LOST is the name of the Thursday night hiphop party at Arraoz Bar in Palermo. The bar opens at 12:30, but for the first two hours, there is no communal dancing, just breakdancing bandits that take the floor two at a time. The club is essentially one giant concrete room, bordered by bars and balconies. People such as myself and my three friends loiter near the bar or straddle the enormous speakers or crowd the short steps going down to the floor.
Last Saturday night, Zoe and I took the new volunteer Michael out on the town. We were all dressed to go hit the night scene in Palermo, walking to the bus stop near our house, when we passed an elderly gentleman coming out of an apartment building. He was slightly taller than average (which is still small), had a wispy covering of grey hair over his shiny pate, and his slacks were tight and pulled high. His shirt was a toss up between pink and coral, and it had a stiff collar to help corral his wayward neck.
Is both easy and hard. The reactions are the same whether I am in the U.S. or in Argentina. I am a vegetarian. Soy una vegetariana. The eyes squint a little, as if to probe the seriousness of my proclamation. The nose crinkles a little, feeling out my odor, maybe it's different, not bad, just different. The open mouth asks, "En serio? En Argentina?"
This is how you do it on a sunny Friday in Buenos Aires:
Grab two nectarines on your way to work. Enjoy the sweet summer juiciness in the middle of February. Consider moving every few months to follow the seasonal fruit that you love so much.
At the train station, buy a Peruvian savory pancake straight off the barbecue and in an accidentally demanding voice, ask the street vendor where he has been these past few weeks. (Turns out the guy sets up shop early and leaves when the dough is all gone, usually an hour before we arrive)
Smile and eat the whole thing.
There is this boy at my school.
There is this eleven year old boy named Elias.
There is this boy with an eleven year old voice and an eleven year old body, but he has the rage and the force of a 19 year old man.
Every day that a fight breaks out, Elias gets his punch or kick in.
He has no fear, no respect, and the teachers fear he has no future.
Last week, after he accused me of tattling on him, he hit me in the face.
Juan is the younger brother of the sisters that own a sliver of my
heart. He is four, maybe five, and he has the biggest, curliest,
bounciest hair. His hair reaches below his shoulders, and if you saw
him from behind, you may mistake him for a girl.
Juan is crazy. It is like part of him does not want his personality
to be at odds with his wild mop. Or maybe it stems from being the kid
brother of 3 dominating sisters. Or maybe he is just so happy he does
not have the strength to hold it all in. I don't know, but he makes
I have this memory from when I was a kid living in Laguna Hills.
I remember standing in a circle of kids and we were eating raisins,
the purple kind, although now I prefer the green raisins.
Someone, and I think it was me, bit into a raisin and subsequently bit
into a maggot. Imagine being a kid and discovering that maggots can
live inside raisins, just waiting to either get big enough to escape
the raisin, or to be crushed by a child's molars before reaching that
point. After that happened, we cracked open more raisins and
There is a multitude of dogs, but they are well fed, well loved, and
on leash (most of the time).
There are bakeries on every corner, and I can get a danish or a
medialuna as early as 6:00 a.m.
I am meeting new people every hour, for the flow never subsides, and I
am part of that flow.
I see the same newspaper guy and the same vendors on my walks and it
is comforting to say a knowing "Buen Dia".
Buenos Aires reminds me of New York, of course, and though I am not
the first to make the comparison, it still means a lot to me.
Last week one of the boys was picked for a three day trip to Mar del
Plata. Every year, one child is picked from each government run
school to go on a holiday with all expenses paid. Sandra, the new
principal, told me that 11 year old Gonzaló was chosen to be our
center's lucky kid. He will ride in a bus with approximately 120
other poor kids and he will be taken a few hours' south for a beach
weekend. This is the first time Gonzaló, like many others chosen, has
ever been outside of his city, let alone on a vacation. He is