miércoles, 28 de julio de 2010

Time for a Update!

Whew! its been a couple days, a couple days of getting into the groove here because classes started this week!!! Man real life, kinda haha. Ok but first--so y'know that parilla i was telling you guys about at the soccer club last week- definitely one of the highlights so far. It was a couple days ago but worth telling like it was yesterday.
After convincing Silvia that the guys whose BBQ it was were nice and didn't have "malas intenciones" as she put it, my friend Mette and I walked down the street to go check it out and roped in two of our other friends to come with us. We walked in through the gates of the soccer club looking around for Letu and Matias while a bunch of people were playing soccer in the little canchita. We told someone we were looking for the parilla and he walked us to the back where 20 people all in soccer warmups were just hanging out cooking chicken, chorizo and other carne on the grill! We found out it was some guys birthday, so we met him and kinda stood awkwardly for a while trying to break our way in to talk to people. Of course Argentines make that easy, they were asking us where we were from, what we study, and showing off all the English they knew, haha while we did our best in Spanish. I serisouly felt like we walked into a family- on friday nights these guys probably ages 22-35, who love soccer, all get together at he club and BBQ! We moved inside to eat at this big long table that is in the restaurant attatched to the club. There were little kids playing soccer in there (at 10 45 at night aka the normal dinner time) and drinking wine and beer and passing around the asado! To me this is the epitome of the Argentine people- you meet someone once, they invite you over, feed you and you are instantly friends. When i was leaving to go meet some friends later they were asking- do you know where you are going? do you need someone to drive you there? when are you guys coming back?- gosh these are the experiences i just love- random things with great people who are just living life in Argentina!
So thats a favorite from the week. Other than that lots still exploring lots of great cafes 2 new favorite argentine eatings 1) submarinas aka make your own hot chocolate they serve you steamed milk and chocolate bar and you drop it in-viola! 2) milaneas (might have to check the spelling) honestly so good, its breaded veal sometimes with tomatoe sauce (that's called napoliana) and lemon sqeezed on top- super good.
Hmm other things im realizing; that its interesting living as a guest in someone elses home, especailly in a different culture where there are different expecations and a language barrier. Slowly i'm figuring out Silvia and what she expects of me and figuring out how to love her but not get in her way while i'm living here. Honestly i think she wants me to eat more which i don't know if i can do haha- but i think that's a cultural thing too, you show that you love and appreciate someone by eating lots of their food! And just figuring out what to do here! What kinda of night time activites there are, besides going dancing or to the bars every night because in Argentina that is an option every night of the week. This city is kind of overwhelming there is literally so many things to do its hard to 1) know what they all are and 2) to take initiative to just do it! I'm kinda finding myself getting tired of mustering up the energy and intiative to get people to gether- get the energy to go out and explore new things every single day, and its draining on my brain speaking spanish!
Classes: whew lots of spanish! Argentina Lit, Art, a spanish grammar class and my favorite...tango!!! While i'm sitting in class soaking up as much as i can i'm realizing that i really want to understand and so i constantly have to focus and engage. But i am more motivated than usual to do homework- because its like every single conversation and every single class i have chances to improve my spanish- every experience in a learning experience. Gosh but the tango class had my attention the whole time 1) i love music 2) i love dance 3) the teacher is seriously such a suave guy. -Jose- i don't know he's probably in his 40s, he is a tango dancer and i could listen to him talk forever. haha But i'm excited to start dancing!
Another adventure- on Tuesday Mette and i got to experience the medical system and test out the health insurance because while we were messing around playing soccer, she hurt her leg, was in serious pain and so we took a cab to one medical clinic only to find out they don't have "muscle doctors" and then to another clinic--to find out she tore her quad pretty bad :( so her soccer playing days are on hold. But we're hoping to join the universities club team which practices once a week, pretty low key. But i good thing i've been in the soccer zone since playing intramurals with the Jaycee Jags (our team name)- where would i be with out that team!
I know its only been a week and a half that i've been here although it seems like such a different world and lifetime, but its crazy how much its starting to feel like normal life. At the same time i don't want it to be like normal life- i want to take advantage of the culture and the people and the language. Although it feels normal sometimes, sometimes its so overwhelming -i feel like i've been putting myself out there, constantly meeting new people and doing new things, i find myself wanting to shrink back and draw into myself. I don't know i guess i've just been feeling tempted to be tentative- in relationships with people, in activities, when i know that what i really want to do is be fearless and jump into all these new experiences and new relationships with all these people around me. Lately my prayer is that God would give me the courage and energy to trust him, forget my nervousness and fears and just live! I catch myself saying- am i taking advantage of this experience to the best that i can? Yes i want to be soaking in all the culture and the people and everything about this place, but none of that is worth anything if Jesus isn't the center. --He is what makes life valuable and worth it and so that's what i want to see here. I just want to see Him move. That's still what I want to see but its getting tougher to trust the Lord. I don't know if that makes sense- i just have a lot of thoughts and feelings about every thing going on haha. But i am realizing that sometimes i just gotta get out there and do it! whether its exploring, talking to people whatever
Jeremiah 29:11-14 is popped up again today and is becoming one of my favorite passages
" For i know the plans i have for you' declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you , plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all you heart. I will be found by you' declares the Lord."--love that.

ps. today i also learned 1) how to serve mate -that stuff they drink our of the gourd- and just you guys wait, i'm bringing it back to CA so you will definitely get to experience it with me!
and 2) how much Argentines love the soccer player/ coach Diego Armando Maradona. Tonite we watched clips from his 183 best goals haha. Gosh listening to Pamela, one of the CEA program coordinators talk about him and how much represents Argentina was beautiful. -Another thing i love about Argentina- everything has such much culture and passion behind it- especially their love of futbol. -Hey some hot news Maradona is resigning from being coach of the Seleccion, national team of Argentina.-i'm sure more will be on the news tomorrow

Anyways i feel like im just rambling, but i want you guys to know I am seriously in constant pray for you all at home. I'm kinda becoming a facebook fiend and all the pictures, comments or messages i get just remind me to pray for you guys. love love love you all. ciao!

viernes, 23 de julio de 2010

Living in a city has its ups and downs

Hola!! man as soon as i sit down to write about the days i realize that some many things happen and its only been what two days ? crazy. Well Dia de Los Amigos- we danced the night away til 3 am, these argentines are crazy! They go out to the clubs at one, the prime hours are between 3-5 and then they call it a night about... 7am?? but my first Argentine club experience- i had a blast dancing the only downside was that everybody here smokes! ah i mean i'm trying to dance and my lungs were filling up with smoke so obviously i wasn't able to really dance to my full capacity. haha but it was fun.
The next we ate at this bomb parilla: BBQ! Se llama las cholas. They meat was awesome, grilled vegetables, kabobs, delicioso. Then we (me and some kids form the program) went to explore! We went down to Retiro which is the center of the city, saw some sites, watched some guys in a do some soccer tricks and then headed home...on the subway. So far, taxi, bus and now the subway. There are soo many people so tightly packed in that little space i can imagine that people don't survive! And...the program directors always warn us about how you have to be careful not to get pickpocketed on the subway, because lots of people, crowded spaces its easy to not even realize it. And as soon as i left teh subway i realized my backpack was unzipped and i had been a victim. Honestly i was so frustrated when i realized it because i had already lost my phone the day before and had to buy and new one and then to realize that a good amoutn of money, my credit card etc was gone..yesterday was kinda rough. I walked into the apartment building and couldn't help by cry when the portero asked my how my day was. Carlos (the portero, or lobby man) was really sweet and gave me a hug and listened to my trials of the day. Whew i think sometimes it takes me learning the hard way that i have to be more aware and careful. So hopefully lesson learned.
Anyways but today, me and my friend Mette were on a mission-compra un futbol!! Seeing the kids juggling in the plaza the other day inspired us to practice. So we got one and were walking down to the fields by my apartment when we walked past what looked like a semipro futbol stadium type field and hoped we could walk in and play on the field. Aparently that's where a semi pro team and the university's girls club team plays. These two guys- Detu and Matias were explaining this to us and showed us some indoor soccer courts we could lay on. I guess its also a place where kids come to play?? Still not totally sure, but these two guys in their late 20's maybe were telling us they are soccer fans and players (everyone here plays soccer) they were teaching us how to juggling and kicking around with us! Matias was like our trainer- he said for every hundred juggles, Mette and I had to do ten, haha obviously we are amatuers, but hey being in argentina we're inspired to play, get better -its just so fun! It felt so good to be active. And you know me i want to soak in the "local experience" as much as i can- it was a blast. They said they watch the semi pro games every saturday and then have a parilla! even though tonite isn't saturday they're having a parilla and invited us to stop by! so we're gonna check it out.
So those are some of the adventures of the day. Being here is awesome- i lvoe the adventure i love the country, and even thought its so fun, i'm definitely starting to feel the tug of missing the community of being home. Honestly i miss talking with my friends about Jesus. I know he is here with me but i just am craving the Christian community i have experienced at school and at home. Already God has brought his name up in conversations with the people from my program and it has been awesome. People can't escape thinking about God, thinking about a higher power, and what they believe in. And when he brings up those conversation i love it.
I know this is a long entry but i as i've been reading in Jeremiah God has just been showing me some really cool things. First of all this has been my encouragement since i've been here
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree palnted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
Its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8
Ah so encouraging that Jesus is that stream of living water that sustains me and i don't even have to look into the future and fear- where will my encouragement and sustanence come from? What if i'm alone? What if i dont' feel poured into? Jesus is the source. It makes me realize how blessed i have been in my life to constantly be surrounded by other hearts that are united with Christ. Man it is a beautiful thing. And something i can't wait to experience again.

This is the other thing i lvoe from jeremiah. This is when Jeremiah is telling God that by speaking his word he was put in teh stocks, he was mocked and ridiculed.
"But if i say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,
his word is i nmy heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, i cannot" Jeremiah 20 :9
Jeremiah confesses that even if he wanted he couldn't stop the word of the Lord from coming forth. The Lord will make himself known. that is who he is and that is what he does.

All that to say i don't know if i made it clear, but i have definitely experienced feeling weak and incapable over the past two days. Its easy to think- man i am alone, and i am incapable to hold all these things together and sometimes i just want to be surrounded by people i miss at home, but God is still showing me things and i reminding me that he is strong and he is here and i'm holding on to that the best i can.

Ok se extraño uds. ciao ciao!

martes, 20 de julio de 2010

Dia de los Amigos

hola mis amigos! seeing as its Dia de los Amigos here i want to you a happy friend day and let you know how much i wish you could all be here to celebrate with me!! i like that- a holiday to celebrate friends, which here basically means people go to lunch dinner, and out to dance haha just hanging with their friends!
it just never ceases to amaze how each day this city gets more and more familiar- learning the streets taking taxis (big accomplishment) today i even went running! there's a "lake" near by called lake Palermo- its cute, paddle boats, people feeding swans and my favorite are the campos del futbol! lots of people playing pick-up games of futbol. Running in the city makes me feel like a local and makes me feel at home at the same time.
The past couple days we have had a lot of orientation at the University. We've been learning what classes we can take, meeting all the other international students etc. Yesterday we took a bus tour of the city-unfortunately it was raining, so it was like a tease beacuase this city is absolutely beautiful. It has so much european architecture but latin american flair. I'm telling you i don't know if everybody knows abotu this city but i think everyone should take a trip to visit it! We saw the neighborhood caleld La Boca which is where the tango was born and has a huge Italian population. It has the classic building that are painted all different colors and when its sunny they say there are tango dancing expositions all up and down the streets!
Even walking through this city is beautiful, cobble stone streets, gorgeous buildings and today was sunny so that was jsut the icing on the cake. Today one of the CEA ladies that is kind of liek our mom- filling us in on the city took us on a little walking tour Belgrano, which is the neighborhood where i live. She was explaining to us about the history, about Peron a famous former president and the economic crash in the 90's and just about Argentine people in general. It is evident that she loves her people. And you know how passionate people can convince we of anything. There is just such a depth to this culture it is so fascinating. It makes me want to experience every part of it and i can't wait to make some Argentine friends!
Its cool- by day four the 14 kids in our program and just becoming insta-friends. Kinda like wow week haha. And its seriously such a blessing. Another huge blessing is living with Silvia. 1) She is wonderful and makes me eat gelatto every night after dinner. 2) Since she goes to bed early and not everyone has cell-phones yet, i have had so much time to sit with the Lord at the beginning and the end of my day and that is what makes me rested for the next day. He has literally held my hand up until this point and now i even find myself starting to feel comfortable- not nervous. At the same time- i want to depend on him because i know i can't make it here on my own-especially when i start to miss my friends at home and realize i'm going to be here for ahile it isn't just a vacation. But still i am exploring more and more here and learning that the more i explore the more i have no idea abotu this place or the experiences that are to come. ok that's all love you all and i'm praying for you every time i think of any of you!!

domingo, 18 de julio de 2010

First Blog!

Hey hey hey!!!
Wow this is my first blog ever! and i guess it is fitting that in the process of making it, everything was in espanol! haha.
To everyone who reads this- i'm going to be filling you in on life in Buenos Aires! I'm going to be living and studying here for the next five months or so. And i still am living in a surreal state, I just cannot believe that i am here writing in a cafe in the capital of Argentina.
I don't really know where to start, but i arrived yesterday and the plane flight was a piece of cake! 13 hours and i probably slept 9 of them. Except for the times the Argentina man named Pablo just kept practicing his english on me while i dozed off haha but he had lots of good things to say!
But i arrived and met Silvia, the woman I am living with, and she is the sweetest little abuelita. Staying at her apartment literally feels like staying at my own grandma's house! She is constantly preparing food and encouraging me to eat and eat and eat! But it is great. My first day- yesterday after eating lunch with abuelita and taking a little nap, I put on my scarf and jacket (because it is winter here!!) and took my camera to go explore!
It is crazy adjusting to k=not only being in a Latin American country- but realizing that i am in a big city!! There is a park across the street which is really nice, and i can't wait to sit and read there once the weather starts to warm up!
But i took my map in hand and basically wandered down the streets. I foudn my favorite streets Echeveria has lots of good tea shops and cafes, and Juramento is the street that has a Feria- like a craft fair every single days with handmade crafts from 8 en la mañana until 6 en la tarde! I talked to the nice woman and her husband who sell the homemade yerba mate gourds!- i can't wait to buy one from them. Its funny- walking around the parks, everybody has their mate gourd and a thermos of hot water to keep it filled up! Yerba Mate is a type of tea that is very popular in latin america- its highly caffinated and is an acquired taste because at first it tastes like grass. But the drinking and preparing is part of the culture. Sitting down and drinking it with someone is like sharing a cup of coffee or tea but 10times as significant in Argentine culture. They drink is out of these wooden gourds, with a little metal straw called a bombilla that has a strainer at the bottom.-Erin schulz would refer to it as "drug paraphanalia" which i could understand.
Anyways, bare with me as this is the first blog with a lot of extra details hopefully i'll become more concise as a write. I just wish everyone could be here experiencing it with me!
Last night when i got home from exploring and eating dinner with Silvia i went to my room and read for while figuring i could give myself a break and stay in since it was my first night there. I was reading Crazy Love for a while and the i started to feel that feeling that i am alone here in a foreign city with no one that i really know. Doing my own thing is fun but only for so long. And so it was time to get into the word. After reflecting on the day- Jesus had been there fore me in every action thought and emotion providing me with the courage to speak a different language, explore an unknown city and to look forward to the adventures he is going to take me on. Ever since i've been here i have just been praying for the city, for mi abuelita, for the students in my program waiting on Jesus to flood every conversation or action in love. Since thinking abotu this trip- i've been preparing myself mentally like i'm going on a mission trip and sometimes i think- well that's silly its just a trip to have fun and study no big deal. It's not like this is a earth shattering realization, but it is becoming rooted in my heart that every single place we go as believers- whether school, home, vacation whatever- we have the love of Christ and there are people all around us that need it. So as i'm here i am focusing my eyes on Jesus because he is what i have here- and i want to be listening to his voice wherever i go and whatever i do. And i am excited. last night i was starting to get nervous, but he just keeps reminding me I am not alone. Never, because the God of the universe is holding me hand and the adventures will be great.
"Find rest O my soul, in God alone
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation
He is my fortress I will not be shaken.
One thing God has spoken, two thinngs I have heard:
that you O God are strong and You O Lord are loving"
Psalm 62:11-12

I'll write more about day 2 later- but today i made friends! haha its great I can't wait to get to know the people i'll be studying with- God is already answering my prayers they are great!
I love you all so dearly-i couldn't help but look at pics of all the people i love last night and am continually reminded i am so blessed.

ANNNDDD...For the record as I was writing, Justin Bieber's Eenie Meenie has been playing on the tv in this cafe. not only does that say something about the presence of American culture- but let's face it, Bieber fever is international. (shout out to Lindsey Ellison and her love for that song)