I don’t want to go.


David Tennant’s regeneration is one of the most epic and heart wrenching farewells in the history of television. You should watch it.

Seconded only to, of course, that of Matt Smith.


Enough to make any grown person cry.

The bow tie….it was so cool…

BUT THEN there’s the phone call!


miss ya. 😥

(Low-key tearing up right now. Alright, pull it together.)

One day, I’ll go back and watch those for a third time. And then maybe I’ll actually start watching it again. But amazon just won the rights for a new LOTR series!?!?! I never actually read all of the Silmarillion, so I guess I better get started.


Well, here it is, friends.

We all knew this time would come.

I’ve got to leave soon. En este momento, it’s at month and 3 days.

What, John? That’s still quite a bit of time, considering.

But it’s not, friends. I’ve been on probably one of the longest, if not the longest, one-semester long study abroad program there is at my school. You went to Australia for 2 and a half months? HA. I went to Argentina for like 5 and a half.

(Just kidding, I’m not trying to say I’m better than anybody, just joking here. It’s perfectly safe to drink coffee.

Man, that joke’s a stretch, if you get that one…let’s have a chat sometime!)

(Y’all are gonna miss this, aren’t you? I’m gonna miss this.)

But seriously, the more people I talk to, the more times I hear it:

Cuánto tiempo? 5 meses? Ah, poquito!

As it turns out, almost half a year living in another country isn’t that much time at all, in the grand scheme of things. Half a year of anything isn’t that long, in the grand scheme of things. A lifetime really isn’t that long, in the grand scheme of things.

Life is a day that doesn’t last for looooong…

Can you tell it’s affecting me?

I’m in sort of a strange situation right now – being abroad, for me, has been sort of like transitioning to a whole other life. Like, I live here now. I get-a-get on da bus every morning, take the 8:15 into the city, and after class yo tomo mi mate every kinda way.

Globalization’s a funny thing. Sure, the world is definitely a whole lot smaller than it used to be (it’s still not flat though – you know there are people in the world that ardently believe so? I can’t even sometimes. Let’s just say I didn’t, uh, do the best in geography class, though, so I won’t complain too much.)

…but communication, I think, will always be a face-to-face type of thing. They say some fairly large percentage of communication is body language, after all. And though whatsapp comes thru every single time (high-key, whatsapp is life, bruh) there’s just something missing from it.

Not to mention, being a college student, I’ve got a lot of friends (#bragging) and there’s no way I’d ever be able to keep in touch with all of them while I’m here! (Hey, you, who’s reading this all like alright, John, I see how it is, I offered! Shout out to those of you who did, I won’t name names, you know who you are. You da real MVP.

(Except for you Drew. You’re terrible. Every single time dude. And then you unfriended me? Remember what I said. I’ll unlike the pineapple-apple video. And take your presidential sticker off my longboard.

well, I guess it’s technically your longboard…but I’ll still do it!)

(Again, just making fun, y’all supa chill. Man, shout out to all of you who keep putting up with all this nonsense.)

But it’s an interesting phenomenon, something I’ve never experienced before. At the beginning I felt a little skeptical about reverse culture shock – I mean, it’s my culture, so it should be somewhat familiar, at least – but now, I mean, I’ve got to transition lives again. What is it going to be like, not being able to walk around the corner to the kiosco and grab some galletitas, recharge the trusty red bus card, and maybe pick up some vino tinto to go with that block of cheese you’ve got in the fridge that nobody else wanted?

Ok, that’s a funny story I haven’t told here, but I want to at some point!

That’s another little detail I’ve discovered – I always seem to have some sort of plan for these blogs I write, but then they end up taking a different path, into the valleys and over the mountains, stumbling across countless little golden nuggets of comedy and John-slang here and there. And honestly, I think that’s been the best thing that could happen, because that way you get the real experience, the real meat of the situation – I’ve taken you through the mountains and the valleys, through the rainforests and the salt flats. There’s just not enough time to pack it all in, ya know? I mean, I know you all really wanted to see how Buenos Aires turned out, but – suspiro – so many other things have happened since then! I went to Chile!! Chile!!! I don’t even think I can write about that in this blog, because it’s a blog about Argentina!

And Sierra and Rebecca got married! MARRIED!!IMG_4821.JPGIMG_4825.JPG

In a centuries-old cathedral in Chile!



I…I just….I…what?

(Don’t worry, it’s not actually official.)

But hey, Chile was cool!

We went up the Sky tower, the tallest building in Latin America:


(You know, after years of Spanish classes, talking about history, society, and culture, I still am not sure what “Latin America” exactly means. Do you? In a serious side-note, it’s a huge thing that I do think about from time to time. It’s not simply geographic, it’s a mix of much history, society, and so many different groups of people living together, all having their own influences. And what do you mean when you say ‘America’? I mean, I’m in America, right now – South America. But I get the impression that, generally, when somebody says ‘America’, they refer to the United States of America. How many times do you hear the word ‘American’ in the politics of USA? Now, I realize I don’t have all the answers, but these are things you think about when being an international student abroad, especially one from the U.S.A, seeing another culture, but also noting the massive amount of US influence. Like the fact that, here, most of the clothing is imported. Hence, many people walk around with shirts that have quotes and sayings in English on them. I might think it strange to wear clothing with words on it that I don’t understand, but, they say English is an international language – and there’s a lot of truth to that. Do you begin to see the impact of influence in the world? I have, and I find it very interesting, I think about it often here. Anyways, that’s a short section that’s relevant, I hope it makes you think. Now, back to our program.)

Went to a winery and got a slick bottle of wine para llevar back to the states:


And, ah, tasted quite a few different wines while I was there, as well:

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(That wasn’t all me, I promise!!)

Took a trip to Valparaíso, and saw the Pacific ocean:



I tried a Pisco sour, a bastante fuerte Chile beverage that’s kind of like the fernet of Chile:


Took a teleférico  up a mountain:


And, of course, officiated a wedding. Or, rather, took the pictures. Rather desubicado, to say the least. But happy I was on the lista! I’ve played the piano for weddings, but never done the photography, so I’m quite honored.



Aren’t they so cute?

And he-hey, there you go, my entire Chile experience, just like that!! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? Bet you didn’t even see that commin’, did you? YA JUST GOT SOOOLD, BROTHA!!

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And, of course, a gorgeous view of the Andes from the plane, as the cherry on top.

Man, this is way too much fun. They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day of your life.

But what if you love your life? What would happen then?

Well, you could share it, and if you loved your neighbor as yourself, well, amigo mío, that just might start something pretty cool.




So anyways, where are we? Yes, unfortunately, I’m leaving soon. And I’ve got mixed feelings about it. But, you know, I’ve learned a few things along the way. That, when learning a language, you speak differently, but you don’t actually speak that much differently than how you speak in your native language – in which case, hay que animarse to learn all the little details, and it actually might depend more on what’s inside that determines what comes out on the outside. That, if you’ve got enough plata, you can just buy a plane ticket – and go somewhere. To Chile. Why not? And meet all 5 of the Scottish people in Latin America at the same time at the same hostel. And see beautiful things. And be electronico. (That’s a classic!) And get married.

Well, getting married may only be that simple in Vegas. But you won’t find an iglesia from the 16th century there.


So what are you gonna do, John? 

I’ll write a few more blogs. Maybe just one. Maybe more. I’m heading down south during the beginning of December, to Patagonia and more, and you’ll want to see how that is. But I might not have time to do it while I’m here.

So maybe you can tune in afterwards? I hinted I may keep this blog going después…


But anyways, once again, I didn’t really have a plan when I started this, but here we are. Unfortunately, I probably won’t finish talking about everything that went on in Buenos Aires. At least not now. But you gotta do things that are sustainable, sabés? I’ve gotta start making these bite-sized, because time is dwindling down, but that doesn’t mean they’re not enjoyable. I think this turned out okay. Through all the nonsense, there were some tesoritos here and there, some more pictures, some laughs, some glimpses of my life, some deep thoughts, some words of wisdom.

Not to mention a marriage. A marriage. Two of themAl mismo tiempo.

If you asked me what I thought it would be like before I left…


Well, friends, that’s about it for this one. Keep calm, don’t panic, and carry a towel. Don’t worry, I’m with you till the end of the line. And I’ll always wear bow ties.

Until next time. Chau!!


HA. More like madman with a blog, #amiright?



Muy…no, Re Buenos Aires

So re is another little word from here in Argentina that means really, or very. I already used the critically acclaimed pun Muy Buenos Aires for the flickr photo album, so I needed something different.

Cómo están ustedes? Todo bien?


You better be, because y’all ’bout to hear about the trip of the century, when I strolled on through the marvelously magnificent and magnificently marvelous pueblito of Buenos Aires. It’s quite an electrifying city, I’d say (mostly because I like that word electrifying) but also because you can’t help but feel this current racing around you at all times, even when you’re in the middle of the Plaza General San Martín.

Can you tell I enjoyed it?

So what was the first thing we did? Well, take a gander from the balcony of the hostel, of course! We didn’t expect to be on the TOP FLOOR of the building, with access to the roof and everything!

So that little building over there that’s parecido to some of the governmental buildings in Washington, D.C., USA, just happens to be the congress building. About a 5 minute walk in the opposite direction brings you to the main street with the Obelisk, Av. 9 de Julio, which is about as downtown Buenos Aires as you can get, and another 10 minutes or so to the Casa Rosada, the main office building of the president.

The whole time we was there, I couldn’t really get over the fact that I was eating cereal (man, I had missed my Cornflakes so much. Guys, Cornflakes is the best cereal. Close runners-up include Crispix, Life, and Corn Chex. (This blog not sponsored by Kelloggs, General Mills or Quaker.) And that’s the correct answer, so just accept it and don’t argue, ok?)

…eating cereal and kicking my feet up on the top of a building in the middle of Buenos Aires, looking at the wonderful architecture around me, all for about $15 a night. Hostels, bro. They’re the way to go!img_3175_37677013701_o.jpg

¡Mirá esa vista!

To top off such an amazing entrance, apparently there’s this thing in Buenos Aires (there’s a lot of things there, but also a lot of things like this thing) where they have concerts in the street at least once a month or so. Wandering around the streets for the first time just to start getting a taste of the city, we happened upon one of them, and it was awesome!


“Estrellas en tu barrio.” (Stars in your neighborhood)

After some absolutely beautiful romantic songs sang by several different people, the main act, Lali Esposito, came on. (This blog not sponsored by Estrellas en tu barrio or Lali either. Jeez, just look at all the free advertising I’m giving, I should really look into those)

But the best part was this guy’s sweet tie:


See that piano keyboard? Deluxe. And those glasses? Swanky. And that dance he’s got goin on? Groovy. I wanna be that guy some day.

Anyways, perhaps the cherry on top (or rather, the olive, as they certainly like to put green olives on their pizza here. One privilege I found out I enjoyed my entire life quite without realizing it was eating olives with the pit in the middle cut out. Not that I eat many olives, they’re kinda strange, you know? Imagine me the first time I tried some, biting into a suuuper salty olive and discovering this fact. One of the more peculiar experiences I’ve had here)

…the cherry on top was, of course, when we left from the concert to go to a (probably) famous (I’m-not-really-certain-but-we’ll-say-it-ispizza place called Güerrin, with some bomb pizza, lots of cool history hung up all over the walls, and this bean-patty-thing that is apparently popular to put on pizza. You can see it below, it’s the yellow square thing that’s on the pizza that’s in probably (definitely) one of my favorite pictures of myself I have. Reppin’ the Broncos, a cheeky smile, slicing a little snippet of dough I’m about to gobble up – truly a masterpiece.


All brought to you by the marvelous Krissandra!

Again, not sponsored by Coca-Cola. Or the Denver Broncos. (They’re kinda not doing well right now, are they? Who even is the quarterback now? Remember when it was Peyton Manning? Remember when it was Tim Tebow? Man, those were the days. But hey, Argentina is going to Russia for the mundial of fútbol in 2018! Yeeeaahhh! Take that, Erick! #Messi)

Next day, we decided to see some of the classic sights around the city.


I mean, I could continue, but escuchAme, chicos. It’s Sunday, and I wrote a gigante blog last Sunday. Just a week ago! That’s like a record for me! Man John, you’ve really changed. Slackin’ off for like a month, and now you’ve written TWO blogs in ONE WEEK??

Alright, I’m exaggerating this a little bit. I’m going even more off the deep end, I think I might narrate some things a little out of order, and even in shorter blogs (due to my, ehm, somewhat calm speed at writing blogs) because a whole lot of other things have happened in the time since Buenos Aires. And y’all don’t want to miss those, do you? Of course not.

And it helps build the anticipation.

That makes sense, John. Cómo vos querés!

I knew you’d understand, loyal readers.

You have my heart, all of you.

See you next time! Nos vemos!



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Mountains, Gandalf! And Halloween!

Do you ever have random times where you think, man, there’s hundreds of things that I could be doing right now, things I need to do, things I want to do, things to study, things to read, things to think about and things to practice, things to reminisce about and things to look forward to, things to argue about and things to laugh about, questions to ask and answers to question, blogs to write and coffee to drink? (Wow, that’s one of the most hipster-millenial-trendy-2017 things I’ve ever said – look at me, I’m literally typing this blog at a café drinking coffee. Who am I?) But which one of those things is most important? Which one should I be doing at any given moment? Should I organize them into a list and check them off one by one, day by day? Or should I just work diligently on whatever I am “feeling” at the moment? Wait, should I actually be led by my feelings, or should I do what logically makes sense?

Does this make sense? #deepthoughtswithJohn #bringinitback

Hola amigos míos. Que siempre sigan tus sueños y derroten tus pruebas.

What inspired this train of thinking? Well, friends, it’s been another short while. I like how I made such a big deal about being late last time, and then I woke up one day and it was October 26 and the last blog I wrote was from October 4. The fourth!! It just wasn’t with me!



But hey, I’m only supposed to write two blogs a month, so we’re doing alrighty-tighty-mango-mighty on my quota.

Truth is, time flies when you’re living abroad, and sometimes hay que aprovechar. This is my very roundabout way of excusing my long period of time between blogs, because I’m just havin’ so much fun over here!!

Lol, not really. I mean, yes, of course I’m having a mighty-fine-mango-lime kinda time, but this experience has challenged me a lot. We don’t always choose the trials we go through in life, but we do have control over our reactions to them, and that will affect the kind of person we are on the other side. Because nobody is going to get out of this life alive, and certainly nobody is going to be the same through all of it. And when you come to a circumstance where you would really rather go right, but the only way forward is left, on a path your feet don’t know so well with things you haven’t seen before and questions you’ve never asked before, about yourself and about the situation, it’s going to force you to climb up that mountain that you always looked at from a distance and thought, “hmm, that looks like a cool mountain, with an awesome view, and maybe even a little treasure chest with some pirate doubloons buried there, but it looks windy and rainy and not fun.”

So what’s my experience with this? Well, friends, living in another country with a different language presents its challenges sometimes. Here in Argentina, sometimes it’s a whole lot easier to just ask some random person on the street for directions, because the place you’re looking for might not even be in google maps – not the first time I’ve really thought about how easy we have it back in the U.S. But wait, you wonder. I have to do it in Spanish, and I don’t speak that great, and the person is going to find that out pretty quickly, and what’ll they think? Yeah, I’ve noticed that there’s lots of things like this that I prefer to do on my own. There’s a reason why I don’t ask for help very often, not because I don’t need it, but because that means I don’t have to have *potentially* awkward encounters with people, as in the above example. But you know, though it might be a little cliché, I’m realizing that there are so many times when I have the opportunity to do something, to make a decision, but I don’t do it, because I don’t have a plan for going down that right-hand path, for climbing that wonderfully scary mountain.

I love even making connections to Spanish language with things like this too (wait, John, those seem like two somewhat unrelated things!) But (crash course on grammar if you don’t know already) there’s this thing in Spanish called the subjunctive, a separate tense, that is used generally for concepts that don’t exist. We’ve got it in English, but there’s very few times were we actually use different words, which means it’s almost unnoticeable. But in Spanish, every verb has a whole different set of forms for the subjunctive, meaning one has to know them and use them in the correct situations.

The point I’m trying to get at is that whenever you hope for something, that something hasn’t come to pass yet, and may or may not happen. Espero que tengas un buen día. You haven’t even had your day yet, much less a good or a bad one! If we had tickets to the concert, we could see the band, but that situation doesn’t exist because, well, my dear Ronald Thomas, we don’t have tickets. You waited too long to buy the twentyonepilots tickets, and they sold out within an hour, and NOW WE CAN’T GO TO THE CONCERT A-ARON!!!36973ee92bad4a23cb01f0f4fb3afa46.jpg

(I’m literally giving a grammar lesson to make a  point, so I knew I had to put a joke in there somewhere so people don’t fall asleep)

BUT ANYWAYS, how many times have I, and maybe you, not done things, not asked questions, not taken that path, because of a hypothetical situation that doesn’t even exist?

What shall we say now? That we should climb every single mountain we see everyday, braving the wind and the storm and never resting for a second? BY NO MEANS!!



(I mean, that kinda worked out pretty well for the Yes-man (a movie about a guy that just said yes to everything), so it’s not entirely a terrible idea, but there’s a balance to everything)

So where am I going with this? I think being abroad is unique sometimes in this aspect, because there’s definitely going to be things like this to challenge you, hills to climb that you can’t really refuse, but there’s also a lot of mountains that you can pass by and never even look at, knowing that they’re there but not acknowledging their presence. And as the time is getting near (I’ve only got about a month and half left here) I’ve thought about these things a lot, and whether I’m taking advantage of what I have and pushing myself. But John, asking for directions really isn’t that big of a deal, you say. Man up and deal with it. But is that really you saying that, dear reader? Or is that just what I think everybody else is going to think when I talk about the challenges I have?

Here’s a little piece of wisdom for free: Lo que es más personal, es más universal. That which is most personal, is most universal. I actually got that from somebody else, but he gave it to me for free so I’m just paying it forward. Gotta spread the wisdom around!

And so the decision really lies with ourselves sometimes, because, in such a time like abroad, you can easily just go through the motions and not do anything extraordinary, but extraordinary things usually take extraordinary actions. Though there are many mountains to climb, we are more alike, my friend, than we are unalike, and many people have the same mountains to climb. (This sounds straight out of some sort of book about success or something, lol)

SO, if all that wasn’t clear (which is very possible, I feel like I just started running through a forest in my mind, grabbing all kinds of wild fruit and vegetables and mushrooms and now I’ve just made a very confusing plate of all of it. Like, why would you ever eat vinegar chips with Nutella? John, that’s so strange.


SO, if all that wasn’t clear, the short version is: I’ve had some interesting experiences here, had to ask directions a few times, and resorted to just looking through google maps a few times, but I’ve made progress finding out my actual goals in life, and now I’m figuring out how to actually follow through with them. Of course, things change, you live and learn, but you really determine more than you might think sometimes.

(I realize this might be somewhat vague, but there’s so many things I can’t realistically write on a blog in the time I have, so if you have any questions, feel free to drop a brotha a line)

Man, I really hope you guys like this uniquely woven-together mish-mash of words and thoughts and questions and stories and dumb jokes. Yeah, I know, the fact that other people like it is in the subjunctive tense (I’ve done Spanish for like 7 years now, don’t be tryna question my knowledge BRUH) but you know, I’ve done my best. The purpose of this blog is to describe how my experience here is, specifically, so y’all just got served a fresh plate. And maybe people like it, maybe some think it’s strange, but even if you climb a mountain and there’s no pot of gold, at least there’s a spectacular view. And I’ll appreciate any view that I see.

Lol WAIT!! I spent so much time on this, that I haven’t actually gotten to the fun stuff!! What about my trip to Buenos Aires? And another trip to the north, version 2.0, with 100% more Norman the Doorman? 😦

Well, all I can promise is that I’ll try to write some shorter blogs and actually get to that stuff during this week.



Geez, he’s really on my case right now for some reason.

But for now, I’ll leave you with some pics of the Halloween party!! So there are several international groups here in Córdoba, all hosting all kinds of events for all kinds of people. If you’ve read before I’m sure you’re aware of English and Mate, a group that I’ve frequented some, and there’s also Speak Easy and Intercambio Córdoba, groups that try to have activities for foreigners and locals alike. And yesterday (wow, I’m actually writing about something in a timely manner for once) a bunch of them combined and had a giant Halloween party at a boliche here. And friends, it was sweet.


The gang. And a creepy stick figure guy with claws!


So I went as an evil stick figure, an idea I got from a buzzfeed article after searching “cheap costume ideas” on google (I’m absolutely hopeless) and was able to make a reality with $4 worth of electrical tape, paper plates, and paper origami claws, that actually got quite a few looks and muy bueno‘s.

It’s not everyday that you get to go to a giant costume party surrounded by people from Argentina, Germany, Mexico, and Haiti and hear a band playing classic U.S. and UK rock songs with an Australian singer.

Can’t get much better than that, can it? I bet you’re so jealous.

Well, that’s about all for now folks, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this lemony-limy-mango-durango (not much rhymes with mango, it turns out) adventure with yours truly. Stay tuned for more! Peace.


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Exploring Iguazú (not iguana, not kangaroo, Iguazú)

Hace un rato.


But here I am.

Les extrañé.


And there you are.

Tengo cuentos buenos.


The space between us is not so far.


Ya boy is back, bringin’ you the remix, and…PARADISE!!

Just look at that view!! Can you even believe your eyes??

Oh, so, first thing I did on my week off was go to Puerto Iguazú, Misiones Province. After the roughly 22 hours in bus – 22 hours – I emerged into the humid jungle of…Jurassic Park!! So yeah, the bus ride was a little eh. I listened to like 3 hours of podcasts, realized my phone was pretty low on battery, read for a while, slept a while in the jankiest bus seat ever, and woke up in dinosaur land. Not even kidding you, it felt a lot like Jurassic park there, especially in the actual park itself. Jungle-themed buildings surrounded by acres and acres of vegetation…you just know that velociraptor is waiting for you nearby.

It’s actually the closest I think I’ve ever been to the equator, fun fact (like actually there walking around) You might not think that’s cool, but I thought it was cool. (Except the equator is hot so, well, that was a bad pun, sorry.) It’s the little things in life, my friend.


I’m standing in Argentina, there on the left is Paraguay, and on the right is Brazil.

So the first thing I did was go to the uppermost point that I could. On the map, you’ll see the very northeast part of the country that looks like a sort of land-peninsula, and this was at the very edge of it, at the intersection of the three countries, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. It was almost like being at four corners in the states, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet, except much more beautiful (I’ve never actually been to four corners, so I can’t really judge, but I’m willing to go out on a limb with this one)

Being more of an adventurer than most, I decided to take the plunge into the water and swim across to each side. You’ve gotta do these things when you have the chance, right?

So here’s me in Brasil…


And here’s me in Uruguay.


…not convinced?

Would you believe 30 officers?

If you never watched that 60’s tv show Get Smart, that won’t make any sense.

Yeah, I didn’t actually go to the other sides, but that would’ve been awesome. There’s the small issue of I-have-no-idea-what-documents-I-have-to-have-in-order-to-go-to-Brazil-or-Paraguay, so I decided it was fine just hangin out in la patria. Besides, the falls from the Argentine side are better. It’s said that Argentina provides the falls, and Brazil provides the view. Even Erick agreed.36625165693_532688f2af_o.jpg

And here he is! So I met Erick at the hostel I was staying at, and since we were both going to the falls the next day, he was like, “hey mane, you tryna check out aladat wada? Ya boy is too, let’s grab a media-luna and skeddadle on over there together.” And I was like, “Yeee mane, I’m tryna see aladat wada, let’s jump in the Cadillac and put some miles on it, and be all like, ‘whooaaa mane’ at them drops o’ wada!” And he was like, “Oak nuggins brotha!!” And thus our friendship began.37437140675_158790f9e7_o.jpg

So we went through the whole park together, checkin it on out. It was really fun to have somebody to go with, and especially somebody new. Erick is from Peru, and MAN, was it a thousand times easier to understand him than these Cordobeses. He speaks slower and with more clarity, and its moments like those that I realize that Argentina really does a hard accent to understand sometimes, and that I’m not that bad at Spanish as I thought I was. I love how easy it is to meet people from all over the world in places like this, and making friends with them as well.

To add a little side note, it’s been a little interesting thinking about the whole language thing recently. (I kinda have to a lot) But in such a place as Córdoba, Argentina, with 7 other students from the US in your group, it can be challenging trying to be a part of a place that’s not like where you’re from. I’m sure you can relate, that going to any other city in the country that you’re from isn’t really that big of an ordeal. Personally, if I went to New York, it’d definitely be an experience, the life, the people, the atmosphere, even if they live and speak a little differently over there in New Yawwwk. (maybe slightly exaggerated on that one)

But while some days are great, you go about your routine and everything is fine, other days can force thoughts and questions into your mind – man, this speaking is still pretty hard. Am I actually getting any better? And I didn’t understand that person at all. I thought I was actually getting somewhere?! Has all my work not payed off as much as I thought, should I be studying grammar and vocab 4 hours every day, beating it into my head? How do you actually learn a language? Like….how?

And the more foundational questions: Do I like Spanish? Do I want to keep learning it? What am I going to use it for when I return? Will my level be sufficient for those things? What was my original motivation for coming here? Is it okay to not study it anymore if I can comfortably converse with most people around me? 

And more like them. But there are principles of life that you have to remember, even if they don’t feel true in the moment. There’s a common idea of 80%-20% that apparently shows up in lots of different places in life (go look it up, it’s one of those interesting formulas that gives a little clue into how the world works, kinda like a golden-ratio sort of thing) and it factors into things like this; if you want to get better at chess, for example, you should study 20% of the time, and use the 80% practicing, practicing, practicing (Yes, rather than watch SNL or Game of Thrones, I watch Blitz and Three-check chess tournaments on YouTube. They’re addicting, okay?)

And I think that probably goes with language, as well. Spend 20% of the time learning, studying grammar and all that, and the rest just practicing – and how do you practice a language, you speak it, and hear it! And you can learn grammar and stuff while you’re out living it!! How simple is that? The trick is, it takes courage, the ability to make mistakes, and swallowing your pride sometimes (a lot of times.) It goes along with another principle, that of the seed, and the process. Many things in life just don’t happen right away, they take time. You’ve gotta plant the seed, and there’s first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. Even when it doesn’t look like things are different, you gotta trust the process.

“Have a little faith, baby!” oddball.jpg

Man, that’s a great movie.

Anyway, yeah, these things run through my mind sometimes. But thinking like this is how I understand what things really matter in life, and what things don’t, and remind me of what I really want to do and which direction I’m going.

So that’s the end of my rabbit whole for this article. I promise I’ll get to the fun part now. You know I don’t ever really plan what I write? (Is it obvious?) Even for school, I always just start writing, pull ideas out of my mind and throw them on the table and mold it into the masterpiece it always is.


ALRIGHT!! Look at that, isn’t it amazing? So they say that one day isn’t enough for Iguazú, but it’s actually a very well made park with all kinds of bridges stretching right across the water.36586459074_00907e8a41_o.jpg

I also went during the end of the winter season, so it wasn’t as hot as it normally would be, hence the cloudy day. The pics are a bit dark, but it was still amazing to see, and I have a certain affinity for cloudy days, which you might know about me by now.


Also, the Misiones province is the one that has the mosquitos that can transmit yellow fever, so that was an added benefit because I didn’t see any, and luckily didn’t get bit and die (don’t worry, I got my shots before I came!)

But I really don’t know what to say. Erick was like, “Qué te pasa, muchacho?” at one time, because I was just staring down into the abyss. It’s absolutely incredible, unbelievably gorgeous. I’m not exaggerating when I say paradise, because that’s what it makes me thing of. Millions of gallons of water tumbling over steep cliffs, constant roaring, and beautiful green tropical forest por todos lados…It’s breathtaking.


There were also these funny little critters running all around the place. I can’t remember the name, but they look like anteaters crossed with raccoons. They’re almost like the dogs hanging out all around the cities, scampering around trying to get at your empanada.




Erick and I got super drench in this picture, you can practically see the mist falling on us. He was like, “Mane, you gotta break out dem shades, we’ll be supa legit!!” And I was like, “Daaaaang mane, that’s a buena idea if I ever heard one, saquemos una foto!!”

We’re the coolest dudes ever.


An unforgettable voyage, to be sure. I’m more than glad that I went, and am anticipating when I get to see it all again – for surely there will be a next time. Maybe a long time from now, but I’m patient.

Don’t forget to check out all the pictures!! I take lots, and sometimes a lot of them have a story attached, or require a little more context to be fully understood. Shoot me a message if you wanna here the details on any of them, and I’d be more than willing to offer you a private, personal and professional description of the funny story or just the reason why I thought it worth it to take the picture.

Or I can just write a blog about it. That’s what I’m here for! Let me know.

Here’s the link:


And yeah, they’re kind dark, at some point I’ll throw them in photoshop and purdy-em-all-up. But those are only for the VIPS, the ones that keep reading even after all this is over. (WHAT? John, are you going to keep blogging after you study abroad? What in the world are you gonna blog about?)

Why are you looking at me? I haven’t planned that far.


Indy knew what was up.

Miscellaneous things: (hey did you know that I can spell miscellaneous without looking it up or using auto-correct? I’m pretty proud of it.) I changed my Flickr page a bit, all the links for all my pictures should be in the ABOUT page of this blog, so jump on over there if y’all tryna look at them.

I also edited my about page and the contact page, and seriously, it’s hard to encapsulate everything that’s going on in just this one blog, so if y’all got any questions or just wanna tell me about how you fell down the stairs the other day and it was hilarious, I’m all ears.

Thbhebhebhth uh that’s all folks! Tune in next week on John’s Odyssey Adventure in Argentina, dónde pueden observar my travels through the daring, the bold, the monstrous, the tragically beautiful…..BUENOS AIRES!!!

Or some might say, MUY Buenos Aires.

Thanks for readin bruhs. Chau!



voronwë, estel, melmë










So this week on Obscure Music with John, I’ve something actually pretty nice to show you! Remember this?

“Bruhs, so I actually have some cool music to show this week. If y’all don’t know, I’m a HUGE Yann Tiersen fan, I’ve listened to”

Let’s finish that thought. Por fin.

…a playlist of his like HUNDREDS of times. Short funny story: I found a youtube video with his best music, listened to it about a thousand times, until somebody TOOK IT OFF YOUTUBE!!! A TRAVESTY!!! THE HUMANITY!!! So I’ve reconstructed it, reimagined it, rescued and restored it to most of it’s former glory on a spotify playlist. It’ll never be the same 😦 but at least it’s something.

ANYWAYS, I found this other guy (I don’t even remember how) that has written piano music, citing influence from good ol’ Yann the Mann (That’s no joke what my Spotify playlist is called. Aren’t I the best?) and he’s got some pretty baller ballades, I took a gander and liked very much what I heard. And, it’s not super hard metal or anything like that!! It’s nice, peaceful, easy listening music.

So go check him out: Jacco Wynia (http://www.jaccowynia.com/)


“Bruhs, so I actually have some cool music to show this week. If y’all don’t know, I’m a HUGE Yann Tiersen fan, I’ve listened to”

So, that’s part of the blog that I started, like, a couple weeks ago, and then never finished. It’s a good start though, right? (Lol, I started writing my now essential music section first, because that’s more important than, you know, my whole study abroad experience. Sarcasm.) And I thought that, since last week was the one we had off from school, I would send out a quick note about it and try to update stuff while I was there.

But I didn’t do any of that. NONE.

I’m sorry, I was just so excited, and these take a long time to write…*sigh* yeah, I know.

BUT!! Now you, dear reader, who has been waiting so patiently for the next scrumdiddliumllios blog (Read those double l’s with an Argentine accent, and it’ll make sense) can enjoy the fruits of my labor and the reward after so much time waiting – hundreds of pictures and videos, with some funny stories and awesome experiences from the excellent places I visited during that time, namely, Iguazú and Buenos Aires. Ready to start?!

Well, you probably are, but I’m not – I’m the one that has to write the blog, okay?

What I’m trying to say, and do, is that I need some time to write this next blog, and wet your appetite just a little bit so that you’ll come back when it’s done to read it (o sea, I’m stalling just a little). You don’t want to miss out, though, do you? That’s right, I didn’t think so.

So just sit back, relax. If this is the first blog of mine you’ve read, maybe go back and check the others out if you don’t really know what’s going on right now, and…


Pizza! Doesn’t that look delicious? Well, not really, but let me tell you, it tasted amazing. And there’s more to come 😉

Be back soon. Don’t go away!

_ _ +


Al azar, miscellaneous, detalles…condoritos…and comida…

Look at that, friends. Just gaze upon that beauty. That’s pretty much what I have for breakfast every morning. Every morning.

You just wish you had it.

Queso, Membrillo jam (that’s something new), some bomb.com coffee – it’s got a health amount of sweetener in it, but hey, that’s the only way I can stand it – and some toast or criollitos.

And that’s all you need in life.

Well, some people say all you need is love, which I can’t argue that strongly against, but then again, we all get hungry. Thirsty work, this blog business.

So this is just going to be a random post with a few new things and some more pictures and some other little details. Spoiler, a large part might be food based.


(Talks about food and then shows a picture of a museum. Funny transition #4768)

I went to some museums the other day! It was neat, though it’s definitely one of those places that I walk through and think, “Man, I’m just not sophisticated enough to be able to understand what’s going on here.” I appreciate the massive amount of museums and art exhibits and everything that are everywhere, it seems, in Argentina, where I can wander around and gaze with blissful ignorance at anything that catches my eye (and snap a picture, in the classic tourist fashion.) Nearly every town I read about in my handy-dandy Argentina guidebook (I know, I’m just as bad as any tourist, but I’m a student, okay, it’s different) has at least a couple, along with the iglesia and plaza San Martín that are essential for any Argentine town or city. It’s interesting, I was thinking earlier that, even though Argentina officially gained independence after the U.S., there’s actually a lot of historical roots that go way further back. Likewise with the U.S. in it’s own respect, but you don’t really walk down main street of Grand Junction or 16th street in Denver, CO and see statues of George Washington and Abe Lincoln all over. Me alegro que (subjunctive alert! Oh wait, English isn’t super about that whole thing. Nevermind) there is a significant presence of history and heritage everywhere I go, does wonders for learning.

I did find some of the photos of mountains that they had pretty intriguing.


Most of them are free on Wednesdays, so me being the frugal studentito that I am, I just had to go when they were gratis. Besides, I had like 5 hours in between classes, I thought I’d take advantage of it.

print(‘-‘ * 40) (That’s right, I’m layin’ down some pretty sophisticated Python right here.)


Classes? You might be wondering. Yep! We started classes this (last) [two] week [(s) ago]! (Lol, I managed to make that really confusing to read – definitely started this blog a long time ago and am just now picking it back up, when I started it was this week, but now it’s two weeks ago. Hello from future John. You’re actually reading a mix of old words and new words. I’m TRANSCENDING!) I’ve got Latin American culture and literature (I actually started out with history, but then remembered that I just took a class on Latin American history at school, so I was like nah mane, gotta do something different. Plus history was lots of reading (future John discovered that it actually wasn’t that much reading, but still)) and a Lingüistics class.


(Pie!! Why?? Because pie!!!)

How are they going? I can hear you wondering (that’s right, I spontaneously developed telekinetic mind powers, so I can tell what you’re wondering and even make you wonder what I want you to wonder – HA!)  They’re great! Honestly, when you’ve had classes in Spanish as long as I have, you’re just used to hearing everything in Spanish. For homework, though, it definitely gets tedious doing vocab sometimes – especially reading old texts with big words and less-used words, many times I find myself looking up almost every word in the sentence, just to be able to understand what’s going on. Then you find words that, when you look up the translation, you realize you don’t even know in English either! It leads to the common Spanish-class practice of a sort of glorified skimming – reading papers and not looking up all the words, since time is of the essence and we need to know the tesis, not just what fanfarronear means (that’s a fun one.)


(Shout out to this guy. He lives somewhere around where I live, and I’m not sure he wants to be petted, so most every time I come home we just gaze at each other inquisitively like so. Just one of my new friends I’ve met here.)35964140274_d07471407c_o.jpg

(Recently took a weekend break in Mina Clavero, a nice little town next to some amazing mountains.)

Random story time: I may have mentioned it before (or not) but during my travels throughout the northern regions, while taking a bit of a rest and relaxation at a hostel in Jujuy, I got the chance to talk to a couple from Germany. They were on vacations, traveling around Latin America, to see how it was like. I started talking to them in Spanish, but quickly realized that English was a lot easier for them – what I’m finding from my chats with people all around, is that most everybody studies a little or a lot of English at some point in their education (that whole “It’s an international language” idea actually has a solid amount of credibility.) Also, there’s an interesting phenomenon that occurs with respect to the difference between U.S. English and United Kingdom English, which can be significant. A friend Nahuel (from Argentina) related to me “I don’t like that British English – it’s too much about kings and queens and castles and such.” Which makes sense, I feel as though British English is a purer form of the language, and it has a LOT more history attached to it than U.S. English.


(Cool spot on Chacabuco, one of my favorite calles in Córdoba)

But some people tell me that they like the other type better. A woman struck up a conversation while waiting for the bus one time, and said that she liked the British style better. I think it’s actually similar to the difference between Spanish regions – some countries speak slower, and perhaps clearer, than others. Some people I’ve talked to like the British style for that reason – the clarity. Which I can also agree with – a lot of students complain when trying to listen to Spanish that it’s so fast, but there’s also the element of, for lack of better words, squishing together syllables in a way that appears to make the language sound fast (Like, how in the U.S. I’m going to becomes I’m gonna a lot of the time – and doesn’t make much sense grammatically, and I can’t imagine how somebody trying to learn English can resolve the phonetical difference as well, without being enlightened to our methods of language efficiency.)


(Spectacular view from inside an Iglesia here in Córdoba)

And all this helps me to understand how an Argentine can understand more or less perfectly a person from Spain. Though there can be a lot of differences in word choice and grammar, which might trip up someone like me, they can still understand it well – in the same way that I can understand somebody from the UK. I’m not ever going to call a truck a lorry, but when talking with a guy learning English the other night, I understood completely what he meant. And it’s probably similar in some ways with Brazilian Portuguese v. Portugal Portuguese, Canadian French v. the French of France, etc.

(For those of you native English speakers who didn’t know what a lorry was before now, well…you can’t disprove me by your lack of knowledge, I’m sorry. Go read a book, get edumacated.)

Go language!

With that, I’m tryna wrap this one up for now, BUT I might try and write some more stuff after I get done with my culture homework – I’ve got a lot of mate to drink.


_ _ +


(During a hike with international students from the University.)





(John’s random and obscure and strange music interests section – first, try and find a better name. Second, The Ongoing Concept is releasing a new album soon. If you like Folk Metal (or are just intrigued as to how those two words could go together) you’ll love them!)



It’s been a while.

Ustedes!! Bru-stedes!! (Hey that sounds good, bru-stedes. Like y’all but with bro so it becomes bro-all, except slightly cooler so it becomes bruh-all, then with a Spanish twist on it so it becomes bru-stedes. Man, at this point even I’m wondering what I’m going on about.)

But hey, I’m back, and better than ever! In more ways than one, actually, since I just got back from traveling as well as back from takin’ a little break from this whole bloggin’ thing for a while. Last time we left off I believe I was tryna study and get ultra-certified in my Spanish speaking skills. Well, that train has left the station! (Actually, there aren’t that many trains in Argentina anymore, at least not like passenger trains. They were privatized some years ago, and the whole giant railroad network thing that was the answer for nearly every AP US history question in the 1800’s is pretty old-hat nowadays. Just so you know, next time you’re down south.)

Anyways, that CELU test is overdonefinishedcompleted. I would tell you the results, but unfortunately I’m not quite sure what they are yet. But rest assured, I’ll let you know just how good of a Spanish-speaker I am once I do! That’s the point of the test, in case I left that part out, to give a certification of what level of Spanish you’re at. It wasn’t as important for some, but I have to have a certain score to be able to get credit for the classes I’m taking, so it’s bastante important for me. It really wasn’t as hard as I was expecting, though, and I’m glad that I can notice an improvement in my speaking abilities after being here. While there, I talked to another student from Brazil, Danilo I believe was his name, who’d only been studying Spanish for two weeks in Argentina! I was dumbfounded at first, but then it makes more sense because the Portuguese language is quite similar to Spanish, with the whole masculine-feminine thing and other aspects. But still, only two weeks, and he spoke more fluidly than I normally can! I pondered how he could have been doing so well in so short a time, and noticed that sometimes when he would make a small mistake while speaking, he would say “Sorry! I’m thinking in Portuguese!”

After asking him about it, he told me that a key to improving language-speaking is, of course, to get out there and speak it with people, but also I think he was hitting on another factor of immersion, the word we use often. It’s harder, and takes more time, but if you start to actually think in a different language, it helps to harmonize with interactions you have with people – you don’t just speak and listen to it, but you actually begin to create synapses or mental pathways or whatever [insert some sort of scientific name for the process of learning things] and that’s like the magic formula for learning a language. Nifty, huh?

Now that we’ve got the abstract-language-brain-learning theoretical portion of the blog done, let’s get down to business. (NO!!! Don’t even think about starting that song!! It’s not time for a Disney sing-along, okay?!)


The main street of Purmamarca, Jujuy province.

I went to Jujuy this week, during my time off! What a fantastic time, I’m super glad I went. The people are friendly, the locations are beautiful, and there’s so much culture and history, you could probably stay for a month and not experience all of it. Some friends and I went, and we stayed in some hostels for a few nights, which actually worked out very well. I’d never stayed in one before, but I’ve come to realize that it’s pretty much the best thing ever. 200 pesos (Like $12) for a night?? Including breakfast and wifi?? And you get to stay and meet with people from all around the world??? I was going completely out of my mind with the whole experience. If you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend, and hit up Los Molles and D-GIRA if you’re ever sojourning in Tilcara or San Salvador de Jujuy, respectively, and need a place to sleep and do some j-chillin with some bomb people.

To that end, traveling in general is pretty simple here, and not too expensive. There’s some long bus rides (man, the one to Bariloche is gonna be like 21 hours. Bruh. Oh, but yeah, I just got back, and I’m already planning my next trip. It was that good!)

So what did we do? We stayed in Tilcara, a pretty little town with a gorgeous view of the mountains, and there we went on a hike to La Garganta del Diablo (Throat of the Devil) and saw a neat waterfall, along with a ton of cacti. It’s a type called El Cardon, and the place is absolutely full of them. The mountains, in some parts, actually remind me of Colorado, except it’s a much dryer area with more of an Arizona feel.


(All over.)

Why don’t you have many pictures of that day, John? You may be wondering. (If not, take a ratito and think about it now. Or maybe you just haven’t looked at the pictures on the flickr page. Shame on you!) Well, my phone kinda broke, ish. (I survived a full 24 hours without a smartphone, que increíble!!!) So there’s these things called amps, right? And on the bus, there were a couple charging ports, one of them being 1 amp and the other being 2.1 amps (see where this is going?) So my phone wouldn’t turn on for a day, and let me tell you, when you’re in the Jujuy wilderness without your one connection to the internet, it can feel a little nerve-wracking (I don’t mean missing out on social media, of course. I only have a Facebook, none of the rest of that fluf. What do you take me for? A millennial?) I mean that everything is done online nowadays, from buying tickets to reserving rooms. Traveling with friends is a great thing to do, though, so I wasn’t ever going to get lost or anything.  It really put me in the moment, a true traveler, with not but the clothes on his back and a mate in hand, really hoping that the bus terminal would have tickets available. Can you imagine the old days, when someone just had to jump on a bus and ride somewhere, hoping that there was some space at the inn? No magic smartphone in hand, just a mate. (Seriously, I saw some guys bringing their mate and thermos while hiking. They’re crazy about it here!) To be honest, though, any real adventure is going to have some bumps in the road. Maybe I’ll leave it at home when I go mountain biking in Bariloche. (Gasp!!) 

Spoilers, my friend.

I did get better at asking for directions, though. I’m excited that I’m at the level of Spanish to where I can ask somebody what I want and understand what I need to in order to get where I need to go. It’s similar in any situation, really, like when I didn’t make it in time to catch the bus I wanted to Salta, but the kind gentleman at the counter, instead of selling me a ticket for two hours later, simply referred me to another company, a very nice gesture. It really makes you put yourself out there, and the one thing that I consider the best part of traveling like this is the people you meet. In Jujuy, I talked to a couple from Germany that were traveling all through South America. Can you imagine? We just happened to be in the same place at the same time, some people living across the world that crossed paths for a few hours. It can be (legitimately) nerve-wracking introducing yourself to complete strangers, but through this trip I’ve caught a glimpse of the wonderful rewards that can come from such actions.

Now let’s see some pictures!


After staying in Tilcara, we skipped on over to Purmamarca and saw the Cerro de los Siete Colores (hill of the seven colors, the featured image of this post) which was quite beautiful, and then climbed up over a mountain to reach the Salinas Grandes, the great salt flats of Jujuy. Kilometers and kilometers of, well, salt. Don’t worry, I saved a few pieces for a souvenir.

The area itself, and the people living there, are quite interesting. They retain a lot of their history and ways of living, but have blended with a world of technology as well. I was moved by the fact that there were street vendors selling hundreds of locally made blankets of llama wool next to the cars we jumped into to drive up to the flats. Tourism really is a curious thing; it links world travelers with people that live in small towns and villages, selling tickets and souvenirs to capitalize on the industry. I saw a sign on a door in Tilcara that I think sums up what I’m trying to say: No tengo todo lo que amo, pero yo amo todo lo que tengo. (Just from memory, the grammar might not be exact) “I don’t have everything that I love, but I love everything I have.” The people of these towns don’t have as much wealth as we do in a place like the US, but they have a rich heritage and history, and they seem to hold tight to their families and values. That they can adapt and become part of an ever-globalizing world is quite an interesting phenomenon to me, and I’m happy I had the chance to see the lives of a completely different people.


The mountain road up to the salt flats.


Some crystal-clear water pools made in the salt.

After taking a gander through the massive marketplace of Purmamarca and said our goodbyes in Tilcara, I headed on over to San Salvador de Jujuy, the capital of the province. I absolutely love looking at cathedrals, and let me tell you, the one there did not disappoint.


The picture is a little washed out, but it still captures some of the grandeur of such an amazing building. Much of it was rebuilt after an earthquake at some point, but I believe it’s one of the oldest cathedrals in Argentina. 36094377800_7cf7271475_o.jpg

I also went to a large governmental-type building while I was there, and saw the first coat-of-arms of Argentina. Pretty awesome, right? You really get a feel for the massive amount of history from things like this. It was like seeing the Declaration of Independence, Argentina style.


I only stayed in Jujuy until the afternoon, and then went to Salta, just a few hours away. It was dark then, so I didn’t get to see everything super clearly, but I think it was worth it to see the cathedrals and beautiful old buildings from the night perspective. Look at that! It’s blue! My favorite color!

After all was said and done, and I got a surprise email telling me that I had CLASS on Thursday (like, I realize that time is a bit more relaxed here, but can’t they let me know at least a few more days in advance that I’m about to start CLASS?) I hitched a ride on the 13 hour bus back to Córdoba through the night to get back at around 14:00 hours, and make it to class at 17:30. (I know, right? Bruh.) It’s all good though, I thoroughly enjoyed my travels and have found a strong desire to possibly go back and certainly see other places in this gigantic country, as I not-so-subtly-hinted above. (Bruh, they have mountain biking in Bariloche, and bicycle wine tours in Mendoza. You read that right. Bicycle wine tours. Mountain biking in Bariloche.) Like I said before, the things I cherish most are the interactions with all different kinds of people, and I enjoyed the time I spend with Flor, Yani, Agosto, Atilo, Lena, Lucas, to name a few of the other travelers, and I’m looking forward to meeting many new people in the future!

I may write a few smaller blogs in the future, to try and dig into some other things a bit more, like starting my class at the University. These big’uns really take a lot out me! I hope you’ve enjoyed, and remember to look at all the pictures, there’s much more to the story and adventure there.

Until next time, hasta luego, and as always,

THANKS for WATCHING. (said in a deep corny youtuber voice)

HA! I’m no youTuber. Just your friendly neighborhood blogger from down south.

Así que, THANKS for READING. (said in a deep and, still corny, blogger voice.)

Lol. Bye bru-stedes.

(Man I love that.)

_ _ +






(Sorry, I don’t have any new super-jammin awesome music for you to go listen to this week, I know you were looking for it and must be super bummed. But hey, I saw this cool thing, Hans Zimmer, the guy that made the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack (one of the best pieces of music ever) is doing a Master Class, a sort of online-learning course. I liked it more so because they made a really cool trailer that happens to be really motivational, in an intense way. Go check it out! Zimmer layin’ down the chords. Lol, shout out to footnotes with cool little gems in them. Chau!)

Gauchos, caballos, y chocolate

Why didn’t we just call football (US football, that is) armball?

Because most of the time the ‘foot’ball is actually being held by someone, or being thrown, by the quarterback’s arm. That’s actually like the main thing that happens in the game, the quarterback throwing it. With his arm. Y’all are probably gonna laugh and scoff, but I’m telling you, it makes sense. And handball’s already taken.

I also heard a joke the other day – why doesn’t the US soccer team do as well as other countries? (Don’t quote me on that, I’m just relating what I heard. Go US Soccer!) Because we call it soccer, not fútbol (or football). Because it MAKES SENSE to call a game where you CAN’T USE ARMS football because you actually use YOUR FEET to play the game. (I promise I’m not actually that annoyed about this, I just thought this would be a funny intro and I’m running out of ways to say hello. And it’s a relevant debate considering how popular fútbol is here. Go Messi!)

Hola! ¿Cómo les va? (I think that’s correct grammar, let me know if it’s not. I’ve got a test soon!)

So, what’s gone on lately? I’ve got tons of new pictures, be sure to go through those when you get the chance. Oh, I remembered something I probably should have put on here to start this whole thing off with (lol)


We did this on the first day of classes here. There’s a hallway with two walls, one of them says “What did you bring?” and the other says “What are you going to leave with?” (Something like that) We all got markers and wrote what we had brought and what our hopes were for the semester here. Mine says, “Equipaje vacío y mente abierto” which means “Empty luggage and open mind” (Probably written in more of an English-way than how somebody might say it in Spanish, but I’m sure people understand it.)

And this is literally on a wall, that will be there as long as the building is there – which is so cool to think about! People will be doing this program and walking through there for who knows how many years, and those words will remain for them to see and ponder. It’s a cool way for us to have a legacy in our program here.


So what’s ‘actually’ new? Mucho! We went to la estancia (ranch) El Rosal on Friday, toured the beautiful estancia, rode some horses, ate some delicious carne asada (but not a whole lot, because I had about 4 empanadas – too good, they’re too good) and played some great games. What a fantastic day! I think all of us were saying to ourselves, “I could probably just live here, wouldn’t be too bad.”Salvador, the owner, told us that we could come work for him for a month – I’m in!

35396986844_4c27b9ec3f_o.jpgIt was also interesting just to see some real-live gauchos – argentine ‘cowboys.’ What dancers, and singers! I love the music, Zamba, Chacarera, and Gato. I’ve got a few videos that show them. Listening to some guys strumming guitars and singing well-known verses for me also emphasized the idea of Spanish as a romance language – they were so smooth and flowing with the music, and combined with the dancing it makes quite the sight! I, uh, tend to have somewhat more, let’s say, obscure tastes in music, but I love all the different types and varieties of music, faster, slower, and different dances. It’s like a whole new world of music, and all of it brings a wealth of culture along too. Like Mailambo, which is another dance specifically of gauchos, with it’s own unique style.

I’m realizing first-hand just how much variety there is in these different cultures of Spanish-speaking countries, beyond just the accent and words they use, though that’s a significant part – more on that later. The fact that this estancia in the middle of Argentina is still connected on some level with a castle in Spain is quite interesting to think about. Like how Córdoba has Italian cultural influences as well – isn’t it crazy? Italy is all the way on another continent, yet they say chau here.


(Can’t you just see yourself sitting here, sipping on a mate, gazing out this window? The life.)

The semester students got our speaking partners this past Wednesday, which was super exciting! Mine’s name is Belen, which definitely confused me a bit. Now explain to me this: how is it, that I can take 6 years of Spanish, doing all kinds of grammar and worksheets and packets (SO many packets) – and nobody ever told me that b’s and v’s sound the same! Another inconspicuous detail that you pick up when having to talk and actually listen to real native speakers – I honestly thought it was something like Velen until she wrote it down! It was a great time, though, we got to talk for a while. It’s so interesting to me, the idea that though I know English as my native language, it’s foreign to native Spanish speakers, and vice versa. I love the interactions that can happen between people from different languages, how we can help each other with words and pronunciation and everything. I’m excited just to talk with her a lot!


Yesterday we went to Villa General Belgrano, a little town in the mountains just a couple hours outside of the city. It reminds me of Zermatt, Switzerland, where I went a few years ago, because there’s a lot of German restaurants and shops selling Swiss chocolate and knives and such.We had some pretty delicious sausages for lunch as well – you gotta eat something unique everywhere you go! Oktoberfest is also a huge thing, if you’ve ever heard of it. We went for a chocolate festival that was happening during the month of July, and happened to go on the day where they were beginning Oktoberfest as well!


Not surprisingly, the questions about where we are from were profuse, and in some places people will ask if we would rather speak in English (it really is true that everybody knows at least a little bit of English.) Right now, though, I feel as though my understanding of Spanish is the best it’s ever been. We asked some locals for some information about the festival, and they offered to speak in English, but we were capable of hearing all of it in Spanish! The speaking is still the slowest part, but when learning you tend to listen more than you talk, I’m realizing. It can be difficult sometimes, when you want to say something and start stumbling over words and conjugations because you realize translating it from English in your head is harder than you thought! Synonyms and paraphrasing are some of your best friends when speaking. My Spanish teacher used to say that if you don’t know how to say an exact phrase, just say it in different words. Myself being somewhat of a perfectionist, it’s easy to just give up if you don’t know a specific word. But actually, most of the time people understand what you’re saying without having to say everything just right. It’s a good thing that people are usually pretty expressive with their hands and such, a lot of things (like pointing to the wrist to ask for the time) are understand with simple body language – it really is like 70% or whatever that statistic is that I just made up of our speaking!


So we were eating lunch at this restaurant, and this guy walked up with some bagpipes, and started playing them. Kate, one of the other semester students, does Irish dancing, and she danced a little bit to what he was playing! It was such a perfect moment, sitting in a restaurant in the mountains of Argentina where a guy just happens to start playing bagpipes, and you’re with someone that happens to be a dancer! These are the things I love the most about traveling, the encounters you have with people, and the connections that can be made even between people who live across the world. Definitely check out all the videos and fotos, there was a big parade and lots of cool sights!


Also, GANDALF!! He thought he’d take a day off from, well, whatever wizardry stuff he does, and come on down to the Villa to check out the parade and try some chocolate.


And last, but not least, MOUNTAIN BIKERS!! Bruh, I can’t even.


(I love LOTR and mountain biking, if you couldn’t tell. Mirá! It’s a specialized!)

As far as school is going, we only have two more days left of this first month. 3 weeks have gone by! Most of the students are going to be leaving after this week, there’s only about 7 of us staying the whole semester. We’ve got our exams for class this month on Wednesday, and the big CELU exam on Thursday – a sort of fluency exam that certifies what level of Spanish somebody is at. I think everybody is a little nervous for it – specifically the audio-listening part. It can be really hard to tell what is being said on a recording, especially if it’s an excerpt from a newscast or something similar – where the goal is to speak really fast! The exam is a little more important for me, though, because my credits and classes later on depend on what level I’m at with it. I’ve heard that watching videos or listening to songs while looking at the lyrics can help, though, and I might start doing that. Sometimes, if you don’t know a word, or can’t decipher what is being said, you’ll never figure it out no matter how many times you listen to it. But when given the chance to see what the word was, and actually listen to it, I think it helps your brain untangle the syllables and makes it clearer.


(The man, the myth, the legend himself, San Martín. He’s not really a myth, but he is pretty legendary, and that’s another phrase I have a certain affinity for.)

To sum it up, we’ve had some great travels the past few days, and I’m excited to see what’s next after this intensive month. I’ll be starting school at the University soon, and I was going to maybe take a Philosophy class, but it’s looking like I might take Lingüistics or something similar and, well, easier, for the same reason that I didn’t want to take math here – my Spanish is improving, but do I really want to take Probability completely in Spanish? Not to mention complicated Philosophy terms?

I’m Comp Sci, all I know is binary, people, please. 1’s and 0’s. 1’s and 0’s.

I’ve got a friend Franco whose band is playing tonight, definitely going to catch that. That’s another interesting thing here – writing and reading music in English, we use note names, A-G, but here they use Do, Re, Me, etc. So playing something in the key of C is playing something in the key of Do…I think. I’m not entirely certain how it works, but that’s what I’m here to find out! If I can find a piano somewhere, we can jam in anything from Db major to La# minor, or however it works!

Alas, I must get back to my grammar and listening exercises. This test ain’t gonna ace itself! Throw a glance at the pics and vids, they’re cool. And congratulate yourself, you’ve made it through this entire post, it was a big’un! Until next time, catch me drinking mate.

Gracias por leer, nos vemos, hasta luego!

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(Alright so I put all of this stuff way down here because I needed to get the actual blog done with all the pictures and regular stuff, before I mess around. Now if you want to read on and hear me rant about music because just because I have the space to do it, continue.)

Did y’all like that swanky Polyphia stuff? BRUHS. Now August Burns Red (the best metalcore band ever) just dropped a new song, music video, and announced a new album, all at once! Like what!? That actually doesn’t sound that crazy, but it came out of nowhere! And look at the music video! PUPPETS! PUPPETCORE!


And the music is awesome and the video is fantastic and…unique, as is, well, normal with ABR. Ah, such talent. But PUPPETS!? Like, how are they able to take something so random and unrelated and make something so good from it?



Check it on out-> Puppets’ breakin’ it down hardcore

Amigos Invisibles, Exámenes, y Animales

EDIT: Pre-script: Bruhs, Polyphia (supa cool instrumental rock band that I love) just dropped a new album, once you’ve finished reading this blog y’all should def check it on out.

Do you ever wonder if you could actually remember something in a million years?

Like, we say, “Oh, I would have never remembered the name of [noun] in a million years unless you had told me.” But if you actually had, well, at least a significant amount of time on your hands with nothing else to do but think about it, you probably could remember whatever it was you forgot at some point, right? To be honest, I’ve thought about this many times. (Like every time I forget something I wonder #randomthoughtsoftheday

Hey everybody! ¿Cómo andan?

Another week has passed here in Córdoba. It’s crazy to think I’ve already been here for two weeks tomorrow! So many things have happened. It’s interesting to actually start to get used to where I’m living, what I’m doing, and then realize, “I’m in Argentina, in South America, right now, sitting in a restaurant, petting a dog that just walked up as we wait for our food that we ordered in Spanish.” Unreal, seriously.


I’ve always felt like new experiences, such as meeting people, living in a new place, and other things that are more permanent, are almost like a telescope at the beginning. You get somewhere and your senses are bombarded with new things and you might be just a tad disoriented that you have to speak and understand Spanish, and your telescope is all oscillating in and out of focus.You can’t know all about how a person is from a first impression, can you? But as time goes on, you begin to measure the correct viewing angle and distance, and start to develop a more stable, permanent viewpoint on your situation, whatever that may be. It’s an interesting phenomenon (there should be a word for it in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – take a gandar at that sometime, intriguing) that I’ve found occurs whenever I begin some new stage of life or meet someone new.

Which, now that I’m thinking about it, may be a reason why life can seem to go so quickly sometimes. Because we get into a routine, looking at the same island in the distance through the same lens day in and day out, and become comfortable with our surroundings. Indeed, my first week here was fairly slow, very new, with a whole world of different things to encounter. But having school from 9:30 until 3:30 (I know, I haven’t done that much school all at once since high school! Which is only like 2 years. But college is pretty much built on a routine, so it makes sense. It’s really not bad at all though, class is interesting and goes by at a pretty good pace. But wait, aren’t I writing about slowing time down? Didn’t really mean to directly contradict myself in a small side-comment, lol.) soon becomes just another routine, and starts to speed up. So in light of this, while I’m abroad, I should probably focus on stepping out of such a routine often, in order to actually experience as much as I can, for one, but also to sort of slow down the passing of time, so it doesn’t all go by so soon.

You know, that’s some pretty good material, I feel like you could publish that somewhere. Yes, I said you, because I just posted my million-dollar profound thoughts on a public blog. Someone’s gonna become famous while I’m, well, still hanging around in Córdoba…eh, I’ll allow it. Catch me drinking mate by la universidad!

But speaking of class, I did have my first exam, test, quiz, quest thing this week. It went fairly well, the listening part always is the hardest for me, and for most people as well, I believe. As far as listening and reading goes, a lot of times I find myself automatically translating what I hear and read in my mind into English. But I feel like a key to being able to understand things better, at least with respect to listening, is to not translate it, and just understand what it means, if that makes sense. It’s like switching your mind into Spanish mode! Let me see if I can explain – if you listen to an audio, or read something, you can translate it into English in your head. But it’s like you’re using your mind like a translator to convert it to something you understand. However, if you don’t translate it, and you just focus on understanding it, I believe that builds up your actual comprehension and understanding in Spanish, which I also believe is crucial to improving conversational skills. It’s a side thing I’ve noticed that goes along with being “immersed” which they say is the best way to learn a language – and it is. To become more fluent in a language, you not only have to learn the vocabulary and the grammar, you have to sort of split your mind into another section, and develop that section until you can switch back and forth with ease.

That being said, I’m realizing that there’s a lot – a lot – of vocabulary. There’s just a lot of words in language, and lots of them that I don’t know in Spanish! So immersion is important, but I’m also thinking that taking to the good ol’ flash cards is another element. “Eww!” some people say. “Memorization!” Hey, memorizing things is fun! I’m pretty good at it (Comp Sci major, math guy), so I realize I might be a little biased.

35920303291_9d73d9261f_o.jpgMost everybody can tell within the first few sentences that you’re not a native Spanish speaker. It’s kinda funny, on many occasions now we’ll be talking to somebody in the taxi or at a restaurant, and the second or third thing they say is “¿De dónde son?” (Where are you all from?)

One time, a lady walked up to us and greeted Jack and I. All we said was “Hola.”

She looked back and forth at us for a second, and then said in English, “You’re not from around here.”

We glanced at each other. “No…”

And she walked away! We both shrugged and went, “Huh, weird.” She was holding a clipboard I think, she may have been just walking around asking people something. Most of the country actually has lighter skin, so we don’t stick out that much as far as appearance goes – a few people have come up to me to ask for directions and certain things – but people can definitely tell when you speak a few words. Jack, however, has been called gringo a few times – I guess he sticks out a little more with his blond hair due to his Irish heritage!

That’s another small detail, people say things like that, but they aren’t really taken to be negative. People will call somebody “gordo” and when we played basketball one time, there was a player known as “gringo”, and he owned it! It’s just a different way of knowing each other.

I was at the phone store the other day, though, and the guy who was helping me said that I spoke very well – after asking where I was from, of course – so that’s something!


Another interesting thing is simply getting better at the language. If you’ve ever been in another country or simply a place where you don’t know the language, you might have felt the sensation of being a foreigner, where everything that people are saying is completely different and strange sounding, and you don’t understand anything! That’s how I felt when I was in France for an orchestra trip a few years ago, and the only words I knew were “bonjour” and “merci”. Luckily I was pretty much just a tourist, so I didn’t have to have any long conversations. But here, I actually know the language, or some of it, and it starts to feel less alien. I’ll be on the bus, and instead of just hearing a stream of words I don’t know, I start to hear people talking about the weather, and what they bought the other day, and other things that we all probably talk about everywhere. It starts to feel less alien, like it’s foreign, but familiar at the same time.

Hey, what do you know, my favorite band has an album called Foreign and Familiar! It’s almost like I set that sentence up just so I could include that phrase in there and make a shameless plug to one of the greatest bands ever (If you fancy melodic metalcore. No? Sigh…)


I love walking around the city and looking at all the different sculptures and art everywhere. There’s so many, scattered around, with memorials to certain people and depictions that tell of the history, like the picture above. It’s a park with hundreds of rings, and most of them have a year with a small summary of an important event that happened that year, going back to 1810 I believe. There’s a small Anne Frank memorial near this, and various other small plaques and sculptures near the Plaza España. There’s so much history and art, I want to visit as much of it as I can. I bet this place is crazy on Pokemon GO. Sigh, if only it was still relevant and people still played it.


Anyways, check out this mate! We had an Amigo Invisible (sort of like a secret santa) for the Día del Amigo, the 20 of July, which is a pretty popular thing here. I received a mate from my Amigo, and was pleasantly surprised and excited! Just the first of the many I’m going to collect throughout my time here, I’m sure.


Also (because I don’t want to leave out the Animales part of this blog) look at this giant camello we said at the zoológico. It’s huge, isn’t it!?

De todos modos, that’s the rundown from this week, tons of information that I just threw in al azar (I really like the idea of putting in words and phrases and making people that don’t know them go look them up, hehehe).

Remember to check out all the photos on the flickr page – link on the about page.

Hasta pronto! Nos vemos! Chau!

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EDIT 2: Post-script: Here’s the link to that swanky awesome music. I’ve seriously bumped it like 3 times already. If you’re still reading this and wanna get down to some sizzilin’ fresh twangs though, hustle and click this link right here -> Dank instrumental electro-guitar jazzin’ beats

EDIT 3: Post-Post-script: Nah that’s really all I got, I promise. SIKE!

First week – one and done

(We saw that place in the header photo when we went out on Sunday, it means out of tune. Isn’t that great? I thought it was perfect.)

That title might not make complete sense, but I like the phrase.

I’m a like-able guy. I like a lot of things.

(Cheers to anyone that gets that!)

ALRIGHT! So I’m back again, bringin’ a supa fresh blog for y’all, hittin’ ya straight up with the pics and the knawledge on what’s been a happenin’ acá en Córdoba. (Did you notice that the accent is on the first o? So when you pronounce it it’s COR-doba, not cor-DO-ba, like a lot of yanqui’s like to pronounce it. You know who you are.) The first week was awesome, and the three day weekend was very nice, after some moderately long days in school (9:30 until 3:30, not too bad.) No class on Fridays is pretty sweet, it means you can go out late 3 days instead of just 2! (Not like it really matters that much, people kinda go out whenever, but we students still gotta study.)

On Thursday night I went to a bar (boliche) where a group was meeting called English and Mate, it’s where Argentines, and really anybody in the area learning English, can come and practice while playing games and chatting for a while. It was a fabulous time! My friend Mae who was on this same program last year recommended it to me, and some of the people knew her and I was able to connect with them. We played jenga and also Trivia Crack, but a board game version, which I thought was interesting (they called it preguntados, I think) There was a guy originally from Detroit there, who had lived there since he was 6, and a guy from North Carolina, working on a thesis for his degree. We just happened to be in the same bar in downtown Córdoba on a Thursday night! Then we played some giant pool, which was pretty hard actually, but still a great time. I was able to practice my Spanish with some people, and they practiced their English. I just think it’s fascinating what happens when people with two different languages are in the same place trying to speak the other one, because each knows so much about their own, there’s two worlds coming together.IMG_1561.jpg

Every place I go, people ask me which bad words I’ve learned. Apparently they like their bad words, and there’s all different flavors and varieties for any occasion. I’ve got a guide book with quite a few, and I feel I’ll pick up several more throughout my stay. They can be positive too though, like boludo, which can mean a stupid person, or you can say it to a friend in a greeting, Che, boludo! The language is very expressive and colorful, it’s fascinating!

Friday some other students and I went to a bar to try some cervezas and talk for a while. There’s another guy Jack that lives with me in the same house. (His name is John, too, luckily he goes by Jack, but it has definitely caused some confusion and plenty of laughter – John (pronounced kind of like Shohn) y John! John and John! Jack y John! John 1 and John 2! Lol) The rest were going to go to a club afterwards, but I was pretty tired and not really feeling like staying out until 4 AM or even later – the clubs here usually open around 2 AM! Seriously. I’ll go, maybe, at some point, if I’m up to it – clubs aren’t exactly my cup of tea, or mate, rather – but I’m not tryna stay up till 7 every weekend. Who knows, though, maybe I’ll come back a night owl, like those people who sleep till the afternoon (I slept till eleven on Sunday, the latest I’ve ever slept! Granted, I was up until 2 – geez. In case you didn’t know or didn’t gather, I’m a relatively early-to-bed early-to-rise kinda person. 2 is usually my latest.)

But John, you may be wondering, what were you doing up until 2 on Saturday night? (If you’re not wondering that, take a moment and wonder about it know. I’ll wait.)

Listos? So it was the birthday of a friend of my host family, and they were hosting a big party for her. It was a great time, those Córdobeses TURN UP, let me tell you. There’s a video on my flickr site, swing on over there to check it out a little bit. Every time a song would end, a new one would start and everybody would just go back to dancing and singing. “FUERA!! FUERA DE MI VIDA!!” Oh, the celebrations.

IMG_1585 2.jpg

And then yesterday (Sunday), we had lunch at Mario’s house, the brother of my host-mother. It’s still a little weird not understanding a lot of things, but the whole family is very friendly. I can’t wait until I’m at the point where I can understand the jokes they’re telling, I imagine they’re pretty hilarious! At one point, we were watching a bunch of music videos of different kinds of Argentine music, and then they put on a video of Eminem, and Mario asked if I could translate it to English. I was like, no puedo entenderlo en Inglés! (I can’t even understand it in English!) It was a great time!

Later, we met up with Kazmira, another student staying in our house, she just got back from traveling to different places in Argentina with some friends. She’s been here since February, and is leaving tomorrow. (Tuesday) She speaks very good conversational Spanish (or Castellano), having been here for so long, which just makes me anticipate being able to do the same! I heard a lot from my family that she didn’t understand much at all when she arrived, and she said that the beginning is the hardest part, but at some point it begins to click more in your mind. Live it to learn it!

It’s always interesting, and funny, to find out that you didn’t quite understand what was being said at a particular time. For example, Jack and I heard about Kazmira, but thought that she’d already left. We were not a little bit surprised (at least I was) when we got home Sunday and she was there!! It’s moments like these that you realize what you missed in that one sentence or two that you didn’t understand, and the results can be quite amusing. I have lots of ohhhhh, that’s what was said or ohhh, that’s what they meant in situations like this, which are great, I love coming to realizations like that.

I’m definitely getting better, though, starting to understand more and more of each sentence. Sometimes it’s not simply a matter of not knowing the word (though that does happen frequently) but that it’s said quickly, or in a manner different from how I know the word. For example, here in Córdoba, most of the time they don’t pronounce the s in a word, unless it’s at the beginning, so Castellano sounds more like Catellano. Add to that the other main difference in the Córdoba accent, that they pronounce the ll of words more like a sh, not like a as is common in Spanish. Thus, Castellano turns into Cateshano in speech, which threw me for quite a loop the first day I was here, I almost couldn’t understand anything, it was just so peculiar to the Spanish that I had heard before in class. As I start to get better, though, I start to understand them better and even speak in a similar fashion. It’s interesting, you can say something very quickly in comparison to English, and people will understand exactly what you said. I’m sure I’ll be talking more and more like that as time goes on!

Qué más. I have to buy a mate at some point, or maybe 8, like Kazmira did! A mate is a kind of gourd, that is used to drink yerba mate, the tea drink that is popular in Argentina. I recommend reading more about it, it’s actually an intriguing part of the culture. People will make mate and spend hours talking, which I’m all about, tea and conversation! Being completely honest, I’ll probably buy quite a few, one for myself and plenty for friends. They can be pretty cheap (we saw some for around 120 pesos, which is like 6-7 US dollars.) There’s SO many different kinds, with all kinds of different designs, definitely give them a google as well (or bing. I actually like bing better than I like google. You know bing will pay you for your searches? Not a ton, but everybody chasin’ down that paper, y’all! Plus I just like it better, the feel, the aesthetics. Yes, I’m a computer science major with a Mac that uses Bing with Google Chrome. Don’t judge me, we all know Linux is the best anyway. A guy I met at English and Mate told me they’re experts in Linux here. It’s the way to go, folks.)

Anyways, rant aside, here’s a pic of just one of the thousands of mate gourds I’ve already seen since I’ve been here (Alta Gracia is a city in Argentina):


Again, not gonna be the greatest pictures (since some BOLUDO took my camera out of my luggage on the way here. Don’t ever put fragile valuables in your checked luggage, kids. Lesson learned.)

BUT, I’m uploading all of them on the flickr page, like I said, and the link is in the about page on this site, so just head on over there and check ’em on out, there’ll be lots of stuff I thought was cool and I’m uploading literally everything I take on there, with some individual descriptions as well, so def take a trip through la galería.

Also if you have questions or want to know more about something and want me to write about it, I will. I don’t usually make plans when I write things, I just scrawl all over the page everything in my mind, so there may be some holes in my posts. Let a brother know!

Next time I’ll go into more detail about my experiences and what’s been challenging, what’s been intriguing, etc., rather than just daily experiences (so I just got an email that I got accepted to be an official blogger for my study abroad program (ya boiiii!) and there’s a few guidelines that I gotta follow, which is totally fine. Reading the rules AFTER writing the entire blog, lol.)

With that, until next time. Hasta pronto! Chau!