Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Different Kind of Shopping.

Today has been, not so much stressful, as just busy. I'm trying to plan and know and figure because that is what I do and that is almost impossible when it comes to academics here. Thankfully, I have chosen to participate in a literature concentration through the study abroad program I am in. This covers 9 of my 15 credits. However, there are restrictions by Duke, by the program, and by each of the four universities I can choose to take classes in. I have to pay attention to all of these.

Anyways, there are four universities from which I can choose classes. Universidad de Torcuato di Tella, Universidad de Salvador, Universidad Catolica Argentina and Universidad de Buenos Aires. The first three are private and the last, UBA, is public and free to everyone. I keep hearing different numbers but somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 people go there. This is approximately the same or bigger than about 50 of the places you can consider countries. MASSIVE and a bit scary. They don't have schedules, there is no accountability, there are final exams that apparently beat the shit out of you and leave you for dead. I'm rewording and summarizing what my academic advisor said, he went to UBA.

Anyways again, I met with my advisor today to see what classes I wanted to enroll in for the shopping period. Each school has a different academic calendar and different drop/add dates, different methods of registration and different methods of dropping a class. It's a plethora of information. We met, I told him where my interests lie and he gave me a pathway of things to do. So, I am enrolled in 3 classes that I think may already be approved for Duke and I am shopping for 9 classes, maybe more, 1 of which I know is approved but which I will not necessarily take. For the most part, all my academics are about halfway taken care of. And on that note, you shouldn't ever really end a sentence with a preposition.

Other Buenos Aires news. This is the city of dogs and noise. Everyone here has a dog, you literally see dogs getting walked several hundred times every time you are outside. And these aren't tiny purse dogs, these are every type of dog. Well, if you are an intelligent person, as I imagine you are if I'm friends with you, then you know what comes along with dogs. Dog Shit. Everywhere. This is a contributing factor to the smell of Buenos Aires which I will address later, but it's everywhere. Pedestrians in BA, in addition to dodging the puddles, dodge dog crap. It is literally all over the place and yes, I find it to be disgusting.

The other day, my spanish teacher asked the class what things we hated most about BA. My answer was the lack of free water. It literally pains me to pay for water all the time. I'm starting to get cheap and just not get beverages in restaurants. This is the only thing I hate, but there are things that bother me that I think I will come to hate. The most important is the previously mentioned smell. There is so much pollution from exhaust and cigarettes and every other type of fume emitting entity that fresh is something to be desired. There is also the smell of the dog feces to combat and to avoid it, it is sometimes necessary to breath exhaust. You see a vicious cycle forming. Another thing that is not so much bothersome as simply very different from anywhere I have lived before is the noise. I have lived in small town suburbia or close campuses for all my life and now I am in a massive city. Ambulances, horns and people yelling a games of futbol echo off the towering apartment buildings. The windows shut and keep out an impressive couple of decibels and it quiets down at night, at least where I live, or maybe I've adjusted, but there is most certainly a lot of noise. In addition to being hard of hearing, the noise from the street requires my host mom to keep the television volume on something like 30. It's a bit ridiculous.

I feel like there were lots of negative things to be said in this post and that was not at all my intention, so I apologize. There were some things that were irking me, but overall this experience is wonderful. I do like Buenos Aires although I am not sure I could ever live here. I've had no trouble eating which is amazing.

Also, I've been slacking on telling you about my dinners:

Monday: Milanesas (breaded meat) with cheese and tomatoes with beet and carrot salad with hard boiled egg in it, actually delicious
Tuesday: Chicken (the part I like to eat as AnĂ¡ put it, the breast) with broccoli and mushrooms with green peppers and rice

I am so well fed at meals. I think I'm getting fat from the weird eating schedules though.


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