Flowers and cake for the birthday girl.
Day 13 of our journey is also known as May 16th, or the first day that Korea rebelled against Japan. It is also the day that our wonderful Superblogwoman, Hannah Cho was born, believe it or not. On that fated day, 44 years ago, a very ambitious and intelligent woman was born to go make her mark on the world. She has done no less as is evidenced in this blog (man, can’t you tell that I am writing this as if she is reading over my shoulder). But you must take care of “big sister” when she holds the fate of your ignorant American life in her translational skills. By this point, I am comfortable knowing that she isn’t telling the police that I am a zealot attempting to overthrow the government or telling taxi drivers what I jokingly said about their mothers.
She is giving good Spanglish mediation, and I appreciate it. So I hope she has a wonderful birthday (if you are reading this in blogland, you better had told her already, or else…). And as a side note, her father remembered that it was Korean Rebellion Day, but not her birthday, and she forgave him, so it is not too late!!
El Ateneo bookstore, a beatiful Opera House made over
Hannah’s birthday started off just like any other birthday…waking up. After me and Brandon talked the governor into releasing 220 doves from the basement of our apartment complex to commemorate Hannah’s 22nd birthday, he said that he would do it at 10am sharp.
And wouldn’t you know it; we all woke up right at 10:15 (The neighbors told me it was beautiful though). Thus, me and Brandon had to find another way to make our gracious host feel special. We plotted and planned a little more and decided to take advantage of the millions of bakeries and flower shops around the city. We wanted to surprise Hannah, and she missed our Dove/Love exhibition, so we had to get her out of the house. Luckily, before the trip, I planned on making sure that I ran out of every article of clothing I could possibly wear at just the right time, thus making it imperative that we do laundry on her birthday. I call it Operation Wash or Die, cause if I didn’t find a Laundromat that day, we would have witnessed some ignorance that embodies the phrase, “drastic times call for drastic measures.
Miss Hannah The Cho herself with her gifts
” Wash or Die days come right after the “I hope I don’t die today so the ambulance doesn’t see what I have on under this” days that your mother warned you about. It was that serious. So we set off around neighboring blocks asking where we could wash while Brandon stayed behind to get the goods. The cleaning assistant for the apartment comes on Wednesday (I never did nor will be comfortable saying maid…conjures up bad memories of servitude for me and I feel guilty when someone is doing something I feel I should be), and she told us of where we could go. We walked there, and it was indeed a lavadera (Spanish word that I butchered countless times beyond belief, I think this makes me legally retarded), but it was an automatic service where you drop off your clothes and come back. But me and Hannah are too independent for that, so we asked for a Do it Yourself, Bob Villa type of place. We got directions and went, and it was another automatic Laundromat. That happened to us about 6 more times (literally), and I was nearly convinced that I was in the Twilight Zone, or everyone in Argentina was filthy rich, but Hannah assured me that there was a place near where she stayed last year when she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, so we kept looking. After about another thirty minutes we found the place, and the same lady worked there as last year, doing the upkeep with her husband, who likely owned it with her. Hannah was happy to see her and we finally got to do our thing (the woman was actually just like a Spanish version of George Castanza’s mother from Seinfeld, so you can imagine my happiness in seeing her too). After loading the clothes, we decided to grab lunch at a local café. The food was very good and we had a great conversation about making it another year in life and what we should not take for granted. Then we realized that our laundry was probably done washing, so we headed back and dried it. After feeling comfortable that I could now go to the emergency room without dying of embarrassment, we purchased some fruit from a fruit stand and headed home.
Our Locos Sports bar staff wishing Hannah and Brendon Happy Birthday's
Upon our arrival, there were beautiful flowers and a cake on the table. Upon further search, there was ice cream in the freezer as well. Hannah spoke of being emotional and touched (spiritually, of course), and then insulted both me and Brandon by alluding to the fact that Brandon’s girlfriend had something to do with the planning. She asked if she “put us up to this” like men lack the mental capacity to walk inside of a bakery and actually order something for someone else. I felt so sexually profiled a piece of me died on the inside. I remembered old days of gross sexism where men were stereotyped to be animals, capable of nothing more than drinking beer and watching Sportscenter, which we all know is far from the truth. After chastising Hannah for her insults of us, we took pictures of the birthday girl with her gifts and plotted our next move. I had a new obsession with an Argentina soccer jacket that I had seen around the city, so we went back to Alto Palermo Mall and canvassed the scene only to be dismayed by extremely high prices (again, acting like they went down since the last time we were there), and we went to the bookstore instead. Hannah had told me of the “El Ateneo” bookstore that was housed in an old opera house and how beautiful it was, but I assumed the descriptions she used were hyperbole, encouraged by her nerdy love of all things written and numbered. However, the bookstore was breathtaking. It was the most beautiful bookstore I had ever seen, and it wasn’t long before I was running around spending all my money on gift books that I couldn’t read cause they were definitely in Spanish. Why not give a gift book that someone else can spend time not reading? It makes sense to me too. Well, we chilled at the bookstore for a while, and after entertaining the cashier with my poor speaking skills, we headed back to the house to prepare for the night. We planned to meet Deona and the other two graduate students and then go to the Locos sports bar that we had grown so fond of.
Upon arrival at Locos, we sat and discussed how the bar gave us a feeling of home, and then one of the grad students with Deona named Brandon went on a 15 minute tirade about how he is sick of how they watch soccer everywhere and how he has to watch 45 minutes of Sportscenter before hearing anything about basketball or baseball. I guess he somehow forgot that we were in South America, and that soccer is king everywhere out the US, but I give some people too much credit sometimes. After secretly plotting to have him jumped in the alley for his blasphemy and American arrogance, I called off the dogs and decided to just let it go. It was Hannah’s day, and I didn’t want to ruin it (oh yeah, it was his birthday too, another reason to cancel the hit). So I just smiled and waved, like those angry penguins in the Cartoon movie Madagascar, and we all ate and made merry. Plenty of beer was drunken (hope my English teacher isn’t reading this) and chicken devoured over the next couple of hours, and then our very animated waiter Leo said that he could bring us a free piece of cake for the birthdays. Our waiter rallied the troops and gave us a very “interesting” rendition of Happy Birthday. Deona then tried to teach them the Stevie Wonder version, which was another very entertaining experience (where is youtube when you need it). The fact that they didn’t even know English will not stop Deona from teaching you an entirely new composition, again in a foreign language, and expecting you to pick it up instantaneously. I guess her high expectations do more good than harm. We all shared the extremely rich chocolate and caramel cake, and after splitting diabetes six ways evenly, we decided to make more moves. Now in the blog world, we went home and played bridge and talked about how wonderful our lives were when not spending $3.50 on a gallon of gas. However, our waiter emphatically told us about what we could do in another, more realistic world that doesn’t intersect with the blog world. We had a decision to make, and fast. So, with the Buenos Aires nightlife, drunken ignorance, and new Latin experiences staring us right in the face, we opted for the bridge game and went to sleep feeling like we did something to better the world. Another birthday had come and gone, and Hannah was happy, making me comfortable saying, Mission Accomplished. (The blog above is based on a true story. Any exaggerations or omissions were a result of an imperfect memory or an attempt to protect the innocent. For an alternate ending to this saga, please contact me to purchase rights to the “My Life as Hannah Cho” story and we can work something out. All rights reserved. Holla back. Peace.)