When Josh suggested this idea for a post I thought it was a great one, and when he suggested that I do one myself I thought great!!! It won't look like I'm copycatting now!!!
So here it goes, the five biggest changes in my life this year:
1. I SPEAK SPANISH
OK, so my grammar isn't all that and a bag of potato chips, but as I sat around last night drinking Fernet and Coke and listening to Noël tell the multiple tales of her mother's many methods for killing evil neighborhood dogs, I realized that I was sitting in a circle of Argentines laughing and understanding with the rest of them!!! Yes, she still needed to repeat a few phrases for me, and my laughter is still often belated because sometimes I'm caught translating something in my head while everybody is already laughing, but eventually I laugh too!!! Because I speak Spanish!!!
Everybody told me this would happen. They said, give it a year and you'll be fluent. I didn't believe a word of it. OK, so I'm still not fluent, and classes would have pushed me further along, but in one year to the day, and only the beginner section of Rosetta Stone and three Spanish classes here I am!!!! Hablo Español (actually I speak Castellano which means that when I leave Argentina I will have this funny accent and a very strange vocabulary but a vocabulary and accent none the less!!!!)!!!!!
2. Off the Parent's Pay-roll
One of the biggest and most exciting changes this year has been supporting myself for the first time in my life. Of course my parents have helped with the occasional trip and my dad is stubbornly (and probably rightly) paying for my health insurance (there better be some advances made in Health Care reform by the time we get back!!!!!) and of course there are the monthly dinners , but every month Josh and I have lived month to month on our own pay checks (haha, I mean envelopes of cash) and in the bad months on our dwindling supply of dollars. But for about six months now we have been living on the peso and our bank account was used for the first time in a long time to pay for our bus tickets to Cordoba.
This leads me to another point. For the first time in my life I am also sharing finances with somebody. Most people can't believe we do this, but at the time it seemed like the most natural decision in the world to us. And in the end it has paid off immensely (pun intended). There were months that might have forced me to return, and likewise for Josh, if we had been here alone. But because of some translating, or my job at the camps we were able to still it out!! There have also been a few times when both of us have let the stress over our finances get the better of us, and having another person in the same boat to cope with has kept us going. Having someone to to talk you down, or with whom you can sit out dinner with friends , or with whom you can miss out on that expensive club, or with whom you go out and to share the joy of that first self-paid dinner in a restaurant in too many moons has made this experience, and even life that much better and easier.
3. I Live With My Boyfriend
Josh pretty much covered this one, but this change has been a great one for both of us. I still regret that the only time I ever had my own room was the summer before we came here, and that I might never get the chance to experience the challenge of living alone (it seems I'll only ever get to experience the challenge of sharing you house with ridiculous amounts of people: Thurston, study abroad with five flatmates, my three flatmates upon return to the US after study abroad, and now this crazy house with the six of us + any visitors that might turn up). But besides the obvious benefits (no heating in our room didn't matter since Josh emits enough of it on his own) its also really fun and I'm lucky Josh is a good roommate.
4. I Play Ultimate Frisbee
Just like Spanish, I arrived in Argentina with a inkling of what Ultimate was, but I couldn't have told you any of the rules or how to do it. And unlike Spanish I can't say that it was love at first sight (sprints on our first day after drinking till six am wasn't what I expected) but at this point I can't imagine my life without Ultimate. It has literally been life changing. I've discovered another global network (sometimes I forget that I already had one being Jewish and all) that exists in almost any country in the world. My method of travel has also been changed forever. I'll do the same thing I did for Mia before she flew to Florence. I'll book the ticket and then immediately look to see if that city has an Ultimate web page. Also, where ever we move next won't be as scary because I know I can probably find an Ultimate community there. All of this is of course second to the fact that I really love it!!!!! The longer I play the more I understand the game and the less I feel like a chicken running around without a head. Not to mention its getting me back into shape and kept me from paying for a gym membership that I would have dreading using. I've also met some of my most valuable friends through Ultimate here, people that have been kind and welcoming and without whom I could not imagine what would have happened to us!!! I also look forward to one day visiting them all over the world.
4. I Know What Electronic Music Is and I Even Like It!!!!
When I went back to the States for my little visit to the States, Patrick invited me to an Electronic Music Festival with these words: "I know you don't really like Electro music, but...." I was happy to announce to him that this was no longer the truth!!!!! I not only know that there is more than one kind of electronic music, but that I like it and love to dance to it!! The festival was awesome, as talked about, and I can only thank the people that I have come across here for my new appreciation for club culture and music. I have Jessica to thank for the dance moves, Dan for widening my repertoire and ruining every peaceful moment that we come across together but also for making some moments that much better with his portable speakers and Uli and Santi for their connections and free entradas. Because of electronic music I have also enjoyed many sunrises, and my nighttime options have been expanded upon immensely.
5. I've Become A Member of the Blogging Community
And last but not least, there is you, my dear blog. When Meghan O'Toole suggested I write a blog I kind of scoffed. Blogs? Those silly things self-centered people who think they have something important to say write in? Of course, I was pre-judging as usual. I'd never really read one single blog. But the more I thought about it, the more it appeared to be an excellent idea. A place where family and a few friends could check us out at their own place, and a place to post pictures for those without facebook. It started with a few followers, and that's all I expected. But something weird happened. I realized how totally awesome blogging is, and now I read other people's blogs, and many people read mine. Josh set up the tracker, and people from all over the world read our blog. One guy who works for the Simpsons even thought Josh's "study" about Homer Simpson's popularity was real and asked for Josh's contact info. And while I'll probably never be the next Author on the Best Seller list for "Julia and Josh's Adventures in South American" (not because it wouldn't be an awesome book ;) I can't imagine my life without my blog anymore. Every time something cool happens I think, "OOhh, I can't wait to blog about this" thinking lines up in my head and sometimes writing them down. Its shown me how much I love writing and how its like anything else. The more you do it the better you get. And I think I would like it as much even if only my parents were reading it (I have a sneaking suspicion that Mia doesn't keep up AT ALL) I would enjoy it just as much. So here's to you blog!!
So that's it, the five biggest changes. Oh and there's my tattoo of course ............................................................................................................................................ just kidding Dad!!!