Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting my vegetables...

...isn't easy around here! In a culture filled with empanadas, carne, pizza, pan, and more carne, I sometimes feel like I'm eating nothing but meat and cheese.

Part of the solution was that when I looked in my wallet a couple days ago, it hit me hard that Buenos Aires is not so cheap after all. Before I got here everyone kept telling me, "oh, it's so cheap there!" Yeah, well they were wrong. Apparently it used to be cheap, but now I feel like it's about the same prices I'm used to in the States, which is both unexpected and lame.

So I've taken to preparing my own food at home to save money, which is nice because it means I can make whatever I want. Within limits. The limits being that the kitchen here is tiny, gross, and unpleasant, so I don't want to prepare anything too lavish. However, it's perfectly suitable to make pasta, a sandwich or a salad.

I've been stopping by a fruteria every day to pick up what I need. They look like this, more or less:

The process is different than in the states, in the sense that you don't walk in and start selecting your own vegetables, but rather you actually go in and tell them what you want and they get it and bag it for you. I learned this the hard way, by walking in and grabbing my own veggies and having everyone look at me like I was the biggest jerk on the planet. Yup, the hard way. But now I know.

Today, I'm planning on whipping up a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and avocado, with oil, lemon and salt. Simple and yummy. And you'd be hard pressed to get someone at a restaurant to sell you a salad here without an accompanying meat dish. For example:

That was my lunch on Monday. It's called milanesa napolitana, which is a piece of meat fried (milanesa), then covered in ham, sauce, and cheese (that's the napolitana part). Milanesa is a very typical Argentine dish, as the Argentines love their meat FRIED! It's usually served with french fries, but I finagled my way into a side salad. It was delicious, but I was stuffed for the rest of the day, and I didn't even finish it! That is a seriously heavy meal.

Anyway, tonight I will be teaching my very first English class! I will be teaching a real practice course every Thursday and Friday for the next 4 weeks. I'm really nervous! I have been working on my lesson plans for the past couple weeks, and stressing about whether or not they are going to work. Here's to hoping they will! My class tonight is an intermediate level, and I plan to teach about "apartment hunting" and the words associated with that. I'm going to have them role play some apartment hunting scenarios, and write their own "apartment for rent" ads. Then my class tomorrow is an advanced level, and I'm planning on talking about euphemisms. Hopefully they will actually be advanced, and will be able to get into an interesting discussion about how and why we use them.

Then I'm headed to Ali's house for dinner tonight after I teach! Yum! I seriously cannot wait for this weekend. I feel like all I've done is study since I've been here, and it's very tough. I don't feel like I have a super great sense of the city at all, so I am excited to do some exploring around town on Saturday and Sunday, and hopefully get some good stories and take some pictures to show all you devoted blog readers. ;-)