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Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Do It Myself

Along with this new world of mothering comes a plethora of books and information on what your child is doing, what they should be doing, what they are no longer doing and, finally, what they will do.  One of the phases in our near future is the inevitable "I do it myself!" phase, in which your child wants to take control, assert leadership, and do simple tasks like eating and getting dressed for themselves.  Thankfully, in babies this phase is not in our immediate future, but the "I do it myself" phase seems to resurface in adults. 
Specifically in adults that are around 30 and living abroad. 
More specifically, in me. 

Exhibit 1:
Over the weekend my in-laws sent us an email request that seemed to be a bit of a last resort.  A family friend owns a coffee/espresso maker that is only sold in South America and one of their house guests inadvertently threw away the metal filter attachment needed to brew a cup of coffee.  For a coffee maker, this seems to be a pretty important part, considering that you cannot brew a cup without it.  After numerous attempts to contact the company, contact different suppliers in the US, etc, they were unable to find a place to buy this part.  Considering that we live in South America, they thought we may be able to help in locating the part. 

Let me pause to say that a year ago, I would have literally laughed at this request.  I cannot find 90% of the things I am looking for here, much less find such a specific piece of equipment.  If you would like a specific example of how maddening my searches can be, please refer to my attempt to purchase a food processor.  But that was a year ago.  This year, I'm empowered.  And I need to redeem myself after the food processor incident. 

So, after I contacted Oster Argentina, in a request sent in Spanish I might add, they responded with a local shop where I could purchase the filter.  I went there on Tuesday, and to my incredible surprise, the little ancient-looking shop at 870 Esmeralda Street had a huge inventory of Oster products, they understood what I needed, and actually had the part I was looking for.  In a matter of 48 hours I had saved the coffee maker from a lonely life of not brewing coffee. I am unabashedly proud.  I do it myself.

Exhibit 2:
You may remember from my Need For Change post that it is a bear to obtain change here in the city.  This is also the only form of payment that the buses accepted... until now.  Recently they have started a card system called SUBE, where you can add value to a card and use it to ride any bus or subway line. Jon uses the bus every day to commute to work, so I decided to look into getting him a card. It is easier than you might think, but more difficult than it should be.  Just bring an identification document (or photocopy) to any of the locations listed on the Retira tu Tarjeta site, complete a short form and leave with an empty SUBE card.  The first card is free, so is the second, but if you loose your card again there is some sort of charge. 
Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to obtain and put value on your SUBE card in the same location, so you then need to bring the card to any of the Carga tu Tarjeta site locations.  You can pay with cash or credit card, there is no service charge, and then use that value to pay for your trips.  Rumor has it that these cards will eventually be accepted in taxis as well. 
I took on this challenge.  I got each of us a card.  I waited at a Correo Argentina location only to be told that this location doesn't add value to SUBE cards.  I traveled to another location.  I charged the cards.  I do it myself. 

That's all, just two exhibits, but two tasks that gave me an enormous sense of accomplishment.  So thank you, house guest that threw away the coffee filter.  Thank you, new card system for making me figure it out.  It's things like this that make me realize how far I've come since we first moved here and we called on our Spanish speaking friends when things were complicated.  It's a week like this that makes so many of the other, more frustrating weeks worth it. 

It's a week like this that makes me proud to say, yeah, I do it myself. 

1 comment:

  1. Great blog and great writing!!!! You do it yourself and you're proud! And I'm proud of you since I know how hard it can be to get that stuff done, and in Spanish, no less. You go, chica!