Thursday, May 29, 2008

Day 12

This week has gone by much faster than last week! I am currently uploading pictures, so if you see this within 40 minutes of me posting this, then they may not be up, but after that they should. Also posted a video from last weekend. Apparently I need to learn how to hold a video camera... You might get motion sickness watching some of the videos...hopefully not.

e-mail me if you do not know the password.

no, password needed ;)

I had a list of all the things I wanted to write about, but I forgot to bring it with me to the cyber cafe, so for now, I´ll just write what I remember. I apologize, I am quite scatterbrained, so this blog if really all over the place with my thoughts.

It is basically freezing here, yesterday was the first day to have snow. It snowed most of the day, but it did not stick to the ground, however, the mountains stood out this morning, but the snow had melted by midday. I should have taken a picture, but I forgot. It´s about 8* C here (46.5* F). It is much warmer today than it was yesterday, so it is quite a nice day.

I am really excited about this weekend. We are spending 2 days in the Andes mountains at a hotel which is in a national park. Apparently it has been snowing there for 2 days now. We are having to rent snow boots in order to take a hike in the national park (sorry can´t remember what it is called).
I must find a pair of gloves here, otherwise my hands may become a wee bit frigid...

Well I must go, I have several things I need to do before dark. And I have a quiz tomorrow I have to study for.


P.S. the picture above is the sunsetting this past Saturday,
silhouetting the Andes mountains. At the bottom of the picture is the
silhouette of a vineyard.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 9

Not that I am counting the days I've survived Mendoza or anything, but I just don't know what else to put. This past weekend was really awesome. Saturday we went to "el campo" (the country) to a true Argentinian ranch. The view was amazing, it was like looking at a postcard or more so, like being in one. I rode a horse for the first time in 10 years so that was pretty cool except for the fact that the horse walked half a slow as I do....
I took a TON of pictures on Saturday. I found a Cyber cafe nearby so I will post the pictures as soon as I have time to get there.

My school is going well, it's super intensive, so I sometimes have very little time. I must go now, apparently we're going to a party for a cousin's birthday...these "parties" are killing me.... I am so tired from the day already....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Day 5

Estoy bien. Argentina es fenomanal! Autobus pado, viaje a universidad es muy dificil hoy.

Enough Spanish, it´s hard for me enough...

Tuesday, we went on the city tour. I didn´t take my photo camera to school today so I wasn´t able to take any pictures. I still have been unable to get to a ¨ciber cafe¨so I haven´t been able to upload any photos or video. I did take my pocket video camera with me on the city tour so I will be able to add those later.

We visited numerous areas including Plaza de Independencia. Mendoza has a main plaza, then four satellite plazas. I also visited Plaza de San Martin and Plaza de España. You have to be very careful in the Plazas as it is very easy to get pick pocketed. We have already had two people who nearly got pick pocketed!

I called mom the other day and she said "you sound like a foreigner¨ and in a sense I did. Because after only a few days being here, I was constantly thinking in Spanish. So when I would be talking to here, I would be pausing because I has trying to figure out how to say something in Spanish then I would catch myse3lf and say it in English. However I still said many things in Spanish in talking to her. I am told after awhile you start dreaming in Spanish, but I haven´t remembered a dream yet, so I can´t say i have had one yet.

Classes are going well, so far the stuff we have been learning has been the easy stuff...or the stuff I already know, well maybe one thing I don´t to use the verbs "estar" & "Ser" There are a total of 4 people in my class. I am the only one from Baylor and the other 3 are from Hawaii (what a heck of a trip eh?). Also one girl in my class is doing the same as me, taking all four Spanish credits during the summer.

I think my 5 most used phrases are
  1. Sí (yes)
  2. no entiendo (i don´t understand)
  3. yo entiendo ( i do understand)
  4. ?Que? (What?)
  5. !Hola! (Hi!)
I will have to say my pronunciation has gotten better. The pronunciation here is a bit different here than it in in the states. Like the "ll"pronounced in the states sound like a "yu" sound here "dj" also "yo" sound like "djyo"

I have been getting up about 7:30 in the morning and I am in bed by midnight, so I am nearly on a regular schedule. During the day I am still searching for things to do, especially today. I got bored because of a bus strike so it make transportation very hard here. You can take a taxi, but they are more expensive and hard to find today because so many people are using them.

There is a car that picks up a group of us each morning and takes us to school because the bus is never on time (no schedule really, the just come so many times per day). The bus would normally take about 40 minutes of so to get to class, but the car takes less than 10 minutes, plus when it gets cold here, it will be much warmer. I take the bus home which is about a 30 minute trip and it only costs 1.4 pesos. (1 USD = 3.15 pesos). Everything here is relatively cheap. I purchased a cell phone for $46 USD yesterday to use here in mendoza. It is prepaid and only about $.20 USD per minute & $.04 USD per text message.

One last thing, vehicles DO NOT STOP for pedestrians! Unless the driver doesn´t want a hood ornament, you WILL be hit!. It´s like playing Frogger in first person!

I must go now, so till next time, my adventure continues...


Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 2

Today was my first day of school. I got my schedule and every day I start at 9am except Tuesdays which I start at 10am. I took the bus for the first time, which was interesting. The roads here aren´t exactly organized, meaning people just drive and ignore the rules here. I think that riding the bus or a taxi is the safest. They tend to have their own sort of communication. After running to the catch the bus I stepped on the stairs and he took off!. Here the bus leaves whether you are hanging out the door or not, it is up to you to let go or not :)
Today I missed my bus stop returning to ¨mi casa¨ and ended up walking 7 blocks back.
Tomorrow we have a group tour of the city. So I´ll have more to speak about later.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Day 1

Hola! I have arrived, at my house. It is very beautiful here. I have to learn Spanish very quickly otherwise I might be stranded in a lake without a paddle. My "mom" doesnt speak any english, however, the son speaks a little and the daughter is fluent. I hope that this is not going to be too hard on our "mom." Mum, dad, i will be calling you later. My large bag didn´t make it to the plane from santiago, chile to Mendoza, Argentina, because our flight was late in arriving in santiago. but it is supposed to be in Mendoza later today: The other 3 guys that are with us, didn´t recieve any of their luggage, so i suppose iam better off than they are....

By the way I am 2 hours ahead of Tx time.

I am going to try to get a hold of the others that are near to me and discuss tomarrow, I am suppose to take the bus tomarrow, but I am not too keen on taking it by myself :/ Apparently there is a guy down the street that is being hosted as well, he is from Hawaii, if I am right about who he is, then we is also missing his luggage :/

Also my "mom" she is self employed. She basically sells all types of accesories for dogs - leashes, toys, beds, etc.

There is a computer at the house but it is dial-up, so I won´t be able to upload anything from here, but I can send e'mail from here.

Sorry for the spelling mistakes, the keyboard here is very different.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Early Morning Goodnight

Headed to bed. My parental units & I got a hotel room in Houston near the airport since my flight is so early & to avoid traffic. So till my next entry, this is the last one I'll be typing in this country for ahwile...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hello World.

This is the place where I will be typing my journal entries here. I want to say that I will update this 2-3 times per week, but I am unsure if that will happen till I am there. It might be more, it might be less.

Here is an e-mail message I recently sent to everyone following me in my life:

Hello Everyone,

Here is my first Newsletter for this year: "The Life of Matt Sawyers." Numerous things have happened my life in the past 5 months. And one major thing about to happen in my life - studying abroad in Argentina. At this point I have yet to create an actual newsletter, but my website contains a lot of what I have been doing. Namely I wanted to write about my trip to Argentina.

I am leaving this Saturday (May 17th) out of Houston, then I have a 9hr layover in Miami (yuck!) then I fly to Santiago, Chile, then on to Mendoza, Argentina. I will be spending the next 3 months in Mendoza with a host family; I will have a mother, sister & a brother. My "brother" is 28 years old, and my "sister" is 25.

I will be taking a total of 14 credit hours (4 Spanish courses). Hopefully I will have some sort of working knowledge of Spanish by then... The first 6 weeks I will take a Spanish 1 & 2, then the last 6 weeks, I will take Spanish 3 & 4 (which are mainly literature classes).

Being a video/photo person I was a bit disgruntled when I knew I couldn't take my video camera. But I am going to take the risk and take my photo camera. I will post my pictures online here: , the password for the site is ****** . If you have an RSS reader such as RSSOwl or Firefox Sage plugin (recommended. If you don't have Firefox, shame on you...) you can click on the little icon to the left of the Copyright notice at the bottom of the page within the album to receive updates on when I update my photos (then click on your choice of feeds. I recommend the "featured" one).

I am also keeping a blog which I will update as often as possible (at least 2-3 times/wk). The blog is located at: also below the blog you will find that you can also subscribe to the blog using one of the feed readers I mentioned before.

And finally, I have decided to take a very compact video recorder with me. I will be able to upload the videos straight to the web with ease. You can visit the folder here: . Currently there are not any videos up, but once I start posting them, you will also have the ability to download them if you wish.

Happy Reading!

~Matt Sawyers

A Little About RSS & Atom Feeds

From Wikipedia: "Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blog entries, news headlines, and podcasts in a standardized format. An RSS document (which is called a "feed" or "web feed" or "channel") contains either a summary of content from an associated web site or the full text. RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with web sites in an automated manner that can be piped into special programs (Like RSSOwl) or filtered displays (Firefox plug in)." By clicking on an icon similar to this one: RSS feed icom. Atom feeds are just an alternative to RSS feeds. They are usually more compatible. To read more about RSOwl click here or the Firefox plug-in here.

Side Note: My New Year's Resolution

10K picture

My new year's resolution is to run 4 half-marathons this year (In no less than 10K sections). So far I have 2 down & 2 to go. I did the Disney Half in January & the Austin ATT Half in February. I have also did a 10K with my Dad on April 1st. I am planning on doing the San Antonio Rock & Roll Half in November. Click on the picture to be taken to see all my pictures from my running event. Again the password is: ***** .