Tuesday, June 1, 2010

a sketch

In the blazing May-mood sun, maroonish leaves were falling, hitting the ground in a flurry but in no hurry. Smells of fresh facturas spilled into the streets of Mitre and Salguero, caught by the chilly noses of whistling passersby. With the chill in the air and a late afternoon cup of maté sitting impatiently on the kitchen table at home, a steady, swift walking pace filled the oh-so-skinny legs of Florencia Lucci.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

El Palmar

after these few months in a bustling city, I CANNOT wait for rural, urban life.
my heart yearns for it.
i am definitely not a city girl. no sirreeeee!
everytime i leave the city to travel, i don't want to go back to Buenos Aires.
i want to stay out of the city.

this past weekend I went camping! i drove with an Argentine friend to a beautiful national park called El Palmar, in the province of Entre Rios, that is filled with none other than lots and lots of palm trees!
it was spectacular and lovely.
and there were lots of families and other kids and hippies and only a few tourists. mostly argentines. we only went for two days but on our second and last morning while eating breakfast at the campsite we met this Girl named Greta from Germany and she ended up joining us until we dropped her off in Concepción de Uruguay.

polaroids on the way...!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

this is the way i walk

i wrote this little poem a while back when i lived in Recoleta...

this is the way i walk

down the street.

past plaza rodriguez peña,
and off onto avenida santa fe.

i peak into windows of ritzy stores,
getting excited about fancy sandals, and then i remember
that buenos aires is a shopping city. filled with shops. and nice clothes. with good bargains. and really, i am not a super-shopping-kind-of-gal. so i laugh at myself. and walk on.

down the street,

past plaza francia,
with the touristy market,
the local musicians lying about on the grass,
playing manu chau or african beats, or plain old rock and roll tunes,

i plop down on the grass,
next to some tipos, (chicos)
who start chatting with me,
and ask me do i want to sing! or play guitar?

to which i decline, but instead,
i chat with them,
they are from mexico, bolivia, and columbia,
but live here,
study here,
in buenos aires.

and then after a while i have to pee and say so long,
and i walk

down the street,
past the Recoleta Cemetery,
where Eva Peron is buried,
and all the tombstones are above ground
(like in New Orleans, where they call it "the city of the dead"),
but my favorite tomb, is the one with overgrown shubbery,
reminding me that I want to see the greenery of this ciudad,
so out I dash from all that stone and cement,
and walk on,

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Right now my host padres are watching a PBS-like show on TV about how jazz music developed in America!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pesaj, viaje a Mendoza, la comunidad judía, y mucho más!

Over here things have been really distracting and busy and wonderful.

For Pesach (here they spell it Pesaj) I had two wonderful experiences - I was invited to a seder for each night at two different Sephardi families in the community. The seders were mostly in Spanish (with some Hebrew too), I learned a few new customs and just soaked in the lively and excited atmospheres!

During the week of Pesach my friend and I traveled to Mendoza which is in the northern-central part of Argentina and is known for it's wine-making! We had a lovely time hiking and rappelling in the mountains, soaking in the termas (hot springs), and relaxing in the city's huge park that has a lake and a beautiful view of the mountains.

Even though we were eating only kosher for Pesach food, with some creativity and enthusiasm we put together some fantastic, healthy, and delicious meals!

Since we spent a Shabbat and the last two days of Pesach there we were able to meet the very small Jewish community that is a Conservative shul and one Chabad house. Our highlight was meeting, Carlos, the director of religious affairs at the Conservative shul, who was a joyful, welcoming, gracious, friendly older man! He was so happy that we came and I since the community was so small I offered to read Torah one of the days, that is - if they needed the help- and though he was overjoyed that I was interested and gave me a small portion to practice, they could not get a minyan (the 10 adults needed for a service and to read Torah), so unfortunately I could not have my Torah reading debut out in Mendoza!

Back in Buenos Aires, my classes picked up and I'm starting to enjoy most of them - intensive Castellano, yoga, sculpture, a theater class in Spanish, and a human rights internship - of which the seminar has started already, though I am anticipating to start the internship part. For the internship I'll be working at an organization called Fundación por el Arte hacia la Vida (Foundation for Art to Life), that is government funded and offers all sorts of workshops and classes from arts to music to computers to building construction for teenagers (around 14-17 yrs. old) that had or have drug-related problems. The goal of the organization is to provide skills that will motivate these kids to take on an interest and find a skill that they can use toward a future profession. I plan to do arts related classes with them and as soon as I start working there I'll send you an update!

In other news, I was having a tough time and my original homestay since I didn't get along well with the Señora, so after many stress-filled and guilt-filled weeks I finally switched to a new host family. And I love it here! Everything is as good as can be and better! I'm now living a bit farther away from my classes in a neighborhood called Villa Crespo, but there's a convenient subte line is very quick, as long as I can squeeze my way into the subway car in the morning...Since it's so crowded, sometimes I have to wait for two or three subways to go by before I can squeeze in.
Villa Crespo (or as the Argentines I met at a Dati Leumi shul this Shabbat jokingly called it - Villa Creplach!) is the neighborhood with the highest percentage of Jews, though many are unaffiliated, like my host family, though they respect and embrace my religious practices.

Victoria and Mario are a middle-aged couple, who are adorable, very hospitable and just want me to feel at home! They have three kids - one son living with his wife and kids in Israel (outside of Haifa), one daughter living with her family in Patagonia, and their youngest daughter, who's 37, lives here in Buenos Aires and I'll probably meet her soon since she comes over to their house for dinner once in a while.
Victoria is a wonderful cook and makes me delicious vegetarian food (and it's not trouble for her since Mario also eats vegetarian-style!). Unlike most Argentines, she has a rack filled with different spices in her well-kept, clean and neat kitchen. She is definitely a real balabusta!
She's also taking both Hebrew and English language classes, though we speak mostly in Spanish since she knows I want to practice.
Right near our house there's a lovely circular parque, where Mario and Victoria go walking every morning, and I just started jogging there too!
Mario is an accountant and works in an office from home a lot of the time. Most mornings we have breakfast together and he listens to the news on his little portable radio which I try to understand as well, though at 7or 8am it's a bit hard to focus and listen to someone speaking in Spanish so quickly... He also reads the newspaper and tells me about something happening in the political world or about local events that are happening - like this week there is going to be a huge book fair in town!

Last week I went to two massive events in the Jewish community - one was for Yom Hashoah Ve'Hagevurah (Holocaust Memorial Day) and one for Yom Ha'aztmaut (Israeli Independence Day). Through random connections I ended up meeting a kid my age who is very involved in the leadership of the various Zionist youth groups in the community. And thus, he invited me to these wonderful events - which both took place downtown - one in a large theater (where Broadway-like shows are performed) and the other in the Luna Park (where they have indoor sporting events...) - and at both events the venues were filled with people from the Jewish community here. Throughout my years at yeshiva day school I've been to many ceremonies for these significant days, but to experience an event where the entire Jewish community comes together in the most heavily Jewish populated city in South America, felt overwhelmingly unique. In addition, this Argentine friend of mine spoke at both the events as the representative of the young leaders in the local Zionist youth groups. The fact that I knew someone who spoke at these events before the giant crowds, brought it so much closer to home, and made me feel like less of a foreigner in Buenos Aires and more a part of the larger universal Jewish community.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

fun funky fresh !

What a delicious vegetarian meal at a cozy restaurant - with Jenny and Karen!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

otoño is around the bend...

my heart feels ready for spring
and the weather outside is rainy

my nose is red from yesterday's
sunny rays
but the chill night air
makes my toes so cold.

believe it or not
i'll be missing spring this year
as otoño is around the bend...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

La Dia de la Memoria

As I arrived on Avenida de Mayo, I was definitely overwhelmed by the amount of marchers that filled the avenue until calle Piedras – where the march began towards Plaza de Mayo. La Dia de la Memoria is a national holiday to commemorate the people who disappeared during the military dictatorship in the late 1970's and early 1980's. May 24, 1976 was the day of the military coup and this year is a day for the whole country to reflect on the 34 years that have passed since then.
The moment I arrived near calle Piedras a drumming band clad in colorful costumes began belting out a complex yet catchy rhythm that reverberated up and down the blocked-off avenue. Passersby and other marchers were all captivated by the drumming group. Even though the majority of people present were actually marching, there were plenty that were just watching, like myself. Those watching filled the sidewalks, sat on top of bus stops, on top of cars and trucks parked on the street, on railings and ledges of nearby buildings, and I even spotted an older man perched up on a telephone pole.
The Madres de Plaza de Mayo marched close behind, holding up banners with images of los Desaparecidos, flags, signs, drums, whistles, and megaphones. Whatever excitement I had felt from the drumming group soon began to disintegrate, since the serious atmosphere breathed a tortured past, a revolutionary reaction, and an overwhelming serious present. The slogan NUNCA MáS was written on almost every sign and banner carried towards Plaza de Mayo, and when I noticed individuals holding signs with images of the desaparecidos, it made the widespread national message reach a much more personal level. As I made my way down to La Plaza de Mayo, I passed political groups, teacher’s organizations, and students all marching and chanting in memory of those they lost. I was not surprised to pass young socialists, anarchists, and hippies along the way, some who were passing out white cutout hearts to me and those around me to tie onto our clothing or bags.
When I reached La Plaza de Mayo, the mood of the crowd became more intense and more serious, as the announcers called upon the masses to make room in the center for the Madres as well as the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo. Despite the serious and emotional displays of personal sadness and anger that I saw at the march, as a foreigner, the intensity and strength that spoke at a national level was what reverberated back at me most of all.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

El Tigre!

This past Saturday night I spontaneously met up with a friend Joanna (who's from Alaska) and we went with her Argentine friends to a party on an island in El Tigre - a town about 17 miles north of Buenos Aires that sits on an island created by several small streams and rivers!

First we took a long bus ride to a suburb in the outskirts of the Capital Federal - the city of Buenos Aires - and as we hopped off the bus on the side of a highway, in the middle of nowhere, it strangely felt as if I was traveling in Israel. It's really an amazing feeling to leave the city every once in a while...

Off we trekked into a quiet neighborhood with beautiful houses and soccer fields - where it was quite dark outside. Soon we arrived at their friend's beautiful house (whose name is Ary - shout out to mi hermano Ari!). After hanging out in his house for a while, we drank some coffee to wake up a bit (mind you it was already 2 am), then drove out to El Tigre blasting a mix of Latin music and of course some Bob Dylan and Beatles to add into the mix. The car ride felt like a blast from the past...as if we were in some other decade!

We arrived at this quiet street, parked the car, and walked off to a deserted port. The clear and starry sky reflected off the shimmering water, and an overwhelming feeling of calm washed over me. We wandered around the port area, called “Puerto de Frutos,” expecting someone to magically appear, but not a soul was to be seen! Eventually our Argentine friends made some calls and we began walking to a different dock when all the sudden these two guys appeared at the original area and called us over! We turned back, paid for the boat ride and party, and hopped in to a little motor boat - that served as a shuttle to and from from the island. Though this was the epitome of all sketchy moments in my life, it wasn't until I arrived on the island that Joanna and I looked at each other and realized how sketchy this random boat ride really was. It was probably because, as we rode along the river, in the dark and starry night, with these goofy Argentines, the calm feeling I had multiplied tenfold. We all leaned back and stretched our necks to gaze at the bright bright stars that spilled across the sky for miles on end.

After about just 10 minutes, but for what felt like an eternity, we arrived at the island, hopped off the boat, walked through a marshy pathway that led us to a run-down building with about 60-80 people crowded around outside watching a guy juggling fire! It was absolutely surreal - being on this island in the middle of a jungle! It wasn't until about 3 or 4am that they started the music and we danced through the night and early morning hours...eventually arriving back at my apartment in Buenos Aires at about 9am!

Friday, March 19, 2010

it's about time!


It's been quite a while since I last posted!

Things have been, well, the past two weeks have definitely been quite a transition, to say the least.

And so, my lovely 4 weeks of intensive Spanish classes came to an end. I said goodbye to the Belgrano neighborhood, goodbye to my wonderful host madre, Maria Cristina, goodbye to our cat named Gato, goodbye to her 29-year-old son Juany, and of course goodbye to Juampy, the little tortuga...(yes the turtle's name was similar to her son's name...and her older, married son's name was Juan Martin ---lots of Juan's in that house!),

On Sunday midday I called up my new host family, una senora named Paula, to find out what time I could go over to her house. I dialed, connected and said,`Hola Paula, es Eliana Bronstein, el estudiante de los Estados Unidos, en el programma de IES, que vivirá contigo...´ (Hi Paula, this is Eliana Bronstein, the student from the U.S. , on the IES program, who will be living with you...)
A softspoken, quiet voice answered, `Hola, *pause* pause* - ¿Eliana?, ¿vos no es Sarah Bronstein?´ (Eliana?? you're not, Sarah Bronstein? )

Basically, what was clarified later, was that the housing coordinator on my program had told her that my first name was Sarah, not Eliana! ( This was my first encounter with the disorganized nature of my study abroad program! )

One taxi ride later, I arrived at my current homestay in the heart of Recoleta, an upscale ritzy neighborhood. The building I live in has a beautiful lobby, and the actual apartment is a nice size, though she is an older woman and the house was relatively dusty at first sight. She led me to my room which was a much larger bedroom than the first two places I stayed, with two small beds, a desk, a large closet, even enough floor space for me to do some stretches in the morning!

Then she showed me the bathroom, where I could put my toiletries, next to some other toiletries - which belong to the other student that lives here, Paola explained, Lauren is also from the U.S....
About a half hour later, at about 1 in the afternoon, out walked sleepy-eyed Lauren, (also from NJ) who was living in the same homestay as me!
Though I had not been told there would be another American student living with me (and soon found out that it's not allowed on my program), I was actually not so surprised. I had met two other friends who both requested a Jewish/kosher family and were placed in the same homestay since there are not a plethora of those types of special requests for a host family...so I was not taken aback to see Lauren there (who I very soon learned came from a Conservative Jewish background). Though Lauren is generally more outgoing and talkative than I am, we got along really well right off the bat!

Since then, I had a tiring and boring orientation for my study abroad program, met some wacky / some fantastic other students, came down with a silly cold and cough, and met some wonderful new families in the Jewish community and in the broader Argentine community as well.

I also had a rough patch adjusting to my new homestay (though lots of things have been great, I've finally vocalized the underlying feelings I've had for the past two weeks - of not feeling as comfortable here as I could/should - and so I am currently on the search for a new host family.)

This past week I finally started classes and have the weekend to do some serious introspection and figure out which classes I want to take!

Tonight, I just came back from from an event at the local Moishe House - which is a gathering space for young Jews in their 20s and 30s to create a community within the larger Jewish community. There are Moishe Houses in about 20 cities around the U.S. and in about 10 international cities...Buenos Aires being one of them! I tried my best to listen a very long speech about Pesach, given by some Rabbi (in Castellano, of course - which required extra attention). Afterward, I met a few of the local Argentines and even met one guy here on a visit from Uruguay who was very excited to help me arrange Shabbat plans when I travel there!

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to tomorrow night - I plan to go to a free sushi dinner at the Chabad house in Palermo!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

there's a little tortuga on my porch and dani's going into the army in a week or so...

There's a little turtle on my porch,
and it tried to come inside the house...

I just arrived at my new homestay (where I'll be staying for one only week) and actually spotted a turtle trying to come inside the house from the porch and somehow it crazily reminded me that Dani (my little bro) is going into the Israeli army on March 8th. EEEEK!

so now I'm going to freak out a little..

what the heck!?
(oh, goodness. i just watched a video of him (dani, not the turtle) licking the floor of the shuk or market in Jerusalem!! He is one silly, crazy dude!! The silly things 18-year-old's do to impress their friends? or themselves? and win some money for it...or it's probably just Dani...)

Anyhoo. Somehow watching that video really calmed me down. He's still the same ol' silly absolutely ridiculous Donster!!

...Back in Buenos Aires - basically I signed up to take intensive language classes for three weeks, leaving one week open before my actual study abroad program would start, so that I could travel if I wanted to. But since I didn't find a travel partner for the one week, I decided to continue taking language classes for another week - really practice my Spanish - and stay with a new family (since my original family had planned a vacation for this week since a while back...)

Now I'm staying much much closer to my school in the Belgrano neighborhood - my host family lives only 6 blocks away! And there's a lovely large porch right next to my room that's filled with greenery AND...apparently a turtle too!
It was really a blast to stay with my first host family - since Adriana was almost like a "host sister" instead of a host mother since she's only 29.
But I only just met Maria Cristina (who's middle-aged and actually like a "host mother") and already, I'm just as excited to be staying here too. She was so friendly and welcoming - and since I'm starting afresh, with three weeks of intensive spanish under my belt, I feel that I can communicate with her in Spanish so much more than with my first family!
She also has one child still living with her- and I'm not sure if it's a guy or a girl (it's early Sunday morning and they're still sleeping now), but I know that he/she is likely older than me, probably in their 20's...

I'm off to have a little siesta now, so I'll post more later or tomorrow...besos.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

tres semanas en Buenos Aires!

I've been in Buenos Aires for three weeks already!

Of course it feels like I've been here for months...
and of course the second week went much faster than the first, and the third faster than the second...

The Spanish classes have only been getting better and I feel more confident using (the non-existent Spanish that I have) while I'm out on the street.

Two Sundays ago, I met up with Karen for lunch in the kosher area in Recoletta (on Av. Tucuman) and had my first meat (well, chicken) in Buenos Aires! I had delicious milanesa which equivalent to our schnitzel (or breaded-chicken). Karen had to run off to a bike tour with her program, and I just wandered around the kosher area for a bit, planning to just walk around the city a lot and eventually walk back to my apartment.

So I walked into a kosher supermercado (supermarket) without an aim to buy something specific, rather to find someone I could chat with in Hebrew or maybe even in English....since they had a sign on the front of their shop that said "we speak Ivrit and English," which was a friendly sign to read! So, I asked the cashier if he spoke Hebrew or English and he directed me to a random customer, named Damian who I was able to chat with in Hebrew about my studies here, and about the Jewish community in Buenos Aires. As most Argentinians are really friendly, he gave me his number in case I ever needed anything!

And so,
since that Sunday things have only been getting better...

The day after that I went to this fantastic outdoor concert called La bomba de tiempo - which is a group of percussionists that perform every Monday night, or as some websites like to call it a "a weekly percussion extravaganza," which is definitely a suitable name!
I'll definitely be going to La bomba again and will be sure to post some pictures or sound clips....

During the second and third week I spent more time with my host family Adriana and her son Lucio (and her boyfriend Paolo). I taught Lucio how to play the card game Set, which was a fun relief from the language barrier we had, because he caught on to the rules pretty quickly! After we played once, almost anytime I came home and Lucio was too, he wanted to play Set a million times - like all nine-year-old's like to play the same game over and over again! Luckily Set wasn't the only game we played (though I am a big fan) because I also became really good at the mini-est version of table pool you've ever seen, and along with Adriana and Paolo one night we played a fun game of Pictionary (in Spanish - which was quite the challenge for me, especially late at night).

Meanwhile, I wandered around the city a bunch these past weeks - I spent a big chunk of time in Palermo - the biggest barrio (neighborhood) in Buenos Aires, enjoyed one afternoon in the botanical gardens, and wandered around Palermo Soho - which is named for it's similarities to the soho neighborhoods in New York and London.
I went to the MNBA museum (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes), one afternoon, which is a wonderfully extensive art museum that I must must must go back to because there is so much to see...
Last Sunday I went to a beautiful fair in Recoletta Park and besides wandering around the fair, I happened upon some of the most beautiful trees, called Ombu trees, in all of Buenos Aires!
(Since I don't have a camera at the moment - check out some of these photos - http://atexaninargentina.blogspot.com/2007/10/pic-of-day-trees-of-buenos-aires.html )

And of course I also had a few fun nights out - dancing salsa, reggaeton, and more! Going out on the weekends is very different here since most parties don't start till 3am or later, so it will be pretty normal for me to stay out till 7 or 8am on some Saturday nights, like one week ago...

In more recent news....!
...the weather here has been pretty crazy and quite scary the last few days - just yesterday (Friday the 19th) there was an intense rain flood in the main parts of the city that I got caught in (luckily on a bus, and not in a taxi) while on my way over to the family I was staying with for Shabbat. It was almost as if the Río de la Plata spilled right into the city blocks!

I found some photos from local newspapers that really captured similar images to what I witnessed from the window of my bus --- though the normally 15 min ride took me over an hour, we luckily didn't get stuck in the water...

(photos came from here: http://www.lavanguardia.es/premium/publica/publica?COMPID=53894284567&ID_PAGINA=1810072&ID_FORMATO=9&PAGINACIO=1&SUBORDRE=3 and http://www.losandes.com.ar/notas/2010/2/20/sociedad-473407.asp and http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1235654&pid=8364022&toi=6267 )

Saturday, February 6, 2010


After one long and splendid first week filled with intensive Spanish classes and fun/funny tango classes, Friday afternoon finally arrived and my Shabbat plans were not yet arranged. (classic last minute Eliana act!)

Since it's the summer here, apparently a lot of the Jewish community is away, and even though I asked various folks to find me a religious family with whom I could stay for the weekend, no plans came through.

About two hours before Shabbat I frantically called up some Chabad families/houses to find a last minute place to stay, and practically no one answered their phone, and the one or two that did answer, only spoke Spanish (no English and not even Hebrew)!

So at the last straw, I tried calling that original Chabad that had responded to an e-mail I wrote to them, or who I thought was that Chabad, and this friendly woman named Chana, who luckily spoke English, answered and gave me some great advice!! She told me to contact the Chabad Olleros - which is in the Belgrano neighborhood - about 10 blocks from where I live now, right next to my Spanish school - the same 30 minute walk I did twice each day this week!

So the whole time, my friend Karen (from UMass) and I had been planning to meet for Friday night services/ dinner, so instead of meeting Karen near her host family in the Recoleta area, she met me at this Chabad Olleros - close to my family (and close to our schools, in the Belgrano neigbhorhood). This worked out really well since she isn't shomer Shabbat (will use transportation on shabbat) and was glad to take the subway there and back, while I could took the bus there and only had to walk 30 minutes back.

So, as I mentioned briefly in my last post - there has been a LOT of rain this week (and it is supposed to continue for most of the month of February...) Only twice this week did I get caught in some serious downpours walking to or back from school, but I almost enjoyed getting COMPLETELY DRENCHED because it's really warm if it's not raining, so the rain realllllly cools everything down. Anyway, the amount that I got drenched this past Wednesday on my way to school and actually yesterday (Friday) on my way home from school, was nothing compared to the down pour last night!

Even though I was able to catch the bus to Chabad before Shabbat started, I still had to walk a couple blocks to the bus stop and by the time I got there, I was drenched down to the bone! And when I arrived at the beautiful Chabad house, of course, their air conditioning was on full blast! Though it was hard to take my mind off how freezing I was, I put that aside and was just really excited to be in a place that felt so familiar to me. Karen arrived shortly after me, followed by a few girls wearing teva sandals, the first Israelis we encountered! Besides us and the Israeli girls, there were only three other women - local Argentinians, though the men's side filled up relatively quickly.

After a very exuberant davening - (with a Dvar Torah in Spanish that was easier to follow that I had expected - likely because divrei Torah often repeat themselves, and include lots of Hebrew phrases) - we befriended these Israeli girls - Lior, Shani and two others...who not suprisingly were traveling around South America now that they had finished their sheirut leumi, (national service - that lots of religious girls do instead of army service). They were staying at a hostel very close by (a hostel that was filled with young Israeli travelers - mostly religious ones. They were glad to invite us to have dinner with them but it had to be paid for, so they felt out of place, and wished us luck and headed out.

So we went out into the hallway and walked up to some boys who were also obviously Israelis - and one of them, who was also a local asked us if we had a place for dinner or if we were waiting to be invited somewhere - to which we replied the latter, and he, Sebastian (or Sebi), welcomed us to eat with him at this same Israeli hostel that HE created.
Basically, he grew up here in Buenos Aires, moved to Israel when he was 6 years old and then came back here recently (after the army) and started this hostel, and after this summer when he will be traveling around central America, he's going to start school in Buenos Aires for hotel management.
For what was a very last minute plan - our night turned out to be really fun!

This hostel, that was a few minutes away from the Chabad was beautiful! It was very modern, air-conditioned (too cold for that wet, rainy evening), strictly kosher, and had plenty of guest rooms. When we arrived a long table was already set for dinner and kids (all our age more or less) began to sit down, including the girls we had met earlier.

Karen and I were so happy! We felt so at home, being able to talk Hebrew, instead of our broken Spanish, though for the first hour or so I kept slipping in Spanish words as I switched over to Hebrew! Also, Karen kept on noticing that since we're two hours of ahead of EST, and UMass starts services at 6 and dinner at 7, we had sat down to both services and dinner at the exact same time as them.

Dinner was delicious and we stayed a while after for some singing and chatting...and as the rain continued to come down in heavy buckets (!!) I turned down an invitation to sleep on a couch and instead walked the 30 minutes back home in the pouring rain, getting drenched all over again for the second time in one night...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010



it's definitely raining!

only the second day here, and the weather cooled down drastically!

A tidbit about the late night food:

First of all, I have a great first impression of my host family! Not only is Adriana really relaxed, friendly, welcoming, generous, etc. but so far (crossing my fingers) she has been cooking some delicious dinners! (And dinner isn't supposed to be a big deal here!)
So the fact that, so far, we haven't sat down to eat until 10pm each night, is something that I'll just have to get used to...meaning either: bigger lunches, or a medium lunch and a light evening snack.
Sadly for me, my favorite meal - breakfast - has not been so impressive...

For those Bronstein food fanatics (and others) out there here's the low-down:

the first night Adriana made fried berenjena (una palabra that I understood right away since Grandma Mary always called her eggplant dish by the Spanish word!) and a delicious arugula salad. all in small but delicious portions. just those two simple things set my expectations really high,
and after the main dishes she brought out some delicious fruit
-oranges, grapes, apples, bananas.
followed by a spoonful of dulché de leche!

also, of course her son, Lucio is adorable and very skinny and doesn't want to eat his dinner (reminds me a bit of Yishai a year or two ago...) and always wants the center of attention!!
(More Lucio anecdotes on my next post...)


tonight, she made a beautiful empanada filled with delicious vegetables - onions, peppers, etc. which definitely topped the eggplant dish!

so basically, I can't wait for tomorrow night's dinner!

Monday, February 1, 2010

an arrival of all sorts

I made it!

I am now sitting on the porch of my host family's apartment. With a view of trees covering the street below, and tall apartment buildings all around.

With minor complications (the taxi that was supposed to pick me up never showed, or went to the wrong terminal or something!) so I waited for a while (about 45 min or so) and then just took an official taxi from the airport instead. Of course my taxi driver didn't speak any English, so I tried to talk to him in my non-existent Spanish and all I could really say was that the weather was beautiful and VERY HOT! compared to New York, where it's freezing and snowing. After that, he tried continuing the conversation, but of course I really didn't understand much, so that was the end of that!

But Adriana, my host mother who says she doesn't speak very much English- has very good English when she does speak it. Though she doesn't really like to - which means that I can really challenge myself and try to speak ONLY Spanish, after I go to classes for a few days to refresh my memory, that is.

Ciao for now,


Sunday, January 31, 2010

off i go!

Here I am.

sitting with my Grandma Esther.

at her house,

in Teaneck, NJ.

She just helped me write a short e-mail (in Spanish!), saying hello to my host mother, Adriana, who I'll be staying with for the first three weeks.

Only 20 minutes till I leave for the airport....