Argentina Interim Trip 2008 Updates
Class was held this morning for the last time. We had a goodbye luncheon and prizes were awarded. We also celebrated the 17th birthday of E. S. and we surprised her with a cake, dulce de leche, what else? ( a favorite Argentine birthday cake). Nobody wants to come home. Prediction: many will return to Buenos Aires during college when they do a semester (year?) abroad. The nice thing is that many of the students will already have a senora, (and familia) waiting for them here to welcome them back. It has been a wonderful experience. Tonite we board our flight and head North...
Yesterday we went to a Latin American art museum, and I think everyone would agree that it was the best one. It had art from Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and lots of other really famous artists. After that we went to a really nice mall and got to shop for a few hours. Today is our last day and everyone is really sad that we have to go. We've had a lot of fun here and gotten to know our families (and each other) really well. Buenos Aires is so different from Houston that now I can't really imagine what it's going to be like when we get back. Today in class I think we get to finally try mate, a really popular strong tea that a lot of people drink down here. This trip has been awesome, and I think I speak for everyone when I say we should have stayed a lot longer!
Tuesday, January 22nd
Today in Buenos Aires, we had another fabulous day of learning and cultural emersion. Contrary to most days, we actually started today out with our cultural excursion and ended our evening with Spanish class. Our day began by going to the Botanical Garden of Buenos Aires. Famous for its many different types of trees, flaura, and fauna, the garden was constructed by the French architect, Carlos Thays. It was also funny to see a lot of stray cats in the garden. We later learned that the cats keep coming back, because the gardens visitors give them food. The garden was absolutely beautiful, and it was such a treat that we had such lovely weather for the visit.
After coming back from lunch, we went to Spanish class in the evening. In class, we continued to watch "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in Spanish, improving our listening comprehension with each scene of the movie. We continued to play Pictionary, where everyone learned a lot of new vocabulary while getting to bond with our friends in the game.
Today was a relaxing day, but as we get closer to finishing the trip, everyone is getting a little sad about having to leave.
Argentina has been such a fabulous experience and opportunity for everyone. I am so honored that I could get to come here and grow as a student, a Spanish speaker, and as an individual. After 2 and a half weeks here, we have all improved so much in our Spanish, and we look forward to coming home and making As (hopefully!!) in Spanish Class. From here on out, we can only improve in Spanish, and I am so glad that I could have this opportunity.
The past three days have been full of activities. On Friday we went to La Tierra Santa. There we went around and looked at the major points throughout Jesus’ life and watched a middle eastern dance. The following day we went to an Estancia, which is like a country club ranch. There we were able to go horseback riding, play frisbee, and swim. It was very pretty there. CA
Today's weather was perfect! Because it rained a couple days ago, the weather has been cool and breezy throughout the entire day. In class, we're really learning how to 'fit in' with the Argentines. We've learned some commonly known phrases and, today, we learned hand gestures. We've also been learning about Argentina's entertainment: today, we finished a popular movie, 'Valentin', and have been singing popular songs.
During our excursion, we visited the Plaza de Mayo, the plaza right in front of the Casa Rosada. This was our second visit to the plaza; we went to see Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. These women are mostly mothers who walk around the Plaza lost sons, husbands, or brothers during the military government in the 1970s. They walked around the Plaza originally in protest, but now they walk in remembrance of their loved ones every Thursday. After spending some time there, we went for a bit of shopping. We first walked down a street with stores and street vendors, and then moved onto a popular shopping mall, The Galleria. We all had a lot of fun looking through the Argentine stores!
Today was an unusual day, schedule-wise, but the weather was perfect. The Spanish class times were the same, but we had to bring a lunch with us to eat at the ISA building. In Spanish class, we read a scary story and watched some more of Valentín. After lunch, several of us went down to a delicious pastelería on the same block and bought desert.
Afterwards, we headed to the Natural Science Museum. We starting by first looking at shells and rocks and fish, but once we reached the dinosaur room, my eyes were popping out of my head. I was amazed at what I saw. I'd always known dinosaurs were big, but these bones were massive. The T-Rex skull was almost as wide as I am tall, and one of the backbones of a different but even bigger dinosaur was taller than me and about three times as wide. The Blue Whale skull could have housed a large family.
We were driven home and fed, and then we all had to be back to ISA by 7:45 to see a tango show at the famous and 150-year-old Café Tortoni. We were lead into the back room of the restaurant where four musicians - pianist, violinist, accordionist, base guitarist - stood on a small stage. We ordered deserts and drinks, and then the show started.
At times it was just instruments, other times a singer joined them, and at regular intervals, the tango dancers performed. The dancers were impressive, their feet tapping an intricate but graceful pattern on the floor, and the musicians, especially the pianist and the accordionist, played beautifully. The singer was my least favorite part, not because he was bad, but simply because he wasn't as good. Even the lighting of the show was dramatic, with men in the back focusing a beam of light on the main performer as the rest of the room grew dark towards the end of each song. It was late by the time we got home, but the show was worth it. - AKTH
January 15, 2008
The day was hot to begin with as we walked to school. In class we researched Argentinean artists, such as Raul Soldi, and we continued watching the movie Valetine. In groups of two we came up with hypothetical inventions, which we explained to the class, half of the inventions had to do with cars. Although three groups went separate ways when we headed home for lunch, all stopped in the tempting bakeries. At three in the afternoon we got on the subway, quickly arriving near the zoo. We took a quick tour of the reptile house before buying cold water and hot sodas. We then dispersed, as different people made seeing different animals priorities. There were penguins and polar bears, lions and tigers, and camels and giraffes. There were llamas and alpacas--yes, there is a difference. All over the zoo there were small jack rabbit like animals running around as well as various types of big and small birds. The zoo was different from that of Houston because of the close proximity of the fences and glass to the paths. At the white tiger habitat, one of the tigers placed its paws cautiously on the side of the glass and peered curiously at its observers. Despite the heat, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves very much.
January 14, 2008
Today was our first ´typical day´ with classes in the morning and an activity in the afternoon. In class we learned a popular song by Diego Torres and watched an Argentinean movie called Valentín. Next we learned how to make mate, Argentinean green tea. After class we went home to have lunch with our families, then returned at 2:45 PM for our afternoon activity. First we took a tour through the Japanese gardens. The gardens were beautiful! They had different kinds of trees, little hedges and statues everywhere, and a big lake with many fish. The tour guide explained all the Japanese words in Spanish, which was a little confusing! The Japanese gardens were a peaceful place to spend the afternoon. After touring the gardens we walked to a place where you can rent boats. We rented paddleboats in groups of two and played bumper boats! It was really fun, but tiring in the heat. Today was another great day in Argentina! Hasta luego!
Today was probably the most scenic day we have had yet. We were all ready by 9:25 AM in front of the school and that is when we headed towards El Tigre, a delta along El Rio de Plata. This is a river that runs from the Andes Mountains to Argentina. In order to reach our destination, El Tigre, we had to take a boat and we could feel the rapid and high waves as well as the immense amount of greenery. With the river right next to us, none of us ever felt too hot because a slight breeze would come through. We experienced an amazing lunch full of all sorts of meat, an intense game of ultimate frisbee, and probably the most memorable of all was the one hour long hike. It was a surprise to most of us, espeically to those who were in shorts, flip flops, or a skirt. It started out flat as flat and easy, but as time continued, we were covered in mosquitoes, dirt, and mud. Most of us can now say that we have successfully hiked a difficult trail in just flip flops. However what followed was a treat. Along the river were hammocks where each student could relax. The scenery was what we see in the movies...it was absolutely gorgeous. It was obvious that no one wanted to leave, especially after having a snack that consisted of coffee and tea and assorted sweet breads. It was wonderful to go to a place so far away and so beautiful and experience it fully. El Tigre has been one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. Until next time, Adios!
Day 2: Uruguay
Today we took an all-day trip by boat to Uruguay. The boat ride was long, and because we arrived an hour early, we were on it for a total of about four hours. It became a bonding time for all of us. After landing, we went to "an estancia" in Colonia, Uruguay. There, we ate our lunch and took a tour of the collections. There was everything: key chains, ashtrays, plastic cards (hotel, credit, etc.), pins, pencils, everything! Afterwards, we took a short bus tour of the city. When we finished, we walked through some of Colonia. It was absolutely beautiful. The day was nice, and with the streets paved with bricks, it was the ideal little town. After touring, we went back to the ship for another long voyage. We exited the "buquebus" and piled into the minibus to go home. All of us were very tired for it had been an incredibly fun, but long, day. -L.K.
Hello from everyone here in Argentina! Our flight here was excellent, if not a little long, but most everything went according to plan. When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by our most handsome guides Federico and Cynthia. They took us to the "Escuela" where we ate some common Argentine food and got a chance to meet everyone. We then went to the houses of our host families to eat dinner, clean up, and rest for the long day ahead. The next day, we got up and went to school for the first time. After four not so bad hours of class, we took our first cultural visit. Everyone rode on a bus to a district closer to the center of Buenos Aires. There we saw a huge monument, visited the tomb of Eva Peron, and toured an art museum. It was one very packed day, yet a great adventure and a great opportunity to learn about not only general Spanish but Argentine culture as well. ¡Adios y hasta luego!