I thought everything had been going better at work. I am working on an interesting project on judicial guarantees in the inter-American system. It has been taking a while but it has been great to get my teeth stuck into a project for a while. It also means that I have to take instructions less because both my supervisors know I already have work. So all seemed to be going well until just now we had a presentation on the inter-American system of human rights. I understood basically what was happening but certainly not all the content. Then we went around the room and talked about the systems in out countries. What a low!! Didnt really know exactly what the topic of conversation was so when it got to my turn my heart was pounding and all I could think to say was I cant. To which Sergio rolled his eyes quite demonstrative of his obvious frustration with me. Trying to pull myself out of the humiliation now. My hands are still shaking. And I thought I had been doing so well!! Oh well I dont have long left at the internship. While it has been a great experience I feel like the language barrier has really meant that I have bitten off more than I can chew. I am so frustrated all the time! I feel like I actually have some intelligent things to say but I just cant express myself. I go out socially and seem to be able to communicate fine then the next work day comes around and I am a bumbling mess. Dam! I dont think I have ever had such a constant challenge in my life. Sometimes it makes me feel physically ill (like now!). Where is the switch that makes it all easy?? Anyway no point in dwelling in (I know the preposition here should usually be dwelling on but I really feel in this case that it feels like a dwelling in) the feeling any longer. Onwards and upwards. I must be improving even if it doesnt feel like it. I certainly cant be getting any worse!!
The exciting news this week is that Maria from Adelaide is in Buenos Aires!! Very exciting. I havent spoken to another Australian since I got here (probably because I try to avoid them not because I dont love my fellow country men but because I know there are plenty more where they came from and would rather spend my time here meeting people other than Australians and preferably Latinos!). But having Maria in BA has brought a rush of calm. Not only is great to spend time with another Australian but it is great to have a real friend. Someone who knew me before, before I decided to do this crazy thing moving across the world to live and work, barley able to communicate. Maria knew me before I became the shy girl who sits in the corner because she is terrified of entering a conversation where she wont be able to form the right answer. She is a friend who right now seems to represent such an easy life of casual communication no thinking involved. Jokes running from one to the other without a care for idioms or prepositions. Beyond the ease of English language Maria shares my culture. Such a subtle thing culture really but, for example, Maria knows that a straight face telling a joke is even more funny then a smiling one. Even with English speakers I have met here, much of my humor has been lost on the lack of understanding of Australian sarcasm!! Which of course, as you all know, is hilarious! On Wednesday when Maria arrived she called me when I was at a Colombian birthday party. Long story . involving me making a cake for a girl at work which landed me entirely alone at a Colombian birthday party where everyone knew each other and I knew no one. Thank god for the Latino tradition of kissing everyone in greeting. I actually met some incredible people including a lovely guy called Mono (monkey) who later walked Maria and I to the bus stop, and insisted on waiting with us as he lied and said it was also his bus stop. As the bus pulled up and he went to move off to his own bus (clearly not the same bus stop) he said he wouldnt have felt right if he had left us there alone. What a man! Anyway, I digress. The important part of the story was that Maria called me at the party and I, very excited went to meet her with a Brazilian friend. We returned to the party with Maria in tow where everyone made a heroic effort to practice their English with their new found friend (Maria). Truth be told most Latinos I have met absolutely love to practice English (other than those at my office!!). I usually have a policy of I dont speak English in Buenos Aires which, depending on how forcefully someone wants to speak English, usually does the trick! But it is also nice to have the upper hand in a conversation occasionally!
Tonight Maria and I are going out to a traditional Argentine restaurant. Which means MEAT!!! And wine of course! I have heard great things so hopefully should be a good night. We might then meet up with some of my house mates afterwards.
Last weekend I was determined to get out and do some site seeing in Buenos Aires. I decided to go and check out the Reccoleta cemetery. I had read about in the guide book and it was a pretty nice day so seemed like a nice thing to do you know just to go and check out some graves. My housemate Leisje from Belgium jumped at the chance to come with me because she knew of a cultural art festival happening in the cultural centre adjacent the cemetery. So off we went. It sounds weird but the cemetery was really impressive!! I took some photos that might help you to get an idea of what it was like. It is basically like a little city of tombs. There are no grave stones here. These are full on family tombs. They are small rooms, some with several levels that have increasingly impressive entrances depending on the wealth of the family. There are hundreds of famous Argentinean family graves here. The one that was most known to me was that of Evita (her tomb is the balck one with all the flowers). Seeing her family tomb just drove home the idea that Eva was more out to line her own pocket then to save Argentina. But again, not saying that too loudly in these parts!!
After the impressive cemetery Leisje and I wondered into the art festival. It was filled to the brim who thought they were very intellectual, very stylish and all round totally cool. Which of course they were. It was a pretty amazing festival. There were free films playing from all over the world, musical concerts, silent films and graffiti artists. We wondered around soaking up the atmosphere for over six hours. Then we jumped on the bus back home ready for the next huge Saturday night in Buenos Aires and another Sunday lost to sleeping. But at least I felt better for actually having gone out and seen some day light! And managed to fit in a viewing both of the dead and the dead gorgeous of Buenos Aires!
And just for fun. I finally managed to get a shot of the dog walking in action!! Always brings a huge smile to my face. Hope the photo can work the same magic.
There are even bigger packs than this one!! I love them!!!
posted Friday July 2008