Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Most unreal experience of my life

"I woke up late in the afternoon. For a second I didn't know where I was. You know how it is, when you wake up in a strange place and wonder where in the world you are, until memory comes rushing over you like a wave. I half convinced myself that I had dreamed everything that had happened the night before."

No paragraph could describe better how I feel about Argentina. A veces no puedo creer... Que yo estoy viviendo acá. En Argentina. Incredible. Que vida bella. Que suerte que yo tengo. I read that paragraph a few days ago. Its EXACTLY how I feel about exchange. I wonder a lot how I will feel when I return home. Will this whole year feel like a dream? Will I remember most of it or will I forget the places, the people, and the times I had? For right now, returning back home scares me. I have 9 months left. The first two FLEW BY. Today actually. I left Cleveland two months ago today. February 22nd, I left my home to go to Miami and then come here, to Formosa, Argentina. The fact that I only have one chance in my life to experience something like this scares me A LOT. I don't want this year to go by so fast. I want to take my time here, learn the people, the language, the culture, and everything. I wrote in my last post about how I am now able to understand so much more, I still need to improve a lot on the speaking. I don't just want to be average at spanish... I want to be fluent, amazing. I want to be able to speak this language without thinking much about it. 

Lately life here has felt so normal. I now know when I go home it will be the same as it is right now with Ohio. This will always be my other home. Beautiful little Formosa, Argentina. In this blogpost I don't really have anything exciting to tell you about that I did recently, like going to Iguazu Falls. But the thing is... I won't always be blogging about experiences like that, this whole year is amazing. Today I'm just talking about how it feels. 

Today I dreamt a little in Spanish for the first time. I came home from school at 10.30 because school was just shortened today... So I just took a siesta before lunch. I remember waking up and realizing that some of the people in my dream has spoken spanish to me. I don't remember if I had spoken spanish myself but some people spoke spanish to me. The dream was in english too. They say that dreaming in another language are the first signs to becoming fluent. I don't think I'm anywhere near fluent but there are definitely times now where I will say something to someone in spanish and not even think about what I just said. Its very bizarre because I never thought my brain could work that way or even comprehend learning another language, but it does! SO I AM PUMPED. In 9 months... I pray that I will be fluent. A year in Argentina= hopefully equals fluent? Un-known right now?!... Just wishing :) The thing about being exchange students is there are three types of exchange students:
1. The student who actually studies the verbs and language well abroad and reads grammar books like 501 verbs, etc.
2. The student who tries to speak with anyone they can, and just learns from experience
3. The student who really doesn't accept the host countries language at all and just gives up in some sorts

I would say that I am a combination of 1 and 2. But more of 2. I really need to start being more like student 1 if I really want to become fluent faster. The frustrating thing about being here... Is that I can say so much more now but theres still so much I want to say. My host family knows no english at all, which is definitely better for learning but its harder to bond with them in the beginning because I can't really be the real me yet. The real me loves to talk and just talk and talk and talk and talk... I think my blogposts kind of reflect the real me somewhat. I write overly long blogposts! But its all good :) This one is a little shorter! 

I have to go soon.. because I'm going out to get ice cream with the other exchange students... Yes AFS= another fat student. We eat too much together. Its SCARY.

besos, cmb

P.S. to my blog readers! please write comments about what you would like to see pictures of or what you want to know about! Its very hard to write a blog and make it interesting so if you could just tell me what you like to hear about or see pictures of... I will gladly write about it! Gracias! 

fiesta (yo y florencia)

Yeah Im student number 1 here

Yeah thats my class... Just a little crazy they are! LAS AMOOO! SANTA ISABEL 6TO AÑO

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Semana Santa! Empanadas, Resistencia, Corrientes, Posadas, y Iguazu Falls

So the past week has been pretty amazing. I have been to quite a few places and done quite a few things! last wednesday Semana Santa started, it is 5 days of vacaciones in Argentina for Pascua (Easter). Last wednesday my host family and I packed up the car and started driving. First we stopped in Resistencia which is a city about 2 and a half hours away from Formosa. We stayed there the night with my host mother's sister. It was nice because this week I really am starting to feel like I can understand a lot thats going on, and what people are talking about. I don't feel so lost at dinner anymore when my family is talking. I can talk somewhat now too. I feel more included and less alone which is amazing. I never am alone here but I feel alone sometimes because I can't say what I want all the time and I really enjoy talking and explaining myself. Anyone that knows me in the USA will tell you... I talk nonstop. I really need to shut up sometimes but I can't, I enjoy conversation too much. The past month and a half I have had a lot of me, myself and I time. But thats okay, I needed to experience that, gave me time to think. Now I am starting to get frustrated with school though because I want to learn and understand. This week I am actually going to take my 501 Spanish verbs to school... And get cracking on the ol'books and just study! PORQUE YO QUIERO HABLAR MAS FLUIDA! jajajaj Okay so back to Semana Santa. The next day we stopped in Corrientes for a few hours because they have more family there, its another nice city, much bigger than Formosa. Many people from Formosa go to Corrientes for weekend shopping trips because they have many stores there. Everyone from Formosa is obsessed with the McDonalds in Corrientes. I haven't had fast food in almost two months... Which is interesting. Not all americans eat McDonalds all the time, I don't but I definitely eat it with my friends so its a little weird to think I haven't had peanut butter, panera bread or chipotle.
After Corrientes, we drove a few hours to Posadas which is the capitol of the province, Misiones. Misiones is where Iguazu Falls is!
(in red Misiones! Puerto Iguazu... Is Iguazu Falls :)

Posadas was a very nice city. We stayed there for a day and I quite enjoyed it!
Below are pictures from Posadas

(My host sister and I in front of our hotel)

(Fountain in the plaza)

every person is a world

I just really loved the quote

My host parents in front of this beautiful church that was in the plaza

Then Friday morning we woke up and started the drive to Puerto Iguazu! We stopped in this place... And I can say I honestly say that I don't remember the name at all which is really horrible and I would ask my host family but at the moment I am the only one at home so sorry guys you won't know the name of the place I'm about to show you! Okay so all la tierra (earth, ground) in Misiones is red. Red dirt. It is everywhere now... On all my shoes... They are all stained red from the earth. The water is red in the rivers! Look at these pictures its pretty weird! We stopped for lunch at this place. We had a picnic :) 
Told you the earth was red there!

My host sister, mom, and I

AHORA IGUAZU. This is seriously the most beautiful place I have ever seen.... There are no words to do this place justice. Just pictures. Go see it in person. You will fall in love with the beauty of it :) Promise. 

Beautiful... I know right?

Doesn't get much more magical then a rainbow haha


So that was my trip. It was 6 days (I got to miss school on monday). I enjoyed it and had a very good time and now I can say that I've seen a true natural beauty! Fue hermosa! If you ever get the chance to come to Argentina... Iguazu is a must! Its hard to understand its beauty until you see it for yourself. Its like Niagra Falls but 20 or 30 times bigger... SO GO. DALE. 

I haven't talked much about food. Food in Argentina. Its so delicious. I am in LOVE with the food. Its so good. Empanadas are a very traditional argentine food. What are empanadas? Definition- Latin-American turnover with a flaky crust and a spicy or sweet filling. 
They are so delicious. Here are some pictures of me making them with my host sister! MUY RICO

Carne y huevos... Meat and eggs

finished product!

This trip was wonderful but the crazy thing is I was happy when we were pulling into Formosa. I said to myself "I'm happy I'm going home." Formosa is finally a second home to me. Formosa mi hermosa. I love this little city and my life here! I will post in the next week or two about something... Unsure yet! But something :) Besos! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

long time... no blog!

Okay so I feel really bad that I haven't blogged in so long! Its been almost a month! Before I went on exchange and was reading other exchange student's blogs I never understand why it would take them so long to update their blogs. I finally know! Life is so busy here, and even when you aren't busy you don't exactly feel like posting because you want your readers to be left with something good, not some super short, hey things have been good. Today I feel like I owe my readers a good blog post. I am going to tell you how I feel after being here for a month. I left my family in Cleveland, February 22nd, 2012. Today is April 2nd, 2012. I am mind blown. This has been the fastest month of my life. Explaining what time is like on exchange is impossible, unless you have been or are an exchange student. Before I went on exchange I had heard "Fastest year of my life", "Best year of my life", "Best decision I have ever made." All these things so far have proven to be true even though I have only been here for a month. I already know that I have a little less then 10 months here. How is that even possible? I was leaving yesterday. But the weird thing about it, is that I feel like I have been in Formosa for longer than a month, like I have known a lot of these people, and this little city for a long time. This is a small little city, I love it. I can walk everywhere, or take a bus or taxi and I'm wherever in 10 minutes. Its starting to feel normal to be here. I still haven't completely realized I'm here though. Sometimes I'll be walking to school or out to meet someone, and I just start thinking "Wait... I'm in Argentina. I live in Argentina." Its pretty bizarre to think now that I have two lives. I have two families, two schools, and now many groups of friends. I love my friends here, especially the other exchange students. I feel so normal when I'm with them because we can talk about anything together and we all feel the same things. You could literally have nothing in common with someone but as long as you both are exchange students, you could talk for hours with them. One of my favorite past times here in Argentina is skyping with other exchange students, like Leah Sharaby who's in Italy or Danny Schur who's in South Africa. Its so amazing that we're all in different parts of the world, and experiencing different cultures but yet we can talk for hours just about that... Life on exchange. What's it like? Unless you do it, you will never know.

I want to tell you about why I write this blog. I do not write this blog for my family and friends, though I know they do read it, and it is an easy way for them to hear about Argentina. But the reason I chose to begin a blog was for kids who want to go on exchange or who are thinking about it. Reading blogs before I came herenreally helped me decide about where I wanted to go, or give me a little glimpse of how I would maybe feel as an American on exchange. It made me more excited to go on exchange.

Spanish... Lets talk about languages. This is one thing that made me want to hyperventilate and curl up into a ball when I thought about it before I got here. I haven't had Spanish in school since June 2011. So I was pretty worried because I knew my Spanish would be rocky. People tell me everyday now that I understand so much better than I did when I first got here and then I can express myself better too. I can have conversations with people in Spanish now. I laugh and have a good time, and understand so much more now. But I am definitely not fluent at all. I have so much more to learn. I am hoping that maybe in August I'll understand almost everything in school.

School. Now that is the hardest place to understand people besides parties because my class is crazy. They yell all the time but I love them though, too many people talk at once. The teachers talk so fast. I literally stare at the wall for like 5 hours a day... Its my place for thinking. I do copy all the notes though, and for some classes I do the work. For example I did the questions and reading for sociology and politics all by myself. I was very proud of myself when I did that because I understood the papers and notes. I am proud of myself when I do things on my own or understand something I never thought I could. This weekend I took a taxi by myself for the first time. I told the taxi driver where I wanted to go and paid the right amount and got to the right place. I felt happy because I was independent in another country with another language, in a place I don't know well. I think now it'll be pretty easy to go to college. Going to college can't compare to study abroads at all. In both you leave your family and go out into the world on your own. But they're different.
1. Right now I am in high school. I am not legally an adult and I already have taken the step to go out into the world on my own
2. Generally people go to college in their own country... I am currently in another country
3. I am in a country, where the culture is completely different and the language is too

What I just said proves that going away to another country when you are in high school is a million times harder than going to college in your own country. Both are big steps in an exchange students life, but nothing compares to this year. I know that the rest of my life I will look back on this year and never regret leaving my small town and missing out on one year of high school.

I do miss my family and friends at home a lot though. Sometimes I just wish I could talk to my mom but she isn't on Skype or I really wish I could see my dogs (Murphy and Libby) and just pet them. Or sit at my dinning room table with my parents eating something American. Its also hard because I know things are going on in my best friends lives too. One of my best friends just got accepted to New York University! I'm so proud of you Megan! I really wish we could hangout and just talk about life and you going to college in August!
And then when I Skype with one of my other best friends, Amanda, I just want to hangout and go for a drive, blast the music, and go out. I miss going out to eat with my best friends or even just watching movies. Its hard for me because I know things are happening in Ohio while my life is happening here. I realize that my life will never be the same again. I will never return to the person I was before I left for Argentina. I also realize that when I leave Argentina, I will never be able to return to this year in my life. I have one chance, one year, to experience all I can. To meet new people, learn a new language, eat new foods, and just live my life. All these things are somewhat sad but I don't regret leaving everything I know to come here. I am very happy right now. I do stuff everyday. I go out with the other exchange students, or out with my host sister. I go to parties, or out to eat at Santino (a lot with Lorena... and Grido... guilty ice cream pleasure). I just hangout and talk with other people. I learn so many new things everyday about myself and about Argentina. I even have learned new things about the United States also. I have learned to appreciate my own country more. I realize I would never want to be born in any other country. I love the United States, its history, what it represents, and its people. Now I have another country I can call home too. Argentina has stolen my heart. I have fallen in love with this country in just a short month. Its so different. The people here are so nice and accepting. The language is beautiful. The history is beautiful also.
 Today is the 30 year anniversary of the start of the war with Las Malvinas or the Falkland Islands. Argentina and England have been on bad terms for 30 years now because the English took Las Malvinas, and claimed them as their own. The English have a serious problem and obsession with taking other countries land... Just saying! Today we don't have school because of this, which is nice but its for a sad reason because many have died in this war. I only have two days of school this week because of Semana Santa (Easter). Starting Wednesday I will travel with my host family to Resistencia, Corrientes, and Iguazu Falls. I am pretty excited because I haven't seen much of Argentina yet! AHHH IGUAZU FALLS!

Yep above is a picture of Iguazu Falls... You can see why I'm pretty pumped to be going there. If there was a way to describe how beautiful this is. You just wouldn't describe it because its so beautiful. A description can't do this justice.

I will be posting in a week or two about my trip there with my host family!

So a few weeks ago was my 17th birthday. It was actually one of the harder days for me here. I really missed my family and friends. My host family was very nice though! They made me an asado and a cake made of dulce de leche. The food was amazing. But I just wanted to be with my own family in my own house that day. But its just a birthday. They don't matter because I didn't do anything special... I just lived another year! Todo bien! I am living my dream right now aren't I? I live in Argentina, thats the thing that made the day okay for me. Whenever I feel sad or want to go home, I remember that right now I'm living my dream, the thing I wished for when I turned 16. Yep no joke. When I turned 16, I blew out the candle and wished for Argentina.

(Gennaro, the exchange student from Italy and I)

Pool and terere

(Lorena, exchange student from Norway)

Mi cumple

Other exchange students and a few friends

Classmate, Belen, and I after school at lunch with the girls 

I promise I'll try to get better at posting more often! I will soon about my trip next week! Besos,