Claire Shrader is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Pre-Occupational Therapy major at Mississippi College, she is studying abroad in Buenos Aires this semester.
In this week's post, Claire meets with local Argentinian friends, Andres and Fernanda, and introduces us to them in this interview.
Hola! Today’s post is brought to you by two of my dear friends. Andres/Andy was my mentor in a church retreat here in Buenos Aires in 2012. I remember having conversations about the wonderful Fernanda he wanted to marry back then, and tonight I got to go to their home to enjoy some delicious empanadas and to hear the rest of their story. It was truly a delightful night, and we laughed so hard. I hope you enjoy this interview they were gracious enough to participate in! Mil gracias, Fer y Andy!!
Fernanda, me, and Andres/Andy.
CLAIRE SHRADER: Can you introduce yourselves?
FERNANDA: Okay, I’m Fernanda, I love to laugh *laughs* I’m a teacher, I work in an evangelical Christian school, and I teach art. I’m 28 years old and I live in Floresta with Andres, my husband, who’s here beside me.
ANDRES: Floresta, Buenos Aires, Argentina, that is. The people from [Claire's] university probably don’t know where Floresta is. I work in digital marketing advertisement, in a huge industry referral here in Argentina. I’m the digital coordinator for the ABInBev client.
CS: And how many days have you had this job?
A: Three! Three whole days. I’ve been in the industry for more than eight years now, and I live with my wife in Floresta, Buenos Aires, Argentina—that is, Capital Federal. The best Capital Federal we have in Argentina.
*All burst out laughing*
A: What I like about Buenos Aires is that there is always something to do. Even if you don’t know it, there is always something you can do. It’s a city that has a long nightlife starting early in the evening and going up to four, five, six am. With museums, different cultural places that are all free to go to, there’s always something new going on.
F: I’d say the same, but I also love that I have all my family and friends here. Well, except for my parents who live in the south.
CS: And what city do they live in?
F: My parents live in Caleta Olivia, a city in the Santa Cruz province. 2000 kilometros between us. Andy and I dated long distance for this distance, too.
CS: Wow, for how long?
A & F: Three years.
CS: Wow. Tell me, what was the most difficult thing about being long distance for so long?
F: Yeah, it was hard not to be able to go out like I wanted, and to feel like I didn’t have a “normal boyfriend.” I would have loved to have been able to drink mate together and chat together and be able to see each other, even though we saw each other on Skype and we talked a lot on the phone. The truth is, we talked a lot, maybe even more than we would have if we had been closer. We talked a lot about many different things, which was pretty good, wasn’t it?
CS: So, you were dating long distance for a while, but I imagine you also had some pretty fun dates, so tell me about the best date you had?
A: The best date?
F: Ah, what a hard question!
A: Oh! It wasn’t a date; it was a day. We were in Caleta Olivia, where there is absolutely nothing to do–
F: It’s true!
A: Nothing. It’s a city next to the beach, which you might think is nice, but no. The beach is cold, the water is colder, the sand is rocks. But one day my mother in law came charging in screaming at the top of her lungs *indecipherable screaming in Spanish*
CS & F: What?
A: Now I’ll translate: The whales, the whales are coming! The whales were making their journey from Antarctica to Puerto Madryn, and they were passing through Caleta Olivia and they had stopped at a little in-between place to rest just 40km outside the city, so we went there to that beach. It was our winter, so it was very cold, and we just stayed at the beach watching the whales coming and going. It wasn’t a date because my mother-in-law was there.
CS: Can I put this on the blog?
A: Of course! But it was something different that we did, different than a common date. It was nice.
F: I’m remembering a different one. I remember the day we went ice-skating.
A: Nope, that was fun for you, not me.
F: So we went ice-skating, and he was pretty canchero…
A: Canchero? No!
CS: Ah, I don’t know how to translate canchero!
A: It’s very suave, very cool you know. Like “I got this.”
F: *laughs* For a few minutes, he was doing pretty well. I decided to go in and rest after a while, and I went in to take my skates off and sit down to watch. And Andy was skating, and one moment he got stuck in the middle of the rink and started to lose his balance, and at the exact moment he was about to fall, he would pull himself up, and pause, with his arms held out, trying not to fall, but then he’d just fall over again, catch himself, and do it again.
*All three laugh hysterically*
A: And here you can see what Fer said earlier about loving to laugh…let’s just give her a couple hours! So I was acting like I had done it a million times even though it was my first time, like any dude would do. And as I passed the center of the rink, I waved at Fer outside the rink, and as I waved, I started losing my balance. And I just started to fall and try not to fall at the same time, and I was like “Ok, ok, I didn’t fall down, I did. Not. Fall. Down.” And then immediately I’d start falling down again!
CS: We have to put this video in my blog!
F: That was a happy day for me.
CS: So what happened, in the end did he fall?
A: You know what, it doesn’t even matter.
F: No, so he grabbed on to the rail and began to slowly walk holding onto the rail.
A: The issue I was having was with my skates…
CS & F: Righttttt…
CS: I have to tell you that I can’t skate either, no puedo.
F: It was so funny.
A: Imagine me not falling down for the third time and looking up and seeing Fernanda and my sister in law crying from laughter.
F: You have to tell her about your proposal. It was pretty funny too.
A: All right. So, as you may already know, I’m not a very serious person, even though I like to say whatever comes to mind with a straight face. So, we go out to dinner, and I was going to propose to her, and I had the ring in my pocket, you know, that small pocket for coins. So it was just the two of us, we had finished eating, and I had already thought about how I could do this in a funny way. This won’t be a serious moment; this is a moment we’ll always remember with laughter. It was so romantic.
F: No, no it wasn’t.
A: So, I started telling her how much I loved her, how much I enjoyed having her as my friend and my girlfriend, and I said, “Why don’t we make it official? Would you like to be my wife?” And she looks at me, and she says, “Oh, yeah I would, blah blah blah.” And I take out the tab from a can of tuna, and I started telling her how I didn’t have a lot of money, because I had to go by plane to visit her so often, 2,000 kilometers away, again for those that weren’t paying attention. So I told her that this tab will be the engagement ring until I had enough money to buy her the one she deserved. And she looked at me so seriously and said, “Ok, are you serious?” Yes, yes one hundred percent serious. “Will you marry me?” And she grabbed the tag and told me to stop joking, but I insisted that I wasn’t joking around. I guess she was probably thinking, “Is this really happening, and is it happening like this? Is he for real? I mean, that’s a little piece of crap ring!”
CS: I bet she had some stronger thoughts than that!
A: Yeah, I’m trying to tone it down, you know? “Yeah, sure, of course I’ll marry you!” she told me. So she gave me her hand and I put the fake ring on it.
F: Ok, up until this moment, I really thought it was all a joke, and I wanted to see how much he elaborated on it!
A: So I put the ring on her finger and she was looking at it like, well this sucks, and when she looked up, she saw me fighting against my pocket and my belt, trying to pull out the real ring that I had asked her mother for since it was her grandmother’s, that she had hoped to have as an engagement ring. So she sees me fighting with this little piece of crap that won’t come out, and that kind of ruined it, but when she saw the ring she burst into tears…telling me what a wonderful man I was…
F: *Laughing* okay, I didn’t say that! He’s crazy.
A: You are welcome!
CS: Oh, I love it. I love this story. Can I ask you one more question? Tell me one thing that you love about Argentina.
A: That Fer is here.
CS, A & F: Awww!!!!!
A: Yeah, the people. We the people…
CS: …of Argentina.
A: Yep, we are great, come visit us, we have cookies.
CS: And what are those cookies called?
A: Umm, cookies? Oh! Alfajores! That’s what she was fishing for.
F: Come try the alfajores!
A: If you ever come to Argentina, ask the person from this blog for my contact information, and you can stay in our home for a reasonable price.
*Erupts into laughter*
CS: Well, anything else you want to add for the readers?
A: Boca rules! God be with you!
F: I’d say to anyone who’s reading that God is important to me, and to my husband too, and if you feel encouraged to know Him, He will definitely change your life.
This interview was so much fun. We laughed through all of it, and alternated between Spanish and English, with some of my questions in English and their answers in Spanish, and vice-versa. I look forward to many more nights with these friends this semester! I hope you enjoyed reading it, and really do take them up on their offer—come visit Buenos Aires!
Claire's journey continues every Monday so stay tuned.