Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Big Rivers and Overdue Naps (Megapost part 1 featuring Rosario, St. Patrick’s Day, and More)

Time March 25th, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hey all, and thanks for tuning in.  A lot happened this past week, so I’ve decided to split this week’s post into a MEGAPOST featuring two parts.  This is part one, and part two will be coming soon!

Sorry I wasn’t super punctual with this update.  As much as I’d like to blame my tardiness on either

  1. My last weekend trip to Rosario (And boy, was it a doozy!  More on this later)
  2. St. Patrick’s day (We’re apparently all Irish in Buenos Aires on the 17th)
  3. My first week of classes starting (Ahhhh they are so exciting and my professors are really cool and I made my first movie trailer!)
  4. Long chats in Spanish with my host family that get my head spinning in two languages (the language barrier is starting to crack.  Now, I just have a hard time thinking in Spanish; I’m still translating my thoughts instead of speaking them.)

The real reason why I haven’t had the time to blog is because I haven’t been giving myself enough time for me.

Note: this next section contains nothing cool, fun, or exciting about Argentina, and is instead filled with silly drivel about my life balance.  If that sounds boring, skip ahead to where I say, “Too much exposition aside,” :)

“Me time” is super important to my well-being.  A week in Argentina is often packed with as much sensory overload and adventure as a month in Walla Walla, and while I’m not one to miss a good ol’ whoopdedoo, I hit my wall at a certain point.  As my relatives may recall, wee Dylan would frequently sneak away from the family gatherings to go cuddle up alone with a book (or take a nap), and while I am energetic in groups, I can’t always sustain that kind of energy. I am an unabashed extrovert, yes, but a crucial component to my life is the ability to take some alone time to cogitate, reflect on past activities, and generally just chill out.  This not only helps tame my overwhelming exuberance, but it also helps me process the big questions I strive to answer by living my life; it helps me think critically How and Why of what I do as compared to just the What.

Apologies for yet another personal digression, but the point I’m trying to make is that, while I had several opportunities earlier this week to sit down and hash out a blog, I chose to do other things instead.  I journaled, read, listened to some cool new artists, and took naps (#sorrynotsorry for sleeping on the job).  But now, finally, I feel refreshed, nay, even excited, to tell y’all about my adventures of the past week and a bit.

But yeah, too much exposition aside (HEYO HERE’S THE FUN PART), this week was pretty durn fun.  It began with a trip to Rosario, which is a city about 4 (by bus, which is how the smart, if slightly less frugal members of my group did it) to 8 (by train, which is the way that I and my other thrifty friends endured the trip) hours away from Buenos Aires to the northwest.  It’s beautiful there; located right on the Rio Paraná, Rosario has a gorgeous waterfront, tasteful buildings, and beautiful (like, wowzers) people.  When we were there, one of the main streets was taken up by a group of artists of all ages, arranged in the colors of the rainbow, all painting for the benefit of the public.  It’s also the birthplace of Che Guevara, Lionel Messi, and Argentina’s flag (which is commemorated by a gargantuan momument).

My pals and I had a grand ole time exploring the city.  Check out this NEVER BEFORE POSTED GALLERY OF PICS for some accounts of what went down (it’s woefully small; I’m sorry.  Check out my Facebook for more).

We ate delicious ice cream, watched a roller derby, checked out the birth home of Che, and watched a spectacular sunset over the water, but before all of that we took a trip across the river to one of the many large islands that dot the waterscape.  The rivers down here are massive, they look more like oceans, and the Paraná was (and continues to be) a crucial trade route that spawned Rosario’s popularity as a city.  The beach and the sun were lovely, although the river water was dirty, murky, and probably (editor’s note: DEFINITELY) unsafe to swim in.  Naturally, I splashed around for quite a while (to the horrified looks of the locals), and consider myself lucky to have not acquired some miserable intestinal parasite.  And speaking of intestines, I had my first taste of them!  We went to an unbelievably tasty restaurant in Rosario (we ended up going both nights because it was soo good), where they cooked us Parrilla de Carbon, which is a massive platter of delicious grilled meats and veggies.  However, the meat you receive may vary.  In my case, I supped on steak, chicken, pork, and a bite of intestines, but the other table received bloody sausage, a mound of intestines, tongue, and some sort of gland.  #blessed.  That night, while attempting to enjoy some Rosarino nightlife, I managed to: knock over a drink onto a couple of cute girls, embarrass myself by apologizing in some godawful Spanish, rock out to some music early 2010s music (to the delight of the DJ), and then get myself pepper-sprayed by a power-tripping security guard outside of a nightclub by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Wooo.

But anyway, after Rosario, we returned to Buenos Aires just in time for St. Patrick’s day.  I slept for most of the day (nightlife in Rosario is rough; see above), and after I woke up I had to run some typical Monday errands; changing money, recharging my SIM card, doing my laundry, etc.  To be honest, I almost forgot it was the luckiest day in the world until my host dad reminded me.  He was adamant that I went to one street in Buenos Aires that has a very high concentration of pubs, so I called up some friends and we headed out for a green cerveza or two.  My host dad, of course, was spot on: this street was BUMPING.  There were masses of singing, dancing people, and everyone was spreading the cheer of the Irish.  Apparently, everyone has Irish blood here on St. Patrick’s day.  I learned some new words (“Fondo!” means “Chug!”, apparently), and had a guid auld time.  The two other guys who I was with both have a solid grasp of the language, so I got to speak Spanish all night, which is something I love to do, especially when going out with fellow Americans.  It’s so much easier to become comfortable in a language if you speak it constantly, and most of the time when I go out with other students we speak English because of the varying levels of comfort with Spanish within the group.  It was a real pleasure to feel comfortable enough with the language to blend in with the crowd of jigging Porteños.

Woof.  Thanks for reading this far; this concludes part one of the megapost, and stay tuned for part two (which features my first week of classes, parties with Mexicans, and the urban commuter lifestyle).  You are all wonderful people and thanks for taking the time to keep up with my adventures.

Share

PHOTOS: Costa Rican Independence Day

Time October 21st, 2013 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I woke up one morning after spending the weekend in San José to crowds surrounding downtown as children with typical dress, flags and batons marched down the street in honor of Costa Rican independence Day, Sept. 15.

Good thing I had my Nikon-D5100.

Children's parade in downtown San José on Costa Rican Independence Day

Picture 1 of 38

***

Follow the rest of my adventure throughout Costa Rica here at IFSA-Butler’s blog, at my blog, on Twitter or even on Facebook.

Share