So life has been pretty hectic here. I have started to feel at home. I am still learning how to maneuver a big city, got lost coming home from dinner last night, everything worked out fine, but its just teaching me that I need to do more research before I go out, plan ahead more. I cant just ride my bike home like I usually do in Eugene, gotta know what bus to take, or take a taxi, or carpool.
So monday everyone in my program leaves for four days in Pujato in the Santa Fe province of Argentina. We are going to be staying in twos with rural families. I really dont know much about what we will be doing, they gave us a whole packet about our trip that we need to read before monday, yeah still need to read that. Its all in spanish so it will take me a bit. Really excited to get out of the city though. The air is too smoggy here and every other person smokes so you get second hand smoke just walking in the streets. One of the seminar we are taking is teaching us skills to prepare for the Independent Study Project at the end of the program. The ISP period is the last month of the program where we will not be having any classes but will be gathering research and writing basically a thesis paper on a topic of our choice relating to the program theme, Regional Integration, Development and Social Change. It also has to be something that we couldnt have just written in the US. So, during the rural homestay we will be practicing one of the skills we have been learning about in our ISP class which is how to conduct interviews. We have an assignment to interview someone from our rural homestay and get their life story.
Ive started meditating again. Ive been having these headaches in my frontal lobe and also my temples, and they subside when I meditate. My host mom is so cute, she is a psychologist and also gives reiki and massage treatments, all from a nice cozy room in her house. She meditates everyday and encourages me to meditate as well, stay relaxed, she is teaching me a lot about spiritality and life. Before I came I was really concerned that I was going to be out of the 3ho Sikh community that I have grown up in, but I am actually so glad that I am not in that community right now, and I couldnt be more grateful to have ended up with such an awesome host mom who is also such an amazing cook!
Oh one more thing I wanted to mention. I got lost today somewhere in Palermo. Frustrating and scary at first but it was a beautiful day and I ended up stumbling upon a nice park. Ah a park in Buenos Aires on a saturday afternoon is a beautiful thing! Parents playing with their kids, papas playing soccer with their kids, dogs running around, people sitting in circles drinking mate…
There was also a really cool band of college aged kids all with different kinds of drums playing different afro-salsa beats. I really couldnt help but laugh cause everyone was so joyful. There were kids dancing to the music, and people who were walking by the park would start dancing too. One woman was walking two dogs and danced all the way down the block to the band. I also stumbed upon an abandoned factory. An abandonded factory you say…why is that interesting? Well, its interesting to me because we have been studying the economic crisis that Argentina experienced in 2001. One of the effects after the crisis was that tons and tons of factories were shut down because they were not making ends meet. Well, a really cool thing started happening a little while later where the workers who had lost their jobs started re-opening the factories and runing them as co-ops. We got to visit one this week, very inspiring, there is no heierarchy and their business is doing really well. So much more I could say about that but too tired. Im like always tired here, so much mental stimulation!!! My brain needs like twice as much sleep but there is not really time for that….well Im doing the best I can.
Im off to drink some mate while reading this packet and then probably going to take a siesta before dinner and then salsa dancing!