Monday, October 31, 2011

tricia’s visit day three

After we got up and dressed, we took the train one stop to San Isidro this morning. We purchased fresh fruits at the fruit market and whole wheat medialunas at the Hausbrot bakery.

Back at home after being reinforced with that delicousness, we decided to take the train the other direction one stop to Martinez.

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She did some shopping taking advantage of the fact that winter is over now on this side of the earth, and she found some really cute stuff on sale. Presidente wanted to meet us for lunch, so we called Juan, our favorite remis driver and had him take us to the restaurant. The food is amazing in Buenos Aires and we pretty much figured out the very first day that we were going to have to eat a lot of meals out so that she could see for herself.

DSC08996After lunch and a quick change for Presidente, we took the train all the way back into the city. It’s about a 25 minute ride.

We showed her the DSC08994 Galleria Pacifico and she got some t-shirts on La Florida Street to take home to her kids. We also did a quick stop off at Patio Bullrich where Presidente got a cell phone cover that looks like the Argentine flag…it is very cheesy, but very cute. I think it will actually be easier to find when he is looking for it as well!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

tricia’s visit day two

written by Tricia

It's Sunday and some sister missionaries have invited my parents to speak in a ward in Ituzaingo. We went the long way to church (which meant we were late) and I got to do some observing about how people live.  Here's some from this morning:

  • There is a lot of rubble around. It just collects in piles on the streets, sidewalks, and yards. I don't think anyone has any intention of cleaning it up.
  • Family is important to Argentines. There is a special lane in the grocery store for the handicapped and pregnant. But religion is not important. Most Argentines say they are Catholic, but no one really goes to church. Sundays are for visiting family members.
  • Most things are closed on Sunday.
  • If the GPS says to go on a road, and you look down it and find out that it isn't paved the whole way, you don't drive on it.
When we got to church, we parked on the basketball court/parking lot outside. I was confused since three wards met in this building, and we were the only car there. I was pulled up short when I realized we were the only people who had a car. It's difficult to get people to come to church if it is raining on Sunday since people are walking. It's also difficult even when it rains on Saturday since the roads are still muddy on Sunday.
Since we went in late, my parents went and sat up on the stand and Brianna and I ducked into our seats in the congregation. After the meeting was over, lots of people came over to speak to us. Brianna and I pretty much nodded and smiled. But everyone is very kissy. So there was lots of cheek/air kissing going on. I stood up to meet one lady and had a weird Alice in Wonderland experience. It turns out that I am a big woman in Argentina! In my heels I was taller than most of the women and even many of the men!


The sisters were having a baptism after the meeting. We stayed for the baptism of this sweet boy who was being baptized by a 20-ish member of the ward. The sisters were hoping the experience might get the older boy excited about serving a mission.


After the baptism, a group of young women hung around asking me twenty questions. I got asked about my spouse (everyone loves that he served his mission in Buenos Aires), my kids, what languages we are taught in school, and about how old I am.

One thing I loved about church is how each ward member takes care of the little ones like they are their own. I seriously couldn't figure out who the parents of this one baby was until well after the meeting was over.

After we got home, I got to go out and feed the turtle. My parents are the happy owners of a turtle. Apparently, it is somewhat common to have turtles in Argentina. You know how in the States people put stickers on their rear windows to represent their family? Well in Argentina, they have those too. And I even spotted one with a turtle sticker for their pet!

Today turtle got zapallitos (the round zuchinni).


Later in the day, we took a little drive to the river and San Isidro, the town where my parents used to live. The river is muddy and is polluted with methane gas. It's not for swimming, but it was nice to walk outside, even though it's quite windy.

A word now about driving in this country. It's InSAniTY. There are some lane markers, but there's really no point. People will make five lanes out of three. No one follows any rules. My dad pulled up to a toll booth and then backed up when it wouldn't read his transponder. TWICE. He finally drove to a third lane by driving perpendicular to the road. You could never do that in the States.


And just a little PS from me. Check out my cute necklace and earrings from the craft fair.  :)  And the pasta from Que Ravioles that we had for lunch was fabulous!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

tricia’s visit day one

We cried. A lot. Off and on throughout the day…tears of great joy!

After leaving the airport, we set off for the mission offices.  Right away the assistants observed that Tricia and I are a lot alike. ("Let's GO Dad!").

DSC08977 Then we headed into downtown Buenos Aires. Spring is in full force in Buenos Aires and it seemed like everyone wanted to be out enjoying the warm sunshine. Because there are no beaches, people pretty much lay out anywhere. She was amused by the guy that was laying out in the grassy part of an island in the middle of the road!

Piegari-restaurant-in-Recoleta For lunch, we went to my favorite Italian Restaurant  called Piegari. It's where I love to go to for special occasions, and today was my Christmas.




Doug and I had originally planned to go to Recoleta, which has a great street/craft fair every weekend.  Tricia was up for it, so off we went. We spent awhile browsing through the stalls. Tricia picked up some cool handicrafts--a scarf, jewelry, and a nativity scene and some cute teacher gifts for later on in the year. I got another nativity and some jewelry as well.


After that, we left downtown and headed for home. We stopped in the grocery store where we entertained Tricia by showing her how many things come in bags--mayonnaise, yogurt drink, and milk to name a few.

At home, we walked around the neighborhood streets. We took her to  Delicity, one of the many bakeries nearby. It turns out that she is also a huge fan of dulce de leche and enjoyed eating croissants, churros, and cookies filled with dulce de leche. Then we went to a store that makes fresh pasta to purchase Sunday dinner for tomorrow.

We did our best to keep Tricia awake. Her husband and sisters helped out by calling to see how The Big Surprise went. Later on, she and I walked  the other direction up the street to Carlito's for a light dinner.

the rest of the story

When we first moved to Argentina it was in the middle of a cold and dark winter. There were so many things that were different and after so many years of feeling reasonably competent and intelligent, I felt completely incompetent and unintelligent. Most of the time, I could press forward with hope that one day I would understand what people were saying and one day I would be able to do a lot of little things that seemed beyond me at that time.
One particularly dark day, I decided that Tricia was going to come and visit me. I even went to the online calendar for her children’s school and decided that she was going to come on the 24th of October. After that, whenever I was having a particularly challenging time, I would think about Tricia coming and I would imagine what it would be like and it helped me…a lot.
October 24th came and went. She didn’t  come. In the end, I figured that it was a blessing to have had hope when things were so hard for me. I felt a little embarrassed at myself. But then I started thinking about hope and the place that it has in my life. I decided that even though my hope was in vain, it still gave me strength and for that I was ever so grateful.
A couple of days later, when I was talking to Tricia on the phone, I told her about my vain hope. I tried to explain how it had helped me. She told me something like she thought that it was good as long as it didn’t depress me when it didn’t work out. I explained that I personally was doing so much better now, and that I wasn’t depressed because I knew that the hope had helped.
Three days later, she showed up in Argentina, having purchased her ticket clear back in August. I wrote about her arrival on our mission blog:
DSC08972But what I want to add to that story is what she actually said,
“Mom! Don’t give up hope…I’m here!”
After all is said and done, I can easily imagine Heavenly Father saying the same thing. And I know that He is here. He has helped me overcome a myriad of challenges and cope with things that cannot be changed. I have felt His presence in my life more strongly and directly than ever before. I am so thankful that because of the atonement of the Savior, I have Hope.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

trip to the country

 DSC08541My husband asked me to go with him to the country this weekend. The missionaries had planned a talent show on Saturday night and we were scheduled to speak in the branch on Sunday. Rather than drive four hours on Saturday and do the same trip again on Sunday, we decided to stay over night.

Doug asked the missionaries to help him find a place to stay. I wasn’t feeling very secure about that and did my own research. He made a reservation for the Gran Hotel. I got directions from Google Earth for the La Rica Estancia.

Once we stayed in a hotel in East Germany. It was kind of like staying in a prison. The five of us were in bunk beds in the same room and the bathroom was down the hall. When I saw our room at the Gran Hotel, I was Wishing that I had that room in East Germany.

I talked Doug into looking for the Estancia. Google Earth totally let us down. We ended up precariously close to a villa and almost gave up on the project…until I remembered seeing a sign to La Rica on the way into town.

We went over to a parilla to make dinner reservations and asked the lady there about the estancia. She said she thought that the town of La Rica was an hour away. With those encouraging words, and some online directions, I talked Doug into driving for 15 minutes to see if we could find the place.

The online directions said to travel 7 kilometers down the road and then take a dirt road for another 7 kilometers. There was a dirt road at the 7 kilometer mark, but no sign. We tried to talk to a stooped and leathery woman with pumpkin teeth. She seemed afraid of us and told us to follow the truck that had just dropped her off.

We then followed a truck that looked like it was made out of duct tape and after about 4 more kilometers we ran into this sign:


I was so happy! 

We followed the dirt track for 7 kilometers and came to a t-junction. By now, the duct tape truck had disappeared. We had a 50-50 chance and turned left.DSC08542

After driving for another several kilometers and seeing nothing but countryside, we decided to give up on the project.DSC08538

But I couldn’t quite give up. Seriously. I have a hard time giving up on a project, once I have set my mind on it. So we drove all the way back down the dirt track and back to where we saw the leathery lady…who was still there, before we found enough signal to make a phone call. Sure enough, we had been on the right track, except that we needed to turn right instead of left at the t-junction.

Teresa, the lady who owns La Rica,  told us that she didn’t have room for tonight. When I asked her if we could come and see the estancia, she said yes and then said that she would find “something” for us.DSC08540

So we went back down the road for 7 kilometers and back down the dirt track for 7 kilometers and eventually found La Rica.DSC08537

Teresa was really nice and took us on a tour of the premises.

DSC08533 DSC08535 DSC08536Then she invited us into her living room to have a chat. Of course, we had to get back for the talent show, which we explained and asked about our room. At this point, she told us that she didn’t think that we should stay there.


However, she did recommend the bakery in the “town” of La Rica.DSC08544

This is the town of La Rica. We saw a half a dozen buildings. None of them looked open or even inhabited.



We spent the night at the Gran Hotel.

hermanas and b

Two great hermanas, Sister Blanchette and Sister Anderson are in Buenos Aires working in various capacities for the social services part of the church. They came out to the house to hang out with Brianna while Doug and I were in the campo this weekend.
photo1Brianna had so much fun with them! She can’t wait for us to go away again…LOL. Just kidding! But Brianna did say that she hopes that they can come again when we do have to be away!
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

and then some

When we returned home from our zone conference today this is what we found:

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When we moved into the mission home, I told my daughters that it was going to take all my skills, and then some to bring it up to speed.

Apparently, there was a big water leak which was fixed before we moved in. However, the moisture has been trapped behind the wallpaper and mold has been growing in various colors…purple, yellow and brown.

The project to remove it has begun! The entry hall, downstairs office, dining room and our bedroom are all on the to do  list. The picture on the left is the office and the picture on the right is the dining room.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

recoleta fair


I read about a weekly fair at a park, in a part of the city known as Recoleta.  There is a very famous cemetery nearby where Evita is buried. We have been to the cemetery a few times, but we haven’t been to the fair. I wasn’t even sure they would even be having it because the weather was marginal. In the end, we decided to jump on the train and just go and see. Apparently, not all of the trains were running today and it was a crush. Even before we got to our destination, I had to tell Doug that I was too claustrophobic. We exited early and took a taxi to our destination.

About half of the vendors were missing, and it was hardly crowded at all. Perfect for shopping! And we did :) 2011-10-09

Brianna got a couple of necklaces and a belt. I got a couple of nativities and some shoes. Really, I am so excited about my tango  nativity!

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and my homemade shoes!





On the way back, the train was a lot less crowded, and we had some great music  from this 70-year-old entertainer.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

conference rolls

Rolls have been a tradition during general conference at our house for so long, and I am pretty sure that they have been blogged about at almost every, if not every general conference.

Yesterday as we were leaving another newly discovered and fabulously delicious bakery, I mentioned in passing that it was hard to drum up the energy to make rolls when we have such incredible bakeries, within walking distance, of the house.

Brianna referenced “the tradition.”

Later, she sent me an email with a recipe for Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls.



They are not beautiful to look at, but they were delicious. Maybe even better than the apple tart that I raved to my family about yesterday. We actually frosted them after they were baked with peach icing.

So we had Blueberry Peach Cinnamon Rolls and


our traditional favorites to keep us physically filled while we were being spiritually fed.

I know we are missionaries and all, but it seems like we heard a lot about missionaries this conference.

What a blessing!!!!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

la tortuga

We have/had a turtle in the backyard that has been hibernating. It even has its own little hibernating basket. Sister Benton asked us to watch out for its waking and to remember to feed it. She said that the gardener had asked for it, but wondered if we wanted it and we told her yes, we would enjoy a backyard turtle.

It did finally wake up  a couple of weeks ago and then it disappeared. I was chatting with Maria (our house helper) one day and telling her that we hadn’t been able to find the turtle and she told me that the turtle was lonely. She said that she has a turtle at home and took it because it was sooo sad. I didn’t say anything to her except for, “Oh.”

The missionaries have asked about it, but we had no choice except to report that it is at Maria’s house. But then yesterday…


…we looked out back and saw the turtle! We rushed out to feed it some radish tops and apples, which it loved!DSC08325

So I am guessing that things didn’t work out in the relationship with  Maria’s turtle.

Anyway…we are happy that it is back.