there's plenty of those too. Not only that, but the people who linger in doorways here and say "Ciao, miraaa," as you walk by? Not exactly comfortable.

Also, technology difficulties are frustrating. I was trying to clean up my computer, and it deleted the hardware for my audio! So, now my computer has no sound. Trying to fix this, but have no idea how.

Also, this whole speaking-a-different-language thing is hard sometimes, ya know? That's a bit frustrating, but I'm trying to go with it, learn, etc. It's just rough sometimes when I come home and my family says things I don't quite understand. It's hot and cold - some days it just clicks and I can carry on conversations awhile, but then there are days like today, when I have to ask them to repeat themselves a million times. Oy.

When my computer is easier to work with, I will surely upload some photos from Iguazu and the waterfalls. They're un-fucking-real.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Boy oh boy, there sure are a lot of people in this world...

I've become sentimental of my routes of public transportation here. I think it's similar to the way people talk about gardening. The way you have a certain amount of time every day to do nothing but contemplate. I have a 45 minute bus ride in the morning and in the evening in which I can decompress from whatever stress I had that day; getting lost and walking in a circle twelve times, not being able to get books for my classes, the fact that the classroom I'm supposed to be in for a certain class got switched THREE TIMES, meaning I had to walk 3 blocks back and forth to another building to find it.

But I love that time on the bus. Or, as they call them here, colectivos. I take colectivo 29. There are at least a hundred (or more, I'd think?) colectivos. Or sometimes, the subte (subway). I love that as well. But there's something about being on the colectivo and seeing everyone on the streets that you pass and discovering the area you live in that is so great.

Last night my friend Katie (who was my roomie last year at Knox and lives about 4 blocks away from me in Buenos Aires) and I went to this bar called Gibraltar in our neighborhood, San Telmo. I love San Telmo because it's one of the oldest barrios (neighborhoods) in Buenos Aires, and because it's such a touristy place, you can find people who sometimes know Spanish and a bit of English. While at Gibraltar we met some people who spoke both and got to talking to them.
Earlier in the day, Katie and I had marched with the Madres de La Plaza de Mayo, a group of mothers who march each Thursday from 3:30 to 4:00pm to fight for the remembrance of their children who were a part of the Disappeared in Argentina in the 70s and 80s. It was incredibly moving and wonderful and sad at the same time.
But we told these people we met at the bar that we had marched with them, and they were almost outraged. I didn't even think that people who hated the Madres existed, but I guess they do. The guys who got pissed off about it turned out to be sons of people who work for the military, so perhaps that has something to do with it.
Either way, I love every person I talk to here because I constantly learn things that I had no idea about before.

One of the other guys we met also said "I hate Buenos Aires. Why would you come here to experience Latin American culture? This place is so European." Also interesting.

Another thing about this place is the streets and sidewalks. First of all, there is dog shit EVERYWHERE. I mean everywhere. Also, the sidewalks are often in pieces. A lot of times, tree roots push up the concrete so there are bumps everywhere, as if a rolling earthquake is a constant here.

Also, my house. My house (which is really an apartment) is full of art. FULL of it. I love it. My host mother loves cats, so not only do we have two cats, but much of the art is of cats, too. And besides that, there are many abstract paintings that my host mom's son has done, and other friends as well. It's sooo pretty.

I am realizing the things I take for granted in the USA. Like, people in the USA have to give you coins as change. That's definitely not required here, which you don't THINK would be a pain in the ass, until you remember that's how you have to pay your fare for the colectivo, with coins.

Also, banks and ATM machines. If you need to go to a bank, you often have to wait half an hour or more in a line that stretches around the block. I'm not sure all the reasons for this, but I do know that one reason is that because of "gripe A" (swine flu), most banks only allow 5 or so customers inside at a time.

My phone also continuously fails. Still trying to figure that out. I wonder if it would be cheaper to try to unblock my USA phone and see if it would work here? Some do. But I don't know how that works in terms of prices either.

For now, I am off to try to buy books for classes. Another luxury I take for granted at Knox: the bookstore being there and having the books I need. I tried two stores yesterday and found 1 of 4 books. C'est la vie. Try again today.

Despite some difficulties, I'm still loving it here. A lot. A lot lot lot. LEARNING SPANISH. I have to remind myself sometimes that that's why I'm here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

estoy aqui!

Pues, I am finally here in Buenos Aires, Argentina!

What a whirlwind of a week it has been, and it hasn't even been a week.

This city is bigger than any place I've ever lived, and I think bigger than most cities I've been to. From what I can understand, there are around 12 million people in this city, but only 3 or 4 million of them live in the main center. Right, right, only 4 million...

Coming from a town of 33,000 to this is definitely insane. I commute every day on either the bus or the subway and each one takes about 45-50 minutes. And then I have to walk a few blocks. I love commuting. It's a nice way of learning the routes of buses and it's a good way to see everything.

Well, it'll be hard to EVER see everything here, how big it is.

I live in un barrio by the name of San Telmo. There are many barrios, neighborhoods, that make up the city. San Telmo has a residential area and also a touristy place where people come to buy lots of handmade goods and clothing. It's gorgeous, but sometimes living in a touristy area means the prices are also touristy.

Prices. Ah, let's talk about prices. 1 USD = 3.8 pesos here. I can get lunch for about 10 pesos. You do the math. Que barato! So cheap!

Well, things like food are usually cheap. But this week my whole group of friends from my college were trying to buy cell phones and THAT was awful. When the people working in stores see us come in and we speak, they immediately know that we speak poor Spanish and they jack up the prices. There is a guy from Barcelona who attends Knox, and is on this trip, and Spanish was his first language. He too needed a phone. He bought one for about 150 pesos. The next day, he told us where to go to get cheap phones. We went, and they told us 200 pesos or more for the same thing.

Luckily, I already had a phone from a friend on the program last year, so all I needed to do was buy a pay-as-you-go card for minutes, which you can buy from shops on the street, so that was not a big problem for me. But it was frustrating for all of my friends and also the fact that NONE of us could communicate much outside of classes.

Ah, classes. This week we have classes in which the professors come and explain for an hour what their class is about so we can decide if we like the subject and understand them well enough to take their class. I think I am going to be taking Literatura, La cultura de Argentina, yyyy posiblemente la Evolucion de la sociedad argentina (political class, methinks).

There are many abandoned animals in this city. It's very, very sad. Lots of dogs walking around look like they are going crazy. Many cats perch in windowsills outside. Que triste.... But also, there are many people who walk their dogs without leashes, through busy, crazy streets. Very obedient. That part is cool.

I am currently in a cafe with wifi, and I think soon we will go back home for dinner. Each barrio has a nice personality of its own. Me encanta. We eat VERY late here. Like 9 or 10pm. And also, meals here are an experience, not just something to get over with. If you go to a restaurant, expect to spend at LEAST 2 hours there, always.

I love this city so far. This weekend we go to Iguazu.

Dos besos, amigos! Adios.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Maggot Brain.

It just dawned on me that, somewhere in Buenos Aires, there is a family that knows I'm going to be living with them. Some family that is waiting for "Annie, exchange student from Chicago-land suburbs, student of Knox College."

So bizarre...

Sometimes when I'm reading over the packets of information that the program director gave us, I have mini panic attacks. I'm sure this is fairly common and is happening to many of us right now. Right?

I have to go figure out how to make Skype work.

Also, I was installing a new camera system on my computer the other day, and one of the "sample photos" included is one of this gorrrgeous waterfall. It doesn't even look real.

And then I realized the label for the photo is "iguazu.jpg." I GET TO GO HERE! Part of the study abroad program is going to Iguazu and hiking around and zip-lining and stuff.

Here, this is the photo:


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homeward bound!

Well, actually, home already.

And let me tell you, I've never noticed how much SHIT I own.

Just PILES of useless THINGS. Notebooks and trinkets and bracelets and things that I don't even KNOW what they are. UGH.

SO I stored a bunch of things in the attic and started organizing things to pack.

I'm so overwhelmed right now. Leaving everyone in Galesburg was absolutely awful. I'm trying not to think about it too much, but it's hard.

I cannot believe I leave the country in TEN DAYS. TEN. OH god, TEN. I CAN'T SPEAK SPANISH. WHAT WAS I THINKING? AHHH.

Okay okay. I think I just need to listen to a mix and lie down for awhile.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Doin' it, movin' it, RAMPANT CONSUMERISM

Okay. So I've made a somewhat extensive list of things I'll need to buy and do before leaving for Argentina. I leave on August 6. I go home for about a week and a half on July 27 to get organized, breathe, etc.

Things to buy:
  • A watch! I don't know why I don't have one of these already
  • A present for my host famiy... The guide that our school gave us says this is customary, and might be something representing our hometown... or, also, "things like peanut butter are also well-received." Does this mean I'm doing to a place without peanut butter? We may have a problem here.
  • Webcam/microphone for Skype! Also, learn how to use Skype.
  • Adapters for South American outlets....actually, I think we have spares of these at home so I probably won't have to buy them
  • International Student Identity Card! I just have to pick it up at the University of Chicago
  • Ipod battery? Hmmm... my iPod died awhile ago and I think it needs a new battery, but I'm trying to figure out how to fix it without paying much It seems like it'd be a good thing to get working for a 14 hour flight or however long it is...
  • Hikin' shoes!
  • Good boots
  • New toothbrush. Mine is currently disgusting.
  • Things like underwear and bras and jeans... I don't have many of these things but I think it'd be better to stock up a bit rather than needing to do constant laundry.
  • Toiletries. Shampoo, etc.
  • Alarm clock with a looong-lasting battery because host families don't usually like it when their student guests suck up energy
  • BIRTH CONTROL! I sometimes hate the health care system... lately it has been VERY difficult -VERY - for me to get my god damned birth control. I'm usually a tolerant person, but with things like medication, prescriptions, etc... ugh.
Things to get that aren't necessarily purchases...
  • Haircut! Good god, a haircut
  • VISA! VISA VISA VISA. Actually, I don't need this for Argentina, but will for Spain, so I need to drop off the processing stuff on July 30. I have an appointment with the consulate that day... which makes me feel rather nifty.
  • Maybe try to find some kind of purse that incorporates a zipper... all this thievery talk has got me more cautious than usual
  • Copies of ALL IMPORTANT THINGS... passport, social security card, ID, license... etc.
I might try to get a new camera but that might be too much money. Mine is alright, but I've noticed the photo quality is kinda shit and the battery doesn't last long. I could definitely live without a new one, but it'd be nice. We'll see what the money situation looks like once I get my final paycheck and am actually buying all my shit.

I should also practice my Spanish. Also, they use the "vos" form there... so, that's somethin!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And so we begin.


This is a blog. I have never blogged for many people to read before, but I figure if I'm going off to explore the vast culture of South America and then Spain, perhaps it would be a nice idea to clue people in on the trouble I get into and the wonderful things I might see.

I don't leave for a few weeks, but this shall exist as a place for me to organize my thoughts, sanity, lists of what I need to get, etc. It will probably also diverge into my general thoughts as of late, on things from Galesburg to summer to feminism, since I spend lots of time before falling asleep reading blogs like Female Impersonator or Feministing.

Once I am in foreign countries, this blog will likely be infinitely more fascinating.

I intend this blog to be read by anyone who is interested, but I assume it'll end up being mostly people I know. For those of you who don't know me, though, here's some information:

1. My name is Annie.
2. I am 20 years old and attending the wonderful Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
3. I study Creative Writing and Spanish and am also an editor of the school newspaper, The Knox Student.
4. I am living this summer in Galesburg, Illinois, trying to make a little money for when I go abroad. Learning that money is problematic in more ways than one. As this is the first time really living on my own, I think that's what I should be learning. Wouldn't change it.

Oh, for those who don't know- I will be spending one term in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and one in Barcelona, Spain.

Adios for now, amigos!