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We are Familia FIG. We are a bi- lingual, blended family. Belalu was diagnosed at 9 months with hypochondroplasia.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Salta, Argentina

Heading off to the bus stop to go across the Andes and into Chile-we´re headed to the Atacama Desert. Salta is in the Northwestern part of Argentina, and reminds me of Utah with it´s mixture of green shrubs and red rocks. White water rafting, zip lining, and wine tasting have been the activities the past few days. Ok, taxi is here!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Iguazu Falls and Misiones

We´ve spent the past few days in the northeast corner of Argentina, next to Paraguay and Brazil, at Iguazu. We spent a day in Iguazu Falls National Park, which are the widest waterfalls in the world and are absolutely gorgeous. Since they are within a national park, the surroundings are almost completely undeveopled and natural.

The next day, we went to a Guaraní community near Misiones. We prepared lunch and an afternoon snack for them, and got to play with the kids and talk to some of the people who spoke Spanish. The Guaranís are the indigenous peoples of that region, and talking to one of their leaders I learned that their way of life has changed dramatically in the past 15 or 20 years. Typically a nomadic community, they would hunt and fish, moving around as needed. They have since been confined to a type of reservation, where there is little to no game available and one of the largest dams in Latin America has dried up their fishing rivers. He told me that they have been struggling to adapt to a completely different way of life, and he has been working to get the government to give them more resources. I was glad to have the opportunity to meet them all and learn about another aspect of Argentine culture you don´t hear much about in the States.

Upon returning from Misiones, we hopped on a bus, and almost 30 hours later arrived here in Salta. Today we hiked the highest peak over town. Tomorrow is zip lining and white water rafting.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Last Day in Buenos Aires

Tomorrow we´re taking a plane to Iguazu Falls, in the Northeastern part of Argentina, right next to Brazil. They are the largest waterfalls in the world, and the weather promises to keep being hot and humid (which is fine by me!) I´ve had a great time, but I´m ready to get out of the city and into nature.

The trip has been fantastic so far. We have an amazing group of students who are all ready and willing to step out of their comfort zones and use their Spanish (or learn it if they don´t already know any), talk to people, hop on a bus or the subte (the metro here) and go where ever, eat organs and intestines- these guys are up for anything. And the best part, they are so open and willing to learn and observe, and are very much on the ball. We don´t have to worry about them flaking out on the meeting time or place- they are just a wonderful group. They are a lot of fun and are doing great. They´ve been staying with families for the past few days, and we meet periodically to do cultural things. Today we went to an extremely poor neighborhood with a volunteer organization to throw the May birthdays a party. The kids were so cute and outgoing, and everyone had a lot of fun. It was also a sobering experience to see another part of the city that most porteños don´t even see.

I´ve been able to get a TON done regarding my dissertation research, and I got to meet Gaby and Alejandra, two blog friends who are "divinas," as they say in Spanish. They patiently took me to some out-of-the-way places I wanted to see, and gave me some lovely gifts, and we had a wonderful afternoon tea on the veranda of a gorgeous house that belonged to Victoria Ocampo, one of my writers. I wish I could publish photos of all these great experiences, but perhaps later on in the trip. Mil gracias y fue un placer, chicas. Hasta la próxima, que sea Winona o BsAs. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We´re Here!

Just a quick note to say that we arrived safely and without any major issues. My ankle is healing nicely, and as long as I treat it well, I suppose that it will continue to do so. I miss my husband and puppy dog, but the weather is great and tomorrow I´m meeting up with a couple of friends, which I will share later on. So far so good. Hope all is well with you, too.

Monday, May 12, 2008

You've got to be kidding me

So, yesterday I was finally doing the hand-washables that had been slowly stacking up on our spare bed, because it was finally sunny out and I could put them on the porch to dry. I was walking down the stairs with a laundry basket of heavy, wet sweaters and so I couldn't see where I was going. I thought I had reached the bottom, when in reality I had a step or two to go. Down I go, basket and all, twisting my foot in a very unnatural way. Juan was in the living room and got to witness the whole thing. As I was writhing around the floor howling in pain, all he kept saying was "Vanessa!! Ohmigod!! Two Days!!!"

That's because I'm scheduled to head up to the Cities on Wednesday for the big adventure trip. You know, the one where we do all kinds of extreme sports and 3-5 day hiking expeditions. At the moment I can't even walk.

Granted, I surely aggravated it (a bit) yesterday. After a couple of minutes of intense pain that was mostly mental panic as I contemplated the possibilities of what this ridiculous situation could mean, after icing and elevating and calming down, it felt almost fine. There was no swelling, bruising, or bones sticking out at weird angles. So I put on supportive hiking boots, went to Target to get the rest of my trip supplies, came home and spent an hour making dinner, and then felt so great I decided to take Mobi for a walk. You see, I was determined to ignore the whole thing and go on with my life as usual. Bad idea. 40 minutes walking and a hot bath later, I was in major pain. Meridith asked me if I was trying to cripple myself for life. Juan was convinced that I was trying to sabotage my trip. Nope, unfortunately I'm just stupid. I have never in my life broken, sprained, or twisted anything.

So, after wrapping the foot/ankle area and icing it again; after a fitful, painful night of sleep; today I am staying off it completely. I learned my lesson, I swear. Of course, I have a hundred things I need to get done, all of which involve my being mobile and upright, but I going to have faith that tomorrow it'll be all good and I can do it all then. The hopeful bit is that as long as I can walk unassisted and pain-free, I'll have a couple of weeks before the major excursions start to keep healing.

So, please, send healing vibes of radiance my way- and focus them on my right foot.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Cooking and knitting

Now that classes are over and we've been on a more random schedule of meetings and workshops, I've had a chance to get some projects done. And a little bit of cooking.
The other day I grilled Barefoot's Asian Grilled Salmon, which has a complexity that belies its really basic pantry ingredients. That was served on a bed of greens with sauteed Brussel sprouts and fresh squeezed lemonade. You can see in the background the pine nut shortbread cookies that are great for dessert or with afternoon tea. I also did one of my favorite dishes: baked beans with a side salad and New England Brown Bread, which is what you see here. It is bread that is actually cooked in a coffee can. You simmer the can in a water bath until the bread is done. It is chock full of good-for-you grains and the molasses makes it sweet and moist. Though it's best while still warm and slathered with butter (what bread isn't), I also like it toasted with butter and jam for breakfast. Oh, by the way, I went super authentic and added turkey frank rounds to the baked beans- yum!

On the knitting front, I've been working to use up leftover yarn from Christmas, and after making five different pairs of the Log Cabin socks for others, I wanted my own pair of warm handknit socks. Since I was using leftovers, I knew I wouldn't have enough to make the Log Cabins for me, so using my One Skein book by Leigh Radford, I whipped up the cabled footies in a couple of nights using Lamb's Pride Superwash in Lichen and Finches. Mobi likes leaning up against them while chewing on her bones.I didn't have any feltable stash yarn, so I had to buy a skein to make a case for my new camera. I got Malabrigo, because I had heard so much about it. I made it fairly bigger than wanted so I could felt it down nice and tight, and I think it took two wash and dry cycles for it to get to this size.
My big project of the moment is a fair-isle sweater that I'm thinking about taking with me to South America- finished or not. Most of the yarn is leftovers, but I had to order the three skeins of dark grey Peace Fleece for the body. Although the motif is not done here in the photo, I've actually completed the back and am about here on the front. The pattern is Helga, from Rowan 36.I should have the front done today, as I'll have a couple hours in the car on the way to a workshop in Rochester, but getting both sleeves done before Wednesday will be a challenge, as I'm still writing as much of chapter two as I can before leaving. It's two hours to the airport and then a really long flight, so no matter what I could have it done before touching down in Buenos Aires. I'm just not sure I want to take the bulk at all. We'll see...