Monday was my first day of real work, as my father-in-law would say. That isn't to say that I haven't been getting work done, but from my apartment rather than from an office, so this was my first day at UNSL. So far it's going pretty well. I've been introduced to most of the department here and Julio and I worked out some of the details of my project. I also touched base with a couple of local physics teachers, most of whom work both here at the university and also at a local secondary school. I visited my first school this morning, and it was great to be back in a classroom and interacting with students. Hopefully I'm going to meet with some other local teachers later in the week, and I have my first graduate class this coming Friday. I've missed two sessions already, so I'll have some catching up to do, but it sounds just about perfect for my project. I'm going to take some pictures of the university and of my office- I'll post them soon. Definitely a lot of work to be done, but it's good to get started trying to figure things out before I've committed myself to a certain methodology for my project.
I managed to take a couple of pictures today of a small memorial in the building where my office is. This memorial is to some of Los Desaparecidos that were affiliated with the university. One in particular was a Physics instructor... there's a lot more to this story and I'm not doing it justice; there's no way I could possibly do so in this limited space. I plan on revisiting this later after I'd had a chance to discuss it with some friends.
This past weekend was a long weekend for many Argentines. Lots of folks were out travelling around, and San Luis was packed during the evenings. On Saturday I went to Silvia's for lunch- she taught me how to make Milanesas. You start with a really thin cut of beef, salt it, and then soak it in a mixture of egg and oregano before coating it with fine breadcrumbs and cooking it. It can be topped with a variety of things when served: a sauce made from tomatoes, a cheese sauce, ketchup, or mayonnaise. It was delicious and I enjoyed seeing the process from butcher to plate. My only regret is that I wasn't quick enough with the camera to document the process!
On Sunday I went on a trip back up to el Potrero with Julio and Ayesha. We went to Julio's brother's place, where we had lunch. It was another great meal: milanesas, pasta, and ice cream for dessert. Afterwards we went for a drive around the small village and took a dirt road up to this Refugio: equal parts restaurant, bar, and hotel. It was pretty spectacular, but definitely off the beaten path. The view was awesome and the people very welcoming. I was very impressed by their lawnmowers.
Afterwards we stopped by Ayesha's sister's house, where she was staying with her family and some other relatives for the weekend. They were super nice and very welcoming, before I knew it I was being given chocolate easter eggs, a cup of coffee, and chatting with Ayesha's nephew about his upcoming trip to London. It was a marathon afternoon but it's really good to see different places outside of the neighborhood around my apartment. There were wild parrots flying between walnut trees- quite different from the traffic that goes by my front door every day. The plaza near my house is called Plaza Pringles (scroll down if you follow the link- some good pictures here).