Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Crazy Nights and Lazy Days

Small Victories:
  • Found Quaker square cereal. Finding any cereal that isn't frosted flakes or some random sugary version of kids cereals is quite a task here. Also, it reminds me of Rachel because this is her favorite cereal. Yeah, I know my ex-roommates that well. In fact, I am well aware that Abby would not have a problem with Frosted Flakes being everywhere, because she loves them. Roxy, on the other hand, would be more enthused about the fresh fruit and veggies stands here because she is not a huge cereal eater. --end of roommate tangent.
  • Tested out several food delivery places- sushi, Chinese, pizza, empanadas and ice cream. All of them were a huge success.
  • Went dancing at an all you can drink club.
  • Took part in the "Buy 1 kilo get a 1/2 kilo free" ice cream awesomeness again. I got the old favourites- Banana Split and Dulce de leche as well as some new flavours to try- Mint Chip and Almond Cream.
  • I have a pile of monedas (coins) saved up. This sounds odd but there is a freaking coin shortage here and you can only use coins on the buses so it can be a total pain in the ass to get places. Luckily, since I haven't been spending coins to get to San Isidro and back every day I have been using all my tricks to get coins as change and hoarding them like a granny.
So last week was fairly eventful. I have been adding new students at Profesores Nativos. I have started with 2 of them and I have 2 more that I should be starting with soon. Unfortunately, I wasn't really able to quit American Forum as I had planned. I sent my resignation email, I told them I couldn't afford the taxes but would be willing to finish out 2 weeks and pay them once. They approached me and said they like me and want me to stay so they are willing to pay me under the table as long as I stay with the 2 students I am with through December. F. I have always sucked at quitting jobs.

I like my students at American Forum, more or less. The 30 year old is a pretty bad student, but he is nice enough. I have been doing an intensive immersion program with a couple who are in town for a week and take classes 8 hours a day. I'm one of 5 teachers working the program. I like the couple and they are easy to work with. One of my Profesores Nativos students is a total creepster, though. I tutor at his apartment, which is a 38 story complex for ridiculously rich people. It has a pool, gym, several lounges, a tennis court and even a mini cinema that seats 20 people. (See photo for the view of the pool). I know all these things because the guy, Carlos, really feels the need to not only tell me about them, but take me on a tour of the facilities so I can be oh-so-impressed. Last night he not only tried to get me to stay for tea but also insisted we must play tennis at the tennis court because I mentioned I played tennis as a child. He also drives me home and felt the need to tell me he has the SUV and also a Mercedes Benz from the States. Ugh.

My Friday night sounds pretty uneventful but I actually thought it was pretty enjoyable. I was going to see a movie with Jenny but nothing good is out here and she was too tired to venture into the city. I took my laptop to a cafe nearby and got some "apple pie" (their version is not nearly as tasty) and a cafe con leche (basically a latte). It also came with some adorable little heart shaped cookies. I really enjoy that when you order a coffee or tea here, it often comes with some sort of unexpected surprise. Sometimes it is cookies, or an incredibly tiny glass of water (which is actually really nice since they charge for water here), a tiny glass of orange juice, mini toast, etc. It's adorable and I just love the surprise. I got a ton of work done on the site I am working on with Alex. I'm not really going to say much about that project, but I do really love working with Alex again (we worked together at Announce Media) and I am pretty excited about the work we are doing.

I made up for my tranquil Friday night with a crazy Saturday. Jorge came over for lunch and brought 2 random Germans I will never see again. One of them somehow knew Jorge's ex from the States and the other was just a friend. Anyways, we ordered Sushi and it was delicious. Jenny showed up later and we decided to get coffee and maybe a snack. We came upon this waffle and crepes place right by my apartment. Waffles basically don't exist here so I have been meaning to try this place. We both indulged in some insanely sweet treats. I got a waffle with bananas, dulce de leche, chocolate and a scoop of ice cream. Jenny got a crepe with tons of chocolate and dulce de leche, also with ice cream. We both got a Baileys Irish Cream frozen coffee. Super delicious.

Saturday night Jenny, Rosie and I ordered Chinese food and it wasn't bad. However, Chinese food doesn't automatically come with rice here - a fact we sadly forgot - so we ended up with several boxes of chicken in various sauces. It was still tasty. After dinner we met up with Jorge to see a local band he knows, Lenny's Wife and the Boys. They are all expats from different countries and they were pretty good. After 6 liters of beer between the 5 of us, Rosie, Jenny and I headed to a party. The party got canceled/moved so I called Joan and asked him where he was and we ended up meeting him at this club called Amerika. Once you paid to get in it was open bar and lots of dancing. It is a gay club so there were a lot of ridiculous, interesting and fun people. I only had to tell off a few gross dudes. It was a blast.

Jenny and Rosie crashed at my place because we got in around 6am. I made about 10 pieces of toast with various toppings before we fell asleep because all of us really wanted bread for some reason. Jenny and Rosie slept til 3. Our outdoor plans were ruined by rain so we proceeded to have the laziest day ever. We ordered pizza and empanadas and watched Mean Girls in my bed while we ate. After that, we popped in Aladdin. After Aladdin, we ordered ice cream and watched UP. They went home around 10 and we ended our super lazy day of food and movies. Excellent way to end a weekend.

Okay, wow, that was a lot. Life is good here. I promise, I'm happy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

El Dia del Amigo

Tuesday, July 20th was El Dia del Amigo (Friend's Day) in Argentina. Jenny and I unintentionally scheduled our wine and cheese night on that day and it worked out very nicely. After my Saturday of goodbyes I was really looking forward to a night in with a friend. Rosie joined us as well and our night changed from a wine & cheese movie night to a night of wine, cheese, fruit, chocolate and ignoring the movie entirely. We killed two bottles of wine and consumed a lot of cheese, chocolate and fruit. At 2am we said goodnight and made several weekend plans.

This weekend should be pretty awesome. My weekend starts today because I don't teach any classes on Friday morning and my family is out of town til the 2nd so I don't even work Sunday. Tonight I will hopefully be hanging out with Joan. We haven't finalized plans yet but I'm sure we'll get dinner or some drinks.

Jenny and I are once again going to attempt to play squash on Friday, we just keep failing. She lives kind of far out so it can be hard to schedule things just right.

Saturday Jorge is coming over with some random visitors who are in town. We are ordering sushi for lunch. There is this place called Sushi Pop that Jorge says is delicious and cheap. I love sushi and I am pumped about it coming right to my door. Saturday night Jenny, Rosie and I are going to a local band that Jorge knows. After that we might go to a party some of Rosie's friends are having. It should be an eventful night. Jenny and I might try this empanada place that is 2 doors away from my apartment before we go to the show. It looks cheap, I hope it is both cheap and delicious.

Sunday Jenny, Rosie and I are going to the San Telmo market. It is supposed to be huge and amazing, I cannot wait. I will be looking around for gifts for all my favourite people in the States! I definitely already have a Christmas list going and that is no joke. I have all of you in mind every time I'm walking past merchants on the streets.
Now for some more small victories:
  • Got another job! I just got hired yesterday at Profesores Nativos. I plan to quit American Forum at the end of July. PN is way better organized and better paying. Plus, there was this huge issue with taxes from AF, the way it worked out I would have to pay so much is taxes that it wouldn't even be worth the money I earned. PN is in cash, no taxes and she only schedules me with students close to my home or they come straight to my apartment. Awesome.
  • Found another deli that sells turkey. The other day the super market near me failed me and didn't have turkey at all. On the way home from landing my new job, I found a little place and bought some lunch meat for cheap.
  • Had a Lion King viewing via Skype. Cole and I really missed our Disney Sundays we shared in the Media Center. Yesterday, at 10am my time and 10pm his time in Korea we both logged onto Skype, counted down and pushed play at the same time. We watched the whole movie as if we were sittng next to each other like old times. It was awesome.
  • My mom got a Webcam/Mic. It took about 20 minutes of getting skype calls, hanging up, typing, yelling, etc, but we figured it out. My mom didn't really understand the difference between a camera and a microphone. She also typed a message to my skype account saying "I can't call you I don't have your number!". Sigh. Moms. Regardless, she more or less understands and I can contact her for free.
All right, I'm off to a meeting at American Forum. There is a big immersion course being taught by 5 different teachers next week. I plan to go to this meeting and teach my hours, but after that I'm done. I'm going to send my resignation email after the meeting because I don't want to deal with them trying to convince me to stay. I feel kind of bad but I'm not going to work just to give all my money away to taxes.

Here's some more photos of the wine and cheese night!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sick of Goodbyes

Sick of Goodbyes-Sparklehorse

Yesterday was such a rough day of goodbyes. Jorge sent me that song and I think it is pretty fitting.

So, the goodbyes actually began Friday night. Will and Issac were in town for a week. I met them through Jorge and we hung out a bunch while they were in town. They are from Texas and they made me not hate all people from Baylor University. We did a lot of drinking, talking and eating during their time here. On Friday we went out to an all you can eat Parrilla (grill) that includes a bottle of wine per person. We had to wait a long time to be seated, which is why we all look sad in this photo. Left to right: Issac, me, Joan (Sho-aan), and Will. Joan is Kadhir's host brother from 2 years ago, he's still here, thankfully.

After stuffing ourselves with food and wine we went out for more drinks. We stayed out til 6am. I shared a cab home with Issac and it was a bummer to have to end our conversation and realize we wouldn't be seeing each other again.

Saturday morning I woke up early (early considering I went to bed at 6am) to catch a train with Jorge to San Isidro to hang out with Amina on her last day. We went to the San Isidro market so Amina could get a trenza (braided thread thing) put in her hair. It was fun to just walk around and hang out. I am so bummed that Amina and I got along so well and now she's leaving. We had to say a rushed goodbye on the train back to her house and it made me even more nervous about saying goodbye to Kadhir.

Kadhir and I went to dinner at this amazing Armenian place. It was delicious. After that we just picked up some Quilmes Red Lager (his favourite) and watched Arrested Development at my place. This is why I will miss Kadhir so much. He's my friend from the US who knows me and enjoys watching Arrested Development for hours straight. His cab to the airport was supposed to come at 4am. He showed up at 3:30 and even though we were both nodding off, I was sad. We hugged and said our quick goodbyes. I watched his cab drive off and felt like this was what my whole life seems to be now, saying goodbye and never knowing when I'll see anyone again. Watching Kadhir leave was kind of like saying goodbye to all my friends in the US all over again.

I woke up on Sunday still feeling a little upset. Luckily, I was off to San Isidro again to meet up with Jenny. I walked outside and it was raining and gloomy. Seriously, Buenos Aires, that's the kind of day you have for me right now? I got to San Isidro late because the trains run slow on Sundays and I couldn't find Jenny. Her phone was dead so I had no idea what to do other than wander around in the rain hoping she had waited. I even called Rosie to get her to check if Jenny was online. Thankfully, Jenny had gone home to charge her phone and call me so eventually, we actually found each other. We went to a cafe and had lunch which also turned into delicious cappuchinos with cookies. It was so awesome to just sit and talk with her, it made me feel so much better about all the goodbyes. We hung out there for hours. I told her how much I missed people just coming over to watch TV or something and she agreed and we made plans to have a wine and cheese night at my place on Tuesday. We're going to watch a movie or something. I am excited.

I'm definitely still bummed about all the goodbyes. It just brought up a lot of the memories of saying goodbye to everyone back home and made me sad to be at the age where everything ends and everyone spreads out all over the world. I still had an excellent time hanging out with Amina, Kadhir, Will and Issac while I could!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Correo Argentina, la puta que te pariĆ³

It has been too long since my last update, I apologize. I've been pretty busy, which is great news of course. I'll try to break this into sections.
Au Pair Stuff
I started working as an au pair for a family with 3 kids: Ana (10), Jose/Pepe - he goes by both -(12), and Juan (15). Obviously, these kids are a little old for a nanny, which means I basically am more of a friend slash teacher. I hang out with them, speak English, try to force them to speak English. Most of my days involve teaching Ana or Jose how to bake something and every day involves me eating a lot of the delicious groceries that are too fancy for my budget. Today, Ana wanted to show me off to her friends so I came over early and jumped on the trampoline with them. Jose loves music, so I'm making him a mixed CD that will stay far away from "I gotta feeling". Jose loves that song yet, inexplicably, cannot remember the days of the week in English even when I sing that part of the song to him. Juan is reading 1984 for class, which I somehow eluded in high school so I'm looking for a copy so I can read it with him. Overall, the family is awesome. They are going on vacation for 2 weeks, though, so I will be bored and have to buy a lot more of my own groceries. Ana gave me several hugs today, which sounds like no big deal, but because everyone kisses on the cheek to say hello/goodbye, there is minimal hugging. I truly miss hugs, so Ana made my day.

American Forum
I work as a private English teacher that businesses hire to teach their employees. I don't have any classes, just 2 private students. I like one of them, a 24 year old from IBM. I basically just help him with business emails and phone calls. Adrian, on the other hand, is not so easy. He is 30, boring, and hates basically all the best classroom activities such as reading aloud, practicing conversations, and watching videos. He will be difficult to design lesson plans for. The company seems pretty unorganized and I don't get paid well, but it's something. There are also immersion weeks that involve students taking intensive classes all day for a week straight. I get to pick up shifts during those weeks. Luckily the 2nd week of my family's vacation there is an immersion student so I'll at least have a little extra work.

Correo Argentino
The mail system here makes no sense. I went through hell to get the packages I was sent. On Wednesday the 7th I got a notice saying I had missed 2 packages from my mom. I had zero time to go the next day and Friday was a national holiday. The notice said to go to the Pueyrredon office in the next 10 days. I went on Saturday and had to ask someone what the hell was going on with all the different lines. Once I figured it out, I waited an hour. I was pumped when I got to the window, ready for my packages, but instead I was handed another piece of paper and told I'd have to go to Retiro (a different part of town) to get them, but of course not til Monday because they were no closed.
So, Monday I go to Retiro, to what I believe is the only Retiro post office. I was outside when they opened, ready to go. Once I get to the window, she informs me there is another post office several blocks away and that is where I need to go. So, I walk for 20 minutes until I find it and in that 20 minutes 103 people had taken a number. I sat and waited. I realized I had forgotten my passport but I did have a photocopy of it and a drivers license. I assumed this would work. After over an hour and a half of waiting, I discovered I was wrong. I left with nothing.
Monday night, I came home and had another missed package. It also said to go to Pueyrredon. I figured I'd save myself the trouble and just go to Pueyrredon first then get all 3 packages at Retiro. I went on Tuesday in between jobs and, to my great surprise, was handed a package! It was from Abby and I hugged it so tight the entire way home. It was this awesome wine opener set and a funny card. It was awesome!
However, no matter how uplifting that experience was, it could not erase the pain of Retiro. Yesterday, Wednesday, I showed up at Retiro as it opened. This time 66 people were in front of me. I had my passport and I sat down, ready to wait. Waiting is exactly what I did, for a little over an hour. Once I got to the window, I was given some little stubs with numbers on them and told to (you guessed it) wait in the next room. In the next room there is one terrible speaker that crackles and squeaks every time some incomprehensible man gets on a microphone in the back and rattles about 20 6 digit numbers off in a row. No one could understand him. Eventually, a woman with normal dictation skills took over. I waited another hour waiting for them to call my numbers. Once I got there, the employee was, of course, fascinated by my last name. (For those of you who don't know, the president's last name is Kirchner- spelled exactly the same and not at all common. I cannot present my ID without getting asked "en serio? Kirchner?"). He asked me if I knew what was inside my packages, which was a useless question because he was getting out a knife to rip them open anyway. Once he taped them back up I put one in my suitcase I had with me and the other some nice guy helped me tie to the top of my suitcase. My suitcase then weighed well over 10 kilos (22 pounds). I had to drag said suitcase, running, to the train station to try and get to work on time, then walk 15 blocks with it to my family's house. It was worth it because there was peanut butter and, for some unknown reason, some airheads. I gave most of the airheads to Ana and Jose, who were obsessed with them.

Big City Life
Buenos Aires is such a weird, awesome city. It's the New York of South America, but with way nicer people. If you need directions, you can basically any anyone on the street. Not only will they stop to listen to you, they will give you detailed instructions, suggest buses and/or subway lines you can take. If they don't know, they will always direct you to someone who does. Bus drivers are also incredibly helpful. When a bus stops you can just walk up and ask if they are going where you need to go and the driver will gladly explain. It's a lovely thing for someone like me, who second guesses everything when it comes to directions. However, there were 2 terrible days last week that everything went wrong.

I have not been wholeheartedly upset since the day after I arrived. Of course, I have missed my friends and little things and had some sad moments, but overall, this move has shown to be the best decision I have ever made. It is for this reason I was so confused when, while waiting for my bus, I suddenly became overwhelmed with all the bad stuff that happened before I left, and was overcome with grief. I was standing alone in the cold, completely distraught, so distraught that I did not see my totally unreliable bus approaching. When I saw it, I started to flag him down (in Argentina buses only stop if you flag them down) but he didn't stop. Knowing that if I missed this bus, I'd be waiting for a very long time, I did not hesitate to start sprinting after it, waving my arms. I followed him for a couple blocks and lost him. I really had no choice but to walk back to the bus stop and wait for another hour.
This little ordeal began mt 2 day stretch of meeting all the big city douchebags I had avoided up until this point. Angry postal workers, unhelpful and unfriendly street people, and worst of all, incredibly rude bus drivers. The day after this happened was when I went to Retiro without my passport. Lots of angry, rude people! I was so rushed after the long wait I had to take a train to San Isidro (where I work, an hour ride outside of the city). The train is easy and I was right next to the station, so this should have been fine, but I had no idea how to get to my family's house from the station because I always go by bus. I called Jorge to look a bus up for me. I was so disoriented I didn't know which side of the road to stand on to catch the bus. Usually you can ask anyone around the area and they know, but of the 8-10 people I asked, no one could/would help me. So, I picked a side and waved down some buses to ask them. Again, this is done all the time so I was extra pissed when several drivers slammed their doors in my faces when I asked which direction they were going.

A visit from the US!
A week and a half ago I saw my friend Kadhir's status update said he was coming to Buenos Aires. I, of course, was incredibly excited. He studied abroad here a couple years ago and is just back for a vacation but I like to pretend he is my visitor. I had not seen Kadhir in a couple years and he was HERE in my city! Last Wednesday we went out for drinks and stayed out til about 4am even though I had to work at 8 and we have pretty much done that every night since. I can't help it, a friend from the US is here and I just want to soak it all up. He leaves on Saturday and I will go back semi-normal sleep schedules and be sad.

Basically, life here is still going really well. While I am sick of being portrayed as a "survivor" or some super independent girl who can make it through anything, I know that's who I am and it won't be changing. I'm proud and happy to be here, I just have to overlook some of the things that put me on this path in the first place. I'm getting really used to this place, it feels like home. I need some more work and I want to hang out with more locals, but I'm sure that will happen soon. Even though Kadhir and also my friend Amina (who has lived here for a couple years but is moving back to the States) are both leaving on Saturday, I still have plenty of my au pair friends who I love and of course Jorge, the most popular Colombian after Shakira, to keep me busy.

I know I have totally slacked on updates but I promise I'll keep up on this better. Please email me about your lives because I want to know about you too!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Some Bad News and Some Good News

The bad news...
Argentina is officially out of the World Cup.
Yesterday I got up early to get to a bar by 10am. I was decked out in my Argentina jersey and scarf, ready to cheer on my beloved team. I knew the game would not be an easy one to win, but I had no idea the team would completely crumble under pressure. I've been an Argentina fan for years and I have always been proud of them, win or lose, but yesterday was disgraceful. Last World Cup when they lost to Germany at this same level, I cried because Germany didn't deserve it. This time, however, I was just depressed because Germany really did deserve it. I got drunk by 1 and tried to forget about it, but what a sad day.

It's 4th of July
and once again, I am not in the States. I miss fireworks and the smell of BBQ even though I usually can't eat it.I hope everyone blows something up in my honor!

The good news...
I start 2 jobs tomorrow! I have a meeting with American Forum in the morning to get my teaching materials and talk with the coordinator of students. I start teaching on Tuesday. I have 2 students for 2 lessons a week each, so 4 hours total. Not much but it is a start. I also will sign my contract with my Au Pair family and have my first day working with them tomorrow. It's just a 3 month contract so the mom can see if she is okay with the live-out arrangement but I think it'll be okay. I'm still disapointed with the ages of the kids (10,12,15) and the distance (30-45 minutes by bus) but I'm hoping it will work out. Regardless, I'll have some income. I'm still networking and madly searching for online work to fill in the rest of my work week. 29 hours is not enough, I'm used to over 50.

I had a pretty good weekend, other than the devasting lost. I will now be cheering for Uruguay because they are like Argentina's little brother. I'd be cool with Spain winning too though, and that is much more likely. Anyone but Germany, please.

I saw Toy Story 3 in 3D on Friday. It was awesome. I also saw A-Team yesterday and it was way better than I thought, really entertaining. I also went to a proper British tea party yesterday hosted by the head of Au Pair Argentina. I had tea from a fancy cup and ate some biscuits. Weird! I mostly just hung out at the coloring table with this little 6 year old girl who showed up. I let her tell me what to draw and I wish I had taken a photo of the end result. It was an ocean with a purple octopus, orange fish, a crab, a black whale and 3 mermaids. In the ocean was also a pirate ship. Behind the ocean there were mountains, with a plane crashing into them and also an erupting volcano. It was a rainy day, but the sun still peaked out from behind the black clouds. That girl was awesome. She is exactly why I wanted younger kids.

That's all I've got for now. Here's a photo of Rosie, Jenny and I before the terrible loss.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Running, working, exploring

Sadly, I don't have any new photos to post but I do have some things to share. My friend Jorge and I like to use the term "Small Victories" for little things I figure out here. It is kind of cool being new to everything and be able to be excited over little things. So, here's some small victories:
  • Found a park that takes less than 10 minutes to run to so I can run somewhere, ran there the last 2 days. It seems to be an unofficial dog park, which means it is small, smelly and full of a loud chorus of very excited dogs. Also, small ones without leashes tend to follow me.
  • Found a better park that does not smell, slightly farther away but worth it, I'll try it out this weekend
  • Discovered there is a bread store right on my block- the bread is delicious, in case you were wondering
  • Successfully dropped off and picked up laundry- this auto service laundry thing is weird
  • Mastered the subway and train transfers
  • Got a certficado de domicilio- which is the first step in getting a residency permit, which would save me from having to visit Uruguay every 3 months- which is the weird loophole everyone uses to avoid having an expired visa
  • Bought turkey- this sounds odd but finding any lunch meat other than ham or salami is ridiculously hard here. I discovered that if I go to the deli and ask them specifically for it they will slice it for me.
  • Bought tape that actually works so all my photos stay on the wall
  • Finally bought some of the delicious candied nuts they make on the streets. Sounds dirty- in a couple of ways- but they are really good and cheap
  • Cooked a meal with 4 different foods involved in my tiny, ill-equipped kitchen
  • Walked all over the city and found all kinds of stuff I want to visit like the zoo, the Japanese garden, little benches perfect for reading and several ice cream places
I also had a BIG victory! I got a second job! Well, I guess technically it's my first job since I haven't starting my Au Pair work yet. I applied to American Forum, which is a company that holds private classes for businessmen/women who want to learn English. I applied on Monday, interviewed and got hired on Tuesday! I start next week on Tuesday, I'll have 2 students, I meet with them each separately twice a week. The pay isn't too much but it is something and it is great experience. I go in on Monday to pick up some teaching materials. I am nervous about teaching English, I have so much knowledge of Spanish, how can I explain our backwards language to someone who speaks one that makes sense?

News on my Au Pair work- I'm still waiting. I met the dad of the potential family today. I went to his office which is is downtown, but I was almost late because of course downtown is huge and I underestimated the walk from the closest subway station. I still avoid buses because they seem unreliable and confusing. Anyway, I wasn't late and he was much more relaxed than his wife. He liked me, he was especially excited when I mentioned I had an Audio Engineering degree and could download free programs to teach his oldest son. That audio degree comes in useful in the oddest situations. He told Juli (the family coordinator) and I that they would make a decision tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. Juli is pretty sure they love me, the only issue was that I won't live with them but she thinks the dad will convince his wife I'm worth it. I really hope so! If they say yes then I think I'd start early next week. Yay for working and yay for earning money!

I'm also in a selection process for an online writing tutor thing. Hopefully I'll get that too. I'm signed up on a couple article writing places too, like odesk.com. Oh money, how I miss you. Soon, we shall have a steady relationship again.

My mom sent me 2 big packages and I am impatiently awaiting them. I really hope they arrive okay. One of my old coworkers, Melanie, made these awesome address stickers for me to give to her so she would be able to send me stuff. Hopefully, that saved her some trouble and will enhance my chances of actually receiving them. There will be peanut butter! Yes!

Keep me updated on your lives too, guys, because I miss your faces, Skype me so I can see them again! Also, I am a big fan of long emails- keep them coming.