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Monday, April 26, 2010

Room 2 Roam

Main Entry: 1space
Pronunciation: \ˈspās\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French espace, space, from Latin spatium area, room, interval of space or time
Date: 14th century
1 : a period of time; also : its duration
2 a : a limited extent in one, two, or three dimensions : distance, area,volume b : an extent set apart or available c : the distance from other people or things that a person needs in order to remain comfortable

That is what the Merriam webster dictionary defines as "space". I really like the wording used for the definition here for "space" as being the distance from other people or things that a person needs in order to remain comfortable. For most of the world, having space is a luxury and Argentina is no exception. Living there, you quickly get used to being packed into a train or a sub. A majority of the time it gets to be so crammed that you find your body pressed up so close against the person beside you that you can literally count their eyelashes.

Space is also a quite a commodity in the homes of most people. The family I visited for Christmas a had a 2 bedroom house that was about 1000 sq feet and had 6 people living in the house. 4 of the kids shared a room which had two bunk beds and the parents took the other room. Another person that I knew lived in 500 sq foot apartment. There was one main room with a kitchen, tv, dining table and a few amenities. And on the other side of the room there were 3 beds that she and her sisters shared. They basically lived all in that one room. This is very normal for Argentines, especially in Buenos Aires where the cost of living is alot higher than other cities and provinces.

I myself am having a very interesting time in the area of setting up accomodation. At this current moment I am planning my second trip and one of the areas that I am working on setting up is my accomodations. At first I started to plan to rent a furnished apartment for $650 that comes with everything. It would just be me in that apartment. But as I started to delve deeper, I began to open myself up to the idea of sharing space with someone. And the more I chatted with people, the more I realized that this was the norm for people who are living, working, and studying in the city. Alot of people share space to save money and also enjoy the companionship of another person.

When people ask me what Argentines are like, I always find that I'm at a loss for words. But one way I've found of describing Argentines to people is by telling them that Argentines are alot like Europeans that aren't too concerned about space or hygiene. And by that comment (the part about the hygiene), I 'm not saying that Argentines are dirty people who don't take care of themselves. What I mean is that certain things that would bother people here don't bother people in Argentina. They wouldn't blink an eye over things like like finding that there is no toilet paper in the bathroom or sharing from the same cup or bottle with multiple people in a group.

Often times in these countries with less space, people find creative ways to make room 2 roam. From living amongst the Argentines, I must say that these people have got quite a talent for making something out of virtually nothing. But people's ability creatively create space in crowded cities isn't just limited to the people of Argentina. Here is how one young architect transformed the one room in his apartment into a 24 room luxury suite in the middle of Hong Kong.....

Tango 2 the Moon

Rocket Spanish

As some of you know, I used Rocket Spanish as one of the programs to help me learn spanish. I can personally swear by this program that it works and it is because of Rocket Spanish that I was able to learn spanish that was advanced enough to actually get by living in Argentina for 6 months. And the best part is that my spanish got advanced enough to be able to make friends, talk about politics, religion, spirituality, art, life and culture. Rocket Spanish has 3 levels that you can purchase. You choose what you want depending on what your needs are. But even the level 1 package will get you far beyond the level of the average spanish program. By the end of it, you'll be able to talk about yourself a little bit and tell people what your hopes, dreams, and future goals.

What I love about Rocket Spanish is that even after I finished the courses, the support doesn't stop there. I can follow Rocket Spanish through twitter, facebook, and their blogsite. The creator and host of Rocket Spanish's name is Mauricio and he regularly tweets and blogs and offers all kinds of resource and support for language learners. Even if you haven't bought Rocket Spanish there are still all kinds of neat articles, tips and tricks that are being shared all the time. Recently he wrote an article on Argentina which I found not only to be interesting but accurate as well. Take the time to read what Mauricio has to say about Argentina and for those of you who are interested in mastering spanish, I encourage you to seriously consider making Rocket Spanish a part of your program.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tango 2 the Moon

I am sitting here in front of my computer wondering "What in the world did I just do!"  Most people in the world would just be happy having one blog that they share amongst their closest friends. And of course they would be thrilled if they got the added bonus of  getting a big break and seeing their blog read by hundreds of people around the globe. You would think most people would stop there and just park on their success. Nobody would actually be crazy enough to start a 2nd blog site.....except me!

You're probably right in front of your computer thinking "WHAT!!!!"  Trust me when I tell you that I'm in front of my computer with question marks flying around my head at this very moment. But after reading this article, you'll understand a little bit more to why I felt the need to create a 2nd blogsite. As well I'll share with you the purpose for the 2nd blogsite.

After being in the blogging world for sometime now and spreading my wings as a writer, there were many times that I wanted to write something on "Making the Same Difference" but I felt that what I had to say wouldn't fit in with that site. As you can see, all my articles on there are very polished, professional, well edited and often with media attached to it. It is because I am writing for a global audience that is looking for a certain standard.

But the truth is that there are many styles of writing and have sometimes lots more to say and share but it isn't in a format that is right for "Making the Same Difference"  I needed a space where my fans and readers can go to if they were in the mood for something more personal and informal.  So I spent some time this afternoon doing some creative problem solving and it is with great pride that I present to you my 2nd blogsite "Tango 2 the Moon"

This 2nd blogsite is going to be seperate from "Making the Same Difference" but rather it's meant to complement my first blogsite by exposinng my readers to another style of writing.  And it is a place where i can be a little more random and informal with my fans. It is here that you're going to read about the spontaneous, surprising moments that life holds.

For those of you who love the site "Making the Same Difference", coming here and reading my journal entries will actually help you see where some of my blogs on "Making the Same Difference" are coming from. Because I can't put my random thoughts and journal entries on that site but I can put them here. And from reading my journal entries, you'll see the beginnings of a potential blog that gets published on "Making the Same Difference".

Think of "Making the Same Difference" as the stage and "Tango 2 the Moon" is the backroom where we can hang out and find out  the inside scoop on my life as well as my thoughts and feelings on some of my blogs that I've written on "Making the Same Difference"  As well this would be a great place for you to give me your feedback on the blogs you read on "Making the Same Difference"

My fans mean the world to me. I know everyone says that but I really want to show it with actions instead of words. There have been several moments over the past few months where I got feedback from people that told me "That article touched me". And there was something about that article that did something inside that person. The words I had written pierced through them and they weren't quite the same after that moment.

To kick off this new blogsite, I am going post every single blog where someone has told me that it moved them and those words did something inside of them.  You know exactly who you are and if you've made a comment about a blog that was special to you either through email or through "Making the Same Difference", that blog is here. And if some of you out there want to share with me if a particular blog has stirred you, let me know and I will put in on here.

Well the coffee is brewed, the table is set with sweets and goodies, the welcome mat has been placed out. We are eagerly anticipating your arrival as our guest of honor at "Tango 2 the Moon"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sesame Street goes Google

This morning I hit jackpot when I was skimming over videos, images, articles, and news items that could potentially make a great theme for my blog post. It appears that I'm not the only one who feels the need to keep current with the times, apparently our friends on Sesame Street have been adopting some of our modern day trends.  Elmo has in own iphone app, several characters have appeared as google logos and you can follow the sesame street characters on twitter (I am REALLY curious to what those tweets would look like.....especially for characters like "the count" and "oscar the grouch")  But my favorite of all was a "google search" commercial which was a parody that featured "google searches" done by Cookie Monster and Bert.  I showed it to my friend and it gave her a really good giggle to start her day.

Recent studies show that people who laugh actually live longer and the act of laughing itself releases chemicals and endorphins that are medically proven to contribute to health, wellness and longevity.  If you haven't laughed in awhile, I hope that the sound of laughter fills the air as you watch these spots as well as this bonus footage of the muppets doing their version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Axis Of Awesome - 4 Four Chord Song

The last 40 years have brought us many classic hits by great artists. Some were "one hit wonders" while other artists went on to greatness. At times I've wondered if all these major recording artists had a secret formula they used to ensure that they songs would have success. Well it appears that this group, Axis of Awesome has a little bit of a theory of their own to what exactly makes a hit single.....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pickpocketed by an Octopus

Looks like this morning you're getting a two for one deal! I'm sure nobody's going to complain about getting more than one blogpost on the same day. But this time the blogpost will be more lighthearted, humorous and informative as opposed to deep and thought provoking like the other first one was. I like to make sure my blogs have plenty of variety :)

Anyway, there was a funny moment that happnened yesterday when I was at my friends house.  Because she is from Mexico and therefore latino, there are some similarities with the culture of Mexico and with South and Central America. She was explaining to the other people who were at the party that in Mexico, there are food stands 24/7. You can wake up in the middle of the night, walk out of your house and there will be somewhere open where you can go in and eat.  Just like in Argentina as well as the whole of South and Central America.

I jokingly said that you can certainly do that in those countries, although getting up and going for food during those kinds of hours might increase your chances of getting robbed. Everyone laughed and unfortunately there is a little bit of truth to my joke. Now, don't get me wrong, Buenos Aires is not dangerous but it is a big city just like any other big city. I could probably go to grab something to eat in the wee hours of the morning and there would be a 75% chance that I'm not going to get robbed.

But I want to use this blog today to give some precautions to those who may be thinking of going to Buenos Aires as well as other places in Latin America. Some of you reading this may have read extensively on taking precautions in these countries so nothing I'm going to say to you is going to be new. However, there are others of you to whom this info will be all new to you. And I'm glad you're reading this, the info could spare you from getting into alot of trouble.

A very important rule of thumb is to not try to look like you have deep pockets or that you could possibly be loaded.  Hidden amongst the many people that crowd the busy streets are pickpockets and thieves and they are looking for easy targets, people who are ignorant and have not taken any safety precautions.  Things like holding up an iphone and talking on it or carrying your laptop in a case for it increase your chances of being robbed because you are making it known to everyone that you have pricey electronics.

 When you are in a cafe or a restaurant, the general recommendation is not to hang your bag loose on a chair where someone can take it. And don't go to the washroom and just leaving it open and hanging there. Now I do want to add a note here that this depends on where you are in Buenos Aires and which restaurant and cafe. There have been times where I have been able to hang my bag on a chair but in those cases, I was eating inside a restaurant with almost no one in it in a safe part of town, so it was pretty obvious that nothing was going to happen. So what I will tell you is be discretionary. Always follow your instincts and when in doubt, play on the safe side. And NEVER leave your laptop sitting there and go to the washroom, no matter where you are.

The other really important thing is how you wear your bag. For me, I have a bag that slings right over my body. So a thief couldn't grab it without taking me with them! It is better to wear something that slings over your whole body as opposed to wearing something that hangs on your shoulder. Because someone can grab it before you even realize it is gone. Backpacks are a good idea but wear your backpack in the front of your body, not slung over your back like the way we normally do here. This may look strange in this culture but trust me when I say everyone does it over there and wearing your backpack in front of you actually is quite a normal thing to do. And a safe one too, people who want to rob you find it much easier to grab your backpack from behind.  The chances of someone trying to grab your backpack if you wear it in the front are almost next to nothing.

 But occasionally there are incidents where people will take something from you no matter what, even if they have to use a weapon. If you are ever in a situation where someone has a weapon, give them what they want and don't put up a fight. Because they WILL use it if you don't comply in those countries. All they want is your things, nothing more. And no amount of things are worth fighting or possibly losing your life over :)

OK, I know that the last few paragraphs have been quite serious. But think of it this way, reading this info will prevent a much more serious situation from happening.  And I did promise that there would be some light-hearted and humorous parts to this blog and seeing as you've been so good sitting through me telling you about all the precautions you need to take.  You all may be well informed on how not to get robbed while in Latin America but what do you do when you've been pickpocketed underwater when you're deep below the ocean's surface? One diver found out......

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The Newness of Old Friends

Hope all of you are having a happy Sunday. I know I am. In fact, I'm not just having a happy Sunday but I've had a happy few weeks. Last nite I went to a dinner at the house of a very old friend of mine. She was hosting an evening for someone we knew who had gone to the Philipines to do mission work. I had the time of my life seeing the life she has now. She is one of those friends that i spent a considerable amount of time with 13 years ago for a season. During that time, she didn't have alot of money so I would sometimes take her out and treat her. On her 27th birthday it was really special. I took her out to get photos at Sears with her young daughter. In their house at that time there weren't any happy pictures in her home. So those pictures from sears were the first ones that showed them together, happy and smiling.  Then I took her out for Chinese food at an amazing restaurant in Victoria called Sampan.

So anyway, life happens and due to a bunch of circumstances, both of us get busy and fall out of contact. She gets remarried and starts a new life and I went on my own journey and we don't see each other for about 12 years. But the higher powers in our world have a way of connecting people that they want to see connected and it was a week or two ago when I was coming back from a meeting i had in town that we bumped into each other in front of Thrifty foods. The moment she saw me, her eyes just went wide. Like someone you've been longing for a LONG time.

And even better, this time when I opened my mouth, spanish flew out. She is from Mexico and she could not believe it that i could just stand there and talk to her in her own native tongue. After briefly chatting, we exchanged contact info and I got in touch with her later. We made a date to get together and to my surprise, this time she would be treating me. 10 years ago I was the one who had plenty of extra cash while she had to spare anything she got. Now the tables have turned and I was the one who was trying to spare all my pennies just having come back from Argentina and she was the one who was treating me and giving me things that I did not have money for. Funny how life works?

After our afternoon together, she invites me to this party she was having at her place.  I couldn't resist the chance to spend time with her and she the new life she has so I enthusiastically told her "YES!"  And what a pleasure it was to reconnect and see her happily married with more kids, a dog, living in a lovely home and having the best of life.  But the most memorable part of the afternoon was when she told me an interesting little story about the photos that I had bought for her at Sears.

A year or so later after we took those photos, a friend of hers was visiting their home. And he saw the picture of her and her daughter, happy and smiling.  And something about seeing that picture sparked in him an interest in him about this family. And that interest would turn into a romance and romance would lead to marriage the man who is now her husband to whom they have a very happy life together.  And it all began with one tiny moment when he took a brief glance at the photos during a simple visit.....

I hope you love that story just as much as I do.  It really warmed me on the inside to see how things I did for someone that I thought would be just a nice simple gesture, nothing more were actually pieces in a much bigger puzzle. And everything that happened to me and her, during the years we were seperated were meant to be as well. She grew and became self actualized and I so did I. And when we came back together after 10 years, it was an entirely new relationship. And this time, our friendship was even in another language! Ahhhhh.......nothing like the newness of old friends :)

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"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, it is the true source of art, science, and friendship."
- Albert Einstien

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Circle of Life

Festival of the Lion King - Circle of LifeImage by DazzlingDigital via Flickr

The Lion King - Circle Of Life Lyrics

[MS: Male Singer]
[BS: Background Singer]
[FS: Female Singer (lead)]

[MS:] Nants ingonyama bagithi baba [There comes a lion]
[BS:] Sithi uhhmm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]
[MS:] Nants ingonyama bagithi baba [There comes a lion]
[BS:] Sithi uhhmm ingonyama [Oh yes, it's a lion]
[MS:] Siyo Nqoba [We're going to conquer]
[BS:] Ingonyama
Ingonyama nengw' enamabaal [It's a lion and a tiger]
[repeats 5]
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Se-to-kwa!)
Ingonyama nengw' enamabala (Asana)
[repeats 1]
[FS:] From the day we arrive on the planet
And, blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round
It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life
[FS:] It's The Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life

You know, sometimes inspirations for a blog come out of the funniest time and places. Tonight I was simply looking for another song to add to the playlist that is on the website. I had a few ideas in my head for song choices, one of them being "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King". So I went to check out a few videos and...........BOOM! There was my inspiration for my very next blog. Not only did I find what I wanted, but I also found a couple of amazing performances of "The Circle of Life". As well, watching the performances brought me back to one of my favorite childhood memories of being able to go see "The Lion King" on stage in London.  I was brought up on musicals and there is no doubt in my mind that "The Lion King" live on stage in London was my favorite.

If you ever get a chance to, you have to see this musical at least once in your life. They have a stage that actually moves where stuff can come out from the floor. And the costumes are spectacular, I've never seen anything like it.  The opening number "The Circle of Life" is one of the high points in the musical and it is something that stays in your mind for a long time.  I hope that I sometime in my life, I get to see the musical again.

But while I was searching through performances of "The Circle of Life", there was one performance that caught my eye.  Remember how I wrote a blog earlier about Jennifer Hudson's life. Well I discovered a video of her performing "Circle of Life" on American Idol so many years ago.  How did she do?  Well how about you be the judge of that?  I've put the video of the performance right here so you can decide for yourself. All I can say is that I have no doubt that anyone who can belt out a performance like that is destined for greatness.  And although she didn't win American Idol, Jennifer Hudson would not disappoint us in the days and years to come after that awesome performance.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

A "pet's eye-view" of the ipad

The ipad.......the mere mention of the word brings up a whole range of opinions, speculation,  and   debates. I was in Argentina when the whole announcement broke out and it was funny that although I was in a country that couldn't care less about the latest greatest thing, I still felt a pull towards this mysterious device that apple was so proudly unveiling. And it's interesting because I have friends on both sides, ones that think that it's a joke and others who cannot wait to get their hands on it. The really interesting thing is that the people who are giving me the whole "It's nothing but a big iphone" talk are the ones who are computer nerds like me and are quite familiar with all the comings and goings and the ins and outs of newest trends when it comes to technology and communication.

As for me, I'm kind of in the middle. I started off on a total buzz like everyone else when it first came out but I do feel myself sliding towards the other side of the camp and have begun to wonder if the ipad is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  But what I be honest and say that in the coming months after it's international release, I don't think I'll be able to walk by an Apple store without going inside and having some "bonding time" with the demo in the store :)

But with all the debate that's been going on about the device, there's been one member of society and of our homes that hasn't been able to voice their opinions about the ipad until now............our pets.  But it looks like some really dedicated owners have taken the initiative to try and introduce their beloved pooch or pussy cat to the ipad as a new family member. With all the debates and points of view that is being shared, I think that these videos give us a refreshing break from the whole argument as we get a "pets-eye view" of the ipad.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Good Things Come in Threes

It's not often that you get a week where you get to celebrate several launches, successes and public recognition of more than one project at the same time. I hope all of you have been calling in and requesting Santa Clara's new single "Save Me" that hit radio waves April 12th. Here at "Making the Same Difference" we are all about celebrating launches, success, and recognition in the lives of hardworking individuals. And today, I'm having a celebration of my own.

I mentioned earlier that I came across a website called Lexiophiles It is a website dedicated to love of words, languages, and cultures. On their website, they were requesting guest writers to contribute pieces. So I sent two articles that I have written. Both articles can be found on the very top of the blogsite. One article I sent was called "Language Learning Lab" and the other was called "Cultural Quirks". Someone got back to me and said they loved both articles and they want to publish both of them at one point. Seeing as they could only publish one at a time, they would like to start by publishing "Cultural Quirks" on their website for April 15th.

I was simply delighted and gave them the go ahead. So as of today, you should be able to go onto Lexiophiles and check out the publication of my article. Or you could always click onto the link to the article at the top of this blogsite. Either way, I think you'll find it an interesting read. And I will certainly be sure to let you know when they've decided to publish the other article "Language Learning Lab".

But good things come in threes so while I am on the note of celebrating the projects people have done, I would like to highlight to you a cool project done by one of my tango teachers down in Buenos Aires. I wrote a blog awhile back about Carlos & Alison, a tango couple that I took private lessons from. Tango is just one of the many talents that this couple has and they are successful in many different ways both as an individual and as a couple. Alison is actually a filmmaker and while I was on Youtube looking for a good example of a video to post on this site, I stumbled across the trailer of a documentary that Alison made entitled "The Caprichosos de San Telmo". It's about the ghetto communities of Buenos Aires and something called "Murga" a dance started by African slaves that is done to the rhythm of colonial drums. They beat of the music together with the dancers brings people together in unity and ignites the heart and soul of the community.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day 15 - Chileans Make Good Friends

The last video we ever saw from Andy was the video he made to let everyone know that he was OK after the Chilean earthquake. At that time, they were in Ushuaia, a province all the way at the southern end of Argentina in patagonia. I hope to make it one day there myself. So what happened to them after that? Well, they drove all the way to Buenos Aires where I spent two lovely days catching up with them and showing them around. They were remarkably impressed with the city and I could see it in their eyes that they definitely wanted to come back.

Andy of course did some filming while all of us were together in the city. And those will be featured on an upcoming blog as soon as Andy has edited it and made it available on his channel on youtube. To those who like Andy's videos and want to see more, he has his own channel on Youtube called "strugsnotdrugs". But if you find yourself becoming a big fan of Andy, there's an even easier way to access all his footage. I added a toolbar that pops up when people click on to my website. On it there is a Youtube symbol. Click on that symbol and you'll find yourself in a whole gallery of Andy's stuff.

After they left Buenos Aires, they drove back to Santiago Chile to sell the car and then the plan was for all of them to go off to Brazil together. But due to some visa problems with those of them in the group that had a Canadian passport, they found out that they wouldn't be able to enter into Rio de Janeiro togethers as planned. So instead of sharing one adventure together, it worked out that there would be two. The others went on to Lima, Peru while Andy Spandy would find himself going solo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil....

We had a lovely day with Gabi and her family again in Concepcion. Gabi's university was so neat to walk through. We also crossed the lagoon on the train, and played Scrabble with the family - haha. We love you guys! Take care.

Our thoughts and prayers have been with friends and the people affected by Chile's recent earthquake. It hits home that we were in Concepcion only a few weeks ago. It is a lovely city to be in, and I hope they recover quickly from the devastation there.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Lego Artisan Creates Endangered Species for Zoo

As you all know, I am constantly surfing through the net trying to bring to you the very best of art, video, images, and entertainment. And I am extremely selective about what I'm going to send to post on my blogsite. Alot of things I see either fail to impress me or aren't appropriate for the blogsite that I am running.

But every so often I find something that strikes a cord close to my heart and i find myself here in front of my laptop again posting a blog of something that has left a lasting impression on my mind. The story is about how the Philadelphia Zoo has a new exhibit featuring 34 endangered species of animals all made out of none other than................LEGO!!!!!!!!

Yes, you heard me right! L.E.G.O. You know that plastic stuff that you played with as a kid. Someone had the ingenius idea to take those same lego pieces and create an exhibit that would promote awareness on the theme of endangered species.

It never ceases to amaze me how people are able to take the simplest things and create something amazing out of it and use it to send a message to the world. Stuff like this is truly worth taking a "selah" (the word means "pause and wait" in ancient hebrew) moment :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

FIFA World Cup Qualifers- Argentina vs Peru

Fútbol........that word is almost sacred to Argentine culture. I haven't really touched on that subject in my blogs simply because I am not a sports fan. But even to someone who isn't a sports fanatic, their love and passion for the game is obvious when you walk into restaurants and there will be several T.V.'s suspended from the ceiling airing some game that is currently happening. And you can be sure that there is still no lapse in news coverage in the comings and goings of Diego Maradona.  In fact, Argentines take the sport so seriously that they are incorporating 2 hrs of watching fútbol into the curriculum at schools.  Today's lesson in Argentina? Watching World Cup - Yahoo! Canada News

In my early days in Argentina, there was a very important match between Argentina and Peru at the Bombonera stadium in La Boca. This particular match was actually a qualifier for the FIFA World Cup so the stakes were really high! There were a few guys from my residence that decided to go and got tickets to see the match. On the day of the match in rained heavily and all the onlookers, fans and supporters were soaked. But everybody that day was held in total suspense as they watched the game so nobody cared. You see, Peru and Argentina were tied even throughout the majority of the match. Then two minutes before the game ends, Argentina scores. The crowd went crazy and totally soaked, the fans screamed, cheered, danced for joyed and hugged each other. Maradona himself did a belly flop onto the grass as you'll see in the video.

A fan of Intependiente climbs onto the fence as confetti is thrown on the field before their Argentine First Division soccer match against San Lorenzo de Almagro in Avellaneda, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, April 10, 2010. 

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Saturday, April 10, 2010

6 Degrees of Participation

6 Degrees of Participation. That's what the theme of this blog is today.  Being almost on the eve of the release of Santa Clara's new single "Save Me" onto radio waves April 12, you can feel the sense of excitement and anticipation in the air.  Have you ever wondered if calling in can make a difference in such a competitive industry? Well let me tell you this story that happened fairly recently. Some of you may be familiar with the band "Delirious", a Christian rock group that will go down in history for redefining Christian music as well as being able to attract mainstream audiences. They were the first Christian rock group to win the respect of those within the industry to the point that during their career, they got to open for artists like Bon Jovi and Bryan Adams and so much more.....

On Nov 29th, they did their last ever concert on stage after an announcement that that after 17 years each of them would be going in different directions. Though they accomplished much in their career and impressed many, they never had a single that actually made it into the UK's ultimate mainstream charts, that being Radio 1. A couple of weeks before Easter, some fans came up with some crazy idea to start downloading "History Maker" to see if they could get it on the charts.

The funny thing about ideas is that that often times they get pretty contagious. And they can get not only contagious but infectious when a bunch of people say "I'm in...let's do it! Let's get an inspiring song on the charts" So all these crazy Christians in the UK started aggressively downloading it as part of the campaign to get this one song on the charts for easter. Could they do it? Could they do something to mark the career of Delirious 4 months after their career was officially over. The results speak for themselves  Martin Smith, the leader of the band was beyond impressed and had some interesting words to say about the whole campaign. You can read it here and for your info, the song "History Maker" is one of the songs on the playlist I have on the blogsite.

I really wish I could have been part of that campaign but unfortunately, only downloads from the itunes UK counted to get Delirious on the charts. Even though you or I (who live outside the UK) couldn't have participated in putting Delirious on the map, we can certainly participate in helping Santa Clara make a name for themselves here in Canada. We really can help shape the future of this amazingly talented band. The odds stacked against a band with no major music label and no history are very great.

But you and I can help them beat those odds! How? Just by calling into your local radio station and requesting "Save Me". How about getting involved in 6 degrees of participation? And no, this campaign is different than the one I described above. Their music is for the mainstream market and purely for entertainment. And by calling in , we can give this band a chance in a "dog-eat-dog" industry.

I certainly have witnessed personally what the power of individual support can do. It is YOUR visits to this site that put "Making the Same Difference" on the map. The blogging world is extremely competitive too and getting exposure is really difficult. But each one of your individual visits and support and encouragement caused this blogsite I created that I thought would be small and intimate and has taken it to a place where this site is being seen by people from all over the world and getting a wide degree of exposure.

Like I've stated earlier, the odds area against a band trying to make it in the music industry and a blog trying to make a name for itself in the blogging world with millions of other sites. But here we stand, both Santa Clara and I. Whether you've visited this site or called in to request their song, either way you've helped put us on the map and given us a fighting chance of actually making it. Thank you!

To begin shaping Santa Clara's history, go to their website for a list of radio stations in Canada that you can call into to request "Save Me". If you want to sample "Save Me", simply go to Remember that the official radio release of "Save Me" is April 12th And if you want to to go all the way from 6 degrees of participation to 1st degree participation, then you won't want to miss their show on May 1st where they will be playing down at "Sugar" here in Victoria BC along with the band "Armchair Cynics". You never know who you might see there Even though I'm making plans to go back to South America, I'm still trying to see if I can make it so I can be there. Tickets are available at the door or through "Lyle's Place". For more visit their fanpage on facebook

So 6 degrees of about it?

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Octopus vs. Sea Lion—First Ever Video

Published April 9, 2010

New National Geographic Crittercam footage shows never before seen eating habits of the Australian sea lion—including video of a sea lion hunting a large octopus. The footage is from a project intended to help save the endangered sea lions, in part by uncovering where and how the animals eat.

(The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)
© 2010 National Geographic

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ottawa Restaurants

Here at "Making The Same Difference", I know we have people that visit here from all across the globe. So I want to use this blogsite to highlight what I think are great opportunities to save money while travelling. Today I came across website that is an excellent reference point for great deals on food, drink, and entertainment in our nations beloved capital, Ottawa.  It's called "Specials Today" and you can get there simply by clicking on this link here Ottawa restaurants

   I don't know about you but I'm always finding myself planning my very next adventure. And if you're anything like me, you'll want to look ahead and get some idea of good places to go in the area for food, drink and entertainment.  I am fully impressed with the website and it's ease of use and how user friendly it is.  I can tell you personally that trying to familiarize yourself with a big city is never easy. But when you have great tools and resources to use while travelling, you just might find that those help towards making a big city somewhat smaller and manageble.

Ottawa restaurants

There are so many ways to use this one website! Looking for drink specials? will help save you time and money at some of Ottawa's best restaurants and bars.

Looking for a place to drink the first nite that you land there?  There is always discounts and coupons waiting for you to use anytime during your trip on

If you are planning your next trip to Ottawa or maybe you are already in Ottawa and are wanting to find specials on food, drink, and entertainment, then look no further! Check out when planning your next adventure to Ottawa.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Price is Right

It is not often that I come across a band with so much generosity.  As you all know, I am constantly promoting the boys of Santa Clara.  And my support of them isn't without good reason.  In a world where people are getting more consumed with money and the attitude of "Look out for #1" , it makes me feel warm on the inside to see people give the very best of themselves to others at a price that is so much less than what they are actually worth. And I myself live life with the exact same value and mindset and I find that more and more I'm surrounding myself with people who are doing the exact same thing.

For example, my friend Eduardo Saucedo down in Buenos Aires is a world renown tango master who's is much sought after as a teacher all over the world. When I was inquiring on taking private lessons with Eduardo, I was quoted a price of about $50 CDN for a private one on one.  Being quoted that amount really caught me off guard because getting the chance to learn from someone famous, he could easily set the price at so much more. And I've actually seen private tango lessons by tango teachers (who aren't tango masters nor are they well known) down in Buenos Aires who set the price of private lessons at $75 for an hour.  It even still amazes me that Eduardo does group classes twice a week for $7 CDN. If that isn't big hearted or generous, I don't know what is.

Eduardo's desire is to make good tango instruction available to as many people as possible and my desire is to make classes in english available to as many people as possible.  Private english instruction can goes for about 40-60 pesos per hour, a price that is inconceivable for a normal working class Argentinean.  Group classes in Buenos Aires for english instruction range in affordability. My friends tell me that there is a university in Buenos Aires that offers english instruction for what would be about $75 CDN a month. The size of the group is about 25 people so it is huge and there isn't alot of personal attention.

I feel a very deep sense of empathy with these people and my passion is to see them have a desire that burns deep within many of their hearts, the desire to speak english. For many of them, having no time or money, that dream seemed impossible. But as we speak, the staff at the college and I are working on developing high quality english instruction with me that would be at no cost to anyone who wants to enroll. I don't know on my end how it's going to work out with me having living expenses in that country. But as I've explained to my friends there and friends here that God is not going to send me to that country and that church and show me a problem that they have and a need that needs to be fulfilled and not give me the funds to live in the country and get things accomplished. I totally trust God to take care of all that I need now and all that I'm going to need right down to the last detail :)

The final example of generosity that never ceases to move me is with the boys of Santa Clara. In my eyes, the quality of music they are churning out is worth a million dollars but they've chosen to be people minded instead of money minded and are offering their debut album online for $1 only and if you only want a single, you can set the price. Yes, you heard what I said, you actually get one of those rare opportunities to set the price for any single that you choose if you only want one or two songs.  Having this kind of generosity, I can tell that the boys are going to go far in the music industry. So what are you waiting for? Click on the link that I am posting here and go download music worth millions for less than the price of a cup of coffee and a donut. The price is right!

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Grammys 2009 "You Pulled Me Through" by Jennifer Hudson

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 06:  (FILE PHOTO) ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

 Easter morning today was a little unusual. Where most people would normally be found in church or at mass or at an easter egg hunt, I found myself this easter morning staring at my blogsite feeling like something is missing. Now don't worry, I'm not going to be alone for easter. I've been invited to easter dinner at someones house tonight so it is all good.

But back to my blogsite and the thing that was missing. Mainly it was in the area of the playlist. I know it is a good playlist but how can I make it even better?  And I did end up making some nice additions to it from artists like Whitney Houston and the song "Seasons of Love" from rent. But even after adding those on, I felt there was still something missing. Then my brain clicked in at that very moment and one name came to mind......Jennifer Hudson.

After scrounging around, I found two of the most powerful songs she has ever done and will be remembered for. The first was "I'm Telling You" from the movie "Dreamgirls".  That was such a powerful number in the movie that I've put it as the last song on the playlist.  It's totally unforgettable and it's initially what put Jennifer Hudson's name on the map as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

The second performance that marked her career was "You Pulled Me Through" at the 2009 Grammys. This was one of the first few appearances she was beginning to make after the tragic murders of her mother, brother and nephew.  Some of you may recall that it was all over the news last year, just when she was coming into the height of her career. Jennifer Hudson had to deal with the media, cancel plans for music video shoots that had been scheduled, go into seclusion and even while she was in seclusion, she was faced with the horrific task at one point of having to identify the bodies at the morgue.

For months during her seclusion, the world speculated if this was the end of her career and if she would be able to ever pick up the pieces of her life. And against the cynicism and the predictions of the media, Jennifer began to bounce back slowly, starting with an appearance at the Superbowl last year to sing "Star Spangled Banner".  And then she stunned the world with a performance that would go down in Grammy history with "You Pulled Me Through". I remember seeing that performance during the live grammy telecast along with millions of other people. And together, the world watched as Jennifer Hudson took the tragedy that marred her life and from it she create a performance that would mark her career.

 "I would like to thank my family in heaven and those that are here today"
  - Jennifer Hudson upon winning her first grammy in the R & B category

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

A Very Muppet Easter

So it's that time of the year again where we go through the age old battle that has been going on for centuries, the battle to prove the "real" meaning of easter. The contenders? Jesus Christ vs the easter bunny.  Now one thing that I find interesting is that in church there are so many songs about how magnificent, powerful, and wonderful Jesus Christ is,  full of glory and splendor.  And it is amazing to see religious people go through lengths to defend Jesus against some 4 legged creature that hops and nibbles on carrots (although my rabbit is "bananas" about bananas).  I would like to take this time to point out that normally in a match the majority of the time the two contenders have to agree to fight each other.

If this was some kind of match, do you seriously think that the son of God would actually agree to go about against one of God's creatures about a fraction of his size?  And if he is as powerful as we sing or say that we believe he is, then he should also be capable of holding his own without feeling threatened by easter egg hunts or the presence of a beloved pet bunny. Jesus vs the easter bunny......I think this is a case where neither contender asked or agreed to be in a match. We often talk about how Jesus came and died and gave the greatest gift of all. Maybe this easter, the greatest gift we can give these two is to take them out of the fighting ring and actually let them enjoy easter :)

Article: We should remember the resurrected Jesus


Friday, April 02, 2010

Playing with My New Pal...Paypal!

OK, so people coming on here starting today will see a big shiny paypal button near the top of the site. I thought that when it comes to money, I had better explain all this.  I am not trying to cash in on people and make a quick buck. That is not the idea. But from being a person myself who has a very big heart and actually loves donating and seeing my money go towards thing, I know that there are many people like me.  And sometimes you get moved by something and you want to participate. I put that button up there so that people will have the opportunity to participate in this adventure.  And from being a donor myself, I know for a fact that some people actually really enjoy participating this way.

I'm going to very quickly tell my story so people who want to give know exactly what "participating" means. The story is that I came to Buenos Aires in Sept and needed a change in my life. I was participating in an intercultural exchange program where I would teach english to a woman in her home while the school arrange for me to have some board and lodging.  The program was set to end in March to which I would fly home to Canada.

But here is the interesting part, in Dec/Jan I began to realize that the church I was attending (Centro Cristiano Nueva Vida) needed someone to teach english.  So long story short, I got in contact with the pastors and the staff about getting english lesson started. It was something I thought would be small, maybe my next trip to Argentina I would bring some work books back for me and my close friends. Nothing big, or so that's what I thought.

Anyway, after multiple meetings, the pastor announces to the congregation about this new program in church to get people learning english. This was before I left. After I left and came back to Canada, I maintained contact with the people at the church and the staff and co-pastors work at the college the church runs. And the last count I heard, there are 40 people wanting classes with me and 20 more on a waiting list. Those numbers have me reeling! I still am walking around with my jaw hanging open some days wondering how all this has happened.

So, I am making plans to return early may to finish what got started on my first trip. This time I will be there longer, like 6-9 months.  And in this time, I will be teaching several times a week in my own class and helping in the classes of other teachers as well. I will also be helping the church in preparing for their biggest event of the year that happens in Dec called Rock & Vida. This is an event where the church brings in prominent rock and roll bands and they have the concert in a public venue in Buenos Aires.  The event is totally free to the general public.

Rock & Vida is to create awareness about AIDS and it's deadly effects. To learn more, just click on the label on the sidebar that says "Rock & Vida". All my blogs about Rock & Vida will show up. The church is working hard all year long to promote, prepare and finance this event.  The event. From attending the event last year, I can personally attest that the church has everything well arranged and sees to every detail of the event all the way from the artists, to making sure there are public bathrooms and food vendors at the venue.  And the church members are giving generously to make it all happen.  Honestly, this story sounds so much better in some of my other blogs. For a really good read, try my blog entitled "Alice in Wonderland". And another blog called "HIV Positive Pizza Party" is an excellent read too that sheds light on the church and what we are doing to make Rock & Vida happen.

So this is the story and the reason why I am setting up the paypal button if someone wishes to donate. There are many different ways you can do this. If you want to donate directly to Rock & Vida, you can do that. If you want to give to me personally, that's appreciated beyond words.  And if feel like giving to me but you want it to be at my discretion and you don't care what i do with the money, whether I donate part of it for Rock & Vida or I use it personally, you can do that too.

If you are very specific about your donation and you want it to be only for me or only for Rock & Vida, let me know. Just send me an email at to let me know what your specifications are. But if you donate something and you don't specify and you don't really care what I'll do is that I'll use that money at my discretion. I might divide it between going towards living expenses and giving it to the church.

Just for your info to how it works is that any funds donated here, goes to my paypal account to which I transfer it to a bank account that I can access internationally. So I can draw from my Canadian bank account in Argentina and get pesos. And for your information, the exchange rate  for $1 CDN is 4 ARS so your dollar goes incredibly far in that country. For $10 CDN, I have been able to buy, yogurt, cereal, pop, pasta, sauce etc. at the grocery store.

 You can contact me anytime through email or you can fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page. I would be happy to answer any questions about me and what I am doing down there or questions about the church and Rock & Vida.  Or if you just wanted to use that form to say "hi" and share your heart about something totally unrelated to donations, I would LOVE to hear from you.  I really do thrive on my fans and readers support and I can never wait to hear your thoughts or about what is going on in your world.  Happy Easter!

"More and more I am finding that tango is not just a dance, it is a way of life in this city even for those that don't dance tango.  The city has a way of wrapping it's feathers around me to comfort and ease all loneliness and thoughts of home and the people there.  Like a mother hen, it soothes me safe and & warm under it's wing."

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

The last few days have made me feel like I'm on some kind of reality T.V show called "Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition"  Because I've literally torn everything apart and rebuilt and then restructured and reconstructed everything!  And all of this is to create a site that is as user friendly as possible and easy to navigate. As well I've added a playlist with a set of songs that seem to flow really well together.  I thought it really fitting to be have the first song be "Time after Time" by Cyndi Lauper with scenes from "Strictly Ballroom". Then from there flows a nice variety of songs that includes great local artists like Cindy Davis and Santa Clara along with a dash of Soda Stereo and so much more!

Whether you're revisiting or new, I hope that you enjoy the new layout.  For your convenience, I've decided to put all the things that would be most relevant on top of the blog post. Things like my blog archives, buttons to share and subscribe, google connect etc   So now you don't have to go searching for it on my sidebar, it's all neatly located in one area.  Making things user friendly is a very high priority at this blogsite!

Speaking of user friendly, that's what I want to blog abit about today. For those of you who don't know the story, I went to live in Buenos Aires from Sept 2009 until March 2010. And I will be going back early May so of course the blogs will continue. I began writing blogs starting the day I landed in the country but it was only through a select group of people on my email list.  Alot of people were telling me that I'm a good writer.  So one fine day in Feb, I decided to create a public blogsite.

Initially I was thinking that this blogsite would be something really small and intimate. And that it would only interest a few friends that weren't on my email list but are interested in knowing about my trip.  In all my wildest imaginings, I could not have foreseen the blogsite having this kind of reach. A BIG thanks to all of you.  Your support means so much and having so many people coming from all around the world really gives the me the drive to make this the best that it can be. It hasn't been easy and it cost me a tremendous amount of time to be making all those improvements. But it is so important that as the site grows that I grow with it.  All of you are taking time out of your day to click on to here. So just as much, I'm willing to take time out of my day to make sure you are having the best possible experience at "Making the Same Difference"

Which brings me to the reason I am writing this blog. I am going to give you some helpful hints about choosing what to read. At the time of this writing, there are 80 blogs on this site and you can be sure that there are more to come. So I am going to give you some guidance to help you navigate. If you go into my blog archive, everything that is listed under the month of February contains my blogs that I wrote starting in Sept when I arrived here. Because I didn't create the blogsite until Feb, it shows the blogs as being posted in Feb but really, those are the diaries of my adventures when I landed here.  And the journal entries of my time in Argentina continue until early March.

It is only after I got back to Victoria here that I started to try something very different. I began looking for articles, pictures, and videos to begin posting on my site to generate interest and create a wider audience. So you will see a definite difference between my blogs listed in the month of February and the blogs that have been posted mid-march.  My earlier blogs tend to be more like a travel diary and people who have read them tell me that I make them feel like they are really there with me.

Give it a whirl! I promise you wil not be disappointed. If you start reading the blogs in consecutive order, it actually is a really interesting experience. Because in essence, you are following me and you are tracking my growth as a young writer taking her first steps into the great and glorious city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Then when you read later blogs, you can feel the change and growth I have gone through after spending time in the city.  You'll be there with me in Sept/Oct as I see the sites that the city is famous for. Watch as I get a surprising invitation to Christmas dinner from a mysterious stranger over text. And you won't want to miss January in Buenos Aires as I go through a chain of events that lead me to my destiny and the true reason I was brought to this city is finally revealed.....

"More and more I am finding that tango is not just a dance, it is a way of life in this city even for those that don't dance tango.  The city has a way of wrapping it's feathers around me to comfort and ease all loneliness and thoughts of home and the people there.  Like a mother hen, it soothes me safe and & warm under it's wing."


Thursday, April 01, 2010

La Casa de Carlos y Alison

Life is made up of details.  At times the details can be so tiny that they can't be seen. This doesn't make them any less important. This blog today is about shining a light on details and events that were definitely a significant part of my trip and did very much make up the journey.  For this story, I'll be taking you into the home of Carlos & Alison. I took lessons with them from the middle of Sept until the end of Oct. After that they went off to toronto form two months to teach at some workshops as well as to perform. I didn't get a chance to see them again or take lessons before I left Buenos Aires but just because I've spent little time with someone doesn't give them any less place in my heart.

Being in their home and chatting with them before, after, and during my private lesson helped shed light not only on tango but on the culture of Buenos Aires. Carlos is a succesful lawyer who is native to Argentina and Alison is a filmmaker who's roots are right here in Victoria, B.C.  I met them while taking one of their workshops here at Cafe Casablanca in Victoria. It was during the summer and at that point, I already had confirmed plans to go to Buenos Aires so I let them know I was coming.

Even though we had only met for the first time and didn't know each other well, in the coming months I got messages on my facebook wall from them that gave me a sense that they were welcoming and anticipating my arrival to Buenos Aires. Messages like "Much love Angelina! We await you here in BsAs".  Already I could feel the openess and the hospitality which very much makes up the Argentine spirit.

Often in our society, success often means that life gets complicated.  People feel the urge to create busy schedules and to get caught up buying things and trying to add things to their life. That's why it was such a joy to have the chance to meet Carlos & Alison. It is such a pleasure to be interacting with people who do obviously have success but have made keeping life simple and uncomplicated a high value in their lives. Their home is decorated tastefully with art pieces and tango memorabilia. But what got my attention wasn't the things in their home, it was the rich energy and vibe that you can feel the moment that you walk through those doors.

Taking tango lessons with them in their home was one of the best investments I ever made. Not only did my tango progress in leaps and bounds in just 6 weeks, but being with them and chatting with them really helped introduce me to the Argentine culture and way of life.  One of the greatest things that they've taught me about tango and about life is about the beauty in simplicity.

Their encouragement to me was that it was better to learn a few moves really well and to get the fundamentals down pat than to try and do a whole repertoire of fancy moves that I really don't know how to do well.  I definitely plan to make private lessons with them a part of my life and schedule whenever I am in BA. The next time I am there, I hope to see them at Plaza Dorrengo dancing tango like they do every Sunday night.

Alot of tourists and people outside the tango community have this idea from watching TV that tango always has to be something dramatic.  What people need to understand is that here in Buenos Aires, there is a difference between the type of tango done for performances and the type of tango that is danced socially. Both are beautiful in totally different ways. And Carlos & Alison demonstrate such a fantastic example of a tango done with class, elegance, beauty and simplicity.  Watch.....

 "More and more I am finding that tango is not just a dance, it is a way of life in this city even for those that don't dance tango.  The city has a way of wrapping it's feathers around me to comfort and ease all loneliness and thoughts of home and the people there.  Like a mother hen, it soothes me safe and & warm under it's wing."


Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas