Monday, March 31, 2008
Lawdy, lawdy, where do I even start for real on this one. So essentially the last few weekends may have made to the top ten in my life, Im not even playin with ya'll, absolutely, cottin' pickin' ridiculous. We had almost a week off for what they call the "Semana Santa" here, basically a week to celebrate Easter, right on eh!!??!! My buddy Tomás, as always, brought my in on the inside with his "crew", and man what a group of jokers they are, again and we made a trip out to the country to a cottage that his buddy has. Im here to tell you what, it was if I had stepped back into the 19th century in the middle of South America. The wild part and beautiful is that we were only about 30 minutes outside of the city, dang I love Córdoba!!! This house, or cottage, or whatever you wanna call it, an Argentine dream in my eyes, was built back in the 1800´s so you can just imagine what the atmosphere was like. There are essentially no ceilings being that the cane roof is right there in front of you, though the headspace is something serious, (they have since put tin on top of it but the cane is still very visible inside), no electricity aside from a generator for minimal and specific use. All lighting at night was old school oil lanterns that hung throughout the hallways and sat on each nightstand in the room. Floors were old wood planks and the decor was obviously from some time ago. I felt as though someone that owned a museum decided to let us use it for a night to basque in all its historical glory. We passed the majority of the day just bullcrappin, drinking coffee, mate, tea and soaking up the tranquility of the mountain life. This cottage was smack dab in the middle of mountains, small mountains, more like hills, with a little creek out past the front yard. Old stone walls still erect absent of any form of mortar, just find the perfect rock for the perfect fit, built by the folks from waaaaaaaay back. The horses just run wild on the property, another amazing addition to the backdrop, as Im sure you can imagine. There is a family that lives on the property to maintain it and keep it up. (Sidenote, this isnt some old beater mountain cabin, this is a serious nice place and had to have been built by some wealthy folks back in the day, I found out later that the old boys Dad that owns the place has a wompus factory back in Córdoba, those folks have cheese, makes sense.) I buddied up with the Daniel, the father of the family and "gaucho" of the property. This guy was impressive. He showed me an unbelievable amount of things that he hade made from scratch, and by hand at that, for the horses on the property. Jenny, this comment is for you, every last flippin thing you can imagine for a horse, this guy had created and of serious quality at that. I observed a handful of the items, and you know me, examined each with the hawk in order to attempt to appreciated the intracy of each piece. Again make note, his approach was as "from scratch" as it could possibly be; from killing the animal, skinning it, preparing the sking, making the leather, and then refining each piece of leather for its specific application, and THEN, actually making the product....UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!! This man was no doubt doing just what God had put him on this earth to do. One of only a few people I have met in my life that I could say that about, and a heart of gold on top of all that. Needless to say, after I got my mind blown by Daniel the Gaucho, as soon I set stepped back outside the smell of goodness took me over. All the food outside of the home here is prepared outside with wood or types of charcoal, NEVER with gas or electricity. This "horno de barro" looks like an igloo made of mud elevated about four feet off the ground. They cut up potatoes, onions, peppers, and placed 4 whole chickens inside with just a few embers, put they door, and let cook for hours, forever it seemed like. After I grew a beard and planned out the rest of my life, in Spanish, the feast was ready. Hallelujah, good lawd, great googly moogly!!!! Yall dont even know the experience of this meal. DANG!!!, I mean DANNNNNNNNNNGGGG!!!! Party in my mouth, my stomach had a seizure from the excitement. Best meal in Córdoba so far, hands down. You would think this is enough for an evening right, but oh know, the climax is yet to come. Daniel and Papi, the owners son, decide to round up six horses for us all to take a little night ride. When Tomás tells me whats goin down I dont really know what to say. Praise God I had taken a month of horse riding classes when I got here so I had just the teeniest, slightest little idea of what to do, bloody basics here folks, bare bones basics at that. So we all mount up and take off. Papi was on a Peruano that had the most unique stride Ive ever seen, cant describe it, get on youtube and check it. The coolest thing to see in person though, the beauty of the rhythm (I know you feel me on this one Jenny, hahaaaaa!!!!) Again, focus on the point that we re in the middle of nowhere and there isnt a single other house, horse, or person around besides us, just the moutains, dirt roads, good ole Argentine boys, a gringo, and a bright full moon without a cloud in the sky. This "cabalgata" lasted about three hours and every second was fenomenal. For some reason my horse just didnt feel like walking, so when there was an open stretch on a dirt road I let em' rip, and Im talkin rip!!! This is no other sensation in the world comparable to sitting on the back of a horse at such a speed in the middle of a cool fall night, praise God for that one!!! WHOOOOO!!! I cant even stand it, I just got excited all over again. WWWWWWWHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Once we reached the peak of the mountains we let the horses rest, let our legs dangle, soaked in the view. On one side of the mountain you could see the lights of Córdoba and on the other the city of Alta Gracia, absolut-ah-mentay spectacular. Thank you again Tómas, Im gonna owe you for a while on this one. The ride back was everything in reverse and just as enjoyable. What a weekend right!!!???!!!, wait until next time when I tell you about the "Rally" we went to this past weekend, again in the middle of the mountains, yall arent even ready!!!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
So you folks back home are gonna love this one. This past weekend I had another great opportunity to pass time with my tutor, thank you Lord so much for Tomás, and his group of 20 ole boys. It was a trip made in seven cars full of Argentinos, and one lanky gringo slung in the back seat of a European hatchback. Destination: some frickin´place in the middle of who knows Motive: Play paintball Conclusion: Good lawd!!! For starters, throughout the ENTIRE day I didn´t understand a bloody thing, I´m talking about nothin!!! These boys speak so fast with so much slang, and obviously with a group that big the themes are complex and built up over time, it was impossible to follow anything. That´s all good though, that didn´t change the way a fired my gun, hahaha!!!, the yankee (their word for norteamericanos), pronounced "junkie" got his in the end. For starters we arrive through the backyard of some guy´s farm literally in the middle of this cornfield lookin´place with an old abandoned brick house as the centerpiece with two guys workin´this paintball "deal" out of the back of their pickups . There wasn´t really much of a road and considering the fact we were all in little hatchbacks, I wondered how in the hades are we gonna even do this. Nonetheless we get "kind of" parked, if you wanna call it that and head out for the extravaganza. The paintball experience was great and after 4, maybe 5 hours, only cost about 17 bucks for EVERYTHING, right on eh! Suddenly, and I mean out of nowhere these black clouds move in. It literally looked like movie twister. I´ve never seen clouds that black move in the fast and completely take over a crystal clear blue sky in just a few minutes, it was so wild, almost like the apocalypse or something. Well, we decide to end it obviously and start paying our tabs. Ya´ll, here´s where it gets good. The bottom falls out like a monsoon in the middle of some African plain. Sheets and buckets and wind like you wouldn´t believe. A hurricane on land you could call it. The catch is, we have our seven little hatchbacks plus the other peoples cars playing hangin out in this super soft field mud. Every last single one of them, due to this monstrosity of water, was sunk up like a joker. Are their two trucks here, no. Tractors possibly, no. Then how are you gonna get some 10 odd cars out of this swamp in the middle of podunkville back to dry land..........with a WHOLE LOT of manpower. It literally took all the guys pushin and rockin´every single car and pushing almost all the way out of the field back to the road. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!! I´m not one to use cuss words that often but I´m here to tell that day I took on the mind of a sailor. Eventually everybody settled in and it became one big joke that nobody could believe and praise the Lord we all made it back home with our adrenaline crash and slept like babies. Change of subject. Last night was a real epiphany for me, so wild. I was takin´it easy with Tomás, once again, two of his friends and another girl in my program named Emily, from New Jersey, this girl dominates Spanish (essentially the only other yankee I pass time with) and Portugues, LUCKEEE!!!! Nonetheless, this experience from a Castellano perspective was completely the opposite from the Sunday playing paintball. Somehow I just "tuned" and got caught up in the mix. A couple points throughout the evening "I realized", wait uh´minute, I´m communicating in Spanish, but I had not been aware of it until I conscientiously thought about. It was SOOOOO wild, but I savored everyminute it. I´m here to tell you, in a second language, its the small steps. A random story I know but very interesting, at least for the guy experiencing it. Final shout out goes to all the new folks who´ve left comments recently. I sure do enjoy them. Much love to my people. Time get back in "The Groove"
Friday, March 7, 2008
Alright, here we go, and hopefully all will be well. Where do I even start, it has been a little minute eh? Well, for starters this past weekend our group within the program made a little trip to the capital city, Buenos Aires for a little big city fun. No doubt, I enjoyed myself, but I´m still a man thats all about some Mother Nature, but that´s all good. The city is happenin, without a doubt, but all that movement and concrete smothers me, not to mention we more or less went the more touristy route. I will say this though, Saturday night we got the opportunity to see a Tango show with a live band in this really ritzy place, the food was off the hook!!! It was really a first class presentation. The dancers were on point and the band was on top of it as well. I also had the opportunity throughout this trip to get to know our Resident Director from Argentina, Alfredo Brunnori, who is also an English professor here. I make note of this because the things he has shared with me about the language and his experiences have been priceless. From old personal frustrations with English, to old stories from when he studied abroard in Virgina and always had to talk to ("Uncle Rick" I think was his name) and didn´t understand a bloody thing. Not to mention Alfredo is the ultimate link here between English and Spanish so his ability to explain grammatical issues, level of patience, and knowledge of sayings and slang is unmatched. I have thanked God often that we have him here as our Director. Nonetheless, shifting gears, finished up the first week of classes within the program; the others with Argentine students begin on Monday. The level of intensity in my Spanish class, granted its for advanced students (which is an even better question of WHAT I´M DOING IN THERE!!!!) We are essentially writing like crazy and for me that´s a real beast, I mean shoot, its hard enough for me to write in my own language. I´m gonna keep chuggin along as always though. I´m going tomorrow to play paintball with my tutor and his group of 20 friends. What would I do without Tomás. That guy has kept me so connected with the leisure life outside of home; not to mention I´m with Argentine folks, thank Lord once again!!! Another beautiful example of why the word coincidence should be eliminated from the English dictionary, yeahyuh!!! I interviewed for an internship here today and it looks as though all is well. What does this mean, well....I will be working in one of the offices here on campus, for free, but will receive credit for an upper level senior class since EVERYTHING will be in Spanish. I will have to write a big paper afterwards but it will be worth it. Today has been a good day with the language and last night was really good but I think its time for a chill evening. I bought the local paper earlier today, which is a great source of practice being that its more like written daily language. I think i´m gonna take it to a place called the Espacio Cultural (much like a scale down Barnes and Nobles here) catch a coffee, read a bit, and then go catch a flick afterwards. I heard Antes de Partir with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson is worth it, so who knows, we´ll see. I hope the weather has been as nice for ya´ll as it has been for me. We´re just starting to get just a little teeny taste of fall but everything is still green. You know, that perfect temperature you get during those early summer nights, but the perk to the beginning of fall is that it lasts all day!!! Really random quick side note that came to mind for Mitch and Dad. Apparently, Osvaldo told me that metal work was a really popular thing down here at one point, and I don´t completely remember, but may still be. Pardon that one, you all know how mind works, if I have a thought i have to throw it out there in that moment or I´ll just keep walkin and drop it on the ground like nothin´ happened. Well, the weekend begins, with much to do and little time to do it in, but thats the story of all our lives eh? Every single flippin one of you I love and miss dearly. Sometimes I wish I could rent a teleporter like in the old Star Trek days just for an evening of some good southern love back in Georgia.....course then my Spanish advancement would be affected...... and they´re probably really expensive anyway!
Monday, March 3, 2008
I just wrote well over a page and this dag gum´ piece of junk machine lost it all. I apologize, but regretfully, you all are going to have to wait a little more. I´m so irate right now, oooooooohhhh!! I gotta get outta here and cool off. This really pisses me off.
I made my first call to the States before this past weekend and talked to Dad for almost an hour; and thats why I´m here. I had intended to try once about every two weeks and rock out a really long mini-novel as I had before to keep everybody informed, but Pops had recommended maybe a little smaller chunk of info more often,....so....here we go.