¿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.

NEVER suggest the playa.

They say patience is a virtue, right?

Today I went downtown with my host mom to run a couple of errands; she needed to stop in the bank and I needed to make a couple photocopies. There are countless busses that pass by our house and go right into the center of downtown, but she insisted that we drive. So I hopped in the car and we headed downtown. Let me just start by saying she is not the best driver that ever got behind the wheel (nor is she the worst). Regardless, she honked her horn and cursed constantly inside the car; the blue Audi ahead of us was a ‘peligro‘ and shouldn’t have been allowed on the road. After forgetting (personally I think she was just too distracted by all of the traffic around us) to turn at the correct street, we meandered the traffic filled streets of the city, hoping to find a parking spot on the side of the road. We drove around for at least a half an hour but could not seem to find a spot anywhere near the bank. We had passed by at least 6 ‘playas‘ or parking lots and so I suggested we pull into one if we go around one more time and can’t find a spot. Lesson learned. I should have kept my mouth shut. After my proposal I got a lecture about how expensive the playas are (6 pesos an hour; $US1.40/hr) and how they are a scam, and how the convenience is not worth it, yada yada yada. So, I bit my lip and tried not to laugh as Susy started getting more and more flustered with the fact that she couldn’t find a parallel spot. A painful 10 minutes later, we finally found a spot somewhat close to the bank. Breathing heavily, cursing, and throwing off her coat, she struggled to fit her auto (sans power steering) into a little parallel spot on a busy downtown street.

After another hysterical experience at the bank and a quick stop at the fotocopiadora, we stopped for a quick coffee and then headed back to find our car. You would think that for all of the effort and time we wasted looking for a spot on the street, it would have been free to park, right? Nope, we both thought wrong. It cost us 4 pesos ( US$0.95) to park for the hour we were downtown. It’s funny what people will do to save 2 pesos. I’m 100% SURE that money we saved in parking, we wasted during our 6 trips around the city. But hey, what do I know.