Saturday, July 11, 2009

Farewell Buenos Aires

I've been meaning to write my "farewell Buenos Aires" entry for quite sometime but for some reason, I've never been motivated to acutally sit down and write one. I don't know if it's because I'm surrounded by everthing that's, friends, and yummy vegan food or because I had a love/hate relationship with the city that's called "the Paris of South America." Whatever the reason, it was this article-Journeys: Buenos Aires Spotlights It's Cafes, in The New York Times that made me start typing away.

-So, here I am at almost two o'clock in the morning at work nonetheless (for all of those who don't know, I'm back to working as a pediatric nurse . . .and don't worry, all my patients are sound asleep, well taken care of, while I'm wrting this entry) writing my blog entry-

I started my work night off as usual, a couple of vital signs, a couple of medications, some chit chat, and some reading. I started skimming the New York Times online for any interesting arcticles. Lo and behold, there was an article that caught my eye and it had do with Buenos Aires. Since Jackson and I called BsAs home for almost a year, it was only natural that I'd read up about the Argentine cafes. The article mentioned a couple of well-known Argentine cafes, Las Violetas, Cafe Tortoni. This wasn't what struck me to start writing though. The picture slide was the real reason. Seeing the pictures brought back so many memories, good, beautiful memories. I never thought I would say this but there are times that I truely miss Buenos Aires. I miss the get togethers with all my wonderful friends. I miss walking around Palermo at night with Jackson coming home from Spring, watching people eating, drinking and laughing in the restaurants. I miss sipping mate from one of Jackson's many gourds, while sitting at the park. I miss our little apartment on Goritti with the old man down stairs who criticized me for not walking Zoe for a longer time. I miss the people on the streets at 3 in the morning just chatting away while taking puffs from their cigarettes. I miss my favorite favorite spot for licuados and tea. I miss my stay at home mom role (minus the kids). I miss my stress free life. My life that involved mingling, mate and medialunas...the three "M's".

There are definitely things that I absolutely hated about BsAs but I won't mention them. I want this entry to be about the reasons why I loved BsAs. I've bitched and complained too many times about my dislikes. This entry is my beautiful memory.

For anyone who truely knows me, I really came out of my shell while in BsAs. I feel that my experience there helped me grow in so many, many ways. BsAs was my initiation to adulthood. Although I was super happy to leave BsAs, as I look back, I can honestly say that I do not regret one moment. BsAs will for always be the greatest adventure of my life that I'm happy to have shared with mi gran amor, Jackson.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cookies and Milk

As we enter the middle of March, I can't help but think that spring is around the corner...around the corner, back home that is. As for Buenos Aires, today's down pour made me think of fall. After weeks and weeks of hot and humid weather, it was nice to feel a cooler breeze and a few rain drops on my sleeve.

Because it was raining cats and dogs for awhile today, Jackson and I decided to stay home. We had a nice quite day. While Jackson did his usual (writing), I continued working on my current Today though instead of coming up with dinner, I concentrated on my favorite meal of the day...dessert!! I found a fairly easy recipe for thumbprint cookies on which turned out great. This was my second time baking vegan cookies and I'd have to say that the second time around was better. The important thing is that Jackson enjoyed the cookies. He took a break from his writing and grabbed a glass of milk with a plate of cookies...I still have a lot of practicing to do but when it comes to cookies I'm more than happy to devote a lot of time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's Not Mac n' Chesse

As I mentioned in my previous entry, I have been keeping away from doing "nothing" by coming up with projects. This week, I've been reading more about vegan cooking and baking and trying out some fun recipes. I have to say being vegan in this city is quite the challenge but I make do with what I have. Sadly, I haven't been able to try some awesome recipes because I'm not within arms reach of a blender or a food processor. True, I could purchase a blender and make my life as a vegan a lot easier but in today's economic crisis, I don't want to invest in a blender that I will have to leave behind when I return to the US. So, I work my way around the recipes I find and stick mainly to ones, where I can replace or omit ingredients and/or kitchenware.

Being devoted green, healthy vegans, Jackson and I wanted to continue our custom of buying organic produce. Not willing to give this up, Jackson began researching and found a place in Buenos Aires that delivers organic produce to your door...El Rincón Orgánico was heaven sent. One thing I noticed though, after receiving our biweekly box of organic produce for a couple of months was that one food item ALWAYS seemed to pop up. What do you ask?....squash. Here is where making do with what I have at hand comes into play. Having never made squash before, I had to find recipes where I could use it. Thankfully, I found lots of recipes, most of which required a blender but after more browsing I found one recipe in particular that was fairly easy and super yummy. Today, I made Butternut Squash Macaroni Casserole....and it was delicious! Jackson said it was a good replacement for Mac n' Cheese...what does that mean?...well, he loved it!A very orangey butternut squashThe finished project!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

From nothing to Projects

I've been asked many times since I've been in Buenos Aires "What are you doing down there? What have you been up to?" In the beginning, my honest answer was "nothing." However, the more I heard myself saying "nothing," the more I realized that I was selling myself short. It's true to what is life in the United States, I am doing nothing. I'm not going through a monotonous routine of work, home, dinner, sleep, work, home, dinner, sleep. It has taken a while for me to get used to the fact that I don't have my broken record lifestyle of the same old shit, although there are definitely times where I crave my old routine. Now, my lifestyle is more seasonal; it changes. One day, I'll go visit the Chacarita cemetary and on another day I'll do nothing but fiddle on the internet at home. Regardless of what it is, I have been experiencing life differently. I try to make my experienece living abroad a not "nothing" answer....(and the optimal word here is TRY). Here are a few things that I've been doing since my arrival in BsAs:

1) try to gain some insight on Erika...not an easy task...looking inside is easier said than done.
2) try to figure out what I really want in life...which is a very big topic that includes career, school, happiness, love, family etc...this could take a long time to figure out...
3) try not to worry so much about things I can't change or about things that haven't happened...again easier said than done....
4) cooking....I've done lots of cooking while in Buenos Aires. I made it my mission to keep Jackson and me on track with our vegetarian/vegan diet. And since Jackson worked all the time, the least I could do was prepare yummy meals for us.
5) drawing...I've recently started drawing again...I have to say, I forgot drawing was one of my favorite hobbies.

These are just a few things that I've been working on. Given these little tid bits, I guess I can't say that I do nothing while I'm living in Buenos Aires. As my good Australian friend said "tell everyone who asks what you're doing that you're finishing up on a project and that you're planning on your next project." So next time someone asks me "What have you been up to in BsAs?, I will say "I'm working on a couple of projects."

So here, I share with you a couple of my projects...mostly food:) (some recipes are from Veganomicon Cookbook)Vegan: messy rice
Vegan: curried lentilsVegan: spaghetti with TVPVegan: chocolate, rasberry cookiesVegan: quinoa with chickpeasVegan: pancakes
Vegetarian: cauliflower patties

Monday, February 9, 2009

In the Clear

It has definitely been a long time since I've written in my blog and I have no reason for it, except perhaps laziness and lack of inspiration. Just yesterday though I was given reason, a scary reason...all because of a handful of raisins.

Saturday night, Zoe got hold of half a piece of budín (which is a pastry some where between bread and cake). Zoe has never before climbed on tables but Saturday night she jumped on to the coffee table and ate the half. Normally, I wouldn't freak out but I just recently discovered that raisins and walnuts are toxic for dogs. And, the piece Zoe had had both. I did my research Saturday night after Zoe inhaled what she thought was her dessert and learned that raisins can lead to acute renal failure....YIKES!! Naturally, I was scared for my poor pooch but that night she experienced no signs of toxicity.
Vomiting is one of
the initial signs of grape or raisin toxicity
and can occur within the first 2
hours. Other initial signs that can occur
within the first 5 to 6 hours of exposure
include diarrhea, lethargy, and
polydipsia. Signs of ARF may develop
either within 24 hours or several days
after exposure. Signs of ARF may
include anorexia, lethargy, depression,
vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain,
tremors, and hypovolemia.

It was in the morning, however, when Zoe started throwing up. She threw up a total of 6-8 times each time less and less. I'll spare you the details of her throw up but the first one had whole raisins and walnuts. When I saw this, I thought we were in the clear because she obviously didn't start to digest the raisins but after about the 3rd time throwing up Zoe's legs started shaking. By this time, I was a wreck. I frantically called my cousin who's in veternarian school and she told me that raisins are not toxic. I didn't take her word for it though because online I found A LOT of evidence that proved her otherwise. Since I wasn't about to risk my baby girl's life, I googled 24hr vets and took Zoe in to see one. Unfortunately, the vet Zoe saw had no idea that raisins are toxic to dogs too. All I could think at that moment was "what is wrong with this city?! They haven't heard of raisins being toxic to veternarian student cousin says I should give Zoe a bath with dish washing soap...fleas seem to be a regular tenant...and they don't believe on preventative heartworm medication!!" Ahhh! Despite the vet's lack of knowledge on raisins, he was very nice and attentive. He gave Zoe to shots, an anti-emetic and something for her tummy. When we got home, I let poor Zoe rest and kept her NPO (nothing per mouth). Sunday night, I finally gave some water and really, really burnt toast (the charcoal produced in burnt toast is supposed to help absorb the toxicins) . I kept an eye on her the rest of the night and watched out for any more signs of toxicity. Thankfully, we are in the clear. Zoe woke up this morning peed, a lot I might add, and inhaled her plain brown rice. She seems to be her active little self now.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Time For Change

(all pictures from the Chicago Tribune)

With the city sky-line in the background, with the building lights gleaming like little stars in the night, with the American flags waving from the hands of the young and old, White and Black, thousands and thousands of people gathered in Grant Park to celebrate an unforgettable moment in our history. I would have loved to be in my hometown to join my fellow Chicagoans yesterday. Even though I'm miles and miles away in Buenos Aires, I've seen (thanks to the wonders of the internet) the celebrations that are taking places ALL OVER the world due to Obama's victory. In Chicago alone, I have never see such excitement and grand celebration since perhaps the Bulls winning their 4th championship. People flocking to the streets and honking horns always reminds me of the Bulls but this time around it wasn't the Most Valuable Player (Michael Jordan) that had people in tears, cheering. No, it was the Most Valuable President, Barack Obama, who had people cheering, crying, and being patriotic. I have never been more proud in my life to be an American and Chicagoan. I never though I'd see people dancing in the street, chanting USA, USA!! I never thought that I'd see people of all colors, races and religions come together to cheer for our first Black president. When has a president drawn crowds of people from cities of the USA to the cities of Europe, Asia and Africa? For once, countries are happy and proud of the USA. For once, countries want to work with our American President to help heal this world. For once, the voices of American people were heard.

The day we elected our first Black President will always be remembered. What a huge step for mankind. This is an image I will for always want to see and remember...two races hand in hand...two races united. Together, the world will stand united.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Girl's Best Friend

I just wanted to share with everyone a picture of the birthday girl. My little September 11th pooch is 4 today!!