After a lovely almost three week vacation in the US for our annual home leave, we’re back in Ituzaingo! Apologies for the delay in getting posts back up and running–I’ve been having big issues getting my photos to load on WordPress. I think this was a combination of a really outdated version of Adobe Flash, some really cruddy internet service, and some pretty hi-res photos. Add to that the normal chaos of getting readjusted to work and life in general after a few weeks off–and it’s been pretty busy!
Home leave was wonderful! We saw so many friends and family, and got a lot of stuff done around our US house. We purchased our US house two months before we left for Argentina, so we’ve been busy trying to officially “move in” and make it feel less like a giant storage bin and more like a house! I think we finally succeeded on this trip.
We got the chance to catch up with a lot of people and do a lot of sightseeing and activities. Through a daily deal, we toured the Manatawny Still Works in Pottsville with my sister. I enjoy a good whiskey, but wasn’t too thrilled with the tastings of the others–a little bit too much like taking shots! They’re a new still, so they’re still working on their first aged whiskey batches, but they had a neat clear whiskey, which we had never encountered before. We had a good time learning about the process of making whiskey and vodka, and the still itself was very cool–especially after having gone to Dogfish Head Brewery as a part of my bachelorette party a few years ago.
I spent a day wine tasting and visiting Longwood Gardens with my mom and sisters. Despite the insane crowds at Longwood, the Christmas decorations were really pretty! T has never been to Longwood, so now it’s on our list to visit–and definitely to go in the spring, when it’s a little more comfortable to spend hours outside!
We also hosted our annual Bash with some of our college friends. In all, we had about 20 people over to the house. Pro Tip: Chipotle caters, and they do an awesome job. And it’s not that terribly expensive either!
We had the rodents for the time that we were home–and it was nice to spend so much time with them. Tesla (the rabbit who was supposed to be in Argentina) got even bigger! We got Mr. Winks, the geriatric guinea pig, a “cuddle cup” for Christmas, and he loves it. He was so happy to sit and watch a marathon of “House Hunters International” with my friend Clara and I–just one of the girls!
We had a bit of an adventure getting back down here. The day we left (Monday the 12th) called for a nasty mix of freezing rain and snow, so we rented a car to drive ourselves down to BWI. Thankfully, the weather held out and despite the rental Dodge Charger having cruddy breaks, we made it to BWI without incident and on time. The flight to ATL was no issue either and we had a good time chatting with the new Mormon missionaries who were on our plane going down to Argentina. (Seriously, I can’t imagine being 19 years old and being told I was going to spend two years in rural Argentina with limited Spanish language skills and no access to the internet.) We met up with our new colleague from the US, who is joining us on the job for at least the next six months.
When we reached EZE (Buenos Aires’ international airport), things took a turn. Normally, the process is to disembark, go through immigrations and get the passport stamped, then pick up your checked luggage and go through customs. However, since it was slightly raining, EZE called a “delay due to meteorological conditions” and wouldn’t unload any of our checked baggage. We had to wait four hours until we got our bags–with the terminal filling up with irate passengers. Each time the delay announcement was made over the PA system, the baggage area would erupt in sarcastic clapping and yelling. After hour three, Delta gave us all a little sandwich and a soda–which was great, because in that area of the airport, the only amenities are a duty free shop and a MAC cosmetics store.
We finally grabbed our bags, hustled through the customs line, and grabbed two remises (hired cars, kind of like Uber) to transfer to the domestic airport across town. Normally this transfer is really easy, since we have a lot of time between flights. However–this time we were fairly certain that we would miss our connecting flight if we didn’t hustle! Thank goodness our domestic flight was delayed–we just barely made it onto the plane. We landed in Posadas, only to find that one of our checked bags hadn’t quite made it onto the flight. We retrieved it two days later, so it wasn’t a huge deal–but it was still one final issue on our way back.
We’re still in a rental car, since apparently the yacare (crocodile) accident nearly totaled our company car. It will probably take another four to six weeks before we see our car again, and it’s estimated that in total repairs will cost $98,000ARG (or about $11,400 USD). Thankfully, that’s all the company’s responsibility.
The town is now completely full of tourists. Whereas four weeks ago we could have essentially parked anywhere–now it’s more difficult to find parking. The clubs and restaurants are hopping, and that annoying circus in the plaza that woke us up with “Gangnam Style” every night at 11:20pm is back. Thankfully, we don’t hear a single bit of it at our house.
Mooch the cat was waiting expectantly for us when we got home–and was begging for dinner the moment we got out of the car. We were glad to see nothing had changed with him.
Our favorite grocery store, TaTa, underwent a MAJOR renovation while we were away–we came back to a store three times its original size! It’s almost like a US supermarket now. It’s just nice to have larger aisles where two carts can pass each other.
Other than that, we’ve been acclimating to the very hot weather (the whole week it should be in the mid to upper 80s) and introducing our new colleague to the town. He’s originally from Puerto Rico, so language is not a problem for him–but there are definitely some idiosyncrasies in Argentinian life that take some getting used to.