30 November 2010

the plan

So I suppose most of you (or five of you, at least) have seen the poll at the bottom of the page. Here's what's up: I have a few options basically. a) I can stay here and keep trying to scrape things together as a part-time babysitter, b) I might get a job in Uruguay for a couple of months, enabling me to save the money to fly home, or c) I might be asked to move into a hostel and work there in exchange for room and board.

Of those options, I would prefer b. It would sort of set me up nicely, and I wouldn't really have to worry about anything for a little while. But who knows if I'll even get the job.

On Saturday, I met up with Kaela at a sports bar, where we hoped to watch the KU-MU football game. She's a Mizzou fan and I'm a Jayhawk fan, so how could it not be interesting, right? Well, it turned out you couldn't find that game anywhere in Argentina, so we settled for the Ohio State-Meeeeeeechigan game. We talked, ate nachos and tacos, had a beer each (I'm not a fan of Quilmes), and watched the game. It was a good day.

I had some nice down time this weekend, but I'm right back into the fray this week. I'm trying to figure out this job situation, babysitting, and I have several interviews and meetings. I hope to figure out what I'll be doing for the next few months here in the next couple of days. It's true that, in the past, I've mentioned that I don't like to make plans, but it's good to have some idea of what your future's going to hold, especially when rent's due.

"And now I'm gonna go. . . and show 'The Plan' to someone else."
-10 Things I Hate About You

29 November 2010

mmm stuffed peppers and black bean soup

Let me be clear about one thing: this is not a cooking blog. It has never been a cooking blog. It will never be a cooking blog. Because if it ever becomes one, that will mean that preparing food is the only exciting thing in my life. (Or that I'm a famous chef, which would be acceptable.)

However, I made some awesome black bean soup and stuffed peppers last night, and I just wanted to share that with you.

I might be moving out this week; I'm not sure. If you've seen the poll at the bottom of the page, you know that I'm exploring my options. To elaborate, I'm meeting with a lady this evening about being a part-time receptionist at her hostel. In exchange, I would have a place to stay and a kitchen and patio and all of that.

Doing that would save me about $400 a month, but I would sure miss my room here.

24 November 2010

el dia despues de thanksgiving

"What's pumpkin? Is that the orange thing?"
"And what is- what is Spongebob's house?"
"A pineapple."
-A snippet of convo between my German sister and my American sister Kat

Basically, I'm thankful for skype, which enabled me to participate in Thanksgiving with my family two nights ago and hear that little gem between Theresa and Kat. That picture is of Katsy feeding me pumpkin pie through skype. It was delicious.

I got to babysit on Thanksgiving, and we walked down to the rose garden and milled around there for a bit. Those children really are delightful, even though all they ever want me to do now is push the double stroller while jogging. It's intense.

The American girls that I met through Dave did a Thanksgiving thing Thursday night, so we went over there bearing gifts. I brought mashed potatoes, which are kinda my thing, and macaroni and cheese, which is kinda not my thing, as it turns out. But whatevs. There was green bean casserole, and chicken in place of turkey, and a chocolate cake, and some salad, and a good time was had by all.

Today was pretty lazy for me. I went running for a couple of hours in 90-degree heat and intense humidity, and that was pretty brutal. Hopefully I got a little sun, though. Going home with a tan should hopefully make all the homesickness worth it.

Plans for the weekend? You guessed it: nothing. I am hoping to venture downtown in search of a foundation that is actually pale enough for me, and then I'd like to see Harry Potter finally. But then again, I might just stay inside so I don't melt from this vicious heat. Clearly, it's shaping up to be a wild weekend.
(*I started this post on the 24th but didn't finish it until today, the 26th, thus, the inaccurate time stamp)

23 November 2010

time to be thankful

"I'm the new Sinatra, and since I made it here
I can make it anywhere; yeah, they love me everywhere"
-Jay-Z, Empire State of Mind

Lots to talk about, but I can't remember much of it when I'm on the spot like this. I'll probably end up posting this, and then adding a couple of short follow-up posts with things I remember over the next day or so.

To start off: I keep forgetting to mention this, but a few weeks ago I was in the park and I saw a guy on a skateboard. I saw a guy on a skateboard, holding onto ropes which were attached to the collars of his large dogs, who were running and pulling the guy. All parties involved appeared to be having the time of their respective lives.

I met a girl named Kaela late last week. Kaela is a sorority sister of my dearest darling JaNae, and we all come from the same area. Now, if you recall, I met JaNae while studying abroad in Madrid two years ago. It was so cool to meet with Kaela, who is good friends with some of my good friends, while she's studying abroad in Buenos Aires, to talk about studying abroad and how awesome it is. She asked me about how I ended up here, and the whole thing's really kind of funny. It goes a little something like this:

I went to a college where I majored in Spanish. Part of the requirement for my Spanish major was that I earn at least eight credit hours of Spanish-language instruction in a Spanish-speaking country. I didn't particularly want to go abroad, and I didn't particularly want to go to Madrid. But I did, and there I met amazing people, including JaNae, and a bagpipe player from New Zealand who looks like a hobbit. I practically stalked him until he asked me out for drinks, where he told me about a summer camp program in Italy, and how he'd done it for a summer and loved it. I looked into it, applied, and was accepted. During my second summer in Italy, I met a guy named Dave who told me all about a magical place called Argentina. I mulled it over, wandered Europe for a week or so, and then abruptly bought a plane ticket four days before the plane was scheduled to depart. I had a couple of cross-country journeys (Croatia to Italy by ferry overnight, slept in an Italian train station alone, flew to Madrid, laid in wait and reunited with the piping Kiwi), and voila, Lizzie in Buenos Aires. That, children, is how history is made.

Anyway, Kaela is such a sweet and awesome girl, and she thinks that what I'm doing is pretty cool (and I guess it is!). That's so nice to hear, especially when I'm wondering where I'm going to be in a month. I think she really liked hearing my stories because she's in the same spot I was two years ago, when I started on the path that brought me here. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and that makes me really happy that I went to the college I attended, even though I had so many doubts about it my first couple of years there. If I hadn't gone there, I probably wouldn't have gone to Madrid, and if I hadn't gone to Madrid, I almost certainly wouldn't have met my bagpiping buddy, and I never would have heard about teaching in Italy, and then I wouldn't have met Dave, and I probably wouldn't have thought about coming to Argentina. I'm pretty happy with how things have gone, and that never would have been possible without the college I attended.

What else did I do this weekend. . . let's see, I babysat on Sunday, which was nice. Also babysat today. Guess what today was? Yep, another zoo day. We saw the sea lion show today. The little one clapped along.

I have to say, retelling my life story really took it out of me. Definitely need some Gossip Girl to recupe. Did I mention I'm almost all caught up? If you're not impressed, you should be. A month ago, I hadn't seen any more than the first season. Now I'm halfway through the fourth.


17 November 2010

the great blackout of twenty-ten

"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
It's not warm when she's away
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And she's always gone too long any time she goes away."
-'Ain't No Sunshine,' Bill Withers

I posted those lyrics because that had better be how you all are feeling with me having been away something like six months.

Anyway, I left out one very important detail when I gave you the rundown of my activities from the past week. That detail would be the BLOCK-WIDE BLACKOUT which occurred on Sunday afternoon.

Because it happened while I was taking a mid-afternoon nap, I have no idea when it began, but I know that Dave came in to tell me that Johnny Drama told him and that was that. Basically, no power, so no charged laptops, and no wi-fi. LAME. And then, as it got darker, we couldn't turn on the lights, so that sucked too.

We searched the house for a breaker box, to no avail. Then we looked outside and saw that power was out down the whole block, and decided we were going to have to make the trek down to the supermarket before it got much darker, because we didn't fancy having to navigate the dog poop-covered sidewalks amongst garbage-rustlers in the pitch black.

And of course, by the time we got back from the supermarket with candles, the lights were back on.

The end.

16 November 2010

i like it when it rains

I've done so much in the past week, but I can't seem to remember any of it right now. Let's run through it day by day and see if anything interesting jumps out:

Last Tuesday night, Dave and I went out to a bar with our roomie John (he's 59, originally from Vegas, and has a penchant for lots and lots of Latin women. . . let's just call him Johnny Drama) for a gathering of expats. Johnny Drama pitched it like it was going to be a party, but did not specify the average age of the attendees. As it turned out, I was the youngest person there by five years or so. I still had a good time, because one of John's friends, a similarly-aged guy with an Argentine name, ridiculous accent, and a ready laugh, was super entertaining.

We went out to a parilla afterwards (it's like a grill, but also sometimes like a diner) and got dinner. Somehow sports came up, and it got to the point where I was explaining something to this table of four guys, and John reiterated that he can not get over how much I know about baseball and football. We watched part of the World Series on the flat-screen in the apartment, and I guess I impressed him. It's nice to have someone to talk about American sports with.

Did I mention that a nice piece of meat moved into the apartment a couple weeks ago? His name's also Jon, and he looks like the prince from Enchanted, I kid you not. There are now six of us in this little apartment; I seriously don't know where we're fitting everyone.

But back to my week: Wednesday. . . pretty sure nothing interesting happened. Thursday I worked. Friday. . . also nothing. Wow, my life here sounds amazingly boring, doesn't it?

Saturday was pretty low-key, until I got an email asking me to babysit in the afternoon. So I did that, and then that night we went out with some friends to a sushi place, where I had an overpriced bowl of noodles drowning in soy sauce. Then we walked around Palermo, trying to hit up as many museums as possible during the last couple of hours of Museum Night, where everything's open til 3am.

Sunday was lazy. Monday I went running. Today, Tuesday, I walked down to a park and sketched for a couple of hours, and then I came home and made chili for the first time all by myself. It was a little spicier than I usually prefer, but come on, it was my first time. I went all out too: because they don't really do canned beans here, I had to soak them and cook them, and that takes a little while, and I actually got the spices out of bins at the grocery store instead of out of mills or whatever. Things like that are definitely making me a better cook- I mean, I had no idea what cumin even smelled like until today, and it turns out it's one of my favourite smells. That blew my mind.

So what's the plan for the rest of the week? Well, I work on Thursday, but that's about it. I'm okay with that, though. I'm doing some drawing, and getting a lot of writing work online. And I don't mind staying in, especially if I'm not spending any money.

10 November 2010

good times

So, the polls (okay, just one poll) closed yesterday, and only two of you voted. I'm disappointed in you. Low voter turnout is exactly what got us into trouble in this last election. And that's all I'm going to say.

I've been trying to start running again. Ideally, I'd like to be running a couple of miles every other day. Nothing too strenuous, just trying to keep my booty nice and juicy and my stomach flat. Not shooting for the moon here.

So I went running on Thursday morning because I had the day off, and I ended up running about two miles and walking another two. I'll take it. I did the same thing on Sunday, when the temperature was in the MID-90'S. I can't remember the last time I went running in that kind of heat.

Friday was part two of Zoo Day. Second Zoo Day, really. Anyway, we saw seals and penguins and bears and lions and bison and elephants and almost everything, really. A good time was had by all.

So Friday night, like I said, I went out to dinner with some of Dave's friends, most of whom are American girls just like me, and three of whom were named Jenny (not like me). Turns out they love Top Model and cheesy Youtube videos and we just laughed about everything for like three hours. Somehow my dinner cost me about 20 pesos, which is AWESOME,
because even though I ordered a salad, I went all vulture on the other girls' fries and also did everyone else a favour by finishing the piece of chocolate walnut cake with whipped cream and cinnamon on top that they didn't like. Which leads me to doubt if they really are that much like me after all, because seriously, who would pass up such a DELICIOUS piece of cake?! Seriously. It was amazing.

AND I was talking with one of the girls about where she lived and when I heard she was from Colorado I mentioned that I'd only been there for a softball tournament and she was like, "No way?! I'm looking into softball leagues here!" and I was like, "OMG!" So now we're going to start a softball legacy. Awesome.

08 November 2010

time for a late night update

"What we have here is a classic case of. . . guy on the ground."
-Role Models

It's two in the morning so I'm going to keep this brief. Just a few things from the past week:

I solved the mystery of the guy with the pit bulls outside the apartment, and the explanation is shockingly simple: he was either a) a dog walker, or b) the owner of the dogs, waiting for the dog walker. Still unexplained, however, is why he was shirtless.

Got back from the zoo the other day (yes, round two at the zoo; I'll post pics and a more detailed analysis later) to discover that, yes, the 18-month-old's diapers really could get fouler. I mean, I wouldn't have wanted to change that if it had been my own diaper. NASTY.

The Gay Pride parade was on Saturday, and I totally forgot about it. I sat around acting like I had nothing to do, when I'd actually been looking forward to it. I wanted to find an outlandish outfit, overdo my makeup, and see if people could tell if I was a natural-born woman, or a man in drag. But alas, it was not to be.

Went out with Dave and some friends he's made here on Friday night. . . but I should save that for a longer post. Basically, they were awesome, and I think I'm going to be hanging out with them a lot.

Anyway. It's 2:20 and I am beat. Nothing to do tomorrow though, so I'll probably just lay in bed updating you on my life, catching up on Texts from Last Night, and continuing with season 3 of Gossip Girl. The best part about that awesome lineup? It's FREE.


02 November 2010

busy busy busy

Leave the club kinda early cuz they gotta go to work
I mess with supervisors who got credit like Big Turk
So dusty feet, please don't bother me,
I got independent dimes on my mind. . .
-Webbie, Independent

It's been a busy couple of days. Also a HOT couple of days. That's a little beside the point though. . . anyway, babysat again on Monday. Took the kids to the rose garden again and we climbed some trees. Successfully changed yet another diaper- and I'm actually getting pretty good at the whole 'grab the kid by the ankles and lift' thing. It was under pressure, too, because as I was about halfway done, the little girl goes, "Liz, look, a doggie," and I looked over to see a very thin, collarless dog staring at us from about four feet away. I kind of picked up the pace after that.

Saw something strange on the way back from the park- a team of movers tying some ropes around a piano and preparing to hoist it up the side of an apartment building. I chose to steer the stroller around the workers rather than between them and the building because, I think we all know how that story was gonna end.

Yesterday morning I went out to San Justo for an appointment as part of the interview process for this nanny agency. Turns out San Justo is not even in Buenos Aires- it's a two hour bus ride to get there and two more hours to get back. And I was not encouraged by what I could see out the window on the way there. Although the email had stressed that the office was in a good neighborhood, all I could see were little shanty houses constructed of cinderblocks. The edges of the roofs were lined with glass shards stuck into cement. A man in a cart pulled by a very depressed-looking horse pulled up alongside my bus. He was riding in a CART pulled by a HORSE. That is only acceptable if you're Amish, and he sure as hell wasn't Amish. He was riding a horse-drawn cart because it was cheaper than a car and, unlike a car, he can EAT IT when it DIES. In short, San Justo is the ghetTOE.

Anyway, I think the meeting went well. It started at ten and ended at noon. The bus ride back, however, was miserable. It was upper 80's, I could only find a spot in the sun, and they don't have AC on the buses here. Two hours of that, plus a leftover migraine, had me feeling super queasy. Fortunately, the bus just happened to pass within two blocks of the American family's home, where I was supposed to be by three.

Because I was a little bit early, I stopped at the ice cream shop on the corner and enjoyed two scoops of banana and strawberry. Now, you all know I think gelato is incredible. I exposed Kyle to it when he came to visit, and he will never be the same, not even being dramatic. But as soon as I tasted that rich, sugary ice cream on the corner of Chenaut and Campos, I realized why American-style creamery ice cream is in a class by itself. It reminded me of a cone I'd enjoyed at Blue Chip Cookies last year (where my dear friend JaNae works). Sweet, rich, decadent, full of chunks of real fruit- it was fantastic. And it made me want to come home a little bit more.

After a cool, refreshing hour in that little cafe, I continued down the street to see my little pumpkins. They'd had a rough morning, going to see a doctor because one of them had a bug bite that wouldn't clear up, so they were in the midst of a deep nap. I sat down with the New York Times Magazine and waited.

Half an hour later, only the little one had woken up, so I went for a little walk around the block with him. We hit up the playground across the street, walked down a street which is a couple of blocks of nothing but bars and restaurants, and then circled around to come home. He's in a phase now where whenever he sees a doorway or a stoop, he has to sit in it or on it (his parents confirmed that he does this regularly). It's like he's posing for a catalogue or something.

By the time we got back, the girl still hadn't woken up, so we looked through some books and ate some yogurt until she did. Then we all went out to the park and they threw sand on me. The heat had finally let up, and the way the light from the setting sun slanted over the tops of buildings gave everything a yellowish-green glow. It felt so much like spring in Kansas City, like when I used to come back to my house after softball practice during the last few weeks of the spring semester in college, and I could count on a few more hours of sunlight. The only thing missing was the sound of lawnmowers.

We got back around seven, and the parents were out getting groceries, so we played a little more and I successfully changed the foulest diaper I could ever imagine. Seriously, it's like that kid is playing mind games with me or something. Anyway, I stayed about a half hour longer than planned, and I was compensated generously for my time.

Then I came home and got into bed, after more than 13 hours of non-stop action, with no intention of moving until well into the next morning.