viernes, 21 de febrero de 2014

Being "American" in "America"

There is this funny thing that happens each time a new "yanqui" comes to town. Many, not all, refer to themselves as an "American." And, in fact, they are. Let's be honest with ourselves, the name of their country, of my country, is called "The United States of America." The problem is, and bear with me here, that many people fail to recognize that Argentinians, Bolivians, Peruvians, and all of the other Latin American's that reside south of the good ole U.S. of A, are also Americans. Albeit South Americans, but, nonetheless, Americans.
All too often, we are tempted to touch the untouchable subjects of politics, religion and futbol (soccer) at the BBQ table, which means I frequently I hear complaints of ignorance and annoyance about this very minimal failure to be "politically correct."

So, after much thinking and brewing of my response to this, by god I do believe I have come up with an answer! And it is not all that ignorant I will have you know.

United States Americans refer to themselves as "Americans" for short not because they are ignorant or unknowing, or because they think of themselves as a superior class, they do this because this a mouth full to say, "Hi, nice to meet you, my name is Stephanie and I am a United States American."  In the US, and I would wager to say, in the world, are in to shortening things, Michael becomes Mike, Stephanie becomes Steph, Jason becomes Jay, Claudio becomes Clau...Are you following me? Lets be realistic, Argentinean aren't saying, "we are Argentinean South Americans." Furthermore, it is not just because we are lazy, it is a linguistically related error!

In both English and Spanish there are adjectives to describe nationalities, she is from Peru, she is Peruvian, He is from France, he is French. I have realized that the problem is in the way the language is built, in the way we are taught to speak. In Spanish, if you are from the United States (of America)  you are estadounidense but something funny happens in English, if you are from the United States (of America) there is no other adjective to use other than American! So, we have two choices, we can either refer to ourselves in a way that makes the world think we are egocentric (which we might be, but that is beside the argument,) or we have to build longer sentences referring to our home land rather than an adjective that describes our person.

How do we then fix this dispute? I propose we create a new adjective for people from the United States:


What's New?

Are you new to our Rosario expat community? Are you looking for work or fun things to do, you have come to the right place.

Here is the latest update!

This bilingual daycare is located in Funes and is currently looking for a native kinder teacher to work either part or full time. The hours are from 9-12:00 and from 12-17:00. You will want to contact Jenny Grynblat

Price Waterhouse Coopers International Ltd.
This is an associate of the Price Waterhouse Co. out the U.S.
The job description is a bit vague. They are looking to feel several positions and are looking for foreigners who are graduated or currently studying economic science.
If you are interested, you will want to send your CV to Valeria.

A little bird told me that Spansource is looking for native In-Company English teachers. I don't know much about them, but if you are looking for a job, you might check them out.

Tuesday Nights
Every Tuesday night Spanish in Rosario is putting together a little co-ed international soccer game. This is open to anyone, regardless of talent and skill, age or gender. If you want to kick the ball around a bit, let us know!

Barlingual Rosario
You can find out about this monthly event via the Facebook Fan Page. These events are always different, and always great fun. Organized by both In-genious Idiomas and Spanish in Rosario, we have been bringing together locals and foreigners for cultural experiences and exchanges since 2012!

Rosario Free Tour
Whether you are a life long local of Rosario, a fresh fish just getting your feet wet, or a traveler just passing through, Rosario Free Tour is a great way to spend a Saturday morning. It is 100% satisfaction guaranteed because you only pay what you feel it is worth or what your budget allows you to. It is given both in English and Spanish and lasts about 2 hours, knitting an amusing and interesting twist to the commonly known history of Rosario. They meet every Saturday on the steps of the Old Customs House (Maipu and Urquiza) at 11:30am. You can't miss them!

Do you have a job to offer or want to add your good vibes to our page? Just let me know! 

lunes, 20 de enero de 2014

7 ways to stay safe in Buenos Aires

I had hoped to never have to write an article like this. Mostly because I am not a big fan of the idea of perpetuating the hysteria that revolves around safety or the lack there of in South America. But I have now come to a point where, after 8 years of being in Argentina and a very large unfortunate portion of our students, friends, family and soon to be known acquaintances having suffered the nightmare of being forced to go through the process of police reports and emergency passport renewals, I have decided it is time I write something to help those new fish out when braving the shark filled waters of Buenos Aires.

1. Get travel insurance. You will thank me.
2. Wear a money belt waistband where you can keep your passport on your body at all times. I know you think this is incredibly dorky, but the biggest nightmare you can possibly imagine is being stuck in a foreign
country where you only half way speak the language with no money, no passport and no idea what to do. The theft in Buenos Aires is pretty petty. They don't want your passport and they aren't going to beat you up to get your money belt. They are looking for quick and easy turn over of electronic devices - cameras, laptops, recorders, etc.

 3. Avoid Retiro Bus station like the plague. If you absolutely have to go there, arrive in an official taxi and leave in an official taxi. DO NOT ARRIVE OR LEAVE THERE WALKING. When you are in Retiro keep all 300 of your eyes peeled. There is no need to be afraid but DO NOT let your guard down. Keep your backpack with your most valuables on your back, buckled and on your person. Keeping it at your feet while you sip a cup of coffee is not safe. The old time trick is this: "Hey, do I need to sit down for them to take my order or do I need to go to the counter?" asks one man. And as you turn to kindly say, "The counter is just over there," another man snatches your backpack from under the table. There is no use running after them, you will never see your things again. It is all part of the process. A laptop and camera can be replaced fairly easily, a passport is a bit more of a bureaucratic headache.

4. Be aware of your surroundings. I repeat. There is no need to feel afraid, but you must be aware. If you want to take a picture on a busy street, take notice of who is around you. Have you seen the same face more than once throughout your morning walk? Are there some sketchy looking motor bikes parked and "people watching?" The majority of robberies occur in broad day light on busy streets (or one street over from the busiest streets) and it is not coincidence. They are following you, they are waiting to make sure you have a camera. When they rob you they usually say things like, "Da me la camera!" (give me your camera) They don't say, give me your purse. They don't want your purse, they just want something to sell quickly - give them the camera and let them run off.

5. Do not resist. There is this old saying that goes something like, "soldado que huye vive para otra batalla." (fleeing soldiers live for other battles) Violent crime is not huge in Argentina, but petty theft is. It is a clear sign of the obvious strata in the social system of have and have nots and a camera or laptop can easily be replaced.  The best thing to do, while it will likely injure your ego, is to simply let go. Think of it as a gift, a learning experience that will help you with the working through your detachment issues.

6. Try to blend in. It is not always easy, this I know, especially coming from an ex San Francisco resident who arrive to Argentina wearing cut off shorts and knee high red boots or you happen to be a 6 foot
something blonde from Sweden, but if you stand out, you might end up being a target. There are, of course, somethings that can't be avoided but I would say, dress like you are homeless, don't carry more than the bear necessities while you are out and about gallivanting the city, and remember, keep the most important things locked up in the hostel/hotel safe.

7. If it is not on the tourist map they give you upon arriving, don't go there unless you are accompanied by a local someone. There is likely a reason it didn't make it onto the map.

Of course, even the most cautious of people still encounter misfortunes along the road, these are just little things that hopefully help you along the way. In the case they do not, don't let something so small as a negative experience taint the color of your travels. All travelers know that there are good times and bad times and we need the rain to appreciate the sun. In fact, the lose of some personal items might end up being liberating for some.

Happy trails to you!

lunes, 16 de diciembre de 2013

It's that time of year again...

Do any of you other expats out there in Argentina find it difficult to get into the Holiday mood of the Christmas spirit while it is currently a brewing 100 degrees outside? Have you heard any of the familiar holiday sounds of Jingle Bells or Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer? Have you taken a stroll down Candy Cane Lane or seen a plethora of decorated store fronts or family homes? This is my problem. This ridged concept of Christmas that keeps me from "Rocking Around the Clock," this conditioned reaction to visual stimulation, climate and sound. It just doesn't feel like Christmas. I try, I swear, I do! I set up the tree and decorated the house. I turned on the Bing Crosby Holiday album, but there is no way I am going to follow the family tradition in baking cookies in this godawful warmth of a summer. I know I know, Christmas is about family and sharing and togetherness, and I plan to celebrate it as such, only this year, instead of cuddling fireside, I will be wading in my kiddie pool!

lunes, 21 de octubre de 2013

Upcoming Events!

My my has this been a busy year for us! I have hardly found time to keep up with the rapid running pace of this wanna be slow movement life!


So, in a sort of blink of an eye, I am going to attempt to catch you up on what is to come in these next few weeks. We wouldn't want any of you missing out on the fun.

October 26th, 2013
This is the party everyone is just "dying" to go to! Get ready to experience language exchange as you have never seen it done before!

October 31st, 2013
 I will certainly "be" there!

All through the month of October and November,  
Spanish in Rosario is offering an amazing 3 for 2 spring special!


miércoles, 21 de agosto de 2013

Guy Claxton in Argentina

It is that time of year again and we are blessed to be able to receive the acclaimed professor Guy Claxton! Wait, let me guess, you have no idea who the guy is. Right? (Sorry, pun is totally intended) Well, Guy Claxton is one of my educational hero. He is better known for his bestseller, "What's the Point of School," where he basically criticizes the current standardized educational system and provides a new scientifically and psychologically based frame work to change the way we are teaching youth around the world and essentially change the world into a better place while doing so.

Now, in some counties, these changes are already taking place. And, while Argentina is surprisingly progressive in their methodology on a creative and intuitive level, they are lacking this framework that would allow them to work systematically through their creativity, providing a bit more organization. The good news is, there are dozens of schools eager to innovate their current methodology, and some that are even interested in Mr. Claxton's theory of Building Learning Power.

One of the local schools here in Rosario is so interested in fact, they have sponsored the upcoming event and have plans in place to begin applying Building Learning Power, not only within the classroom, but rather as an overall innovation of their current framework.

This school is El Colegio Espanol de Rosario.  In fact, their goal is not only to begin changing the culture of their school, but to become the first BLP school in Argentina. THAT is what I call innovative!

I am placing flyer here, in the case that any of you expats working as teachers are interested in attending the event, which, as you might suspect, I highly recommend!

viernes, 26 de julio de 2013

7 wines I Love the Most

It is July 26th, 2013 and, unlike most Friday nights, I am sitting in silence in the comfort of my warm home, doing something that is not all that rare for me: drinking wine.
I, as some know, am a WINE LOVER. I am not just talking about a small kind of love, but rather an intense and intimate relationship. What I mean to say is, just as Argentinians often make comments like, "if there is no meat, it isn't a meal" "I feel that a meal without wine is a crime." 
So, today's post is going to be dedicated to the 7 wines I love the most.

In no specific order of best or worst, I will start by profiling the bottle I am half through drinking.
Hold on, I need to fill my glass.

San Felipe Cabernet Sauvignon - Roble - 2010 - priced at $40 pesos a bottle. 
This, one of the best wines on the market for under $50 pesos. It is dark and rich in color. In the nose you will find it fruity with hints of vanilla and coffee, but on the pallet you will find it complex yet balanced with smooth and almost sweet tannins. For me, it is perfecto for picadas, pastas, beef dishes or just because and find that, while most people recommend NOT pairing red wines with olives, the wine is big enough to not be bothered in doing so. 

Mantra Pinot Noir - 2010 - priced at $60 pesos a bottle.
At our last wine tasting event we tasted this exquisite wine paired with cheese stuffed plums wrapped in bacon. Need I say more? And, I learned something new. Because I am from California, of course I was used to drinking Pinot, that is, until I moved to Rosario and replaced it with Malbec. 
The thing is, for me, Mendoza just can't cut the Pinot in their region, but I have never been able to pin point exactly why. Until now. Pinot and Chardonnay are the first grapes to rippen in the season, and it is for this reason that both grapes do better in colder harsher weather. But that isn't enough of an explanation for me. Why is it? Well, I will tell you, it is because, in the colder harsher regions the grapes can mature at a slower pace. Yeah duh, common sense could have told you that. But there is another side note, and that is, in harsh weather, both of these grapes naturally grow thicker skin, whereby concentrating the flavors of the grape even more!

Finca Paca Tempranillo - 2011 - priced at $35 pesos a bottle.
This wine is perfect in every way. I can't say any more about it. I have just ordered several cases. 
It is a great starter wine, it pairs well ever just about everything. It is inexpensive!!!!! That is all.

Alma Mora Malbec - all vintages.
Alma Mora is one of the middle ranged wines from the Bodega Finca las Moras. Their least expensive wine is named after the bodega and is not half bad for $20 pesos a bottle. However, if you are willing to put forth 10 pesos more, you will find that Alma Mora is twice the wine of it's cheaper counter part. 

Marianne Malbec - 2008
This is the same bodega as the wine above, Finca las Moras, but it is 2 steps up in both price and quality. For about a year, Marianne was my favorite wine on the market. Why you might ask? Because it is delicate. It is feminine, it has hints of raspberries, which I love, and, it was under $50 pesos a bottle. 

Alto Sur Malbec - priced at around $60 pesos a bottle.
Alto Sur comes from a winery by the name of Sophenia in the Tupungato region of Mendoza. This wine spends 3-4 months in both French and American oak barrels. Is is violet in color and has an intense red fruit aroma of cherries, blackberries, blueberries and plums with a very faint hint of spice. The tannins are round yet balanced and there is a nice long aftertaste. This is the wine we will be tasting in the next wine tasting.

I have saved the 7th for namesake: 

Septima Malbec
The Septima Malbec won the silver medal award in France in the year 2011. Their reserve has taken the gold a few years in a row now: in both 2009, 2010. So this should give you an idea of the quality of this wine. It is currently going for around $45 pesos a bottle and is decadent in color, aroma, and taste. 
But, by the seventh bottle, I am more worried about the taste and anything else and this...This bottle my friends will not lead you astray!