The Beautiful Street


My Argentina Anniversary

TravelKatie Janovec1 Comment

I officially returned from Argentina one year ago today!

I want to take a moment to reflect, as this anniversary feels more monumental than other's. The last year was filled with lots of change and I can recognize, in many areas of my life, I have made moves! That always feels good.

I professionally moved into the world of PR and copywriting and have learned a great deal, and still am.

Dance is a constant that I lean on, love, and train in. I am growing and progressing and like any passion, I have days where I feel a level of confidence and days I don’t like anything my body is doing. But most days, I move, whether that is on my way to my desk or a dance session.

I am choreographing a piece.

I restarted this lovely blog.

I have opportunities lined up to teach dance with teenagers.

I have a meditation practice.

I now enjoy listening to and reading entrepreneurial podcasts and books. 

I have been exploring the world of buying a house, which still seems unlikely, but is a complicated, interesting world to venture into.

This last year I have committed more fully to many of my personal endeavors. My passion has grown and my focus is narrowing on what I can best be used for. It isn’t time for me to travel; it is time for me to stay put and see what I can seed and nurture. I have been adulting hard. I have even been looking for a little dog ;)

While I am content with all of my physical endeavors and I love how I spend my time, I look back at the last year and I see that it was emotionally one of the most challenging. There were lots of tears, sadness, loss and pain. I attached onto the 9-5 schedule like it was the best new invention. The routine of my life kept me balanced and moving forward and at age 29, I finally understood why people work these hours! Wow.

I look over the last year and I ask myself, how did I become a better person? A better friend? How did I become more balanced? How did I spiritually grow? What is the basis for my connection with others, myself and with a Higher Power?

Sometimes I can answer those with confidence, and other times I feel a little less, honest. The path to truth is not an easy one. It is long and curvy, and sometimes I feel I am just hanging on as I get whipped around the corner. And other times I feel that the truth is right here, in front of me, inside of me, and amongst me. I am stepping into the next year of change, acceptance, and full on push to expand more and fear less.



My Teacher

Katie JanovecComment

While living in Argentina, making friends became one of my main priorities, not only because (duh) it gets lonely without friends, but because I wanted to speak Spanish!  In my experience, the Spanish teacher often becomes a friend, because I'm sharing life with them, and they with me.  I'm butchering their Spanish language, and they're deciphering my Spanish verbal get the idea.  So, I'm paying you to teach me Spanish and receiving basic human needs of connection and validation?  Great, I'll take it! I spent the last few months learning from Carolina, going to her house, drinking mate, and forming a friendship with this lovely lady.  After having class 2 or 3 times a week for 2 ½ months, we definitely covered a broad range of life topics.  You know those days when you are abroad alone and have the day free but wait, you have a Spanish class later?  Yep, sometimes the Spanish class saved me mentally.

So clearly she was the perfect candidate for me to conduct my first Spanish interview. (I then translated it to English.)

This is Carolina Dalmastro.  My Spanish teacher and knitting extraordinaire.

When did you begin to knit?

I began when I was a little girl with my mother and grandma. I tried it again in high school but because I was left-handed, I quit for a while. My mother discovered a new technique that allowed me to knit left-handed and I began to learn again.

When did you begin to teach Spanish?

I began to teach Spanish in a school in 2012.

Was there a moment when you realized that you could be your own boss?

It was an idea that was growing with time. After I finished school, I was working in an office and realized it was not for me. I worked a 9-5 job and then after work would give knitting or Spanish classes in my home. I was very tired in the beginning.

When did you begin to teach Spanish and knit as your job?

In 2013, I began to teach Spanish at home and sell items such as mittens and cowls for family and friends. I had two students in the beginning and the following year, more students joined.

How do you find your students?

I find most of my Spanish and knitting students through recommendations from other students. I like when travelers live here for more time because then I can pass on cultural phrases, recommend places that I know—things specific to Buenos Aires.

Why did you begin to dye wool?

I began dying wool in 2014, because I had three options for colors. I spent a lot of time researching how to dye other colors.

What do you use to dye wool?

I use vegetables, spices, and dried cochonilla.  Cochonilla is exported from Chile and makes a beautiful red color.  Also I use a mordiente, so the color will stay.

What do you enjoy making?

Sweaters, but they are not easy to sell. Stocking caps, because I can change colors, textures, and I get to see the end product quickly.

Is it difficult to have a passion for knitting when it is your profession?

When there is a deadline or a project for another person, it becomes work. It is also difficult when I am sick and I can’t work, or something such as this. There is more pressure when you are your own boss—it is your work and livelihood. But, it is much better than being in an office.

Do you know other people that give knitting classes in Buenos Aires?

It is common in (yarn stores) but with an older generation. Out of ten yarn stores, two offer knitting classes, while the others focus on crocheting. My students are all in there 20s or 30s and the majority are women. They knit as a hobby for their children or boyfriends.

What are you desires for the future?

I would like to go to Iceland and learn different knitting techniques. The children learn knitting in school when they are young.  It is very much apart of the culture.  Also, I’d like to go to Peru or Ecuador because there is so much knitting history and they use indigenous colors.  While Peru and Iceland are across the world from each other, they have a technique that looks quite similar.  The idea is to travel while working and be able to mix the two.

Check her out at Soy Sauce - Laboratorio de Lanas

Carolina, what a pleasure to spend time with you, and I look forward to your future endeavors.


Hip HopKatie JanovecComment

I. Am. Sleep. Deprived. What a great time to write then, eh?  I am currently en route back to Portland and believe I just had the worst airplane sleep ever—as in maybe I slept two hours on an overnight flight.  This is also coming off of a weekend of 5-hour nights.  ¡Que malisimo!

Anyway, what can I do?  It's just part of the ups and downs and turns of life. (Note to self: Take a sleep aid next time.  How could I forget this?)

Yesterday, as my flight took off from Buenos Aires, I quietly began to cry as I watched the expansive city lights fade away.  All of a sudden my lengthy trip, was over.  My friends asked, when are you going to return?  I barely have the next 4 months planned out, so of course I had no answer for them.

I think back to my memories and experiences in Buenos Aires, the people I met, the streets I walked, the dances I shared, the emotions I felt, and I know that I've changed and learned and grown.  But it is difficult to put my finger on just how that works into my returning life in Portland.

Today, I want to leave you with a female emcee that I've been listening to lately.  This is Reverie from L.A.

This lady speaks her truth and I respect that.  I don't share in a similar life story, but I see this lady open to change and growth.  And that I can vibe.




Katie JanovecComment

This morning I woke up thinking about the influential women in my life, and specifically in Argentina. So FIRST, I want to give a shout-out to Eva Perón.

Eva Perón, or Evita, was a women's rights activist, actress, and the first lady in 1946.  She grew up in poverty and fought for woman's suffrage and for the impoverished.  She was a well respected figure then, and now.  Recently, her photo was printed on the peso, which in our day and age shows true respect, right?  But yes, she is revered here for sure.

So how does Evita work into my life?  One, I believe she is a woman we should all know about and two, Monday was a holiday in which the nation celebrated independence--not women's independence but still, it got me thinking.  Seventy years ago she was fighting for ladies like ME.

Many Argentines celebrate holidays by you know, celebrating and partying.  But due to my tooth extraction on Friday, I just wasn't up for my typical Sunday nights at Makena.  It is usually the one night of the week I am sure to find other dancers getting down, but I chose to rest (which my body so needs right now).  I instead slept, and joined my friend, Isa, Monday morning to begin my day with Reusi Da Ton (just learned how to spell that one).

"Reusi Da Ton is an ancient Thai self care practice that incorporates meditation, self massage, range of motion exercises, breath work, stretches and exercises."

I felt blessed to begin my day with three other ladies and [Bonus!] I was able to understand almost all of the conversation.  Whew!  Following the practice I spent the day with Isa.  I connected with Isa through my super amazing buddy, Jess.  They met in Thailand in February and both are Thai massage therapists.  Once Isa returned to Argentina we connected, and I have so appreciated having her as a friend here.  She is always quick to laugh at my language mishaps and tell me to chill out.  Thanks girl!  And [Bonus!], it is special to have Jess across the world and still be able to share in a somewhat mutual experience with her.

So there is my holyday, and a little Evita thrown in.


Katie JanovecComment

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a nice weekend.  Here is a quick reflection of mine. I spent much of Saturday afternoon walking, looking at art, eying potential gifts, mentally reworking my budget, and snapping photos of the city things that I had yet to capture.  I reveled in the joy of being outside on a perfect fall day, and gave thanks that I could actually walk around in really flat shoes for 4 hours.  (What?!)  This is unheard of.

While I've struggled with embracing or fleeing loneliness and solitude in my Argentina stay, I felt very calm strolling through familiar and unfamiliar streets.  Perhaps, it is because my free days will shortly be filled up (I somehow managed to score a job in Portland, that I'm totally stoked about).  Or, I'd like to think that I'm tired of fearing loneliness and struggling to escape my thoughts.  At some moment it becomes frustrating to feel frustrated, and at that point, I just accept that I am human and give myself a break.

***Goal for this week: Keep it a little more silly***