foto del día – 9.27.11

these are flowers we bought last week on the first day of spring, it is amazing how long they have lasted.. ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. happy tuesday everyone!

¿maríaaaa me ayudes con algo?

It’s a common theme around here, ‘mariah, will you help me with something?’.

Some days, it’s helping with little things like finding a pair of lost glasses. Some days it’s big things like finding 500 pesos that a friend brought over for Susy to bring to work. Some days it’s things like changing the channel on her english radio. Some days it’s sending an email to old host students. Some days it’s trying to log on and add a contact on skype. The list goes on and on and on. Yesterday, it was finding a lost contact. Who knew losing a contact could be such an ordeal. Oh JUST YOU WAIT.

Susy has been telling me how she’s had a tough week, hasn’t slept much and has just been thinking about Norberto a lot. Friday’s I don’t have class until 6pm, so I try and get up and actually accomplish something on Friday mornings. Susy works downtown in a little apartment building selling jewerly and other accessories to clients who then sell the accessories in their own stores. She usually leaves for work about 9:45, so I told her that I would get up early on Friday morning and go downtown with her. //Short little story about parking again, I just can’t resist… Susy works downtown, about a 30 minute walk from our house. Despite this short walk, she drives to work. Well, sort of. She drives about 4 blocks from our house, parks the car along the road and then walks the remaining 8 or so blocks to her building. I don’t know if this really saves her any time or energy, but she INSISTS that it does.// We made it downtown, I dropped her off at work and told her I would pick her up when she was done at 12:30 so we could walk home together. I had to print off a couple things, wanted to try and find a good book to read at a bookstore, and wanted to do a little studying for my Friday night class. While I was downtown, I stumbled into the museum of contemporary art and decided to step inside for a second. I didn’t find any good books I wanted to read and I didn’t really enjoy current exhibit at the museum, but I did make it to a cute little café for my cup of cafe con leche and my daily dose of piropos; a cute little old man told me that if I was not so young, he would marry me; ‘sos muy amable, y sus ojos son MUY bellos, mi vida, si no fueras tan joven, yo me casaré con vos’. OH GOSH. Thanks, but no thanks, grandpa.

Anyways, after a morning in el centro,  a good change in environment and a productive few hours, I met back up with Susy and we headed home. She started putting lunch together and I went upstairs to my room for a bit. Then I hear the infamous phrase, ‘Maríaaaa, me ayudes con algo’. Louder than usual, this time she seems serious and her request is urgent. I run down the stairs to see her on the floor, sweeping around looking for something. ‘Mariah, I can’t find my contact. Don’t walk around too much, you might step on it, but help me find it.. PLEASEEE’. I too, get down on all fours and try to search the ground for this miniature piece of plastic. After about 15 minutes of looking with no luck, Susy picks up the phone to call her nephew. He lives about 20 minutes away and she called him to ask if he could come over and help us look for it. She tells me to keep looking while she goes outside to talk to him. She also tells me to turn a glass upside down and open up a pair of scissors next to it on the counter. What the heck is that going to do? I asked. Wrong time to ask such a dumb question. Just do it, Susy said, clearly extremely frustrated at this point. I laughed to myself, found a glass, turned it over and searched the house for a pair of scissors. I kept looking for her contact and she came in about 5 minutes later crying and really distraught about her lost contact. I obviously didn’t ask why it was such a big deal, but clearly it was. Okay, shut your mouth Mariah and keep looking you HAVE to find this contact and you have to find it soon. After another 10 minutes of searching all over the dining room floor, inside the cracks of the table and basically anywhere within 20 feet of where she lost the contact, I suggested we look a little more closely at the chairs that were around the table. THANK THE LORD, we found the contact snuggled between the cushion and the base of the seat of the chair. She told me to grab and knife and was able to wiggle the contact out from the crack. After she gives me the biggest hug and calls me ‘la iluminada’ which I think translates to ‘enlightened’ I let out the biggest sigh of relief. I never would have heard the end of it if we didn’t find that darn everlasting contact.

Yesterday I learned a couple things. One: If you can’t find something turn a glass upside down and place an opened scissors next to it. If you do this, you are destined to find what you are looking for. It’s some old Argentine superstition, but I’m willing to keep using it.  Two: After the contact ordeal, Susy told that her contacts cost her mil y pico pesos, right around 250 dollars. She then proceeded to tell me that her last pair lasted her 10 years (that can’t be healthy). Contacts are not cheap, and they last a LONG time. So, if someone asks you to help them find  a lost contact, get down on your hands and knees and just keep looking until it shows up. Three: When Susy calls for your help, put on a smile and your patience pants and HELP.

feliz día!

feliz día del estudiante, feliz día de la primavera (feliz día del otoño para ustedes en el hemisferio norte ) y feliz día internacional de la paz. so many reasons to celebrate this wonderful day! how can we be supporters and creators of international peace? my suggestion- take a second to google a conutry you know nothing about. learn a little bit about their language (how do you say hello, what is the word for chocolate), their customs and their way of life. need a suggestion? belize, senegal, guinea, turkmenistan, slovenia .. if you learn something new, share it with at least one person today!

& woke up to this cute card and chocolate from susy this morning!

hope this post finds you healthy and happy! xoxo

foto del día – 9.20.11

Spring officially starts tomorrow. I am obsessed with all of the beautiful flowers that are starting to bloom around the yard. Susy says that in just a couple weeks all of the walls in both the front and back gardens will be covered in flowers just like this. My camera and I can’t wait.

//Mom and Dad do you remember all of these we had in the Philippines? I can’t come up with the name right now, but I remember loving them.

wind, waste, and wads of cash.

dark clouds, raindrops, silent streets, crazy drivers, empty busses, headaches, overwhelming tiredness, body aches, cranky people, and SOME cancelled classes. They weren’t lying when they said the Zonda will get you. Friday morning started off like most normal days here in Mendoza. I don’t have class until 6pm on Fridays, so I didn’t set an alarm and instead got up when my body told me to. I had a relaxing cup of coffee, and after about an hour and a half of lounging around, I decided to finish working on my assignment that was due that evening in my Hispano-American Literature class (thank the Lord for Google and its close to life saving abilities, especially as it pertains to this one 300 page novel a week class). So I went outside in the garden in the backyard and soaked up some sun and some good Hispano-American Literature. At about 12:30pm, dark clouds started to roll in and the wind started to pick up. Nothing major, I thought, just a little bit of a cool down after a pretty warm week. Then Susy walked in the door. Right off the bat, she complained of a headache and told me to turn on the news. Hay un viento Zonda, María, no sabés. You don’t even know how bad it is Mariah; the people on the streets are driving like crazy, yelling at each other and acting all disoriented. She was clearly out of her element too and it just got worse as the day went on. Turning on the TV, the top headline on every channel had to do with the fact that the Minister of Education had just cancelled all afternoon classes for K-12 schools around the province. For all I could understand, the University had not called off classes, but I thought I would do some research to figure out for sure. Local online newspapers didn’t mention UNCuyo either. So I pulled out the yellow pages and called my facultad (Filosofía y Letras or FFYL) directly. When no one answered at the FFYL, Susy I suggested calling the main university number, basically suggesting I try calling the president of the school, he/she would be sure to answer and know what the deal was. She also suggested I call all of my friends and see what they had to say. I also was put on the phone with one of her friends who has a son studying Music at UNCuyo, she said for sure school was cancelled. I got different answers from everyone, but decided I needed to find out for myself. After calling 5 different times to FFYL, I finally got an answer. Well, sort of. The man who answered the phone said, “Yes, we will still have classes here in Filosofía y Letras. Whether or not you have class just depends on whether or not your professor shows up.” Great, so I guess I’ll finish my homework and make the trek to Cuyo, just in case (por las dudas, one of my favorite Spanish phrases). Before I went to class, I needed to go and load credit onto my go-phone, load my bus pass, and print out my assignment for class. I went outside and the streets were empty, there was an eerie silence to the city. And it was raining, something it doesn’t do here very often. Everyone was hidden inside, waiting for the Zonda to descend on the city (it was supposed to come down around 4pm). Where was I going? Class. I waited for the bus and when I flagged it down, it was nearly empty. Strange for a Friday evening. I got to school just in time to find out that my professor HAD indeed showed up. Thank goodness I made the trek. I don’t know if this run through of my day helps explain the Zonda phenomenon. In the end, the strong, hot winds never actually descended upon the center of Mendoza. There sure was hype about it though, and it sure did impact my Friday. Can’t imagine what it will be like if the winds actually find the city.

how Americans do trash. It dawned on me the other night as we were cleaning up after dinner to mention to Susy how American’s do trash. First things first, I had to explain to Susy the fact that most rooms; the kitchen, the laundry room, bedrooms and bathrooms, each have their own trash can. Then I had to explain to Susy that we only take the trash out once a week; at least to the curb that is. She said, “Doesn’t it start to smell if you don’t take it out? Doesn’t it get full, especially the trash cans in the kitchen?” “Yes,” I said, “If you don’t take out the trash during the week it will be overflowing and smelly.” But where do you put the trash then?”she asked. Logical question, right? I thought I had a logical answer, but when I suggested that we just take the bag outside and put it in another garbage can, a bigger one inside the garage or on the side of the house, that didn’t sit well with her. “How does that solve anything?” Susy was so confused at this point, I didn’t know if I was going to be able stand up for our weekly trash system not to mention our biweekly recycling system.  I laughed a little bit at the reality of the way we do things and explained as best as I could that these big garbage cans have lids, but yes, sometimes they do smell, and sometimes, they too, overflow. And then we laughed together and I think both of us realized, without having to actually say it, that we will never understand completely they way each other’s countries do trash. Because let me tell you, from a logistics perspective, having a garbage truck come around every day of the week to pick up one small grocery store sized plastic bag from each house in the city just doesn’t seem right to me.

¿No tenés más chiquito? No I’m sorry I don’t have smaller bills to pay for this pack of crackers I just bought. No, I didn’t think it would be a life or death issue for you to break my 10 peso bill. I went to the grocery store the other day on my way to class to try to satisfy my salty craving (wheat crackers were about the saltiest I could find). The total cost? 4 pesos (just around a dollar). I went to the cash register and handed the lady (a cute little Spanish-speaking Chinese lady, might I add,  whose family moved here a couple of years ago, not knowing a word of Spanish, to open a grocery store) a 10 peso bill. She gave me the dirtiest of looks, rolled her eyes, and asked me if I had either two 2 peso bills or a 1 peso coin, so she could either avoid having to give me change, or so she could give me a 5 peso bill and a 2 peso bill, respectively. I understand the whole concept of trying to get your customers to use exact change and not being able to break a 100 peso bill (the equivalent of about 20 dollars), but not being able to give change for a 10 peso bill (US$2.37), especially when there are so many options for change (5, 10, 25, and 50 centavos coins, 1 peso coins, 2 peso bills and 5 peso bills) really kills me. If anything, I’ve learned my lesson; to avoid grunts, gasps, and unhappy store owners, carry smaller bills. LOTS OF THEM.

//like my blog? i need suggestions!

foto del día – 9.18.11

It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve posted anything. I promise I’m working on something. For now, here is a photo of Susy and I last night at Drácula; the Buenos Aires based production was performing here in Mendoza this weekend and Susy invited me along!

edit//for those of you keeping tabs on my blog: we parked in a playa last night. how much did we pay? 18 pesos. lets just say i had a nice little chuckle.