October 22, 2011

week three: the valley of the shadow of death

"For troubles without number surround me... and my heart fails within me." ~ Psalm 40:12

the view from our apartment turned hospital
 That about sums up week three for us here.

Since we arrived in Patagonia on Saturday we've been to the hospital four times, four days in a row. We would have gone two more times, only we were blessed to have two different doctors come for home visits - a little light in the midst of all our hardship. Thank you for your prayers - I'm convinced those home doctor visits were God's provision when I just couldn't take any more midnight emergency runs to the hospital with three sick, unhappy children.

Saturday's hospital visit was for Tony's accute sinusitis and baby's conjunctivitis.

Sunday's visit to the hospital was for baby, again. Shortly after going to sleep she got another fever. Called our missionary friend Lee to see if he could pick up us, dragged the two older, very tired and cranky kids out of bed to rush baby back to the hospital. I was just sick. You know when you're just sick to your stomach from nerves and fear? It was like wham, wham, wham. The trials just weren't letting up. We were about to crumble.

Verdict? Ear infection. Probably caused by the same virus that caused Tony's laryngitis, ensuing sinusitis, baby's croup, and conjuctivitis. Our body's are so run down that we keep getting sick.

More meds, antibiotics, and back "home" (although I'd hardly call the bare, dinky apt. we were in a home, but whatever). We've been nursing all five of us round the clock since then. I have a sheet for everyone, what meds they are taking, what time, and how much. Otherwise I'd poison someone, we are on so many meds.

That night, as the kids were finally settling in bed at 2am, I asked my boy how he was doing and what he thought about us going back to the United States. He covered his eyes and said he was upset. Oh, no. I went over and asked him about what. He said he was upset because we came here to do missions and we hadn't done anything yet.

(Wow, did he really just say that? Couldn't he have said, "Yeah, let's go home! I miss playing the Wii." or something a bit easier for me?).

He said we were failures.

My girl chimed in and said, "Yeah, we're losers."

My heart despaired. I cried and felt like I just wanted to die at that moment. I explained that we weren't failures and we aren't losers, we're trying - we just never expected to get this sick. I said we've done more than some people would ever attempt to do - that doesn't make us failures, it makes us brave. It's not our fault if it's not working out.

My son just said, "What will people say if we go back? What will they think of us? So many people helped us and we haven't done anything yet. We can't go back. Just think of Jim Elliot and those other missionaries in Ecuador - they gave their lives. They sacrificed everything. We haven't done anything yet."

Monday Tony and I just fell into a pit. I told him what our boy said and he just broke down and cried. He sobbed. And sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, saying, "Lord, why did you ask us to come here? Why??"

We were depressed, tired, sick, worried, and feeling major doubt and regret over our decision to come here. Did we miss God? Had this all been our idea? Does God exist or is this just an invention of my mind?

Yeah, it was bad.

My chest was tight with anxiety and I felt like I was going to go over the edge at any moment. I had been telling Tony for a week that I was feeling horribly anxious, and that prayer and chamomile and valerian tea were not helping. I needed something more to get me through this. I was trying to be honest and just admit that I'm not superwoman, and was most certainly feeling like the worst and most unqualified missionary ever. I knew that Tony couldn't handle one more thing, and neither could I, so for the health of everyone it was time for mommy to take care of mommy or we'd surely crumble totally.

a rather small portion of the medicines we have been taking

So we called Lee (for the millionth time, what a great guy, he always comes to help with a smile), and he came and picked me up to take me this time to the hospital. Poor Tony had to stay behind with all 4 of them sick. On the way to the hospital when he asked how we were doing I just cried and told him all our troubles - that we are just not handling things very well and were talking about possibly throwing the towel in and going home. We felt like failures, complete and utter failures.

At the hospital the line to be seen was very long. I waited for two hours. I sat there talking to Lee, also a missionary, pouring out my heart about how miserable everything was, and cried some more. The girl sitting next to me turned to look at me. I was in such a state, I didn't really care, and figured she didn't understand what I was saying anyway. And if she did, well, she just heard our entire sob story.

No one seemed to be calling anyone in to be seen, so I knocked on the doctor's office door to see how much longer it would be. The doctor who answered asked why I was knocking and informed me that it would be "a while". How long is that? Just "a while". We left.

It was raining and miserable outside. Later at the apartment Edgardo, our pastor friend, stopped in with a friend to see how we were fairing. He said, "Wow, it hasn't rained here in nine months, and now it's raining like crazy."

It hasn't rained here in nine months?

In nine months.

Not a drop?

Not a drop.

Great, even the depressing rain was for us. Yay.

Edgardo's very nice friend, a believer from the church, said he knew a young doctor he could call for us. So he did, right then and there. Within an hour the doctor was there in our apartment looking at the kids, and asking me what was going on with me. He reassured us that the kids seemed fine, that 90% of the city was not doing well because of the ash, and that the baby is on the right track with her treatment. He didn't want to give me any anti-anxiety pills, which I understood, but then he had pity on me and our sorry state and said he had a few at home and if I could wait til later he would bring them back for me. Good thing, since I still had enough dignity left not to beg, which I was seriously considering doing.

He showed up at 1am, and our cell phone beeped that he was downstairs. I went down in my robe and he handed me two little pills. I don't know what they are and I don't care. I'm just glad I have them. I haven't taken them, I'm just glad that they are there if I start teetering too close to the edge. For now, trying to be strong in the Lord and the power of his might.

But, if that doesn't work, as my chiropractor said once: there is better living through chemistry.

Tuesday Lee came back to see how we were doing (we have been SO BLESSED by Lee and Dori and Edgardo and his family. I don't know where we would be without them!). They invited us to stay at their house [a nice, big, comfy (albeit empty) one, they had just rented] so we wouldn't have to be alone. They didn't seem to worried over our sickness, although the last thing we wanted to do was pass it on the their two small children.

A couple prayers sent up to protect them from what we got, and we accepted. We packed all our belongings up and left that little, depressing apartment where we had been alone and sick. We have been here for for days now and it's been a huge blessing, HUGE. Lee and Dori are experienced missionaries and are very laid back. They are doing great here, they are so positive and happy (and healthy, I don't get it),  and are a great source of encouragement and help to us in every way.

Wednesday morning, the first morning we were here at Lee & Dori's house a couple from the church (the one we haven't had time to visit) showed up and said they had come by our apartment to take us out to breakfast. They didn't find us, so came looking for us here. Marta is a really nice, sweet, sincere Christian from near Buenos Aires. She met her husband Adrian at the university. They got married and moved 16 hours away back to Patagonia where he is from. As I told her my woes, she said, "I understand. I've been there. I left my home and family, too. You can do it. Nothing is impossible with God. If I can do it, you can do it. We came here for a secular job, you guys have a calling."

As we talked, her husband started asking about the kids. Our boy had deteriorated by then and was hacking a horrible, deep, resonating cough. He couldn't stop coughing. Adrian asked what the kids' symptoms were, what they were taking, and then asked my boy to come over and cough for him.

Turns out Adrian is a doctor (!!!). He took one listen and said yep, that's bad. He has tracheobronchitis. Do you hear how deep that cough is? He needs antibiotics. He said he would come back after lunch with stronger ones for him and Tony, who was also not really recovering well after 5 days on antibiotics.

After lunch he did just that. He came back and handed us some heavy duty antibiotics that he said would knock the infections right out. He also gave us some others meds for this and that if we happen to encounter allergies or bug bites. When I asked how much we owed him for the meds, he said, "Nothing, it's free." Praise the Lord, because we have spent a small fortune on meds since we've been here. Thank God the medical attention itself has been free, or we don't know what we'd do.

Ah... I was beginning to feel a little bit better... like maybe we can do this. If the kids get better, we get our health back, and we find our own home to live in instead of these suitcases, wandering around like nomads, then maybe I can do this, I thought.

Thursday Tony was able to squeeze an interview in at a local TV station. Hoping it goes somewhere.

It is now Friday and all five of us just came back from the doctor and pediatrician. We all have various forms of the same thing: laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsilitis, and bronchitis. We are all on antibiotics, nebulizer treatments, pain meds, and cough meds. The docs reassured us that it's nothing uncommon in these here parts and that we will be fine in 5 days. I hope so.

Thank you, prayers, for praying for us. I am convinced your prayerss have sustained us through some of the hardest weeks of our lives. God knows I was ready to get on a plane. There were a few days there that I even wondered if God really existed or if it was all a fantasy. That is how much despair we were in. And for us to get this far and seriously consider throwing in the towel, things had to be really, really bad. And they have been. The only thing worse would have been death. And it felt like we were one step away from it at any minute.

Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
For Thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4

"It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him." ~ Lamentations 3:22-25

Pressed on all sides, but not crushed.

October 19, 2011

week two

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Week two here in Argentina can basically be summed up as hellish, inferno-like, from the pit of hell. The worst weeks of my life quite possibly. Oh, where to begin?

It is now Sunday, the end of our second week here.

Tony got sick last Saturday. We thought it was only a cold.

The next day, Sunday, we were visiting Tony's sister and my ever-active 2 year-old was bothering one of the dogs. Everyone has dogs here. One minimum, sometimes up to three. The dog got mad at being bothered and snapped at my baby. She didn't puncture the skin, but grazed her forearm with her teeth, breaking the skin.

By Tuesday, my baby started getting a fever. When I checked on her at 11pm she had a high fever and I heard the all too familiar seal-like cough. Croup!

After that it's a blur of nerves and thinking either she would die or I would. As I grabbed a few things to take to the hospital (not that I even knew where a hospital was, let alone how we were going to get there), Tony and his sister tried calling the ambulance. Since 911 is for police emergencies only, his sister tried calling the number for medical emergencies and it was busy. BUSY?!

I was waiting outside when the baby started to gasp and heave. I thought she was arresting or unable to breath. Then she vomited all over and began crying even more. I was so scared I could have thrown up.

I called back into the house for Tony, he finally came outside and said to get in the car. We had to leave the kids sleeping at their aunt's house.

My BIL was passed out and couldn't drive (too much vino), so Tony said he'd drive. My SIL doesn't know how, so couldn't. Most cars here are stick shift, only Tony doesn't know how to drive stick shift. Earlier that day his BIL, providentially, gave him a 15 minute TOPS quickie driving lesson, and that was it. I wanted to drive, but Tony insisted he would. So I jumped in the back with the baby on my lap praying like a crazy woman while Tony attempted to get the car out of the garage. I was sure he would stall out 10 times. He did surprisingly well.

As we were pulling out, still not sure where a hospital was, as his SIL is yelling which one to go to and quick directions, the neighbor who had heard the commotion, came out and told us no, go to La UPA. It is closer and they wouldn't make us wait there. She gave quick directions, and off we sped.

I can't describe the pain in my gut and the nerves I experienced as we drove down the highway towards this hospital, gasping baby in my lap, praying for her to be able to just breath until we get there, whispering "JesusJesusJesus" over and over and over again, and telling Tony, "You're doing great honey" so he would be able to calm down enough to not stall out.

We made it, walked quickly in, and thankfully were attended pretty quickly. Laryngitis, they said [in the States, our doctor called it croup]. Classic case. A shot of steroids in her bum, a megadose of Ibuprofen, two nebulizer treatments, and some steroids to pick up at the pharmacy. We drove down the deserted streets at 2am towards the 24hr pharmacy and were able to get to sleep finally by 4 or so.

The next day, after she started responding a bit to the meds, I remembered the dog bit/graze. We were too late to go to the Anti-Rabies Center here (there are tons of stray dogs in Argentina, and rabies exists). So we had to wait til the next day to take her there. The guy (I don't even know who he was, a doctor, a nurse, a completely unqualified person off the street, who knows?) said she would need 3 preventative Rabies shots. He scolded us for not covering her scratch, squirted something that looked like Iodine on a gauze, taped it to her arm.

Ugh, sinking stomach feeling again. Because she was being treated for croup, she couldn't get the shot. So we scrambled to get a copy of the rabies vaccine my SIL said she had.

When we got home she was crying that "ow, my arm burn, hurting me, hurting me, owy, owy". I took the gauze off and her arm was burned where the Iodine was. I almost lost it!

I gave her Ibuprofen for all her discomforts and told Tony that's it, I need some meds myself. Do they sell Valium over the counter here? I need some. Now. Or I'm going to lose my mind.

All I wanted to do was leave Buenos Aires. Convinced in Patagonia could get some relief. [Update: Ha ha, that was wishful thinking]

We got a copy of the rabies vaccination for the dog (I literally kissed it when I saw it!), Tony's paperwork arrived in the mail, paperwork we had been waiting for before we could leave BA, and baby seemed to be improving, so we decided to blow the crazy town.

The bus ride that night was about 14 hours long. Everyone was coughing the whole trip. I felt bad, like we were getting others sick, but we needed to leave.

We got to Neuquen, and fortunately our friends, Lee and Edgardo, were waiting for us. We had lunch, but Tony's head was killing him. His cold had gotten much worse. The baby's eyes also started getting red, swollen, and goopy. Oh, God, I thought, WHAT NOW???

Edgardo was so kind - they fed us, let us shower there, then took us all to the hospital. We are thankful for the free hospitals here, at least we didn't have to worry about a huge bill. As we were driving there and walking in, it was very dusty and very windy. Edgardo said it was ash. From the volcano. It was blowing everywhere, making our throats feel scratchy, skin gritty, and eyes irritated, on top of the . Plus just regular dust from the desert landscape.

The doctor attending saw both the baby and Tony. Conjunctivitis and sinusitis, respectively. Tony was really sick by this point with a splitting headache, and baby was noticibly deteriorating.

Tony was sent home with antibiotics, and the baby with a prescription for antibiotic eye drops. Which she screams bloody murder over because they sting. It's a nightmare and I can't help but think at those moments, Oh God, why did we come here??? To see our kids suffer like this? One night she looked at me and said, "Mommy you hate me." Ugh, knife to my heart. I said, "No, Mommy loves you! That's why I'm giving you your medication." She just looked at me with sad little eyes and said "No, you hate me, you hate me."

I wanted to get on a plane right then and there and go home.

Our other two got sick as well. Hopefully it's just a bad cold. But I am so sensitive and traumatized that I am just sure they will be next to the hospital.

Our first night in Patagonia, we were invited to a dinner at church for all the moms. Today, Sunday, is Mother's Day here in Argentina. Tony was sick in bed, the baby had fallen asleep, but he encouraged me to go with the kids. It was just around the corner.

My throat started hurting as soon as we got there. I found it hurt and I had trouble speaking. I felt rude, but as soon as we ate, I had to excuse us to go home to our little, tiny, one bedroom temporary apartment three blocks away. I came back to Tony hacking up a lung, spitting out green stuff, and with a migraine type headache. All I could do was pray for him. I put my hand on his forehead and just prayed desperate prayers. And cried. After we prayed he said he felt better, his headache was almost gone. At least for a bit. It came back in the middle of the night.

So here we are, our second day in Patagonia and it's impossibly hard. So hard that we have even thought of returning. Going back. We had such a good life, what on earth were we thinking?

Even Tony said back in Buenos Aires when everything started hitting the fan that if God gave him a plane to get on, he'd get on it in a second and go back to the United States.

Feeling like complete failures at the moment. But, honestly, all I care about are my kids. I'm okay with admitting maybe we made a mistake, maybe we didn't hear God? Maybe we were wrong to come here. It's certainly not worth losing one of our children over. Does that make us lesser Christians? Weaker? I don't know, maybe. But my first ministry is my kids. If they are not okay, neither are we.

Tony really surprised me when he mentioned going back. We never thought our trials would come in this way, regarding the health of our family.

I have had stomach issues since we got here. I've been to the bathroom at least half a dozen times today. I never have diarhhea. Never. It's hard to be sick and see your kids sick and see your husband lying flat on the bed sick as a dog and being in a foreign country. It makes you just want to cry, really.

So, that's what it's been like here. Please pray for us. I have no problem asking, begging at this point. We are desparate for prayers and direction.

UPDATE: It's Tuesday now, things are getting worse, if that were possible. Will write about it as soon as we come out of this hole. Our little one-room apartment has turned into a hospital. I'll get to writing about it when I get a spare moment between nursing my family and trying to care for myself in the process. Thanks for all the prayers - we miss you all. Lots of love.

Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

2 Corinthians 1:5 "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." 

2 Corinthians 1:6 "And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation."

October 9, 2011

today and yesterday

Tony gave money to a street kid today. I don't know if that was good or bad. It's hard to know what is right in those situations. Some street kids here in Buenos Aires have homes, most do from what I understand. Their parents send them out to beg. If they come home with no money, they get beaten. The money they do come home with, the parents sometimes use it to buy alcohol, or even drugs. At least that's what Tony says. I guess he would know since he's from here.

My daughter was sitting in the back seat today when we stopped at a red light and Tony whistled the kid over. She asked why Papi just gave that kid something, and what did he give him? After I explained, she said, "I bet he has to decide if he's going to buy a toy for himself, or take the money home so he doesn't get beaten." I said, yes, maybe - he probably wasn't thinking to buy a toy for himself, but maybe just something to eat.

Today my two-year old was bothering a dog and got bitten - well, more like grazed on the arm. My first thought was rabies. My sister-in-law assured me that the dog was fully vaccinated, the dog is just old and doesn't want to be bothered, so she snapped. Sick sinking feeling in my stomach, followed by quick urgent pleading prayers as I scrubbed baby's arm with soap and water, and realized I just have to get used to these sorts of things - trusting that God will let me know when I really have to worry and when not.

Today my boy was taking a shower at midnight, after a long weekend out visiting and visiting and visiting ("I am so sick of visiting people all the time!" he said today) - when the water abrubtly shut off. We heard him crying in the shower and went running thinking he got electrocuted again or something. After realizing that, yes, there was suddenly no water in the house, I quickly scrounged around for a few bottles of drinking water which I heated up over the gas stove for Tony to pour over his head so he could rinse the shampoo and soap off. It was so sad when he said he was praying and crying out to God in the shower in his loudest voice to turn the water back on, but nothing happened. As Tony helped rinse him off with the bottled water, I prayed it would go far enough so he could. You never know what bad experience or the way you react to it will turn your kids off to God and ruin their faith... we seem to be walking on such eggs shells these days.

Yesterday we rode in a car that actually had seat belts in it. Wow, what a luxury!, I happily exclaimed to myself. I sat my littlest one on my lap and was able to strap both of us safely in, and even felt really good about doing so. Funny how your definition of safe begins to shift... Later we squeezed 7 people into that same little car: 5 in the back, piled up however we could fit us in, and 2 up front. ALL trips in cars here are bathed in much prayer.

Yesterday we had asado

Today we had asado

Tomorrow is a holiday, and I think we are having asado. Again. *sigh*

We have been out visiting old friends and remaining family members until you just don't want to see another person for a very long time. My kids are so tired of visiting people. I don't blame them. So am I.

Ah, but alas, we still have all Tony's childhood friends to see, and several more friends from his former work. (*sigh again*)

Yesterday Tony went out for a jog in the morning and was attacked by a dog who wanted to bite him. The dog jumped on him, Tony kicked him away and yelled at him, then took off after him yelling to scare him, and the dog finally ran away. He came back from his healthy little run a bit more sobered and not as much relaxed as he had expected. He also said he felt like his chest was going to explode from all the pollution. It's smells of diesel or cigarrette smoke all the time here. We were spoiled country folk back home.

(I'm still country folk - and still can't wait to get out of town. But, what can you do? Can't move back to Argentina and not see everyone. They'd be so offended if we didn't put in our mandatory two weeks here in BA. I hope it's enough, cause I ain't comin back here.)

just one more week, Lord-willing, til we head to Patagonia...

October 6, 2011

week one

I don't even know where to begin to describe Buenos Aires. Except to say that I honestly don't know how anyone can live here. I don't know how I did. It's crazier than New York, even Tony thinks so. I'd live in NY before I lived here in Buenos Aires.

This week I've been riding around in cars holding my baby on my lap - no carseats here.

Been sick to our stomachs, but you don't want the details to that, I'm sure.

We wake up to someone's rooster crowing. And a horse trotting down the city street drawing a rickety wood cart behind it.

The people. They're everywhere. 13 million.

Have had to hold my breath going into public bathrooms, and then could kick myself when I realize I forgot to bring my own toilet paper (it's BYOTP here, for the most part; we did see TP in the Burger King we found downtown today, though - score!).

Oh, and don't forget to throw the TP in the little trash can next to the toilet. The waste system does not process paper waste, so you can't throw it down the toilet.

When people come to work on the house (we're staying at my sister-in-law's), we have to close up the suitcases and hide them so nothing gets stolen. That takes like an hour since we have so much stuff.

When we're out, I've mostly had to change diapers with baby standing up, while trying to make sure my bags don't touch the icky floor.

Oh, and plenty of boobs hanging out here, nursing boobs that is. No one bats an eye. It's just the way it is.

Speaking of boobs, the television here is nasty. And it seems that in every house we go to, the TV is on - which is so draining. The other night there was a full-on strip tease on public television. I thank the Lord the kids were asleep and didn't happen to be walking by the TV. It's really hard being in other people's houses... what do you do? Turn their TV off? Ask them to watch something else? Leave? Awkward social moments, a few.

It's so noisy here. So noisy. Dogs barking, roosters crowing, motorcycles speeding by, your neighbor blasting loud music at any and all hours of the day, car alarms going off, buses, people yelling in the streets...

We've almost been hit by cars crossing the street, or at least avoided being hit, several times.

Breathed in plenty of diesel exhaust, which turns the inside of your nose black.

Been chased by a few dogs.

Have had to get used to watching where we step when we go out for a walk. When there's a sidewalk. Sometimes it abrubtly ends in dirt or rubble or trash or sad tufts of grass.

The stores are so small you can barely move.

So are the rooms in the houses.

You have to be buzzed into, and out of, some stores for security purposes.

My niece was robbed at gunpoint right outside her house. She told me this last night, at her house. She was sitting there on her cell phone, someone put a gun to her head, and stole her phone. Fortunately for her that's all he took.

The sodas are still served in glass bottles. And they taste so much better.

Dinner's at 10pm. 8 or 9 is early. [The kids are doing surprisingly well with it, though. God's grace, the only reason.]

We're not getting fat from eating 4 times a day (breakfast, lunch, tea/snack time, dinner) because we're walking A LOT. And we have those stomach issues... but I mentioned that.

The food here is delicious, it's just a lot of meat, white flour, white sugar, and fat. Not a salad in sight, unless you beg. Which I've had to do. It's surreal when you get strange looks for asking for a salad.

We started our paperwork this week. What a nightmare. Talk about bureaucracy. No paying bills on the internet, no errands that last only 10-15 minutes, like in the bank and out in 5 minutes. Everything takes hours. Sometimes half a day.

I wish I knew how to transfer the pictures from my cell to the computer - I'd show you the lines we've had to stand in. Everywhere you go you stand in lines. Often for hours. Today we saw a line for an ATM that was at least 100 people long. At least.

I don't have any pictures to post at the moment. Hubs won't let me take the camera out of the house. Let alone stand there in the middle of the streak gawking like a tourist snapping touristy-like shots of all the crazy things one sees here.

Yes, I used to live here. But that was a long time ago.

We visited a bank today to open an account. We are not permitted to because we are not residents. Even though Tony is a citizen, he does not have a job or a permanent address here with bills to prove it, so sorry - no bank account for you. They said that the central bank here in Argentina imposed stricter requirements several years ago on opening bank accounts in order to crack down on money laundering. Yeah.

Which means a huge headache for us, because we have our container coming and no money to get it out of customs, since it's all in our bank account at home. Praying for a way to be able to transfer it down here somehow. I keep telling Tony not to worry, it'll all work out. God is with us, right?

The good news: we're all still alive. At least bodily. I'm only holding onto a shred of sanity by God's grace. A really thin thread of it. I can't wait to get out of this city. I really do not like it here. Never have. Pretty sure I never will.

Interestingly Tony is experiencing some serious reverse culture shock. He was about to lose it in the bank today he was so frustrated with the system. Welcome to Argentina, we joked - although we weren't really laughing.

My culture shock is coming in other ways. Mostly having to do with dealing with family. It's a totally different culture. Totally.

We are finally feeling the full-on shock of where were are. We're definately not in Kansas anymore, Toto!

Someone posted a picture on FB today from back home. Ahhh, home. It was so pretty. It's SO pretty in the States. It's so not pretty here. It's just not.

Anyway, my apologies for a choppy, poorly written post. It reflects my state of mind: overwhelmed and completely scrambled. I can't seem to process much right now, it's stimulous overload.

How are the kids? My boy broke out in cold sores all over his mouth, like all over, from the stress and change in food. Poor thing. He's still doing his math every morning, though. I think he's just craving something familiar - even if it's math!

My daughter came bawling her eyes out the other day after her shower, "I just can't take it anymore, it's so overwhelming here." She had taken a cold shower because she didn't know how to work the hot and cold water, and it sent her over the edge.

My baby is no longer half-potty trained, but regressed totally and wants to "go home" to go to bed.

IT'S HARD. I won't lie.

We're staying with family here. That is probably the hardest part of all. It's craziness. But I'm a Christian missionary, so they're still alive. And should probably thank the Lord I have Jesus and not an oozy. Or maybe an AK-47. [Sorry. That's not nice.]

God? He's around here somewhere, at least I believe He is. I can hardly see Him. We are so totally and completely immersed in the craziness here and so totally consumed at the moment with taking care of the kids, paperwork/move-related errands, and staying alive that we barely have time to read our Bibles or pray. And we feel it. I told Tony if we don't leave BA soon, someone's gonna die. [Okay, I exaggerate. A little.]

Traumatized and culture shocked would be a good way to describe our first week in Buenos Aires.

I can't wait to get out of town and head to Patagonia! But you probably could have guessed that. Pray no one loses their life or sanity before we do.

I think Patagonia will be different, I really do. I think we'll be much better once we get there. Some space and some mellower people will do us all some good!

October 1, 2011

The Famous Argentinian Asado

Today was Day 3 of family reunions/welcome home parties. Which means more food. A LOT more food.

People started arriving at 11 or so this morning to buy the food, prepare the grills, and make the salads. (UPDATE: It's 10:30, and the second round (dinner) has just begun. By God's grace, and only His grace, I'm doing okay with it all. I think am even enjoying myself. Probably having the nicest time I've ever had in Argentina. Tony's family is really very sweet, they have great hearts and are a lot of fun. I am feeling very comfortable here, the kids are, too; Tony's the one experiencing the culture shock for some reason. The kids were also having full on conversations in Spanish today- we couldn't believe it! FULL SENTENCES, all on their own. I teared up hearing them. It was amazing. Thanks for your prayers, we are feeling them!)

Right now I am sitting on the floor in the dining room, surrounding by about 30 adults and kids making all sorts of noise, the tables all having been moved outside for the traditional Argentine asado. Can't concentrate to write much, so here are some pics...

Breakfast: mate (MAH-tay, Argentine green tea) and toast with butter and dulce de leche (caramel spread)

the back patio where we had the asado (Argentine BBQ) -
we took the clothes off the clothes line (no dryers here) before starting the fire
 so they wouldn't get all smokey smelling

it was a beautiful spring day

the view over the wall into the neighbors' yard (most houses have iron fences or walls around them)


the meat

more meat

herbed provolone for the grill

mustard oregano lemon oil dressing for chicken

homemade chimichurri, a dressing/sauce to drizzle over your meat

making a makeshift grill: placing the bricks and wetting the grass

next, placing the tin base and the grill

preparing the coals (the main grill is in the background)

placing the meat on the grill

grill #2: the main grill

shoveling the coal to feed both the grills

even the smoke smelled good
the finished product
For a more enjoyable stay for visitors to Argentina, make sure you bring your favorite stool softener or a box of Ex-lax. Just trying to be helpful. Your intestines will thank you for it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails