This post title is a slight misnomer because this weekend was not that warm at all, but the porteños were excited! So many stores had “Feliz Primavera” signs up and there were lots of flowers sold on the streets.
On Friday, I went to the gym, talked to my dad on facetime and then schlepped all the way to DiTella to pick up photocopies for my midterm in a week. I could have printed the documents nearby but it’s usually 1 peso a page and on campus it’s only 35 cents. I had to print over 300 pages so it was worth it. After that I stopped at a café and grabbed some lunch with Nora. Since it was actually lovely and sunny, we celebrated almost spring with ice cream from Persicco. Friday is the day I discovered their chocolate amargo (DARK CHOCOLATE) which made me all kinds of happy. I went home for a little bit and then went to UBA to see a documentary my professor had told us about. It was called, “Campos de Batalla, Cuerpos de Mujeres” and told the stories of women raped at concentration camps during the dictatorship. Parts of it were really hard to hear, especially the same justifications for rape that we hear in US society (that women provoke men). At the end they said only two men have been convicted of rape during this time period despite the many, many human rights trials that have taken place. Many of the women said they never mentioned the rapes when describing their torture after their releases. After the movie, some people in the audience started to give their opinions (duh, it’s Argentina) including the producer of the movie. Many women in the audience volunteered their stories about being in the camps and being raped or pregnant there and it was crazy to hear. Unlike holocaust survivors, these women are in their 50s or 60s, they’re still a full part of society. One of them mentioned how her bunkmates from the camp are some of her best friends still. Could you imagine introducing someone to your friend you met in concentration camp? It’s just incredible how much the dictatorship influences the society on a daily basis. After that heavy friday evening, we went to dinner at an Italian place in my neighborhood. Rita was staying at her son’s house this weekend because he was away with his wife. It was a classic local spot with A+ homemade pasta and waiters who probably came straight from Italy.
On Saturday, the official dia de Primavera, we got brunch at expat fave Magdalena’s Party, which is probably the only place in this city you can find a breakfast burrito. Black beans and salsa are wonderful foods. The mimosas were pretty lovely too and we sat outside, wearing coats, because spring had sprung. We spent the afternoon in Libros de Pasaje, the bookstore/cafe that I love doing reading. Lots of people were traveling this weekend so it was a little bit quieter. Knowing Rita was out, Nora, Olivia and I decided to cook dinner which was so wonderful. We made quinoa with veggie stirfry, salad with homemade dressing featuring garlic, and vegan banana oatmeal chocolate cookies. Though we had to cook the cookies in the toaster over because the real oven doesn’t numbers on the dial, everything turned out wonderfully and it was once again so nice to talk around a table without waiters or Argentine widows. I miss cooking a great deal here and really relish these nights.
Sunday, the coldest day of the weekend, was spent at an outdoor market that happens once a month in different areas of the city. There was a vegetarian/natural food focus to the event which was fun. We sampled some olive oils and mustards, I had veggie ceviche and we split a multigrain waffle with the works. While the toppings were fabulous (some sort of cinnamon whipped cream cheese, baked apples, I don’t think porteños have mastered the fluffy yet crispy beast that is a waffle. It’s aspirational, I suppose.
After that adventure, I did work in a cafe and then settled in for what I thought would be a quiet sunday night. Then, I got an email from Ruthie who had been in Iguazu for the weekend. She invited me to a Rosh Hashanah concert run by this super liberal group that tries to reconcile being both Jewish and Argentine, rather than just one or the other. It was in this hidden warehouse in a random part of town and her friend from UBA had invited her. I fought my sunday night tiredness and went. It was awesome! Basically, this group is only 20 people but they’re expanding and have a really cool take on judaism. There were three bands playing a mix of jewish, spanish, and american music (a cover of Hit Me Baby One More Time happened) and the people in the audience danced with the same grace as typical bar mitzvah guests. There was cheap beer and empanadas for sale (including jamon y queso because these jews are so not kosher). We chatted with Ruthie’s friends and a rabbinical student came out to talk about the universality of Judaism (our torah starts with the first man, not the first Jew etc.) He was super inclusive and then I realized he was the rabbinical student from Rita’s temple that led part of Rosh Hashanah! The few affiliated members of this group go there and one of them knew her grandkids. SUCH A SMALL WORLD. The Argentine’s steered us to our correct collectivos to get home, which is tricky with one way streets and bid us goodnight. It was one of the more random events I’ve ever attended but such buena onda (good vibes).
Today, I woke up with a tummyache, probably from all the weekend noms, and headed to the MIgraciones office to obtain a student visa, step 3 out of 4. It took over 2 hours and involved a lot of waiting but went smoothly and I’m almost a resident. I headed home, got a manicure and am now about to start some homework.
Have a fabulous week everyone.