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Hola chicos,

I had a fairly eventful weekend!! Mía Julia went to Bariloche for the weekend so it was RE lonely, but Nora and I got some host mother-daughter bonding in. Jules left on Thursday morning so I was really just getting used to having no one around the whole day! I didn’t do much other than get my laundry done (see story below) and I went with Maddie to buy new shoes. Nora went to an opera so I had to eat dinner by myself, but this was when the huge protests were going on, so I had the news playing on my laptop during dinner. It was so interesting. Honestly Cristina is a crazy mofo. She literally said, “You should be afraid of God and you should be afraid of me.” IN HER SPEECH. Can you believe that? We were talking to Nora about it at dinner tonight and she said she believes Cristina will eventually be as bad as Venezuela’s Chávez. So scary. I’m so glad we don’t have to worry about that. I asked her if it’s possible to impeach Cristina but she pretty much said no.

That night I trekked down to Caballito (by myself 😦 ) to a friend in the Middlebury program’s apartment for my friend Hannah’s birthday celebration. I like spending time with the Middlebury kids because they only speak in Spanish and it’s awesome practice and they’re re divertidos! (S.O. ALEXANDRA 😉 ) After we spent an hour or two at the apartment we went to Post Bar in Palermo, which is one of my favorite bars here. I got to exercise my darts knowledge but I still suck. It was a lot of fun though!

Friday was the most beautiful day I have experienced here! It was about 75 degrees and sunny, so after my class I grabbed a book (n.r. Life of Pi) and headed to Vincenzo Park near my house. I was reading but it was so hot and the sun felt so good and eventually I passed out for an hour. Luckily the park is pet-free so I didn’t have to worry about sleeping in poop. On my way back I ran into Kathryn and we grabbed a liter of Quilmes at a nearby café and talked for an hour or so. After, I went to pick up my laundry. I left two loads with them which is 40 pesos, and when I came back they had two bags full of laundry but one of them wasn’t mine! It seemed like all of my clothes were in the one bag because my loads weren’t that big as it was, so they said to just come back if I had any problems. Recently I’ve noticed my favorite bra and favorite (and expensive) running shirt are missing. 😦 I am never going back to that lavandería!!! I should have known, because Jules got a bunch of random articles of clothing before in her loads. I am so mad. And down quite a bit of clothes.

I came home and napped some more because the sun drained my energy and after a delicious dinner with Nora (we had a wonderful conversation about a new friend 🙂 ) I headed out to Temple Bar with friends. Before I went out Nora told me to “ojo” because she saw some unfamiliar people hanging around the block. I figured it was just Nora being Nora but the next day I found out that a chico from the apartment building next door got held up by gun and the robber came up to the apartment with him and robbed everything!! If I had come home at that time it would have been me!!! So scary. So now I’ve been really paranoid–if I see anyone I don’t trust hanging around near the apartment I just keep walking and come back. And no way in hell am I leaving without Jules for the next few weeks. I’ve been telling myself that lightning won’t strike twice in the same spot though so hopefully it won’t happen again, and luckily no one was hurt when he was robbed.

Saturday was another beautiful day!! To continue Sarah/Kathryn bonding weekend, we traveled to Almagro barrio to go to the BA Underground Market hosted by the Argentine Independent (English newspaper). It cost 10 pesos to enter, and it was in this abandoned like textile warehouse or something, and on the top floor there was a huuuge room filled with little stands of homemade food and drinks and desserts! It was AWESOME! I ate a bagel with cream cheese (so craving me some real bagelz… mail me some!!), homemade ginger lemonade (mommy I was good and didn’t get the beer!), and some New Orleans rice and beans with picante sauce. It was SO good! Of course Kathryn got along fabulously with the cook from New Orleans and she told us she cooks Creole for a restaurant every Thursday!! Can’t wait to try it out because the rice and beans were deliciosísimo. I also bought cheddar cheese and… drumroll… blueberry chocolate whiskey jam. Yes. It is so good. I made Nora try it, and I even put it on my banana this morning. I found out there’s a blueberry picking farm 150 km out of the city in November! I plan on making a day trip out of that.

I decided to stay in and spend the night watching movies by myself like a lame-o, but I got lots of sleep! Sunday morning I woke up and went to brunch with the Brunch Bunch in San Telmo to a restaurant called WafleSUR… yes… WAFFLES!!!! It was so good. I ate a waffle with homemade Nutella and apple jam with a banana smoothie. All for 50 pesos (like $12). It was sooo delicious! I don’t understand why I’m not fat yet.

Later ANOTHER incident with mi calle happened…. we lost power on my block for about two hours. IT was the worst. I don’t know why but all I could do was listen to my ipod and nap. Nora decided to cook all of our meals for the week by candlelight while I slept. Eventually the lights came back on, but we never figured out what happened, but at first I thought it was my fault because I had plugged in my laptop just one minute before the power went out!! Unfortunately (or fortunately..) I didn’t get to see the end of the Pats game. Maybe that’s why they lost.

To continue the mala suerte of my weekend, my phone from the States completely broke. It’s dunzo. I have literally tried everything to turn it on but it won’t. 😦 Myyy luck, because I just found an app where I can text and call American numbers for free when I have wifi.

Finally Jules came home! It was nice to finally have my buddy back. 🙂 We dished about our weekends and then I went to la Madeleine for late night pizzaaaa. It was a very good night. 🙂

Today was Monday. The worst day of the week because I have class from 9:30 am to 8 pm. BUT on the bright side I don’t have Monday classes for the next three weeks, due to surprise holidays from the government and spring break! I am exhaaausted though. I am loving life.

I miss you familia y amigos! I’ve been having nostalgia sometimes when I see a commercial for Olive Garden or something random on the internet. Also I can’t wait to come home to snow and Christmas!

Hasta luego, besos y abrazos!

Sarah

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Every now and again, President Cristina Kirschner will make a speech on television. Buenos Aires replies by banging pots and pans and honking in the streets to drown out her voice. The protest is not finished until Cristina is. Yes, they hate her that much.

The good thing about having a blog is I can rant about whatever I want and no one can stop me. SO unless you want to hear me complain about how much I detest the U.S. sometimes I would advise you just ignore this post!

So today I had my favorite class, Drugs & Violence in Latin American Literature and Art. This is a three hour class that meets once a week, but I don’t mind spending my Monday nights at IES for this class. It is so interesting and every week continues to open my eyes to things I had no idea were going on in this world. Today we discussed las villas miserías which literally translates to misery villages. These are the slums of Buenos Aires and nearly half a million people live in these terribly unsanitary “villages.” Our homework last week was to discuss the villas with Buenos Aires natives, and so last night (yes, procrastinating…) I asked Nora about them. She gave me a good description of the villas and what caused them (many people in the middle to upper class will blame the Peron administration, but my teacher told us that is just a well-circulated opinion of the richer porteños and that not all of it is factual information). However, nothing she said helped me fully understand the importance of the slum problem in Buenos Aires until class tonight. 

We learned about neoliberal policies, something I never heard about before. Neoliberal policies are basically big international/political programs like the IMF that give funds to countries with failing/failed economic systems in order to help boost their economies. However, in return the countries have to adopt certain political policies that are in favor of these international organizations.  These policies include but are not limited to SAPs or Structural Adjustment Programs. These SAPs cause major cuts in public spending, like healthcare and education. The “reason” for the SAPs are to encourage cheaper labor which will create a more competitive economy in the world and encourage governments to only fund essential programs. The IMF, the neoliberalism ‘champion’ as my teacher called it, considers health and education unnecessary (pardon my language, what the eff???). In case you didn’t already know this, Argentina practically collapsed in 2001, and this is how. People literally lost all their lifetime savings because the peso inflated 200% because it attached itself to the U.S. dollar. Everything increased in price because government spending practically came to a halt all because a neoliberal movement in the government came to play. 

So for the weekend we also had to read an essay that this American named Mike Davis wrote, and he basically said that neoliberalism causes ecological and health crises which cause political conflicts which turn into war, and claims that the Pentagon is aware of this problem and is training soldiers to fight inside of slums in case of a possible uprise.

Call me an anarchist but I wouldn’t blame the impoverished if there was a “slum” uprising. It’s ridiculous that a government can cause so much damage just to get itself out of a kilombo while in turn forcing hundreds of thousands of its citizens to literally live in their own shit. 

One thing I love about Argentina is the free healthcare and free education. The neoliberal policies would have taken this away if it had stayed in the government. Students can get a supreme education at UBA for free, where I’m stuck in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt back in the States just to get a quality education. It pisses me off! And I know everyone is freaking out about the new healthcare system in the States, but honestly the U.S. is NOT POOR like everyone makes it sound like. In comparison to here, a TON of people can afford a quality healthcare. I just can’t believe how much Americans blow our problems out of proportion when there are countries that would literally kill to have a nation like ours. If I could change one thing about the U.S. is how much of a bubble we are in. I have never in my life learned about another country’s problems (with the exception of maybe a European country or Canada) without having to do extensive research. It pisses me off how ignorant our country is. (Not most of the people I know, but some citizens in general. Sorry if I offend anyone.)

I have had some built up anger with the U.S. prior to traveling here and getting an outside look of our country, but tonight was just the cherry to top it all of. I apologize if any of my information is inaccurate, I know some people get touchy over the small details but this is just what was on my mind.

On another note Tati and I touched noses today.