Patron Saint Day

We were surprised this week when the whole town got decked out in baby blue, white, and yellow streamers! At first, we thought it was just part of World Cup madness. Then, when we were heading home after a day of work, we ran into a parade!

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Each town in Argentina has a patron saint, and they celebrate that particular saint’s day with music, multiple Catholic masses, and other entertainment. The patron saint of Ituzaingo is San Juan Bautista (John the Baptist). We quickly hopped out of our car to see what was going on, and encountered a huge procession winding down the streets. The statue of John the Baptist led the charge, followed by hundreds of townspeople, and finished with the gauchos on horseback! We particularly liked the little kids (gauchitos) on their own horses, all decked out in traditional garb.

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We only really watched the parade go by for a bit, since we had to get back to let in the housecleaners. However–we lucked out, since it started POURING about a half hour later. We’ll have to make sure that we mark this down on our calendar for next year so we can see more of the fun!

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Weekly Reading, Vol. 5

So, in case you missed it, Argentina won their match against Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1. Not as rousing of a victory as many would have hoped, especially considering it was the first time for the Bosnians in the World Cup. (And they rightfully looked adorably honored just to be on the pitch.)

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

1) I finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. It was one of those books that everyone and their grandmother seems to have read, so I finally decided to check it out. It was excellent.  I blew through it in an afternoon, and have already started another Gillian Flynn book, Sharp Edges. I could totally see these books being great plane reading.

2) I’ve spent most of the morning with my jaw on the floor from this story on Jalopnik. 70 hour required workweeks with no chance for overtime? Days full of useless meetings? Confusing and CYA bureaucracy? Sounds vaguely familiar.

3) Sadly, Hillary Clinton continues the discussion that family leave just isn’t “possible” in the US yet. I’m still struck by just how expensive and difficult it can be to have kids in the US, one of only a handful of countries that doesn’t guarantee ANY paid time off after having a child.

4) Cuts of meat in foreign countries is a fun adventure. Here’s a good guide to all of the cuts of meat that are in Argentina.

5) Starbucks has hatched a plan to pay for college for some of its employees.

6) How small urban design decisions can be used to deter the homeless and skateboarders.

What’s on our weekend agenda? WORK. Someday, we’ll be done with the seven day schedules.

World Cup Musings (Var., Group F)

I played soccer in elementary school. And pretty quickly quit once the suicide runs started–because I don’t do that nonsense.

However, I’ve enjoyed watching the World Cup.  I’m finding it interesting, particularly, to watch the various cultures interacting on the playing field.

That’s not to say I have a clue of what’s actually happening on the field at any given moment.

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The town has gone all decked out for World Cup. The hotel is filled with decorations, which is lovely and festive. But not a lot of parties or full bars around here–everyone seems to watch the games with their families.

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I’ll refrain from making any grand prognostications on who will win the World Cup–but it would be really cool to see Argentina take it all the way to the finals!

Chipas

Since T and I have been working almost non-stop for weeks, it felt good to take an (unintentional) three day weekend. T got sick, and we both were exhausted, so we called it in on Saturday and had off Sunday/Monday for Father’s Day.  We slept (a lot!), caught up on our TiVo, and ate lots of good (pretty healthy!) foods.

A few weeks ago at our last Libertad run I had picked up a bag of chipas mix. Chipas are round little cheesy biscuits that are sold everywhere. There’s a chipas guy outside of every grocery store, a couple of kids selling chipas on the beach, and occasionally one rings our doorbell to see if we’re hungry.  I was excited to see if I could make them on my own.

I’ll admit–the mix made it easy. All I did was add eggs and water to the mix and make the little balls of dough.

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(Please excuse the random lightbulb. It was a reminder to change one in the other room, since that’s right next to the door.)

Then, we baked them for about 20 minutes in our gas oven. I’m still getting used to it, since it doesn’t have a temperature gauge. I just turn the knob and hope the temperature is good enough!

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While they were baking, I decided to give a sneak peak of our kitchen–one of the few rooms in the house I think are pretty much “done.” A lot of the rest of the house is still a mishmash of half-unpacked boxes.

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One thing I desperately miss from the States? A dishwasher!

The final result? Beautiful, golden chipas.

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Want to make your own from scratch? You can try any of the recipes here, here, or here.

Weekly Reading, Vol. 4

It’s World Cup time! What does that mean for me? Finding a bar to watch the Argentina games at that won’t erupt in a riot (although I think Ituzaingo is pretty safe overall, regardless of the results), or if one of the games falls during the work day, probably figuring out how to live stream the game into the office (see here for all sorts of good resources on that). Other than that, the goal is to do a very Argentinian manicure for the occasion, and most likely picking up a soccer jersey.

While I contemplate the best way to watch World Cup, here’s what I found on the internet this week:

1) Snarky t-shirts

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2) How the Brazilian Protests about the World Cup could change democracy.

3) I think more than a normal person probably should about intuitive wayfinding in public places (and bemoan the lack of it in many situations), so this article spoke to me about how this stuff works and how we use it subconsciously every day.

4) And, finally, if you have no idea about this whole soccer/football thing, here‘s your primer. Warning: a bit snarky.

Well, we’re off to try to get a phone line in the next week (I know, second verse, same as the first) and hopefully get some rest! We had visitors from the States and Brazil the past two weeks, and several of them came with colds. I think they were so kind as to share them with both T and I.

Pro Traveler Tip: bring your “oh, jeez, I can’t get out of bed and don’t feel like dealing with a pharmacy” medicines with you from the States. In our case, DayQuil/NyQuil, Pepto, and migraine meds. You can thank me later.

 

Pretty Winter

It’s officially winter here in the southern hemisphere (and by that, I mean the temperature is in the 60s-70s during the day, and dips to the 50s at night). It’s been nice to see all of the trees, grass, and flowers perk up with all of the rain we’ve been getting. Everything looks just a little happier once the sun finally comes out–which I can understand, since no one likes the parched 105 degree days down here.

Our yard is covered in these pretty little purple flowers that open mid-day in the sun, and then close back up for the night.

 

 

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Weekly Reading, Vol. 3

How is it already June? This marks our sixth month here in Argentina–unbelievable.  Apologies for the lack of pictoral updates–we’ve been working non-stop for the past week or two. We’ve felt lucky if we get our six hours of sleep a night.

1) #YesAllWomen In the Wake of Elliot Rodger: Why It’s So Hard for Men to Recognize Misogyny.  This is one of the best articles I’ve read about the events in the past few weeks.

2) These hilarious photos of the indignities of wet dogs made my day.

3) The Peril of Hipster Economics  A really eye-opening piece on the dangers of only “whitewashing” neighborhoods, making them pretty without addressing the real problems. Come for the descriptions of a project in Philly, stay for the stinger at the end about Lyft and Uber that I can attest to living in a less-than-desirable suburb of DC.

4) Inside the Qatar 2022 World Cup Slave Camps  Rio’s been pretty heavily blasted for their World Cup prep–but Qatar seems to be blowing it out of the water in terms of horrible conditions.

We got our household goods!

Note: I’m slow. I really am. We actually got our household goods on May 26th, but it’s taken me forever to get the blog posts going again and fully edited.

After packing up everything into action packers in December/January (including an almost 24 hour straight marathon the day before we left), our household items have FINALLY made it down to Argentina!

Never in my life have I been so happy to see a bunch of boxes.

We realize now that there are definitely things that we don’t need in those boxes… like bunny supplies 😦 .  However–a bunch of random little things that we were SO happy to see again!

  • T and I bought each other bikes for Christmas before we left. We went to one of those fancy-schmancy bike stores (so he could get a tall people bike, and I could get a short people bike that didn’t have Dora the Explorer on it).  I’m pumped to have a mode of transportation around town now that isn’t my own two feet.
  • Weirdly, we haven’t seen any water bottles down here (like Nalgenes).  Everyone just seems to either drink out of glasses, or they buy single serve bottled water. Since we buy our water in several-gallon bottles, we were excited to see these beauties again.
  • Sweatshirts. T has been loving the cooler weather. Me? Not so much. So, I was excited to get my sweatshirts and long-sleeved work shirts. (Side note: Everyone starts the day by asking T if he’s cold because he wears short sleeves. The exact moment it dipped below 70 degrees down here, the Argentinians broke out the puffy coats, sweaters, and scarves. They think we’re insane.)
  • Sewing kit. Okay, so I could have gone out and probably bought this stuff at a store in town. But, I knew that I had a well-stocked mini-kit in our household stuff, so it was the principle of the thing! Now I have a small pile of mending to try to work my way through. Let’s see how that goes.
  • Zoku cups and pop maker. We love these things. They were impulse buys at Williams-Sonoma, and they are awesome. The cups create milkshakes out of chocolate milk in two minutes, and the pops are just a fun way to make juice into fun popsicles. I regretted not bringing these down in our luggage in January when it was 105 degrees down here.

Now here’s the getting everything unpacked and in its rightful place!