3 countries in 3 months: Argentina comes to an end

I blinked and it’s almost Christmas! Where has the time gone?

Since my return from Patagonia, my time in Argentina flew by. Those last three weeks I did my best to enjoy my time to the max so here is what I remember although it all feels like a blur.

Apart from getting all the clubbing out of my system, I tried to do some cultural activities before my time was up. This included a bike wine tour in Maipú with Roni and Casey. It was a beautiful day to stroll around the wine town. We also got to hit up a chocolaterie and a brewery for lunch. Although the wine tasting was a bit on the pricey side, it was very much worth. We got lucky with the perfect day! This was probably my favorite outing.

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We had our last excursion with the CELE program. We went to Bodega Ruca Malen (bodega = winery) where we had a five course lunch and tour of the bodega and the wine process which I have come to learn a lot about while living in Mendoza on our many winery visits.

The dishes were more interesting than tasty, but the presentation for sure was amazing. The third course was a sirloin steak which was no doubt the best meat I’ve ever had in my life. I learned a new word this day: “maridaje” which is the pairing of wine and food. The word is derived from “marido” or “matrimonio” which translates into marriage.

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On our last day of class we had a graduation ceremony followed by a farewell dinner at Amparo’s house in Chacras. The ceremony was great and Roni and Naz featured the video of our quarter abroad experience with Enrique Iglesias’ song “Bailando”. The CELE staff said some special words on behalf of the program and how much they will miss us for being the great group that we were. (I don’t doubt this, we all seriously got along incredibly well!) The asado at Amparo’s was an extension of sharing thanks to everyone who helped organize our stay in Mendoza and saying our final goodbyes to both classmates, professors and coordinators.

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Mason and I said goodbye to Sergio, the coolest Mendocino ever! He is famous in Mendoza for saving people on the side of the road in his “clio embarrado”. Not to mention he brings all his cooking stuff with him to make them a picnic! The best empanadas in Mendoza were no doubt Sergio’s. I organized a day where I brought the UCD group to Sergio’s for his empanadas de carne and we ate them at the Parque General San Martin. I think everyone can attest to the fact that these are indeed the best of the best!

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I also said my goodbyes to the Santamarina Family this day. We had a mini family photo shoot that evening. The only person I cried about leaving behind was Sylvia. She was my Argentine mom (since I didn’t have one) while I was in Mendoza although she was technically Mason’s host mom. I already miss her, Francisco and Manuel! They were my second family while abroad along with Lucía and her two kids which I adore so much, Santino and Andres (not pictured).

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Then it was off to CHILE with Lisa! It was roughy an 8 hour bus ride from Mendoza, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile. Because this blog is only intended to feature my experience in Argentina, I will try to be brief about the rest of my travels.

In Chile I was introduced to the work of the graffiti artist Inti Castro. He has some truly amazing works of art all over Chile. He made me see both graffiti and Chile in a different retrospect. While in Valparaiso we were able to visit La Sebastiana, home of the Chilean writer which I admire so much Pablo Neruda.

My favorite mode of transportation in Valparaiso were the “colectivos” which are taxis that go a specific route, but are much cheaper than actual taxis. All the houses in Valparaiso are colorful. Nobody would dare paint their house white because they didn’t want to be “agua fiestas” or boring!

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Santiago was my favorite. I could see myself living there. We did a Wally tour to acquaint us with the city and learned how to get around fairly quickly using the metro. What an awesome city and three days was nowhere near enough! We were able to go to El Museo de Memorias y Derechos Humanos which mostly featured life during the dictatorship of Pinochet. It was the most complete museum I have ever been to and FREE! You cannot go to Santiago without visiting this museum which has so much important history about Chile.

Below is where the president lives called “La Moneda”. You will also see Santiago has it’s own “Big Ben” and a New York Street. Two things you must have while in Chile: A “terremoto” drink and a “chacarero” sandwich. The terremoto drink is either rosé or white wine with pineapple ice cream. We tried both with our new Australian friend Mel who had been told the best ones in Santiago are at “La Piojera”. Let’s just say they were delicious and the metro ride back to the hostel was quite entertaining! The chacarero sandwich we had at a place that was recommended to us on the tour called La Union Bar Restaurant, opened for the public that was not allowed in the actual La Union across the street where the aristocrats discuss politics.

A new slang word I learned while in Chile: Kiltros. That is what they call “perros callejeros” or stray dogs that roam the streets.

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Our last day we spent buying artesanias in Bellavista neighborhood. I really loved Chile and wish I could have had more time there. We got to spend a little less than a week there and are planning to go back. We had good experiences with both our bus commutes and hostel stays. We started and ended the trip together so it was sad to say goodbye to Lisa, but I’ll be living with that mensa when I move back to Davis so all is well!

I am now in Colombia spending the holiday season with family. The novenas have already begun (Colombians celebrate the nine nights before baby Jesus was born). I must say it was nice to be picked up by family for a change and ride comfortably in a car to see the familiar streets of Bogotá. This is my second home no doubt and I felt that as soon as I arrived.

I don’t think I will post anything about my stay in Colombia as this is more a personal experience than a shared one. The company of my family, especially my grandpa, has been the best thing for me after all my traveling abroad. Being able to be here for the Christmas season is the next best thing after dulce de leche ice cream 😉

So after all my traveling to three kick ass countries in South America in three months, I have decided I will go south every winter 🙂

Thanks for following on my journey!

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Patagonia

I’m back from my 10 day trip to Patagonia! It was the most adventurous voyage I’ve ever experienced and I loved every minute – From  breath taking views  to peeing out in the wilderness countless numbers of times, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Here is the breakdown of my 10 days in Patagonia and a rough outline of what I can recall:

For the trip there was two groups: My group of 18 from UC Davis and another 18 students from Hobart & William Smith College in Upstate NY. Each groups US professor came along too in addition to three awesome guías (guides) for the hikes: Juan Pedro, Guille and his daughter Camila. Also, CELE staff Laura and Amparo came along.

Viernes Nov. 7

Buses loaded at 6pm and we were on the road by 7pm. I sat next to Lisa on the bus and Veronica and Sarah sat to the side of us. We were well equipped with snacks for the rode and fully charged iPods. It was a long trip! 17 hours of just driving but 20 hours total including bathroom and meal time stops. I’ve never traveled for so long on a bus in my life! Fun fact: When you cross over a border from one province to another like we had to, the bus is searched for fruit. I did not get to witness on the way there, but did on the way back and it looks like a drug hunt honestly. Someone gets on with a flashlight and looks through some backpacks here and there and then they stealthily exit. Weird right?

Sabado Nov. 8

We finally arrived during mid-afternoon! Phew! We were first introduced to the staff of people who would be cooking and taking care of us during our stay at INACAYAL (residence that belongs to the University of Buenos Aires) in Villa la Angostura. We were given a very complete tour of the residence including the trout breeding pool and a beautiful lake located on the property. We were then allowed to grab our luggage, and choose our rooms and bunk mates. I roomed with Veronica, Sarah, Hayley and Lisa. There was two bunk beds in each room and they were THREE bunks high! Lisa and I slept on the top top bunks and it was nice and toasty up there. The bathrooms were communal and we shared them with the NY girls. Meals were made for us every day and if we were gone on an all day hike, we were sent off with our bagged lunch. It made me feel like a school kid again. (Cute stuff right?) The food at INACAYAL was delicious! I ate great at every meal which is much needed considering the strenuous activities we did every day. Saturday night we did a walking tour of the town and had some time to explore “centro” on our own.

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Domingo Nov. 9

We got to ride a boat called the Catamaran that took us to another side of the shoreline. Once we got off we went to el Bosque de los Arrayanes. Arrayanes is the name of the reddish trees in my pictures you will see below. We then walked back towards camp which was roughly a four hour hike. There was two great vista points along the way. After the hike, we treated ourselves to ice cream downtown. Super yummy and interesting flavors!

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Lunes Nov. 10

Another hike that led us deep into a woody area where we did bonding activities. The first activity we gave each other massages and then we had to gift our partner a tree, blind folded, by leading them to it and then having them use their senses to remember it. They then had to go find it on their own once we took them back to the starting place. Hayley did a great job at finding my tree, but I needed a little help to find hers since she gave me a caña instead haha!

We then continued our hike back to the residence for lunch. Most of us took naps and then we left again at 4pm for the second hike of the day to Brazo Última Esperanza. The hike ended at a beach where we were able to relax, eat snacks, and hangout. Some chose to stay here and others including myself did an optional extra 45 minutes hike to El Coihue Abuelo which is the biggest tree in the park that split into four parts (due to natural decay although it was initially thought that it was struck by lightning). It was the biggest tree I’ve ever seen no doubt.

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Martes Nov. 11

DEATH!

The craziest hike I’ve ever done in my life. Seven hours each way. We hiked through every season literally. First it felt like spring/ summer with all the green and sunshine. We then crossed a river (which was the bottom of the Cascada Inacayal) which involved walking along fallen trees holding onto a rope for dear life. After an intense incline it was all open woods with orange leaves on the ground which gave a fall kind of feel. Then when we reached Cajon Negro it was a white winter – Snow everywhere! The most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced. Most continued to hike on to the “cumbre” of Cerro Belvedere which was another two hours to the top. Six of us decided to turn back at this point because the cold was just too much. Regardless, I felt super accomplished that I made it that far. My state of mind was indescribable for so many things went through my mind as I kept pushing myself and at the same time it was like nothing was going through my mind the entire hike – I just kept going. This hike changed something in me although I can’t pinpoint it was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.

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Miercoles Nov. 12

Easy going day. We did a day trip to Bariloche which is a one and a half hour drive from where we were staying. First day and only day we got to wear normal clothes versus sportswear so it was fun to wear makeup and get ready with the girls. Bariloche had a great downtown area and they are known for their chocolate so I couldn’t be more content. We went on a mini guided bus tour. At one of the stops we got to take a “telesilla” (ski lift) up to one of the top ten best vista points in the world according to National Geographic (I think #7). Below is the panoramic view. I enjoyed the best “choripan” on the ride up on the telesilla – Best street food yet! At the cafeteria once at the top of the vista point, Lisa and I enjoyed “chococognac” – Hot chocolate with cognac! These Argentines get me.

After this stop we were taken to the centro of Bariloche where we were able to pig out on chocolate, do some shopping, and play with “perros callejeros” like the weird tourists that we are. We then loaded back into the bus and were taken to a brewery where we had a delicious tapas dinner and celebrated Amparo’s birthday. Great way to end the day trip!

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Jueves Nov. 13

This was my favorite day out of the whole trip. We spent the day with the local Mapuce Community (Paicil-Antriaw). We got to pick two out of three activities to do while there for the day: horseback riding, kayaking, and/or mountain biking. Due to my failed attempt to ride a horse without freaking out (which happened earlier in the trip) I chose the last two activities. First I did kayaking on the river. The kayaks are for two people, so Lisa and I buddied up. The lake we kayaked on was super calm, clear and cold! It was a very tranquil activity. We just followed the guide out as far as we had time for until heading back. Neither of us had ever kayaked before, but we got the hang of it and it was fun to race our friends when our arms didn’t feel like they were going to fall off.

Then some members of the Mapuce community made lunch for us. First they dug a hole in the ground and had a fire going on in there. Then everyone helped place all the food inside this manmade hole. The Mapuces then covered it with blankets of leaves that give the food flavor and help it cook. On top of that a cloth sheet is placed and lastly the dirt that was dug up is packed back on top of it. We then let it sit for an hour while we snacked on homemade bread and jams made by one of the women. Jade and Mason played guitar to help pass the time and it was a great moment to take in.

Lunch was definitely a different experience as everything was served just as it was cooked – whole. I ate whole carrots, onions, potatoes and then luckily the pumpkin and meat they were sliced for us. Super tasty and I had fun eating with my hands =P After lunch it was time to mountain bike. I honestly found my calling this day because I was the fastest one on my bike and I never fell. It was the most extreme thing I’ve ever done too. We did a mad incline at the beginning and once we got into the woods that’s when all the fun began. You start biking down paths full of roots and holes that you have to dodge. Then bike over fallen trees and pick up your bike to walk through rivers which were sometimes almost waist deep! The mountain bike guide kept having to tell me to wait for the rest of the group but I could tell he was happy to see I was having a blast. “Te gusta la velocidad eh?” he asked a few times. It was the It was the most fun I’ve ever experienced! I seriously felt like I was experiencing a high the whole time! Definitely need to take up mountain biking when I get back to the states.

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Viernes Nov. 14

Last hike of the trip. It was on the shorter side, but one of the most beautiful hikes. We hiked up to a lovely waterfall and ate lunch beside it on the rocks. There was an optional hike to another waterfall which I decided to go on. The rest of the crew stayed behind to sunbathe and got some gnarly sunburns! I don’t regret the extra hike (mwahaha). Dinner this night was trout from the breeding pool on the camp grounds! Yum! I regret not taking a before and after shot of my fishy. The kitchen staff made us a special “postre” for our last dinner together: A delicious cake with the names of the two universities. The head of the residence said a few words on behalf of INACAYAL and we expressed our thanks to them for an amazing stay. I could get used to that life.

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Sabado Nov. 15

We were able to sleep in for the first time. Had to have our stuff packed before lunch and the rest of the day we were able to spend as we wished on the residence. I took some time to walk around the camp grounds and take it in for the last time. I then spent the last hour before lunch by the lake. Such a beautiful place and 10 days was nowhere near enough time. After lunch we did some closing activities including pictures of what we will most remember and more trust activities amongst our new friends.

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Domingo Nov. 16

Sadly, our time in Patagonia was up. As I suspected, the bus trip back seemed much longer. A lot of us emotional girls were on the edge of shedding a tear to think we had to go back to Mendocino city life. But all good things have to come to an end! It was an amazing trip in which I learned about myself, pushed my limits, and made new friendships I hope will last a lifetime.

Malbec por favor

My trip to Mendoza has most definitely been during the best time of year. I left the United States in the beginning of Fall and arrived during Argentina’s Spring. We have had warm, sunny days lately – This is my kind of weather!

Bodega Norton was quite the outing! Founded by Sir Edmund Norton of England in 1895, today it is one of the biggest wineries in Mendoza. My program and I were able to see the whole process of wine from the grape to right before it is exported.

Our day began with a lunch assortment of exquisite meats and cheeses. Wine was included, but little did we know this was not the wine tasting portion of the tour! At lunch we helped ourselves to red, white, and rosé wine. Dessert was a hybrid of flan and dulce de leche (of course) which was incredibly rich and smooth. It was accompanied by a dessert wine. As you can imagine, our group which primarily ranges from 20-23 year olds, was quite tipsy after all this “help yourself” wine. By the time it was time to start the tour and actual wine tasting, some of us weren’t sure if we could get up! We might have concerned the coordinators a twee bit, but hey, we’re newbies!

We were able to see the big tanks where grapes are first compressed into wine. After the process of the grape skin and seeds floating to the top, it is moved over to a wooden barrel. It will sit here for a few weeks until it is bottled. We were able to taste the difference of when it is in the tank versus barrel. There is a more bitter taste when it is in the tank which makes you think the alcohol content is higher. In actuality, there is more alcohol when it reaches the barrel stage, although the taste is much smoother. This leads me to believe good wine has a higher alcohol content, but makes you think there’s no way you can get tipsy off of it 😉

This past Friday, I organized a day for us to go to the Mendoza Zoologico and Museo de Arte Moderno. The zoo was really big and had some animals I hadn’t seen before, such as the vicuña which sort of looks like a four-legged kangaroo. It is native to the Andes region and only found in South America. There is a big controversy about one animal in specific that is in the care of the zoo: Arturo. Mendoza is located in a desert region, so the weather here is very dry and tends to get very hot in the summer. As you can see, this is no place for a polar bear, such as Arturo. Arturo has been at the zoo for close to 25 years now, but his quality of life here is very sad in my opinion. When we came across his habitat we were appalled. He has a small swimming pool, two fans overhead and a carp that keeps out some sun. He was hiding when we came by, and good thing too because it was hot! He is too old to sedate and move, so he will be staying here for the remainder of his life. Apart from the sad story of Arturo, we really enjoyed seeing other exotic animals such as an African elephant, camels, and more. We then took a bus to the museum of modern art located undergound of Plaza de la Independencia. It was fairly small, but only about a dollar to enter. It had some very interesting pieces of modern art, some of which were very abstract for my liking, but nonetheless intriguing.

Yesterday was Argentine Mother’s Day. I had been looking forward to it for the following reason: My Argentine dad is a plastic artist who on the side works for the government and makes weekly visits to the local penitentiary (yes, as in prison). He made close to 300 small abstract paintings for the inmates to give to their moms on “Dia de la Madre.” Nerea and I went to support him. With the permission of the prison and handing over two forms of identification, we were allowed to enter. We set up outside of a visiting area where there was heavy foot track. I felt safe despite the fact that I was surrounded by delinquents. Interestingly enough, Argentina grants them the human right to wear their own clothes. I was a little confused as to where the prisoners were (ha-ha) since I didn’t see anyone in uniform, but then my dad explained it to me.

It was lovely to see how happy the moms were as Norberto would personally sign their gift. I sat next to him passing him the paintings and then envelope. Each mom would also get a potted flower. Such a nice gesture from my Argentine dad. I was glad we had this activity, because my Argentine sister doesn’t have her mom in her life, so participating in this thoughtful act was great for both of us.

The food here hasn’t been everything I’ve expected it to be. The European influence here is very strong, specifically the Italian influence. Hence, the food more than anything is Italian – there’s all sorts of pasta, raviolis, white breads such as baguettes, and pizza. I’m honestly getting really tired of eating pasta at home and might have to say something soon! I don’t know how these Argentines manage to stay skinny but all this white carb will probably be leaving with me on my hips and thighs! They also eat a lot of “milanesa” which is a thin, breaded meat (usually chicken from what I’ve seen). I have liked this and personally prefer chicken to red meat milanesa. My Argentine dad makes the best one from what I’ve tried so far. The other thing I have liked are their “caprese” empanadas which are like a spring mix (tomatoes, mozarella, basil, etc.) empanadas. See what I mean when I refer to the Italian presence here? You can’t avoid it. Not to mention just about everyone has an Italian last name. Yesterday I learned that my Argentine dad is first generation in Argentina and speaks fluent Italian. His parents emigrated from Italy shortly after they married and now reside in Buenos Aires, where he was born. It’s been really interesting to experience how prevalent the European influence is in Argentine society still today.

Side notes:

(1) When in Mendoza, Malbec is the best red and Torrontes is the best white wine type. We were able to try both of these at Bodega Norton.

(2) I’ve finally got the hang of military time which is what they use here.

(3) I’m really proud of myself because I’ve managed to not to fall into an “acequia” quite yet. Acequias are water canals that run through the whole city to transport water since Mendoza is in the desert. They are very inconveniently placed between sidewalks and streets, so when you get off a car parked along the street you better watch your step!

(4) I bought a mate! I absolutely love the embroidery work on it. The inside is “calabaza” and outside is leather. Now I can get on those Mendocinos level and start passing around my cool new mate.

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Dulce de Leche

Where to begin! So much has happened in the last few days but here is my attempt to sum it up…

Since my last entry, I have gotten the hang of my studies. Most indefinitely upon arriving, I was struggling with the “study” part of study abroad. When you are overseas, it’s easy to get distracted by the many things there are to do here.

On our outings thus far I have gone to El Cerro de la Gloria, Plaza de la Independencia, and Parque General San Martin where I saw the Portones del Parque and the Fuente de los Continentes. I attended my first Tango Show called Con Vino Tango that had free wine tasting included (I can get used to this). Last week we went to el Museo Area Fundacional to learn about how Mendoza came to be founded, the history of the city and its major earthquake in 1861.

I have been to the best “boliche” (nightclub) yet. A big group of us consisting of my friends from the program and Mason and I’s host siblings’ friends (we were easily 30) went to Runner last weekend. There was huge inflatable beach balls that were thrown around the crowd, fireworks and awesome music and lights. Best part is we got into VIP for free thanks to one of our Argentine friends. My friends and I were all blown away by how late the nightlife begins here. The norm is for it to start poppin’ around 2am so we went around that time. I got home at 7am! I can’t say I’ve ever gone to bed when the sun has already come up and birds are chirping! Not surprisingly, the following day was not very productive for me.

This weekend we had our first excursion. The program coordinators took us to Uspallata where we did hikes with breathtaking views (including Parque de la Aconcagua) and were also able to zip line, rappel and rock climb. (My pathetic fear of heights only permitted me to rock climb). We stayed in a hostel that had a cabin feel and had green and trees all around. It was the first time I was able to get to know the other girls from the program that I have not had the opportunity to speak with at school. I felt that it was a great bonding experience for all of us. And I was able to take some great pictures!

Considering it is already week three, I feel like I have gotten a feel for most things by now. I load my phone with minutes (when I remember), know where to charge my bus pass, move around on the micro, taxi and by foot, and have established an awesome group of friends both from Davis and locals from Mendoza. I feel very comfortable with my Argentine family and already feel that 10 weeks won’t be nearly enough time here. Maybe they’ll adopt me?

Tomorrow we will be going to our first winery! I am very excited for this because as a lover of red wine, I can’t wait to experience wine tasting in Mendoza, Argentina’s main hub for wine exportation.

Random side notes:

(1) While I am here I am trying to stick to Fernet and Coca Cola (since we don’t have Fernet in the States) and take advantage of the cheap, high quality wine.

(2) When in Argentina and addressing your most esteemed friends, it is typical to insult them the whole while you talk to them! It’s hilarious to watch and listen to, but that’s love for them.

(3) Lastly, people here seriously love their dulce de leche! It’s like peanut butter for Americans. They put it on just about everything!

Hasta la proxima!

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Hola from Mendoza, Argentina!

Mason Naz Mason & Naz me drinking mate Hello all and welcome to my first blog post 🙂

I arrived to Mendoza, Argentina on Saturday, Sept 27th with Lisa. We traveled for just about 24 hours! But we were happy to fly together. We ran into Naz, my other friend from the program, at the airport in Chile. The three of us and two other girls were all on the same flight from Santiago to Mendoza.

Upon arriving, it was lovely to see host families claim their host child. Also rather funny to watch since they know what we look like and we have no idea what to expect! The program coordinator dropped me off at my new home in downtown Mendoza. Nerea, my host sister, was the first to receive me. She is 21 years old and also studying Psychology. She has been an absolute sweetheart and has called me her “hermana” ever since I arrived. My host father, Norberto, is a famous artist in Mendoza, specifically known for his plastic art. Although he is not a man of many words, he is very loving and has made me feel welcome. I am the first international student that they host in their home.

My family is Catholic and we pray before meals. Also, I have learned that people here eat dinner LATE! For example around 10 or 10:30pm seems to be normal. “Mendocinos” as they are called, are also accustomed to taking a “siesta” or nap, after lunch. The first day I just laid in bed and played on my phone because I wasn’t use to being told time for bed in the middle of the day!

Sunday, Nerea organized for us to go to the Mendoza River with her friends. Her friend Bruno picked us up with his red monster truck and with 8 of us in the car we were off! It’s funny how 3 people in the front and 5 of us in the back was seen as no problem. Also drinking in the car (not the driver though) is no biggie. It was great to be with Spanish-speaking friends my age! Naz tagged along since she lives close and does not have host siblings. We met Mason, the only male in the program, at the river with his host brother, Francisco, and his friends.  The two groups of youngsters got along great! We got to ride around the lake on the ATV or “quatrimoto” which was exhilarating. We also tried “mate” for the first time. From what I gather, friends tend to drink this herbal drink when out at the park, river, etc. I personally didn’t like it that much, but am open to trying it again.

Monday was orientation at Universidad de Cuyo. Nerea took Mason and I on the bus for the first time. The bus was PACKED and obviously Mason and I stuck out like sore thumbs since we were being taught where to get on and off. I also think our NorthFace backpacks gave us away. When we got to school, Mason noticed that his iPhone had been stolen out of his front pocket – What a bummer, but life goes on.

It was great to meet the other 17 people in the program. It was like an introductory meeting – We went over important things to know, the agendas for the different levels, and were given cell phones to make local calls. This was followed by a lovely dinging experience outside – accompanied by Mendoza wine of course! During lunch we were able to try lots of different types of meats such as vacio, morcilla, etc. Our families picked us up at the end of the day. In the evening, I went out to eat with Mason, Francisco and Lisa on Aristedes, a downtown area with bars and restaurants. It was lovely at night with all the lights. Francisco treated us to a typical drink here called “Fernet”. It’s served with a bottle of Coca Cola and the suggestion is 30% Fernet and 70% soda. The three of us really liked it upon our first time trying it!

Today was my first day of school. I really liked both of my professors: Profesor Lazzara and Profesora Guillermina. I have school 9am-4:30pm and lunch is included in the program. We eat in the university cafeteria. My classes today were Argentine Literature & Culture and Argentine Cinema. At the end of the day, I took the bus home with Naz to her apartment to see where she lives. We then walked to my house to know how to get to each other’s places. It was nice to know how easy it is to get to each other’s places for sure. I am very optimistic that this experience is going to be life changing – It has already opened my eyes so much. I love my new family for they have truly tended to my every need to make sure that I am very comfortable. I am also very lucky to have a host sister that wants to take me everywhere and wants me to meet all her friends. I know these three months that lie ahead of me will be incomparable to anything I have experienced before and I plan to blog throughout so that you can come along with me!