a diverse collection of travel photos and firsthand experiences while venturing across the globe. each destination has welcomed us with open arms and warm smiles, making us feel right at home. from argentina to utah - and thousands of miles in between - these are our visual memories of 'home'...just as we never imagined.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Our Journey to Argentina....One Month Later

No, we still cannot believe we are here. And no, this has not been an easy transition despite our lengthy preparations and previous experiences. We left home (Utah) on January 31st. Nothing is more emotional nor stressful than to say goodbye to your home, your family, your friends, your comforts and your routines. While we felt we had everything in control, Tania and I found ourselves still packing at 4:30AM, just a few hours before our departure from Salt Lake City Airport. We wanted to sleep, but we could not, and we just kept packing and packing. While many precious things were left behind in storage, we were able to bring many things with us - clothes, computer hardware, toys and books (for the two kids - Dallin and Bella). With eight overweight suitcases in hand, plus a large dog kennel, we embarked on our journey to the Argentine Republic. Yes, I personally still have vivid nightmare of the phrase excess baggage fees.

Following four adventurous flights, we arrived to Mendoza at last. We have been running around ever since then, so now we are sharing our experiences one month later. Overall, the family is adjusting quite well. Dallin is drinking multi-flavored soy juices and the infamous milk in a box, while Bella continues to be the star here in the city. Boston Terriers are not common here, so many people have stopped us to take pictures with Bella. Dallin is enjoying this brief rest from the spotlight. Both are pleased with their new diet - empanadas and steak.

Finding a place to live was a cruel process. According to some, Mendoza has a provincial law prohibiting pets from all apartment buildings. Since we were not ready for a house, we really felt nervous in the beginning. We spoke with several inmobiliarias (real estate offices), but nobody was able to help us. Often times, we were told ´´the property you want just sold this morning - sorry about that´´. Plus, to complicate things further, we did not have a garantía (renters guarantee). Basically, this is proof of income, or some other evidence of reliability, that can be shown in order to gain trust from a landlord or building owner. Not having any such documents for Argentina, this proved to be quite an ordeal. Even locals have problems securing apartments....and we are considered foreigners! Finally, we found a real estate office (Ruggiero Propiedades) and eventually found our apartment - a brand new building located in Godoy Cruz just outside Mendoza Centro. Since it is brand new, and there are few tenants, dogs are allowed by the owner. As for our garantía, we had to pay 6 months of rent up front before signing the contract. After 8 anxious nights in a hotel, and money flowing down the drain, we finally moved in and began to build our new home away from home.

*There is a spa and beauty salon located right below us (several boutique shops on the main level). A full hour Hawaiian Massage is only U$13.00 - this was one of my gifts for my 28th birthday!

There are still some plumbing and electrical details to fix, but we have accepted a common practice here - ask for something multiple times, and it will get done 10 to 20 days later. Perfect example: internet and phone lines. Since Telefonica has a near monopoly over communication systems here in Argentina, they can do as they please. Once you request your lines to be installed (these do not come standard with new buildings), then you must wait 20 to 30 days for actual installation. If a worker never comes, you are then asked to simply return to Telefonica and submit your request again. Yes, patience is a virtue one must have.

Tania and I are still discovering our purposes here. It is a joy to be closer to her family, but we are also excited to discover what else this experience has in store for us. I have some incredible ideas regarding work and business projects. I have met some amazing people who believe in these ideas - I just want to put them to work. Tania and I do believe in miracles. I do believe that all things happen in their due time. We will share this special experience with you:

As many of you know, Tania applied for her US citizenship back in July (right before the process fees increased). Such a process usually lasts 3 to 6 months, but because of so many applications turned in at once, the process became an ordeal of 12 to 18 months. We were nervous about leaving for Argentina knowing that the trip, and especially residence abroad, would place her status at risk here in the United States. We contacted the office of Senator Hatch in January. We met the most wonderful case worker and she began to assist us right away. After two weeks of emails and phone calls to everyone possible, Tania at last received her appointment with the immigration office in Salt Lake City. In a private ceremony, Tania was interviewed, tested, and sworn in as a US citizen on January 30th - only 14 hours before our international departure.

Many such blessings have been received here in Argentina, as well. This is such a beautiful country and the people are wonderful. Everyone is willing to be your friend, ready to help you with open arms within just a few minutes of conversation. This is something that impressed me 9 years ago when I first moved to Argentina as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We continue to hope for the best, and at the same time, we wish success and happiness upon our dear friends and family back in the United States. Un fuerte abrazo!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

How cute?!?! Nick and I have been researching Bostons and want to get one. We have a small black lab and she would like a playmate! Your family is beautiful, and the stories are incredible! What a life!