Its taken me a while to get back to my blog but I've been distracted by life and just plan lazy. I won't bore you with all the details so here go some of the highlights.
At the end of August, I aged like a fine Malbec. I celebrated this birthday very differently than last year. Last year I went out to dinner with my aunt, uncle, and cousin whom I was living with at the time. It was a tasty Thai meal but very low key and simple. This year, I decided to step it up a bit. In our building there is a room called a SUM (multi-purpose room) that you can sign up for to have parties and get-togethers. I invited everyone I worked with and everyone from my frisbee team, plus former neighbors and random Americans I know here.
The weather was a balmy 85 degrees which was strange for the end of winter. I was loving it of course and so did one friend who ended up jumping into the mini-pool in the garden after much Sangria drinking. To feed and quest the thirst of my guests, I made pizzas (including one with apples and blue cheese-muy rico!!) and bought a case of wine. Everyone pitched in with booze and snackies to make the party a tasty success.
Here's Mike, my aunt Marta, the birthday babe, and uncle Jose. They were the first to arrive and almost the last to leave. Marta had to drag Jose away from the party. I think they party harder than anyone I know!!
Chilling in the lil garden you can see me and some of my co-workers, including the director of my school on the far left, and some husbands.
I had a wonderful night surrounded my all the amazing people I've met here in BsAs. Definitely a memorable bday.
My folks flew all the way from the states to come and experience a lil bit of South American love, and of course to check up on me and Marc. Oh yeah, my oldest sibling, Marc, moved to Uruguay about a month ago and now lives a short 3 hour boat ride away in Montevideo. He and his wife Michelle, will be living there for 3 years. Too bad they didn't come sooner.
Anyway, my parents came during my schools' spring break so I had a week to spend with them enjoying parts of Buenos Aires, Mendoza (Argentine wine country), and Montevideo. In BA, we basically hung out with the family, went to lots of amazing restaurants, and saw a few neighborhoods off the tourist trail.
In Mendoza, we went on a bike ride with a company called Bikes and Wines, toured two wineries, visited a olive oil factory, and took a road trip to the Andes. All were incredible experiences with many great quotes from my parents. My mom, after drinking lots of Malbec and going on various wine tours, still continued to ask, "What's a Malbec? Is it a brand? Is it a mixture." I, of course, responded exasperated each time telling her it was a kind of grape-like a chardonnay, merlot, or any other wine she has drunk in her life time. I think it finally sank in by the last day we were there.
On the road trip through the Andes, at one point my mom refused to be with us in the car as we passed a rock collecting truck. So she got out and walked. It was pretty jaw dropping to see the driver of the truck being approached by this strange, foreign woman walking at him up the treacherous mountain road. Nonetheless, he quickly backed up and let us pass. Mom got back in the car and stayed in it the rest of the way.
Here is a photo of our tiny car and the dirt road we drove on for a few hundred kilometers. We headed all the way to the Chilean border passing the highest peak in the western hemisphere. The mountain is called Aconcagua. It was pretty impressive but very windy so we only stayed for a few minutes. I can't imagine what its like in the winter. Definitely frosty nose inducing.
When we got to our first view of the Andes, I got a little excited.
We flew back to Buenos Aires the next day and I let my parents breath for one day and then we headed off to Montevideo to visit Marc and Michelle in capital of Uruguay, Montevideo. Marc is working at the US embassy there and Michelle hopes to also get a position there.
We traveled around Montevideo for the weekend, checking out the old part of town, eating at cool restaurants and then heading to Punta del Este, a beach resort town not too far from Montevideo. It was very beautful and sunny. Luckily not too many tourists to fill up the streets and restaurants like it gets in the summer time. It is a small town (but looks like Miami) where all the wealthiest Argentines plus foreigners go to be seen and spend the summers becuase of the clean and numerous beaches. It just so happens that a lot of my students also go there with their families any vacation we have. Dad wanted me to try and hook up a place to stay with them. No thanks, papa.
We found a giant hand sculpture on the beach there and of course had to shake it.
After playing on the beach, we headed to this museum/hotel called CasaPueblo built by a famous Uruguyuan artist. It would be very cool to stay there one day. On this trip, we just watched the sunset over the ocean from the cafe.
After the cafe, we headed back to Montevideo and I had to leave the next day because of work. I said good-bye but knew I would be seeing my folks soon and Marc and Michelle over Thanksgiving.
We had to go back to Buenos Aires so my folks could fly out and head to the Galapagos, the next stop on their whirlwind tour. To thank our very generous family, including my awesome cousin Tamara who happened to be visiting from Berlin, we went out to a delicious French meal at the famous MALBA art museum. It was a prix fixe menu so we had to choose but everything was tasty so you couldn't go wrong. It was a chilly night so we hugged good-bye after a fun visit and vowed to all be together soon....maybe in Chicago.
Just this past weekend we were celebrating Columbus' "discovery" of the New World with a day off of work. It also happened to be the second year of a ultimate tournament in Cordoba, the 2nd biggest city in Argentina. We had gone last year and had fun so Mike and I decided to go back. We arrived and met up with friends then formed teams with whoever was signed up. My team was mostly from Corbdoba so our name was Fernanditos (a drink made of Fernet-the most popular drink there that tastes like cough syrup- plus Coke). Here's me with a picture of my team after a few Fernanditos.
The tournament was made of people from all over the country, plus one person from Japan, Germany, Egypt and Venezuela. However, the majority of the players were from the US. There are lots of students studying abroad down here that play ultimate. Therefore, they try and play as much as they can wherever they can so we had students from BA, Cordoba, and Santiago, Chile all playing together.
Here's me wearing my dad's South Shore High Class of '56 t-shirt and throwing a break mark throw to help our team win one of our 2 victories.
We stayed in a hostel where 30 of us slept plus a bunch of Brazilian hammock salesmen. It was a crazy mixture of Spanish, English, and Portuguese being spoken and sometimes sung (like 7 am every morning when the Brazilians woke up). It was a fun filled weekend that I definitely will need a few days to recover from.