And….School and Life in Argentina start!

April 6th 2011

Wow, so it was already a month ago that I last wrote an update and it seems like it was just recently! I have a 2hour break before heading back to school for my last class of the day so I decided to take this time to answer emails and update you all on the last few (crazy and busy) weeks.

Actually, let’s start with what I am here for: school. The first two and a half weeks I basically ran around campus trying to find courses that fit in my schedule and that I thought Concordia would give me credits for. I had to go to class, get course outlines, gather paperwork and decide which ones I wanted, did not want etc. Many times people did not know how to help me or where I needed to go for registration or stamps or whatever so it was quite something. Oh and barely anything is online, not like Concordia or McGill or UofO. I managed pretty well since when I sent to Concordia the courses I wanted (as my first choices because I had gone to about 9 courses and had back up plans ehehe), they were accepted right away. As a bonus, I managed to get Fridays AND Mondays off. (YAHOOO!!!)

However, my Thursday (which is today) is quite brutal: I have drawing class from 8h30am-1pm, then Teaching of the Spanish Language from 1pm-4pm a 2 hour break and Argentinean Literature III from 6pm-8pm. BUT can’t complain at all J The classes are a little difficult, there are a tons of readings and I am a turtle and keep the English-Spanish dictionary not too far ahaha. Students are all really nice, they usually assume I am Argentinean but as soon as I speak they give me a huge smile and ask me where I am from. Then they usually just bombard me of questions like when I got here, how long I am staying, which part of Canada I am from etc etc! Studying abroad is not too different from back at home, and I think that is mainly because I was studying Spanish at Concordia. I feel like the language is not a problem, the expressions they have is maybe another thing but in the classroom I have no trouble following at all and I have even started participating a little. However, even though it is my last semester of university (still don’t realize it yet, or it is denial), I sometimes feel like it is my first just because I do not know anyone. Because I am taking classes from different faculties, I usually don’t have people in more than one of my classes either. However, I am not too worried about that, everyone is really nice and I still do enjoy going to class, and it’s only the beginning!

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a coffee lover (even brought my Italian mini espresso machine here, thanks mom!) and a tea lover. The typical “mate” tea is very common in Argentina and soooo good! I am actually drinking it right now! The leaves, which come from the Yerba mate tree are put in a special cup (which you can buy and comes in leather, metal, ceramic, porcelaine…) and you drink it through a metal straw. This straw has small holes at the bottom (instead of the usual big hole) that function as a filter and the part which you drink it from is flat, not round as we know it. You can drink it just like that, which makes it bitterer, or you can add sugar to it. Some people even add other herbs like mint for example. You see people carrying their thermos and their mate everywhere: at work, in parks, even in my classes and they pass it around among their friends or even with the professor! They even have vending machines where you put a coin and you can fill up your thermos with hot water!

If you look through the pictures I have been posting, there has been some partying, get togethers, asados (typical barbecues) and lots of fun! I have started to meet some great people and hanging out with friends too J. I even worked at the bar for a private party with my housemate! It was really fun and went by soooo fast. We both did not have watches and when we checked the time it was 7am!! Everything here is later, they have supper way to late to my taste, but I still end up eating late ahaha, they party and go out late too, usually not 1-2am. Last week, a Swiss couple I met in Patagonia came to visit me. They stayed at my house for 2 nights and we went to a National Park called Quebrada del Condorito, just outside of Cordoba, where you go hiking and can Condor watch. Saw a bunch but they were far so no pictures! However, we did see a little grass snake and lots of nice birds!

They have this type of hot dog that you can buy on the streets, in parks that is really good too! We made “choripan” at the house twice (so they might have been even better than the street ones I don’t know ehehe) The bread you use is baguette, and the sausage is called a chorizo, you add tomatoes, lettuce, hot peppers and this condiment they make called chimichurri which is really good too and obviously the usual ketchup mayo if you want! That with a Fernet con Coca and you are set! Fernet is a herb-based digestive drink made with saffron, camomile, rhubarb, among others. It is very strong, so normally it is mixed with Coke. And also, it can be quite rough if drunk in large quantities. Ahaha. (Actually, if anyone remembers to check if they sell it at the LCBO or SAQ? Let me know! Buy it and try it! Ahaha)

Also, as of April 15th I thought I would be an illegal immigrant because it is when my tourist visa expires. At first, migrations could only see me in June, which was completely ridiculous for a visa until September and with classes and finals ending in July ahaha. So the University changed my date and I get to go see them next week bright and early at 7am on April 12th. (not one day of illegalness, pas pire!) On Tuesday I booked my train for Buenos Aires for Semana Santa (Easter!) and so I will be one week in that area very soon!

And so, next month I will have that to tell you all about that.

But for now, I wish you all good luck with the end of your semesters and I also thank those of you who take the time to read about my experience!

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