2014 Wrap Up!

It’s a rush to the finish here in Ituzaingo! Our site closes for the two weeks surrounding Christmas, so that means as of December 20th, we don’t even have to think about work for two weeks! However… that means it’s chaos here trying to shut everything down and get ready for the next year. Both T and I are super-excited to go back to the States this weekend and spend some quality time with friends and family. (As well as time with the “rabbit that should have been in Argentina” and our guinea pig!) We’ve been playing Christmas music in the office the past few days to get into the holiday spirit–despite the fact that it’s in the mid-90s outside! The Argentinians are very much into fake Christmas trees and garlands–very strange to see next to the palm trees and parakeets.

Our end of the year prep has gotten a little more hectic than we could have imagined, though! Last week we accidentally hit a yacare, or crocodile. We had to drive to Posadas for a business dinner, and were driving back late. Since the yacare are so close to the ground, we didn’t see it until the absolute last second… and by then it was too late.  For future reference–don’t hit yacares! They are like rocks. We are both fine, but the car’s radiator is shot and the radiator frame is bent–plus we have no front bumper.  We were planning on sending the car to the dealer for some scheduled maintenance while we are out of the country anyway–but the car had to be towed all the way to Posadas now.  We’ll see how long it takes the Argentinian mechanics to get the necessary parts! We’ve since been told by others that the area where we had our accident is a popular late-night crossing spot for yacares–so we’ll have to keep that in mind if we drive at night again!

Courtesty of Taringa.net

Courtesty of Taringa.net

This means that we’ve been doing everything by bike since then. We do hitch a ride into work every morning with coworkers, but for all of our normal errands, we have to bike around the city. We’re definitely glad we brought our backpacks and have a nice basket to put on the back of one of the bikes. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, especially for grocery shopping!  I’m actually really glad we spent the money to get a water purification system for our tap–now we don’t need to lug heavy bottles of water from the grocery store!

Our vegetable garden (huerta) has been growing like crazy with all of the hot weather and rain! T installed a homemade drip line to keep the basil particularly well-watered, but it’s done wonders for the other plants as well! We’ve already harvested some of the beans, but I think our first crop of tomatoes will be while we’re in the States. You know what’s nice about Argentina, though? The growing season is YEAR ROUND. So we will have lots more where that came from, I am sure.

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Basil (albahaca) growing like crazy!

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Tomato plants, with a row of lettuce, a row of onions, and a row of carrots. Our spinach didn’t fare so well.

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We also had our company Christmas party, which was a fun experience. We had both the Argentinians and Paraguayans, as well as our customer, at the big dinner in one of the fanciest spots in town. On the menu was a delicious whole leg of beef that the cook lit on fire at the beginning. It was perfecto. We also had a wide variety of salads (not the lettuce kind–more of red beets, potatoes, and rices). We made friends with the venue’s dog and a teensy, tiny kitten, but left before the karaoke got into full swing. (We made it 1am! We’re getting somewhat closer to being Argentinians!)

 

The patio of our venue... with some leftover decorations from the previous weekend's quinceanera celebration

The patio of our venue… with some leftover decorations from the previous weekend’s quinceanera celebration

All of the salsas!

All of the salsas!

Just some of the delicious carne.

Just some of the delicious carne.

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It wouldn't be an asado without a copious amount of bread!

It wouldn’t be an asado without a copious amount of bread!

Teensy, tiny kitten!

Teensy, tiny kitten!

Leg of Beef

Leg of Beef

The whole spread, minus the salads

The whole spread, minus the salads

The whole crew!

The whole crew!

We’ll miss the main festivities of Argentina at Christmas–I’m told it involves a lot of beach time–but we are so happy to go back to the States and see some snow! We’ll see if I blog at all while I’m back in the States!

Feliz Navidad y un prospero Año Nuevo a todos!

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One Lovely Blog Award

I’ve never considered myself a blogger. I’m a person who keeps a blog. (Mainly because I hate writing the same thing in fifteen different emails in a row, and I figured this was a good way to share updates and photos with all of our friends and family while we’re expats.)

However, about a month ago (I know, I’m super-late on this) I had an “Oh my gosh, I’m a blogger” moment.  The ever-so-lovely Rose from How Do You Say Taco in Spanish nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Go check out her blog HERE–she spent lots of time as an expat in Mexico–and the expat community is a close one online. Thank you so much for the nomination, Rose!

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The rules:

1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2. You must list the rules and display the award.
3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.
4. You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
5. You must display the award logo.

7 facts about me:

1. I only watch one football game a year–Lafayette vs. Lehigh. This year, the Pards won the 150th meeting, which was held at Yankee Stadium. Despite being on a last-minute trip to the US, I wasn’t able to get tickets and get it all sorted out to physically be there. Instead, I had my parents TiVo it, and they got the joy of watching me watch the game, despite knowing absolutely nothing about it. And you know what? It’s not as fun without the tailgating. But still, GO LAFAYETTE!

2. I only majored in Spanish in college because there was only a two class difference  between the minor and the major. I figured, why not? I honestly had no plans to ever use my Spanish again–and here I am!

3. I find going back to the States after a few months to be a jarring experience–so much consumerism, so fast-paced, just so American.  I’ve found the best way to reintegrate myself into US culture is to eat at a Mexican restaurant–I don’t need to remember what language I’m speaking after being in transit for 30 hours.

4. I desperately miss stupid little things from the States: I  miss flushing toilet paper (the sewer system can’t handle it here, so there’s a trash can in every stall). I miss the little ledge underneath shopping carts (you know, the one you always rest your foot on while you’re waiting to check out?). It’s really the silly little things.

5. I found out that I love spinning classes. I tried to do Jillian Michael’s Body Revolution, got about halfway through, and then somehow lost momentum. At that point, I joined what I call the “disco gym” (for its disco ball) and now do spin class three times a week. It’s super-old school (I think the bikes are from the mid-70s), but is a great workout. The only downside? There’s no air conditioning in the gym–so it’s definitely a hot workout when it’s 100 degrees outside!

6. Our visiting coworkers have learned the way to T and my hearts is easy: tabasco sauce, buffalo sauce, peanut butter, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. One of our bosses recently surprised us with an amazing care package–lots of American foods like peanut butter cups, candy canes, stuffing, cheesecake mix, and pumpkin pie filling. I may or may not have nearly cried looking at some of it.

7. I am slowly cutting out soda from my diet. It’s a long, hard road–but I’m trying it. So far, I’ve gone since November 15 with absolutely no soda whatsoever! (The longest I have gone in… years.) We’ll see if it sticks this time. Who knows, maybe I’ll take up mate to get my caffeine fix!

 

I nominate in no particular order:

1. Ruins and Relics –I love museums, and this blog does the greatest hits, plus always gives me another off-the-beaten-path one to put on my list.

2. Diary of a Rig Wife –Because I know what it’s like to be the trailing spouse, and I love how real the blog is. It’s the ups and downs of expat life.

3. Cooking With a Wallflower –Yummy, yummy recipes! I love looking at beautiful food, and sometimes I even try some new recipes. 🙂

4. When North Met South –Another Argentina expat, based in BA.

5. Teaching Wanderlust — An awesome blog about teaching in Venezuela. Definitely one of the countries I’m intrigued by (though a little intimidating to visit)!

I know it’s not 15–but I’m choosing quality over quantity!

 

Congratulations to all!

 

The Actual Expat Thanksgiving

It’s been a busy week at work, plus we’ve been trying to do some online shopping for the holidays! However, on Sunday we managed to figure out an Argentinian version of Thanksgiving. We invited over one of our coworkers, and we ended up making a feast of roast chicken (no turkeys in Argentina!), stuffing (smuggled for the States), mashed potatoes, and green beans.  We were supposed to have brownies for dessert, but I’m still getting used to baking in Argentina. Not only did I not have a brownie pan, but it’s just a dial on the oven without any numbers–so everything was a guess. The end result? A bit of a burned brownie. Oh well, guess we’re just going to have to put it on top of some of our famous banana ice cream.

_DSC0590 _DSC0593A belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!