Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Just kidding. I was supposed to have one class at 3, and another at 6. However. Obviously my extremely important obligatory finger printing procedure to get Argentine residency was scheduled for today, a mere 30 minutes before my first class across town. This was held in a tiny, DMV waiting room-like building in a quaint street called Piedras, with about 50 American college students from our program and probably half of the population of Perú. It took about 2 hours of waiting and really only 10 minutes of actual face time with the authorities, but this is the way these things go. The next round is at 7:45am and could go on for 7 hours, I am told.

Another reason I did not go to class -- though I somehow made it all the way through my grade school years and adolescence without contracting the dreaded strep throat, I somehow ironically came down with it this week. In Buenos Aires. In the summer. I've been having sleepless, achy, feverish nights and painful days since Monday morning, and when it just got worse today instead of better, I figured I should probably get myself to the doctor. I had hours and hours of anxiety dreams last night about, obviously, trying to get from point A to point B in Buenos Aires. I am always amazed at the way dreams reflect reality. And then I woke up and looked at the emergency card they gave us and tried to decide what to do (apparently doctors often make house calls here...). I fell back asleep around 8am and woke up at noon (oops) and asked my host mom what to do, but by the time I had it figured out I was going to be late for my residency procedure. So I had to go there and probably contaminate the entire Peruvian immigrant population before I made it to the hospital.

There is something kind of satisfying about medical care in Latin America. You just pay about $40 for your visit and $10 for your pills and they let you go. My name (pronounced by doctor Alberto Parra as "Raw-chell") was called within five minutes, I was so disgustingly infected that he didn't even give me a strep swab test, and I had my prescription in hand about 10 minutes after first sitting down in the waiting room. Dr. Parra also did the customary Argentine cheek kiss when I left, which seems to me like a bit of a risky move for a doctor who just diagnosed someone with nodes the size of golf balls. But oh well. He was handsome and nice and didn't say anything about me not speaking Spanish as a first language/me being a foreigner. I felt accomplished. I went to the pharmacy and got my pills, along with a popsicle and some apple juice and headed home to collapse.

Obviously things could not be that easy. In Perú, when you needed to get a prescription filled the doctor would write down exactly the number of pills you needed and the pharmacy would get them for you and charge you accordingly. They don't put them in a nice bottle with your name on it or anything, because most of those pills you don't even need a prescription for, but at least they got the right number. So, I expected to just be handed what I needed. Wrong. I got home and realized I only had about half of what I needed, and host mom Silvia informed that this thing that they had asked me about when I went to the counter (which in my mind was like them asking "Do you need sadfl;dj;adslfd recibo?") which was one of those situations where even though I understood the words I didn't really understand the context or what that word might mean or anything. Apparently that word means refill. Or something sort of like that. And I need to go back and convince them to give me more. Can't feel too accomplished with yourself.

Throat still hurts terribly, but tomorrow I have class for reals! About 11 hours of it, since I'm shopping two 4 hour classes as well as my required Spanish class. But I'm excited.



  1. you are funny and I miss you. But I hope you feel better. Sending good vibes.

  2. I've been checking every day, and it's almost been a week since the last update = (.