Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. I hope you all have had fulfilling years and an even more prosperous year next year!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Latest Book - Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I think this book was amazing. I have a funny story about it. While I was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina I started this book in Spanish--my first libro en español. It was hard reading in Spanish, but I managed through two sections of the book until it was stolen on my trip to Northern Argentina when I had the last section--Love--to finish.

I just finished it and I'm really impressed with her writing style. I think its a book for anyone who's trying to search for life's purpose(s). I really am impressed with how she communicates to the reader the potpourri of emotions she feels throughout her year long voyage. I relate with her right now as I'm facing with pivotal life decisions post grad.

I recommend people to read this is they're facing a huge obstacle in life or would like to reflect you on life's obstacles. I know this book really challenged both of these chapters in my life.

View all my reviews.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Have a great day with family and friends.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Stranded Ear Flap Hat

My knitting friend made two of these hats while I was in Argentina, and I got jealous. So I had to make one for my friend! (P.S., said friend has a new blog--check it out!) I finished this project in July--boy am I behind at posting!

This was my first stranded knitting project. I bought the yarn in Buenos Aires and knitted it with US 5 needles--they were circulars I bought in Argentina, they were nasty! I used the "Ear Flap Hat" pattern, but I altered the stranded knitting pattern significantly.

I really like the outcome. Since Lindsay reported that they had snow in Wisconsin this week, I definitely know it will be put into good use this winter in cold Madison!

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We don't want your support - Read my friend's blog

This is hysterical. I heard about this problem from a friend in Argentina. Then my friend wrote about this on his blog:

We don't want your support - no queremos tú apoyo


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Argentine Economic Situation

My friend Matt from Buenos Aires sent me this insightful article about the Argentine economic situation. There debacle is different than many other countries, but represent some problems facing many other nations:

Argentine Bonds, Stocks Sink as Takeover Fuels Default Concerns
A NYTimes Article that's very interesting on currency issues across the world. Argentina isn't specifically mentioned, but neighboring Brazil is:

Some Currencies Plunge as Stocks Sink Worldwide

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

EI Fellows and Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews came to Gettysburg College this evening. As a fellow, we got to meet him. Here's the stunning group of us Eisenhower Institute Fellows!
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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Memories - A glass of wine

Never time for anything in life is there? I still have a lot to expand upon post-Argentina, and I will post it sometime soon, damnit!

What is it about a glass of wine?

I am above my head with work. I'm applying for a grant, doing calculations for instrumental, reading for molecular...all while breathing. I think it's funny how quickly I've re-assimilated into my US life. Some things are good, most things aren't. You might find that as a shock, but it's the truth honestly.

It's funny things that still bother me. Mostly things that I'm ashamed of my fellow Americans, e.g. the polls, why are we so stupid?

if I take a moment to breathe, it's amazing what happens. I have just been taken back to Buenos Aires by having a glass of Malbec wine during a break. It makes me think of all the funny glassware the folks bring out at an Argentine restaurant. It makes me think of all my amazing experiences I had in Santiago del Estero, when we shared glasses of wine before we volunteered. Oh my, it makes me think of maté and talking for hours with my host mother.

Odors, flavors, scenery...they all can make us bring back fond memories. Have you thought about the fond memories in your past?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Book Review - The Bonesetter's Daughter

The Bonesetter's Daughter (Ballantine Reader's Circle) The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this book up at a book exchange in Iguazú Argentina for the bus, and it really had me spell-bound. I read 200 pages on a long bus ride and reserved the last 100 for my last week in Buenos Aires. Tan is a phenomenal author at developing characters that are easy to relate to.

LuLing is Ruth's mother and immigrated from China to the US. We learn through Ruth during the first part that life has not always been easy for LuLing, and as she ages, Ruth has more burning questions about her past.

Ruth, on the other hand, is a strong woman who is a provider for her family. She is caught between the abuse her mother and her partner's children give her. I fell in love with Ruth's character because I relate to her desire to hold her family together. At the same time I also relate to her grand emptiness that sometimes is experienced while doing everything for everyone else.

I certainly will be reading more of Tan after this amazing novel.

View all my reviews.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I arrived safe and sound yesterday. I will be posting all kinds of information about my travels last 3 weeks in Argentina throughout the remainder of August and September.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photo of the Day -- Churripan

Churripan with lots of spicey chimi-churri and a side of French Fries. How yummy.
Chorripan is a staple of "street food" in Buenos Aires. I bought this on a trip in June to La Plata at a street restaurant outside of the cathedral.

Chorripan describes the chorizo, or sausage, serged in a baguette roll. The Argentines usually put Chimi-churri, a great spice combination, on the sausage roll, too. Many times they serve it with French Fries, like it was in this photo. You often can order it at street venders or at parilla's (Argentine steak houses).

Many people have this idea that all South America eats spicy food, likely from many countries in Central and Northern South America that do have spicy cuisine. In Argentine, spicy doesn't exist. The porteños especially hate spicy food. My mother yells "¡Lo Pica! ¡Pica! ¡Pica!" any time I use Black pepper to season food. Their sausages aren't any exception. They are seasoned, but definitely not spicy--something that my family's Pennsylvania Dutch non-spicy palate could even handle.

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Photo of the Day -- Cats, Cats everywhere!

This cat was sighted in Recoleta Cemetery. Just was watching and chilling on the cool tile.
Buenos Aires is notorious for the feral cats. Part of the problem is that the kitties are being fed by many older people in the community that creates more of a problem. Like in the US, people drop the cats off at a place if they no longer can care for them, which is very sad.

I've been taking a series of photos of feline friends this semester. I'm most intrigued that there are very few colorful cats here--mainly black and white. These calico cats are special and rare. Although they look similar, they both live in very different parts of the city.

This cat was found in the Jardín Botánico close to my apartment. Isn't it cute?
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Monday, July 21, 2008

Photo of the Day -- Sunset at Colonia del Sacremento

This was taking from the boat leaving from Colonia del Sacremento after a wonderful weekend there several months past. The sights were divine and make me want to move there immediately.
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Photo of the Day -- Building in Recoleta

I love this building that is in Recoleta. I think it sits on the intersection of Callao and Santa Fe (I will have to check).

It's a running joke between Lindsay and I that the architecture is beautiful, however I won't bore you to tears with our running joke...

LINDSAY: Isn't the architecture on this building amazing?

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Photo of the Day -- San Telmo

I found this photo in San Telmo one weekend. Words aren't needed to describe it. I think it's hysterical!

You never know what you're going to find in San Telmo.

la basura = garbage/trash

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Arrival in Tucumán

After a whirlwind tour of Cordóba, my friend Allison and I left yesterday for Tucumán. After a 10 hour bus ride, we got here and stayed at a hostel for the night. Of course before going to bed we needed to grab some food at a local pizzeria. Our friend Dara arrived this morning at Tucumán and we´re heading to meet up with a friend who has family in Tucumán today.

After my trip, and probably more likey after I return to the US, I will write about everything that we did here. But until then, give the Wiki a quick glance for facts and interesting stuff about Tucumán.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Arrival in Córdoba

I arrived this morning after a 9 hour bus ride in Córdoba, Argentina. We´re touring the city for the day and then will hop on a bus tomorrow afternoon and take off to Túcuman.

I´m passing through, so if you want to read about Córdoba, I suggest skimming the WIKI Article.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Photo of the Day -- El submarino

This is one of those genuine Argentine treats you can order in the afternoons. This is a submarino, which is a version of hot chocolate. You order the drink and usually the waiter brings you piping hot milk and a chocolate bar--either already in the milk or waiting for you to drop it in on the side as in the photo. After several minutes and a little stirring, the chocolate melts creating a wonderful hot beverage.

My friend Lindsay is addicted to them. According to her, the best part is that the chocolate doesn't completely dissolve. Then at the end you're left with a "chocolaty" treat with all of the little chocolate pieces that float to the bottom. I'd have to agree; it's quite tasty.

I don't know why it gets its name as a submarino. However sometimes the chocolate is shaped like a submarine. However since I've been looking for one of these elusive bars of chocolate, I haven't been able to find one!

Make one of these tasty Argentine treats at home to give you a version of the Porteño life!

Pictures courtesy of my friend Ronald, since I didn't have my camera with me.
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Monday, July 7, 2008

Photo of the Day -- Sleeping people

I'm continuing a series of "random" photos that describe my experience. These photos were observed when Matt, Ron and I were getting coffee at the food court at Alto Palermo 2 weeks ago. It was hysterical because these people are in the middle of a highly trafficked area conked out to the world, completely sleeping and not aware of their surroundings. The lady's neck is in a quite horrid position.

I've since returned to Alto Palermo during the afternoon and they were there again. The waitress told me they're always there. You should see the way people react as they pass by these sleeping folks. Some take a double take when they realize they're sleeping. Others just stop and laugh. Then there is the group that walks past in their own worlds and realize when they almost leave the area that these folks are sleeping, and quickly turn around and laugh. Lots of people stop to take pictures, too.

Matt and I laughed for at least an hour watching people's expressions. We were worried that it was a reality show. Apparently not, they are REAL, but not part of a show.

Pictures courtesy of my friend Ronald, since I didn't have my camera with me.
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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Knitting -- Mi Bufanda, Reversible Cable Scarf

Winter started in Buenos Aires. I panicked! I had to make a scarf. I couldn't buy one because that would just be counter productive when I'm a pretty skilled knitter, right? I actually finished this the end of March, but I didn't have time to blog and to take pictures until now.

I usually just like working with wool or other natural fibers, but since I didn't have any other options, I settled with this cotton/acrylic mix I found at a local yarn store here.

I have recently had an interest in cables, and reversible cables are pretty nifty since they are perfect for scarves. I found this pattern on Lion Brand Yarn's web site that I thought would do the job. I liked it quite a bit because the pattern was pretty simple to memorize. By the 3rd or 4th round I didn't have to count any of the rows any more.

I knitted this scarf with the only circular needles I could find in Buenos Aires. I really abhor these needles and I am going to buy a complete set of the Interchangeable needles from Knitpicks the second I get back to the states--I should have listened to my friend Janelle and purchased them before I left. Oh well, I'll learn to listen to her the next time.
For the yarn being cotton, it did knit up well and quickly. I had this finished in about a week, and of course let it sit around for several days before I finally tucked in the ends (my least favorite part of the knitting process). I've been wearing it a lot and it keeps my neck warm!

Scarves are sure "la moda" or the fashion here. Thanks to this pattern I have a stylish scarf that I'll always associate with Buenos Aires.

Check this out on Ravelry.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Starbucks Opening in Buenos Aires

Starbucks comes to Buenos Aires opening in Alto Palermo, which is a large shopping mall in Palermo. For many weeks the lines have been incredibly long, all waiting to get inside for the beloved "Starbucks" coffee. One night coming home from USAL, I stopped to get my favorite peppermint latè.

I've been back 1 other time. I like Starbucks coffee, but seriously I can get it in the US anytime. I much prefer Argentine coffee culture. It's much more about the "experience" of coffee.

Argentines like to have coffee in the afternoons while reading a book or socializing with a friend. Usually this starts from 4-7PM. Often times they will munch on a cookie, portion of cake, tostado (a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, more to come on this), or empanada. This whole "grab your coffee and leave" American model of Starbucks is different.

I will say that Starbucks has implemented a lot of products with Argentine things. It will be interesting to see how business continues after the main craze wears off.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Where did the time go?

I'm preparing my final papers and studying hard for my neuroscience exam, but I find that I'm asking myself where did the time go? This semester flew by faster than any other semester I've had. It's sad, I'll be leaving Buenos Aires in about a month and this semester will be history, as they say.

I have much to post about--trips, knitting, reflections, photos--however no time right now. Hopefully Saturday when I have no more classes or assignments, I'll have time to start updating things.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The last piece of cake!

Aren't the last pieces of cake always sad? It usually means it's the end of another celebration. For me it means that my time in Argentina is running out, too.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

My Birthday - June 14

This is my birthday group at La Cabrera. Matt, Dave (me), Lindsay, Stephanie, Holly, and María (from left to right). María arranged a special birthday toast of champagne after she told our waiter that it was my birthday.
Saturday was my birthday when I turned 22--another year for the wiser! I had a really fun and special birthday. It started the night before with a cocktail at midnight at Milion, which is a classy bar in Buenos Aires.

Saturday morning María woke me up and surprised me with a lovely cake topped with Strawberries. She told me that it was "my" cake.

I went to Chinatown with Matt for lunch and returned later in the afternoon. In the evening 4 friends, María, and I went to La Cabrera which is a fantastic parilla (Argentine steak house) in Palermo. The food was great. I have pictures of our entrés in my birthday web album.

This is a special picture of my host mother and I.
I decided to share my cake and invited my friends back to the apartment to share my birthday cake. Afterwards Steph, Matt and I went out to a bar for a little. What a wonderful birthday. My 22 birthday will always be special since I celebrated it here among friends in one of the neatest places in the world!
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Friday, June 13, 2008

Artwork - San Telmo

"Puerto Madero" by Angel Carrasco, 2008, acrylic on paper, 15 x 15 cm.

I bought this small painting at the San Telmo Fería on 5/18/2008. I was very attracted to Carrasco's use of color and value. It reminds me of a painter my friend Faith used to admire when I took art lessons with her.

I really liked a different work of Carrasco's, but it was beyond my budget. My goal is to collect small paintings of Argentine painters on a student's budget--con suerte. I need to find some tango paintings that aren't so merchandised...

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Monday, June 9, 2008

La bolsa mercado - Market Bag Project

This is the bag filled with yarn for my scarf project, yes, hanging from the ceiling fan.
I have finished this project for some time now, but I haven't had a chance to blog about it. I whipped this up right after I got here because I found myself going through all of these plastic bags--Argentines notoriously wrap and bag everything. I try to be as environmentally conscious as possible, so I wanted to cut down on the number of plastic bags I used.

Here's a close up of the bag.
Janelle, one of my knitting buddies from Gburg recommended the project to me, too, since I have been wanting to make some lace. This is a lace pattern of sorts, and it uses cotton yarn--there's no shortage of cotton yarn in Argentina.

I chose Elisa's Nest Tote that was posted on the Purl Bee's Blog. It is a very easy pattern to memorize since its really only 2 pattern rows and they are highly repetitive. I could have easily finished the bag in one sitting, but it took longer since I am not sitting and knitting a whole lot right now. I do it in between things or right before bed.

I do have some comments about the pattern that I have fixed in my second bag. After you make the body of the bag, I would highly recommend to seam the bag inside out so that you don't see the seam from the outside.

Also, the pattern calls for you to cast-on the handles with a traditional cast-on and then Kitchener them together at the end. I think this would be accomplished much easier by using a provisional cast-on (that Janelle thankfully explained). I used Judy Becker's Magic Cast-on, but you could use whatever you'd like. I provisionally casted-on the stitches and the Kitchenered them when I finished the handle.

Ravelry Link

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Photo speaks more than words.

This photo was taken at Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay behind the boardwalk.
I've had rants about graffiti before and likely will continue to have them, sorry Morgan. I think it's really interesting when I see graffiti in English in a Spanish-speaking country. This was right behind the boardwalk at Colonia del Sacramento. I have to wonder what the intention of the people putting the writing on the wall must have been.

Do you think they were apathetic to government? A group of high school hell raisers? Or quite possibly an American tourist. It's something to ponder...How does graffiti effect you?

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Rachel Ray Ad

Rachel Ray and Dunkin' Donuts created an ad where Ray is wearing a scarf that is traditionally worn by Arabs. These scarfs are called kaffiyehs. The company has stopped the ad in result of right wing bloggers and commentators saying that the scarf represents characteristics that terrorists harbor. Since when does a scarf--or any other clothing--mean anyone is a terrorist?

It is ridiculous that an ad was removed over this scarf. First off--my friends and family will vouch--I really dislike Rachel Ray's show; in fact if its on the TV I switch it off immediately. I dislike her over-animated and giddy style. Even though I dislike her show, I think there's a niche for her on Food TV and now on daytime television.

I think it is insane that any article of clothing insight's terrorism, or is representative of terrorism when the clothing is usually worn by a collective culture. I mean that would be like saying all blonds are horrible people--that statement makes no sense. Furthermore, I find it ironic that the kaffiyehs scarves are fashionable. They should be since they're beautifully made and have pretty designs on them.

For the Associated Press article:

If Ray is a terrorist, then most of my friends are too. All of them seem to have multiple scarves, since its part of popular fashion right now in the US, Europe, and, believe it or not, South America.

Furthermore, I think this demonstrates our misunderstanding of Arab culture more than anything. Part of the reason why they're the fashion now is that the handiwork of these scarves is amazing. In America, we are a nation built by the complex mix of people from all walks of life and all parts of the world. We're supposed to harbor this respect to all of the cultures and integrate them into our unique mixed American identity. We are a country that was born out of varied identities, why would a scarf be a threat now?
This is an excerpt fromt The View talking about it.

I like one of the points that was made on the view about the Holocaust. In Denmark the president during WWII wore a yellow star. Therefore everyone else in the country did, too, which made it impossible for the Nazi's to know who was Jewish and who wasn't. (I don't know the validity of this claim, I want to do some checking). However the point remains, we all should buy these scarves and wear them.

Fellow bloggers, blog about this. Ask people to also encourage wearing the scarves as a sign of cultural unity.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Surprise Visit, from past student Alex

Family shot. Alex is in the back. The second row is Matias (Marías son), Ingenuo (Carolina's Daughter), Carolina (María's daughter), María. In the front is "la bruja".

Last week we had an unexpected visitor from one of María's past students. Alex is originally from Minnesota, however is studying in Phoenix, Arizona now. He was in town because he and a friend, Kirk, were taking a course in Microfinance in Paraguay. They decided to swing by Buenos Aires and say hello to the family.

It was cool to meet Alex. He stayed at María's house for a year. They have a neat connection because of how Alex learned a lot of spanish from María.

When Alex was studying in Buenos Aires Carolina, María's daughter, was living very close to María. Therefore Alex was around Carolina quite a bit. Ingenuo was apparently Alex's daily alarm clock during his stay at María's house.

The last picture is adorable with María and "la bruja". I worked for about 45 minutes to get a picture of her smiling and finally it happened while María was bouncing her up and down on her lap. So precious...but apparently this one is very "attitudinal".

I'm glad I grew out of that phase...maybe my mother wouldn't agree with that statement...jeje

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Paro Returns for a week (at this point)

As I'm editing my monografía, I want to inform all that the paro/strike/blockade has returned to Buenos Aires once again. There was a news break this evening that for the next 7 days there will be a a blockaide of all farm-products, we'll see, it could surely be more. This is a return of the "paro" I blogged about several weeks ago when the city was without meat for around a month. This time it's including all farm products.

Accordingly the government has closed negotiations with the farmers. The farmers subsequently decided to reopen the blockaide until the government decides to start negotiating again. It's an interesting situation that will be developing over the coming weeks.

Article on Clarín (in Spanish)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I like finding small paintings these days, since these are usually what I can afford. I collected a few when I was in México and now I'm starting to do the same in Buenos Aires.

"Vietnan", 2008, by Etche Verry. Acrylic with medium on foil.
I like Verry's very abstract style. He had quite a mix of different abstract works. I thought this was interesting because of the texture--you can't see that with the picture. The title was also quite interesting.

I bought this in a little fería 3 blocks off of Plaza de Mayo (in Microcentro) a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. It was neat to talk to the artist, too.

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