Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 61 y 62: dos meses y una dia

Day 61:
Two months in.
One month to go.

Where time has gone, I can not explain.

I have been wanting to write on my blog for days. With my computer still dead it is hard to find the time and moment to write. Especially a moment alone to think. Funny now, I have this moment and I am stuck on where to begin.

I feel as though Mendoza was ages ago. When in reality, I returned this past week. Mendoza is a place with a different tune. Vineyards line streets for miles. Tall and short trees limber their trunks from the uvas. I am still puzzled at how they do not fall over.

My favorite part about Mendoza is how every vineyard created its own atmosphere. They all had uvas, but they all had a different vibe. Different levels and variations of flavors. Different techniques and time frames for fermentation and storing.

My favorite: Melipal. Not only did I greatly enjoy their wines, the five course lunch (six with the dessert) along with a wine that coordinated with every dish (including the dessert), but I wanted to capture the essence of its scenery into a bottle.

In the end... the best and worst part about Mendoza is that I could see myself living there. Too.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Back home in Bariloche, life is continuing. I have had a new roommate move in. She is Canadian and used to speed skate before she had hip problems two years ago. I told here that she is the first speed skater I have ever met. Not to mention the first Canadian I have ever lived with.

She fits perfectly into "the family." Which sadly is getting smaller and smaller. Claire leaves for the states on Sunday. I am really gonna miss her. When someone who you have spent so much time with leaves, you also start thinking about home. That beyond the blue lake of Bariloche lies the something else. The real world.

Day 62:
I am feeling much better today as I am writing. Yesterday, I was not in the best of moods. I found myself home and people sick for the first time EVER in my travels. Odd! I know. But after talking with everyone and anyone who would listen to me (THANK YOU BY THE WAY!), I am back to my crazy, Meg self :)

NOW... for a FANTASTIC Argentinean moment:

The Local Watering Hole

My host dad told me that if the autumn wind has not blown into Bariloche by the end of February, then the whole month of March should be Hot, HOt, HOT!

My host dad has climate-telling powers. The weather in Bariloche has been consecutively 90 degrees for the past week and a half. For the record, 90 degrees is hot to begin with, but 90 degrees is even HOTTER when you do not have AC or fans.

To the local watering hole. A pool that sits right on the lake. The vista is lovely. All the gals were thrilled for a summer dip that would last longer than 35 seconds, as the pool water does not freeze your core like the lake agua.

The four of us (Claire, Molly, Michele and I) explored this local hot spot. Imagine: four ladies, in bathing suits, displaying very white skin and signs on our foreheads that screamed: Foreigners.

The four of us dangled our feet into the olympic size pool times two. I began noticing boys. Teenage boys. Teenage Argentinean boys. With smirks in their eyes and brains twisting for some trouble.

I looked around and noticed that these boys were experts with the ladies of foreign lands. There were eight of them. Slowly and smoothly, they separated themselves. I splashed a silent laugh and grin across my face, as I told the gals to get ready for an attack.

Three minutes later, all eight of the boys jumped in...

I threw off my sunglasses and did a canon ball on top of four of them. The other gals continued laughing. We laughed so long and loud, the whole pool starred at us. The life guards even came over to make sure no one was hurt. As i splashed and laughed in the water with these boys all I could think about is feeling at home, in an odd, Argentinean, welcome to our pool, kind of way :)
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Ohhhh how I love it here.

Enjoy my last month in Argentina :) xoxo

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 55: Bari, Bari-loche

Well-- it took me roughly 2 hours to upload these fotos and this is not even the beginning. Though it is a start. I made it back from Mendoza safe and sound. A little wine-logged, you could say. Roughly the same as water logged, except this one includes a purple boca instead of pruned hands and feet.

These pictures below are a little bit of my life in Bariloche with my friends. Look for Mendoza pictures in the next few days!

I have started calling Bari, Bari-loche home. I like having a new home here. For me, a home includes friends and family. A sense of being somewhere that makes me feel safe; I feel this in Bariloche.

This is Claire. She is holding the adventura of making banana nut bread. I think the recipe was in English, but Claire, John and Brandon had to play the conversion game of the ingredients in the kitchen. I pulled out the watch card; as I traditionally do with cooking.

The kitchen did not have all the correct bowls or measuring cups. John crushed up butter with a fork. Claire kept pouring the black sugar (yes, black sugar) and the flour until she thought it tasted right. Brandon lit the oven (which literally meant lighting it with a match from the bottom of the gas oven). We decided that 350 degrees was roughly one click to the left... or it might have been the right... either way, it turned out amazing. y muy rico.

Not to mention, the next day we had french-toasted, banana bread with homemade jam... :)

The next serious of pictures are from Valentine's Day. Hints the red accent.

This is John. Standing with the amazing coche that I want to take home with me...
it even has suicide doors...

This is Molly. Miss Molly is my sister. We live together. I can not decide what I like the most about this picture: the reds in the roses and in her dress or the priceless grin on her face...

I just really like this picture.

John gave us gals roses for Valentine's Day. Close up.

I am going to leave you with the pictures from my hike to Refugio Frey y Catedral that I took the weekend before I left to Mendoza. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy- xoxo.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 45: Middle y Rubia

I am in the middle. Literally, I am the middle child. But literally, I am 45 days in with 45 days to go. Antes de my arrival, I planned on taking a week off from school at my halfway point and going to Mendoza.

I had no clue how to get there. Where I would stay. Who I would go with. If I could leave school. Or what I would when I go there. Forty-five days in, I have at least the first four questions answered... minus the what we are going to do. Which in all honesty is not important. Not knowing is the true adventure of life... as I am discovering.

I am going with "the family" minus one. My one sister is heading down Sur to travel while the other four of us pack our bags for the sunshine and vineyards. It is a 17 hour bus ride to Mendoza. Yes, 17 of them. This will be my first experience on a bus that I get my own bed. I plan on sleeping the whole time... you can ask my sisters back home in GA... "when Meg gets into a car, she sleeps the whole time." :)

Something else that I love about my first 45 days in Argentina is my name. My name is Megan. My best friends call me Meg. My family calls me Meg or Megan. In Argentina I am Meg. In Argentina I am Rubia :) aka... Blondie.

My birthday cake even said happy birthday Rubia. I think I am one of the only natural rubias in the whole country of Argentina. Well, at least from what I have seen. Even in Chile, I stood out quite well. I will have to say that the "family" has every hair gene covered pretty well: dos morenos, dos pelirojos, and una robia.

As much as this Rubia wants to write more and upload some fotos!! My computer is still dead. My mom has sent me all my computer discs and I plan on fixing my computer as soon as I return from Mendoza.

Please think of me as I travel north. I hope that this blog finds everyone well.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 43: Mullet

Solomente en espanol: Tengo un mullet. SI. un mullet. Cuando el pelo es un poco (o mas) largo en de atras y bajo en el frente.

Argentina is stuck in the 80's. It is alive AND well. EVERYWHERE. My haircut that i received two weeks ago has evolved into a nice, mini-mullet. Next, all I need to do is buy some of the very fashionable "MC Hammer" pants that all the ladies wear... they have crotches all the way down to their ankles. No, I am not joking.

The mullet is a sign of change for me. Change from what I was, to what I am becoming here in Argentina.

I am a year older. My birthday arrived a little over a week ago. It didn't seem like my birthday, or more, that a year had flown by since the last one. In my new white tank, I arrived to a completely decorated school just for my birthday. Remember when you were a kid and you took the time to cut multi-colored paper and made homemade streamers by looping them into circles? My friends did that for me. Pinks, greens, purples, blues and yellows filled the main entrance. Along with balloons. My teacher even brought me flowers.

This was my first birthday away from home. Even more importantly, it was my first b-day away from my dad. But from the moment I walked into the singing school, I had no doubt that my family was there with me on my birthday.

I sadly have no pictures of the occasion because they are on my dead computer. Though I can report I wore a hot pink crown all day. My friends sang Feliz Cumple five times between that morning at school (two times), once at my family's house for dinner (we had lamb) and then two more times out in town with all my friends.

A good friend of mine asked me what I wished for on my birthday. I actually have had the same b-day wish for the past 10 years. I can't tell you what it is... cause then it won't come true. But know, that it more than happened here in Bariloche.

A group of us went to Chile for a long weekend to celebrate. We rented a car. We drove. Well, one of my friends drove... the only one who can successfully drive a stick without throwing everyone out the window or making us vomit. It took four hours to get through border customs. 8 hours total each way. The town (Puerto Montt) was closed the whole day Sunday (our main day there), so we watched movies in English with Spanish subtitles.

The BEST thing that happened in Chile (besides all the really funny quotes from everyone from a 16 hour car ride) was the dinner we experienced. There were five of us. The menus were more or less in Spanish, but the Spanish in Chile has a lot of slang. A LOT of slang.

We ordered. We ordered more family style-- some big platters and everyone could have a little of everything. When the food arrived, we were quick to discover that we had ordered enough food for a small country. Pizza, papas fritas, fijitas, parrilla (a big pile of steak, potatoes and chicken) and that came with these pizza bite looking things... what else... in the end, we had to pull up another table because we had no more room. Ohhhhh, I wish I had pictures of that to post!! We sat there for over four hours attempting to eat the largely portioned food. I even un-buttoned my pants. ha!

I hiked Catedral with "the family" this past weekend. "The family" is the same group of people that went to Chile with me. We are all Americans attempting to learn a language that we desperately love. We are really beginning to speak in Spanish. More importantly, being to understand each other.

Something I appreciate about Bariloche is every single mountain and hike provides a different scenery and experience. This trail was long, but incredibly enjoyable and relaxing. It was more flat that steep. More dirt than rocks. We walked a path that split through a lush, green forest and along a river.

At the top of Catedral there is a lake and Refugio Frey. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the summer heat, while eating veggie torta (pie/cake) and sipping on tea or coffee. My same friend who drove the stick shift car for us in Chile, bought a kite that he wanted to try and fly on top the rock cliff, but he was unsuccessful in the flying part. The string would not stop breaking. I suppose that is what you get for 20 pesos (roughly 6 dollars).

My mind is racing with too much to share. I am going to stop this post and write another one tomorrow. Hopefully with pictures, too. If not, then close your eyes and image... let yourself float away to Argentina. I could use a visitor or two :) I am six weeks in. Seven more to go. Looking forward to every single day that I have left.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 39: "a new"

This is a short note to sadly announce that my computer has died... for the moment. I am hoping to fix it over the next few days.

I have many stories to write about-- my trip to chile for my birthday this past weekend, school and some drama. If anything, I am going to use my friend's computer and update my blog by the end of the weekend. Life really is odd without a computer to use. I don't mind it, but I want to share what is going on with you!

Also, i have a special request... regardless of your faith, please pray for me and for all of those in my life. Here and in the states. I would greatly appreciate it.

Look for exciting news this weekend!! xoxo

Thursday, February 4, 2010

One Month: Living not visiting

It has been one month in Bariloche. One month out of the states. One month into this new life that is starting to pass very quickly. Though the reality: I am living here now... not just visiting.

Everyday life is no longer about going all the time, but living in the routine of an Argentinean. Siesta occurs everyday in Bariloche. Shops close from roughly 1 p.m. to 4:30. Literally, the town closes. Some restaurants are open. I feel like they pick and choose the days that they want to have a siesta. I took advantage of seista today. I don't think I feel asleep last night till roughly 5 in the manana. I needed to rejuvenate.

School is going. This morning was hard without sleep. No endless amount of coffee could supply me with the boost I needed. This week has also been hard to focus. I know that I did not go to school last week because I was incredibly sick, but I am burnt out on school and traveling is calling my name. I have my advancement test tomorrow morning. It is my birthday tomorrow so I am hoping for a good result to start out the day!

This birthday is happy and sad. Mi papi and I have the same birthday. It will be the first time in 22 years that we have not spent it together. Dad, I hope you know that I am sad we can not party together. But in April, it is a date... I promise. Happy Birthday to you :)

The weather in Bariloche is continuing to throw me for a loop. It is cold here this weekend. I almost think it maybe warmer to spend my b-day in Georgia... in the winter. Cause right now, this is not summer action. I think Monday should be nice. Just in time for more school!

It has also has been a quiet week. Been getting back into jogging. I want to jog up Cerro Otto before I leave in April. I haven't made it very far BUT I am hopeful. Very hopeful. Now that I am all better.

On Tuesday, I did a crazy and brave thing: haircut in Argentina. I got my hair scrubbed by a lady who massaged my brain with every intense lather. She even washed my hair twice... I think she was trying to tell me something? NO ONE spoke English. Ha, my Spanish is advancing but the conversation went something like this:

Hairdresser: "Necesitas un cortar?"
Meg: "Si, un corta."
Hairdresser: "Cuanto?"
Meg: (raising my hands to my head) "Este." (As I touch my hair to indicate I want an inch taken off). "Pero, necesito una corta practical pero me gusta una corta que es un poco loco."

Roughly, I told her I wanted a practical cut but a little crazy. Ten minutes later, soy una nueva persona. It was the fastest haircut I had ever witnessed and received. My girlfriend also had a similiar experience. Not too many words, but a fantastic result. Me encanta mi nuevo pelo. It is short and easy.

To end, I have to say that life is going much better in Bariloche and that I have finally settled in. I don't feel like my life is incredibly exciting right now, but that is part of feeling like a local. I no longer feel like a tourist... I am becoming a little Argentinean :)