Things have really begun to pick up as we start preparing for the Corazones Abiertos intensive seminar July 13th-18th. I have spent the last few nights loosing track of time in work. Before I know it it's 11pm. I'm preparing the materials for the leaders, creating pamphlets, handmade notebooks, affirmation cards, powerpoints, nametags, etc. I will be participating in a group during the seminar so I'm also working through a large manual, which requires lots of reading & writing in Spanish.
However, yesterday we did take most of the day off which was great. We woke up early & headed downtown to enjoy a wonderful breakfast. Once again, I can't express how much I love the coffee & facturas (pastries) here. After breakfast we went to an art museum, the marcado central (central market), & I visted a few stores searching for gifts to take back home. It is an incredible feeling spending 74,00 (they use , instead of a .) pesos but knowing it's only 19 bucks in US dollars. Although it's cheap, it's hard for me to remember to carry around so many pesos. After la siesta, Beth & I took the bus back downtown to buy suplies for the seminar & also so I could learn the bus routes. I hope to go back soon to do more exploring on my own.
This morning I woke up, had toast & cofé con leche & started making home made bread! Right now it is rising. I enjoy all the small culture lessons I learn here, like how they make bread or why people are obsessed with cleaning their sidewalks.
Some interesting things I have noted so far:
1) when you say thank you for something here there is typically no response. For instance, thanking some one for giving you a ride or for making you food. Thanking people just doesn't seem normal here. I'm curious whether people find it seemingly ungenuin or if they simply don't see a need to thank any one.
2) phone numbers, depending on how many people live in the city, may be 6, 7 or 8 digits long. In Buenos Aires they are 8. Here in Mendoza they are 6.
3) there are no public bathrooms. if your kid needs to pee, you simply let he or she drop their pants on the side of the road & pee into a bush or acequia.
4) people here do not speak "Spanish" they speak "Castellano." this distinction is very important to them. as one guy explained it to me, "Spanish is spoken in SPAIN, Castellano is what WE speak. We don't have those lispy accents, Castellano is more beautiful."
5) In cooking, Argentines don't use measuring cups.
6) Buy a book? No, get it photocopied. Although there are copyright laws, like most laws here, they aren't obeyed or inforced.
7) Everyone citizen 18+ is forced to vote. Last Sunday were elections. Everyone despises them. Also, they have had the same method for voting since the 50's. It is so slow, people have to stand in line for HOURS.
I'm missing friends & family, but I'm loving my time here as well.