Dia de la Virgin - translation: The Virgin's Day. Yes, she has her own day, and in Catholic countries like Argentina it is not just a holiday but a day off work! Like I need that, I don't need that, but did I take advantage of it? Yes!!!
Erev dia de la Virgin Josh and I were invited to our first real adult party. As in we were the youngest ones there who weren't under the age of eight. It was pretty cool. We were invited by Marcela, the mom of my seven year old student, who had somewhat adopted me and feels like surrogate Argentine Mom. She tells me not to use my i-pod in the street, she feeds me copious amounts of food, and gives me mommy advice when I don't ask for it. I love her. (Real Mom - I love you more, I swear) She now also invites us to her parties. The party was in her mother's apartment which is in her building but occupies the entire roof top. It has a sweet view, an amazing parilla and a balcony that wraps all the way around. It even has an upstairs room for their maid.
And these people know how to party. They grilled delicious meet, served really good wines, had guacamole and picada, and hired a karaoke dj type and a tarot cards reader who came in a complete witch's get up. It was professional. I mean, her hat was shiny and purple, and her giant dress cape thing had a giant woman's symbol on it. She even had long, black, curly hair. Josh and I stayed away from the witch, but we did stray dangerously close to the karaoke and got roped into singing a few numbers. One of my older students is related to Marcela by marriage, and she was there too. She told me yesterday that she was VERY impressed by Josh's ability to sing in Spanish. I tried to hold my own, but the Macarena is surprisingly fast and is way more wordy than one would imagine. I've heard that song one hundred times, and I realized that the only word I knew was La Macarena. I now know about five more of the words.
It was actually pretty cool though because they only played Spanish songs, and while I would have loved to rock out to some Bon Jovi, it was one of the most authentic (if Karaoke in Argentina can ever be considered authentic) experiences I've had, and the most unadulterated by US commercialism and musical proliferation.
So we ate too much food, drank good wine, and I finally got to hang out socially with one of my favorite students and it wasn't tooooooo awkward. It was great. Afterward we returned to Felipe's house to finish off our night with Colombian traditions. In Colombia everybody lights candles of different colors and lets them melt to the ground. Children scoop up all the melted wax they can and make colorful balls that turn muddy brown as they grow bigger and bigger. Josh decided to channel that inner child and got a pretty impressive wax ball going that he proudly brought home with him that morning.
The next day I woke up at noon to make my two o'clock class with Guadalupe, Marcela's daughter. I was met with tired smiles and a big leftover asado sandwhich and went over the boring details of Guadalupe's English Aladdin test she was to have the next day. Next I headed over to Felipe's and he invited me to have some ice cream with him. We trotted off to a little corner shop where I enjoyed Tropical Lemon and Bariloche chocolate ice cream (Felipe pictured above in the shop). I then walked for a ways until I reached Jeremy's house where a small party was underway. There I met up with Josh, Nick, Jonno (the new British roommate who has been living in Dan's room) and a few other people from England, Buenos Aires and France. We enjoyed freezing cold beers, sunshine and choripan. Nothing could have made the day any better except for the fact that Jeremy's porteño friend drove us in his car to the finale for the Jazz Festival that had been taking place over the weekend.
We made it just in time for the last act at the Recoleta Cultural Center where they had a big stage set up on an outside terrace with free entrance. I had been the night before to see a band that brilliantly performed some of the classics by Ellington, Gerschwin, and Ray Charles. This night we saw a group that performed a mix of acapella jazzness that featured some instrumentation. OOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH yes. I did dance and it was great. Not many people we dancing, but we did and it was so much fun!!! We had brought a few cold ones with us and enjoyed our free entertainment on a beautiful breezy night. What a wonderful city this is.
The eighth of December is also the day you set up your Christmas trees. That night we came home to a spotless house that Fanster had cleaned the hell out of in anticipation of her British friend's arrival and this beautiful Christmas tree. Remember that beautiful green tree that used to grace our patio that had to be cut down because the roots were growing into our neighbor's kitchen? Well it is green once again thanks to Uli's trip to Once and his and Fani's perseverance in the art of decorating. Ain't it a beaut? Its my first Christmas tree, and I kinda like it. The lights give off a festive glow at night, and while it doesn't invite presents to gather below it, maybe we could place our secret Santa presents in the tree and it could evolve into a find your present secret Santa situation. Vamos a ver. This idea could be brilliant.
PS I'd tell you who I am buying a present for but we aren't supposed to tell anyone. I'll let you know on the 19th when we do the Casa Cochobamba Secret Santa gift exchange. All I can tell you is my idea is great!