Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me! I need a job! ...and other random thoughts

Wow! I am the worst blogger ever! Sorry, everyone. Clearly my mind has been elsewhere. And you know how when things just pile up, and the thought of having to catch up on so much makes you want to do even less, not more? Yes, I am suffering from that phenomenon. The shear amount of things that have happened over the past few weeks have made me hide from my blog. I will take this one step (ahem, blog entry) at a time.

So alas, if you want to hear about my fabulous 3 day weekend in Mendoza (yes, it was fabulous!), you will have to wait for a future post, unfortunately! (sneak peak: it involved a bicycle tour, lots of amazing views, and of course a ton of delicious Malbec!)

Anyway! Last Thursday was my 21st- ahem, 28th-- birthday! Woopie! Yay, I'm old! No really, I'm starting to worry about wrinkles, my metabolism is slowing down, more and more people are asking why I'm not married with babies, and I'm only 2 short years away from 30! I even said the word "blouse" the other day! Who says that under the age of 50?! One foot in the grave! AWESOME!

Luckily, you amazing friends and family helped me keep it together. Throughout the week (and still trickling in this week) I have been inundated with snail mail. Thank you all so much! Especially you, Mom, who managed to send me I think 5 separate letters! No really, the door man thinks I'm crazy. When I finally introduced myself to him yesterday, he said, "Oh YOU'RE the girl who gets all the mail!" Yes, I'm famous, and I appreciate it! My room is filled with cards. :-)

I admit that I did spent the first several hours of my birthday being fairly miserable. I suffered through an extreme case of the "what-am-I-doing-with-my-life" syndrome, and worried about finding a job (ugh), feeling fat (anorexia, anyone? this country is so skinny and vain it could make a pig stop eating), making friends, having enough money, being a good teacher, and just generally wondering why exactly I decided at 27 years old to uproot myself again, change careers, change COUNTRIES, cultures, habits, lifestyles, diets, and environments, and go off on such an uncertain adventure.

Don't worry-- I know what I'm doing is awesome. I mean, I'm in Argentina. It's interesting and fun here, and I'm finding that teaching is rewarding, creative, and right up my alley. BUT!

Finding a job here has been a nightmare, I'm not gonna lie. I am currently working only 6 hours a week, for $28 pesos/ hour. By my calculations (do do do do doooo) I'm making approximately... NOTHING!!! Yes, I have financial woes, and I need another job. I've been looking diligently for jobs and networking like crazy, and there are definitely some leads and possibilities out there for me, but it's been a long and frustrating process.

Ooohh but the students I DO have are some real gems. You're gonna love this. Remember your friend Erica who doesn't know anything about kids? Yeah, I'm teaching them. A 5 year old boy and his 8 year old sister and her friend, no less! Yep! And the 8 year old girls only want to learn lyrics to High School Musical songs (I can now sing several of them, but we will never speak of this again), and the 5 year old boy only wants to jump on the bed, dump his toys on the floor, and throw his trucks around. OH MAN! Did I really sign up for this? But beggers can't be choosers (they're paying me, after all), and I'm actually surprising myself to find that even though the kids can be total nightmares, I actually don't want to dropkick them. I actually kind of like them. Wow, I really am getting old.

I have some adult students too, but they don't make for such fun stories. :-)

Oh yes, so back to my birthday! I bought myself a lovely plant, a jasmine that will supposedly bloom sometime in April. The jasmine's name is Flor. I saw a great aloe at a shop down the street that I plan to buy this week, too. The aloe's name will be Máximo.

Here is Flor, hamming it up for the camera on my balcony:

Anyway, Thursday night (birthday night), 4 of my wonderful lady friends took me out to a fabulous dinner at a pricey and fancy restaurant in Belgrano (one of the most upscale neighborhoods of BA) called Sucre. Known for its wine list, we enjoyed several glasses of the finest, and I also put away a plate of white salmon with shitake mushroom sauce and cauliflower mash that was to die for!

Before (Exhibit A):

After (Exhibit B):

We also had some chocolate lava cake smothered in the best thing on earth, dulce de leche, and of course, some champagne.

Here's the birthday girl:

We then headed back to my neighborhood of San Telmo to a fun ex-pat bar called the Red Door where a bunch of other friends met up with me for chili bombs (recommended- chili pepper vodka dropped into a Red Bull and then chugged), beers, and a few games of pool. Needless to say, I was out until about 5:00am. Oh, Argentina!

Here's me with 2 of my favorite BA boys:

And with most of my favorite BA women (with a few key omissions):

Anyway, don't ask me how, but I somehow managed to wake up the next day and plan a lesson for a new student studying for the TOEFL exam, and then execute said lesson for 2 hours in the afternoon. Go me! At which point, running on no sleep and completely dehydrated, I returned home and prepared for round 2 of the birthday festivities! A group dinner at Cheff Iusef, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Palermo, followed by general shenanigans.

Friday's dinner was superb! I had a reservation for 10, but more and more people kept showing up, and by the end of the meal I think there were 18 of us. They kept adding tables and chairs until the restaurant literally ran out! Anyway, we dined on hummus, falafel, chicken, and lamb (don't worry, Mom, I didn't eat any lamb), and plenty of Heinekens. It really was a phenomenal meal, and I'd recommend the restaurant. Here we all are (I'm way in the back of the picture!):

And here's me enjoying it all! (And no, that is not a bruise on my arm, it's a lipstick kiss from Victoria)

We then went on to drink litros of cerveza out of plastic bags in the middle of Plaza Serrano, headed out for a drink at some random overpriced bar in Palermo, and then headed to... a gay bar! It was called Sitges, and it was phenomenal. $25 pesos for all you can drink, and the company was lovely! The remaining group of us danced all night quite literally. As in, I got home after 7:30am! (There is nothing quite like passing by cafes serving coffee and medialunas to people for breakfast as you walk home from the nightclub...)

Needless to say, I was a total waste of space for the rest of the weekend, and did nothing but sleep. But it was worth it. I am now in full detox mode and have vowed not to drink for at least a week. Not a drop. My poor, elderly liver deserves it.

So that is the tale of my birthday shenanigans! It was a lot of fun, and I'm very appreciative of my friends here in Buenos Aires who helped make it special. Obviously, I missed my friends back home TREMENDOUSLY, and it would have been even better with you guys here. I got pretty homesick around my birthday, and really wanted a good old fashioned hug from my family members and my close friends. But I got through it, and I do feel lucky to have people in my life here who helped make it special.

More later. SO MUCH MORE. I have about 500 million other topics to cover, and I'm determined to get to them all eventually! But I am teaching tomorrow morning (my student and I are going to learn all about phrasal verbs!), so I need to get my beauty rest.


PS. Side note: Mullets are considered cool here in Argentina. So if you have one, you should totally come here, because then you'll be cool. You should also dread your mullet, because apparently that is cool here too. Or just shave off all your hair except for one little rat tail, and you'll STILL be cool. You can even dread THAT and be cool. Basically, any haircut you can think of is cool here. Except for like, normal ones.

The end.


David Levin said...

Wow. Sounds like an awesome time! I'm glad so many people were able to come out on your bday... you've made like a million and one new friends in the last month!

atown said...

First, I have never seen a dreaded mullet. How in holy hell does that work?

Second, I am dying to see you teaching little kiddies!

Hi, I'm Erica. said...

I will take a picture of a dreaded mullet and post it! Promise. OMG they are amazing.

Lexie said...

Oh I'm glad you had a happy birthday! You sound like you are having so much fun I am totally jealous!