First, a few words about my trip to the States. The three hour time difference without much sleep - and airplane sleep at that -, a greeting party comprised of GW hoodlums and GB rapscallions, and EXPENSIVE (I say this not to show that only drink expensive booze, but to express my genuine shock at how expensive a particular 6-pack of beer, albeit good beer, was in comparison to a liter of Quilmes. Gotta love New York.) libations made my near 30 hours in New York a whirlwhind of a good time. True to my word I stuffed my stomach with New York pizza, with a lunch of fried chicken doused in hot sauce to top it all off. I got back to Massachusetts just in time to catch a snowfall the next day and suffered through a week of freezing my ass off but loving being home, even getting the opportunity to see Hannah's basketball team play. The Bat Mitzvah weekend was also loads of fun - it was fantastic to see so many people who I had not seen in months, and in some cases more than a year's time. I even got a beach towel! And even better, the break between the service and the party afforded me the time to run into Wellsley to hang out with more friends and eat an expensive sandwich. All in all, it was a great trip home and I'm really glad I got the opportunity to do it.
Bring me your tired, your poor, and your hungry for extortionately priced beer.
Since I got back I've also done a good amount of fun and interesting things, here are some highlights:
Unable to watch March Madness on our television and in search of a festive atmosphere to view the games, Ted and I have ventured out to the previously mentioned El Alamo two times in one week for some good old (North) American fun - once for the first round games, once for some Sweet Sixteen action. Amongst the mostly forgettable cast of characters we encountered in our time there, we met a guy named Larry from DC who went to Pitt. In his presence we witnessed two Pitt wins, which was beneficial for me not only because I picked Pitt to win those games but because I'm guessing he would have been much less likely to humor me by talking about DC had Pitt lost. But as it was, I got in my fix of DC nostalgia and could move on with my day. Plus, we got to see some reasonably exciting basketball and drink beer without hemorrhaging money, which was awesome, too.
Speaking of basketball, one of the things I really wanted to do but neglected to mention in my last post was to play my sport of choice upon arriving back in the States. It had been 5 months since I last handled the rock and was definitely itching to get in some playing time. I tried going to the gym one day only to be confronted by a basketball court occupied by novice volleyball players. So besides hoisting a few shots in my driveway after the Bat Mitzvah, I failed in my quest for the Holy G. Surely enough, the very night I got back in Buenos Aires Ted told me of a pick-up game in Palermo he was heading to. Julia also decided to join us and we ended up spending the better part of the evening playing basketball, and besides the fact my game was quite rusty, it felt good to get out and run, and I will definitely try and do so again. The only discouraging aspect of the experience was how many fouls the Argentine players called. Any contact merited an immediate foul call, no matter how minor it may have been. A slight bump, foul. A clean strip, foul. I don't wish to extrapolate this tendency at all, just thought it was worth mentioning. Also worth mentioning: Julia scored a basket! I think she actually scored before I did, and I'm not the least bit ashamed to admit it - my girl is an athlete.
If I got any paler due to my trip up north, Frisbee has undoubtedly fixed that situation. I spent my entire first weekend and one day this past weekend in the hot hot sun playing Frisbee. The tournament two Sunday's ago left my face burnt and peeling, but I learned my lesson and applied generous quantities of sunscreen yesterday. Despite my beet-red face, t felt great to be back out on the field surrounded by familiar faces and the tournament locale was incredible. You'd never know Fall had begun in Buenos Aires as it's hot as ever in our fair city. Yesterday, for example, was 12 degrees hotter than average. Throw in a healthy dose of humidity and it made for some exhausting Frisbee yesterday, but good Frisbee nonetheless. Our roommates and some of my students have advised me these summer-like days will come to an end and that today's weather is actually a sign of Fall's impending arrival. But after looking at the 10-day forecast, I don't know how much I believe them, that is unless Fall means mid-eighties and scattered thunderstorms. Either way, I'm ready for the someone to remove the invisible incubator that is currently encompassing Buenos Aires, even if that means a little rain.
Last but not least, especially it's probably been THE highlight since I got back to Buenos Aires, I spent this past Saturday head banging to Iron Maiden with 42,000 others, most notably Julia, Jessica, Nick (the only true metal fan amongst us, but his love for metal more than covered our ignorance of the genre) and Jessica's family friends Peter and Prudence, the former of whom works with Iron Maiden's finances - he's so VIP they actually get to fly in the band's 747, which is co-piloted by the lead singer. It was by far the most unique concert experience I've ever had, mainly because it's the first HUGE production I've seen in any genre, much less in one so explosive and with such a rabid fan base. We got VIP treatment all day, including getting wisked away after the show in the band's caravan (let it be known I tried to find a clip of Van Morrison's "Caravan" from The Band's The Last Waltz, but could not find one. It would have been a great reference. Blast.) and even chatted it up with one particularly jovial band member over drinks while watching a tango show afterward in the Four Seasons Hotel (listen to me name drop, one day living the VIP lifestyle has changed me). I still don't really like metal music, but I guess I have a new appreciation for it. And I definitely got my face shredded off, just as Nick said I would. Julia wrote a very extensive post with photos/videos, many of which I took (my computer no longer imports photos from my iPhone or camera. It also quits any application if I try to attach anything. As you can see, my baby is on her last legs, but she keeps trucking.) and I admit I have yet to read it. Yet all it took was one positive review to convince me not to compete with it, so be sure to read her account of the concert. She's so much more prompt with these things, I suffer for her blog-updating gusto. But in the end, you all gain from it, so I can't wallow in self-pity...for too long. Or, I could emulate her ways and try to post more often. I guess I'll give that route another try, because, quite frankly, it feels good to be back!