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Monday, December 26, 2011

Spoonfuls of Soufflé

Souffle au chocolateImage via Wikipedia

Once during a masterchef competition,  Gordon Ramsey commented to the contestants that there is one dish that  strikes fear in the hearts of professional chefs everywhere....soufflé.  It was in that episode that I learned that in the gastronomic world, making soufflé is no piece of cake (pun intended). Soufflé is not impossible but it is one of the most technical and a successful soufflé requires exact timing and execution. It is the type of thing where you are either gonna "kill it" and create something brilliant. Or you're gonna "murder it" and find yourself walking back to your kitchen with your tail in   between your legs. There is no real in between....your souffle will be delicious or it will be a disaster.

In the writing world we have something very similar. Before I go on, I wanna say that this is only an opinion and other writers and authors are open to debate me on this. But after reading lots of articles, talking with other writers and most of all having written a novel myself, there seems to be a common consensus that writing in 1st person would be equal to making a soufflé.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spitting Out the Silver Spoon

Starbucks at the Forbidden CityImage via Wikipedia

During my recent hiatus in Canada, I paid a visit to Starbucks. But unlike most people who entered the store, I wasn't there to purchase a drink.  Instead, I was there to whip up a venti sized cup of gratitude along with 2 pumps of appreciation and a side of extra foamy thankfulness to my very first boss who was the manager there.

Monday, December 12, 2011

This Little Piggie Ended Up at the Supermarket

Last week I talked about trying to save money while living as an expat abroad. To prove to you that I'm not a hypocrite and I practice what I preach, I've decided to show you a pic of what I had for dinner one nite last season in my effort (maybe desperation is a better word) to save money

 Expat life is anything BUT fancy feasts at ritzy restaurants in the Palermo district.  With the Argentine economy experiencing a 20% inflation rate, every peso had become precious. I found what remained of poor old porky with a a 20 peso ($5 CDN) price tag attached to him while strolling through the aisles of Coto.  It was a match made in heaven because I needed to save money and he needed a decent burial. Lucky for him, I had found the perfect place for him to have his last rites and final resting the bottom of my belly.

The answer is did not taste like chicken.  For those 20 pesos that I coughed up to bring him home, I got two meals out of him, two meals that pretty much consisted of muscles and ligaments. The skin was quite tough and chewy and gave me a great source of gum for the next day or so.

This little piggie ended up at the supermarket.....


Monday, December 05, 2011

Dollars and Sense

Day 961: Argentine PesosImage by Manic Street Preacher via Flickr

Sitting in my financial advisors office in Canada, I felt a deep sigh come from within as a put my signature on the dotted line authorizing a withdrawal from my RRSP savings. Great accomplishments don't come without some form of sacrifice.  And sacrifice would be part of what would be needed to make season 3 of my adventures in Argentina happen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bizarre Foods comes to Buenos Aires


Monday, November 21, 2011

Fantastic Phonetics!!!

One must wonder at times what some of the greatest challenges an ESL teacher like me would face. Is it having to come up with lesson plans?


Finding teaching and resource material?


The biggest challenge I face as an english teacher to date is the strong psychological barrier in the mindset of many latinos when it comes to learning english. All their lives these people have heard comments like "English is difficult to learn and the pronounciation is impossible!"  In addition to that, in Buenos Aires there many bad english teachers and high priced courses that do very little to help a latino grasp the language of english. Thus reinforcing in people's minds the idea english is a horrifically hard language to learn and only few can truly achieve it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

High Metabolism.....Low Blood Sugar

A picture of a collection of healthy (low-calo...Image via Wikipedia

As an expat living in a 3rd world nation, I have come to understand the value to keeping healthy. Eating right takes on even more importance when you live in a nation where the word "organic" barely exists and red meat is around every corner. I take special steps to ensure that my food choices are the best they could possibly be with limited budget and scarce resources available. Going to parillas and eating meat is a special treat for me and when I had my rented apartment, I always made sure there were things like water, eggs, tea, fruit, yogurt. I took care to exercise portion control and never "stuffed myself". It all looks and sounded good.....on paper. All of us know that 1 + 1 almost never equals 2 because there are always variables in the equation. And what I didn't take into consideration was that I have high metabolism and low blood sugar. In addition to that, living in Argentina where 5 things can happen in an hr is an added stress because I constantly have to think fast and be ready to act any given moment. These are things that I did not factor into the equation and it is funny how such a little oversight would result in big consequences.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Long Distance Love

My office's phoneImage via Wikipedia

One of my biggest challenges in attempting to maintain meaningful relationships with Argentines is dealing with latinos who have feelings but aren't overly expressive. Argentines break every stereotype that could possibly pop into your mind about latinos and overly emotional behavior.  In fact there are situations when the level of emotion shown was much less than what I've experienced in the Canadian culture.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Angry Birds

Angry bird family growsImage by haikugirlOz via Flickr

I will be walking into season 3 of my adventures in BA armed and loaded with a pile of new weapons. By "weapons", I not only mean just new ESL material but there is one piece of equipment that I consider my "Deathstar". My weapon of mass destruction.........a 8GB 2nd generation ipod touch.  Our North American mindset teaches us that unless its the greatest and the latest, then it's useless but nothing could be further than the truth.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The World is a Classroom

SF to Paris in Two Minutes from Beep Show on Vimeo.

Roars of laughter echoed from our table throughout the dining hall of Mcdonalds as the three of us sat there together in what would be our very last lesson. As I look upon the faces of both Ceci and was unmistakable that something in them had changed forever through the course of this three month period.  The course in english was only for 3 months but the lessons they learned would stay with them forever. It may have been the last lesson with me but truth be told, for them it was only the beginning.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Nite of Fun @ Casa Mun

So if  picture is worth a thousand words then how much is a video worth? Well when it comes to anything having to do with Casa Mun, then I would have to say that the answer is "priceless".

Monday, October 10, 2011

Magnificent Moments

So how it works in our church is that the year is divided up into trimesters.  Every season, we set our goals for things to be accomplished and visions and projects to be completed during that season. At the end of every trimester, our church celebrates by having a massive service where thousands of people from all the different branches attend. Due to the amount of people that show up, the church literally has to rent a stadium to house the crowds and even then, there is always overflow. Last year in Oct. was my very first time going to this service. And I went to another one again last July. Some of you may remember that I told the story of going there on a previous blog  "Uncut....Uncensored....Unrated".

Here is the thing, I actually had more raw footage that just didn't seem appropriate to simply share publicly. For quite awhile, I was wondering what I wanted to do with this magnificent footage.  Then one day close to the end of my 2nd trip, I wanted to see what it would be like if I threw all these clips together to create a mini movie. Those clips I previously showed are beautiful but two clips aren't going to do justice in conveying what it feels like to be there. But my hope is that this new video with all the never-before-seen footage will be your front row seat to some of the church's most magnificent moments.....

Monday, October 03, 2011


Being someone who used to do tours of Chinatown, Victoria....I have a deep appreciation for the preservation of history.  And certainly have a deep respect for a city that recognizes historic value! When visiting Buenos Aires, in my rush to explore the sites I would often miss the small orange sticker in front of select bars and cafés indicating that it is a "bares notable". A "bares notable" is a café that the goverment has deemed to be of historic value and therefore the interior of it cannot be altered or renovated. Currently in Buenos Aires there are about 60 select bars and cafés that have this special recognition.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Smoke and Mirrors

Awhile back when I was surfing the channels for something in english to watch, I stumbled across this one episode of Gordon Ramsey in Master Chef. What really got my attention was the story of this one girl who created a dish for the judges. The judges could hear the passion in her voice but couldn't taste it in her dish. What had happened is that she at the amateur level that she was at had focused on the wrong thing. She was trying to do the fancy restaurant presentations of food and in the midst of it all had sacrificed flavor. She had thought that this is what the judges were looking for.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Depending on Inter-dependance

One of my earliest childhood lessons was that asking question leads to chaos. Growing up in a chaotic, dysfunctional environment, there were messages that were indirectly taught to me. One of them was that asking for help of any kind may result in a violent outbursts and thus being punished. So I learned to never ask questions on how to do things for fear of being punished.  Unfortunately, this way of thinking stuck with me even into adulthood and it took me to realize that this mentality was still ingrained into me even though I was no longer in a chaotic situation.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mamma Mia!!!

As I shoved the last handful of chocolate rice krispies into my mouth Sunday nite,  it was then that I heard a voice inside of me say "Do not worry about life, what you will eat or drink or your body what you will wear...."

On a normal basis, these would simply be inspirational biblical passages to warm  my heart.  But out in the middle of Latin America with barely any money left, those ancients words were food for my soul that would be the only thing I could cling to for survival day to day.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Getting Burgled and Getting Burgers

photography shown here is by Amelia McGoldrick and have been used with permission.

Last where we left off, you learned that I had been burgled and my wallet taken along with all that was in it including the all important bank only access to my money abroad. Now I could have made a bunch of emergency phone calls abroad begging for funds except God told me not to. I felt like God wanted me to just continue on my life as if nothing had ever happened. I had 3 left to go in Latin America. So whatever happens,  one thing was for certain and that was that the next few weeks leading up to my departure back to Canada were going to be very interesting in terms of how I was going to live.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's a STEAL!!!

PickpocketsImage by Xurxo Martínez via Flickr

Getting robbed or pickpocketed in a 3rd world country is almost a rite of passage at times. I almost feel as if you haven't really lived until you stare into your knapsack and realize that there is one less object there. One fine day in Buenos Aires for me, that one less object in my knapsack was my wallet full of money along with my all important bank card.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Unraveling Reggaeton

Latin America isn't all salsa, merengue and tango.  And it isn't just all hard core rock and roll either....there is an urban culture. In alot of my conversations with people, they would mention "reggaeton" and for the longest time I didn't quite know what they meant until quite recently. Early on I mistakenly thought that "reggae" and "reggaeton" were similar but experience has taught me otherwise. Reggaeton is Latin America's answer to latinos who have more of a taste for the hip hop urban culture.

In conversations with the locals here, when they asked me what kind of music I like, I didn't quite know how to answer because there is no word is spanish for "R & B". I would have to tell them that it is a form of music that exists in the United States among the African Americans and it is like hip hop but in song form. That is the only way I knew how to answer.

One day I decided to put some videos of some examples of "R & B" on the facebook wall of my new big sister Ceci. The videos I chose for my examples were classics....Usher, Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys, TLC. Just to give here the idea of what exactly R & B was. It was an instant hit! She immediately swallowed the genre of "R & B" wholeheartedly. Ceci loved all the videos I put on her wall but she especially took to this one...

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Tale of Two Argentines

One pressing question that is constantly on my mind when it comes to my regards to relationships in Latin America is this "How do I know when someone is growing fond of me?"  Latin American society is open, loving, and friendly and everyone is your friend. But even within a society as open as the Argentine society, it does happen that you may be growing on someone but they are unable to recognize their feelings. And when I talk about feelings of fondness, I'm not necessarily meaning romantic. In fact, out of all the types of relationships, romantic is probably the easiest one to guess and is the most obvious.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Toying with Teahupo

Teahupo....the place may not ring a bell in your mind. It certainly isn't one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world. But on August 17, 2000 history got made in this little spot in Tahiti when world renown big wave surfer Laird Hamilton would ride the biggest wave ever.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cupid Gets Cunning Cupid Gets Cunning by Angelina@fb

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Today being Marisa's birthday,  I knew that this blog had to be extra special. Not just because this is her first birthday with me as her child but also because with my departure back to Canada is a week away, I'm using this cartoon I created to help gear up for the season finale.

If I had to find a way to sum up all that happened this season, I would have to say that I entered into this country as a friend and am leaving as her daughter.  This twist in the plot makes things on this blog especially interesting because now my leaving Argentina hasn't resulted in the end of a season but rather as spinoff.

Next Tuesday when I land in Canada is the beginning of this spinoff as both mother and cub come to terms with living apart on two different continents.  Anyone of you who was around last season when I departed Argentinas knows that this part of our relationship was not easy for Marisa or I to cope with. With the realization and revelation that I'm her brood, how will our relationship play out this time?  Our relationship drama begins 12pm PST next Tuesday when my plane touches down in the Vancouver airport......

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chili Experts and Chilly Expats

photography shown here is by Amelia McGoldrick and have been used with permission.

As I sat in The Office listening to owner Alan Epstein buzz about the new chili burger that he's gonna put out just for the 4th of July, the thought struck me to how much the expat community is blossoming and how diverse it truly is.

Just so that we're all ont the same page, an "expat" stands for "expatriate". An expatriate is someone who is living in another country that isn't his own native land.  And BA's 1st annual chili cookoff on July 3rd was a real eye opener to the city's budding expat community. Over 300 people from different walks of life and backgrounds to celebrate their own version of American Independence Day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Winter Windsurfing

Quaint little coffee shops, sitting out in the sun on the deck enjoying a beer, windsurfing, lying on the beach lost in a book.....

The first thought that may have flashed into your head is that I am describing Victoria, B.C. Nope, the place in question is Peru Beach in San Isidro, Argentina.....a 40 min trainride away from Buenos Aires.  BsAs may not have much in the way for those of us who grew up near the ocean or the culture of surf but the good news is that excursions outside the city to places like Tigre or San Isidro are dirt cheap as they get.

Monday, July 04, 2011


Cafes along Boedo Avenue, Buenos Aires.Image via Wikipedia

So have my novel and my blog inspired wanderlust in anybody? LOL  My hope is that my blog and novel paints a picture of travelling and living abroad that is inspiring but realistic at the same time.  There are an incredible amount of benefits to doing something nobody has done before as long as you aren't living a fantasy about your expectations to what it's actually going to be like. Today, I'm gonna dish out one of my greatest secrets to my success not only in living abroad but as a person.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Better Late than Never

Pocket watches are used to keep track of time.Image via Wikipedia

Hey....I know that for the past few weeks I've been writing about some of my more dramatic moments in Argentina where I've had to go without food. Things did work out in the end and I got the monthly allowance that I usually receive from overseas right in the nick of time. It felt so good to have food in my belly again and I definitely appreciate all that I have on an even deeper level. I'll expound on that more another time and in the upcoming blogposts, I'll share on how the experience impacted me. But for now, I want shift and go from talking about the dramatic moments of living abroad to some of the funnier moments of life here.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breakfast in Boedo

Dulce de Leche Cone - Latin Bites AUD4Image by avlxyz via Flickr

One fine sunday I got up and for some reason felt unusually fatigued. I decided to give my body a rest and just spend a day on the couch. At the time I thought that it was just for that one day that I would be fatigued. Little did I know that this would turn into a weeklong thing with me getting sick and lightheaded over the weekend. 

But when I got up that Sunday, I still had money and abit of food. This was before the miracle with the pasta happened. And after I ate the pasta and had next to nothing left, I found a packet of hotdog wieners for 3 pesos on sale. I bought those and had enough for two days.

Monday, June 13, 2011

5 Loaves and 2 Pesos

I took a deep breathe and sighed as I poured the last bits of coffee grinds into my coffee machine and switched on the button,  perhaps for the last time in a long time. Normally I would have a whole bag of coffee grinds ready to go but with money being tight after my return from Montevideo, coffee one of the was the million things that were running out slowing here at my home.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Mondongo 2 Go!

PR: Mondongo (tripe stew)Image by joannova via Flickr

Let's just recap for a moment the series of events that happened between Marisa and I. She realized that she was my mother about a week or so before I got around to Montevideo, Uruguay. My trip was delayed because my Mac broke down and I had to purchase another computer. Initially I was frustrated at having to delay my trip due to a lack of finances but it turns out that everything happens for a reason. In reality, if I had gone to Uruguay any earlier than I did, she would have just seen me as a friend without the revelation that I was her brood and the trip wouldn't have been as special as it was.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Unveiling R.Lynn

Most of the time when someone rises to fame, we only hear about it after they've gotten their big break. Only very few people like friends and family got to see their whole journey to become what they are today. But I am glad that in my life that I did get to witness someone's personal journey and even got to play a part in it. It has been a privilege for me to watch someone I've known since childhood turn into a well respected author who is making waves on the internet.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Life Imitates Art....

Nobody can forger when Disney's "Up" was released in theatres May 29, 2009.  Back then we sat in the theatre in awe of the idea that a house could be lifted by balloons, believing that this is only something you see in the movies.  That is until a group of people decided to blur the line between the movies and real life. You've heard the phrase "Art imitates life" but in the case of the people who created this experiment, life imitates art....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Argentine Eyes

Today is Argentina's national dia de liberacion,  It is on this day so long ago that a revolution happened and Argentina was born.  There are many ways that people will be commemorating the birthday of this great and glorious country. This year I found a unique way to pay respects and honor the birth of this great nation with the birth of my new novel "Argentine Eyes" on wattpad.

During season one last year, I was new to the city and quite new to writing and blogging. So I guess you could say that my blog's weren't as great as they are now. Now that I have experience under my belt, I want to bring to life season one of my adventures. This is not a book based on a true story, it is a true story. Everything that you read is true put into a novel like format so that you can have an enjoyable read.

This is my very first stab at novel writing. It is very different from blogging. So far I have two chapters out and there are many more to come. In this book you'll find out about my early days in the city and how my relationship with Marisa all began. I hope that this book really does the city of Buenos Aires justice and sheds line on the Argentine culture and people.

Argentine Eyes

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Lady Gaga & Lady Maria

"Myself + 10 year Old Lady Maria of Winnipeg. She signed my t-shirt, she ate my heart, just like you"

Seeing people wear t-shirts of celebs and wanting their autograph isn't something new or revolutionary. But seeing someone who is considered a celeb wear a t-shirt of one of her fans and get their autograph,  now that isn't something you see everyday. Our of all the things Lady Gaga has done or worn that gets people caught off guard, perhaps this encounter with Maria Aragon of Winnepeg tops the list. Gaga's one on one with Maria Aragon has revealed more about her than all her music videos put together....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Patrick's Place

I know many of you out there come to my blog because you love discovering and learning about me and my world. But I learn just as much about my fans as my fans learn about me. I am always trying to learn more about the demographic of my readers so I know how to write blogs that they will enjoy.

My announcement about Marisa being my mother yielded some interesting results. You see, I know several of my fans personally and they are my facebook friends. Watching people's response on facebook was quite eye opening. It seems like the people who are most touched by my story of me and Marisa are also passionate animal lovers. They are the ones that want to see animals shelters emptied out and those animals sent to a loving home. Somehow, my story of me finally having someone to call mom closely resembles that of an abandoned animal waiting for a family.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And Baby Makes Three.........

And baby makes THREE!  Three in this case not being a Mom, Dad and baby but three as in the third child in Marisa's family......ME!  I am older than her oldest child in my physical age but in mental age, I'm actually younger than her youngest child and part of me will never grow up due to some circumstances in my early childhood that has affected my development. As a result, she and I can have adult conversations, but I can never grow out of giving and receiving love and affection. It is like the dream of every parent, especially Marisa who always wanted a 3rd child even before I entered her world.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Taking Context into Context

Hope you enjoyed my "special announcement" on the blog I did for mother's day!  More relationship revelations to come  in the upcoming blog posts.  Speaking of special annoucements, I have another one to make, one that you have an opportunity to take part in.

As you know, I have been blogging for quite awhile now and am working hard to becoming a skilled blogger. I have written about every from general life in Argentina, the work of the church, my relationship with Marisa, learning a new language etc. As well on my other blogsite Tango 2 the Moon I try and bring the best of the web and social media.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother?Image via Wikipedia

"Are you my mother?"

Nearly every single one of us would remember that book from our childhood. You know, the book where the little bird who is lost goes around to every species of creature asking if they were it's mother. And this was the exact same question I finally had to ask Marisa recently..........are you my mother?

Some of you may recall that back in November I wrote a blog "Dial M for Maternal" Where I explained my theory about my relationship with Marisa and that I believed that this mysterious connection between us is one that is maternal.

However, there is a tremendous difference between writing your theory on this blogsite in english and writing an email in spanish directly to Marisa to tell her your theory. This may sound nerve-wracking but it actually wasn't....because in the recent days her maternal instinct and behavior began manifesting more and more. So things were, perfectly set up for me to finally reveal to her what I thought was happening.

Monday, May 02, 2011

"Trenta-Size me!!!"


I have no doubt that as the starbucks trenta launches many of you are gonna wanna satisfy your curiosity to what it would be like to down liquid in a cup the size of the starbucks trenta. Few things to keep in mind here, the trenta actually holds the same amount of liquid as the human stomach.  In light of that, why not find a friend who loves the exact same kind of beverage as you and consider the starbucks trenta as a great sharing options? Bottoms up!

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Monday, April 18, 2011

A Very "Bieber" Easter

Like most of you out there, I find that every easter I hear the same story. You know, the one about Jesus dying on the cross as a sacrifice and what an act of love it was. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that every single message I hear is just an echo of another message in another church service. But I promise you that the message today on my blogsite will be anything but drab, boring, traditional or overused.

Monday, April 04, 2011

A Walk to Remember

Pocitos Beach in MontevideoImage via Wikipedia

Upon arriving at the hostel in Montevideo Saturday nite, I found out that they did not accept Argentine pesos as payment.....which is all that I had. All the currency exchange houses were closed so I called it a nite and made a resolved to get my money changed over to Uruguayan pesos the very next morning.

Sunday morning after enjoying the free breakfast that the hostel provides, I asked for directions to the nearest currency exchange house. I got given a map and given directions to the local shopping mall where I could get my Argentine pesos changed into the local currency. But the part where things got interesting is that there are actually two malls in Montevideo, one closer to the hostel and one further away.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Minding Montevideo with Marisa pt 2

What makes meat in Uruguay & Argentina incredible is that there is an art to the cooking and barbecuing. The people who work the grill are very specific on the amount of time the meat is on the grill and each type of meat gets a different treatment during it's time on the grill to ensure that the full flavor has been brought out. And every so often one of the workers will stop by and toss a few more logs into the fire to keep the flame strong.  As I quietly gnawed on an asado while watching the flames roar over the meats on the grill at at the Estancia del Puerto in Montevideo's "Mercado del Puerto", I couldn't help but feel like that fire was symbolic of my relationship between me and Marisa.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Minding Montevideo with Marisa pt 1

I turned and looked at her one last time as I made my way up the steps of the Pocitos Hostel and as I did,  she flashed a look in her eyes.  It was just for a single moment but a single moment can tell you a thousand things. I had seen that look before multiple times on my first trip.  It was that dreamy look that every mother has in her eyes when she gazes upon the countenance of her baby for the very first time.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Playing House....

Playing HouseImage by barnabywasson via Flickr

Today I have the ultimate tip to surviving a Cross-Cultural relationship..........playing "house"!!!!  Yeah, you heard me right, that game we all played when we were kids and we pretending to be someone else. Seriously,  how do you think I've hard to survive in a friendship where I have a different language, culture, social class etc.  I still pinch myself wondering if I'm in a dream or could it be true that despite all these differences., we have NEVER fought or get offended with each other, not even once!

While chewing on this began to occur to me that perhaps one of the secrets to our relationship is that we constantly have to walk in the other persons shoes, literally like playing "house". I'll admit that early on there were several times where I wanted to react to some of her actions or would have been so easy to be judgmental. But in that moment I chose to keep my mouth shut and instead just wait abit. And you know what? God was always faithful when I took that path.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The King's Speech

This weekend I found myself seated in a cinema with my eyes glued to the screen, watching a movie about an underdog who get's a chance to make his mark on the world. No, I'm not talking about Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never". Justin Bieber may seem like king of everything but he still has a long way to go before he's anywhere close to filling the shoes of the king in the oscar winning film "The King's Speech".

Normally I'm not into the style of British cinema but I have got to say that "The King's Speech" contained all the right ingrediants that make up a good story.  Like all great movies, there is a protagonist with a flaw that he must overcome in order to fulfill his destiny. In the case of the movie, it was his speech and stuttering problem. With the aid of a speech therapist who has a bag full of unorthodox methods and absolutely no formal credentials to back him up, the soon to be king George faces his worst fear head on.

The story almost seemed like a modern day Moses and Aaron, Bertie being moses and his brother being Aaron. At first glance, when you look at the two brothers, one has the skill, charm, and charisma and appears to be what people think a King should be. But his character flaws become apparent when he his character makes a decision to abdicate the throne and all his kingly duties and obligations to marry who he loves....leaving Bertie as Britain's one and only hope.

I won't give away too much of the story now that after the Oscars many of you will probably be rushing to go see it. But I will say that history shows that everything happens for a reason. I wonder where England would be today if the events that happened in the movie played out differently and it ended up his brother ruling instead of him. Would they have survived the war?

Behind every great man is a great woman and Queen Elizabeth the first would prove herself worthy of her royal title.  The quote that you see below is her response to the idea of sending her children to Canada or her leaving London during the 8 month Blitz when Germany bombed England day and nite.
 "The children won´t go without me. I won´t leave the King. And the King will never leave" - Queen Elizabeth

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Handling Class with Class

William and Kate shun traditional wedding list...Image by humberpike via Flickr

 Unless you belong to some lost tribe of indigenous people, by now you should have heard about the marriage between Kate Middleton and Prince William. The announcement rocked many different levels and parts of society all the way from the fashion world to Britain's class system. What has struck me most about all of this is the couple's ability to handle the subject of social class with class. 

 Many of you out there look to my blogs for a great example in a relationship. But it is good for you to know that I have my role models as well. William and Kate's relationship provided the perfect resource for me very recently when I had to handle another very delicate topic with my friend Marisa, the theme of social class. In addition to dealing with different languages and cultures in our relationship, I had to break it to her that we are also from different social classes.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Joy of Milk

Remember those cute little firefox cubs named Spark & Ember that did a blogpost earlier on? I found out within the last few days that there is a contest to see who can do the funniest voiceovers alongside clips of the cubs. So I downloaded clips of the cubs provided and with the magic of imovie, combined this cute clip of one of the cubs with my twisted sense of humour....

Find more artists like Santa Clara at Myspace Music

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grinding Up Common Grounds....

Happy Valentines Day! On this day where we fill the air with sappy aphorisms about love, I thought it might be a breathe of fresh air to a blog on the theme of love & friendships but sans the cheesiness. There is nothing that melts cheesiness into fondue like dishing out juicy details and hot gossip about me and my BFF.

So grab your morning coffee because on today's blog we're going to be grinding up common grounds the way you grind up coffee grounds. It's time to let the cat out of the bag as I reveal one of the most shocking relationship revelations about Marisa & I.....WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON!!!!

Bet you never saw that one coming! But I could place my hand on a holy Bible and swear to you the truth of that statement. If we were to go to court and the judge and jury were to put our friendship on trial based on our things in common, we would get indicted. She's extremely feminine, a definite "girly girl". For me, I'm 30 years old and I'm still trying to find a feminine bone in my body. When I was in Canada and I was looking for a souvenir for her, I literally had to think "OK, what do girls like?" Alot of my friends are girls who aren't overly feminine.

Marisa is my first friend who is about as feminine as they get. This is just one of the many things on the list that are seemingly opposite. We differ in everything right down to our taste in music. If we hung out together I would probably be waiting for her outside a clothing or makeup store and as soon as she was done, I'd drag her into the electronics store to check out the latest technology offering.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Webisode 1 - Santiago, Chile

Andy Spandy drops by Santiago, Chile....


Just a little note here that I´ve turned my other blogsite tango2themoon into somewhat of an Andy Spandy fansite. All future webisodes are going to be posted on that blogsite instead of this one.  It has it´s own RSS feed that you can subscribe to. But if you follow me on twitter, you will continue to receive notifications through my feed when a new webisode has been posted.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Bad Romance

Gung Hey Fat Choi! Happy Chinese New Year!

Not only is this time of the year special for me because it is Chinese New Year but this day in particular is very special. Because it is one year anniversary of "Making the Same Difference". It just seems like yesterday when I found myself entering the words "how to start a blog" into a search engine to figure out how to get started.

But my success began when I realized that this was really God's idea, not mine. He already had a plan to get me where I am. Of course I would have to work hard but at the end of the day, where I am today has nothing to do with my own greatness or cleverness. It's his idea....I'm just along for the ride! It's important to realize that all fame and influence comes from God and he's only lending some of it to me so that I can turn around and make him even more famous :)

On this special day, you need to know that each one of you that have visited this blogsite have played a significant part in the growth. There is a symbiotic relationship between us. I write blogs and you keep coming back. When I see that you keep coming back, it encourages me to want to grow as a writer. People cannot get famous without fans. I will never understand celebs who don't treat their fans right because it is because of their fans that make them what they are.

I also want to acknowledge my fans that were actually there with me in the "labor room" the very day this site was born. Your visits to this site daily and weekly make all the difference. I know some of you by name and want you to know that many times when I wanted to quit writing on this blogsite, it was you that was in my thoughts and gave me the desire and will to keep going.

The other group of people I would like to thank is for the wonderful people that look out for me and who keep me accountable as a blogger. Honestly, I feel nervous every single time I push the "publish" button and make one of my blogs public. I never know if what I have written is something right, or if I am "off" or what the blog sounds like to other people.

And I appreciate every person who has ever taken time out to mention something about what I write or even when it comes to things like copyrights and using other people's material on my blogsite. Also, I appreciate those of you who from time to time give me feedback on your experience with the blogsite and comment on things like navigation or user friendliness. Your feedback is vital to the success of my blogsite.

And what I know that can thank every single fan for is for allowing me to experiment with new things. Alot of people don't understand that being a blogger is something that I didn't become overnite, I had to grow into it. Bloggers are actually a sub-culture and I had to find out what it meant to be a blogger and what that looked like. Having such open-minded fans makes all the difference in helping me develop my own unique style.

About the Gaga videos, there is a good reason for it. Leave it up to me to post her most controversial performances! LOL But seriously, the way Gaga treats her fans is such an inspiration for me. I have a friend who worked for MTV and dealt with celebs all the time. She met Gaga and told me that Gaga is not only talented but extremely hardworking as well. She drives herself to give her fans only the very best of her as an artist. I kiss the ground that Lady Gaga walks on....

You know what I would love more than anything in the world this next coming year? To have a "Bad Romance" with all of you out there. I wanna take you for a ride so crazy that you either can't get enough of "Making the Same Difference" or you never wanna come back! There is no room for middle ground. The word "mediocrity" doesn't exist in my vocabulary!

My dream for this blogsite is for "Making the Same Difference" to live up to it's name and be about "making the same difference". You can help me realize that dream by participating in this fundraiser for Generosity Water. It would be a fantastic way to celebrate and mark the one year anniversary of this blogsite. Where are we going to be 5 years from now? Hopefully we'll still be having a "bad romance" :)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Bohemian Rapsodia

The year of the tiger is over and the year of the rabbit has begun! And what better way to celebrate the ending of the year of the tiger and the beginning of the year of rabbit than with this beautiful top that I found with the imprint of a tiger on it? Ironically enough, the day I stumbled upon this top was Chinese New Years Eve...the last day of the Year of the Tiger before we usher in the Year of the Rabbit.

The story really is quite funny because originally the only reason I was in mall was because I needed new underwear (and will not be getting any pic of those). After finding an amazing deal for "undies" where I got 2 for the price of $10 CDN, I decided to take a stroll. I wasn't intending to purchase anything was just a browse.

My favorite Argentine designer is called Rapsodia. Rapsodia is known for clothing that has a free flowing bohemian designs. Rapsodia is also known for having a high price tag on it's products. As well, like alot of clothing shops in Argentina, the majority of the clothing is tailored made for sizes 4-6. Being a girl who tends to be a bit more "busty" and who definitely sports a stomach, already in Canada shopping for clothing is difficult enough. Knowing that Argentina caters to certain body type, I certainly had no intention of running around to a million stores trying my luck to see if by the off chance any of them had something would not only fit me but would look good as well.

But that afternoon in the mall, heaven smiled and all the stars position in perfect alignment and I met my destiny hanging on a clothing rack in Rapsodia. I went into the store simply to have a look and all the new stuff in their collection this season. The moment I walked in, this top was the first thing I saw. I ignored it and proceeded to ask the girl if they had any clothes in sizes for a girl with my body type. The employee put together a selection of clothing and this shirt was one of them.

I stepped into the dressing room and tried out the clothing from the selection she gave me. I guess it must have been my destiny to purchase this top because none of the others really fit me and this was the only one that not only fit but looked flattering as well. And if that wasn't enough to convince me that this was the one, the price tag was pretty much sealed the deal. $219 pesos for the top which is $55 CDN. $55 for a top that is designer brand that looks & feels good and compliments my body type.

Lions and tigers and bears.......OH MY!!!!!

Generosity Water Fundraiser

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you catch a cloud and bring it down?

The answer is.....YOU DON'T!!!!

Before I begin this blogpost, I want to make sure that we are not confused between the name of my best friend Marisa and my new student, Maria. Both names begin with "M" and although they are very different people, the one thing they both have is D.E.T.E.R.M.I.N.A.T.I.O.N. I met Maria on my very first day in my new cell group when I started attending the other branch of church in November. How she found out that I teach english is a very interesting story. What happened is that the group leader was asking everyone in the group if they are going to a certain church event. I replied "No" because I teach english on that day.

After the cell group, she started asking me questions about my costs for a lesson and said she might be interested. "Fine, just let me know what you want." I replied and silently recorded that conversation and put it at the back of my mind. I have alot of people that say to me "I want to learn english" but they never follow up. It wasn't that I didn't believe her, I just wanted to observe.

I saw her off and on during the cell group and a couple of weeks later, she comes back to me and says that she is interested. I gave her the same reply and told her to let me know when she was ready. Then in January, she says to me that she wants to start at the beginning of February. To tell you the truth, I was pretty impressed....and for a good reason. You see, she has a 2 or 3 year old son. He is the cutest little thing and is also quite a ball of energy! But I think she is the one with alot of balls to want to go ahead and take on english despite having a 2 or 3 year old and not using him as an excuse not to learn.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Who Spiked The Cookie?

By now the name Andrew Strugnell should be somewhat familiar to those of you who follow my blogs on a regular basis. He is the one that I lovingly refer to as "Andy Spandy" and frequently post his videos here on "Making the Same Difference". I am pleased to bring you Andrew's latest offering. This is a video he shot and directed at Amplify Youth Camp in Masterton.

It was shot shortly just before he left New Zealand to go on his 12 week adventure with Downunder Insurance, a round the world trip that he won as you can remember. If you can't remember me begging you to vote for Andrew then you might want to look into the possibility that you might suffer from serious memory loss!

Anyway, Andrew's adventure began on January 24th when he left New Zealand to head to his first stop, Lima Peru. That's where he is right now doing shooting. Here is the very first video in a series of videos he'll be making over the next 3 months....


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Oro y Candido

American AlligatorImage by Pandiyan via Flickr

Oro y Candido, you must have thought that this must be a strange name for a blogpost. Oro y Candido is the name of a very......uh........unique eatery here in Buenos Aires. That is because instead of using regular meats, this restaurant specializes in using the meat of indigenous animals. I would love to go there with my camera and video camera an you can watch me dine on things like alligator empanadas and llama carpaccio.

And the good news is that you do have the opportunity to watch me eat away and weird and wild creatures, but it's going to involve a little participation. Remember the "Generosity Water" fundraiser that I am doing? I have decided to make a deal with see it costs $3000 to build a new well for a community that will supply water to 300 people for 20 years. I know that all of us are strapped for cash so my goal is $500.

BUT........if you exceed my expectations and somehow manage to raise $1500 (half of what it takes to build a new well) I will hop on a bus to Oro y Candido for a dining experience like none other. And not only do I promise to bring back pics & videos but I want to go further than that and let YOU my readers pick what you want me to eat.

If you click on the link to this blogpost, it will take you to the website of Oro y Candido where there is a menu. However, the website and the menu is completely in spanish. The good news is that in this day and age, where are all kinds of free translators available so you can cut and paste a phrase and find out what it is. You can also contact me with suggestions or if you want something translated.

My tummy is rumbling and my mouth is watering for the taste of frogs, rodents, llamas & alligators so I hope that someone comes up with $1500 soon...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Generosity Water

Mineral water being poured from a bottle into ...Image via Wikipedia

Matthew 25:35

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink..."

Recently one of the supermarkets here in Buenos Aires had a sale for the week where of you bought 2 2 liter bottles of water, you would get 25% off. I couldn't resist......that entire week every time I visited that supermarket I would purchase 2 2L bottles. I ended with like 7 2 liter bottles in my fridge. Water is already cheap without the sale and with the sale, I ended up paying a total of $1 CDN for 4 liters of water. It blows my mind that in this 3rd world country, a resource like water is so plentiful.

However, not all 3rd world countries have been so blessed to have access to water. To date, there are more than a billion people without access to clean drinking water. Little children have to walk miles everyday just to get to the nearest water source. As a result, they are unable to play, go to school, or have a normal childhood and thus the cycle of poverty continues.

As an influential blogger with a platform, I felt a responsibility before God and society to use my position to create awareness. I wanted to to promote a charity through my blogsite but I wanted to do it in a way that didn't make people feel manipulated when they come to this place. In other words, putting pictures and videos of starving children were out of the question!

To tell you the truth, it was a very frustrating process to find a way to create awareness in a way that would look positive and beautiful on this blogsite. Just when I feeling at total loss in my mission to find a charity to endorse and was ready to begin tearing my hair out, Generosity Water burst into the very forefront of my brain.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Life in A Day

January 27, 2011 at 5pm PST is a date and time you will want to mark on your calendar. Why? Because that is when you'll be able to watch the world premiere of producer Ridley Scott's & director Kevin Macdonald's documentary "Life in a Day".

"Life in a Day" is a cinematic experience to document a single day on earth. On July 24, 2010, thousands of people took part in the experiment by filming an entire day in their lives and then submiting their footage. After 80,000 clips & more than 4500 hrs of footage, the 90 min documentary "Life in a Day" was born.

Wanna have some fun? Click on the link below to find yourself staring at a 3D sphere filled with footage submitted by participants from around the world. And to find out more about the project, click on the title of the blogpost to go to the official "Life in a Day" YouTube channel. You or I may not have been able to participate in the project by submitting footage but all of us will have the opportunity to be there when "Life in the Day" premieres live online.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

From Epilogue to Prologue....

My life experience has taught me that sometimes animals get brought into our lives to teach us lessons that sometimes we can't learn on our own. In 2007, I got to experience the joy of parenthood to an american lop-eared cross. This was one of those times where I believe that the bunny was meant to be part of my life for that time period. I had friends take care of the rabbit when I left for Argentina last September and continued to live with my friends after I came back.

As I was preparing for this trip early September, I got an email one day from my friend who told me that the landlords had decided that the bunny cannot stay in their home. In that situation when so much is going on, it would be easy to panic. But I calmed down and prayed because I knew that for every problem I had, God already had a solution. A friend suggested to me that I should call the SPCA to see if we could surrender him. They would take him, if they had room.

A couple days later, I called the SPCA and they said indeed they had room and we were able to surrender the rabbit. That was my first answer to prayer...I didn't need to worry any longer or be making calls begging for someone to the rabbit. But I still wanted the best for him...he's used to human contact and deserves a home. After I came back here, I would check the SPCA website daily to see if his profile was still there. Day after day his profile remained until one day towards the end of Oct his profile disappeared from the site. Meaning that he has been adopted and is in a loving home that can provide for him better than I ever could.

I praise God for taking care of pets that are important to me. But I have even greater reason to praise God when he takes care of people that are important to me, like Marisa. I could not be more thrilled when I received word that she is moving across the water to Uruguay for a couple of months. As I type these words, I can honestly say that winning the lottery could not make me happier than I already am to know that she is going to have a life change.

Let me explain, Marisa lives far out of Buenos Aires and only comes to the main city once a week to volunteer to do the cell group for the church. I go to the other branch of church located at the other end of the city. In other words, we never have any time to spend together. And when I first met her, I felt that her life was trapped in a routine of work, church, and family. There was nothing fresh in her world. This is why when I came into the picture, there was such a joy. My relationship with her infused something fresh into her world. This made it hard to leave her in BsAs, because my relationship did alot of good for her psychologically.

But her move to Uruguay, even for a few months is going to do her alot of good on many levels. she's going to change and grow and under different circumstances, we might actually have the chance to spend time together. Uruguay is just a boat ride away and we have a church plant in the city of Montevideo. Also living by the ocean, she is going to understand more about energy and connection and will be able to understand me in a greater capacity. This new step will enrich her and will breathe new life into everything in her world.

As she and I grow as friends, I realize that a big part of her happiness is making sure that I am happy. It is why she always wants me to be happy, she needs me be happy or she can't be totally happy. And it works vice versa, her happiness is a big part of my life. I almost feel as if I could write an article on this....maybe I will!

It has been incredibly witnessing not only how God takes care of me but how God takes care of the people and things that are important to me. God arranged for my rabbit to go to the SPCA and for Marisa to go to Uruguay. I want my fans to know that every blog I have every written about Marisa & I was not the epilogue but rather the prologue to all that we're going to experience as friends. What I thought was the main course was really the appetizer. The best blog about our friendship has still yet to be written.

I am due to go to Montevideo either at the last week of february or the first week of March. Already we are talking about looking into dates and spending time together. This is her first time living by the ocean and I've already told her that it will help her understand about energy and connection. And at long last I will get to do what I've dreamed of doing since our friendship began....sitting by the ocean and bonding together.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Votes Away!!!


That is the theme of the blog for today. For the past 3 years Lexiophiles has a competition involving the top 100 blogs about travel and living abroad. First it starts with a nomination phase where anyone can put up their blog for nomination. If the blog is eligible, it goes on a list of nominated blogs. From there is a voting phase to determine the top 100 blogs out of the list. And from those top 100 blogs, the top 3 will be chosen to receive a special award. After the voting phase is done, the top 3 blogs are announced and Lexiophiles will make a charitable donation in honor of that person. Not to mention that the nominated and the winning blogs will gain a tremendous amount of exposure.

I put my blog up for nomination the very day that I heard that they were accepting nominations. And it was on that same day within a few hours of nominating my blog that I received an email letting me know that "Making the Same Difference" was indeed eligible and will be included on the list of nominations. My heart began racing when I got the news.

But what is even more exciting is that the voting phase has just started and goes from January 17-26 to determine the top 100 blogs about travel & living abroad. On January 28th, the winners will be announced. This year the top 3 bloggers will get an "education package for children" from SOS children's villages sponsored by Lexiophiles. In other words, Lexiophiles will put together a special charitable donation in the names of the winners.

This is where you come in. If you've enjoyed coming to my site and you feel that my blog is worthy of being part of that list, then please do me a big favor and vote. I can't say that I wouldn't LOVE to win. But even more important to me is the exposure that this competition would give me. Already just for my blog to be on the nomination list will guarantee that I will have some new visitors to my site. And if my blogsite makes the top 100, that would bring a fantastic level of exposure. And if "Making the Same Difference" makes the top 3 and I get a charitable donation done in my name, I don't think that I would have any words to say because one doesn't tend to say much when you are passed out on the floor!

I just wanna say here that one of my biggest reasons for wanting to win isn't just exposure, it is about telling the world about the Argentine culture. When I sent the message to request my site to be nominated, I explained that I believe that this blog is unique in that it goes beyond telling about tourist attractions and begins to tell the story of the Argentine people. It is a culture that for the most part has been bypassed by the world.

For your convenience, I have placed a voting button on the bottom of this post & the top of the blogsite. As well, clicking on the title of this blogpost will take you directly to the voting page. Everyone of you who has discovered this site and kept up with my blogs has no doubt gained a greater understanding of the Argentine people. Now help me tell their story to the world....

 Vote the best IX11 blog

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spark & Ember

Two FirefoxesImage via Wikipedia

Having a blogsite that keeps gaining momentum has some wonderful perks but it can me tough to manage sometimes and try to stay on top of things. It has been a real growing experience learning to juggle my personal life, my public life, as well as not only maintain a blogsite but find new ways to promote it.

One of the things that I found that really help me deal with stress is the live webcam of these two baby fire-foxes named Spark & Ember that were born at the Knoxville zoo. It is neat to be able to be logged into the webcam because whenever I need a break I can just click a button and watch them nap, play, or feed. I'm on the internet alot because of my involvment with social media.

All the attention to my blogsite that I am receiving is wonderful but with more fame and attention comes more work to maintain that momentum. Spark & Amber are like my little companions that keep me company as I go about my day (you can go to the website with the live webcam of them just by clicking the title of the blogpost).

Song of Solomon 2:15

"Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom."

These firefoxes are just too cute. I'm really glad that these aren't real foxes, the ones that go about destroying plant and animal life in people's homes and vineyards. That is what the Bible means when it says "Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards..." This verse has both literal and symbolic meaning.

Symbolically it means to watch out for those little things that bring destruction to our lives, relationships, finances, dreams, visions and goals. My best example once again is to use my relationship with Marisa because it seem as if the fans out there like tuning into to this blogsite and wanting to hear more about us the same way they tune into a reality show on TV.

So what happened between us after I did my "Cross-Cultural Caring" series? Are we still going strong? Every good reality show needs a follow up! We didn't see each other for a long time and then we got connected through MSN messenger and had a great chat and got a chance to catch up. It was early in the morning and we chatting for about 25 mins. During those 25 mins I got a chance to get a feel of where our friendship was at. And I am thrilled to report that one year later, despite having to deal with two languages and two cultures, the connection in our friendship still feels fresh.

But achieving this level in our friendship wasn't easy at all. Especially in a cross-cultural relationship, there is opportunity in many different areas for misunderstanding or miscommunication to happen. It is important for me to keep plugging away and putting into practice every single one of the things I wrote in my series. I can't get lazy and neither can she. Once any of us starts to let things slide, that's when the little foxes start slinking in.

She and I have learned to nip things in the bud right away. Like a rose garden, we are constantly having to prune and oversee the state of our relationship and check in with each other. Actually, in the past little while after finishing the series, it is only then that I began to realize that our relationship is highly unlikely to deteriorate simply because she wants to make it work with me pretty badly.

Relationships don't deteriorate in one day, they deteriorate over time after years of putting off what people should have taken care of right away. I will never have that problem with her, instead I have the opposite problem that she gets anxious about stuff sometimes. Marisa tends to get really anxious if she even has the slightest notion that there is a breach in the connection between us she won't hesitate to leap on it and try and fix it ASAP. But she is learning to relax and I'm letting her know that there is plenty of room for bumps in the road. We aren't going to lose our friendship all of a sudden just because there are some days where we don't have smooth sailing :)

My hope & pray for you in this new year is that your "vineyard" will bear much fruit and the only little foxes that you will see will be the ones on a live webcam.

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Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas