Writing

The clubbing does not start until 2 in the morning.
Politically correct does not apply here.
The men can dance, and dance they do.
Don't even joke about soccer, for reals.
The clothing stores on Santa Fe carry one size fits all, but obviously they mean one size fits all porteñas. I even got the salesgirl to laugh when I attempted to pull a skirt up over my butt.
The pastries rival those of Paris.
Che lives on.

So there are these sisters: Iara, Brisa, y Priscilla. Their faces resemble one another's, and they wear their long hair in ponytails with its natural wave, though sometimes the little one wears hers down. They sit together, eat together, and whisper to each other all day long. I have wanted to be a part of their circle since the first hour, and after four days, I am in.

On Friday, I witnessed a heartbreaking act of racism at the school. There is this boy, his name is Gonzálo, and even though he is at least 10 years old, he sits at the little kids' table. At first I thought it was because he prefers to sit with his kid sister, and I am sure that is the reason alot of the time, but I soon realized he is not always welcome at the other "big boys'" table. Gonzálo is brown, but he is dark brown. I do not know where he lives, but there is a big villa a few blocks away and it is probable he lives there.

TOMS shoes. Have you heard of them? Do you own a pair? Have you seen their classic, natural style walking down the streets in your neighborhood? The thing is, I had heard of their campaign, but never really spent any time thinking about their campaign. One for one. They pledge: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One.

Let's have a roll call, shall we?
When you hear your name, raise your hand and tell us how it happened. Let's start with the person closest to me:
ZOE! Z, that's me, and the kids took my camera back in Spring (that's Autumn to you guys). Then, last week a car rolled up, a man jumped out, grabbed my backpack, and was back in the car before I could even say goodbye to my laptop and my passport. And my journal!! My freaking journal!

Setting: We set up shop on a cement slab that separated the dirt road from a makeshift concrete court. Two tables and a dozen chairs for the kids to color their cartoons, play Memory, or practice reading. The rocky, dusty road is littered with trash and feces and stray dogs that flip from fighting to chewing each other´s fleas every few minutes. There are men leaning back on chairs, sweat streaming down their brown chests while they wax poetic about who knows what. Teenagers smoking. Teenagers with a baby on each hip.

So there are perros all over this town, in various social orders. In the city, dogs can be seen sitting at the cafe table or lounging at a plaza. Outside the nicer areas, even the strays have castes and I am reminded of the animated movie Oliver and Co. that was based on the Dickens´ novel Oliver Twist. I have seen my share of Fagans running around and I know there are many Olivers following behind.

There are signs.
First you will see bars on windows.
Then you will see bars on the doors, too, and bars surrounding the stores. There are cars on the street that are missing hubcaps, bumpers, windows, wheels. Car exoskeletons. Car bones. Stray dogs. You will bump over a pothole, then three, then you will be lucky if there is any road that remains. Eventually you will hit dirt, of course.

One thing I did not consider is having someone cook for me twice a day for seven weeks. Breakfast is at 8:10am and there is a rule in the house that says you get a ten minute grace period but really you need to be ready by 8:10. This morning I walked out and saw a plate set out and tea set out and silverware all shiny and lined up. After standing around with my book for five minutes, I sat at the seat adjacent and began writing in my journal. My host, my cook, my personal chef sighed in exasperation for she had been waiting for me to sit down.

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