Sunday, May 13 – Back in the saddle
Happy Mother’s Day to my mommy at home in Arkinsaw! I’m going to do the dishes tonight after dinner for my host-mom as my little gift to her, even though it’s not an Argentine holiday. But apparently today is Mother’s Day in Uruguay, too. haha just not here
I am beyond excited to say I have been feeling a zillion times better since my gran quilombo with the pneumonia. I’m not getting tired nearly as much after walking around more and more every day. I still take naps every other day, but I think that’s probably just my normal tiredness. haha I’ve been doing Pilates and feel really good, but I’m still a little iffy about trying to run again. I don’t want to run in the chilly air outside (not sure my lungs would like that too much), so maybe I’ll re-join my gym. Or maybe not. haha We’ll see.
But today I went with one of my friends to the Feria de Mataderos, which was a big fair of artisan stuff in Mataderos, a barrio basically on the opposite side of the city from where I live. We were really proud of ourselves for getting there without trouble after a little over an hour on the bus. It was sooo cool, as you can see in the pictures. There was live music, dancing, booths set up in every direction that had every kind of mate gourd ever, jewelry, clothes, A LLAMA and his mini-horse friend, leather out the wazoo, tons of amazing-looking food, and I don’t know what else. I got some of my gifts to bring home checked off my list and for super cheap!
Along with today’s adventures, I’ve been getting back in the swing of things as I’m feeling better. It’s so nice to be able to enjoy the city again! I conquered one of my biggest study-abroad fears and got my hair done! And the guy was hilarious and actually did an awesome job! But I almost got my tips dyed… After he looked at me kind of funny and pulled out the color book, I was super confused and asked him to confirm that “desgaste” meant cortar–to cut. Apparently it doesn’t. It was ridiculous and we both got a good laugh out of it. I told him at least now he had the best story of the day about the silly American girl. But after that was cleared up and he offered to shave my head (another word I didn’t know before), he ended up doing exactly what I wanted and I taught him a couple of funny words in English too.
Last weekend I went with the human rights concentration kids to an estancia (basically the country) in the province of Buenos Aires (not the city). It was another IFSA-sponsored event, so we obviously ate some ahhmazing food and the accommodations were awesome. We left early Saturday morning for the two hour trip and came back Sunday night. Even though it was just two days, it was the perfect amount of time to get all the fun/relaxing stuff in. But we still all wanted to stay and study abroad on the estancia drinking wine all day and eating like kings. hahaha It was a pretty chill trip and we didn’t really have much organized activity as much as just options to do cool stuff or to just relax. Because I was still feeling a little ill-ish from the pneumonia, I opted for mostly chill time to catch up on reading. But I did go canoeing in the lagoon on the estancia! I’m not really sure of the definition of a lagoon, but this body of water was barely more than a super stretched out/glorified puddle. So it was really wide and could have passed as a mini-lake from just looking at it, but once we hopped in the canoe and started “paddling” it was basically like pushing off land the whole time. I think the deepest it got was a solid three feet. Even so, it was hilarious how much effort we were putting into it because somehow there was still a current/wind that we had to fight once we got off shore. But it was really fun to get out of the city for a hot second and have a relaxing couple of days. This coming Saturday I’m going to Pilar, a city outside of BsAs, with the exchange program group from the Universidad del Salvador. They have another campus there and it’s supposed to be really pretty and relaxing too, so I’m really excited for that. And we’re going to have an asado–aka a BBQ with tons of meat! yaummm
This past Wed. in my human rights research class we went to the Instituto Espacio para la Memoria, which is where people were brought and tortured during the dictatorship from 1976-1983. It’s this gated area with a lot of different buildings that don’t seem that incriminating. A lot of them were disguised as office buildings during the dictatorship so as not to draw suspicion. It’s located right off of a main avenue on the edge of the city, which was eerie to think about how that must have functioned when people were being brought there to be imprisoned and tortured. It was hard to imagine that we were in the exact same place where so many people ‘disappeared.’ There were bits and pieces of testimonies on display in the main building that we toured, and they really gave light to the horror that only handfuls of people survived. They spoke about their complete lack of freedoms. They were unable to go to the bathroom at their own will. They were hooded and shackled/handcuffed and not allowed to talk to the others around them. They were packed into rooms where they sat for days, weeks, or months (sometimes even years). Some testimonies spoke of the radio that was constantly playing on full volume at all hours and the lights that were always on. Their sense of their surroundings was completely controlled by guards. It’s scary to think that almost nobody knows how many people were packed into the rooms at a time because they weren’t able to see the others. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside of the building where the ‘disappeared’ were kept, but I do have some pictures of the artwork and quotes from some of those who were released/friends and family. I could go on for days about the dictatorship, or what is called the Dirty War in the States, but I’ll hold back for now. I’ll let the pictures/quotes speak for themselves.