Valuable Experiences in Argentine Friend Making
As I do my programming kung fu while here in BA I am looking to get a second monitor.
Thanks in part to the miracle of Yahoo’s babel fish (http://babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_txt) I answered an ad in Craigslist for a used monitor. Cutting and pasting to and fro to do translations (or, as it kinda felt like, encrypting and decrypting communications) made it a cinch! (And fortunately my Spanish is good enough to catch whatever comically tragic mistranslations the machine spit out.) (Um, I think).
In any case, communication worked well enough for us to arrange a time for me to pick up the monitor. The plan was simply to take the subway out to Gabriel’s place and schlep a big ol’ monitor back to mine. Thing is, the monitor, after Gabriel found and dug it out, didn’t work. But it was cool: over the course of 15 minutes or so of him farting around trying to hook it up we started chatting. Turns out we’re both web geeks. His brother too. So while I left their place without a monitor, I did leave with two new friends and the idea that yeah, we should go out for a beer sometime.
On my empty handed subway ride home I had a more lively spring in my step than usual (I’m still in that cute stage where a breakthrough in Spanish communication will do that). I took to my subway seat in an admittedly flamboyant manner, and I reckon for it caught a smile from the cute gal sitting right across from me. I smiled back and she asked “Where are you from?”. I countered in the best Spanish I could with a comically defensive “How did you know I’m not from here?” I sat beside her and we chatted the rest of the ride. I basically shared with her everything about my trip that I knew how to say with my vocabulary. As a professor who teaches Spanish as a second language, she was great about correcting my grammar, and took to pointing out cool things for me to do and see on my nice little touristy map. Added bonus: because I know the magic vocab word “novia” (girlfriend), there was no concern of me being some random dude on the subway trying to pick her up. And everyone thinks it’s way cute when I say my novia is coming to visit in a month.
Last night, carneceria man #1 (a.k.a. Roberto) and I were chatting about favorite recipes, and through much pantomime he gave me one for pork chops that involved apples and sugar. I took to the challenge of making just that with my pork purchase. (I’m now the proud owner of a kilo of sugar: it was smallest package I could find. Mom, you wanna make cookies or something when you get down here?). It turned out great, and to make the world a weirder place I made up a plate of the other pork chop, some asparagus, and a few strawberries, covered it in tin foil, and brought it back to Roberto with fork and knife. He was dumbfounded at first but got a big kick out of it, and I met and chatted a while with his wife as he handled the early evening rush of customers. As I left Roberto thanked me, and reiterated once more that if I ever have any problems, I should call him at the number on the cool little refrigerator magnet of his shop that he gave me. I declared him and his wife my adopted Argentine papa and mama (actually at first I only declared Roberto papa, his wife chimed in to claim mama), and a good time was had by all.