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

Ringo vs. Chuck Norris

Time November 20th, 2012 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Today I’ll be talking about:

I. Sos mi hombre

II. Vocabulario

III. Previous posts

IV. Coming soon!


I. Sos mi hombre


You might already know that telenovelas are a big deal in Latin America, and Argentina is no exception. I think Graduados is the best known here, but my host sister prefers Sos mi hombre (You’re My Man.) It plays during dinner, and so it’s become part of my nightly ritual to grill her about the characters and struggle to understand the faster-than-light-speed dialogue. Sometimes I literally only understand, “Hello? …Yes. …son…mate…rollercoaster…thank you!”


If you’re curious, you can watch episodes on Youtube. It’s a little ridiculous in the usual soap opera way, but it IS a good representation of Argentine speech and slang, culture (mate, etc), and social expectations. Example: something that throws me for a loop every time is when you get to see the very macho lead male CRY. And in no way does it reduce his manliness. Argentina, I approve. He also sports a cubata, the omnipresent Argentine mullet. Argentina, I do not approve.


Last week, I felt like I crossed a barrier. A rite of passage, if you will. Suddenly, inexplicably, I could understand the dialogue. Like flicking on a light. I can’t stomach that kind of TV in the US, but now that I can understand what’s going on and I have a bit of background on the main characters it’s starting to grow on me.


Let me take a moment to explain my moment of revelation today when I pieced together all the basic components of the main plot arc:

Man (Rrrrrringo!) meets woman while he’s acting as the security guard at her fancy schmancy house. Awkward problem: she’s about to get married! No biggie. He’s still got lots of love in his life leftover from his last marriage in the form of a very curly haired son. (The kooky ex-wife sometimes takes the kid to the US without telling him, which makes him cry.) In his spare time, when he’s not creeping on his lover’s husband or playing video games with his kid, Ringo spends his time putting out the fires that his lover’s literally psychotic little sister starts, because he’s a volunteer fireman. Oh and he’s also a boxer and has biceps the same size as his head. Casual. All in a day’s work for Ringo. (By the way, his bestest buddy is a lawyer who is also a boxer and also a  volunteer firefighter…and is dating the crazy sister.) Not sure when he sleeps, but who cares.


This is when I explained to my host sister about Chuck Norris and how, according to American pop culture, he can do anything. (The in-Spanish example I gave went like this: “Chuck Norris is so strong that he brushes his teeth with a cactus!”) Because I think Ringo is a man of Chuck Norris’s heart. Need a fire put out? Call Ringo. Need your property to be secured and guarded? Call Ringo. Need your car fixed, back rubbed, five star meal cooked, hair cut, house redecorated? You know the drill.


It’s kind of wonderful


II. Vocabulario



Telenovela (novela) – soap opera

Amigo con derechos – friend with benefits

Fato – a super crude way to say amigo con derechos (OJO)

Villero – someone who lives in the slums

Personaje – a character in a work of fiction, not to be confused with carácter, moral character or persona, a person.

Cursi – cheesy. (Also see: piropo, chamullo, pun.)

Capitulo – Chapter, or in this case, episode of a TV show


III. Previous posts

1. Antes de que me voy  Before I Leave 

2.  Host Families and Fun with Public Transportation  

3. “Are You the Girl with the Blog?”

4. Playing Tourists in Buenos Aires  

5. Looking Good, Mendoza!  

6. A Detailed Guide on All Things Micro  

7. Trip to Las Termas  

8. Daily life in Mendoza 

9. Habia una vez en los Andes… 

10. Night of the Soccer Game 

11. Road Trip! 

12. My Mate for Life 


IV. Coming soon!



The Student’s Life
Trabajo Voluntario
Rafting in San Rafael

Chile Part II

The split up and the return to BA



Los Divos Model

Time June 27th, 2011 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

I’m not a model. I don’t model. But for free clothes I’d do about anything.

Olivia, another IFSA student, has within her host family an aunt who works in publicity and marketing, and last week she was looking for “models” to show off some clothing from the Italian/Peruvian company Ritzy Italy. Olivia introduced this aunt, Rocia, to the three IFSA boys (aka los divos famosos del quinto piso), and she said she would take us all. We went to Rocia’s house, part of a military compound south of Lima, tried on clothes, and Friday morning we were off to the TV station.

So it was that at about 10 AM Friday morning, Oscar, Juan and I were crammed together behind the stage of “Hola a Todos” in a hallway that measured two feet wide by six feet deep, along with two other models and three assistants (including Olivia), all of us loaded in before being launched out onto the catwalk.

Because there were only five models and eight outfits, three of us had to change clothes mid-show. There we were, seven people with no wiggle room, and I had to strip down to my boxers because my second outfit required a change of everything, even shoes. In less than a minute.

Then, if I hadn’t already embarrassed myself enough with my inability to smile naturally in front of the camera, I forgot to stay on-screen after my second run. Luckily, they didn’t give me a microphone, because I shouted, “¡Mierda!” when I remembered, having already returned backstage. I did a quick turn around and, as you will see in the video that follows, walked back out onstage.

What you don’t see is the bit that followed the modeling, in which loud electronic music pumped through the speakers, and a giant cuy ran around the stage in a convulsive fit sometimes referred to as “dancing.” We “models,” already awkward, shifted back and forth to the music while lights flashed, confetti rained down and cameras flew around the set.

Our second experience was more memorable, more troubling. We arrived at Channel 4 around noon and, after they straightened my hair and put make up on all of us, we had to wait an hour and a half before going back on. In the meantime, we saw the filming of the reunion between a cumbia singer and a child he fathered unknowingly. The boy, in his early teens, had a mental disability and was not in favor of being in the spotlight. Backstage he was crying, occasionally fighting with his mother/caretaker (if you can call what she does taking care of somebody) while saying, “hello” and being otherwise friendly to those of us waiting around. When it was show time, his mother/person locked his arms behind his back and marched him forward. Nothing like exploitation to drive those ratings up!

If that wasn’t too much, then the numerous dolled-up and plastic calatas put “Lima Limón” over the top. Girls in bikinis or lingerie strutted their stuff on camera every few minutes, only reinforcing our realization that this show is based exploitation of every kind. What show features celebrity appearances, Jerry Springer-like encounters, girls in lingerie and Father’s Day fashion models? It’s the exploitation of fame and sex, it’s voyeurism, and it’s product placement all wrapped into one two-hour long train wreck, trash. I’m sure it’s not the only one of its kind, but it’s the only one I’ve ever had the displeasure to see, backstage or on TV.

Afterwards, disillusioned and feeling that we’d compromised our morals, we were all happy to have our payment – four free pieces of clothing from Ritzy Italy. We took off with everything – sneakers, sweaters, and shirts along with jeans and khakis.