Saturday, April 3, 2010
Even though I am terribly sad about leaving, the best part about right now: I know that my three months in Bariloche have been a success. I have learned Spanish, let another culture and its people influence my life, and I would like to think I have done the same for them.
With that, I can leave Argentina happy.
This adventure maybe ending, but another one begins. See you on the flip side... nos vemos.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I remember when I first arrived in Argentina. January 3, 2010. I had no clue what waited for me. I have always enjoyed imagining things and usually can draw a moment in time. Even if it is a made up painting of black scribbles and circles... I can see something. But before Bariloche, I saw nothing.
Three months later, every single line has been filled in with reds, blues, pinks, yellows, oranges, purples and greens. Last night, I continued coloring in my painting with food in every shade variation in a presentation of traditional Desayuno Americano.
The American Breakfast. In the states, eating breakfast is an emphasis. In Argentina, most people only believe in Mate. Or pan con mas pan. Y mas pan. With a little bit of jam. Waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, gravy, biscuits... none of that exists here.
I cooked for five people. I cooked for my family. It was the first time I had ever cooked for more than 2 people (me and someone else). The menu-- pancakes with honey and jam, scrambled eggs with veggie stir fry (zuchinni, mushrooms, and red and green bell peppers), and fried sausage. ALL covered in tabasco.
I feel I must mention again my inability to cook. I never helped cooking growing up because I never wanted to help cooking growing up. But I had told my house mom that we were having American breakfast... and that meant with or without the help of Bisquick.
I decided that flour, eggs, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil and milk sounded like a good Argentinean version of Biskquick. I called my mother when I returned home to make sure I was cooking the sausage right for the maximun amount of bottom woods, country grease as possible. (I mean it when I say I haven´t cooked much before). I had to get the food right. And being the southern girl that I am, that meant making it taste like home home. Georgia.
With my hair pushed back in a black bow, I cut, fried, stirred, sifted, cracked, whipped, flipped, poured and watched my food expand into a meal of colors, flavors and aromas. I experienced the kind of happiness that my mother always talks about during those 40 minutes in the smoke filled kitchen. I was cooking for others and I liked the feeling of cooking for others when I knew they were going to enjoy it.
I could read my family´s uneasy eyes when they witnessed the traditional desayuno Americano sitting on the dinning room table. For dinner. My host mom told me to go first and she would follow. I spread raspberry jam over two fluffy pancakes and topped them with honey (syrup does not exist here). I covered my scrambled eggs in veggie stir fry and tabasco sause. I did not have to demonstrate how to eat the sausage...
Twenty minutes later, all the bowls and plates sat empty. Every crumb devoured. Every morsel enjoyed to its finest. My host mom is now addicted to pancakes and sausage. My host dad even went back for seconds on the veggies (and he does not like veggies). Molly and I gave them the tabasco as a gift. Because hot sauces in Argentina are impossible to find.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Por ejemplo: Molly and I had a grand adventure in attempt of climbing Tronador a week ago. The adventure ended with us never making it to the camping grounds on top of the mountain, but back at a hosteria on the bottom of the mountain.
The point of the story is not the adventure though, but the people. We arrived covered in dirt and mud dripping from our fingers and plastered to our shoes. They untied our shoes, taking them off our feet, the moment we walked inside. Instantly telling us they would clean them. My kicks have not been that clean since the day I bought them.
Next-- our extra `dry clothes´ were soaked. We had no shoes, no clothes. Nothing to wear for dinner. We were tired, cold, tired... and naked.
But without even asking, the people working the hosteria went and got us clothes. Their own clothes. Shoes, tops, pants, sweaters. They even said we could wear them until we left the next day at five. They took our wet clothes and hung them up to dry for us so they would be ready the next day.
My first host mom told me that the people of Bariloche are always wanting the chip in when and where they can to help make Bariloche great. Por ejemplo: many locals rent out their homes to tourists during peak season in Bariloche. The owner then serves as a land lord, finds somewhere else to stay (anywhere from one week to three months), while maintaining the house during the visitor´s duration.
The people want to help however they can... another example is my host family, and so many host families in Bariloche. They open up their homes and lives to complete strangers for sometimes months at a time. Sure, they receive money, but they enjoy caring and providing for others. They have only the best interest in you merely five minutes after meeting you.
I will miss the people of Bariloche. The people that have become my family and friends over the past three months. My host mom and dad. My profesoras... all women... who have all been my mom one day or another. Not to mention, all my friends, who have shaped me into something new.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
But my time in Bariloche has changed me and I want to give Dalton another chance to change me too. I want to give it another opportunity. There is so much I can learn and I hope that I can get others to feel the same about the amazing culture and learning opportunities that Dalton has to offer. Not merely textile. :-)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The outdoor tienda takes place every Tuesday and Saturday. There are over 300 booths of handmade pants, shirts, bracelets, necklaces, rings, purses, kitchen utensils, mate cups, earrings, paintings, drawings, scarves... empanadas, sandwiches, beer, waffles, raspberries, strawberries... too many goods to count. In a half moon surrounding a beautiful park, with a lake in the middle of it, these shops were enough fun for over half of the afternoon. Not to mention, the sky beamed blue.
I stayed in a hostel. El Pueblito. For those who are not familiar with a hostel, a hostel is (sadly) a fab that has not caught on the ole EEUU. A hostel is a place where traditionally large rooms are occupied with rows of bunks. People have a locker and a bed, along with a community bathroom, kitchen and living space including plenty of free community fun.
Plus they are cheap. Though, remember to bring your ear plugs because there is always someone snoring. El Pueblito nestled itself along the river and amongst the mountains 10 minutes out of town. Five hammocks hung around the back side of the house, along with an outside bar and picnic table.
I could not have imaged a more tranquil place for a weekend getaway. Not only were the facilities nice (I got a hot shower both days! ha!), but I met some amazing people who all have this problem with keeping their feet on the ground and their minds out of the clouds... :-)
BUT! The BEST part... I mean the BEST part: the stars. Their twinkling light put me into a different world. Before I even arrived in Bariloche, people asked me if I was excited about my trip. I always replied with a yes, and besides school and the culture, I was excited about the stars.
I lost myself for over two hours that Saturday night in the stars. The giant charcoal lit sky put on a show of the Milky Way and all of its gases, and so many constellations, I could not even begin to name them or find them, for that matter of fact.
Stars put my life into perspective. There is so much out there to live and explore. It also blows my mind that no matter where I am, the stars remain constant and the people that I love will be looking up at the same sky.
Back home in Bariloche, I am day two into advanced classes. Alone. I passed my avanzado exam this past week. It truly is a moment of accomplishment. Something even more exciting-- two weeks ago, the idea of having class alone scared me. Now, I am confident and very happy with having class sola. I am with a professor that I feel comfortable with. I can successfully talk to for four hours. :-) BIG smile. BIG BIG smile.
I have 20 days left in Bariloche. WOWOWOW! Time is going. This weekend, I am going to Chile for Mt. Tronador. It is the last big thing I want to do before I head back home. Chugging right along with my Molly, we continue our grand adventures in Patagonia.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Ohhhh how I love it here.