Thursday, March 27, 2008

New gatita, sculptures in the square

Well, we have our new kitten. Her name is Isabella, though most of the time we just call her "Izzy". She's a little tiny cat, with a HUGE amount of energy. We picked her up on Tuesday right before Easter break, so she spent only a few days with us before we had to leave for Chile. It was agonizing worrying about her the whole time.







It felt like school was just getting started when out of nowhere it's Easter break. On the days before the break they lined up short logs in the square and on the first day of the break we heard the chain saws starting up. It was a sculpture competition. Each artist started with chain saws and then moved on to hammers and chisels.



The first day was probably the noisiest, but it was the only day we watched as we
prepared for our bus journey through the Andes.




This one was still in progress when we got back.



Here are pictures of some of the finished sculptures.













Next entry... Our journey to Puerto Montt, Chile.....Saludos

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Little Things

Today the patagonian winds have kicked up again over the lake and it's starting to seem like autumn here. The tourists have moved on and the locals are wrapped in jackets on the street. There's an electricity it the air, maybe it's a coming storm.

We've settled into life here in Bariloche now. There's still the thrill of being in a new city and country, but there's also a familiarity of knowing what to expect each day, which is very comforting.

There are of course many little things we've encountered here that are different from New York. The most obvious is of course the bidet. This is a photo of one of ours in our apartment. There's a soap dish next to it. We were a bit surprised it was that involved.


Before we left I wasn't sure how I'd get by without hazelnut creamer for my coffee. I can't really stand the taste of coffee and thought I might finally give up the awful stuff. The coffee makers here are for the stove top. This is a photo of ours, that I will bring with me where ever I go. The coffee it makes is amazing, not the nasty black slug we drank in the States. To make coffee you unscrew the top from the bottom. Fill the bottom half with water and the strainer in the middle holds the coffee grounds. After setting on the stove the water from the bottom steams up through the grounds to the top and you will have the best cup of coffee you've ever tried.


This photo shows the keys to my apartment. They are bigger and more aesthetically pleasing than the keys we used in New York. They are a typical set of keys for Argentines. Though they do have a tendency to rip up your pockets.


Last year when I lived in New York, I read an article about an Irish woman living nearby in Albany. She complained that in Ireland when she wanted to make her Irish soda bread she would leave out a cup of milk and by morning it would be curdled and ready for baking, but here (in the US) the milk is the same the next morning. Well the milk I guess is different in every country. Here it is sold in square boxes or bags, and as you can see the expiration date is four months away. I really don't think I understand pasteurization.

We attended our first birthday party last week. It was at a children's place with an indoor playground, face painting, an area for dress up, and a dance floor. As the children arrived they rushed over to the birthday girl and gave her their gift, which she quickly unwrapped tossed in a box and kissed them "gracias" ( everyone kisses here). We brought a standard gift for a party in New York... a magna doodle (magnetic drawing board). This was way too big. All the gifts were very little tokens.

The food was brought out to the party table and the children could come and go as they pleased, no forcing them to sit and eat the pizza. They all gathered at the table to sing "Feliz Cumplianos" and eat cake (which was excellent and had fruit and dulce de leche in it). After cake was time for piñata. The piñata here is a giant balloon with little candies inside. The birthday girl stood in the middle of her guests (all seated on the floor), holding a needle that had a handle to it. The party hostess swung the giant balloon towards her and she jabbed at it until it finally burst candy all over the very excited children. It was really thrilling to watch.


We're still sad about Pushy every day, but our kitten will be able to leave his mother soon. -Saludos y chau, for now, from Argentina

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Last week

It was a Saturday night and Mike was due home the next Wednesday, when Pushy, our gray tabby cat started throwing up. On Sunday only the supermarkets are open in the city and there was nothing I could do for her till Monday morning. Sunday night I noticed it was worms and I looked up the word "gosorno" before I set out to the vet early on Monday. After a spanish discussion about the size and shape of the "gosornos" (en la vomita, blanco, etc...). She sold me some pills and I gave Pushy her first dose with the reluctant help of a very sleepy Chloe. The next morning I followed through and gave Pushy her second pill and .... She stopped eating or drinking.
Then Mike called, his plane is delayed.
So I called a vet that could visit my house. She was very friendly and spoke great english. She said the worms were not some crazy South American parasite, but were actually from New York. Pushy was riddled with them. The medicine I gave her was too strong and damaged her liver. We gave her an IV of fluids and I started giving her medicine to help her liver every hour.
Then Mike called his plane was delayed again.
The next day we ran all over the city getting school supplies. I gave Pushy her meds and I called the vet again. She came in and gave her more fluids. She said her intestine was blocked by the "gosornos". Call if she throws up.
Friday came and after a morning of disappointment (no Mike at the airport), I found that Pushy had vomited. The vet rushed over. Now I needed to give her two medicines every hour.
Well it was a long weekend of preparing for school and caring for the cat, all the while Mike's plane is delayed again and again... On Sunday afternoon, Pushy couldn't hold on any longer and died. Our vet, Goya, came and consoled the girls as best she could and took Pushy to bury in her garden.
It was the night before their first day of school in a new country. The girls woke up crying over and over..... By morning they were exhausted and nervous and so was I. It seemed like such a disaster.
At 11am Mike called. He made it to BUENOS AIRES! He was finally coming home.
At 5pm the kids came off the bus. They were so happy. School was great! The children were so excited to practice speaking english with the girls. They made new friends and shared their pretzels at lunch,(pretzels are new here). Mike arrived home one hour later.


These are some pictures from that first week. As you can see they wear a uniform every day. Everyone does, public schools, private schools. Even the teachers wear a uniform.


The kids are going to a local bilingual school called Colegio del Sol. All three girls attend a full day of school from 8:40am to 4:30pm, except Fridays which is always a half day. Both Naomi and Phoebe are adapting well even though the kids in their grades know little to no english. Chloe has made numerous friends, has had several playdates and is going to a birthday party on Friday. Academically though she has the greatest challenge. All the children in her grade have mastered cursive writing, but she has only just started this, and is having trouble reading the board. Also the math is more advanced and is taught in spanish.
All in all it's a good school for them. Every week they have music, art, drama, and go to a nearby club for phys ed (the school is small and has no gym).
The woman who made Naomi's uniform for school has a cat. It had kittens and she has promised us one for next week.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Aerolineas Argentina is holding Mike HOSTAGE!!!

Mike has been in the states for 20 days as of today. The kids have never been away from him so long....
It was a productive trip at first. He did well at the visa interview , organized our storage space and managed to get our mail from our renters and work out a system that made it possible for us to get the mail here.
He stayed with several friends and family members and I thank them all for their generosity.
On Tuesday, February 26th his flight from JFK was to leave then he connects in Buenos Aires to come here. He was supposed to be here Wednesday. Then it was delayed, once, twice, three times. Graciously Mike's cousin Sam agreed to let him stay on another day ( for a visit that was well past the fish dinner saying). The next day Mike headed early to the airport for and watched in shock as his plane was delayed again ...Three more times. The crew was having trouble getting into the country. The airline put him up in a hotel near the airport with 150 other passengers.
When Mike left for New York we made a some paper chains with 17 links and took one off each day to mark when Daddy gets home. At this point the girls cried as we added more links to each chain.
Finally on Thursday afternoon Mike boarded his plane at 1:30pm to Buenos Aires. His connecting flight was to arrive at Bariloche airport at 10:15 am. on Friday. Friday morning the girls and I dressed up set up our welcome home signs and rushed off in a cab to the airport. We sat by the gate and watched all the passengers leave. No Mike.
I wandered over to the locotorio ( public phones and internet kiosik)and logged on to my e-mail. Mike's plane had an emergency landing in Miami. A door was not closing properly and they put him up in a hotel there while they wait for a part to fix the plane. He has been there now for two days. The latest is that it's scheduled to leave at 6:55pm today to arrive in Buenos Aires at 5:55 am.
Mike is holding up okay though he says the food in Miami is terrible. I took down the paper chains two days ago. Now we have a guessing game..."When will Daddy be home?" The winner gets five bon bons.
When his plane was delayed at the airport last night at 1:00am there was a small riot among the passengers. The airline is no longer communicating well with the passengers. As of writing this the plane is scheduled for take off at 6pm... We'll see.
I hope he will be here by Monday morning. It's the girls first day of school...
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut

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