I find it comical (and a bit depressing) to admit that dating in NYC was easier than my ‘dating’ experience in Buenos Aires. But even harder to believe, is how rough dating in Skypeville can be. And by dating, I mean scheduling a time to speak with friends from home via Skype.
If I had a moneda for every time a video chat was set or gmail conference call (the hipster Skype) was discussed and then never executed, I would be rolling in a bed of colectivo fare. It’s not that I don’t want to catch up with my friends, it’s that everybody’s busy schedules and varying time zones, make it difficult to connect.
But I’m not going to lie, there’s nothing better than when the call finally does happen, and I spend 2 hours with a best friend getting updates on wedding planning, hearing about friend gossip and just plain reverting to our 22 year old selves that puts a smile on my face. I love the comforts of good friendships, the inside jokes and knowing that no matter how much time passes between a Skype date (nonetheless a face-to-face interaction), that we will always have something to talk/laugh/cry about. Good friends are hard to come by, and I’ve learned to appreciate them even more during my time down South.
As an aside, family Skype dates (or should I say meetings?) are much easier to come by. I probably talk to my parents 50% more now that I live in another continent and honestly, I enjoy talking to them more here too. Even if they are just keeping me company while I make lentil soup (Luisa providing helpful cooking tips & Rick providing tidbits from the latest New York Magazine), it’s a great way to feel like el mundo es un pañuelo.
Pictured above: One of my favorite family skype sessions and the perfectly “Dennstedt” commentary that followed below:
I have a love/hate relationship with the gym. I hate the idea of going, but love it when I leave, feeling energized, revived, and slightly less gorda. I can only go in the morning and rarely do anything more than run on the treadmill.
In NYC, I had memberships with Crunch, 24 Hour Fitness and for the last couple of months before I left, Equinox. Oh how I loved Equinox. The location, the machines, the eucalyptus-soaked cold towels, the fancy hair dryers and my gym partner, Angie Shin. There, I would do more than run - Saturday kick boxing and early morning yoga being two of my favorite classes.
Well the memory of Equinox is long gone. Primarily because they have a ridiculous cancelation process, which I won’t go into now but it set me back $300 due to their stupidity. But more so, because I now belong to Gimnasio Cabildo, my local Belgrano gym.
Located just a four-minute walk form my apartment, a membership at Gimnasio Cabildo means I can work out, shower at my apartment and then walk to work all before my 10am start time. It also means that my morning gym “crowd” doesn’t quite look like my former Equinox workout buddies. The average age is somewhere around 60, which can be just as inspiring as the hot models you would find in Soho.
The work out equipment is also a bit…aged. I’m talking 80’s era cintas (treadmills), two ollddd school bikes and an even older school elliptical along with some of the most archaic-looking weight machines this non-gym rat has ever seen.
My favorite part of it all though, and what makes Gimansio Cabildo just a sliver bit better than Equinox, is that when somebody walks into the workout room they will say hello (or even give kisses) to each person that is working out. Men and women, old friends or new. Even when I’m dying from heat exhaustion (did I mention, the gym doesn’t have air conditioning?), I still smile at every hola and beso. Sometimes it’s the simple things that count, right?
After a week of steak, pizza and too much drinking (a full recap of Sarah Wilcox’s itinerary to come shortly), I am stuffed and poor. Although it was all well worth it, I am feeling the need to detox and pinch every penny (or lack there of) that I have. To do this, I will refrain from drinking and stick to a very conservative budget.
I’m a horrible planner, but I managed to do some research and come up with a couple recipes that met important criteria: simple ingredients (grocery storesin BA are shockingly limited and most recipes I find from the US would take me several frustrating grocery trips to source the ingredients), healthy and can be eaten several times during the week.
I came up with the following:
Armed with my ingredient list and a zen state-of-mind (my local supermercado Coto can make one have an anxiety attack), I set off. Without too much hassle (except when a stock boy yelled and me for leaving my cart too close to the boxes he was unloading which then caused a woman to roll over a piece of cardboard) I found everything I needed and threw in some eggs, a couple extra veggies and eye makeup remover. My grand total came to AR $141.11, which is US $32.42. (The subtotal was actually AR $164.47, but for some reason I was given a 15% discount. I took it, and didn’t ask questions.) I plan to buy chicken tomorrow (my chicken butcher is closed on Sundays) which will add about another 20 pesos to my total.
So for my first meal, I made the lentil soup. I absolutely love soup and lentil happens to be one of my favoties. I had 2 flavor profiles I was pulling from to make the soup - the spicy lentil soup I used to get from Cafe Medina and Amy’s Kitchen canned veggie lentil soup. They were both rich with flavor, hearty and incredibly satisfying. Also, lentils are inexpensive and the soup would yield enough to last me the week.
Using the 101Cookbooks recipe as a base, I made a couple amendments. I love carrots in my lentil soup so I chopped up 2 and a half to add to the pot. I also had a potato sitting around, so I added that as well. These 2 recipes helped me gauge how much time to cook the root veggies.
I also happened to be skyping with my amazing mom at the end of the cooking process who gave me one of her soup secrets: adding white vinegar to the broth. So as the soup was simmering, I heeded her advice and added a couple of splashes.
Surprisingly, for my first lentil soup attempt, it turned out to be quite delicious. I like the sweetness of the tomatoes mixed with the earthiness of the lentils and the drizzle of a bit of olive oil, brought out a richness in all of the ingredients. I’m excited to eat it again tomorrow for dinner!
UPDATE: This soup tastes even better the 2nd night! I added a bit of water and heated it up in the microwave then added a splash of olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon. YUM!!!
— most every Argentine who asks me my name