Archive for July, 2009

Do you Want Perfume on that?

Going to the lavandería (laundry service), provided us with yet another situation that perfectly illustrates how important context and culture can be when trying to understand a foreign language.

The first time we went to pick up our clean clothes at our new local washing place, we found it to be manned by a second-generation Chinese-Argentinian who wasn’t really thrilled about the weird American chick trying to chat in Mandarin! On top of it, she managed to stump us with her seemingly simple question in Spanish, “Querés perfume?” This was one of those cases where we understood all of the words, but for the life of me, we couldn’t figure out what she was talking about.

As Tom and I tried to parse her question, everything began moving in slow motion. Our clueless expressions were interpreted as a green light, and she grabbed her generic bottle filled with a blue, Windex-like substance and, with the practiced ease of a gunslinger, started pulling the trigger and spritzing all of our clean laundry with “perfume.” (I use the term very lightly here.)

Needless to say it is the most foul smelling substance you can imagine, its strength would put Drakkar Noir to shame. Tom and I watched in horror, frozen and unable to speak.

Finally, we snapped out of it and started yelling, yapping over one another, “No perfume no perfume!” Yes, we are doing our part to cement the image of Americans as goofballs.

Documents for Traveling with Kids

There are a few documents that we wish we had brought with us when we came to Argentina last year.

The first item we should have carried with us was an original long-form birth certificate for each daughter. (A long-form is the one that shows the names, ages, and birthplaces of the parents.)

The second documentary task that we should have completed prior to leaving the Estados Unidos was getting a notarized letter authorizing each other as parents to travel alone with either kid as well as make make medical decisions solo, if needed.

Technically, Argentina requires citizens of all countries who are traveling alone with their children to be accompanied by a letter such as the one I describe above. From what I hear, it’s not enforced very stringently with foreigners, especially if the kids are 7 and older, but you never know when that may change.

As we learned today, it’s a good idea to avoid having to go to the US embassy in Buenos Aires for notary services, if you can. They confiscated our phones, my knitting (wooden needles) and our Kindles before allowing us in the waiting room — bereft of entertainment, it was a bit mind numbing.

Random Act of TV Kindness


We love DaVe. He gave us our Daily Show back!!

You see, the evil folks at Comedy Central decided to cut off foreign access to the Daily Show — I ask you, what is your thinking American expat to do? (Besides freak out, of course.)

Being the crybaby that I am, after the plug was pulled, I wailed about the loss on Twitter. Thankfully, a fellow American living in Argentina heard my cries of distress and came to my rescue like a knight in shining armor…carrying a remote…for a Slingbox… . Okay, maybe that doesn’t make sense, so I shall explain further!

DaVe has a house in Vermont with a television that has a DVR. Connected to said digital recording device is a Slingbox, which allows you to access any of the shows on your DVR via the Internet.

So now, thanks to the fabulous and wonderful DaVe (really, there aren’t enough superlatives), I satisfy my Jon Stewart jones by flipping on Dave’s TV in Vermont from my laptop — I love it!

Yesterday Was Cast Removal Day


We could have done a better job of preparing Zoe for the aftermath of four weeks in a cast above her elbow.

In her typical optimistic fashion, she thought she would be waving her injured arm around as if nothing had happened after the white plaster was removed. (As you can see in the photos below, we had to reinforce the yeso with duct tape by the end because it was beginning to crumble around the hand and wear through at the elbow.)

The transition to a splint on her left limb resulted in her arm feeling much more exposed and uncomfortable than she anticipated. And her wrist still hurt like hell! (It apparently has a bone chip in it that will resolve with time, but will cause pain if she tries to move it.)

Zoe’s marching orders are to begin working on elbow mobility, and continue with that for the next two weeks. Then she is to start manipulating her wrist through various ranges of motion.

Of course, being an uber-healing kid, the difference between today and yesterday is pretty profound.

Now we just gotta get all of that dead skin sloughed off! (Ewww, gross.)


School’s Out For Winter


I guess the rumors were right.

It’s now official: Starting Monday, all schools will be closed for the remainder of July. That means BA schoolkids get an extra two weeks of winter vacation…though there’s talk of canceling the week-long spring break in September to make up some of the missed days.

English readers can check out the WSJ article, while Clarín provides more details for Spanish readers.

Photo by Flickr user The Artifex used under a Creative Commons license.