September 30, 2011

the trip and life on the other side

The journey from our old home in the States to our new home in Argentina started on Tuesday night and didn't end until early Thursday morning. It's now Friday, and we are feeling a bit more rested up and settled in. Well, as much as you can be settled in when you're homeless, and living out of suitcases, and other people's houses, in a foreign country... you know.

Tuesday night some friends  - who have a van big enough to fit us, them, and our 10 suitcases + 5 carry ons - drove us to JFK Airport, about a 3 hour drive.

We grabbed a few hours of sleep at a hotel near the airport (also compliments of friends!), only to get up at 5am for a long 24-hour day of travel.

We traveled TAM, a Brazilian airline (one way tickets, by the way:)). It was kind of nice to be waited on, with nothing to do but watch movies and TV - something I, um, let's see... never do. The kids were in their glory, each with their very own TV on the seat in front of them; they were glued to it the entire time, and we hardly heard a peep from them. It was also neat to practice my Portuguese, be able to understand everything the flight attendants said, and watch some Brazilian TV shows - I forgot how good (in a wordly way) they are.

Keeping the toddler busy and out of trouble was not easy - and we were praising Jesus when she finally passed out while eating lunch, after having been up since 5am.

Our connecting flight from Sao Paolo to Buenos Aires was on a smaller plane, this time full of Argentinians instead of Brazilians. The plane was so much noisier than the big airbus we had been on - that, plus the stress of travelling that far with kids - gave me a migraine, so I was not a happy camper the last leg of our journey.

Finally, after 13 hours flying time, and almost 24 hours awake, we made it to Argentina. We woke the kids up at 2am to shuffle them through Immigration and Customs. It went well - except for the $420 they took from us: the "Entry Fee" for North American, British and Australian citizens. Fortunately, when the cashier saw on our son´s passport that he was born in Buenos Aires (which makes him an Argentine citizen), she didn't charge him the $120 Entry Fee - even though he was entering with a US passport. God saved us some money again - sweet!

Tony's brother-in-law and family were waiting to pick us up. Everybody was tired, one was bawling and just wanting a bed - but, of course, some of Tony's family was still up and waiting for us when we pulled in at 3:30 in the morning.

They had been cooking all night for the following day's festivities.

I struggle with having to be nice and smiley and chatty at that hour - but we survived and were finally able to hit the hay at 5am.

The next morning family started pouring in early to say hi and stay for a huge meal. It worked out that several people had off work, and the kids didn't have school because all the teachers in the country are on strike. Apparently a mom and a student beat a teacher up somewhere, so all the teachers in the country went on strike... or, at least, that's what I understood. lol Welcome to Argentina.

homemade ñoquis [gnocchis] with tomato sauce, all made from scratch

beef stuffed with garlic and parsley... so tender

bife con relleno... mmmmm

juicy, moist, beef empanadas

Since I woke up with a mild migraine the first day, all the noise and commotion was a little challenging. To make matters quickly and exponentially worse, the 2 year-old almost immediately fell from the 2nd story of the not-baby proofed stairs... see how wide those slats are??

I was a nervous, sleep-deprived wreck that first morning. I still can´t take my eyes off her here. We're doing better now - she knows she's not allowed on those stairs alone. I don't know how my sister-in-law raised two boys with those stairs!

My boy also electrocuted himself trying to plug one of these 220-120 converters in...

and I offended my brother-in-law because I yelled at him (I'm good at that here - offending people. I don't mean to, I just always end up doing it.). I couldn't help yelling at him, though. He was showing the girls the patio on the second floor, and he picked my baby up to stand on the ledge so "she could see better". But he was holding her... so that was silly of me to yell Noooooooooooo!

Which I did.



Not a great way to start our first day.

Things did improve by dinner, though. The Aleve kicked in and many more warm and lively family members descended on the premises with hugs and kisses and laughs and cameras.

Some good news: the kids have already started speaking  Spanish:

What is wrong with this picture?
Why, absolutely nothing.
I always keep my eggs on top of the fridge,
don't you?
Hola, tia. [Hi, aunt.] 

Hola, tio. [Hi, uncle.]

Bien. [Good.]

Si, por favor. [Yes, please.] 

Gracias. [Thank you.] 

Un poquito de puré de zapallo, por favor. [A little more mashed butternut squash, please.]

Me gustó mucho la pizza. [I liked the pizza a lot. My boy really said that! All by himself!]

...and so on and so forth. It's ador-a-ble. Here they were so worried about not being able to speak Spanish, but I can tell they will be just fine.

Today, our second day here in Buenos Aires, we woke up to birdies chirping (spring has sprung here), the sound of a horse trotting down the street, several dogs barking, and somebody yelling over a loudspeaker advertising something. Welcome to South America. lol


Denise said...

Oh my! I commend you; I know that, after traveling that far and that long, I NEED peace and quiet! My head would be spinning, and then you threw in a migraine?? The food looks amazing. I don't think that most people in European countries refrigerate their eggs, either; it's a US thing. :) Can't wait to read more...and you *know* that a certain someone wants to know if you've forgotten English yet! Oh, and E wants to know if we can go visit you now!

Deb said...

Hey Chris(and Tony)

So glad to hear (and see the update!) Been praying!! Cool about the kiddos already speaking spanish!! And the food did look awesome!

May Jesus lead you every step of the way! Can't way to hear more and share in your unfolding God-adventure!

Love to you all


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