It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new.
But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.
There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
Alan Cohen
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Several things happened today that made me think of this or that.. I find myself sitting on a bench in the park, watching Pup and musing. Today it was about Starbucks and Popcorn. Yes, that's right.

Another new Starbucks coffee shop has opened in Buenos Aires.
You would think we were all going straight to hell, according to those ( mostly from outside of Argentina) who feel that nothing should taint the Argentine cafe culture, while the Argentines are standing in lines and happily drinking their mocha lattes and munching their low fat muffins.
I longed for a cup of Starbucks when we first arrived here. The coffee here was so strong! No amount of milk and sugar made any difference and the milk was usually steamed which only made things worse for me. Just to show how a person can get used to anything, I now enjoy a cafe doble with my leche frio aparte and drink some black brew every morning with only two sugars in it.
I think I am turning Argentine!

For as long as I can remember, my husband and I have had popcorn with Peanut M&M's when we go to the movies. I find it vaguely uncomfortable , to sit in a theatre and not have my hand stuck in a bag of popcorn, sharing our coke, going home salt-laden and slightly nauseous, some traditions just have to be continued.

So here we are, in Buenos Aires. We manage to buy tickets to the cinema, no small feat. First you have to know the Spanish title to the movie, which is often nothing like the English title. Then you have to ask for tickets and hope they figure out what you are saying, while that long line behind you is all ears and you find yourself speaking softer and softer .. a quick look over at the line of people and you see they are leaning, closer and closer.

After you manage to ask for the correct movie, then you have to choose the seats. This could be a nightmare for me, as I really have to be close to the aisle, so I won't have a panic attack and back far enough that I won't go blind. Going to the movies used to be so carefree, without difficulties.

The next obstacle... the Concession Stand.
Now, you can do it one of two ways. You can point at everything and grunt or you can learn the names of the important items. That would be Popcorn con Sal , no dulce , sweet popcorn? No gracias. I have my M&M's con mani (peanuts). Una Coka , easy breezy.
We walk into the empty theatre with our little tickets that have our seat numbers on them and find our seats, settle down and enjoy our pre-movie snack. Here comes another couple, that makes four people in the huge theatre, they have their tickets, they are checking the seat numbers, they find them, they sit down.
This goes on until the movie starts, everyone has found their very own seat, according to their tickets and the movie is about to begin.

Oh, a straggler, he can't see , the theatre is dark, it is also almost empty. But he will struggle along, peering at the floor where the numbers are, trying to find his assigned seat. Every time we see this, we chuckle. We would just walk in and sit down. But no, these people are polite and they follow the rules. They sit in their seat and not in any other.
After three years of going to the cinema here, we have discovered, we do the same thing now. We might be turning Argentine.

I think I am learning more Spanish from the subtitles and commercials.
Pretty soon I will be having conversations with people at parties, teling them how my dishes shine since I began to use Cif and that Brasso also works wonders on glass. I will be the talk of the town.

Speaking of Spanish... which I dream I speak but when I wake up, I find I am just having more trouble speaking English. We have a teacher, she comes to the apartment, soon we will know how to have real conversations with everyone. I have great hopes for this, I want to sound like a Local. I speak menu fairly well, but I want to actually make a joke and have them laugh- without miming.
I have become an accomplished Mime since moving here.
How else do I get my point across ? Ask for the right dog food, explain things to the plumber ?
If times get hard, I might find it comes in handy ... a sheet and some white make-up and Pup... I can be Mime with Dog.


  1. Love the photos! Having fun visiting BsAs with you.

  2. LOL at the "Mime with Dog" comment. I am sure you are underplaying your fluency and doing better than you think you are. And I can definitely relate to going to see films in other countries and NOT wanting to eat "sweet popcorn". It's amazing the kinds of things one's "native cultures" ingrain in one, like preference for salted popcorn.

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