Top 25 Photos of 2008 Saturday, Jan 3 2009 

Here are the 25 best, weirdest and funniest photos of 2008 — the ones that I think best represent the year.  God, this has been a cruisazy year.  Enjoy!

Arrival in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

I had a really difficult winter, mostly due to a rocky relationship, a bad breakup and being unable to shake a cold for two months.  My mom invited me to come to New Mexico with her and it was EXACTLY what I needed.  It was a time to heal.

I loved the color of this car.

Callie and I attempt to smile with our eyes, Tyra Banks-style, while at Ned Devine’s.

Lisa and I celebrate our Irish heritage in the form of Guinness, Jameson and Bailey’s on St. Paddy’s Day.

I quit my job of nearly two years!!  Here I am on my last day with my wonderful friends Jackie, Nadine, Esther and Michelle.

The weekend before I start my new job, I meet Josh.

This is the start of a crazy friendship and the first of our many, many adventures.

While out in Faneuil Hall, I befriend a bachelor party and end up jumping on their bus with them, partying till dawn.

In Las Vegas at Madame Tussaud’s, Lisa, Alexa and I give Hef a good time!

I then get stuck inside Frank Sinatra.

Ever sat in a guy in a wheelchair’s lap as he spins you around on the dance floor?  I now have.  This was also at Tryst.

This is probably my favorite picture of the year.  It’s definitely the funniest.  This is me and Lisa in Vegas at 7:00 AM after leaving Drai’s and walking back to TI while high-fiving random onlookers and yelling, “Vegas!” then going to play Blackjack for a few more hours.  This is around the time Lisa lay in the alley next to the IP.

Yeah…no explanation needed.

I spoon Beth (under the tarp) on the Esplanade in Boston on the Fourth of July.  It rained for part of the day.

Beth tries to help me discreetly change from shorts into pants on the Esplanade as Janelle looks on.  Yeah, we kind of failed at the “discreet” part.

If you’re napping, you might as well keep up the patriotism and the pimpin’.

This picture is so embarrassing.  I was convinced my hand was on his left outer thigh, NOT HIS RIGHT INNER THIGH.  I nearly died when I saw this — and Lisa, Beth and Janelle nearly died of laughter.  We met this guy at the Blackthorne in Southie and he went to our high school 15 years before us.

I reunite with my wonderful college roommate Kelly Anne at our friends Sean and Shannon‘s barbecue at their beautiful new house in Bridgeport.  (Sean and Shannon have since gotten engaged, which excites me to no end!)

The night before our shared birthday, I run into Hans at Mantra in Boston.  We’re smiling pretty big despite our disastrous weekend a week before.

Me and my lubly Sars on my birthday at 28 Degrees.

Me and my wonderful friends on my birthday.  These are some of the people most important to me: Kara, Carissa, Surina, Sars, Josh, Callie, Lisa and Beth.

I attend Barack Obama’s September rally in Manchester, New Hampshire — what an amazing experience!

I needed a popular, smart, topical and preferably political, yet not overdone (aka Sarah Palin), Halloween costume this year.  I fretted that I wouldn’t be able to find a good one — and then the PERFECT character swept into the news and into my life.  Ashley Todd.  One of my best costumes.

My first night in Buenos Aires and I’m getting licked!  Maxi unsuspectingly gets me when I was expecting a normal, smiling picture.  That’s a genuine expression of shock on my face.

Poor Louis…in Buenos Aires, food poisoning and parilla do not mix.

Carissa and I get borderline violent at Shabu Shabu Kaze in Chinatown.

Beth and I celebrate the arrival of 2009.

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The Most Argentine Night Ever Friday, Dec 19 2008 

My Sunday night in Buenos Aires was probably the most quintessentially Argentine night of my trip, and it was one of the best nights there.

Because of that, I’m only going to blog about this night in depth.  I’ll skim over everything else lightly.

After a morning (well, in Buenos Aires, the morning begins at noon) shopping and enjoying the market in Plaza Serrano in Palermo Viejo, right down the street from my house.  Later that evening, I hopped down to San Telmo to go see a band called Rosal perform at Bar el Nacional.

Rosal was FANTASTIC.  Two (or three) acoustic guitars, and I LOVE multiple acoustic guitars, and the girl had a wonderful voice.  Here they are:

Louis, my Couchsurfing friend from Chicago, found out about the band and invited us.  Christian, our Couchsurfing friend from Los Angeles, came as well.

Christian (check out his blog, Aimless Wanderers) is traveling around South America for nearly a year.  He had spent time in Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, and is planning to spend more time in Argentina, then Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and I believe Costa Rica, then heading home.

Louis was in Argentina for about a month — he just got back.  He rented a pretty amazing apartment in Palermo SoHo (oh, yeah — and this is weird, but YOU CAN’T GET OUT OF THE BUILDING without a key!!!  FIRE HAZARD!!!) for two weeks, then went down to Bariloche and up to Iguazu Falls before returning to Buenos Aires, then home.

I love these guys.  🙂

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ños there, and that was perfect.

After that, we walked around and decided to go to a parrilla — pronounced pa-REE-sha by Argentines — and sample some legendary steaks.

And wow, was that ever a meal.

We started out with sausages — Christian looks eager to dig in — salads and prosciutto.

And some FANTASTIC papas fritas!

Poor Louis was fighting off a bout of food poisoning.  He ate as much as he could — it was all about the experience, he said.

Christian, on the other hand, spent most of the meal like this.

I believe that’s Christian’s pork.  Some of the steaks are so tender, they CARVE them with a SPOON.

Our delicious spread.  That’s my filet in the front.  (Yeah, the vegetarianism kind of went out the window in the name of experiencing Buenos Aires to the fullest.)  What I love — that was one of the most expensive cuts on the menu, and it cost about $15.00.

Self-portrait!  Christian’s got a better one…

We also enjoyed a bottle of Malbec.  It was lovely.

Awww.  Poor Louis.  I felt so bad for him…he wanted to enjoy the food so much…

After dinner, I grabbed a cab back to Palermo Viejo.  (30-minute cab — $10.00.  Love it.)  And sadly, I had to say goodbye to Louis, who was leaving for Bariloche.  Christian and I made plans to meet up the next day.

After getting back to the hostel, a group of backpackers, including Sarah from Boston (she used to live in Southie!) decided to go out.  I thought we were going to a club.

We ended up at a tango milonga!

Now, this is the most fascinating people-watching I have ever seen.  Dozens of couples fill the dance floor.  The men are in jeans and button-downs of all levels of style.  The women wear everything from leggings to short denim skirts to casual dresses — but all of them wear gorgeous tango shoes.

Everyone dances perfectly, intricately, not missing a beat.

The most fascinating thing is that everybody who dances like this appears to be so passionately connected, so deeply in love.  And then, often, they switch partners.  And it begins all over again.

What a great night — it was truly unforgettable.

It’s ironic, though, that I glorify this particular night, considering that I missed the ONE thing I hoped not to miss and tried not to miss, but missed anyway.

Hmm.  How do I put this?

Of all the lessons I learned from my college creative writing advisor, Dr. White, one stands out the most: “Just because it happened that way, it doesn’t mean it makes good fiction.”

But sometimes, the opposite happens.

Things happen to you in life that you don’t expect.  Things that hurt badly.  But you know what?  This experience would make FANTASTIC fiction.

And I lived that.

God, that’s pretty fucking poetic.

Cementerio de la Recoleta Thursday, Dec 18 2008 

It’s the #1 tourist attraction in Buenos Aires — and Cementerio de la Recoleta, or Recoleta Cemetery, is where anyone who’s anyone in Buenos Aires rests for eternity.

Evita is here.  So is every Alvear you can imagine.

I like cemeteries.  Perhaps it’s a bit macabre, but I’ve always felt a strange connection with them.  To me, they’re fascinating.

And when you come to a cemetery as ornate as Recoleta, even if you’ve never held a camera in your life, you instantly become a master photographer.

Here are my favorite pictures:

This is so sad — a little girl who died…

…but it wasn’t nearly as sad as this heartbreaking poem, in Italian, that her father wrote for her, crying, “Why, why, why?” at the end.

Evita’s sarcophagus.

The whole time I was there, I kept thinking about how much my photographer friends Kelly and James would love this place.  It casts a spell over you.

A Buenos Aires Thanksgiving Saturday, Dec 13 2008 

I’ve done Thanksgiving in a few different places — Florida was nice; Florence was AWESOME — but my Thanksgiving in Buenos Aires ranks among the greatest of all time.

Buenos Aires has a great group of Couchsurfers, and two of them, Romi and Belle, put together a great gathering at Romi’s house — which happened to be right in Palermo Viejo, a quick walk from my hostel.  The BA Couchsurfing group always has events going on.

We had dinner, everyone was SO warm and welcoming, I made friends from Argentina, Ecuador, Sweden, Colombia and all over the US (there were three Americans in our group!), we hung out for a while, and we went to a club (at 4:30, which I WISH you could do in Boston!!).

Here are the best pictures:

Andres (Ecuador), Louis (Chicago), Jorge (Colombia), Maxi (Buenos Aires) and Romi’s dog!

Christian (LA), a sunburned Kails and Belle (Buenos Aires)

The beginning of odd pictures with Maxi.

I LOVE THIS PICTURE.  Seaman (Sweden), Belle, me, cruisazy Christian and Romi (Buenos Aires) — I think Romi looks just like Lily Allen.

Seaman, Fanny (France) and Elia (California).

Yeah, I don’t even know…I thought we were taking a normal picture!!!  (I do love this guy.  So crazy.)

Club time!

What a great night.  This evening is testament enough to why you should sign up for couchsurfing, no matter where you’re headed on your next trip!

So, how was Buenos Aires? Saturday, Dec 6 2008 

Buenos Aires was fantastic.

It was so much fun — such a wonderful trip.

I met wonderful people, saw beautiful things — met beautiful people, did wonderful things…it was just such a great time.

It was a microcosm of my life!  This trip had everything — very high highs and very low lows…friendship, parties, some loneliness, awkwardness, romance, triumph, tragedy, wine, affirmations of what I know about myself and so much learning — learning new things about myself.

This trip also made me realize how amazing Couchsurfing is.  I hear it’s stronger in Buenos Aires than many other cities, but WOW!!  I met SO many new friends from there!  I went to dinners, parties, bars, you name it…and that doesn’t even include the time that I spent with people from the hostel and other friends.

There’s very little that I would change.

Wow.  I’m trying to figure out the best way to chronicle the trip on here, since the thought of putting up every picture, or even chronicling each day, is freaking me out already.  It’s that kind of stuff that puts me off blogging in the first place.

But if you want to see the pictures in their entirety, they’re on Facebook.

Get on Couchsurfing!