Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back in South America and have been.....

working in Brazil this past month for:

Went traveling with some other staff members of the project to:

Is heading here to stay with the Garbade family:

Hoping to have time to head to Patagonia....but will probably head back to Buenos Aires
to start up the school year, photography...and some new projects!

Stay tuned folks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

O Atlanta...I hear ya callin'....

Real quick here.

These past few months I have been working back in Buenos Aires and my sister came to visit for a whole month. How great to see this city with her and hear her observations of the culture.

After one of the best years of my life, in three hours I hop on a plane to.....the USA!

I will be in Atlanta, NYC, Charleston, and Chicago for the next few months.
Yes, I am coming back to South America.

Hit me up via email!

See you soon folks!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One Toe Still In Brazil....

This post is about two and half months late....hope you still enjoy.

After three weeks of working in Brazil and 8 days of traveling up the wondorous coast, I can say, that I mistakingly left a piece of my heart amongst the wonders of Brazil. We have all heard of Brazil, the South American country that pop culture would promote as having "the best beaches in the world", the exotic rainforest and of course, the best fruits. When you actually go to Brazil you witness a different level of preconception and reality. Before my travels to Brazil, I heard throughout the streets of Buenos Aires about this wondrous country that seems a world away in all aspects to Argentina. Brazil was a distant vision, a far-off land even though it rests right next to the South American country I live in, a false fairy-tale. Then, I got the opportunity to go.
For three weeks I worked with Concordia Language Villages teaching kids English in an English immersion camp. There were 11 counselors. Half from the States and half from Brazil.The camp was located in the mountains of Brazil with red dirt roads, green grass, and the nearest town requiring a two hour preparation time to figure out how to get there! What an interesting experience, to now live in South America then go and work for your own culture in a completely different world. Our daily schedule consisted of waking up at 7 and working activities with the kids until 10:30 at night. Yes, it is exhausting but so rewarding. All the counselors result in running off of pure energy from the kids. If we give them more, than they give us more and we can make it through the two weeks! Exhausting but obviously so rewarding to make these connections and see their English language progression.

ter saying goodbye to the kids and the staff of Hometown Brazil, I put on my backpack and headed a little north where the weather was warmer and the beaches were calling. After a four hour bus ride (which is nothing compared to what I am used to in this huge continent!) I arrived in beautiful Buzios. A small beach town on the coast of Brazil. When I arrived I found a hostel that seemed more like a hotel with amazing character. This hostel was right on the beach and I passed 8 days in Buzios meeting new people (altough I travel alone alot, I dont think there was one night I was alone this whole year), walking on the beach with new friends and travelers, cooking in the outside kitchen, running on the beach at night, and falling asleep to the waves of a South American turqoise ocean.

Amongst this, I also
met someone that held a heart that belonged to another. But he moved around me for 8 days in his daily manner. I watched as he connected to this beautiful part of the world that he was brought up in, laughed with him as we jumped in the water and he acted as if it was his first time in the ocean of his homeland, took notes as he taught me about natural remedies to cure someone when they are sick, connected to his actions as we cooked together, observed as he was open to everyone, took into consideration the confusion that I was causing him by being in each other intense presence when his heart is committed to someone else, and contemplated as he walked with a center of gravity that held a sensual flow. Things are all about timing and it was just a touch of something higher.....but you better believe....I won't forget Brazil.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Indo Para o BRASIL! Going to Brazil!

Tomorrow, I head off to Brazil for a whole month. I will be going to teach for a company
from the States se llama, Concordia Language Villages. They teach all around the world and happen to have a program in Brazil. A friend of mine knows the guy from L.A. who runs the program
and recommended me for the job. I have taught kids before but only for a few days at a time. This time I will be with them for two weeks and really get to know them. Very exciting.
After three weeks of working in the Brazilian countryside, I am going to travel for a week. First stop will be an historical beach town called Para Ty, followed by a swing through Rio de Janeiro, and quick hop up north to another beach. These past four month I have been living with a Brazilian and am so excited to see his culture first, fruits, beaches, teaching, new thoughts and ideas.....o and the best part....I am getting payed to do this. Crazy. Latin America continues to show it's magic.
Have a great July peeps.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Familia and Family in Buenos Aires

Well I do believe that it has been about seven months since I have arrived in Buenos Aires. Que raro!!! This has been the fastest year of my life and everyday continues to fly. Could it be being at the age of 27 as opposed to 22? When I was fresh out of college with the new realization that there is huge world, nobody is going to make a plan for me but my own ambition, no classes to lay-out my path, a desire to see all that I can, and all the choices that I personally have to make and was determined to decide on my own to make sure I was being true to myself. Not to mention the necessary life pauses that I was forced to take right after college in hopes of breaking through some intense obstacles. Well, at 27 I feel such a diffence in focus, calmness, optismism, motivation, and self-assurance. My heart has softened and I feel confident in my direction. Buenos Aires continues to inspire me and the knowledge that I am amongst the international traveling club, where the travels and adventurous souls are not the exception but rather the rule, has become more evident. However, all is done with purpose and the goal of constant growth and knowledge.

I have been so lucky with a great group of friends here that offer constant support, laughter, conversation and basically....a home away from home. This group consists of Ramiro from Cordoba who is an artist, musician, and sign-language interpreter for the deaf. Javier from Buenos Aires, whom has a house here in San Telmo Buenos Aires, where we constantly gather to cook, eat for a few hours, and converse. Katrina from the US who started a yoga studio here, Meghan from the US who is another constant inspiration to me. Our nights consist of going back and forth from Spanish to English, but depending on who else comes to dinner, is mostly in Spanish. It's wonderful. They have introduced me to a great deal of people here and we have built an internatioal fellowship.

Besides that main family group, the other friends I spend time with always consists of an international table and gatheirng. Always. There is never just one culture surrounding me. French, Peruivians, Colombians, Argentines, North Americans, English, Spanish, is a constant mix of cultures. This has become the norm to me and I love it.

Great news! My mom and Aunt just passed through Buenos Aires for a week and are now on their way up to Peru. How amazing to have my mother and aunt here! The week was a hectic array of social gatherings so mama could meet my friends, Tango shows, dinners, taking her to meet my students, and of course, eating good food! My mother is an amazing woman whose strength constantly amazes me. How lucky that I come from a traveling family. It's not hard to get them to come see me and I know this is so fortunate. It feels normal to travel for the Barnes family and as hard as it is to be away, my parents have shown so much pride for what I am doing. My mom loved my friends, students, and life here.....and now that she saw it face-to-face she told me she can go home happy and know that I am where I am supposed to be.

We had a wonderful visit and there were many realizations that I detected within myself. One being....I have grown up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Day and the Life

As I was looking at my "agenda" this past week, I was at how busy life has gotten here....and I love it all. Check it out....The typical BA life as an English teacher, Spanish student, and social butterfly....

Monday, May 11th

10:45- Meet a student, Max, at a cafe for class. Decide to go to a different cafe this past week to mix things up. He is an advanced student.

12:00-12:00- Walk about ten blocks to next class.
1230-200- Teach group class of three students. Beginner English speakers.

230-400- Come home, eat, catch up on emails and freelance writing.

500-600- Class with Patricia in another cafe.
615-645- Hop on bus to head back to San Telmo, my area of the city.

700-800- Teach Alberto. We do class at his house which is down the street from me. Very beginner English.
800-845- Run home to get ready.

900- Head to a formal dinner that my student Max invited me to.

1000pm- 200 am- Eat food and try to speak Spanish. (dinner is late here.....obviously)

Tuesday, 12th

900- Wake up and work on freelance writing project.

12-200-Teach group class downtown
230-330- Priavate class with Juan right down the street from previous class.
330- Juan tells me that his father wants to start taking English class, great....go and meet him to talk.....who is the office over. Argentines are very close to there families in all things that they do.

430- Private class in Palermo. A different area of the city.

700-830- Yoga. My closest friends here have a yoga studio down the street from where I live.

930-100 am- Going away dinner party for Sophie.

Wednesday May 13th

1030- 1200- Private class

100-230- Group class

Run errands plan for Alberto's class, this week is object pronouns ( I really am not that technical of a teacher but sometimes you have to be)

700-830- Private class.

900-1200- write then sleep early!

Thursday, May 14th

700 AM- Wake up. Walk around dazed while getting ready.
800-930- Teach

1000-1130 Spanish class (sometimes when I can....I get the classes for free because I teach english for this same institute)

1200-200- Teach group classes

230-330- Teach Juan.

Write in the free time for freelance porject.

700-815- Yoga

900-1200- Dinner party at Chandani's.

Friday, May 15th

800-930- Teach

1000-1200- Spanish class

1200-100- Teach group classes

100- 230- Teach group classes

400-500- Teach my favorite student Carlos, to end the week.....

who knows....



200-300 pm- Teach my youngest student who speaks three languages already.

400- Grocery shop in China town.


900- Go see Ramiro in his play that is opening this weekend!

Sunday (last sunday)

Woke up and went to a cafe.

Lunch with friends.

Walked around the fair that is every Sunday in my neighborhood with Jaoquin.

Dinner at Meghans.

Prepare for class on Monday.

Start the week with a smile.....

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Aprendiendo Spanish while teaching Ingles…a time me feel little-ita loca!!! Pero….me love it!

To learn another language while teaching your own native language can prove to be a rather challenging task….but as they say in Argentina, “vale la pena”. This literally means, “worth the sorrow” and it is simply implying, “it’s worth it!”. I don’t think there is a better way to give patience, enthusiasm, encouragement, focus, and understanding to my students, than being in the same position myself…learning another language!
There are some days where I may attend Spanish class early in the morning and then head down the street to one of my students offices and feel so out of it because my head is in Spanish and then I need to be an articulate teacher…wait, let me explain….

Here in Argentina I teach English to business men and women (yes ladies….Argentine business men ☺ in downtown Buenos Aires. My other students are private students that I have found by advertising myself as an English teacher on some websites down here that are very similar to Craigslist. I almost have a full schedule of private students and I absolutely love it. What an amazing cultural exchange. Teaching them English, while they tell me about Argentina. On top of that…people from Argentina have the best sense of humor, are so friendly, intelligent, and a pleasure to teach. One of my students, Ramiro, is a lawyer here and I think all we do in the hour and half of class that I teach…is laugh. Don’t worry, I am teaching them but definitely having a laugh in the process. Sometimes I feel bad for taking money at the end of class because it was so enjoyable. Ramiro and many other students I have are advanced English speakers but I also have others that hardly speak at all. Sometimes, I meet Alberto, a beginner speaker, at the end of my long day and have to concentrate so hard, focus, have patience and energy for him. But I can do that because he wants to learn so bad! He will tell me in Spanish that he doesn’t understand because in his language the sentences are constructed so different. In which I respond, “I know…but you must think of these two languages as exactly that…two separate languages”. I knew I would like teaching English, but I truly enjoy this more than a lot of things I have done. I want them to learn and am grateful they want me to teach them.

To go from one language to the next is challenging, and teaching English has of course, slowed down my Spanish language advancement….alot. But as I said before, it is worth it and I have time here in Argentina. My head consists of thoughts in Spanish and English, and then when I do speak English I find myself saying things like, “in this moment….”, for that is how you express “right now” in Spanish. It’s fascinating because you start interpreting things in a totally different way and seeing life in a different manner.

I have no idea why learning a language became a main focus so late in life (ok..I am still young, I know) what I mean is….I LOVE learning another language. For it is not only about the language, it is about another way of thinking and really diving into the culture. For the culture is the way they think, and they way the think is through their language. The idea that I will ever get there I mean REALLY get there and speak fluent Spanish is like a far off fog….but I can do it.

Here in Buenos Aires, in this International mecca, the majority of people I know from Europe, Argentina, and other parts of the world speak at LEAST two languages. It is amazing. I understand that English is the main language you need to know, but I strongly believe that the USA needs to pick up the emphases on learning a second language. I know my kids will be starting young…that is for sure.

Anyone that knows me is aware of my ancy and adventurous nature. In the sense that, when I feel like I am NOT learning or growing….well, I don’t like it.
Folks, when learning another language and teaching various people from another country….there is always something to learn and grow in. O, and I think it helps also that I live in a magical place such as Buenos Aires. My thoughts on this city and country are for another blog-post for I am about to meet a friend and speak some Spanish…..need to warm up that muscle.