So I went at 10:30 in the morning for my swim test on Saturday. I was told that I would swim for the coach for 30 minutes. However, I ended up not leaving until 1 in the afternoon! My lovely brother waited for me the whole time.
The coach had me swim a little then the rest of the team came for practice from 11-1. They did a warm up then started to work on their turns. I was doing my own set of butterfly and I tried not to hit them… instead, I accidentally hit my fingers and wrist off the wall. It was all red and would not stop bleeding but I kept going. When I got home, I told my mama that a wild dog in the streets bit me… she freaked out. After I told her that I was just kidding, she did not think it was very funny! Haha
The team consists of 14 guys and 3 girls… now, 4 girls which is good because it makes an all girl relay! The pool is probably about 10 or 15 degrees warmer to what I am used to working out in… the walls are slippery… the starting blocks are sooooo much smaller than the pool I practice in at the US… and ALL the boys wear speedos! Besides all the changes, it is still an opportunity to improve myself as a swimmer.
They have a swim meet on Saturday. The coach invited me to come because he thinks that it will help me become more accustomed to swimming here and it will allow me to have more bonding time with the team. I think that I will be swimming as an independent just for this meet. I cannot wait until I am a true member of the team because I would love to earn them points.
After swimming, mama and papa took me to a place approximately an hour from my house. It is in the northern part of Argentina and there is definitely an elevation change. We were going through so many villages and my papa would name every village. I really enjoy how they are willing to spend so much time with me and show me more of their land and culture. We went to Purmamarca which has the mountains of 7 colors. They are absolutely beautiful! I also saw native people there selling things they made… such as, jewelry, clothing, and cactus merchandise… Yes, cactus turns into this wood like material… I saw many boxes and statues made of cactus. I also went to two churches there and they had cactus roofing and cactus church pews!
As I passed through the villages, I saw many cemeteries! However, these were not just tombstones on a patch of grass…they were on a mountain and instead of stones, they had small house like looking structures. It is common here for cemeteries to be on hills or mountains because they says that they are closer to God.
As we left the one village, we pulled off to the side of the road so I could take a picture. A lady and 2 girls ran up to our car and gave us these necklaces made of seeds from a tree. The necklaces said remember Maimara… Maimara is the name of their town. Then, they also handed us their address and asked us to send them clothes… second hand clothes… they did not care… they just need clothes. I felt so bad that I wanted to give them the clothes I had even though I did not come with a lot. No… they did not have money for the clothes… and in some of the villages they do not even have cars… no stores either. We passed a lady outside that was tending after sheep… yes, she was a shepherdess. My parents told me that was her job… all day long, she just watched them.
Sunday I skyped with my grandparents! They were amazed that they could actually see my face. I miss them a lot! I was also able to skype with my sister, Eli, and Gillian! I love Skype Sundays!
Also on Sunday, I went with my mom, her friend, and my dad to a place that I would compare to a flea market. They sold mainly second-hand clothes and food like fruits and vegetables. However, the clothes were from America! They had brands such as… Columbia, Abercrombie, St. John Bay, American Eagle, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Adidas… and many other labels. They even had shirts like Seniors ‘05... Or “Get Lucky in Kentucky.” I had a great time reading all those shirts.
The Argentine people think that the prices are cheap. I disagree because you can find stuff cheaper in a thrift store in the US. Personally, I do not think the vendors know the labels because they sell the Wal-Mart brand for the same price as like AE. Regardless, I definitely had a good time. It was a great experience.
I watched the queen election on tv when I got home. They had the 50 queens, of each school in the province of Jujuy, competing to be the “Queen of Jujuy.” They crowned Miss Simpatica… Miss Elegente… 2 Dames of Honor… a 2nd princess and a 1st princess… then finally the Queen. Everyone got a crown of flowers… a sash… and a bouquet… the queen got a crown, sash, cape, and scepter! All the 50 queens from the schools were dressed in gowns, had numbers pinned on them like a beauty pageant, and they did the “princess wave.”
I guess I am lame since I did not go to see the Queen Election. But, it is different for me.. I am not really into it. Everyone here watches it either in person or on television. For them, it is a big deal but I could care less. However, it is a good learning experience and nice to know that all ages show interest in it.
I will post some pictures soon!