Friday, April 22, 2011

La Sofa de Cama Actualización- The Sofa Bed Update

It arrives on Saturday! Our Sofa bed will be delivered- we invested in this instead of travelling. A comfy comfy couch with a comfy double bed for guests.

Right now, I am awake at some ridiculous hour in the morning because I can't sleep with an aching shoulder.. winge winge winge.. there I'm done.

We have had an excellent last couple of days! It was a great idea staying at home for the Easter week vacation rather than trot off travelling somewhere- better to save a little and get some much needed rest.
So we have put the day trips to good use.

Lunes- Monday
Sleep in (everyday has started like this for me.. and it isn't just an extra hour more than is like I have been dead to the world for 12 hours zonked..much needed for my body I say)

By the afternoon, Chris and I were up to venturing outside and catching a bus into Palermo (a suburb/area in Capital-The city). We caught the Subte (subway) to 'Plaza de Italia' which came out right near the BA Zoo- Jardin Zoológico. We wandered around there for 2 hours with all the birds and ducks and geese wondering around- also in the free to wander animals were two that Chris and I had never seen before- there were these small dog sized 'Deer/guinea pig' looking animals. They were very shy and grazing on grass everywhere. There were also giant water rats that looked half otter and half rat... cute but we kept our distance.. there were some of these that were triple the size of the one in the photograph below.. like giant whiskered mamas!! and they swam!
Anyway, A real real highlight was jumping the knee high railing and patting the tusk of a massive rhino! He didn't even know we were there, he was chomping on his hay while we googled close up in disbelief. just breathtaking- I don't think I will get to do that again wooooo hehe!
Overall- it was sad to see these amazing animals not free where they should be. To see only 1 elephant or 1 zebra when they live in heards... or the panthers who were in the tiniest damp looking pen, when they should be in the jungle climbing trees and living as panthers do. I know we wouldn't see them otherwise- but if only the animal had a voice.
Just absolutely took my breath away! Beautiful
The deer/guinea pig thing
The water Rodent- they come in extra large sizes too..
The Llamas.. I look very excited by these creatures...

We finished the evening by walking to Palermo Soho, which is the uptown beautiful shops and fashion and cafes and restaurant part of Palermo. It is such a magic place to go at night- and on weekends, the market stalls spring to life. There is this affluent and warm hum in Palermo Soho that has me all excited every time we go. It is the feeling I get when I see Christmas lights at night everywhere in December.. like a small child, nose pressed to the window of a gorgeous ice cream shop... or a 24 year old girl- I still do that.. hah
We discovered a tiny restaurant called 'The Little Rose' which has great Japanese food. Simple and a selection of great sashimi and sushi/nigiri. I was hoping for noodles- but miso was their only soup option. The ceviche was awesome and the salmon sashimi melted in your mouth- so food report is very very good! But the atmosphere spun me out a little at first... It was dark lighting and romantic and not at all themed around Japan or Asia.. it was more pretty English- dark wood and candles and roses and small paintings of pretty young English girls (old fashioned).. and then Bob Dylan was playing in the background... As I sat eating ceviche all zingy and fresh... I felt I was in the wrong place.. haha. The service was fantastic and Chris and I loved the whole thing in the end!! Only in Argentina- We will be back to Little Rose!

Martes- Tuesday
Chris has been finishing another Essay for his Masters degree with Newcastle Uni. He is going so good! One night after a massive day of teaching (he finished at 7pm this day from school), he jumped on skype at 8pm to have a conference class at the Uni with the lecturer and other students- was very cool... but went to after 12am... It was one of those long distance 1 day a year type things where all the students come for full day lectures.. it was a full night lecture for Chris. Anyways, that was a month or so ago and from that he has his essays and reading and reading and more readings to do for his master's degree. Totally proud of him- my legend
So after he was finished we simply continued to vege- watching a tv series and riding our bikes around Quilmes.  
I also hung out with my new friend Christina for brunch which was special. 
Simple rest day

Miercoles- Wednesday
This day we rode to one of the plazas (parks) in town and had a picnic- it was such a beautiful day. There are these take-away food stores that have all homemade ready to go meals. meat and vegetable dishes and breads and salads... sooo fantastic!! so we ordered ours hot and ready to go and sat in the sun warming ourselves eating some hearty this and that. healing and delicious.
The afternoon was resting and the evening was one of the best things we have done yet in Argentina.
We made new friends with some beautiful people who invited us over to their house for dinner. It was super special and real and Chris and I feel very humbled and blessed to have met such lovely genuine people. So to this couple, thank you for your new friendship and welcoming us into your home. It was profound!
They were so so patient with us. Our Spanish is very on the minimal side- and their English was similar. What may have taken half an hour conversation with normal language conversation took hours- which was absolutely awesome!! We learnt so much Spanish just listening and practicing and listening. Everything was just the best! A very authentic time with these excellent people!

Jueves- Thursday
This was an interesting. After going to bed at 3:30am (after a cool night with our friends)- It was difficult to be woken up at 11:30am having to be at the house of the Headmaster of St George's in half an hour.. HALF AN HOUR... Today we were heading to the Polo- and Mr Pringle was driving. okay, so I woke up quickly (you can imagine- this is my boss). Apart from both of us hopping around madly, we arrived easy and headed with his family into Palermo where the Polo and horse racing stadiums were. Fancy.
This was Argentina vs Ingleterra (England)- an International match between two very elite Polo playing countries. It was spectacular to watch!! The horses are amazing and the control that the men show, the precision with hitting this 'soft ball' sized hard ball on the ground with these skinny sticks was amazing. The culture wasn't elite or club like with what I have heard England is. But people came our smartly (and warmly) dressed for the crisp weathered match. Argentina won 13-7 and it was a very relaxed and engaging atmosphere. Very interesting to see this.
The afternoon was visiting the Malba- BA's contemporary art musem- which was great!
Home to cheese and biscuits and a film and a sore shoulder..
Skyping with both Koelma and Prout parents... skype is amazing!!

oooo and I am going to be a Aunty any day now!! Kate and Jarrod Prout, my brother and his wife are going to be a mummy and daddy very soon- Kate is due like right now, so it could happen any time!! The first new little Prouty to be born into the family! I am so so excited for them!!! Goodluck Kate, prayers and love and thoughts to all three of you! skype and photos soon please.

Now- Viernes- Thursday- 5am
My dreams continue to be in Espanol.. I can't say much in Castellano, but whatever I can comes firing into my sleep... I think it is because we are hearing it so much. It is amazing! I was speaking or more babbling and I wake myself up. 
I LOVE learning this language. I LOVE LOVE Argentina. I honestly feel very alive, very content. It is where we are meant to be. This new change, this job, being in this place together with Chris just resonates so well for both of us. I encourage everyone to go out and follow your dream- make it happen- I am not saying it is always easy and perfect and my life is now a floating angel cake. But the restlessness has gone- a new tune is humming in my heart and it feels, or I know it is just good.

Love to you all- off to start sleeping my morning away- The voltaren has kicked in.

Monday, April 18, 2011

the two benchmarks: the lift guy and football manager

Well, it's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd add some info about the last couple of weeks from my perspective...

All is going great here in Arg. We have been exploring the city plenty and really enjoying the adventures!

As Mik posted last week, a real highlight for me was going to see Quilmes play River Plate. Watching a live game of football here is on a totally different level! The crowds are nuts. A particular image that's stuck in my mind is when River scored their goal I looked over at the 'inchas' (die-hard fans) behind the goal and they literally streamed forward from halfway up the terraced stands and smashed into the fence at the front! It looked like a river of people falling down one part of the stadium! It was bizarre. That section of fans scrambled back up and after about a minute they all seemed to be on their feet and singing and clapping like maniacs again. I seriously thought there would have been injuries...but it appears that it is all in a hard days work being an incha for River!

The music department at St George's is cranking along nicely...Mik is working like crazy, but some great results and fulfilling things happening already. We have to keep reminding ourselves that it's only been two months! So much still to do, but plenty of time to do it. It's great to have goals and vision for this place. I'm really enjoying working with the kids and getting them playing in bands etc. Great fun and kind of like the old days when I was music director at TUC. Loving it!
We are really content living here and excited for Mik and my parents to visit! (Vicki and Jim come in 3 weeks!) We are going to Iguazu falls with them in May, so that will be rad.

On the weekend we went to La Boca, which was a real cool (but quite touristy) area, which is home to Argentina's most historical football club: Boca Juniors.
We went on Sunday and it just so happened that they were playing a home game against Tigre. The place was buzzing and we walked some back streets to try and get close to La Bombanera, but there was quite an unsafe vibe. People we bustling and looking suss and heaps of police and just all round a bit unsettling. We tried to look for tickets, but it just wasn't happening so we scrapped the idea and headed for touristy Caminito!

Caminito is where the dock workers used to take the paint that they would use for their boats and splash it on their houses too. It resulted in a colourful, vibrant bunch of streets, which are now a touristy hotspot with heaps of shops, a million Argentina 'Messi' shirts and even more Boca 'Roman' (Juan Roman Riquelme) shirts. Some fun tango shows and restaurants and a real wack modern art gallery featuring some confronting works based around the human get my drift? Caminito was a cool place...probably not a place to go and hang on the weekend (unlike Palermo for e.g.), but was definitely worth a visit!

We tried to catch the bus home 3 times from Caminito too! But our in-decision proved to be almost lethal because as while Mik was checking whether one of the buses was in fact the right bus, the driver decided it was time to take off, leaving Mik hanging out the bus door for a couple of seconds, staring wide-eyed back at me in shock!! I freaked and starting calculating how I was going to steal the ext passing car, hi-jack the bus like Keanu Reeves and save everyone! Fortunately, the bus stopped and let her off, but it was all too late, the bus was gone. Man, these buses are in a hurry I tell ya! As soon as the driver sees both your feet in the door-well, he's off! 2 missed buses later and we counted our losses and headed for San Telmo with the rest of the departing Boca fans, to enjoy night markets and pizza. Then a remis (taxi) ride home with an awesome driver called Marcelo and the night was done. We were knackered and happy to be home in our rad apartment.

Now, learning Spanish is really starting to come along. We are learning quickly and getting by understanding quite a bit of what people are saying to us! It is a little harder conversing back to them, however, but bit by bit we are starting to become slightly coherent. We are all over it in the restaurant/food ordering department and we even helped a 'tourist' (yes, you may have noticed I'm trying to differentiate myself from being a is amazing how quickly you feel like a place is 'home' - however, the lack of language definitely makes us feel touristy none-the-less) yesterday to order food!

I have developed two benchmarks for my Spanish learning:
1) I have changed the language setting on Football Manager 2011 to Spanish. I tried playing it when we first arrived but pretty much got sacked straight away because I couldn't understanding a thing! Once I can manage a team to world domination in Spanish, I will be able to say that I have succeeded in my language acquisition!

2) Today in the lift I got in on the same lift with a guy a little older than me. His little boy was saying goodbye to him in a really funny way..."Daddy, ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao, ciao etc. He didn't stop until the door of the lift was shut and we had descended about 6 floors. It was super funny and the guy was making a gag of it with me, but I just stood there frozen, kind of half laughing and half looking confused! Man, I wish I could have told him how funny it was and that his kid was real cute etc. but I just froze. I know some words to make the appropriate sentences, but I wanted to be cool with this know like blokey and stuff. He probably just thought I was a grumpy, mute wierdo who was having a bad night. When I can talk to the cool guy in the lift, I will also know that I've learned Spanish.

So here's to those two benchmarks!

We have a week off for Easter now. Going to muck around and explore locally some more. I met the sound guy for La Bombanera stadium and he invited me to join him in the booth for their next home game! Will keep you posted.
Hope all is well for everyone.

Lots of Love,

Chris K

Thursday, April 7, 2011

March just flew, and now it's April..

It has been too long!! and back when I was in Australia and starting this blog, I thought I would be posting up new updates everyday..filling you all in on my life and all the new things... as everyone always says, 'It's just been really busy.'

And busy it has been! While we are in a new place, we are working working working, and it is really fulfilling good work. Hard. But good.
While I am on a full time contract, Chris' load is full time, with all the classes and workshops and extra curricular, Chris is just as full time as me. Which is really good! We both have things that we are pouring our energy into and focusing on and yes, we have the same hours and holidays which is the coolest!

Okay, I have news (and no, ladies don't jump, it is definitely not that news). This year, most of you will know that Gospel Choir is taking a tour to America- NewYork, Boston and Washington. I was always going, but now, Chris is coming too!! and we are both so excited! We both get to go to this new place and share it with 45 kids! wooo! hehe. it is going to so excellent!
And that is something very special about St George's! The students go on tours every year... and it isn't like Australia where you go to Canberra to go to parliament house and questacon.. this is go to Europe for 2 weeks on a music tour or Australia on Sports tour or America on a cultural tour. It is amazing! The world seems so much bigger teaching here at St George's and the possibilities of travel and taking students on adventures to actually see Mozart's house instead of a picture in a book is amazing!! And I guess we should be thanking the parents who fund the trip for their children to go on such amazing adventures. That right... the students of St George's are very blessed if you know what I mean.

My mum and dad arrive in a month!!! We can't wait! so so cool to be able to share our home and things we have learnt about the culture and language and school and of course the food! haha
We have booked flights to Iguazu which is where the biggest water falls in the world are!!! it will be a great weekend trip with them!

Okay so what has been happening.. SO MUCH! where to start... and who would be bothered to read it all? Well... maybe I could write a dot point list of all that has been happening with a brief description.. okay it is lazy of me... but still organised.. okay okay, I am being a teacher.. here goes:

                                                                - Pinamar:

This was our coastal holiday in Buenos Aires. We drove 4 hours south to this place by the sea. It was a beautiful sunny 4 days of lazing on the sand, swimming, eating soo much icecream I thought I would pop and delicious seafood was had. Smelling the sea salt air for the first time since being in Aus was luxury.. I miss the beautiful ocean in Australia so much... so it was splendid to bask in the waves... and it was my first time swimming in the Atlantic ocean!! now I can tick that one off my list! hehe

- Chocolate Couch: 
Chris and I have ordered and purchased a sofa bed! It is chocolate brown and will arrive in the next 10 days or so. It was a big adventure looking for the shop that makes them in Quilmes, we also found some amazing amazing 'panderias' which are bakeries.. they were gorgeous! okay, so this couch has a double bed and it will be here for whoever comes to stay!!! we only have a one bedroom place, so our fold out bed will be great! and it is comfy! Chris and I tested it out and paid a bit extra to get the best stuffing for it and everything!! very looking forward to it!

- Friends:
We have made friends with some of the expats here. We go cycling twice a week at a small gym about 5 blocks from our apartment with them and it is soooo much fun!! The weekends have just flown by and I can't even remember who we have seen or what we have been doing. But we are surrounded and supported by really lovely people!

- Futbol:
Okay, so you know I am not a die hard football maniac, but we did go and see a Quilmes vs River plate game last Sunday at our Quilmes staduim.. IT WAS FANTASTIC! it was about $5 to get into the stadium which was packed!! the crowd was the best thing to watch!! When River scored a goal it was like watching hundreds of people just engulf each other, they literally were diving over the top of one another!! it was such a sight to see!!! We bought ourselves Quilmes shirts to look the part and support our local team and also some 'choripans' which are chorizo sausage in fresh bread with condiments of cooked onion, capsicum and chimichurri which is just off the hook!! sooo so yum! and no sore tum. if you come to Argentina, a futbol game is definitely something you must do!!

- The Food Report:
I'm sorry, but it has to be done! haha. Now they have Nesquik here in Argentina... it is the same chocolate drinking powder stuff, but it tastes soooo different!! oh my, it is not the same at all (just in look and the packet)... it is the best damn drinking chocolate I have ever had!!! and it costs me less than $1 for a bag of the stuff!!! oh my oh my!! thankyou Argentina! haha
Still loving the helados (ice-cream) or I should say 'gelato' cause that is what it is like... solid, delicious smooth and amazing!!
Fresh Fruit and Vege and Meat are so good over here!! Our local grocer is across the road, it is a tiny tiny room filled to the sealing with crates of vegies and fruit! it has that kind of hot grocer smell... but even more intense cause it is such a small room... but everything is fresh and we are served by Fernando, our Bolivian green grocer man. I love him!! I give him a kiss goodbye everytime and try to tip him.. but he always throws in a special piece of fruit.. last time he gave us a massive quarter of a watermelon for free... and he gave Chris and fresh red chilli... which is so hard to come by.
It is true, Argentineans don't like spicy food... it is hard to find any sought of chilli flakes..we found some in a health food shop and now we have Fernando sourcing them for us from the markets.. Stirfry with chilli last night for dinner was the best!
Have I already exclaimed how amazing the brie and blue cheese is over here? oh my oh my..enough said. haha

- From Australia:
A few things arrived from Australia recently! first of all, we can receive letters in the post!! so please post us a letter, if you want our address I can facebook or email it to you. Second, mum sent us some vegemite and 2 curly wurlys in a box which arrived about 6-8 weeks after she posted it! It was registered post/express. Don't air freight anything cause they hold it in customs and charge a release fee. And I wouldn't post valuable things either... but it is AWESOME to receive things from Australia!! tim tams are always welcomed from us (double coat)... oh and letting you know, Chris' birthday is May 12... so maybe send something soon! haha
AND!! all our things from Australia arrived in the shipping!!! we have every box without problems!! hooraaay!!! so now we have paintings on the walls and pictures around us and a kitchen full of the nicest things... a juicer and blender, toaster and microwave have already been put to good use!! we are so so blessed!! Banana smoothies have been on the menu ALOT! mmmm

and so of course the last thing I mention was food! haha

But on a different note. I want to send my love and prayers and thoughts out to Steve and Claire Earp. We are so far away from you guys and we just send you so much love! I can't even imagine, and just want you both to know that you are in our thoughts.

Take care everyone, hopefully I will get my act together and post more regularly!
All my love,