Volunteering and traveling in Argentina to proclaim God's great love, and hopefully not getting sick along the way.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Living in the tent

I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 2 Peter 1:13-14

Every time one says goodbye, it's hard.

My parents just finished their visit with me and are now waiting in Santiago, Chile to cross two more time zones (during the changing of the New Year no less) until finding their home in Texas. I held back tears much like my last time with them in Holland. At that time, I had a feeling I would see them again for this Christmas, but in this instance, there is no telling when we'll get to see each other again. 

While I have some wonderful pictures and stories to share from our vacation, I wanted to make note of something special. Yes, saying goodbye is hard. Uncertainty of future is hard. I shrug my shoulders even as I type. I cry from missing people. I get frustrated with some aspects of life here, but at the same time am beyond ecstatic to get to serve here of all places. I smile at the thought of the new year's joys and journeys just as much as I frown about the struggles and sadness.

I can't imagine what life for Paul was like; having visited so many countries and churches (and lived in some for years at a time), only to know that he had to keep going. He had more work to do.

So there I was feeling sorry for myself. There were the last hugs and "I love yous" as I watched my mom and pops get into their taxi and drive off toward the airport--mom waving goodbye out the window as I walked to the bus stop. And then I looked up again only to see three of my friends from el Refugio waiting for the bus too. Then Jaime and his friend got on the bus at a later stop. Each of us exchanging our "Como andas?" and kisses on the right cheek (right cheek, dad!).

There is more work to be done, and I get to be apart of that. I get to help out my spiritual Daddy in the coolest, albeit smallest, way ever! I've only just begun. How could one not be excited about that?

Mom and I were talking about coming back to Texas when all is said and done. We kept mentioning the word "home" and if everything was okay for me getting back "home" to my little barrio of Las Palmas. I know I've mentioned before that my "home" or my dwelling is only in Christ. Today I also recalled the verses that talk about this tent, or this body we live in. 2 Corinthians also talks about it:

...we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

So I guess there are two homes. One is rather transient, and the other is permanent. One filled with anxiety about the future, one filled with peace about the present (His presence?).

We live by faith, not by sight. Soon we will see. And I appreciate how much the Lord opened my eyes once again to see my fellow Cordobans. May I lift up my eyes to Him all the more in 2011 and beyond. May our memories be refreshed by these truths. Chau!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lose weight, save the planet

This morning was a hot one. I didn't get that much sleep last night due to a much longer than expected visit with Romina. A good visit, mind you, especially in terms of laughing with Fabrizio as I not-so-surrepticiously stole his Leonel Messi trading card. (I learned that Messi's birthday is exactly one year and one month after mine, can you say meant to be? :P)

But I woke up sticky from sweat. Maybe we could do this another day? I thought of several excuses, from having only two water bottles to we have time when we get back.

The plan was to take a few trash bags to the outskirts of Las Violetas and to clean up. We had gloves just in case, and well, the three of us: mom, dad, and myself. And when push came to shove, I realized that this really was the best time to go.

On the walk over, dad said something about not being sure we would have enough energy on such a hot day. I immediately prayed for strength, and later found out that mom had said the same prayer herself.

So what did we find?

  • diapers. lots and lots of used diapers. there was even a couple hanging out in a park we helped clean who handed us theirs.
  • mom found a two-sided razor.
  • dozens of cups for Glup's ice cream.
  • i found a pregnancy test. no i don't know if it was positive or not because i couldn't read it.
  • broken lighters.
  • a needle.
  • plastic bags.
  • wrappers for all sorts of treats.
  • part of a knife.

"I just want to be an inspiration for people to realize they don't have to just throw something on the ground," mom said. I told her about this book I read that was good at helping me be self-conscious about my own mess, but that ultimately, the title needed updating.

As we had pushed in the heat of the sun, we found that taking short breaks every fifteen minutes or so would help us work. I could feel my muscles straining, a real workout taking place. Sweat literally pouring from my body. Yes, it's important that we Serve God, Save the Planet, but some people (especially nonbelievers), could use another motivator. Mom suggested that maybe it was good to keep the original title, but to add my two words somewhere underneath in bold letters. haha.

Ultimately, it felt great to serve in this way. I hope to begin a pattern in my life where I can clean up our plazas where children play. It should be a safe and clean place for them. It should also be clean for the sake of God's beautiful, and only, Earth He's given us. Chau.

I'm dreaming of a NICE Christmas

I remember telling Sarah that sometimes we have really crazy weeks so that when the good happens, we recognize it. We thank God for it.

There was a Christmas attitude in the boys. That is, one part naughty, but three parts nice. Less were there, due to going to "homes" for the holidays. "Homes" include Christian families for some, extended families for others, and campgrounds for the rest. All should be gone from the institute by the end of this week, and returning the first weekend in February.



We arrived with a few games planned, but with only 4 boys outside, it was hard to be competitive. We did enjoy a ring toss game led by JD, a chasing each other game made up on the spot, the makeshift Chubby Bunny game with these delicious chewy berry candies. My favorite, however, was not really a game. Sarah had a great idea of making these Santa and reindeer face mask (type things) so we could have a better excuse of taking the kids' pictures. Worked wonderfully, as you see me with my personal favorite, Nahuel. Harp strum.


Dad got to paint a picture of the nativity scene. It was one of those things that had morphed from one picture to the next, until flipped upside down and look--it's Maria, Jose and Jesus! The kids, including the one in the green shirt who refused to play any games or do anything until this moment, enjoyed adding their personal touch!
Invited to share lunch with the boys after all of our play time, we sat around a table filled with salty type Cheetos, oversized Fruit Loops, Dr. Cola and cookies. Oh, there were also some milanesa sandwiches. My mom leaned over to me, "No wonder these kids have so much energy!" Chechu and Rodrigo uno got to join us, which worked out perfectly. My friend from the States had sent some personalized miniature stockings filled with the perfect toys for growing boys--hot wheels, army men and a candy cane. "What is this thing?" they all asked me. I couldn't begin to describe to you how much their faces lit up when they received their gifts. I hope too, that they wondered why someone who doesn't even know them would want to give them presents. Someday they'll know.

My dad got to talk to a woman who was painting one of the outside walls of the institute. She was Swiss, and had been serving twice a week for about ten weeks. Finishing up on her work, she said that more important was to help the boys learn what it means to behave well. One boy in particular is, and I say it from experience, always mean and has got a pretty filthy mouth. "I just want him to have one day where he's nice," she told my dad. Apparently, after all of our fun together, today was his day. A day that she wasn't planning on coming except for crazy timing on funding for paints, weather and leaving the country soon. Good timing, God!

Chau. Onward to Puerto Madryn!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

El pesebre

I was in the Christmas play, adorned with this "halo" and a beautiful white dress that I joked made all of us angels look like giant almohadas, or pillows. So first, I made the most of it in a video with my favorite Carlito for my favorite nephew. Then, the group from our church went to a local square to perform.

It was so neat to see a bunch of our neighbors come, especially Amanda who lives next door. Personally, I liked the music better than the drama itself, but it was cool that I got to have three lines. I got to share with the shepherds the good news of Christ's coming, and that they'll find him lying in a manger.

Crazy to think that our God came to this earth as a baby. I really dwelt on that tonight as I watched the only baby from our church tranquilly lie in Mary's arms.

I have more comments to make about the drama itself, but I think it's better to think about Jesus instead. I hope you have plans for a Merry Christmas. I hope to write a couple more times before I head south with my parents, but if not, peace be with you! Chau.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Every moment counts

We had some precious time with Maria Eugenia today. I don't know what you're thinking about our time at the girls institute, especially if you've been paying attention to how fluctuating it is. First there's ten girls, then there are three, then one, then two, and almost every time, we have some sort of trouble communicating, or maintaining attention, or something. The battle is truly a spiritual one.

Sometimes I'm thinking I've started a friendship, especially when we talk about studying English or the Bible. Then I don't see the girl(s) for several weeks, even when I up my ante of coming more than once a week!

For me, it's not a surprise anymore. My prayers change to asking God to make the most of the opportunities I do have. Maybe I focus this week on the baby that doesn't seem to get as much attention; maybe next week I just listen; sometimes my job is simply being the consistent one bringing the snack, allowing those who can speak Castellano well to do so.

Today we had some good time sharing the gospel with Maria Eugenia, and some hang out and relax time as well. We brought the necklaces that we had made for her birthday (we never got to celebrate for complicated reasons) and handed them out in addition to these for the women to put the pictures of their children in:
And by the way, we MADE these. As in, JD cut the wood, I did some gluing and painting. Argentina = progressively turning into a handy woman!

Any way, we continued conversing with Maria as she made her bracelet, and while she had to go to the bathroom, I turned to Jenny. "This is going well, no?"

"Yes," she said to me. "It's a shame that she's leaving soon and not coming back."

"True," I responded. "Although, with God, every moment counts. We can trust Him to take care of the rest."

May I remember this myself! Seems to be a lesson I learn all the time here.

P.S. Sarah did a great job of teaching, in Spanish, how to make the bracelets. Way to go hermana!

Chau.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Asking for it

Take a seat and allow me to share with you the adventurous tale of our ministry with the boys this morning!

It started early, with the neighbor's rooster still crowing (though that isn't too surprising, as it crows at all hours of the day), and with a tranquil walk to the institute. The doorbell outside the gate was rung, and no one answered. We waited, and waited, until finally someone opened the door.

"Pasa, chicos," el jefe nos dijo.

"Come in, guys."

We walked in to find six boys ready to go with us. Their eyes lighting up at the sound of going not to the nearest plaza, per usual, but to the Parque de las Naciones. "Bien!" They said, and we should have read the mischief in their eyes.

I remember praying for our time together, asking God to help us when we don't know what to do. There went Franco, already starting a fight with the newest and smallest, Walter. "Oh Dios, ayuda!" I thought.

And then I remembered something else. If the kids that behave at least a little better from our neighborhood were little terrors when we went to the Parque de Saramientos, how will this go?

When we arrived, three decided to run off. "Can you.. follow?" Javi asked me. I immediately started praying for help. Here we go.. 3 energetic boys getting their first taste of true freedom for at least a few months. 'God help me to at least keep up with them.'

I decided not to run, and thankfully one of the kids is less, um, athletic than the others so I could at least always see him. The others began climbing a tree, trying to hide. So I enthusiastically joined them. "I want to climb!" I told them. So we did for about two minutes. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw them conferring together and I knew that I should probably start my descent. Indeed, they ran off, but surprisingly (or because the Lord is that good), back with the others.

That didn't last too long though, as they then headed for the street, away from the park. At the same time, another two began throwing punches, with JD and Javi there to separate. All the while Walter concentrated on his putting together of this week's craft--a kite.

Sarah this time joined me as we followed the vagabonds to a high school. Ahh.. the boys wanted to talk to some girls sitting outside. Okay, we will just watch them from a distance. I told her that it felt like that kid's book, The Runaway Bunny. The little bunny tells his mother that he's going to run away. "And I will run faster," she tells him. "Then I will jump," he says. "And I will jump higher."

A minute or so later, Javi walked by with Fabrizio. "I need to take him back," he told me in Spanish. "He won't stop fighting with Dario. Keep watch over the other three please."

These kids.. these kids.. One could say they were behaving very badly. I propose they were just behaving the way they know how. They do not know how to be loved; they do not know what it is to be cared about. I think I understand their desire to have a bit of freedom as well. Just don't...

GO INTO THE STREET LIKE THAT!!!! Ah!! They decided to cross between a bustle of cars. We crossed too, thinking they were going to go down another way, getting lost in the neighborhood. But they didn't, in fact, they liked that we crossed and so they crossed back. And then again and again. Fortunately it only took us the first time to not join in their dangerous game. In time, they again returned to the group.

They sat apart from the others, making fun of the runners who passed by. Then they got impatient, wanting to go back. Walter, busy with his kite. JD, trying to make it fly without wind.

When we left, I gave myself some space in front of them. A little frustrated, but also just trying to know what to do. In the meantime, Javi was talking with Fabrizio about his four years of being in and out of institutes. In the meantime, Sarah and JD had to pull apart another set of fighters. One punched Sarah in the ribs and JD has some scratches on his knees to remember the special occasion. When we were finally all together, we ended with Franco's last stand. He stopped to sit.

"Yo no quiero ir," he said, as the rest continued on. "I don't want to go."

I stood with him. "That's fine. I don't think I want to go either."

He sat with his arms crossed. I then crossed mine.

"Walk on without me," he said with a snarl.

"You walk on," I responded.

Silence. Staring. "I'm just going to stay here."

I nodded. "Me too. I don't want to go."

With a gasp he got up and walked with the rest of the group.

All we can do is be as consistent as we can be with these kids. To show them as much love as possible, to love them without expectations. I guess some people call that unconditional love. But let me tell you, it's not easy. I still don't know if I'm always acting rightly, or saying the right things. I'm just trying. And I thank God that I'm not alone!

Chau.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Success!

I have been put in charge of paying the bills. This makes me feel all responsible and such, but also very nervous. "You're giving me money? I have to walk to where and say what?"

But this morning worked out quite nicely, with no problems. While I was walking to the Pago Fácil, the place where you take your monthly bills and pay everything in cash, I realized that while I had 600AP in my purse, that's only about $150 (All for water, gas, telephone, electricity, and the yearly municipal payment). Weird.

Plus, my nerdy side is really excited to put all the payments in a monthly spreadsheet, so we can know where the money is going. Bam. Oh wait, I was watching something the other day and the word for "Bam" is Zas! So um.. Zas! and Chau.

Sliced bread

I'm not sure what it is exactly, but perhaps a combination of the following:
  • Facebook statuses commenting on a blizzard outside.
  • Christmas music played by my roommate, particularly Bing Crosby's "White Christmas."
  • Seeing sliced bread at Ari and Carol's apartment.
  • Making some Christmas presents for my Argentinian friends.
  • The countdown to my parents coming to see me.
I just know I'm at a point where I'm really missing home right now. It's not completely a bad thing to miss home--it's proof that you care. For instance, I know that Christmas Spectacular at 4Cs is going on sometime soon, and I so wish I could be there to cheer on my students (especially the now Senior girls).

But some of the things are funny for me to miss, and borderline selfish.

Why, for example, should I feel sad about not having snow? I've only had snow for 2 years of my life during Christmas time, and one of those wasn't even in the States. While I don't know if I've ever had 100 degree, excuse me 40 degree (Celsius), weather for these holidays either, something inside me would really like a white Christmas.

Or maybe it's that I have an internal desire to watch the movie with the same name. I borrowed the first Narnia movie, so hopefully that will do the trick.

Perhaps I miss getting to wear the warm clothes. Seeing friends' beautiful scarves makes me jealous I can't wear mine. Silly, but true.

Then there's something else. It was that loaf of sliced bread. Just sitting there in the cupboard. Sliced bread? Can you believe it?* We've just been buying loaves and cutting them up whenever we have hamburgers (which is rare). We usually stick with the tortilla plan.

Sliced bread is so easy! I can have toast in the morning. I can make a sandwich for lunch, as I often did for the past two years at work! When you don't have to cut your own bread, you don't have crumbs everywhere. A quick fix, a simple snack. Why does sliced bread create such a reaction in me?

The snowball effect (no pun intended)--sliced bread led to me thinking about the other conveniences of home. Wendy's. Driving my own car. Buying pre-made Christmas cards. Starbucks.

Wait--I don't even like Starbucks except for when I was meeting with people!

Maybe that's it? I'm lacking as much social interaction as I used to have? The language barrier makes it difficult to have as many friends because of how much I can communicate. I remember talking with another friend who was a missionary in Germany and how much he loathed not being able to just talk to people like he could back home.

No, no and no. I don't miss Starbucks and the coffee I never drank. I like drinking mate and basic tea in the mornings here. I still meet with enough people to be considered social, and in the grand scheme of things I had plenty of loner moments in the States too. It's like remembering a vacation, somehow we always only remember the best parts. We forget the tough times of traveling or getting lost (unless getting lost is a great story) or fighting each other. We remember the adventures, the views, etc.

"Home" comes with just as many problems as here. What someone views as a convenience another views as a waste. Why can't you just cut your own bread? Cutting your own bread builds character. Okay, maybe that's a stretch, but making your own Christmas cards isn't. Show someone you really care by making a personalized card instead of buying in bulk. Maybe..

God spoils me more than I can imagine with the coming of my parents. I know plenty of people around the world who won't be spending Christmas with their family because they are missionaries in a foreign land. It either isn't safe, or too expensive to visit. I could not be more grateful that I am an exception and not the rule. Truly, He is more merciful to us than we deserve.

I have been reading Romans for the second time in the past month and a half and I am reminded of God's great mercy to not only the Gentiles through Jesus, but how much more mercy is extended to the Israelites as well. If God showed this much mercy to the nations by sending His one and only Son, how much more is shown to the Israelites who do not harden their hearts to Jesus' offer of salvation!

Wow it feels good to write what I'm feeling, even if it's not always the happiest at times. Chau.

*This question inspired by Ari.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

TWIM

This week in ministry includes some greats, some not so greats, and some randoms.

1. Boys Institute: Spent the morning making the gospel bracelets that have the five colors (yellow, black, red, white and green) together. Rodrigo, Rodrigo uno I might add, gave me a HUGE hug when I entered the room, and get this:

HE SAID MY NAME.

Ok, he called me "Sha-raid-rah," but that's close enough. I wasn't greeted with the usual curse words, but with my God given name. ish. The first time I've even heard any of those boys try to say it. AND, we worked together to make his bracelet. There was even a point were he accidentally messed up and asked forgiveness from me. Say wha--?

2. Girls' Institute: Well, Tuesday was okay. I focused this time on Maria Luz, one of the children of the teenage mothers. We just played together, while the others worked on something on the computer. General hang out.

Thursday was very unusual. We had planned to watch one of Nati's movies, one that she had showed excitement about on Tuesday to watch together. However, she didn't come. She just dropped off the movie with us while I sort of watched with one of the other girls, and then another came for about 10 minutes and left again.

I must say that life in the girls' institute is simply unpredictable. Sometimes one girl comes, sometimes another.. perhaps our problem was starting so late in the year, but I'll get to that in a moment.*

3. Escuelita: So we show up to Escuelita to find out we're taking a bus. Then we find out that we're going to the other side of town to play with the kiddos. We're in the bus not knowing where we're going until we get there. Talk about being flexible. My insides tell me that my former boss at 4Cs Amanda K. would have cringed a little by the lack of organization.

One of the leaders turns to us, "Do you have any game ideas?"

Umm... sure?

At the very least I got to share my testimony (don't worry, I had a days' notice that I would be sharing this), and Sarah and I both shared the gospel message! It was so neat! Seriously, nothing like being able to really share the story of Christ in another language. I smiled a little bigger when one of the girl's recited the gospel message to another adult at the end of our time together. Something stuck, now we can pray for God to continue His work in her heart!

*So... it's the end of the year here. I was telling Sarah that it's much easier to have summer time December-February because then you're school year is just one year and you don't have to get confused. You know, "What year were you a Junior in high school?" "Uhh.. 2003-04.. or was it 02-03? Bah!" Maybe that's just me..

The point is, weekly ministries will be coming to an end and I will have a completely new tale to tell. Summer ministry looks like some long-er short term mission trip(s), specifically to the north of Argentina. I hope I'll also get a chance to visit the OM team in Santiago or something, but we'll wait before anything is definite. The word for that here would be, "Puedecer..."

Chau!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dreams can come true


Behind me is the largest avenue in the world. Nine lanes on both sides that pass this round about from which I take the picture. In front of me, not pictured, is the Obelisk. This is a big deal.

Last November or so, I had a dream. I freaked out from the dream and told Kendra about how excited I was about it. It was a dream where I was looking out of an airplane onto a city in which we were about to land. There was this giant obelisk thing, and our plane was going to land in the street. I had worried the plane wouldn't fit, but it did. The exact same image recurred three times that night. I had a feeling it was a South American city as I had seen numerous colorful buildings, but none that were not tall skyscrapers or something.

I can't begin to tell you all the real life things that happened next. The most intriguing thing is I didn't know what Buenos Aires looked like. In fact, it wasn't until I was at the OM conference in the US that I happened to see a picture of the city that was exactly what I saw in my dream. Freak out number two.

So here I am. At times, I still wonder what I'm doing here. I still have so much to learn; so much in ministry that I don't get right. I have moments where I don't see myself making much of a difference, if at all. But God in His great mercy has led me here, so what else is there for me to do?

I was in awe to find that the largest avenue was behind me. A plane could totally land there if it wanted to. Perhaps that's why I was at such a loss for words while I sat before the Obelisco, observing the men take down one of the largest Argentinian flags I've ever seen. Wow.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

la Boca


It's the colors of la Boca that are most memorable. The history, however, is noteworthy. Originally an Italian village, the people built the ships of the harbor. Whatever scraps of metal or wood were left over, they would take to build their homes. Whatever left over paint as well, were used to fashion these homes.

For me, it was hard to imagine living in small confines; I was reminded of tenement living in New York circa 1860s. The colors may not have been as brilliant either, but whatever the tourists want, they get. Indeed, tis the reason la Boca is now three streets (or four?) instead of just one, and many of the homes are now for sale, in hopes that stores will buy the buildings and refurbish them for tourism.





I shall end on my tourist moment. The honest truth was I knew I could have avoided this guy. Him and his financial venture to lure unsuspecting tourists for some Argentine peso. Like the Roman soldiers who force their helmets on you for a picture you then have to pay for. And with all health issues aside as to how many people have worn the red hat you see on me, this guy was just too funny. It's different when a Euro is almost twice the American dollar, but the peso is a quarter. Plus, now I can say I've tangoed. Sort of.. haha. Chau.

Sunday in the park, you'd think it was a Christmas kindle market

Here we are, minus Jonas who kindly took our picture, enjoying our picnic under some gorgeous trees in Recoleta. Recoleta is famous for its cemetery and market. One may not know my secret love for cemeteries, which I'm sure sounds creepy. But they're so intriguing--I once found a Robert Louis Stevenson in Nevada, and I was disheartened at a Civil War cemetery to find the slaves given nameless stones and the worst plot of land in the area. Finding interesting names, and reading the years have always made me think about life. Besides, this cemetery in Buenos Aires was unlike any I had encountered before. Definitely a must see!

Perhaps the craziest part was that it wasn't a plot of land, it was a garden of behemoth monuments for everyone. Sometimes famous people (including Evita and Luis Angel Filpo) are buried here, sometimes there are war memorials, and sometimes it's just people no one really knows.


                               

Ultimately, everything has a sense of sacred. Lots of Latin (my favorite in fact is the one above, "Expect us God." Amen to that!), lots of memorial placards, lots of crosses and angels. Very beautiful. And the cats were funny too. I like this photo because truly, they never looked pleased. Then again, they're cats that hang around dead people.

We returned to join the rest of the group who had gone shopping in the market. I told both Jonas and Ari that since they don't get to experience their Weihnachtsmarkt this Christmas, that this would have to do. Any way, if you want more pictures, check facebook.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All things Buenos Aires

I've decided to divide ministry time from play time in Bs. As. And since I just uploaded a lot of pictures, I figured I'd take care of the play time first. Entonces..

South America has mad respect for not only San Martin, but Cristofo Colombo too. Ever heard of him? :P

(Plus, I'm in love with the clouds. I feel like I got a lot of great takes of God's magnificence among the architecture of man.)
Here we are at Puerto Madero, a newer section of Buenos. Say hi to Ari and Carol on the bottom right, under the harp bridge. At least that's what I call it.

My favorite part was receiving some free Havana chocolate. Havana is quite delicious. I do say you must try some someday!

I can officially not cry for Argentina at the Casa Rosada, or Parliament building. If you've seen Evita, you understand this. If you haven't seen it, don't.

Ok, that was harsh, but in my opinion, it's just not that great. The main thing is a lot of important things happen here for the sake of the country, and we got to see it all for free! I wish I got to take a night picture, because they set up these purple lights against the walls and it looks very cool!
Ah yes. This picture means so much to me, I plan on devoting a whole other post to the Obelisco, but here is a far away shot first.
I had to include this. The highlight of Buenos Aires for Heather was that she got to enjoy Starbucks (there is rumor of one being built in Cordoba next year) not once, not twice, but three times. I considered it, but then remembered I don't really like coffee any way. However, how could I resist this Argentinian moment? Kind of reminds me of Rome, when a monk was in front of me for gelato.

Oh hello again pretty church with cool sky. The double tower trend continues...

We then headed to one of the older and classic sections of the city but were surprised to find this. When we got closer it turned out it wasn't a demonstration as we first thought, but a crazy parade of some sort. Unfortunately, the people were not well dressed, so we avoided watching all that passed by. And to think I saw it, or didn't see it in San Telmo. The percussion was quite fun though!


What is Argentina without tango? I have been telling Sarah how much I want to learn this dance. She keeps reminding me about how sensual it is. I said that certainly I can learn the not-so-bad version, and besides, all I really want to do is tango with my husband. "Yes, but how will you learn before hand?"

Good point. Thankfully, these two, also in the San Telmo district, proved that you can have fun without being risque. Thanks folks! Chau for now.

Uruguay - picturesque Colonia

I don't know how to explain it. It's just that we took a boat for three hours to cross a river. Then we landed and I noticed a bunch of people taking a bus. "Bus" was not in our itinerary, but we had a map of Colonia, and it seemed near. We walked and were pleasantly surprised by a reverse in time--greeted by the quaint town with bright flowers and old buildings.

Thus, I share them with you, and perhaps some comments for good measure.
Ah yes, the beach. How could I forget? There were some fishermen, and I found a giant snail which will most likely be my new facebook photo.
 A pretty church. I'm noticing a pattern to South American churches with the double tower in the front. Very cute inside as well.
 I saw a picture of this on a postcard and asked where to find it. It looked much cooler in the picture, but had pictures of Don Quixote, so that was kind of neat.
Finally, my "This is Colonia, Uruguay" picture, as it has the name of the country, and a slice of community life represented. I dunno.

Overall, it was beautiful, and a great change from the Argentina cities I know. Much cleaner, but also a tourist town, so it's to be expected. People tell me that Colonia is better than Montevideo, but I will have to see (someday) for myself. Chau.