Archive for October, 2009

On Anthems and the Americas


I was reminded at Zelda’s school production celebrating Cristobal Colón‘s discovery of the Americas that we folks from the U.S. are very impatient and direct.

We don’t have long flowery hellos and goodbyes. Instead of taking the time for a nice chat over coffee at a cafe, we choose to order huge caffeinated drinks to go so that we can inhale them in our car while rushing somewhere. And, our national anthem launches into the singing immediately without prelude or conclusion.

Not so the Argentinian anthem, which begins with what seems to be its own symphonic movement prior to anyone actually lending voice. Every time I find myself lulled into self reflection by the Argentine national song’s instrumental introduction, I am subsequently jarred out of my reverie when the vocal portion begins.

We weren’t sure what to expect when we went to Zelda’s celebration of Chris Colon, which featured 1st and 2nd graders as well as some 2 & 3 year old jardín children. To say we were dazzled is an understatement. The older kids (including Zoe) painted the backdrop in art class. All of the costumes and props were great. The wee thespians spoke clearly and no one forgot their lines.

This theater piece had it all: drama, narrators, musical numbers, and charming toddlers. Below are some pictures that show: 1) Christopher contemplating travel; 2) The monarchy of Spain with the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting (Zelda’s part) discussing funding for an expedition; 3) The sailors crossing the Atlantic; 4) The impossibly cute Pre-K kids in a musical sailor number; 5) The Indians and the Europeans meeting; and 6) A musical flag extravaganza honoring all of the countries in the Americas.

I have to say, they take their drama seriously here, and it shows. This exceeded any similar in-school productions we attended at the elementary level in the US. (I confess, I am one of those parents that enjoys seeing my own children perform, but generally, I find these events to be rather boring. So for me, this was certainly a pleasant surprise.) Bravo!



More Titillating than the Movie

A while back, we were desperately searching for an English-language film at the cinema that was suitable for the whole family. At the time, there were only adult options in English available and they had a minimum rating of PG-13 back in the States. (Here in Buenos Aires, most foreign fare aimed at the junior set is dubbed, but adult films are subtitled.) Since we didn’t know anything about the movies in question, we began searching online for information about content for the Zs, who are not horribly media savvy.

As we were doing our pelicula fact finding, Tom stumbled upon the site Kids in Mind.

Wow — we had no idea that there were people who sat down and watched a movie and literally cataloged every female hard nipple covered by a shirt, every mention of the Lord’s name in vain (check out the profanity glossary), substance abuse references, and of course, moments of actual nudity and graphic violence.

Tom and I quickly abandoned our original reason for being on the site and randomly began entering in recent summer films. What was our favorite discovery? Well, if you should happen to take a family outing to the cinema for a viewing of “The Hangover”, you might want to take advantage of their list of suggested “discussion topics“:

Bachelor parties, marriage, dating, relationships, trust, love, counting cards, spousal abuse, lying, Ruffelin, the Holocaust, Holocaust survivors, sexually transmitted diseases, recklessness, drug dealing, gambling.

In the end, their unique reviews were somewhat useful, but good Lord, I really did feel like a prude!

Línea Urquiza to the Hurlinghame Club


Thanks once again to Candace and Gil, without whom we would do nothing interesting. Today, it was a trek outside of Capital Federal (the name for the inner barrios of Buenos Aires) so that we could attend some sort of joint British/American outdoor fair at the posh Hurlinghame Club.

The club itself is a bit of a throwback to colonial times, it has an 18-hole golf course, polo fields and stables, tennis courts, cricket, swimming, blah blah blah. It is quite a huge piece of property and was indeed a nice setting for a beautiful spring day. I learned today that the club is supposed to be where polo was first introduced to Argentina.

There were food booths with the standard parilla fare, sweetened popcorn, games for the kids, lots of grass to play around on, loads of vendors (we bought a llama wool blanket to bring home), a marching bagpipe and percussion band as well as Scottish Highland dancers. (A big thank you to Gilson Pereira for remembering to bring his camera and for taking the photo here!)

On a side note, as we trekked back to the R. Dario stop, we saw the train fly by before we made it to the platform — it was actually a few minutes early. I didn’t know that was possible with a train system!