frogg files

"She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." --Flannery O' Connor

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Little Spanish Is a Dangerous Thing

One of the problems with knowing solamente un pocito de Spanish is that, when you find that you actually can get by pretty well with the basics, you'll start to get reckless and attempt actual conversations, which involve actual knowledge of grammatical conjugations. And that can lead to little problemas.

For example.

Tonight I went with a group of writing program students to the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes. During the course of my thoughtful perambulations around the exhibit rooms, I ended up talking to one of the museum guards, who had already spoken to other members of the group and knew we were all from the U.S. He asked me a few polite questions, in Spanish, about my visit to Argentina, and I gamely tried to answer with more than just "yes" or "no". The problem came when I attempted to ask him how long he'd worked at the museum. Apparently that's not what I actually said, because he answered that he got off at 8:30 and that if I wanted he'd walk around with me afterward.


The conversation from that point only got more difficult, as at first I thought he was asking me to invite him to join our whole group. But no, it turns out that's not what he meant. And then he asked if I had a free day and I, bizarrely, answered that yes, it was possible I'd come back another day. I even asked if he worked every day til 8:30. Why? Probably because I knew how, and in spite of my good sense I was going to deploy the tiny bit of Spanish I knew at any cost.

Including the cost of never again going to the Museo Nacional de Bella Artes. Sigh...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Adventures in a Hostel Land

My hostel in Buenos Aires leaves a lot to be desired. Namely, everything. It's noisy, run-down and the linens are surely from the 70s. At least the bathroom was clean. Granted, there is no shower per se, just a shower head installed high up on the wall next to the toilet, i guess in the name of maximum efficiency. Still things could be worse. Like, it could sound like a construction crew was using a jackhammer or some similar heavy equipment right outside my window.

Oh wait, it does.

My reservation is for nine nights. We'll see.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Estoy Aqui

"Aqui" being a hotel room in Mendoza, where I am watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind in Spanish. Because, you know, that's the kind of adventurous freak I am. I do it so you don't have to.

Anyway, I think this movie makes about the same amount of sense in any language.

So yeah, I arrived safely in Buenos Aires (obviously), where I spent the night with friends. The next evening I boarded a bus for the 12-hour journey to Argentina's wine country--because I guess I hadn't had enough of sitting still after my 13-hour flight. But today I made up for my lack of exercise with a vengeance, with a 45-minute walk to my hotel from the bus station and then two hours of wandering fairly aimlessly around the city, pondering the fact that travel is always a lot more glamorous in theory than in actual practice, especially when you are an introvert traveling alone.

Tomorrow will be good, though. I signed up for a group wine tour in the Uco Valley. Definitely looking forward to that.

I wish I could write more, but I've been typing all this on my iPad and I'm kinda over it for now. So I'll check in again later. Amor y besos...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Well, I'm off...again! Can't believe my last international trip was less than two weeks ago. But anyway, here I go, on my way to Argentina. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, be good! And if you can't be good, don't tell anyone.

Just kidding.

Ciao for now! With lots of hugs and kisses from the frogg princess...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy (Belated) Birthday To Me!

Hmm, I'm late wishing my own self a happy birthday. How weird am I?

Don't answer that.

So, the birthday weekend went off quite well, considering I "planned" the festivities at the last minute (yes, I know, a big shock). On Friday evening, I went out to an Argentinean restaurant for happy hour with some friends to enjoy wine and food together, and then on Saturday had another group of friends over to my place to enjoy (more) wine and food together. Hey, what better way to prepare for an adventure in South America, right?

Now about gifts. As most of you know who know me, I love getting presents. And I have gotten some great ones — including this year, an iPad! (Thanks to my Dad and not-so-little little brother!) Yet I have to say that in all of my 35 years, I had never received a flask for the liquor I rarely drink that includes a handy built-in compartment for the cigarettes I don't smoke.

Well, that terrible lack in my life has now been remedied.* (Thanks to my friend Sam!)

So yeah, good times all around this weekend. Wish you could have been there! I mean if you weren't. And as long as you're not some strange psycho person. Because If you are, I'm sorry, but I'm kind of glad you found something else to do instead.

Er, anyway. Moving on...

Now I'm in the process of finishing up with my packing for Argentina. Actually, wait. I think I am finished. What?! It's not even midnight! What about my usual last-minute flurry of chaos-generating panic? What about my trademark procrastination?

I must be getting soft in my old age.

*Yes, you're right. There's a story behind this one.**

**Oh, you wanted me to tell it? Dang, we're out of time.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Where's Summer??

I really hate June gloom.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where Have I Been?

If there is one single reason that I shouldn't let too much time go by between blog posts, it's that when I finally do get around to updating, I don't know where to begin. How do you sum up a couple months' worth of happenings in a single post?

Not that there has really been much "happening" in my life, seeing as how I continue to be unemployed. I guess that makes it easy.

I did go to New Zealand last week, which was awesome. And yesterday I went to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which was, well, less than awesome. But that's OK, I'll make up for that next week (I sure hope!) when I go to Argentina.

Speaking of which, lots of people have asked me why I'm going to Argentina. While I'd love to say, "why not?" to bolster the image I'm trying hard to create of myself as a careless adventurer type, the truth is that I'm going to be sort of working. The creative writing program that I got my MFA from a year and a half ago is taking their summer-semester students to Buenos Aires, and I'm going as a "post graduate residency assistant." However, I tacked on a few extra days in the beginning of the trip for myself, figuring I'd travel around a bit before the rest of the group arrives.

It will come as a surprise to probably no one that I still don't know what I'll be doing or where I'll be going during those extra few days. And yes, I know — next week is coming up. Believe me, I know.

Oh, and did I mention my birthday is this weekend? Well, it is. Yay!

But otherwise, yeah, not much going on with me. You?