(or How I Was Supposed to Be Fluent in Two Languages)

Note: this post was written in February 2014, but for some reason never made it to my blog. You’ll spot some anachronisms but I won’t fix them. [DAR 12/2014]

I’ve always been very proud of my Spanish. This might sound silly, considering that is my native language, but it’s true; I have a wide vocabulary (aka I know the difficult words), a very good spelling and an almost flawless grammar. I can write and speak in Spanish, not only in an informal setting, but also in a formal one. I can even get poetic.

Or at least, this was true until 3+ years ago.

Then I moved to the US, and English sort of took over. Not completely, of course, because I have Latin American friends here, happen to live with an Argentinean ūüėČ and also keep in touch with my people back home. The thing is, ever since I came to Michigan, I have forced myself to speak in English and get more comfortable with it, because that’s the only way to have a shot at a real life here. Regular online dictionaries and also Urban Dictionary have become my best friends. It’s paid off; my accent has become easier to understand, my vocabulary has expanded and I even use idioms on a regular basis. Boy, I’m proud of this! This blog is partial proof of how comfortable I’m with English. It’s no perfect, but I think it’s better than functional, and that’s good.

So, what’s the problem with all this, you ask? Well, the brain is an amazingly complex machine, but it is not perfect. It can’t keep two languages completely separated, it just doesn’t work like that… and that’s when the shenanigans begin and Spanglish takes over. It’s not that bad when I speak English, unless I’m very tired or really comfortable speaking and then words in Spanish just creep into my speech. Weird, I know.

But Spanish… oh my lovely cultured Cervantian (is that even a word?) Spanish! What have I done to you? It’s accurate to say that I don’t quite speak Spanish anymore, but something more Frankensteinesque, a hybrid usually known as Spanglish (oh, come on!¬†Frankensteinesque sounds so cool! if you can pronounce it, of course). And since the Spanish speaker I talk to the most is Nico, Spanglish doesn’t get in the way of communication; it probably makes it even smoother. In case you were wondering, we only speak in Spanish to each other (unless, of course, there’s a third person who doesn’t speak Spanish), but it isn’t really Spanish, it’s Spanglish. We are both used to talking about our jobs in English, so most sciency words come in English. Any hobbies we’ve picked here are talked about in English. We even measure distances and paces in miles (I don’t think I’ve ever seriously run in kilometers). The word “pounds” (as in weight) is always used in English, never translated (seriously, I can’t for the life of me say libras). And then there are the real Frankensteins of our Spanglish: the verbs that don’t get translated, but conjugated. I have been laughed at for saying “matchear” (which is supposed to mean “to match”, but with a Spanish-ish form) before, but that hasn’t prevented me for using it more than once.¬†Gadgets is another word that I don’t translate (I struggled the other day to find a good equivalent in Spanish and I came empty-handed). And this is all fine when I’m talking to Nico, or Lu (my common-law sister-in-law) or some other Latin American friends, but it gets really hard when talking to other people, with my parents at the top of the list (they are certainly not well acquainted with English/Spanglish). I don’t like not being able to speak proper Spanish, and it gets so frustrating when the right words won’t come to mind! I feel helpless when I struggle for words in my mother tongue. That was only supposed to happen in English (and mind you, it still does)!

But there’s something even more Frankensteinesque than our Spanglish: my inner voice. There’s no rhyme or reason to it; quite often I find myself thinking in English and halfway through the sentence I switch to Spanish and then back to English and… and I’m so glad I’m the only one who gets to hear that.

The worst part of all this? It can only get worse. How can it get better while I’m still here? The pressure to improve my English is always there, English is all around (maybe Billy Mack can make another song, ha) and Spanish is something that I have to keep alive. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I’m not articulate in my mother tongue anymore. It’s just that it’s scary to see how English is creeping its way into my Spanish, how there are some words that I can’t think of in Spanish anymore (or at least I have to take the time to find them). I was supposed to be fluent in two languages, but now I struggle for words in both.

Something Funny (and Very True) Drew Said Some Weeks Ago: “Are you dating an American? You’re never speaking Spanish again! Oh, no, you have parents…”

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2014 (Insert Quirky Title Here)

Surprise! I haven’t blogged in over 11 months and so, SO much has happened in that time that I’m not sure where to start or what title this post should have. I’ll try to keep it coherent enough (ha! we all know that’s almost impossible).

Let’s start from the beginning and go in chronological order.

The year started out well, in NYC (one of my favorite places in the world). Nico and I had fun with friends, I caught a plane back to EL being ridiculously hangover and was greeted by two snow days at the beginning of the semester. Cool.

The spring semester was relatively uneventful. My students didn’t like me much (it’s okay, I didn’t like them much either…), Selene and Monica passed their 2nd year oral exams, life went on. The main event of the semester was Nico’s graduation in May (his commencement made me want to graduate so badly! oh well).

In late May I completed my 2nd half marathon, and this time I ran the whole dang thing. Now that was an accomplishment I’ll be proud of for a while. The race was in beautiful Traverse City, MI, and I had my two running buddies with me, Jennie and Kelley. It was an awesome weekend. Short story: I wore my Argentinean soccer jersey for the race (something about national pride), and as I was running, one of the marathoners, who was running the other way, yelled “Go Argentina!”. Totally made my day. So, whoever you were, fellow runner, thank you. You made me smile and motivated me. Extra points for knowing the away jersey.

Jennie, Kelley and I after the race

Not very long after the race, I went to Argentina. It’s always wonderful to be among friends and family. No matter how comfortable I feel in the US (and believe me, I feel great here), Argentina is always home. It takes me no time to find my place there, and my friends never make me feel that time has taken an toll on our relationship. I got to see many people, but of course the highlight of any trip home is hanging out with Quique. It’s amazing how someone can not only put up with me and my shenanigans, but also cherish them. As usual, we had to deal with people assuming we’ll end up together (no, peeps – that won’t happen, and trust me, it’s better this way), but who cares. We got 4 days in C√≥rdoba where we managed to drive a couple of store clerks crazy, buy clothes and shoes for him and… a little cooking pot for me. Such is life. It was awesome. AND we managed to get a great looking picture!

I know we're very attractive, but don't fall for us.

I know we’re very attractive, but don’t fall for us.

After getting back to EL, Nico moved to Chicago for his residency. We’ll get back to it later.

Over the summer, Annie and her family moved from EL to Bemidji, MN. I helped the pack and tried to spend as much time with them as possible. It was so sad to see all their stuff in the U-haul ready to go! I’ve missed her a lot since then.

Oh, have I mentioned the World Cup? Wow. So. Many. Feels. Work was easily forgotten when Argentina played. I cried when we made it to the final after beating the Netherlands. And suffered through every minute of the final, getting accordingly sad when we lost. I hate Germany so much. Oh well. I’m still super proud of the team and probably won’t forget this WC anytime soon.

The summer included another major accomplishment: my very first Warrior Dash. I’m not sure why I decided to do it, or how I managed to, but I did the whole thing, without skipping any obstacles, despite how terrified I was at times. It was awesome and I actually enjoyed it and am kind of looking forward to doing it again. The turkey leg + beer combo afterwards enhanced the experience. Fun story: there was a couple getting married after completing the race ūüôā

After the race. Uber filthy and uber proud.

After the race. Uber filthy and uber proud.

Next important moment of the year: the Donor-Acceptor GRS/GRC in Newport, RI. For all of you, non-chemistry folks: it’s a chemistry conference, fairly specific and quite informal. In Drew’s words, it’s science camp for adults, which is quite accurate. Getting ready for it was stressful (surprise!) but the conference was interesting, fun, inspiring, etc. I had a great time and got back to the lab super motivated. This did wear off a bit over the next semester, but it was a great experience nevertheless.

So far so good, right? 2014 looks like a pretty kick-ass year, huh? Well, wait for it. It gets worse.

After two months of a (I should be honest) lousy long-distance relationship, Nico broke up with me. There’s no better way to put it, so let’s just get it out of the way. Much crying ensued. A lot. Suddenly I felt so alone, seeing how the life I had built went out the window. But if you’ve paid attention to this post so far, you’ve noticed that most of the highlights of my year didn’t include the guy I was “building a life” with. Yeah, it took me a while to see that. Or maybe I just told myself it was okay. But it wasn’t. And now I can see that it was for the best, even though it hurt a lot at the time.

It took me about two weeks of crying and feeling sorry for myself to get back on my feet. I have to take a moment to thank the awesome friends who supported me through the whole thing. Monica and Jennie provided enough sugar to sweeten any feelings, and were always willing to listen and hang out and cheer me up. It took Annie only a couple of days to invite me to spend Christmas with her family (as a matter of fact, I’m writing this in her parents’ living room), and the same was true for Tere inviting me over for Thanksgiving. Quique, Iani and Ale M. were there regardless of the time of the day and despite the long distance. And Ale R. and Sebas welcomed me in NYC for my birthday. My parents were there for me too, as they’ve always been. It’s amazing how loved you can feel even when your world seems in shambles.

So, as I was saying, after two weeks of crying things got better. The prospect of spending my birthday in EL was making me sad (even though I have awesome friends there, it just felt wrong), but Ale R. and Sebas let me crash on their couch in NYC. It was a fantastic birthday weekend that will be hard to top. For my bday we went to Coney Island… some of those roller coasters are plain awesome. Also, eating at Nathan’s Famous is one of those really-bad-for-you-yet-super-tasty experiences. This was also the second time Ale R. and I met outside of Argentina (the first time was in 2012, in M√ľnchen, Germany); yeah, we’re that cool.

Coney Island = The Perfect Place to Spend Your Birthday

Coney Island = The Perfect Place to Spend Your Birthday

Life has gotten much better since October. I’ve embraced my not-so-inner basic white girl, gotten a nose ring and enjoyed living alone and being “wild and single” for a while (key words: a while*). For Thanksgiving break I visited Tere in DC, and also got to see Alli after 2 years! It was a great relaxing couple of days. December was pretty hectic, but now that my pressing work duties are over I get a chance to relax and enjoy Christmas.

What’s on tap for 2015? Several things; the year looks very promising. There’s a trip home in the near future; Quique is visiting me over the summer (yay for Argentinean shenanigans in the US!!); Jennie, Kelley, Bryan and I are running a marathon in October (yes, you read that right: a full marathon); and I’m probably walking in the commencement in December (!!!). I’m excited to see what the new year brings. Hopefully I’ll sum it up for you in 12 months ūüėČ

*Yes, there is someone new in the picture. And I like him a lot and things are going well, but I don’t want to jinx it so you’ll have to wait.

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Snowed in II

The snow day quickly became one and a half and finally 2 days. Thanks MSU for being reasonable and not exposing your people to dangerously cold conditions.

This winter confinement has brought an unexpected productivity with it. As I said in my previous post, not only Necessity is the mother of Invention, but Boredom may be the mother of Productivity as well. I’ve only left my apartment twice, both times to go to the fitness room (located less than 0.25 miles from my doorstep), and it’s so cold that I’m not tempted to go anywhere else.

As my mom said the other day, I’m living like a housewife from the 50s (without the husband). Yesterday I even ironed! For those of you who know me, that’s a little miracle in itself, but the highlight of my Monday was my resizing one of Nico’s old sweaters to fit me. Last time he did a clean up of his closet, I asked him to give me any sweaters he was trying to get rid of, and he complied ūüôā I’ve used some of those to make scarves (using this tutorial), but there was this one that I quite liked and couldn’t find a good use for. Yesterday I decided I wanted to wear it, but it was pretty large and unflattering for me, so I googled how to resize a sweater and gave it a try. I loosely followed these instructions.

After two and a half days of cooking, crafting and enjoying the internet, I decided that I had to do something work-related today. We were supposed to only have half a snow day, so I wanted to start working in the morning. I actually worked for several hours, which was good.

But after working (okay, I started during my lunch break, but most of this was done after science) housewife-Dani came back. I like housewife-Dani, she never ceases to amaze me. I ate the last of the cream of wheat today, which limits my breakfast options for tomorrow morning (after that I can go grocery shopping). What did I do? Inspired on this recipe and this recipe, I created my very own breakfast quinoa recipe, using some of the food we got for Christmas (so, thanks to the Hildens for many of the ingredients). I did what I’ve learned¬†not¬†to do¬†in the lab: I tried my “reaction” in a big scale. It turned out pretty decent, so I won’t complain. Here’s the recipe:

Dani’s slow cooker breakfast quinoa


–¬†2 cups uncooked quinoa

– 4.5 cups water

– 8 tsp vanilla extract

– 8 tsp maple syrup

– 1/2 dried cranberries

I just put everything in the crockpot and cooked at low for 4 hours. Based on what other people did, I divided this in 8 servings. They are not huge, which allows for some extra maple syrup ūüôā And I’ll add water when reheating. Ta-da! So proud of this.

But, wait! housewife-Dani didn’t stop there. Let me give you some background: living in Michigan, boots have become my BFFs for the winter. And I can only wear boots with skinny jeans (I hate seeing the extra fabric creeping out of the boots), which means I need as many skinny jeans as I can get my hands on. Okay, not so many. But many. I found this tutorial and decided to give it a try. It took me an hour (which I think it’s nothing) and now I have a nice pair of dark skinny jeans, which is great because almost all my skinny jeans were light blue ūüôā


Aren’t you proud of me? This time I even have a picture.

What’s next, you ask? Well, it’s time for a 3 mile run, and after that, I’m making bagels!

I hope housewife-Dani stays around. Tomorrow I’ll go back to the lab, and will have to live up to these past days’ productivity. More on that later.

(have you noticed that the snow days even made me blog? wow)

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Snowed in

They say Necessity is the mother of Invention. I’d add that (sometimes) Boredom is the mother of Productivity.

I got back to East Lansing yesterday afternoon and was welcomed by my cats and a Snow Storm Warning. The former have spent all their time trying to sit on me; the latter has kept me home for about 30 hours (and counting). We even have a snow day tomorrow at MSU! It’s the second time in three years (the first was during my first year here), and the 6th in the history of MSU. Yes, the weather is¬†that bad.

So, what’s the connection between paragraphs 1 and 2? I’ve been in my apartment since I got back in EL; my good friend Annie offered me a ride to the grocery store, but I was too tired for that yesterday, and we have all the essentials here (had we had no toilet paper, I would have run to Meijer; any other thing is not a staple). So here I was, with a pantry full of beans, rice, pasta and spices, an impending snow storm and a humongous pile of dirty clothes. I started with the laundry. I’m pretty sure the washing machine was going from 5 to 9 pm. I could not believe how much dirty crap I had piled up on! Those 5 days without power before our trip did take a toll on our laundry, and I couldn’t catch up before we left, so the pile was taller than me. Okay, no, not that tall. But impressive nonetheless. While the washing and drying machines were doing their magic, I turned my attention to the kitchen. I was hungry, and there was almost nothing to snack on, so I had to cook. Knowing that my next trip to Meijer will no happen for a couple of days, I decided to stock up on food. And that’s when the¬†“necessity is the mother of invention” kicks in. I got fairly creative and used whatever was in our pantry and our freezer (that had been partially emptied during the power outage). I won’t be enjoying gourmet cuisine this week, but hey! the split pea soup I made is delicious. No complaints here.

But the soup, the quinoa, the beans are not surprising. The amazing thing that happened today was¬†bread. I made my own bread (Peeta would be so proud!), and it was delicious. And so easy! Surprisingly enough, all the ingredients were in our pantry, even the yeast. Yes, it said “best before March 2013”, but I just used a bit more than what the recipe called for and it worked like a charm. Take that, expiration dates!

I used this recipe. Thank you¬†whatever your name is, I couldn’t easily find it on your blog for this great recipe! You’re my best friend now. For reals.¬†


Yummy yummy goodness. Oh, how I love carbs!

But, wait! It doesn’t end there. I’ve also been very active with my sewing machine today. I made a new headband and 3 pairs of leg warmers, all from old sweaters. Oops! I haven’t taken pictures of those yet. I’ll do that when I wear them. I didn’t follow a specific tutorial for those, but Pinterest is full of them if you’re curious.

Recapping, in the last 30 hours I’ve done a ton of laundry, made two yummy dishes that will feed me this week, two loaves of bread (you know, go big or go home), three pairs of leg warmers and a head band. I feel so accomplished! My mom says I sound like a housewife from the 50s. Oh well, at least I’m ready for the cold week¬†and¬†I haven’t been bored for a minute since I got back. Now you see the meaning of my first sentence.

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2014. Ready or not, here we go.

Well, 2013 certainly was a crazy crazy year. Yes, that’s part of the reason why I haven’t blogged since March. I should be better about this, but part of the thing is, if only a handful of my friends read my blog, wouldn’t it be easier to just email them? which is something I’m not that good at, either. And my blog posts serve a different purpose. Okay, I’ll try to be better at this. Maybe I should make it a New Year Resolution. It’s better than “I’ll work out more” or “I’ll floss every day”, which are things I have covered.

So yes, one of my New Year Resolutions (NYR from now on) is to blog more often. There are so many crazy things I think about, I should write about them. That might help my sanity. Or not. Oh well.

I have two more NYRs. One is to be better with money and actually save some. These past months have seen me spend much money. There were good reasons, and then there was crap. This has to change. I’ll probably blog about this at some point, but for now let’s leave it at that.

The other NYR is to educate myself. This, coming from a person who’s been in school since 1992 (holy f**k! that’s 22 years) might sound a bit weird. But there are so many things to learn, so much to listen to, to read, to watch… I am a fairly good reader (my goal for this year is to read 24 books; yes, of course I have a goodreads profile!), but I am a lousy movie watcher. I have this idea that I won’t enjoy/understand “smart movies”, those movies that “cultured people” watch and enjoy, so I don’t watch them, and miss out. Yes, I do realize how stupid this is, but I have a hard time overcoming it, hence my NYR. Maybe I could blog about the movies I watch. It doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

But this is not what I want to blog about today (you see? my thoughts are always in the way of my intentions). I’d like to talk about the past and then get into 2014 and my plans and all that. It should be a nice way to wrap up my 2013 and get ready for this year. I’m in New York City at the moment, flying back to EL tomorrow morning; the semester begins on Monday, so I’m in a sort of temporal limbo that’s perfect for this kind of balance that I was thinking of.

This is the 6th New Year that Nico and I go through since we met (in August 2008):

*When¬†2009¬†began, we both were in Buenos Aires. I spent it NYE with my good friends Iani, Dofi and Pau. It was a lot of fun (4 crazy girls dancing in one apartment; it sounds silly but it was a blast). Nico and I were official but not so serious back then, so spending the holidays together didn’t cross our minds.

*We were together in Chicago when 2010 began. That was a ridiculously cold winter that got me acquainted with real cold and snow and slippery side walks. I sucked it up and enjoyed the awesome city.

*We kicked off¬†2011 in¬†Washington, DC with our friends Tere and Andy (they were dating back then and now they’re married. Wow.)

*We hosted a NYE dinner/potluck in East Lansing when 2012 began. We had several friends over, ate too much and ran around the block with an empty suitcase after midnight. This is supposed to grant you many trips during the new year. It worked for me.

*Then 2013 found us in Argentina again; Nico was in the south with his family and friends, I was in Buenos Aires with mine. We had spent Christmas together with my dad, so we were on our own for NYE.

*And now we’ve started¬†2014 in¬†New York. I love this city! The weather has been rather unkind to us; it rained a lot a couple of days ago and now there’s a Winter Storm Watch; it’s been snowing since yesterday evening. It hasn’t really thwarted our plans, but it’s made our days not as pleasant as they could have been. Oh well. Being cold in NYC is better than being cold in East Lansing any day.

So, what’s next? The answer is: WHO KNOWS. And no, I’m not being philosophical or anything like that. Nico will start his residency this summer, but we won’t find out where until Match Day (March 21). The result of his match will determine many things and that’s stressing. I try not to think about it much, we just have to wait until March. It drives me nuts.

All in all, 2013 was a good year. Crazy, but good. Two babies were born (Linus, Annie’s son, and Iria, our sweet niece), which is huge.


Iria, our sweet cute lovely niece.

I went to my first conference as a graduate student. I bought a sewing machine and became sort of a craftaholic (this might sound like nothing, but it was big to me, and it’s been great to fight depression). My dad visited us. And I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff.


My dad came to Michigan! Yay!

What’s on tap for 2014? First of all, a crap ton of work. I’m teaching a new class this semester, which will bring its own demanding workload. I also need to make progress in my research, because ideally I want to graduate by December 2015… right now that sounds impossible. Many hours will be spent in the lab this year (and here I could also start talking about how I should¬†work smarter, not harder, but the truth is I need to do both and talking about that stresses me out. We are not doing this today).

Since Nico will be moving to a different town (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Chicago), the cats and I will have to move to a smaller apartment. I am so not looking forward to apartment searching and moving!

I’m giving half-marathons another try: I’m running the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 24. This is both exciting and scary. I’ll start training for it in March. I don’t care how slow I run it, I want to¬†run the whole thing. Just that. The race is in Traverse City, MI, so we’re making it a girls’ weekend up there. No matter how hard the race is, it’ll be a fun weekend.

My dad is turning 75 this year, so I’d love to go home for that. That’s in July, so hopefully I’ll be able to take some time off then.

And, going back to the beginning of my post, I’ll blog more, learn how to manage my money and educate myself.

It will be an intense year, and I don’t think there will be much time to be bored. Bring. It. On.

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Habemus Papa

Do you know what the most profitable business is? Buy an Argentinean for what they’re worth, and then sell it for what they say they’re worth.

No, I am not suggesting you involve in illegal activities. This is a pretty popular joke in Latin America. We, Argentineans, are well-known for our huge egos and lack of humility. Having an Argentinean Pope seems likely to make things worse.

Now let’s get serious here. Argentina¬†is¬†the best country in the world. Have you heard about Gardel? (seriously? don’t you know what tango is? then check this out). What about Maradona? Messi? Are you a basketball fan? Then Manu Gin√≥bili may be familiar to you. Let’s talk about science then: do you know what monoclonal antibodies are? They were discovered by an Argentinean (and some other people from not-as-important countries). Who was the first Latin American Nobel laureate in sciences? Bernardo Houssay. And the first Spanish-speaking Nobel laureate in chemistry? Luis F. Leloir. I hope you don’t have to have coronary artery bypass surgery, but if you do, then thank¬†Ren√© Favaloro, who happened to be Argentinean.

Do you know how they take your fingerprints every time you go through a security checkpoint at an airport? And how you use a ballpoint pen to doodle when bored? What about blood banks? Those are certainly useful, right?

Where is the widest avenue in the world? The widest river? The highest peak of the Western and Southern Hemispheres?

And don’t even get me started on dulce de leche (no, no link to Wikipedia here; if you don’t know what dulce de leche is, you’re not worth my time).

You might have not heard about this, but one of Maradona’s nicknames is “God” (yes, we’re convinced that God is Argentinean… and some people have taken that to an extreme). And then, Messi is of course¬†the messiah. Having an Argentinean Pope was just a matter of time.

Oh, have I mentioned that this is the first non-European Pope ever?

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Valentine’s Day II

Disclaimer: Being Argentinean, I grew up barely aware of Valentine’s Day. As a teenager, Hollywood taught me about it, and before I turned 20 it had been added to the “special days” calendar in Argentina. I never though of 2/14 as an interesting day, and even now I don’t find what’s so special about it, but since I’m in the US now, it’s become part of my life, just like Thanksgiving (which I really enjoy) and Fat Tuesday (I don’t like Packzis, sorry).

What is the disclaimer for? I’m not sure. But I feel kind of weird posting about Valentine’s Day, even more so because this is my second post about it (and I haven’t done a great job in my first year as a blogger).

This was my third Valentine’s Day in the US (if we don’t count 2009). I’ve never really celebrated it; I don’t like going out the same day¬†every one¬†goes out. I don’t like having to be romantic. I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day, okay? Just live with it. However, all three times I’ve bought candy for my students on 2/14. Why? Well, I like being nice (yes, I probably am a people pleaser), and they always seem really happy when I give them chocolate. They just don’t expect it, and I enjoy seeing their happy faces.

But this year I was extra nice. Why? Maybe I’m trying to convince karma that I shouldn’t be on its black list, or maybe I’m tired of being negative. Anyhow, I decided to “embrace the cheese factor” (yes, I’m quoting JT from CW’s Beauty and The Beast… I watch that show on the elliptical/treadmill every Thursday night). Not only I bought candy for my students (one of them even hugged me! she’s sweet), I also made treats for my labmates! (these were like crack; you can find the instructions here:¬†

When Kelley saw them, she asked "are those from Pinterest?" Of course!

When Kelley saw them, she asked “are those from Pinterest?” Of course!

I even wanted to do something with Nico, but yesterday was quite a crappy day (and I also ate too much chocolate), so our mini Valentine’s Day dinner had to wait till tonight. What am I making? Brownies (Nico’s choice). But not just any brownies. I’m using my friend Mariano’s recipe.

Let me tell you a little about him. Mariano is kind of a rustic man, not the kind of guy that’ll take you out in a fancy dinner or say sweet things to you. But he’s the kind of guy that will be there when you need to have a beer, or share some mates (he makes some of the best mates ever. Seriously, you don’t know what mate is? Google it. Or click here). He also makes the most amazing brownies. You know how you’d expect a gay-ish guy to make good brownies? Not this guy. Seriously, he’s the opposite of the sweet gay guy you’d expect to make brownies. He’s the kind of guy that will have brownies with you while telling you about the hot girl he made out with last night, and not in a gentlemanlike way. ¬†At the same time, he’s the kind of guy that won’t hold a grudge, even if you aren’t very nice to him one day. Yes, I miss having him around, even though some days I just wanted him to shut up and give me mate and brownies. Oh, and he has a¬†huge flaw: he doesn’t like dulce de leche. That is something I will never understand. Seriously. Have I mentioned he also makes great pizzas? And he looks creepy in every picture, like the kind of guy you don’t want to meet on the street at night.

Neon hat guy is Nico. Ultra smiley guy is Mariano.

Neon hat guy is Nico. Ultra smiley guy is Mariano.

So, why am I talking about Mariano in a Valentine’s Day post? There’s more than one reason. First of all, I don’t know how to get in the Valentine’s Day spirit. It’s just not my thing. Second, I can’t just post a recipe without giving some background for it, and to me, Mariano’s brownies are the real thing. Third, I’m always a bit homesick so I like talking about my Argentinean friends. Fourth, this is my blog and I can write whatever I want, right?

Enough of Mariano. Let’s get to the brownies.

Mariano’s Brownies


  • 200 g butter (15 tbsp)
  • 150 g ¬†(1 cup) dark or semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (or all purpose + 1.25 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pecans, almonds or walnuts to taste


1) Preheat oven to ~350 F for 10 minutes

2) Melt chocolate and butter (don’t eat this mixture!)

3) Beat eggs and sugar until creamy. Add the flour in small portions, without beating. Fold the nuts in.

4) Finally, slowly add the chocolate-butter mixture (no beating!)

5) Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Ideally, you should wait till they cool down, but who can resist a warm brownie with vanilla ice cream?

Like a boss

Like a boss. OK, yes, they crumbled a bit.

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