Un Gran Aplauso para Nuestro Asador

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The beauty of Mendoza cannot be found in the buildings along the poorly paved sidewalks, nor can it be found in the among the seemingly endless stream of cars, but rather the beauty of Mendoza is found in its people and in its culture. Kissing every person on the cheek before starting anything and then again to say goodbye, passing a highly sugared cup of mate dulce with friends, family, and strangers, spending long hours doing absolutely nothing; that is Mendoza and that is beautiful.

Today marks my four month mark in Argentina and in typical Amelia fashion, I am leaving. I start my Great South American Adventure today and I am writing this in an airport cafe in Buenos Aires. I won’t give too many details, as I am posting a second post with my schedule for the next month but I am beyond excited to start this journey alone.

Over the last few weeks, I have done too many things to count. They are as follows:

I hiked to a waterfall in the mountains with only Argentinians! Round trip, the journey took about six hours; three hours up, hour break, two y pico on the way back. The trail followed a river and was pretty flat until we got close to the waterfall, when it switched to some hands and knees climbing. The waterfall was about 50 meters high and at the bottom there was a ginormous snow mound (take that Minnesota, I got snow first – climate change at its finest). Being who I am as a person, I decided to try to get under the snow mound and ultimately ended up wet and shivering. By the end of the day, I was exhausted, incredibly sun burnt, and extremely happy. We got back to Mendoza, I ate dinner, then fell asleep almost instantly.

I have spent a significant amount of time in the park, practicing self care and love. The park is the pulmon verde (green lung) of the city; it takes up over twenty city blocks, it has a lake, a running track, and lots of quiet space to sit and think. I have been drawing there, basking with friends in the sunshine, climbing trees, falling out of trees, and loving myself.

My ultimate team (basically just friends that meet in the park every Saturday with the intention of playing ultimate frisbee, but never actually play ultimate) had Cervezas y Frisbee. Essentially, we drank beer in the park and tried to throw the disc around. Afterwards, I ended up going to a birthday party for a French exchange student and got home at five in the morning. Overall, a successful night.

I took a wild trip to Cacheuta with the IFSA crew. Everything was already planned so all we had to do was show up on time and have a good attitude! First we hiked up Cerro Feliz Cumpleanos, which was a relatively short hike but still beautiful. Once we were off the mountain, we were served a pot roast lunch and then taken rafting. Mira, rafting goes up to class five and we were on a class two… Lets just say it was more of floating on a dingy and having splashing battles with the other boats. However, it did turn into a war as I was literally yanked by my lifejacket out of my boat into another as prisoner. To return, I had to be pulled by my lifejacket again. Between being held hostage and swimming, I was pulled in and out of boats five times during the hour of rafting.

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Day two of the IFSA excursion started with a riverwalk during a thunderstorm. Everyone was pretty hesitant about entering the water, considering that lightning was flashing overhead, but eventually we all got wet. There were parts of the river walk that were walking, swimming, climbing rocks, jumping off of rocks, literally anything you could have thought of. As we got to the end, the weather had cleared up and the water turned stagnant soI got to actually swim! The guides kept yelling at me for taking off my life jacket but eventually I yelled “I am a lifeguard and I can save myself if I drown.” That shut them up. This was probably my favorite part of the weekend. Afterwards, we were served an amazing rustic lunch and we tried almost every part of a cow that there is to try. With full bellies, we waddled over to the thermal spas and relaxed for a few hours before heading back to Mendoza. As we were loading up the trafics, I heard what I thought was thunder, but it didn’t stop and everything was shaking. When it registered in my mind that I was in the middle of an earthquake, I froze. Luckily, I was no where near the epicenter and it was just an aftershock that stopped after a minute but I now get to cross Survive an Earthquake off my bucket list.

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Thanksgiving as an expat is always a weird thing; having to explain why you’re celebrating, the lack of snow, trying to find food that resembles traditional American dishes, organizing the dinner with all of your American friends – it’s weird. Added in this year the amount of pride I have for my country has dropped substantially and the fact that we are celebrating the massacre of indigenous people while their lands are being taken over by greedy oil companies and the government is doing nothing/sending in militarized police forces to suppress them (#NoDALP), it is hard to feel festive. However, I had Eirini and Madison over to my host families house to make Caprese Mac n’ Cheese and Apple Crisp. Probably the least traditional Thanksgiving I have ever had (in Denmark I went to an Elvis Presley themed American Restaurant) but I am happy I got to spend it with them.

My last Saturday in Mendoza was spent with my Rotaract club! We had an amazing end of the year asado. I ate my weight in deliciously cooked meat and then danced the night away among friends. We ended up making a Mannequin Challenge that it on my Instagram account if you would like to see!

Lastly, I passed all my classes! My finals were all jokes; my art final was making sure I had completed all of the projects, my history final was a group interview where the first question was “what did you learn this semester?” and lastly, my social work final was a repeat of the midterm. I passed all of my classes with good marks and I am happy with how it turned out.

That is all for now, I’ll try to keep my blog updated during my travels.
Besitos

 

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