Tag Archives: buenos aires

BA Cast: Season 2 Finale

9 Dec

BA Cast

This week is the season finale of Season 2 for BA Cast. This is another slightly-longer episode and ends the season in a nice way. This was a really successful and fun season for the show, and we grew a lot in our material and listener participation. We hope those of you who listened enjoyed it too, and we’ll look forward to providing more material in Season 3. Chau!

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End of Semester Jitters

5 Dec

After working harder than I’ve ever had to before, my first semester in grad school is winding down. This is the last week of classes, and it seems that because I worked very diligently over Thanksgiving break that I’ve set myself up to cruise into finals. That was not on purpose, and it reminds me of the time I decided to double major by adding on Journalism at UMass. Upon doing so, I was convinced I’d need to take 6 classes from then on instead of the standard 5, and worked extra time that first year. As it turns out, I positioned myself so well ahead of the curve that in my senior year I was able to take 4 classes a semester.

That isn’t the case nowadays, yet I’m helped by the fact that one of my finals won’t even be assigned until the last day of class on Wednesday. It’s a blessing and a curse, because while it has allowed me to focus entirely on my two other finals, I wish I could use the time right now to work on it and I know that once classes are finished, I’m going to be lazier about the last final. Also, once classes are over, I’m going to take on more hours at work and thus won’t have obscene amounts of free time anyway. After frantically rushing around for the last three months, from work to study to class to study, etc, I’m finding it hard to simply sit down and catch my breath. I read about a journalist in the 70s who was working the schedule of two people, and when she went on vacation found it impossible to sit down and relax. After extended periods of time in constant movement and stress, down time becomes the stress factor, as there is a sense of not knowing what to do with yourself.

I feel like I’ve learned a year’s worth of material in just one semester and regardless of whether or not I took the courses I wanted to take, I can say unequivocally that I am smarter in the aftermath. I’ve learned about some extremely interesting things, both good and bad. I’ve become familiar with the government of the United States in ways that I never thought, and though I never considered myself very political, I’ve come to the realization that I need to at the very least understand it. After all, I’m basically studying international politics, not culture. This first semester has given me the chance to meet some amazing people and make great friends, including Americans from all over the country, as well as foreign students who add their own touch to the lessons.

I’ve learned that in order to survive as a grad student, you have to develop some kind of cynical and desperate sense of humor. You have to laugh at how ridiculous your course load is, at how stressed out you feel and how helpless it seems when someone speaks in class and you think you’re the dumbest person because you have no idea what they’re talking about. But you also get your chance to put other people in their place once in a while. The classmates form a little support network and understand in just a few monosyllabic words or facial gestures how exhausted we all are, and when we have an opportunity to go out for a drink, we make the most of it to blow off a little steam.

Still, I can’t complain too much when I think about the students in Buenos Aires, for example. I work 20 hours a week in addition to being a full time student, and I feel like I barely make it week by week. Yet friends back in BA would work full time, which is typically 9 am-6:30 pm, and then have class which could get out at 11 pm, or even start at 11 pm. It’s not unheard of. On top of that, some go to the gym, play a sport, and manage to stay active enough with their friends. It’s probably why people go out so late, and also why most people don’t graduate when they’re 22.

I don’t know if I would have it in me to keep this up for another 6 years, but for now I’m getting the hang of it. It’s a wholly unique experience and is not at all the undergrad life. Again, that’s a good thing and a bad thing. Anyway, now that the first semester is nearly finished, let us never speak of it again.

BA Cast: The USA: Dan’s Bottom 5 and Fer’s Top 5

3 Dec

BA Cast

This week’s episode of BA Cast is a short featuring Dan’s Bottom 5 things about the United States and Fer’s Top 5 things about the U.S. Since they’re always talking about top and bottom things in Argentina, this week they take a look at it from a difference angle. Listen in to hear what the guys have to say.

An American Thanksgiving

23 Nov

Tomorrow will be the first time in four years that I celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. The last three were spent in South America–first in 2008 at 16,000 feet above sea level on an extinct volcano in central Ecuador, later in 2009 with some Argentine milanesas at a new friend’s house, and lastly in 2010 at a pot luck dinner filled with expats and a few Argentinians. I remember the first year abroad, winding down the day alone at the hotel and realizing that it was Thanksgiving. At first it hadn’t even dawned on me, and with no media reminding me of the date, and no family or friends around who were also celebrating it, I simply went along as if it was a normal day. Later in the week a few of the volunteers got together and made a dinner, making up for the lack of family.

The next year I was in Argentina as a newbie, and though I’d just met a girl named Tamara, she invited me over to her house with her sister and friends for dinner. They made what they knew best–milanesas, as well as some other vegetables and fixings. We had some wine and because it was a beautiful spring night, we sat outside late into the night, something I’d never thought possible on Thanksgiving. I still had to work that day and it was depressing being on GChat while no one else was, so the day dragged on until the dinner. I still had work in the morning, so I had to bow out of the conversation around 12:30 am, while everyone else was still going strong.

The next year an American friend invited me to a coworker’s apartment for a joint pot luck dinner, where foreigners from all over the world (and even a few Argentinians) were meeting up. Everyone was in their mid-20’s-30’s and it was a refreshing mix of familiar accents and stories. This year I’m finally back in the U.S. and I’m thankful to be with family and old traditions. Like so many Thanksgivings past, we’ll be waking up at the crack of dawn to drive down to Brooklyn, New York and my grandma’s apartment. Later on we’ll probably head in to Manhattan with my dad and cousins to go out in the Village. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving too.

BA Cast: Bi-national Relationships

16 Nov

BA Cast

This week’s episode of BA Cast (admittedly late, but hey, it’s tiempo argentino) is a double length show featuring the topic of the month: bi-national couples. The show will be wrapping up Season 2 after this month and we’re happy to say we’ve been continuing to grow and expand as the season has gone on. This episode features some interesting chamullos between English and American expats, and we talk with an expat who lives outside of Buenos Aires in Necochea. Listen in and hear all about it.

BA Cast Short: What NOT to Say

7 Nov

BA Cast

This week’s episode of BA Cast is a short, and a very useful one at that. This episode will teach you all of the standard Spanish words to unlearn when you visit Argentina, as well as the words that you should know if you go to other Spanish-speaking countries. One example of this is the word “carro” which is used in Spain to say car. However, in Argentina it is more common to hear “auto” or even “coche”. Take a few minutes to listen and learn.

Living in Glover Park

6 Nov

I’ve been living in Washington, DC for about 2 1/2 months now and people have started to ask me how I like it here. The truth, unfortunately, is that I haven’t been able to see much of the city because I’ve been so occupied with work and school. Originally, I had the idea of going out to see a museum once a weekend, but when football season came around, just after I moved in, that idea went out the window. I’ve been downtown a handful of times and even made it to a Washington Nationals game before the season ended, but apart from that, I spend the majority of my life here in the Northwest DC bubble.

I live in Glover Park, a small, mostly residential neighborhood featuring a bunch of embassies, green spaces, and quiet streets. That is of course, for the hilly Wisconsin Ave, where I live. Day and night I hear the fire trucks and ambulances wailing past, leaving me to believe that either people in Washington, DC are stupid or the emergency services overreact to everything. It’s not like living downtown during rush hour, but you notice the siren when it blares past your window at 2 am. Wisconsin Avenue is your best bet to find any kind of business in this neighborhood, and though there aren’t a great number of options, you can find a few restaurants, cafes and even bars. There are some handy stores, a CVS, Whole Foods, and a couple of gyms.

Yet when I look out my window I see houses and trees, and it appears as though I’m in a suburb outside of the city. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, because while I need to see some wildlife, I also want the feel of being in a city. I want to go downstairs and have a few markets or stores where I can quickly pick up bread or fresh fruit and vegetables. I want a Metro stop nearby, but if you live in Glover Park you’ll need to travel at least over a mile to get to the nearest stop. One night it took me an hour and forty minutes to get to a bar via public transportation, even though it would have been less than a ten minute drive. Because I mostly hang out in this area it only affects me on the weekends when I try to get somewhere else.

Working just down the hill in Georgetown, I walk back and forth to the office each day, taking away the stress of a commute. In two separate six month stints in my two years in Buenos Aires I was able to walk to work and I know how much of a difference it makes on the way you start your day. For that, I’m grateful, though sometimes I think it would be nice to make it farther down just to get out of the area and see something else. I head back to my apartment, study, get in a run if possible (though it’s getting less manageable with assignments and the colder weather) and then make the 25 minute walk to campus.

Depending on the day and how many meetings I have, I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon in Tenleytown at American University, then head home again to continue studying and call it a night. So how is DC? I wish I could tell you. From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t love it but I don’t hate it. Some people do profess a love for this city, but it has yet to grow on me. There’s a weird vibe brought on by the journeymen who aren’t really from here, young go-getters trying to make a name for themselves, and diplomats driving around. By the end of at least two years studying here, I’m sure I’ll have a better appreciation for it, and will be able to talk more about the capital of the United States.

BA Cast: Citizens of the World

31 Oct

BA Cast

The new episode of BA Cast is available, and it’s another extended edition that we think you’ll find very interesting. This is the show’s most international episode yet, with interviews with expats from Argentina, Italy, the United States, Nepal, and Mexico. The episode features an interview I conducted with a fellow classmate of mine from Nepal who has been studying in the US for five years, and I also give a short interview at the end of the episode on the differences between Ecuador and Argentina. Hope you enjoy the episode. Oh, and Happy Halloween.