Month: October 2013

15 Weeks: Monday dinner interrupted by robbery

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[Photo Courtesy: Google]

It was 7 o’ clock and I had one hour left before finishing my last day at my internship with Process Street, a new startup here in Buenos Aires. The team consisted of the two co-founders , Vinay and Cameron, and me, the intern. I found the internship through Craigslist in August and worked one day a week,

“Hey, we’ve got a surprise for you. We’re taking you out to dinner. We’re going to go to this awesome Chinese food place called Shangai Dragon down the street. ” said Vinay as him and Cameron walked in the house after getting back from the gym.

“What? Sweet! I’m ready!” I replied back excitedly. Mike, one of their roommates, also came along with us to the restaurant.

We drank a few honey-flavored beers and ate the delicious Chinese stir fry. Since Mike and Vinay are from Australia, Cameron is from Canada and I’m from the US, we found ourselves in a deep conversation about the histories of how our countries were started and our lives growing up. Then everything changed.

“Wait, what’s going on over there?” Cameron interrupted our conversation and gestured towards the bar in the middle of the restaurant.

I turned my shoulder and realized one of the waiters was sitting on his knees on the ground in the middle of the bar with his hands behind his back. “Wait a second. What the heck is going on?” I thought to myself.

Then I froze. My eyes widened, jaw dropped out of fear and I clenched my fists until my knuckles were white.

*Cha-ching* The cash register opened and one waiter handed money to a man who then stuffed it in his brown messenger bag. Another man wearing a black t-shirt around his mouth, like a cowboy would with a bandanna and dark sunglasses covering his eyes, stood by his side. A pistol stuck out of his waistband.

Then I realized this was real life. The restaurant was being robbed and I was right there in the middle of it.

“Okay, guys. Don’t move or say anything because I think those guys are robbing this place right now.” I muttered in English as calmly as possible.  We didn’t make any rash movements.

Once the men obtained all the money from the cash register, they proceeded to leave the restaurant. At the same time however, an older couple, likely in their late 70s, were trying to escape the restaurant discretly.

The man with the mask grabbed the woman by her arm and muttered a few words in Spanish. I didn’t catch what he said but thankfully he didn’t harm her and took off with the other thief.  We heard the screech of the tires spinning as they took off before the police arrived.

Afterwards, I felt shocked and confused by the situation and the fact that it really happened right in front of my eyes.  We finished the rest of our drinks and left in awe at the fact that we witnessed a robbery.

I feel extremely thankful that I wasn’t hurt nor was anyone else and that they only thing they did was steal money. It’s still insane, for me at least, to think that this actually happened and that now I’m writing about this- two days later.

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14 Weeks: Chasing geese in a pedal boat

This blog post is just an update on what I’ve been up to here in Buenos Aires. Check it out!

Oktoberfest and Hiking in Cordoba, Argentina

I traveled to the Córdoba, the capital city in the province of Córdoba, last weekend with my girlfriend Stacey and a few friends. We originally planned on visiting that weekend because we didn’t have school on Monday AND it was the last weekend of Oktoberfest. We went to Oktoberfest on Friday but of course with our luck, it rained and they shutdown the festival about an hour after we arrived.

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Thankfully, the next day we had better luck with our adventure. We decided to go hiking in a small city called Cuesta Blanca, about an hour and a half from Córdoba.

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The bus dropped us off in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. We found the path to the river with the help of a group of high school kids. The river and mountains were a pleasant escape from the city. We relaxed by the water and even made a new friend with a dog that was obsessed with finding rocks in the river and dunking his head under to get them.

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joe previte con un perro

Pedal Boating in Lago Palermo

Stacey and I ran to Lago Palermo(about 2-3 miles from her house) and spontaneously decided to do the pedal boating! It was 90 pesos(about $11) for a half an hour and it was definitely worth it! My favorite part was passing the geese in the lake:

“Joe…joe! JOE! I don’t like being this close to the geese.”

“Stace, they’re not going to come near us.”

“Joe, please. I’m scared of them.”

“Quack, quack, quack! Come here, geese!” I said jokingly as we passed the geese(even though geese *honk*).

“JOE! STOP! Get them away from me!” Stacey yelled at me as we passed them.

Needless to say, we both had a fantastic time pedal boating in the lake 🙂

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2 Kilos of Ice Cream for $13!

A few nights ago, Stacey and I had a coupon for 2×1 kilos of ice cream from and Italian ice cream shop called Freddo. The texture of the ice cream here is smoother than back home and it gives it a richer taste. It’s absolultely delectable.

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Dustin Luke Fiesta

Friday night, I finally met Dustin Luke in person. He lived in Buenos Aires for four years and now makes YouTube videos in Spanish. If you haven’t seen any of his videos but speak Spanish, you should check out this video.

The coolest part was meeting him in person after having interviewed him back in February for a Spanish project. It’s crazy to think that I randomly heard about him from an Argentine friend, interviewed him for my project and then actually met him in person.

dustin luke y joe previte

That’s it for this post! Hope you enjoyed reading it! Feel free to leave any thoughts or comments below 🙂

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13 Weeks: Language Differences

Just passed the 13 week mark for time spent living in Buenos Aires. I have about 60 days left before I come home. It sounds like a lot but it feels like it’ll be here tomorrow. In this post, I want to share a few differences I’ve noticed about the Spanish language from being immersed in it and the culture these past three months.

Spanish syllables are sometimes more than one syllable

I realized this when I tried to pronounce the name of one of the largest oil companies in Argentine, YPF. At first I pronounced it like I would pronunce an English acronym- by the letters(in Spanish, of course), which sounds like igriega-pe-efe. Then I thought to myself, “Why is it that in English we can pronounce acronyms so much faster?” I said the alphabet in my head and realized, “Oh! In English, all the letters in the alphabet are more syllable, except for w.” I had never considered before but I found it fascinating afterwards.

Matafuego, paraguas, and parabrisas are constructed similarly

These words mean “fire extinguisher,” “umbrella,” and “windshield.” What amuses me is these words are put together in Spanish.

  • matafuego can be thought of as mata, which means “kill,” plus fuego, which means “fire” So it’s like you’re saying, ” the thing that kills the fire.”
  • paraguas and parabrisas can be thought of the same way- para means “stop” plus agua, which means “water” gives you, “the thing that stops water” and brisa means “wind” or altogether, “the thing that stops wind.”

Even though in English, you could say the same thing about “fire extinguisher” and “windshield,” the words in Spanish stuck out more because the verbs matar and parar seem to be more commonly used in Spanish than the words “extinguish” and “shield” in English.  Also, I might add that I’m more attentive  when it comes to learning words in Spanish than in English because I learned Spanish from scratch.

That’s it for this post! Feel free to add any thoughts or comments below! 🙂

Mate- a social practice in Argentina

yerba mate de buenos aires argentinaOne of the most interesting parts of the Argentine culture that I’ve been exposed to thus far in my study abroad is the social practice of drinking mate.

Mate is the national drink of Argentina(it’s popular in other places as well such as Paraguay and Uruguay). It’s a tea, most commonly sipped from a straw out of a gourd filled with the yerba or actual tea leaves. It’s most common among a group of people and is had at anytime during the day(I believe the morning and the mid-afternoon/early evening periods are most common). Sometimes I add sugar to make it sweeter because otherwise it’s a bitter green tea taste.

The reason why I love mate is because it’s a catalyst for a small social gathering. It’s a simple and fun thing to do with a group of friends anywhere. Usually a friend invites me over for mate and we sit and talk while drinking  mate, occasionally accompanied by sweets such as alfajores or cookies. It’s like you’re doing nothing but at the same time you’re doing something.

In my opinion, we don’t have something similar in our culture in the United States, or at least in Arizona. I think that’s why I appreciate it so much. I plan to to take this tradition back with me to Phoenix and share it with my friends.

If you like tea, you should check to see if you can find it in your city! I know Dutch Bros. sells a delicous mate tea. I’m sure there are international supermarkets that sell the yerba as well.

Feel free to share any thoughts or comments below 🙂

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P.S.- If you’d like to read a little bit more about mate, check out this blog called From Argentina with Love.

Milk comes in a pouch? Say what?!

It’s the last day in September, meaning I have about two months left. In today’s post, I want to share a few “aspects” that are different here in Buenos Aires.

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Mayonnaise and milk come in pouches

The mayonnaise and mustard are in pouches instead of containers. I thought this was so weird when I bought milk for the first time. It comes in a pouch. I put the bag in a pitcher and then pour it. It sounds funny but hey, it works 🙂

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Coca cola signs are bigger than the names of restaurants

I don’t know why this is but they are lots of stores and restaurants that advertise the brands they carry instead of their actual restaurant. By that I mean you’ll see a restaurant with a Coca Cola sign that’s BIGGER than the name of the restaurant. I guess it makes sense in that fact that if you’re a small restaurant and you don’t have a catchy name you at least want people to know that you carry Coca Cola.

The popcorn at the movies is sweet, not salty

When I went to the movie for the first time with my girlfriend and friends, we ordered popcorn and were to surprised to taste a sweet, kettle corn flavor instead of the buttery and salty flavor we’re used to back home. It’s not bad but I personally prefer the salty popcorn.

That’s it for today’s post! It’s a short one but hopefully you enjoyed it! Feel free to share any comments or thoughts below 🙂

I have about two months left before I come home.