Destinations, South America

I am very busy being a student again

April 22, 2009 • By

As I mentioned, I started school last week. It was very exciting meeting new people and immersing myself in the Spanish language and Argentinean culture all at the same time. Now that I am in my second week, I remember why I never finished my masters. School is not easy. It is hard to go back to school at 35 and adjust to studying and being an adult. In university, the big decision revolved around what bar to patronize on Friday and Saturday night. I’m struggling with time management for the first time in my life. I fear it’s because I am letting my social calendar get a bit out of hand but that’s why I am here right?  RIGHT!

We are down to 3 students in the class. Ivan, the Holland Hottie, preferred the afternoon class. Of course he likes the afternoons, it’s really hard to party until 5 am and then make it to class at 9 am. He is 24. Can you imagine the problems I am having? William, the American, is up to his usual tricks coming late to class and continuing to pollute dear Ana with conspiracy theories and crazy ideas about the U.S. and the rest of the world. It’s entertaining to say the least. He caught the Spanish circus in his neighborhood the other day. Somehow I think he and the circus were meant to be together. I want to be Ana again maybe just for a day. She is darling so full of life and spirit and certainly the most knowledgeable of the group. I guess that is what happens someone is fluent in four languages. At 19, I knew one language and a bit of another –too bad that one isn’t publishable. We also have a new professor and he hails from Columbia. I find the Columbian accent a bit more difficult to understand but I’m getting used to it. Alberto came to Argentina because the cost of education is cheaper here. The masters program in Columbia is $13,000 USD compared to $3,000USD in Buenos Aires. That is a huge difference and many Latin Americans consider Argentina to be the premier spot to come for university. He would like to visit the US but he has been denied because the U.S. government has labeled him a flight risk. Why would an educated person come to the US to farm or work in a bar?  It’s not so uncommon for someone to simply want to vacation in the US.  Besides, he wants a real job and off the books in the States would not afford him the same opportunities he has in Latin America, which of course leads me to believe the idiot who stamped his visa application NO is a moron but that’s a whole other subject.

This week I am taking tango and salsa lessons. I will be much better prepared this time wearing my very uncomfortable but high heels to at least look the part. It’s rather unfortunate I will never be able to show off my new moves in the States. I wouldn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable with their ability when I am around. I am sure you are all laughing because you know I will likely be the worst in this class but at least it’s fun trying. My only hope is that William is not some expert or I seriously might die.

As I sit here writing my blog, I am waiting for my laundry to be finished. Let me note this is the second time I am having a go at the laundry. Even the lavanderias don’t open until 8:30 am and I need to be on the road at 8 am for class. I mean seriously not even the laundry facilities open until later but rest assure Starbucks opens at 7:30 am. I am curious to see what happens with my clothes. This is a test run. I gave them the least favorite of my jeans (I only brought 2) to clean. You are likely asking since you are so crazy why didn’t you do it yourself.  I’ve scouted out every lavanderia in a 4 mile radius and self-serve doesn’t exist.  I had to drop it off.  Therein lies the problem. Before abandoning my belongings, I gave the woman very explicit instructions in Spanish: Usa aqua fria – no secardora (cold water, no dryer) for my jeans and delicates and lavanda regular(regular wash) for the other bag containing my socks and underwear. It took three attempts for me to explain my clothing needs and several habla despacio por favor (speak slower please) before we came to a mutual understanding of one another. I’ll let you know at 3:30 if I am shopping this weekend or sightseeing.

Finally, joining a gym here in Buenos Aires is easy.  I paid my money having bargained down the price for three months and told the nice man I would not be paying for a membership card since it was the club that insisted I have one not me.  I signed up a few weeks ago but only started my workout regime this week.  On Monday, I went to the VIP gym near my apartment with high expectations. Thankfully, most people speak English.  I had my picture taken for my card and made my way to the locker room. After I finished my workout, a front desk person asked me when I was going to make my appointment to see the doctor(I have 30 days).  WHAT? WHAT DOCTOR?  Let me give you a bit of role play in English(this was in Spanish). “You need to see a doctor to ensure you are in good health.”  I am in good health that is why I am at the gym. “In Argentina, it is a law you must go.” I don’t have a doctor here and I just saw a doctor when I was in the States. “Ok then he needs to fax us to verify you will not have a heart attack.” Ummm, no doctor would ever verify I wasn’t going to have a heart attack. “Yes, they need to say you are in good health.” Well maybe I am at the gym because I want to be in good health. Can those people not workout at the gym? “No, they need to be monitored.” Ok so how do I get the appointment? “The doctor comes once a week and gives you tests.” What types of things do I need to do? (I’m clearly thinking since everyone is anorexic here I’m going to fail). “You do things like jump and run.” Yep, going to fail!  My appointment is Friday. Just another thing I added to my calendar which I am now keeping since my memory seems to be fading with age and fine wine.

Off to study…..and maybe use the gym.