Orgullo y Prejuicio

Una Semana
That’s one week for all you English speakers out there, and I want to impose upon you the fact that one week can either seem very long or very short. And at the moment…it’s kind of both.
I’ve had about 2-3 months to prepare for my semester abroad and out of those 90 days or so I’ve spent most of them either working my bootie off folding the infinite tables of Unfolded Sweaters and Tiny Baby Clothes at my job, watching BTVS and Kdramas, playing Zelda, going through and deleting the ridiculous 60GBs of music that I somehow have acquired these last 5 years, talking to friends, and then coordinating rides since my car crapped out on me two weeks before I leave. Those days were simultaneously long (7 hour shifts can get pretty tedious when you unload boxes and then refold shirts you just organized an hour earlier) and yet they went by in a flash.
I’ve also done a bit of spring (read:winter) cleaning around here. I have discovered a few things about myself.
1. I like to keep anything and everything that fits me (kinda) or  things that I will wear (I’ll never wear)
2. I like to keep things of sentimental but useless value
3. I have too much crap.
4. I am good at organizing and maintaining said crap so that I forget I have it.
Entonces, in order to eliminate these four clutter and hoarding tendencies, I have decided to go through everything by trying it on, prancing about my room to that music I’m supposed to go through, and then attempting to get rid of it. some of it. okay maybe I’ll just keep this t-shirt in case(conscience: it has stains on it) (But they’re invisible!) (get rid of it.) (ooookay finnneeee).
Rinse and Repeat.
After about 3 days of that, I have acquired a pile of clothes, nicknacks, accessories, and shoes that are old, from middle school (HS too), the 80s or the maybe the middle ages, who knows. Friday I will proceed to donate said 2-3 laundry bags of STUFF and then breath again in my own room.
Of course, that leaves all the papers and work from elementary, middle, high schools and college that I have yet to get rid of because of A. sentimental value or B. I might neeed that for laaaterrrr!

On to more important things – when I’m not throwing everything out of the closet only to put it all back in (this time organized by type and style (thank you retail job) I’m reading about Argentina, Buenos Aires (Eyyyyeeee-aaaair-Reehhs), and what it is like to study abroad. I’ve come across some interesting information which I will likely repost and write about at some other time, but I’ve also hit a lot of the same tips and lists over and over and over. Which isn’t such a terrible thing when it’s important to know about common pick-pocketing scams, what fake money looks like, and how to blend in. However, here’s one thing that I’ve been hit on the head with multiple times by a sledgehammer attached to a medieval battering ram with vikings going HEAVE! HO!
and that is Culture Shock.
Culture Shock tends to be presented in this way:
  • Orientation and honeymoon: The shock and awe of the moment, the bliss filled “everything is new and shiny and oh! That’s dulce de leche?!”
  • Initial culture shock/confrontation: The moment when you realize everyone speaks spanish and you don’t and that they eat beef All. The. Time.
  • Adjustment-crisis/depression-frustration-to adjustment (cycle): When you just can’t connect the way you wanted to
  • Recovery-integration into host culture: When it becomes easier to understand Los Porteños and you feel comfortable enough that you can flag down and get on those loco buses (Colectivos) without getting hit by a taxi. Everything’s gonna be aaaall right.
  • Re-entry and reverse culture shock: After you’ve gone back home and you realize that everyone speaks English and all you want to do is go to a Milonga and speak Spanish.
So those are some things I’m apparently supposed to look out for. I’ll let you know how that goes.

And after all of this ^, I’ve even gone through my DVDs to find all the ones that have Spanish dubbing (surprisingly, the majority are actually bilingual, but in FRENCH! but not Spanish). Here’s the list of the movies I’ll be watching and rewatching before my plane leaves on Thursday:
  • Finding Nemo
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Kinsey
  • 12 Monkeys
  • The Princess Bride
  • The Incredibles
  • The Prestige
  • Labyrinth
  • Pride and Prejudice (YES)
Not bad. Not bad at all. Will I be watching all of these you ask? Por Supuesto.
~La Mariposa

Handy Student Travel Site: http://studentsabroad.state.gov/index.php

Sigh. Mr. Darcy, even in Spanish you make me swoon.

 

 


So..What ARE You Waiting For?

As I sit here going through the numerous information blogs and orientations that I’ve been sent to prepare for my trip stay life in Buenos Aires, I’ve come to realize a few things.

1. I need to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. (Though apparently it’s normal to stay up till 4 or 5 am in BA)

2. I’ve procrastinated this whole break (doing work at T, watching Kdramas, playing Zelda, partying like its 1999) and only now have I started to do research (yikes)

3. This will be a very fun and exciting, beautiful and thrilling, scary and random experience

4. That adventure breeds adventure

This last bullet point (and boy do I love lists) is pretty key. I think we all sort of get caught up in the habitual everyday patterns of our busybusy lives and we seem to make up excuses for ourselves listing all the reasons why we have to do this or that, and then we consequently begrudge all those people who seem to have all the time in the world to go out and experience really cool things.

So here’s a crazy proposition for ya: Why don’t you just go on that weekend trip to Burlington, Vermont or the Cape? Take a train/bus to Quebec and Montreal – go into the giant man-made ice castles and hang out with huskie puppies at the snow sculpture show (which I can say is part very cool and part heartbreakingly cute).

Ice Castle at the Quebec City Winter Carnival

I know that once I get to Argentina I’ll be travelling and sightseeing with every free second I get – so why are you sitting on your ass butt, reading this blog? (read: I know I totally asked you to read this blog, but stick with me here) Go out – explore – you don’t need an itinerary filled program and a shriveling bank account to just pay 30-70 summat dollars for a bus ticket, and I sure know that you won’t regret it. Traveling is fun to do and sometimes a very simple thing once you wipe away the grime of “responsibility” and “fear”

(not that feeding cats aren’t important – just – don’t feel constricted by the things that won’t matter in 5 years) Take your life by its hypothetical balls and jump off that non-existent cliff.

I’ll just keep sitting on my thermapedic bed cramming studying Spanish and ways to not get pick-pocketed while my right eye squints to focus because my left eye keeps uncontrollably tearing up…I should probably go to sleep now.

~La Mariposa

I want.

((Favorite Foods of the Week: Honey Bunches of Oats with Fresh Cut Banana and Soy Milk))


Seattle, Washington

Hello readers,

as I am short on time and am still preparing for my trip abroad, I can’t write too much about my trip to Seattle – only that it was about a week and a half long. I went in May, just after my second year of college to attend Camp Jitterbug – for the first time – which I had been planning to do for 3 years or so (only I couldn’t because I had my brother’s graduation 1st, then my prom 2nd, then my closest cousin’s graduation 3rd). This was the first and last time I’d get to go during my early 20s (because THIS spring I’ll be in Argentina and NEXT spring I’ll be graduating COLLEGE!).

So. I stayed with a friend M at his apt. on Capital Hill (which was awesome) and he took me around lots of cool places, and I went out a few times by myself to explore.

View from my Host's Apt.

Seattle is Gorgeous. My only regret was not being able to go to the rest of Washington and go camping and sightseeing. This is one of the most green and fresh areas in the country (in my opinion) and I couldn’t stop oogling the pretty snow-capped mountains. I visited pike place market where I got to see the infamous fish throwing fishermen and the gumchewed covered wall of awe-some grossness. On top of the beautiful nature, I got to go on some refreshing walks along Myrtle Edwards Park and I took a ferry to Bainbridge Island (which has GREAT fudge – with SEASALT!).

To top the whole trip off – I attended a fantastic dance event with great classes, entertainment, music, and dancing.

Just... Guh.

Check out the Photo Blog Here.

Muchas Gracias,

~La Mariposa


Coming Soon…

As some of you may know, last January I took a trip to Ecuador where I spent a week in Quito (the capital) and an additional week in Puyo and Sarayaku in the Amazon. I made a short documentary about Lago Agrio and the oil contamination, but I also filmed a lot more footage than just that one day. I also just recieved the photos that my travel mate A and I took together – so I am going to go through those soon too.

Sarayaku - View from the Bridge

On top of that, I wrote a 40 page journal (for a university class – I’m not THAT crazy, haha) but I’d like to shorten and freshen that up so I can give ya’ll a peek into what it was like living in the amazon for a week.
Hope you’re as eager as I am to see and relive my adventure!
~La Mariposa

An Exploration of the Northern West Coast

Last fall (Sept 2010), my very close cousin G had his very special Bar Mitzvah (which he did so eloquently and joyfully), which I was very lucky to attend in California.

Speaking of luck, after going to the beautiful and golden sun-kissed Sonoma Valley (his home area), I was able to venture out to San Francisco for a bit of sightseeing before I had to return home to school. This wasn’t my first time visiting the city, but it was my first time with my own camera and an eager yearning to observe and walk around its fantastical natural sites.
Here’s an album of the photos I selected (out of hundreds) of a few places we visited – Berkely, CA, the Sutro Baths, and the Redwood Forest.

Click Here

While walking in the redwood forest, the fresh air, the calming sounds, and the cool shade contributed to a feeling of peace and serenity. It was very conducive to a cleansing of the mind and an opening of the gaze.

The Redwood Forest

I even spotted some otters in a small stream (though they swaddled their way underneath a burrow before my crappy camera could catch them). From within the surrounding foliage came a deer who…well, check it out in this video.

When I ended the evening by taking a quick stop at the sutro bath ruins, my mind traveled back in time to when they were in full functioning order. I could imagine all the people who went there and what an amazing time they must have had – a spa right on the ocean’s edge? I’m so jealous thinking about it.

The Sutro Baths

The coast was laced with birds and gorgeous rocks that held steady as the waves crashed into them violently. As the sun set, the colors changed from blues to oranges, reds, pinks, and at last reached a dark purple. I finished the night eating a fantastic sea food dinner right at the edge of the beach. We sat on the balcony, with a view from a large window overlooking the sunset, a pad of butter melting and sizzling on the water’s surface. A perfect finish to a beautiful day.

Feel free to save some pictures for your background (I look at them all the time!)

~La Mariposa

A Welcome Message

Hi there,

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the following people:

A fellow traveler,

A friend of mine,

A person interested in life, oddities, special moments, living and observing, being in the present, and sharing.

Or…you’re my mom.

or my brother, or dad, or even my 90 year old grandparents. Hi grandma.

NYC December 2010

But still. You’re here. You’ve come to read my writing, see my photos, and watch my videos, and for that I thank you.

I hope to share with you what I have been privileged enough to see and experience, and that you will be able to not only get a peek into my life, but also a peek at the world in which we live and who lives in it. And then we can comment about it together.

Thanks for joining me and I hope to keep you entertained and informed!

Mariel