Tuesday, July 1, 2008


So I have less than 24 hours left in Argentina.

Right now im in a cyber because they cut the internet in our house, the peopole are comin g to fiix it next week. And I won´t be here next week...

I´ve been feeling lots of really strange emotions lately, mostly I think it´s that I´m trying not to think about haveing to leave and blocking it out. I can get really upset on the plane. Or something.

It´s about 3 riht now and I´m about to go to Flor´s house. I think we´re going to go downtown foor my goodbuye ceremony -thingy. I still need to buy yerba and alfajores. And spanish style cards to play Truco. No one knows how to play truco in america though....

Ive decided that AFS shouldnt be allowed to offer semester programs. Because you don´t actually figure things out until after 4 months. And I don´t mean cultural things (although it can take awhile to understand that too..) I mean things about life. I think ive learned quite a lot here. And now I have to leave understanding only half of everything. Great.

Tomorrow I´m going to school right before my flight to say goodbye to everyone. Crap.

Oh, and I borrowed my familys cam and took pics today and yesterday. Yesterday was my lasat day of pe and they gave me a going away paarty.

I´m really erally really goingto miss my friends. AArgentineans are just different than americans. Not that one group is better than the other, its just that you have to have both because theyre completely distinct.

This was probably really random, but I don´t care. Ijreally exhausted and I ahve 40 of travel to look forward to.

And what if Aei, Firn, and Anita don´t go to the ariport to say good bye?? And Mizuho y Phyliss?? xq a la fiesta de despedida ibamos a juntarnos, pero al fin no fui, and no me despedí de ellos :((

I really hope I can come backbefore they all leave....

Oh! And someting really important happened last week. I went to the kiosco to buy credito the other day, and when I walked in Marta took my hand and told me, ¨Last week when you didnt go to the asado,I really missed you. There was something missing. I want you to know that I really love you, and when ever you can come back we´ll take you in. I love you. ¨And I walked out of the kiosk crying. It was a good cry, I think.

Ok, have to Florss house!

We´ll all be seeing eachother way to soon:/

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

YAY. update.

So I´m finally updating for real. I got back from the waterfalls last Monday. Isabelle, another exchange student that I had met in BA in Feb. stayed for a few days in Neuquén when we got back. But I had to go to school anyway :(

So, school. It´s pretty frustrating. I still can´t do everything normally. Not even close. Not that I enjoy writing essays or anything, but I really really want to be proficient enough in Spanish to be able to do it. Yesterday, I took the Geography exam. There were four questions, and I had 70 minutes to answer them. How many did I answer? 2. Two essay questions in 70 minutes might not seem terribly bad, but my answers weren´t that long. Grrr.

And I think I might have failed Chemistry. The first test we took I scored a regular, which is like a 5 or 6 out of 10. Yeah, I know, not very impressive, but I beat most of class, the majority of which failed straight out. And today we had another test. So last night I studiously put myself to work, memorizing stuff about polar molecules. And I had everything down.

So today, I went to take the test, feeling all confident-like, and the teacher hands me the test. And you know what?? It wasn´t a test on polar molecules. It was a retake of the stuff from last time. All of which I had already forgotten. So I think I might have failed chemistry this semester. Great. And I only have one more month to un-fail myself.

Anyway, I´m going to post some fotos to make me feel a little better.

The first one is of me, my class, and the cake they bought me all together :). Just for fun I´m going to name them all. Ok, so you have me in the far left, and from left to right, Ticho, Facu, Oso, other Tincho, Fern, Anto, y Jimena. Oh, y Cony is inbetween Facu and Ticho, in her own little line. The next row is Silvina, Lorena, Lu, Jennie, Fabiola, and the other row is Noelia, hugging Nanu, Dalila, and finally Sophi. For some reason though she is really bright and you can´t see her face....

The next fotos are of my fam. I don´t remember when the first one was taken, but I just had to post it....

My host dad, with me in the background. Can you believe that sometimes he is actually serious??

This one is my brother, Martin. As you can see, he is quite special.

That´s my hand too. I don´t know what I was doing. But I think the better question is, what was he doing...?

This one is of me and Vicky. She used it for her fotolog profile pic, so I figured I´d post it as well. You can also see Negrita in the middle. She is sticking her tongue out.

This last one is of a fraction of the group in the viaje al norte to Iguazú falls. I´ll try and post more fotos of the falls later, because they are abosolutely gorgeous. Here we are in this foto, from left to right, Mizuho (Japan), Paige (USA), Nina (USA), Me (USA), Anita (Australia), Katy (USA), Margaret (USA), Isabelle (USA), and Rita (China). That day all of the exchange students went to Brazil to see that side of the falls (Brazil and Argentina both share the national park and there are waterfalls on both sides). But apparently Brazil hates the USA, Japan, Australia, and China, because we needed special visas to go, which we didn´t obtain. So we went back to the Argentine side of the falls, which we heard after is the better side :). Igual, I really reallyreally wanted to go to Brazil. And that night, after everyone got back, we found out that they were going to go back that night because there was some kind of traditional dance-show thing. Which we all couldn´t go to still...

......And you know what??? Blogger won´t let me post the foto. Let me try again.
Wooo! It worked. So here it is.

That´s all for now. Don´t forget to comment!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Really tired in Buenos Aires right now. Todo bien, fotos and stuff when I get back to Neuquen.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Hola a todos! So finally I am able to upload some fotos. Because blogs are no fun to read without fotos :-) My host dad had to take my camara to work and there they took out the chip and put the fotos onto a portable USB. And now I have fotos!

The AFS chapter meeting was really fun, even though a few of them didn´t come :-( We had tennis lessons at this club which was pretty fun. I forgot to bring my camara though... I met some of the kids who had already been in Argentina, which was really cool. They were all really good at Spanish, but they had already been there for 7 months. Now I´m sad that I won´t get to stay for a whole year... Anyway, tonight I´m going to an AFS exposition in Plottier, and I´ll bring my camara to that.

This week I missed two days of school because I´m sick...I went to the doctors today, and it looks like I just have a cold, so hopefully it will blow over soon. Especiallly since I´m supposed to be going out tomorrow night with some other girls in Quinto. Usually I feel really bad when I miss school because I have to make up work and stuff...but not here because I know at least 2 of my teachers didn´t show up for class, because today everyone got out at 11. And I don´t have to make up work here anyway yet because I cant do it...Hopefully I´ll be able to do the work soon and understand everything. Biology is really a killer in Spanish. And so is Economics.

Anyway, with my extra free time yesterday I went to the centro with Vicky and her friends, which are really nice. I have some fotos of that as well. So, without much further ado, here are some fotos!

Everyone in Buenos Aires

I´ve just discovered that it takes forever to upload fotos from this compu...so thats the only one for this post. To see all of them go to http://picasaweb.google.com/xxbethanie09xx/FirstMonth
Besos until next time,

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Monday was my first day of school. And Catholic school is...interesting. In a good way, I think. Very different. We got to school on Monday before it was light out, and stood around the basketball court for a while. Then they started opening ceremonies, which included the Argentine national anthem and and the anthem of Neuquen. I chatted a little with all of Vicky´s friends, which are all really nice, and then they went to class. I had to go to the office with my host mom because they still hadn´t placed me in a grade yet. Because I had already completed half of my junior year, they didn´t want put me in cuarto (the equivalent of junior year) because I would be starting all over again (the seasons are the opposite here, summer just ended and the school year is starting). The ended up putting me in quinto, which makes me a senior :-). Then this lady led me to the cafeteria, which is really a small room where sodas are sold, and she said ¨These are your new friends¨(in castellano of course) and pointed me to a group of girls. One of them just grabbed my hand and pulled me through the school, pointing out the library, bathroom, office, etc. Then we went to my class room to drop off my stuff. Everyone else was having class then, except for us, because the teacher didn´t come in. As I was told, when teachers don´t show up for class, instead of getting a substitute, they just cancel class. Which is actually really nice... After that we had some type of social studies class, I forget what it was called, and the teacher dictated questions to us and we had to answer them. I was kind of just sitting there stupidly while everyone else was workijng. One of the kids came over to me and handed me a sheet of paper, which turned out to be the questions translated into English. Yipee. Then we had Bio, and then Math. I suppose no one really wanted to be working, so all of my classmates crowdedaround me to ask me questions. It wouldn´t have been so bad, but theyall talked at thesame exact time, so I never knew who to look at or respond to. When I didnt understand something (which was often) they all triedto make me understand atthe same time. I was really tired after school.

Tomorrow is the first AFS chapter meeting, and I get to see allof my AFS friends and all the other kids who were already here when I got here. I´m really excited to see Eei and the girl from Japan, Mizuho, because they came knowing absolutely no spanish. Im also going to meet my liason/counsler person. More later.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Asados in Chile

So I´m in another internet ciber in Curacautin, Chile, and I can´t upload any fotos. The computer won´t recognize my USB, and the one time it did it said that there was something wrong with the connection. Oh well, it was in castellano.

Anyway, so last week I was in San Martin de los Andes, which is a popular vacation spot for the residents of Neuquen. We went to a different playa everyday, and the water everywhere was really nice. I burned my back really bad though, even though I put on sunblock every 20 minutes and I was wearing a shirt when I wasn´t in the water, so I don´t know how that happened. We stayed in a really nice hotel, it had two floors, with a kitchen, 2 bathrooms, and 5 beds. We also went to the centro a lot too, and it´s bigger than downtown SC. In general the trip was really fun, but it was also really hard. Argentine families are uber uber close, and right now I still don´t feel completely part of the family, although it gets better everyday. It was really hard to watch how close they all were, and not be able to communicate everything I wanted to. I´m not really sure if my spanish is improving yet, one minute I feel like I´m getting better or that I will get better if I put in more effort, and the next minute I feel like I´ll never learn spanish and that I´m completely lost and helpless. I´m just hoping that my spanish will really improve once I start school (March 3rd).

Anyway, so now I´m in Chile visiting my host families relatives. If I wasn´t confused with Spanish before, now I certainly am, because I had to adjust to a different accent. It was slightly easier than beffore, because the accent here is more similar to the way were taught in spanish class, but people talk so fast. Another thing I noticed is that people sometimes just leave off the last syllable of a word. Like, my cousin was telling me something about school, and she was saying the words viernes and domingo, days of the week. But when she said it, she said viern and domin. It is all just so utterly confusing I don´t know what to do. Yesterday, my tio was teaching us card games, and after an hour of trying to understand I felt like I was going to pass out.

Chile isn´t that different from Argentina culturally, at least from what I´ve seen. They also do asados, which are barbeques. Today we went to the ´campo´or the field, of one of my tias, and we had an asado of lamb. The thing though is, here, since we were on a farm, we had one of the lambs from their farm. When we arrived, we went to pick out which one we were going to have. They wrangled it and put it in a wheel barrel, and brought it out. And then they killed it. Here, in Chile, its a local specialty to have sheep blood with lemon juice and bread. So instead of just killing it straight away, they bled it into this pan of herbs and lemon juice. After about 15 minutes I think it was dead, but it was still twitching a little. After that they skinned it and stuff, and a few hours later we were eating lamb asado.

And I tried the lamb blood. Is it bad that I kind of liked it? Seriously, a little cilantro and lemon juice and you can´t even tell its blood. The only thing I didn´t like was that some of the blood clotted at the bottom of the pan, so there was a sort of clotted bloody jello at the bottom. It was kind of chewy. Anyway, I had 3 spoonfuls and some with bread. If I hadn´t known it was blood, I probably would have had more than that. I have lots of great fotos of that...

I really hope that this post makes some kind of sense. I´m really exhausted for some reason and I can´t really think straight.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Estoy en Chile!

Well, I successfully crossed the border from Argentina to Chile, after lots of drama from Chilean immigration/border control. AFS had told us all we needed was to pay some extra money to get me in, then my host parents talked to Chile and they said I need official permission from my parents and an official translation of the document, which would have taken too long. We weren´t sure if I was going to get in or not, but we drove to the border, and with no trouble or having to pay anything, I got in. I´m really glad that I did though, because it´s so beautiful here and Vicky´s family is really nice. Yesterday we went to a pool that was fed by a waterfall, and on the way we saw two volcanoes. Chile is lots of fun! Hopefully I´ll be able to get some fotos up soon, Chile and San Martin are absolutely gorgeous.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Manzanitas y sal

HOLAAAA A TODOS!!!! Now that I have more time to write, i´ll tell you about what ive been up to so far. So first, orientation. Overall, Id have to say that the orientation experience wasnt really that great. After waiting in the Bs As airport for over 4 hours, AFS split all of us into two groups to go to different orientation camps. When we got there, we threw all of our bags down and went to eat lunch. The Thai kids were already there, and we met them. During the rest of the day other students from different countries arrived. The thing I was probably most disapointed with was the orientation activities. Before coming on exchange, everyone has to read this book called Culture Trek, its a bunch of stories you have to interpret about communication and cultural differences. Basically, they took that book and made us do all of that material again. It was pretty tedious and pointless, mostly becasue all of the information is common sense. But anyway, another thing I didnt like was the fact that all of the volunteers spoke in English. Some of the Thai kids only spoke Thai and some English, so during discussions we all had to speek in English. There was this girl, Mizuho, from Japan in my group, and the only language she spoke was Japanese. It was really hard for her to understand what was going on. It is amazing though, all of the things you can communicate just by miming and moving your hands, as we figured out. I understand that some things needed to be said in English, just so everybody knows what was going on, but the volunteers didnt speak to us in Spanish at all. I feel as if they transition process from orientation to our families would have been a little easier, especially for the Thai kids and Mizuho, if Spanish was spoken as well as English. But anyway, there were some good parts of orientation. On Saturday we took a tour of Bs As; we got to see Evitas grave, the Casa Rosa, the Plaza de Mayo, and La Boca. When we got to the Plaza de Mayo, there was a protest going on. In Argentina protests are very common, because there is still a lot of corruption in the city and maybe even the government, I suppose. But anyway, the only thing that made orientation tolerable were the other kids that I met. It was really weird how strong a bond we all had after just a few days together. I find that Im missing the other exchange students more than home right now, just because we can all relate to eachother about this experience. So orientation wasnt all that bad, I suppose. There was a good end to it, too, on the last night there was a talent show. We did it by country, and I have to say the Americans put on an amazing performance of I want it that way by the Backstreet boys. Theres a guy from Sweden playing the guitar, and the girl from Finland does a pretty sweet flute solo. Ill put up the video of that and other performances when I find a computer that I can upload to...So then on Sunday we all went to the airport and had to say goodbye. It was actually pretty sad saying goodbye, especially to Isabelle and Ellen, and then to Olivia, our favorite volunteer <3 Then I was on a plane to Neuquen with my chapter group. When I got off the plane I could see my host family past the security. We were all really excited and nervous, because we could see them past the gate and they had a bunch of AFS signs with our names. There was a quick goodbye, and I didnt get to say goodbye to Eai, my favorite Thailander, and to some others, which was sad, but I forgot about that pretty quickly when I realized how much spanish I couldnt understand with my host family. My host family is really really nice and I like them a lot. When we got back to the house, I unpacked, and then we went to meet my host moms brother. At his house, we sat around and talked, and then I went outside with Victoria and her uncle and we picked grapes in their yard. When we left, we took like three bags of grapes, and we still have a bunch left after almost a week. After that we drove to Martas house, Vickys granmother. She owns the neighborhood kiosco, its like a general store. There are always a lot of kids and people there because its basically a candy store, jaja. After that, we walked back to the house, which is about a block away. I finished unpacking, and then around 10 we all had dinner. One thing that was really hard to adjust to is the eating schedule and the day. We wake up pretty early, and then we dont go to bed until at least 12. Also, it gets dark here around 10, so it could be 8 but it feels like is 3 or oclock. Afer dinner we went to the centro, and there was a huge festival going on. It was kind of like arts fest except much much bigger, with arts and crafts and performances and magic and such. It was pretty cool, but i think I was a little to tired to fully appreciate it. I´ve had to adjust to the different sleeping-eating habits here. In the morning we eat breakfast, which is milk, tea, or coffee and pastries and cookies. Then lunch is around 12, and its the biggest meal of the day. Then theres a snack at 7 or 8, which consists of milk, tea, mate and facturas, the pastrie-like things with dulce de leche or pate. I think pate is kind of like spam, but its actually really good. Then dinner is around 10 or 11, which is really strange for me, because we go to sleep right after dinner.

This is getting pretty long, so Ill stop here right now. Next time Ill talk about San Martin de los Andes, where we are right now for vacation. Ill try and put up fotos, because it is absolutely gorgeous. Besos <3<3

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

¡Hola a todos!

My first post from Argentina! It will be short because I am at a cyber cafe in San Martin de los Andes with my family. I arrived in Miami around 9 last Wednesday. The next morning we did orientation activities until 4, and then left for the airport. The flight to BA wasn´t the best; none of us could sleep so we were really jet-lagged. We waited at the airport for other exchange students, there were kids from France, Sweden, Japan, a lot from Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and many other countries. Then we went to a camp an hour outside the city. Orientation wasn´t the best experience I´ve ever had; all of the information they gave us we already knew-was common sense, and pretty boring. The volunteers never spoke to us in castellano because all of the kids from Asia didn´t speak spanish. Anyway, it was hard to say goodbye to some of the xchange students, but now I´m with my host family and theyre really really really nice. There´s lots of other stuff, but right now I think were going to the lago. More later, hopefullly with fotos!

Oh, and I got a cell phone! My family already had it, we got ¨un chip¨ for it. For any other exchangers reading this, my number is 0056 2995275106! Hasta tarde,
<3 Bethany

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


So Delta called awhile ago to tell me that my flight tomorrow morning was cancelled due to the weather. They rescheduled me for like 9:00 Thursday night, which means I'll miss orientation and my connecting flight to BA. Luckily, though, my mom called Delta a few times and she somehow got me onto a flight a little after noon tomorrow...so I'll be a little late for orientation, but I'll still be with the group over night and for the flight to BA. Now I just have to cross my fingers and hope that my new flight isn't cancelled tomorrow, seeing as the forecast calls for freezing rain when my flight is scheduled to depart...

Well, I'm off to finish packing! Here's to my last night in State College.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cinco dias mas....

So tomorrow, Friday, will be the official 5 day marker until my departure...and I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. For the past few months I had been looking forward to this so so much, just wishing that I could just drop everything and go. But now, with less than a week left, I'm definately starting to realize everything that I'm leaving behind. For some reason I had assumed that just leaving State College for five months would be easy. I guess not. I'm trying to not think too much about everything that I'm leaving behind, everything I'm going to miss. I guess right now I'm just trying to focus on the good parts the excitement and anticipation, and looking forward to what a great exchange it's going to be. I haven't even considered what it's going to be like during the bads times though...when I'm not fully assimilated into the culture, when I feel like nobody likes me and I feel confused and out of place. And there's still so much to do before I go away. I need to pack my whole life into a bag for the next 5 months, I need to get my host family some gifts, I have the party on Saturday, I have a math test tomorrow ( I already know I'm failing that one), and then last but not least, there's saying goodbye to everyone. I'll probably be sobbing all the way to Miami.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

22 days

So it's almost the end of the semester and my days in State College are numbered...We got news today that all of my visa stuff is at the Embassy, it's approved, so I should be getting that soon. It will be a relief when that's over with. I'm pretty sure everything else is handled too...like documents and health stuff for AFS. I'm actually really surprised, because I have my host family and my visa and I still have time before I leave. I'd figured that once I landed in Miami I would get all that stuff last minute. Even though all of that is straightened away, I feel even more stressed. I still have lots of work to do in the classes I have to keep taking when the semester is over. I have to finish that Culture-trek booklet. I should probably learn some more Spanish. And now I'm finally realizing everything that I'm leaving behind in State College. I'm leaving my parents, my friends, some of which will have graduated. When I get back everything will be different (or maybe exactly the same?). Ugh. Hopefully everything will have sorted itself out by then. With that, I'll leave you with some pics of my host sister. She's sooo adorable! And btw, that's not my host brother in the 1st foto, I don't know who he is, but it's such a good picture of her :-) She's on the right in the 2nd.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Flight Information

So today we finally confirmed my flight to Miami with STA. I'll have a three hour lay-over in Atlanta, and then when I land in Miami I'll have two hours to get to the Embassy Suites for our Pre-Departure Orientation. I also foun out from my mom that there was a mix up at UPS and they sent us the wrong document for my visa. We were supposed to get my criminal record (haha or lack-there-of) stamped with an apostille, but instead they sent us some receipt from and Egyptian Bank. That's the last document I need before we send everything in to the Argentine Embassy so they can give me a visa. This whole visa thing is more complicated than I was anticipating......

Delta Airlines. Flight: DL4797. Class: Coach. Seats: Confirmed
Depart: State College at 7:20AM
Arrive: Atlanta Hartsfield Intl Apt 13-Feb-08 at 9:16AM
Air Delta Airlines. Flight: DL1099. Class: Coach. Seats: Confirmed
Depart: Atlanta Hartsfield Intl Apt at 12:10PM
Arrive: Miami International Apt 13-Feb-08 at 1:58PM

Weeeeeeeeeeeee! Only 28 more days until I'm in Buenos Airesssss!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Host Family

I just got my host family! I haven't actually gotten the official word from AFS yet, but the other day I got an e-mail from my host sister. Her name is Victoria and she's 15, and I'll also have a 12 year old brother named Martin. I'm really excited because I'm an only child. My father is an accountant and they also have a dog and a few birds. My school is called Don Bosco and I think it's Catholic which means...uniforms! That is probably a good thing, at the very least I won't show up for the first day of school wearing something really weird. The town, or should I say city, is the biggest in Patagonia, with about 350,000 people. Thank god. The city is called Neuquén, the capital of the province of the same name.

Introducing Bethany's Exchange Blog

Hey everybody! As you probably already know, I'm spending Spring Semester '08 in Argentina. I plan to keep this blog to write about my experiences and keep everyone at home updated. Today I was officially accepted into the Argentina program (finally), so I decided to use this opportunity for my first post.

My goals for this exchange:

Learn as much Spanish as humanly possible in 6 months
Make new international friends
Break out of my comfort zone
Be more confident
Become more worldly and informed

I have no idea what this exchange is going to bring, but I'm simultaneously excited, nervous, ecstatic and worried.

29 days!