Two months have passed since our return to Argentina. Progress and adaptation has come slowly, especially with the costs and extensive waiting periods described below - but we did finally get internet 37 days after our request was submitted! You learn to stick together in times like these - when you feel as if you are starting over again. We keep in touch with family via SKYPE, and we are blessed to receive Tania's parents in our home every 2 weeks (they live in San Juan - a 2.5 hour drive from Mendoza). Her father, a humble man of Mapuche origin, is determined to figure out how iPods work! We definitely enjoy their visits.
Our dear friends, here in Godoy Cruz, drive us out into the countryside often - Tunuyán, Luján, etc. The landscape is beautiful - crisp air, towering trees, endless vineyards of all sizes, and the majestic Andes always by your side (the peaks of which are now snow-capped). In turn, friends visit our home and watch movies on the projector (a "precious" item which arrived safely in our luggage, tightly wrapped in towels). We are absorbing all the experiences around us - we value this "cultural education", especially for our little boy. Our neighbors have been so kind - and did I mention the pizza place across the street? With 15 recipes for empanadas?
As for focus, we must remind ourselves that we are here for the experience, the journey, the pursuit of goals and aspirations. We are definitely not here for the flourishing economy and stability (which I will discuss below). The world was created and meant to be seen...not just as tourists. We figured now was the right time to change our environment for a period. Of course, Blockbuster and McDonalds are just a few blocks from our corner, but we prefer to steer away from the "American" experience - instead, we rent videos from the local kiosk and buy empanadas across the street (did I mention they have 15 different recipes?)
As we were packing our luggage, I was forced to leave behind my entire library of Latin American literature. Since Dallin was allowed to bring most of his books, I thought mommy would let me bring mine...I was wrong! I chose five books to survive - mostly based on personal improvement and leadership. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been a guide for us here in Argentina. We are thinking positive and we are proactive! Even better, the Spanish translation is not found here, so I am sharing each profound principle with local business owners and friends (no - not as a sales pitch, but as free advice to break through local barriers).
Let's talk strikes. Due to higher export taxes placed upon farmers, many workers from the agricultural sector have decided to go on strike this month and protest such policies. Interstates are blocked with stones and fallen trees (to prevent truck routes), while disgruntled workers and residents fill the plazas of Buenos Aires to protest, banging on pots and pans to make their anger clear. Presidenta Kirchner tried to address the topic this week, but was met with hisses and boos. She refuses to negotiate until the strike is lifted - so far, neither side has made a move. Milk is no longer available in Mendoza, yogurt is scarce, meat has nearly disappeared (in Argentina of all places!), and chicken and vegetables have increased nearly 200% to 300% in price. Powder milk and noodles are becoming essential food groups, though not as bad as Buenos Aires.
This brings me back to the beginning...as a family, you learn to stick together in times like these. But did I mention the place across the street, with 15 different empanada recipes?