Tuesday, December 28, 2010

baby birth?!

I have been so busy and having so much fun that it is hard to find time to write… but I know everyone is SUPER excited to hear about my crazy life here so I will keep writing!

Christmas Eve… I went with my mama during the hospital during the day. I put on the operating room garb, a mask and shoe covers. Then, I headed into the operating room with her, another doctor, an anesthesiologist and four nurses and the patient. My mama is a gyno/delivery room doctor. She invited me to watch a cesarean! The girl was only 19 years old and she was so tiny that a cesarean was her only option. As she came into the operating room, I could see the look of terror on her face… she was obviously very scared and I do not blame her. I surely admire her courage for being so young and preparing for the biggest change of her life. I will basically summarize what happened. She was given an IV and a shot in her spine. Then they put up sheets on her and a sheet up so that she could not see them operating on her. My mom then took the knife and cut her open… the skin cut so easily. I eventually saw my mom break her water… it was basically like a water fall and they had a tube to suck the water out so it would not go all over the floor. I saw a head of a baby boy… and I got tears in my eyes! It was even more touching when I saw the two nurses showing the mom her new baby! Giving birth is truly a miracle and such a blessing. Now I understand why guys cry when they become fathers. Then, my mom pulled out the placenta that had the umbilical cord attached to it and she threw it in the garbage. It reminded me of a jellyfish… I still do not know entirely why. Then, my mom showed me the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries… she just pulled them out of the girl like it was nothing then shoved them back inside and sewed her up. Later on, I found out that they gauze pads are hand folded individually by a lady… they are not in pre-wrapped packages. Well… this was one of the best experiences of my life and I am so thankful that I has able to watch the miracle of life! This experience has made me want to become a nurse even more but we will see where my life will take me!

On Christmas Eve, we ate dinner a little before midnight. We had turkey, beef and potatoes. My family said that it was their first time having turkey for Christmas. I think they were trying to make me feel more at home. However, there was no tree and my family said this is the first year they did not put a tree up either. The only Christmas decoration was a little santa that sticks to the window and sings “Jingle Bells” but only the 1st line and it repeats 3 times in the most annoying voice ever… IN ENGLISH! My parents were kidding with me and telling me to go from door to door and carol because people do not carol here. At midnight, we went outside and watched fireworks. Random people set off fireworks at their house for Christmas and my I heard there are even more for New Years. There were fireworks in every direction and it was absolutely beautiful watching them go off all over the city. Some of them kept going until one in the morning. I guess in past years, my brother liked to set them off. But, my Papa showed me where bricks were missing in my neighbor’s fence because of my brother…. Lets just say that all the fireworks didn’t explode in the air like they were supposed to.

Christmas, I went out at 3amwith my sister to her friend’s house…. That is right, Christmas time here is a time for family, friends and fun. Anyways, there was a little party at her house then we all went and partied on the street outside the club. My friends did not feel like paying 60 pesos to enter so we just waited until the party was over and we greeted some of our friends that were coming out. I also witnessed a horrific fight. In the middle of the street, outside the club, these guys started throwing fists. Then, of course, other guys had to join. I saw blood on the one guy’s neck and I grabbed onto my friend because I was actually pretty scared. Then, the police came in with masks, shields and nightsticks to break it up. The one kid would not stop throwing punches so the police had to crack him really hard on the back of the neck and head with his nightstick. I never seen so many policemen… let alone with shields! After they broke the fight up, nothing really happened. The guys did not even get any type of punishment… now I understand why there are so many fights here!

My brother’s girlfriend gave me a shirt for Christmas which was very thoughtful. It was writing in English but it really does not make sense. My “aunt” got me a figurine of two people dancing the tango and she still thinks my name is Carla. My parents got me a nice black dress that I plan on wearing for New Years.

I HAVE BEEN HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE! My host sister is home from college on break and so I have been able to meet all of her friends. They are a little older than me and around my sister’s age back home. I love actually hanging out with people here that can drive! I have had so much fun the past few days cursing in the cars and trucks. Sadly, we end up trying to jam way too many people in a vehicle that only seats half the people that we want to go. I was able to meet my sister’s friend that was an exchange student in Belgium and she is an absolutely wonderful person. In her car, she makes sure everyone wears a seatbelt. I have been getting home around 8 in the morning and that is normal for me now. Before, I would stay up until 3 and be dead tired now I can stay up even longer… my immunity is built up but I will definitely need a few weeks to adjust to not staying up all night back home! The other night, well morning, we were hanging out with my sister’s friends and they started arguing. THEY ARGUED FOR 3 HOURS. I was basically in tears. I hate arguing… let alone in Spanish?! The one kid was complaining out how he does not like the President because she does not do anything to help the middle class. But my sister was trying to point out that if it wasn’t for his mom, he would not be middle class. Right now, he is about 22 years old… he doesn’t go to school or work… and his mom has a job but his dad is a drunk and just gets luck gambling at the casino. My sister says that he needs to learn from his dad. Then they started arguing about he casino, so I laid my head on the table and fell asleep.

I love it here how teenagers do not have jobs… they tell me that it is because there are not a lot of jobs. That may be true but I think it is also the way their culture is. Parents just give their kids money… they are NOT learning how to manage money. Most of them end up sending the money on cigarettes and alcohol at parties. Parents support their kids financially until they get their own job. Do not get me wrong, sometimes that is the case back home too but most of the time, the kids get their own jobs to help out financially.

My sister’s one friend keeps calling me a Yankee… it makes me laugh. They all think that I am so odd because I do not drink alcohol. They said that all the other exchange students drank that I am the first one who does not drink or smoke. My brother’s friends said the same thing. They said that some exchange students came and did not drink a lot but they were drunks by the time they left and they said that would be the same with me. I told them no and I know I will prove them wrong. Legally, I am allowed to drink since I am 18 years old… I could easily walk into the grocery store and choose any type of alcohol I would ever desire. But, I have fun without it and I refuse to waste my money on it when I do not even like it. Also, I am not supposed to because it is a regulation of my exchange program. However, that does not stop the other kids, As for me, I play mom and I take care of everyone because some people still do not know their limit.

I am loving summer vacation…
I have about a month more before I have to go back to school.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful CHRISTMAS!
Take Care!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Life has been pretty eventful here…

I will start off by saying that today I was locked out of my house for about half an hour. I went to swim practice…we are swimming in an outside pool now so I am getting tanner faster! The pool is not very clean and sometimes has a green tint but it is cheaper than swimming inside. The one day the water was below my knees in the shallow end and I banged my head off the bottom of the pool doing a flip turn. Thankfully, the water was higher today so I was able to do flip turns! Anyways, I came back to a house with only one car outside and music was blaring inside. My mom, dad, and brother all were gone in their cars. I hoped that my younger brother was inside but I knew that he probably went to play paddle. Also, another clue is… every time music is blaring, they are trying to pretend someone is home. I was not very happy… I wish that I had a house key but I know that will never happen.

On a happier note, I got a letter from the post office today that I have a package to pick up tomorrow! I think it is from my parents… I am pretty excited!

Also, I would like to say that I miss my chiropractor very much! My back has been hurting pretty bad so I cannot wait to go visit him when I get home. My knee has been hurting pretty bad too… It sucks getting old! Just kidding.

This past Friday, we said goodbye to my oldest brother. He is going to the USA for a few months to visit all the exchange students that used to live in his house. My mama was really emotional and we were able to watch him get on the plane and watch the plane take off! I wish we could still do that now but after 9-11, they stopped that. But, I guess it is a good thing because then it is a lot more secure! Two nuns were on his flight… one in white and one in black. He called us when he got to the capital of Argentina and told us that he helped the one nun and carried some of her bags because she wanted to stay with him. My brother is so helpful! Anyways, I do believe that he is having a fun time. He was really excited about going to NYC and going to the huge toy store there. He knew about that giant piano that you could play with your feet… I forgot about that until he reminded me. I find it funny that foreign people love NYC, Florida and California so much! I enjoyed the drive to the airport because the highway had traffic going on the right and traffic coming on the left… but, cars on the right would pass and pray to God that they would not crash into cars coming on the left. I cannot wait to go home and have nice paved roads… I miss them. The bumpy car rides and bus rides hurt my neck.

So… the next upcoming school year, I will probably not be switching schools like I wanted to. My friend is going to stay at the school that I planned on going to and he says that it would be bad for our Spanish if we were in the same school since we would just speak Spanish. It kind of made me mad because I was planning on transferring and he was going to transfer as well… but now, I cannot because the school is so small and he is not changing. I really wanted to go there because it is a private school but exchange students do not have to pay. Now, I go to a public school but it is one of the best in Argentina and like I said before, you have to take a huge test to get accepted into it. So, it would be in my best interest to not switch to another public school because they are not as good and they are a lot poorer. I just hope that next year, I will like my school more…

I am convinced that endangering the welfare of a child is not important at all here… I wish it was a law here! Haha… I see too many infants and toddlers riding in the front passenger seats with someone or alone… no cars seat or seatbelt either sometimes. I especially love when I see a toddler in between his parents on a motorcycle with NO HELEMT! Sometimes the driver is wearing one, but the rest of his family isn’t. I get really mad when I see a guy with a helmet and a girl behind him without one.

Also, I am sick of Mama saying how medical care here is equal to back home. IT ISN’T! The medicine is not as strong here… I have nothing against their medical care, it is wonderful for them. But, it is not the same as back home. Mama says that we do not do enough in the states for prevention. Everyone here has those scars on their arms from shots. My real mom said that they used to do that many years ago back home. I feel like I am living life that my grandparents would have lived when they were younger. I still have those marks on my skin… some have gone away but some new ones have showed up. I need some hardcore medicine! Haha… I am sick of using multipurpose medicine because it is not working for me.

I bought chapstick the other day… it was made in New Jersey in about 2006! It made me laugh… haha also, there are many shirts here that are written in English. Sometimes, my friends have shirts on and they ask me to translate it for them into Spanish. I wonder… why would you buy it if you do not know what it says?! I read two shirts this past week “New York is my only friend” and “I am Hip Hop” haha… it is really funny when the shirts are not grammatically correct!

I met some Mormons on the street the other day… there were a few from the states. They were walking by and speaking English so I said… Hey you speak English?!… and we started a conversation. They preach in Spanish and have been here for about a year. They have about 6 months to a year more! There were about 6 guys and 2 girls. The girls are not allowed to cheek kiss guys anymore because they had problems of guys grabbing onto them and not letting them go! Also, the guys can only do handshakes to everyone. God bless them for their service!

Well… my friend is an aspiring model so I went to her modeling school’s show thing? There were girls modeling their bikinis and some other clothes. There were a few guys too. Beauty is viewed differently here! They really are into natural beauty here. The girls were very skinny and some were pretty tall. But in my books, they did not have model faces. Also, they had butts but no boobs. The standards are completely different!

Well… I hung out with my two friends from school. I gave them little Christmas gifts and they gave me a bracelet so now all three of us have matching ones! As we walked through the park, I heard these high-pitched, little screams. I guess there is a type of bug that screams at a certain time of day when it is home. They normally scream in the late evening. I saw them attached to the tree at my house before and they look like big cockroaches…. Lovely.

It is almost Christmas time… we still do not have the tree up! I think that we are going to put it up in two days when my host sister comes home. Christmas here is VERY different. Only the young kids get presents and people do not really buy gifts for other people? Christmas Eve, families usually go to church and have dinner at midnight. Then, all the young kids go out to the clubs until about 6am or later. Christmas, the family has lunch again and I am pretty use that they each leftovers from Christmas Eve. New Years is another time for clubbing. Sometimes, so young kids stay with their family but it is very common to go to the club for the night. I bought myself a Christmas gift… it is a new bikini. But, the bikinis here cut a lot higher in the bottoms than at home. I plan on wearing it only at my pool at home… haha. Thanks Mom and Dad for the Christmas gift… it is a really nice swimsuit!

My brother showed me how to illegally download movies? Haha… He got me Christmas Vacation so I am going to go watch it to try to get into the Holiday spirit!

Remember the reason for the season…
Also, be thankful for all of our military men and women that
will not be able to be with their families this holiday season.
They are real heroes and work hard everyday to keep our beautiful country safe!


Friday, December 10, 2010

CENA BLANCA... bellybutton... gift

So we dyed Kirsten’s hair and you couldn’t even tell the difference! My red is slowly fading out and the sun seems to be changing it also. I am actually starting to like it.

Tuesday, I had “Cena Blanca” which translates to white dinner. It was definitely a bad idea to lay out in the sun before because my chest got burnt! I had no clue how I was going to do my hair either. The hairdresser did not have an opening. So at about 5pm, my friend, Leii, said she would come help me. My sweet host mom gave me this appliance that blew hot hair and you attached a comb, brush or curler to it. I tried to curl my hair with it but it wasn’t working. I was happy that my friend was going to bring her curling iron. Finally at 6:45 she got at my house with a pretty angry, mean taxi driver. He got lost and they didn’t understand my directions. Anyways, my friend only had 100 pesos and she owed 20... Of course the driver didn’t have change. I only had 100 too but my friend needed a smaller bill. Of course, I was home alone… so, I gave her 10 dollars and the taxi driver gave her 20 pesos back. So, she repaid me later. At 6:50, she started my hair and we only had until 7:20. She got it done and I liked it. She asked if I wanted it all curled because girls here sometimes just curl the bottom? Haha… I am so thankful that I have a best friend like Leii who is always here for me whenever I need her.

Anyways, students who are graduating are allowed to participate. Tickets sold for 150 pesos a piece and you buy them individually. It is basically like senior prom but it is tradition for the girls to wear white dresses. If I heard right, I believe abut 50 schools were there.

My school did not participate but even if my school would’ve participated, my classmates couldn’t have participated because I am in the 5th year. Other schools graduate in the 5th year but my school has 6 years. I have been told that I attend one of the best schools in all of Argentina. Their academic standards are high and you have to pass a huge test to be accepted. However, I do believe that I am switching to another school in February when we go back to school. This school is a private school but free to exchange students because I believe the owner was once an exchange student or something like that. This school actually has toilet paper in the bathroom and you do not have to wear a uniform! I am definitely looking forward to it!

Anyways, there were 3,200 students at Cena Blanca. Before the dinner, there was a Grand March throughout the city. There were so many people there watching the couples walk. Some people were escorted by a relative instead of a date. My friend found me a date about two weeks before the dance. To be honest, I met him and he had longer hair than me… totally not my type! So… I did not bother to get his number to plan stuff or even add him on Facebook. So… he met up with my friends for the Grand March and he had flowers and did not give them to me. Then, I told Cameron that I think he was going to go with another girl… I was right. I did not have a guy or flowers… so I gave Cameron some money to buy me flowers… God Bless him, he added money to it and bought me a bouquet. Then, his date found me a guy to walk with! The guy is 22, studies in Buenos Aires, has a motorcycle and was taller than me. Finding guys here, taller than me, barely happens! I was very lucky. Now, I am drying out my bouquet of flowers in my room since my mom always would dry out my flowers from dances!

Well, at dinner you sat with your school.. So I sat with my friend’s school. Well, the food at the dance was HORRIBLE. Everything was cold and too many things had eggs in it. But, I do not blame them… it would be hard to serve a group that big. The icecream at the end was great… it reminded me of a Klondike bar! There were so many waiters and waitresses. Also, they had a health tent if people needed medical attention. But, what I loved the most was the seamstresses. There was a lady there to sew your dress if you needed it… for free!

The dance was from about 11pm until 6 am. After the dance, a lot of our friends were going camping. Kirsten and I decided to save 30 pesos a piece and not go. Instead, we slept until 6pm then we got woken up to eat.

Thursday proved to me why my mom does not want me to get a piercing here in Argentina.

I went with Leii to get her bellybutton pierced. Her brother knew but no one else in her family did. I guess she had it done before but her mom made her take it out… and her mom wouldn’t let her get it redone because she has bad grades in three classes.

Anyways, we went into the piercing room and within 3 minutes, we were out of there… talk about fast! The lady pierced it… never even asked for my friends name, age, or ID… and she did not even have to sign anything! She did not even clamp it or clean the area about her bellybutton. The needle came out of a package so at least it seemed to be clean. She paid about 50 pesos which is approximately $12.50. I cannot believe how much independence kids have here.

I forgot to mention that an exchange student here, from another program, decided to get his tongue pierced. He never even knew that there could be permanent damage if the guy pierced it wrong. The boy is only 15 and I still do not think he understands that the hole will never close…. Haha, I asked him what his mom said… and he said that his mom said no. But then the kid was like, mom do you really want to make me sad?… so then she let him!!!… haha, that still makes me laugh.

After, Leii bought my icecream and we basically got the same flavors! Then, I went to the supermarket! I am making an alcohol basket instead of a fruit basket for my siblings for Christmas. I bought 4 individual bottles of corona, 3 1 liter bottles of beer, vodka, fernet, a big bottle of coke and 4 cans of energy drinks. I think the cashier was thinking that I am a alcoholic. He asked if I was paying with a card or cash. I misheard him and thought he just said card so I showed him my ID but he did not care. It seems like in my town, they do not care to card you to see if you are 18. I plan on buying one more drink that my host sister likes and then buying a basket and a bow for the top. I think I got a knot in my back from carrying all the beverages! The bus was full so I did not have a seat and I for sure thought that I was going to fly through the bus window. Thankfully, I eventually got a seat.

When I got home, I found out that my brother leaves for the USA next Thursday and that is the day my sister comes home from college. My brother will be doing some work there until February. He will be about 8 hours from my real home… I am pretty jealous. Anyways, I do not know when to give them the gift? I think that I will give it to them a few days before my brother leaves. I am sure they will at least save some for my sister. I told my host mom what I was doing and she thought it was funny.

Hopefully Jose, my middle brother, does not read this… he was an exchange student in the USA many years ago so he is the only one that really understands English well. But, I felt like posting it anyways… so if he does read it, I guess it will not be a surprise for him!

I found out that most people in Argentina put their tree up the day of the Immaculate Conception which was two days ago. At my house, we still do not have the tree up. My host parents work so much that it is hard… but, I think we are going to put it up Sunday. I hope!

I hope you are all in Christmas spirit…
I am not… there isn’t even snow here!


Friday, December 3, 2010

spiritual healing

So I have been having this problem with my skin so I have not been able to swim. Anyways, I had been very sad and depressed that I could not been able to swim. I decided to run, but running bothers my skin too. I was basically at the end of my rope and very frustrated.

On Monday, I went to the basilica, a church in central that is absolutely beautiful, and I sat there and prayed. Then, I decided to ask what time mass is on Sundays. I was going to ask one of the monks but they were busy… so, I decided to ask this guy who was setting up flowers around the church. He was in his thirties and I could tell that he had a mental illness.

I started talking to him and he automatically knew I was from the US. He was asking me about all the actors and actresses there and if I have met any of them. Ha ha. He then told me that there is a mass the next day for anointing of the sick. He told me that he expected me to be there. I wondered why he encouraged me to go and I remembered that God works in mysterious ways.

I went to the dermatologist the next day and I started to feel a little better.

But after I left the church, I texted my friend, Esteban and invited him to go with me. He is one of the only kids my age that I know goes to church. He is a wonderful guy and is always there for me when I need him. Needless to say, we went to church Tuesday night.

OH MY GOODNESS! Church was crazy… they actually sang songs in Spanish that we sing at my church back home in English. The priest threw holy water on everyone and you touched the part of you that is sick. Then, people went up to the alter for the oil. People lined up horizontally and the priest put oil on the back of your hands and head. Then, you both closed your eyes and he touched your head… AND YOU FELL BACKWARDS. But, they had designated people there to catch you. When I was watching, I was actually scared to get it done. But, I went up and I fell backwards too. I can not even explain how I felt… I couldn’t even help but fall backwards. In reality, I would never fall back because I do not trust people to catch me. I believe that it was the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to believe me if you do not want to… honestly, if I wasn’t there, I would probably doubt it too. But, it was an amazing experience.

I felt so much better afterwards; I just felt peaceful. Now, I feel like the medicine from the dermatologist is helping me but I also believe it is spiritual healing.

I posted so pictures I took of the basilica during my first week here in Argentina.

Yesterday, I hung out with Kirsten. We wanted to dye our hair… so, I chose a darker brown. She was dying it and the solution was purple. Then, she got a hole in her glove. After we finished, we thought my hair looked anything but brown. Then, her finger turned a rusty red. After time, we realized that my hair turned out red. I was pretty shocked but hey… it will eventually fade. It will not last forever… I will survive! We are dying her hair tomorrow. Hopefully it will turn out the color she wants it to be!