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Friday, October 29, 2010

The Bed of Gold

On Tuesday one of the most anticipated events in our Argentinean lives occurred.  The Bed arrived. 

It all started in February when I decided we needed to buy bed frames for the guest beds in our apartment.  I fell in love with this antiquey-style bed made out of window shutters at this store in Palermo called The Bed Shop, Godoy Cruz 2161, only to realize that I didn't possess enough Spanish knowledge to be confident in my bed purchasing skills.

After months of deliberation, I couldn't get the bed out of my mind.  Jon gave me the go-ahead so during my brother Chris's visit I dragged him with me to The Bed Shop and I bought the bed.  All in Spanish.  It was slightly more expensive than I had hoped, but it was the wonder bed of all beds, and I had been thinking about it for many months, so it was alright, right?  Well, it was, until late August when said "wonder bed" was to be delivered and I realized the very small but extremely significant detail that changed everything.  Throughout my brilliant Spanish correspondence with The Bed Shop we had interchangeably used the words "cama" (translation: Bed, clearly a necessary word) and "respaldo" which, in every place I looked to translate it meant "support" (strange, but a bed has supports, so I didn't really think anything of it).  I came to realize later that this word also means "headboard".  Which also means that I had ordered exactly 1/4 of the bed I thought I had ordered.  Yikes.  A most humbling and expensive mistake. 

Many emails and frustrated phone calls later, we agreed to have the other 3/4 of the bed made, for an additional price, obviously.  And many weeks later, Tuesday to be exact, the amazing bed-of-gold arrived.  Isn't she a beauty?

Look at how she glows in the light.  Perfectly matching the light blue hue of the room.

Check out the shutters!  Real shutters!  Making the beautiful respaldo I had been dreaming of.

The spindles!  Look at the spindles! 

Was it worth the wait, the stress, the price?  I'll never tell.  Just know that if you visit us and sleep in this bed, you might as well be sleeping in a bed of gold.

This will be my last transaction with The Bed Shop.  They were very nice people, very nicely telling me that I owed them more money and that it was going to be an additional few weeks until the bed was delivered.  Also, I know there was more than one misunderstanding in this transaction, and it made for a miserable buying experience.

Let's see the bed once more for good measure.  In a different light this time.  Just drink it in.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stay Home and Be Counted

October 27, 2010 has been declared a national holiday in Argentina due to the 2010 Census.  The thought being that by declaring a national holiday and removing the need to leave the house, everyone will then be home when the census workers stop by.  Interesting logic.  We are taking advantage of Jon's day off by traveling to Puerto Madryn and hoping that Jorge Newberry will be a ghost town and our flight takes off on time. 

Here are some interesting facts about the Argentine Census:
  • There is a fear that criminals will disguise themselves as census workers to gain access to your house and rob you, so the recommendation is not to let anyone inside.  
  • This is the first year since the late 1800s that African-Argentine and indigenous people will be counted (for real?!).  According to the previous census numbers, there are NO people of African descent living in Argentina.  (This is in contrast to the estimated 2 MILLION people of African descent that actually live here.)
  • The entire country has the day off, but since many of the census workers are also school teachers, school has been canceled for Thursday, Oct 28th as well.  Apparently it's not fair that everyone gets a day off but the teachers.  Somehow the fact that they volunteer for the service and are paid for it has escaped everyone's minds.  And that people normally work 5 days a week. Details, details...
  • As with most government-initiated projects, there is widespread skepticism about the census.  Who knew being counted was so controversial?
In other national news, the ex-president, Nestor Kirchner has reportedly died of a heart attack this morning.  Mr. Kirchner is also the husband of Argentina's current president, Christina Kirchner, who is wildly controversial.  Never a dull day. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Let's See Some Whales!

By this time next week I plan on having a bounty of live-action whales pictures for your enjoyment.  I'm thinking that pictures like that on the left may be a bit ambitious, but a girl can dream.  We are taking advantage of the National Census Holiday here in Argentina tomorrow to head out to Puerto Madryn for a long weekend of Southern Right Whale watching.

Puerto Madryn is located 851 miles south of Buenos Aires on the eastern side of the country facing the Gulfo Nuevo.  Every year between June and November, the Southern Right Whales make an abundant appearance to mate and migrate right through the gulf.  The whale watching excursions leave from Peninsula Valdes, which is over an hour's drive from Puerto Madryn, so we've elected to stay right on the peninsula.  According to everyone that I've spoken to, the whales are everywhere, so we have our fingers crossed to see some right from the hotel.

During this holiday we have the following plans:
  • Two whale watching boats, on two different days hoping for optimum whale exposure.
  • An excursion to Estancia San Lorenzo, which has an extensive Magellanic penguin colony.  It is also located one of the only coastlines where Orca whales have been seen intentionally beaching themselves to hunt penguins and sea lions.  I hope to see this phenomenon in person, but plan on staying far away from the coastline just in case.  
  • Lots of hanging out at the hotel looking for whales from our balcony.  
The only potential hitch to our plans is the weather, rain is predicated for at least 2 of the 3 full days that we're there.

Wish us luck! 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dawn + Jon = Baby Girl!

So much has happened since I've last wrote!  We had a fun, busy, eventful, fruitful, truly wonderful vacation to the US and Canada.  I decided to take a true break from Argentina-life and not attempt to blog while at home, which was a good choice since we were on the go the entire time.  The repercussion now is that I am insanely behind in logging all of our recent goings-on, as I'm sure you've noticed.  I'll do my best to break down all of our happenings, for they are many.

First and foremost, We Are Having A Baby!  This is clearly the most exciting thing going on in our lives at the moment.  This also explains my recent desire for McDonald's after not eating fast food for most of my life.  I am 19 weeks along and have been feeling really great.  Here is a picture at 18 weeks, fresh off of a 2.5 week vacation packed with eating lots of delicious American food.
Our little babina!

Our doctor here is wonderful and the hospital is clean, close and high quality so we are fully confident in our decision to have the baby here in Argentina.  The best part of overseas health care so far has been the sheer number of appointments and ultrasounds that we've had already, we have enough baby pictures to fill an album.  We had a 12-week Doppler ultrasound where the doctor was able to tell us that she's a GIRL!  He told us at TWELVE weeks!  To all the skeptics out there - this has been confirmed in all of our following appointments, so we're as sure as you can be that we have a little girl coming our way.  For anyone interested in our medical experiences in Argentina, stay tuned, there will certainly be some upcoming post topics covering these things.

Our growing group of east coast friends
As part of our trip home our wonderful friends and family threw us a baby shower.  We coupled it with a party at my parent's house that we had already planned, which worked out perfectly for the guys/people-who-don't-like-watching-gift-openings.  It was also a great way to have our friends bring all of their adorable children over, all of which happen to be girls.  That's right, we had six precious little divas over, some of which we met for the very first time.  I was not great at getting good kiddy pics, but Kelly Hill posted a great summary on her blog Life on Notting Hill.  We received some fantastic news earlier this week when Chip and Kristen Humkey found out that they are having a baby boy!  We're looking into arranged marriage documents now.  In addition to friends, my parents let us take over their house for the weekend while they hosted a ton of our friends during the day and overnight, we had a real grown-up slumber party.  Jon's parents drove all the way up from Lexington to visit us, bringing with them delicious food and a Hokie win.  We have some pretty amazing family.

The following weekend I was lucky enough to have some of my favorite visitors for the weekend, Sarah, Julie, Dan and my main man Caden.  (We missed Sarah's future husband Josh, but he was excused because he was busy saving lives in Indiana)  Look at this adorable little man, who celebrates his first birthday today!  He's such a big boy now, I cannot believe that so much time has gone by.  We got to visit Great Falls, Virginia, a beautiful spot, where our friend Doug took some amazing pictures of the little birthday boy.  I'm pretty proud of this smiley one that I got - he was so much fun to have around!  Aside of fawning over my favorite baby boy, I was also thrilled to spend time with Julie and Sarah.  We get so little time together recently, it was really a treat for them to have flown in to visit - thank you so much for visiting! 
Together at last :)
As if that wasn't enough, while we were home we also attended a wedding in Toronto (more to come on this), watched the Redskins beat the Packers live, hung out with my youngest brother Robbie who visited from Virginia Tech, went shopping with my mom, built fires with my dad, watched Michigan State go undefeated for an incredible EIGHT games in a row and much, much more.  It's no wonder that visiting home is such a bright spot, we always have a great time!  Thank you to everyone that made this trip a success, we miss you all!