Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Christmas Time...

Once, Christmas was fun for our mothers. Now it is a militarised series of events for them:
-Buy the Christmas cards. Make the mince pies. Write the Christmas cards. Decorate the house. Buy the presents. Buy the food. Buy the stamps for the Christmas cards. Buy the tree. Send the Christmas cards....
They pretend they are having fun with the family but really they hate it. Year after year dad throws away the bag in the garage with the Christmas decorations, thus creating the first (usually of many) Christmas arguments.

Although in general i do enjoy getting into the festive spirit, which in Argentina, really hardly exists. Well, unless you count avoiding the fireworks planted in bins and street corners which make you feel as if you are living in a war zone. What part of being kicked out of my bedroom, being forced to speak to great aunt Mildred, who requires a hearing aid, is fun!? My family always try and go away for Christmas so mother doesn’t face a nervous breakdown hosting the masses. I just don’t get the point of small presents from people I hardly know. If I wanted that tacky necklace from Claire’s I would go and get it. You receive a present; your voice always is required to become higher. ‘OMG’ amazing, I have always wanted that’ to some jewellery which resembles something Vicky pollard would wear. You are then required to wear it, to be polite.
The worst is when people continue looking in the bag to see if there is anything else to this present. ‘No, no that’s really it love, credit crunch and all’.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The Social Event.

You know the feeling, you have spent days preparing yourself for the much sought after 21st party, in a rather snazzy London Hotel. You have even limited your consumption of edible calorific foods. Waxed, de-dreadlocked and you begin to ressemble less and less Hagrids sister. The only slight hiccup is the fact that your shoes fell apart on the way and you are trying to fix them with sellotape. Standard.

Anyway, I am now seated next to two ‘young chaps’, neither competing in the good looks competition. One is the guy I just tried to maintain a conversation with, but due to the lack of response I pretty much gave a monologue. The other my friend introduced me to by saying that my dad is running for parliament for the conservative party. He is, however, head of the labour society at University. This should be a bundle of laughs.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

The Office Ex-Bitch

Today, the Office Secretary Bitch was nice to me. I almost don't like it when this happens. If she is nasty, i can bitch about her. Simple. If she starts being nice, I get confused about what the hell to think. Plus, it's always shamefully fun and bonding when there's a unanimous person for all to bitch about.

Anyway, I was attempting to print some comprehensions for my class, and as the printer didn't work i continuously pressed the print icon. This resulted in a complete embarassment disaster, as when the 'Office Ex-Bitch' fixed the printer (which is in full view of everyone) the printer seemingly had paper diarrhoea. Unable to stop it, i was forced to hide the wodges of paper as they came out. The looks i received suggest this wasn't done in the subtlest of ways.

I would also like to add that last night I did not sleep and I feel so awake today. The night before i slept for 14 hours and felt so tired still. I even lied when a housemate asked me if i had REALLY just woken up..........'no, no, just a quick nap' i retorted. Forget alcoholics anonymous, I am in need of sleepers anonymous.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Laura - La profesora de ingles

I have arrived at the 26th floor of an office looking over Buenos Aires, it is very posh and reminds me of Hollywood film offices. 'Hola' I say 'soy tu profesora de ingles', they show me into a room with a huge meeting table, today i shall teach 6 businessmen english. Initially rather naievely perhaps, i thought this would be easy. No, no these people are fluent, they even say they don't want to work by the workbook. WHAT?! i proclaim. The workbook is my saviour? Anyway, as i have no business articles we continue to work with the workbook. The exercies are difficult and the grammar is beyond me. I don't know business lingo? After a 5 minute description of a particular word, i panic.....i have no clue.....i make it up..'pavementation' - that should be interesting when they next talk to their american clients. I even somehow got myself into a situation whereby i had to persuade people that in english you really can say 'more good', once you make a mistake, there is no going back. By the end of the class i am quite sure they have sussed me out, i say my 'chou's' and flee. However, i discover on the ground floor that i have managed to leave my visitors pass in the office. Nothing other than a rather humiliating experience having to return to the board meeting room to retrieve the pass with 10 argentine men having a meeting.
I got into a taxi for the next torture ordeal, the taximan makes boring small talk.........'erm i bovered?' He then asks for my number - i could hardly lie and say that i didnt have a phone as i was texting someone so i gave him a fake one, he proceeds to ring me and asks why my phone wasnt ringing and why i gave a fake number. Cringe.

Friday, 16 October 2009

'The Traveller'

Sonia was the new french girl in my spanish class, at first she appeared to be a 'typical traveller' - a lip piercing, bazilian bracelets and general loose 'raster' clothing. She had been travelling south america for a year. However, during the course of my spanish class her superior travelling altitude became evident. She claimed that going to the beach was too superficial, no, this traveller prefers to 'get to know' the locals. She does this by making bracelets with them and working in a restaurant in Brazil for free. When i said i know the south of france well, she almost had a heart attack for she does not venture in these touristic parts. No, for she is a 'real traveller'. In fact, she likes living in the mountains with locals. Hostels are not 'travellery' enough for her neither, no, no she stays in 'huspedes' which translates as 'guesthouses. She is nothing other than an irritating speciman of travelling arrogance.

Don't get me wrong there is nothing worse than someone going all the way to mexico and staying in a hotel resort in cancun for a week, nevertheless travelling is really just an adventurous holiday. Another 35 year old ozzy traveller who had been travelling for 8 years claimed to me recently that she hated 'hanging around with inexperienced travellers'. Come on! As i said in an interview once, these people need to get off 'their high heels'...

Monday, 5 October 2009

'greet kissing!?'

In France, one is expected to kiss on both cheeks at the arrival in a social occasion. Fine, i can cope with this. However, when one wants to disappear as inconpicuously as possible, one can not. One must go round the whole table giving each person a kiss on each cheek, even if one does not really know/care who the other person is. As a result, the shy disappearing act is quite impossible.

Similarly in Argentina, it is expected to kiss once when you see someone, however living in a student residence of 15 people this means that in one day you can expect to kiss/be kissed atleast 15 times. As, then people have friends who need a kiss too. For me, the most ridiculous thing, is that for most of these people i don't even know their names, no just everyday we will kiss. Fact. I just find the whole thing rather awkward really, i mean with the french guy i went for the second kiss and he was fleeing up the stairs after the first resulting in severe awkwardnes lasting a good few days. Another thing that gets on my nerves here is why oh why ask 'como estas' when you aren't going to wait for the answer. Everyone just replies 'bien' and thats it, thats my contact with that person untill the same 3 word conversation arises the next day. I might break the rule and say (in fluent spanish of course) 'no, you know what i am not bloody okay, i couldnt sleep last night and argentina does not sell tampons'.......i wonder how that would go down.

Saturday, 3 October 2009


'I'm off to work near the beach in Nice for the summer' i recounted so blissfully a week before departure. That was before i came face to face with the french at work. RUDE...RUDE..RUDE. The lady who worked in the beach restaurant pretty much laughed in my wind swept face when i asked about jobs, 'we only recruit professionals here'. erm......'is there any such thing as a bloody professional waitress, they take orders and carry food! ce n'est pas trop difficile!??'.

'I go for coffee, you c0me to coffe with me?!? i like coffee, i like you!' says some pervetish man as he tries to stroke my leg. I don't know whether these men expect me to say 'YES' and we then we go and make sweet love in a coffee shop!?Instead i change tram 3 times.

Today on the tram, i was slightly worried an elderly couple were going to have a coronary due to the dangerous amounts of huffing and puffing. Good reason too. The tram is like a bloody DJ Disco with all the music from various ghetto teenage mobiles or them screaming down their mobiles. As the elderley couple viewed....'and so whats the point of having a mobile, they can probably hear you!!!??'.


Without a doubt, the worst interview i hopefully will ever have to endure. Punctuality in the morning is never my strong point and hence getting there on time was my main port of call. 'Coron Duro' , as she was called, collected me from the reception where we took the lift together. In silence .She then asked me to tell her five negative personality points i possessed. Slightly harsh considering i was meant to be selling myself. The combination of the question and the french threw me into awkward turmoil. I replied saying 'i was impatient, moody and often made bad decisions. As these were things i could honestly think of in french. Apparently this wasn't a good answer.

Then the onslaughtering began over my appearance, apparently in 15 years i had dressed the most casually. In hindsight, perhaps the flip flops hadn't been the best idea. She claimed i looked like i was about to go to the beach. To be fair, not a statement particularly far from the truth. Embarassingly i asked her if i could try again tomorrow. Of course the bitch said 'NO' and proceeded to laugh in my face. She also pointed out i had dreadlocks in my hair. CRINGE.

El vuelo a Buenos Aires..

The sleeping pills dad gave me seemed like the perfect solution for the Buenos Aires long haul flight. So i took them and waited...waited for the uncontrallable power to sleep to hit me. No, it didn't seem to hit. My body perhaps, my brain no. However what did strike me was an uncontrallable urge to be sick in the middle of the night. I shook the people next to me to wake them and then proceeded to run to the toilet. Unfortunately, I didn't make it entirely. When I did reach the loo i simply collapsed on the floor while being sick and pretty much passed out. I awoke to the air hostess asking me 'have you been drinking??'. I was livid. I was alone, having just left my family for 7 months and they presumed i had just been drinking??!
To which i replied, 'no, but i took sleeping pills', seeing as i was only semi conscious, I imagine I slurred my words and she thought i said i was 'on pills'.....
I felt slightly guilty about the sick mess so even offered to clear up the mess and to add insult to injury, a cruel faced air hostess said 'no' without even turning to face me.....erm 'HELLO???!??' 'a little sympathy wouldn't go a miss'....???!?!??

Alas, i was relieved to arrive in Buenos Aires. I was also extremely relieved that my suitcase made it too. However this 'bonheur' was seemingly short lasted. The spanish the taxi driver was blabbing to me could have been oompa loopa language. Eventually I realised that he couldnt take me to the hostel as there were protests. FAN -BLOODY-TASTIC. I am on the streets of a 13 million person city, in the middle of protests, without the foggiest idea where i am with a 30KG suitcase with a distinct sick odour.'BIENVENIDO A BUENOS AIRES'!!!!