An Argentine woman, documenting her relationships, begins an intimate investigation searching for love and answers: must she settle down or continue to be a free spirit in order to be happy?
Because: A friend who works for the U.S. Foreign Service drew my attention to this with a comment about how it has much to do with being someone who travels or moves constantly. The short is by an Argentine woman (incidentally, a friend of mine plays a major role in it, which I discovered when I watched it through) though the subject, concerns and message are surely transcend national boundaries.
The video hit a nerve with a number of friends. Today I sat with two single friends, one saying how she feels she needs to “settle down” soon, as in pick a place to call home and stay put. The other said, “I think you can choose to do that ‘settling’ or you can build the life that makes you happy and see who comes along who fits into it. And we’re not people content with settling.”
The afternoon sauntered on, and even by 3:30 most of the tables were still filled, customers lingering over coffee or, in the case of the couple behind us, a bottle of champagne. Toward the end of the meal, Ramon Couñago, Sabot’s owner for the past 41 years, joined us. “Ninety percent of my guests come here to talk business,” he said. “No one eats for less than two hours. Sometimes coffee can last an hour alone!”
Because: This piece is an intoxicating read about one of the cultural characteristics I love most about Buenos Aires: how people take their time—as much as possible, as much as they want—to enjoy their meals. Two days after this was published I participated in this classic ritual with a two-plus hour work lunch at Cabaña Las Lilas (highly recommend the place, by the way) in riverside Puerto Madero. At the end of it I biked slowly back home in the Friday sun, fully sated and slightly, delightfully bleary-eyed from the whole steak-and-potatoes-and-four-courses-more ordeal. There’s nothing quite like lunch in Buenos Aires.
The Northwestern Wildcats are not only undefeated this year, they are well-rested thanks to a regimen that emphasizes good sleeping habits.
Because: Let’s pun with this article about my alma mater: (Wild)cat naps!
Really, though, I find this quite cool, even if I never lasted in the stands for the entirety of one whole game. That Northwestern has a winning football team participating in sleep research is very quintessentially Northwestern to me, and exemplifies the well-roundedness that drew me to the school.
Because: As a quote collector, I was quick to click this piece when it appeared on my Twitter feed. I’m not an obsessive Thought Catalog follower like a number of other 20-somethings, but this one I found worth sharing, especially since I could call to memory a similarly “unintentionally profound statement” I had encountered in recent memory.
Mine was at a saccharinely cute brunch place in Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires. The placemat read, “Today is a good day to have a good day.”
Because: I’m playing the minor, nay, PeeWee, league compared to this guy, but I still related to this piece and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Being a journalist can be ever-so glamorous and thrilling. Overall, people think it’s a cool profession, as I can tell by their reaction when I tell them what I do. It also can be lonely inglorious and caloric, among other things. This writer captures all that with deft humor and wit.
One thing is for sure, though, and that’s that none of us went into it (especially recently) for the money.
“Sex and the City,” once one of HBO’s flagship shows, was pigeonholed as a sitcom. In fact, it was a bold riff on the romantic comedy: the show wrestled with the limits of that pink-tinted genre for almost its entire run. In the end, it gave in. Yet until that last-minute stumble it was sharp, iconoclastic television. It was a brilliant and, in certain ways, radical show.
Because: Don’t put Sex and the City in a corner. I often am frustrated with how easily female-centric shows are labeled. Something else I find bothersome: The double standard of how women are (expected to be) fans of entertainment featuring and often targeting males, but that converse crossover (men to women) is not expected. Good entertainment is good entertainment, and I know many males who were secretly glued to SATC, though few would openly admit it. And there’s a reason so many people were riveted to SATC, a reason much deeper than the pretty couture and comical romps.
Maybe their hearts were in the right place. Maybe not.
Because: Not all good intentions come to good results. When applied to something large-scale like international aid, even the best intentions can do serious harm. Research, education and understanding about the issues in their entirety are critical. It’s something I would like and need to do more of. I think Nicolas Kristof’s work (particularly Half the Sky) is a solid place to start.
The women who are helping to shape Israel’s future.
Because: I recently spent a week in Israel, specifically in Jaffa-Tel Aviv and a couple days in Jerusalem. I felt right at home in lively, beach-y, beautiful Tel Aviv (context: I am not Jewish). Jerusalem, while historic and stunning with its warm Jerusalem stone and only a 30/45-minute drive from Tel Aviv, felt much more serious and religious to me—or, much more foreign.
I later learned from some friends met along the way more about the pulls between secular and religious forces in the country. As though presenting itself as my follow-up reading, I came across this article a couple days after my trip had concluded. If the subjects of feminism, gender equality, religion, Israel, etc. are at all of any interest, give it a read.
“We live, at this moment, immersed in shame,” the writer Diego Vecino said in a recent 4,000-plus-word magazine article that explored declining beef consumption. “In the last few years, our Argentine national identity has been roughed up as never before,” he lamented, in a slightly tongue-in-cheek fashion. “The ritual of the barbecue persists, but in many cases under the kitsch glow of a retro experience.”—Argentina Falls From Its Throne as King of Beef
Because: Granted this is based off only about three years in Buenos Aires, but the art of the asado (Argentine barbecue) seems to me to still be very much beloved and closely followed. I am going to employ the characteristic Argentine enthused passion and say: The asado is family, friends and life in Argentina!
Because: The Bubble Argentina launched (www.thebubble.com.ar), and it’s where you should go for all your Argentina news — with a grain of salt.
I’m part of the team and will be writing a column/blog under the title Culture Shock Therapy and the first link above is my debut post. I have decided to start putting myself out there more in terms of challenging myself to publish more essays and personal narratives. I hope to avoid too much ombligo (navel) gazing, but you don’t know until you try, right?
Women excel as private bankers managing money for the wealthy in Asia, where they outnumber men in the profession by 3 to 2
Because: A good friend of mine is currently churning out a dissertation about whether more were women involved in the US financial sector would have prevented the recent economic collapse. As someone who references Kristof and WuDunn’s Half the Sky regularly, I find studies/research/theories on the subject of women’s involvement in and consequential influence on certain industries and sectors, particularly finance and politics, fascinating.
Because: I think why I gravitate toward travel writing is because when it is done well (and I’m getting aspirational here) it touches on it all: culture, food, history, relationships, the micro and the macro. I think you can swap the words food and travel on either side of that and it holds true.
That is something Anthony Bourdain understands, and it is how he works.
Because: This is a beautifully written, raw love story, and one of my good guy friends is a key player. Other than feeling like an insider because I know the subject’s true identity, I love this because I think it so astutely depicts that high school to college relationship that never really starts, never really ends and is rife with “what if’s..?” We all have them.
“To this day Floridians keep trying to turn swampland into real estate, then act surprised when they sink in the muck. If we took the trouble to understand the past, we might stop building our lives on top of sinkholes.”—
Because: Since learning truths outside of the simplified elementary school education on conquest and discovery we get in the US, I’ve found it unsettling to commemorate holidays such as Columbus Day, and even more so when people in Latin America do so. Florida was a big part of all that Spanish vs. native battling and bloodshed, which I also often forget. The Sunshine State after all might be the most fitting representation we have of the good, the bad, and the ugly of the American Dream.
Because: I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about one way returning to the city where I lived and studied in college and that, as cliche as it sounds, changed the path of my life—or at least the foreseeable future.
Because: One of my favorite sub-genres on this blog, which developed organically, is blogging articles related to inspirational things my friends are doing. Here are two of the latest, which both happen to be thanks to Forbes:
Accelerating Film: Mixing Business and Art (Michelle Soffen, you rock.)
Moneyball For Music: The Rise of Next Big Sound (Alex White, you rock.)
2. I am thrilled mainstream media is covering this, and it didn’t even take Nick Kristof for it to happen. I also like that Mashable covered this, because technology comes in many forms other than new apps.
(2a. There need to be more Nick Kristof-style journalists in the world, and I hope to one day do my part to even try to contribute to and better the world the way he does.)
3. I look forward to seeing what this boy does in the rest of the life.
Because: I am very fortunate to have some pretty lucky flight benefits for the coming year, but the catch is that I always have to fly standby. It’s an interesting change that has somehow made me more calm about travel than before, when I was a fully ticketed passenger. I am not sure how that works, but it was flexibility I needed to adopt anyway.
I spent Wednesday night in Houston airport, unfortunately able to grab a seat on the flight I wanted to take back to Buenos Aires. Not even all paying passengers could get on, so I wasn’t going to wallow about my situation. That said, I had about six overnight hours until I could get out of there. Too short to leave and go too far, too long to just… sit there alone trying to keep my head from bobbing in a desolate airport. These suites are genius and exactly what I needed.
Because: I just returned from one whirlwind week of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, primarily Port of Spain. I hadn’t, at least knowingly, heard of Soca music before, but the high-energy, dance-friendly music is the soundtrack of Carnival and I couldn’t get enough of it. That’s fortunate, because it was playing everywhere, all the time.
Read the above article, or I recommend some Machel Montano or SuperBlue to get you in the mood. Take me back to the fetes and playing mas!
Because: This is so beautiful. The science and mathematics alive in nature, the philosophical contemplation it likely inspires, even the writing, animation and presentation. It’s so simple and beautiful.
“A little-known but robust line of research shows that there really is something deeply, weirdly meaningful about this period. It plays an outsize role in how we structure our expectations, stories, and memories. The basic finding is this: We remember more events from late adolescence and early adulthood than from any other stage of our lives. This phenomenon is called the reminiscence bump.”—
Because:It’s been a while since I navel-gazed and posted something related to 20-somethings, one of the themes that emerged on this blog.
What’s that people say, that one year in your 20s is worth X amount more that one year in any other decade? I think by the time we all are turning 30 we will be extending that. Also, I consider that mentality is a distorted extrapolation of research this article presents. No decade should be worth any more or less in my opinion. But that, of course, is up to each person and how they view and live it.
Because: Rio taking the number one spot is an obvious and excellent selection, for all the reasons given in the accompanying blurb. I have been twice now, including once for Carnaval last year, and cannot get enough of the city and Carioca spirit. Professional goal set: Attend the Rio 2014 Olympic Games as a correspondent for… someone.
But, the Falkland Islands? (Or, “the Malvinas,” to appease the Argentines reading.) I am unconvinced about that choice when fewer than 50 places across all of Mother Earth earned the must-visit distinction. Considering my heritage and current place of residence I could be considered biased, but at least include more Latin American destinations — only four are represented — if you’re going to include the Falklands on what is already a Europe-heavy list.
Because: When I learned of what had happened at Sandy Hook, all I could think and say was, “Why?!” and “Why do this only happen in the U.S.?!” These twisted, inexplicable one-off tragedies do not transpire nearly as frequently or inflict such devastation around the world as in the U.S., and that is a fact. After Aurora, I had friends in Argentina asking me honestly and openly, wanting to understand, “Why does this happen in your country?” I had never looked at it that way, from outside the country. But really, what is happening here?
I do not think this can be answered simply and clearly, but I think Kristof’s article explains a lot of it. Gun regulation needs to happen, period. People can purchase guns without background checks through a loophole?! It’s appalling to me this is even still up for debate.
I do think, as well, we as a society also need to have a conversation about mental health and how we treat the subject. De-stigmatizing mental health, for example, is something Argentina has achieved. (Here is a prior post about it.)
Because: I eat a grapefruit every day and find the original attack article just silly. The fruit is packed with nutrients and has been considered a weight loss booster for decades. Also, grapefruit mixes deliciously in drinks.
Because: The first link is to a blog post from one “Bianca Fernet” (pseudonym) who happens to be a whip-smart economist, U.S. transplant and a good friend of mine here in Buenos Aires. The second is to an article from Felix Salmon. Both explain simply and clearly what is going on in Argentine economics and politics these days, albeit by focusing on different subjects.
Living in a comparatively tumultuous and unpredictable country, constantly working to grasp at least a basic understanding on everything going on has taught me more about economics than I ever learned sitting in a classroom in the U.S.
Because: This photo is utterly unnerving, and the discussion it has generated about journalism ethics shakes me. It is said that journalists cannot be objective observers of a story or event if they become involved or influence it in any way, that they forgo that prized objectivity if they step in somehow. I don’t think I could handle not trying to do something if the subject weighed on my moral conscience, no matter how important the story was. Long ago, though, I accepted I probably am not tough enough for certain kinds of journalism.
I often think about this, too, the suicide of a Pulitzer-winning photojournalist.
“You never listen” is not just the complaint of a problematic relationship, it has also become an epidemic in a world that is exchanging convenience for content, speed for meaning. The richness of life doesn’t lie in the loudness and the beat, but in the timbres and the variations that you can discern if you simply pay attention.”—The Science and Art of Listening
Because: I have a handful of friends who are excellent listeners. They maintain eye contact when you talk to them, they nod and chime in at all the right times and it is almost as though you can see them mentally processing what you are saying. It really is something to have someone’s undivided attention these days.
I will be the first to say people often are not getting it from me, because even though I admire how these friends I mentioned listen and want to emulate it, I let myself get too easily distracted. It feels good to know someone is really listening to you, though. If I deserve that with all of my inane stories and issues du jour, then I definitely should be able to give that to everyone else.
Because: Thanksgiving, hands down, is my favorite holiday. I love the comparative simplicity of the holiday, what it represents and that they key ingredients are family, friends, food and active appreciation.
My first Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires my roommates and I hosted a potluck and handled the turkey, cooking it at “one, two or three squiggly lines,” the only temperature options on our antiquated stove. I spent five hot hours that day running around the city searching for a turkey thermometer, which apparently do not exist here. No one became sick, except maybe from eating too much, and it was a success. Last year I attended this huge potluck-style dinner, where the host, an older US “expat” rented out a community center, took care of the turkey and hundreds of people feasted and gave thanks under portraits of Argentine icons like Eva Peron. I then went on a weekend beach trip two days later.