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Sunday, December 9, 2018

A semester in Argentina: Strikes, Mountains, Wineries, and more

Hello from the Buenos Aires airport! I last posted on the blog shortly after I arrived in Argentina, and I thought it would only be fitting to do a little reflecting on all that has happened since as I now depart the country. 

The past four months I've been living in Mendoza, Argentina which is at the base of the Andes foothills right across the border from Santiago, Chile. Mendoza is known as the "land of sun and wine" and has many beautifully irrigated vineyards even though the climate is actually quite dry.

My first month was quite an adventure as the professors at the public university where I was trying to take classes were on strike because their 8% raise didn't match the country's nearly 40% inflation rate. This caused much chaos as they kept pushing off the start to classes so then the students started to protest as well and repeatedly shut down the entrance to the school. It got to the point where our program told us to find new classes at the private university, so I was finally able to start all of my classes at the end of August. I did make some use of all my free time by joining a local trail running club. We went on some great runs and found some snow in the foothills!

One of the many protests through the streets. I think this one was mostly professors.

Some spring snow in August!

Once my classes got rolling I was able to get into more of a rhythm of every day life. I started taking guitar lessons and began my volunteer work with the program at a local school for people with special needs. In September, we had a week free for spring break, so I decided to pop over the border to La Serena, Chile to visit my friend and high school host sister Fernanda and the rest of her family. It was surreal to be back in the house that I lived in freshman spring of high school and it was so great to catch up with Fernanda and her family. I visited them again this past week to say goodbye and there was much talk of them visiting the US sometime soon so I hope that happens!

Here I am with Fernanda on a hike up Cerro Grande, the big hill that makes up the backdrop of La Serena.
By October, things were starting to warm up and spring was in full swing. The leaves were starting to come out as you can see in the picture below of a spontaneous zumba class I happened upon while on a run in the park. One of my personal highlights was the cooking class we were able to take through our program in which we learned how to make empanadas, a tomato/scrambled eggs type goodness called tomaticán cuyano, and potato gnocchi (or ñoqui in Argentina). Around 60% of Argentinians are of Italian descent so there was lots of ñoqui to be eaten which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Nothin like a mid run shake out to "You're the One That I Want" from Grease.

The fruits of our labor. It was delicious.

The first week of November we ended our classes at the private university. It was weird because I had started so late but then some of the finals weren't until the end of November. One of my classes also just didn't meet for almost all of October for various random reasons so that was interesting. I did enjoy my (surprisingly rigorous) Argentine history class as I learned a lot of context behind why Argentina has the governmental and economic problems it does today (six coups d'état followed by dictatorships in a span of 50 years will mess some things up). I also decided to do the Cerro Arco trail race with the running club. Even though they tried to convince me to do the 50k, I opted for perhaps the more reasonable 15k that climbed straight up and down the 2,300 foot hill in 90 degree heat. It was a scorcher but I had a lot of fun!

Out for a little course preview the week before with the running crew.

Getting my pain face on for the first time in a while!

My parents were also kind enough to pay me a visit and I was able to check many things off my Mendoza bucket list with them such as climb to the Aconcagua base camp, go to some wineries, and go mountain biking. We also had a lovely dinner with my host mom and her partner.

On our way up to the Aconcagua base camp. The peak was covered by clouds but it was still cool to see most of the highest mountain in the southern and western hemispheres! 
I thoroughly enjoyed wine tasting with my parents. 

The rents enjoying the view from Potrerillos where we went biking.
My host mom Carmen and her partner Hector. I now have two Carmens in my life!
I also joined a choir for my last couple months and had a lot of fun singing with them! Friday night was our final concert and it was sad to say goodbye. 

All smiles after a great last performance of the year!

My Spanish has certainly improved and I learned a lot about myself this past semester and how I deal with situations out of my comfort zone. Although sometimes I had a hard time understanding the different rhythm and occasional chaos that is Argentine culture, I'm glad I went and I'm going to miss it. I'm definitely happy to be headed home and am beyond excited get on snow and see everyone in a few short weeks! 

Sending love and good vibes for all the folks headed into finals! 


Friday, November 30, 2018

The Prospect Miracle Returns!

It's an unbelievable winter wonderland at Prospect RIGHT NOW! The team is enjoying some outstanding early season training and we are all loving the snow:)
Franklin skiing under some snow-laden

No pole technique work
Notice the new jackets!

All smiles.....Where's Jenae?

Found her all smiles "powder" exploring!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Feeling really great and very grateful

This past Thanksgiving camp at Craftsbury was too amazing for words so I'll mostly just leave you with some photos. (Many thanks to our team photographers, Sonya and Maggie.)

Most snow in 20 years?

Some midders taking on the east

Freshmen Marika and Jenae living it up

Clearly no fun was had at all this camp

Huddling for warmth whether it's 0˚ or 35˚

Following Evan Carr wherever we go

Mt. Craftsbury (no piners sighted yet)

As a special treat, Marika and her parents invited the team over to their house in Craftsbury for some scrumptious pumpkin and cherry pies. Yum! 

Marika and her ode to skiing that is lovingly hung on the fridge in the Massey-Bierman residence

We also managed to FaceTime in all of the juniors who are currently studying away in a Thanksgiving miracle. Hearts were feeling very full during the call. Reportedly some eyes were watering. Can't wait to have this crew back together as one in less than 5 weeks (not that we're counting).

Women's team all together!! (sort of)

Sarah and Elowyn (class of 2018) got in on the FaceTime action too

On Sunday morning, Williams, UNH, Harvard, and some high school teams got together for a little skate TT in the rain. Once around the 5k loop for the women and twice for the men. Purple cows looked good and skied fast, taking the win in both of the races!!

Braden advertising the new onesie cow suit on his way to victory (photo from Marika's dad)

Maggie exemplifying the face of a champion (photo from Marika's dad)

Last but not least, a huge thank you from the entire team to all who made this fab camp possible, including our lovely coaches Jay and Gary, the Craftsbury staff, our dear families, and the snow gods. These ephs are feeling as grateful as klister is sticky.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Craftsbury Thanksgiving

We are here at Craftsbury for our annual Thanksgiving training camp. Normally we're skiing on a 1-1.5K loop with hundreds of other skiers. This year we have 30+K of perfectly groomed conditions and plenty of elbow room. Race skis at Thanksgiving camp? Yes! We're having an excellent time so far and have an abundance of things to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Coach Jay

The team getting ready for an
afternoon skate in the POWDER


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Prospect Opens with More Snow than Davos, Switzerland

It's only November 21st but it already feels like the middle of winter! We all couldn't wait to get on snow, especially Marika, who wins the prize for first ski of the year:
Marika skiing in Frosh Quad on Thursday, only a few hours after the snow started falling

The rest of us managed to contain our excitement until Friday, when we headed up to Prospect for the first proper ski of the season, which was lots and lots of fun.
Jenae, so overcome with joy over the snow she could no longer stand upright

Unfortunately, Prospect also claimed its first victim during our skate ski on Sunday:
A disappointed Siri and her slightly mangled ski after a crash on the S-turns

As much as I miss the mountains at home, I do have to admit that the east coast is the place to be right now. Davos's 4km of snow farming can't quite compare to the fresh snow at Prospect this fall and especially not to the 28km open at Crafstbury right now!
The top of Sertig valley in Davos, Switzerland, looking a little bit bare

Very thankful to be in Craftsbury with all of this amazing snow and skiing for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Night Skiing and Haircuts

First Day on Snow!!!


 Night skiing at Prospect Mountain 

 Isaac (Freshman) didn't make it down in one piece. 

It was time for a haircut. Nick Gardener gave three cuts that day to some very grateful teammates. Henry Mcgrew's first haircut of the year!

This was his second haircut after a very controversial first cut. Emil came in to save the day. 

Emil also had to do some damage control on Isaac. 

Speaking of Emil. Here he is getting ready for a big dance. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Alternative Training Fun and Spotlight on Siri!

Spotlight on Siri!

this is siri ^^^
she is a sad frog in the big pond this year. 🐸 I asked her some questions about how life is going as an Eph.

Where are you from?
Afton, MN (aka where Jessie Diggins is from)

What is your favorite letter of the alphabet?

What is your favorite type of wax?
Rhode multigrade 
Toko yellow 

What is the funnest thing you’ve done since coming to campus? 

What’s the best food you’ve had at Driscoll? 

If you had to make a meme for the 
Facebook page what would you make it about?
We have a Facebook page?

Given your recent success in writing limericks for chem 153, what artistic endeavors do you visualize yourself getting involved with next?
Perhaps a haiku

Skate vs classic 
It’s a tie 

Special talents 
Skiing faster than Maggie on the downhills 

and now, for Part Two!

❄️The Alternative Training Sk(i)wad❄️

Bike to Mohawk Trail last Sunday! (occasionally members of the indoor squad venture outside to get much needed vitamin D)

But other times we are still confined to the spacious wooden floors and loud basketball noises of Upper Lasell
Some speeds whilst listening to a jammin playlist ft. Ingrid's speaker (thanks friend!)

Emil has been spotted! Just in time for an interview
What is the best part/most helpful optimistic part of training indoors? 
I have complete control over what I can do on a daily basis and there are lots of good ways to get fit inside. Also, the indoor company is excellent !! ( I gotchu...)

Which is your favorite erg and why?
It’s the perfect distance from the mirror, and it's set high enough (higher than the other side!!)

What is your favorite song to listen to when doing intervals ? 
I don’t care...if there’s any music I’m happy but I also don’t really listen to it so I can’t say I have a favorite.

Favorite indoor workout:
30/30s on ercolina 

Where is the best bathroom on campus ?
Marhop 4c obviously!! 

A note: Siri is also a temporary member of the indoor skiwad, however she is not pictured. Shout out to my gal however for some fun 30/30s on the erg last week tho 💪