Saturday, January 30, 2010

Feeding the Duckies

Ella calls pigeons, 'duckies'. Here she is feeding them corn while we strolled BA's downtown/historic district this evening. Nice stroll, good food at a Peruvian restaurant, good beer.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday with the Family

Ella needed new shoes, as she's grown out of the ones we brought. And there is a Children's Museum in a huge mall in town, so we decided to jump the metro and venture across town. Finding shoes was an all day event. We finally settled on these. Who cares if they are boy shoes. They look just Cheeky on her chubby little feet.

The Museo de los Ninos was a huge it. All the Goudie's had a wonderful time. Ella got to play soccer, drive cars, make a transaction at the bank, play in boats and airplanes, and much more. Here she is shopping with Ella-sized carts.

Tyler cooked dinner tonight. He's feeling so much better these days. Getting less sore all the time. Pea and I are so grateful for his healing!

As we were walking back to our flat this evening from the metro stop, through the park Ella loves to play, I felt, for the first time, familiarly with this place we now call home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Appendix Saga: Surgery in a Third World Country

It's been a bit since our last post, but we haven't had the energy for writing and reflection. Well, Ella probably had the energy, but not the fine motor skills...or the spelling for that matter. Here's the short of it:

Tyler started feeling rotten last Tuesday. The next day, he thought he probably had a case of food poisoning. But by Thursday, he was in worse and worse shape. He was in a lot of abdominal pain and had other abdominally icky symptoms. Finally, at midnight Thursday night, or I guess technically, Friday morning, we made the call to at least get him checked out at a clinic. We took a taxi to a 24 hour clinic that looked like something out of a WWII hospital movie. It was dark, it was not particularly clean, and it was smoldering hot. They didn't allow Ella and I to stay with Tyler while he got checked out, and I was a bit scared for our safety. When Tyler came out to the waiting area to let my know he had an appendicitis and needed surgery, my first thought was, "Not here, your not!"

We sat in a room waiting for the surgeon to come and talk to him, trying decide what we should do. We didn't want to stay there. Fortunately, we were told that our insurance wouldn't cover the operation at that hospital, so we got his test results and got out. We took a cab back to our flat and called the insurance. They recommended another hospital, Hospital Aleman, a German hospital. So we hopped in another cab and headed there. (Ella is passed out in my arms at this point--it was about 3am when we got to Aleman.) Check in took a long time. The doctors were not 100% sure it was an appendicitis. It wasn't until about 1pm on Friday that he was admitted to the hospital. At 7:30 he went into surgery.

The hospital was not an American hospital, but it seemed clean and the doctors (who all spoke some to really good English) seemed capable. But it was so scary. So scary. Tyler's recovery room when he came out two hours later, was his hospital room. So when Ella and I saw him, he was just out of anesthetic, and in pretty rough shape. Ella freaked out a bit, and I just tried to hold it together. I explained to the nurse that I wanted to talk to his surgeon. The surgeon seemed a bit surprised, when the nurse called him out of prepping for his next surgery, that I wanted to talk. He said the procedure was 'easy' and no complications. They did everything laproscopically, and indeed found his appendix to be the problem.

I made sure Tyler was adequately drugged and as comfortable and stable as possible before Pea and I returned to our flat for the night. The doctor said Tyler should be released the next afternoon. When I explained to Ella that we needed to get dressed the next morning so we could go pick up daddy, she said that she'd rather go swing at the park. I had spent the past two days hailing cabs, ordering food, communicating with nurses, all by myself! I felt utterly exhausted, but also accomplished. When we arrived the next morning, Tyler looked like his old self! I was so happy to see him somewhat normal. He was already being released. So I ran to the farmicia to pick up his pain meds, and caught us a cab home. Flat sweet flat.

He's doing quite well. He's still very sore and can't pick Pea up or really even bend at the waist. The air they pump you up with to do something laproscopically gives you the worst heartburn you can imagine (I know this too well.). So he's taking it slow, and I'm trying to catch up on work, sleep, and you guys. On the plus side, Tyler will have less baggage to carry home!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I speak no Castellano very little good.

Ella is now saying 'oh waa' to everyone instead of 'hiiiii'. I, however, am not picking things up as quickly as my little girl. Tyler knows a fair amount of Spanish*, and is especially good at 'traveler's Spanish. So it's really easy to just rely on him to get us by. But I know I'd learn faster if I tried things myself.

Yesterday was a perfect opportunity to try things out. Tyler was sick in bed, and Pea and I needed to get outside. I had decent coffee beans on the mind (haven't found anything good in the supermarkets yet) and decided to quest for beans and take Ella to the park to play. I tried Starbucks (don't hate me). But in a city of 13 million, with only 2 or 3 Starbucks locations, the line was insane. It'd be better to go local anyway, right?

On the way home from 'fwinging and fwiding' (swinging and sliding) in the park, I ventured into a coffee shop called Havanna. I looked at the shelves, but didn't see any coffee beans packaged to be sold. I took a deep breath and headed for counter, hoping that the worker would speak some English. No luck. I explained that, 'I speak no Castellano very little good.' She looked worried.

'Cafe to go home?' in my best Spanish. She looked relieved and pulled out two to-go cups. One small, one large. Hmm.

I saw beans in a huge grinder. I pointed and then made what I thought was a hand sign for a big bag of coffee. She nodded. I got really excited. And she then fixed me a double espresso in the large to go cup. Sigh. I asked for 'con creama', took my cup, and headed home. At least I got coffee in some form out of it. Although, I had to pay extra to get it to go...

*What they speak in Argentina is actually called Castellano. "Cosh-de-shawn-o". The 'll' here are pronounced as a 'sh'. We live on Av. Cabello. Not pronounced 'ca-bah-ho' as in normal Spanish, but rather 'ca-bash-o'.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What we left behind.

To be completely honest, I think we're wondering what in the world we were thinking when we made this decision. Ella's doesn't seem the mind, but I think both Tyler and I are a wee bit homesick. We're starting to miss the comforts of our home, all our stuff, our dear friends, our dog, and just, well, familiarity.

Tyler's quite sick with some dreadful digestive thing. It's so much easier to be sick at home. Our home here doesn't quite feel like home yet. Now that our two week 'vacation' is coming to a close, we're trying to settle into a routine of work, play, budget, and all that Ellahood entails. Meanwhile, I'm hoping for grace and for clarity on what the heck we are doing here!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Big Tombs

We did so much walking today. And it was a scorcher out. We attended the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes which had a fabulous collection. Rembrandt, Van Gough, Monet, Manet, Picaso, Rothco, Pollac, Degas, and a wealth of Argentinian artists. We were very impressed. How do you get through a fine arts museum with a toddler? Point out all the animals in paintings and sculpture. It became a great game, and Ella ate it up. We had a funny moment when Ella pointed to a painting of a nude woman and yelled, "Neh nehs! Milk!"

We grabbed lunch while Ella napped in the stroller and afterwards headed to the Cementerio de la Recoleta. These buildings in the picture above are tombs--and often single person tombs. Larger than our flat. They take burial very seriously in this cemetery. I told Tyler that if I couldn't be cremated and my ashes spread on the moon, then I wanted a tomb with an elevator and a swimming pool. The cemetery is known as being super snooty. It took years for the proprietors to allow Eva Paron to be buried there. Her husband never did get in...his remains lie in a lesser grave site. Weird.

We went for a quick swim when we returned. Dinner consisted of home-made hummus, bread, heirloom tomato slices, basil, cheese, wine, and the best nectarine we've every had.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Museos y shopping for food

For starters: "I" will always mean, Jamie, unless otherwise noted.

We visited the Museo Evita yesterday. (The Eva Paron museum.) It was interesting. It's located in one of the homes she instituted for homeless families and single mothers. It had lots of video footage of her speeches and her funeral, some of her clothing and accessories, and a bit of history of what she did for Argentina during the reign of her husband, and, well, her. I found it fascinating. Ella enjoyed the Pea-sized chairs in one of the rooms.

After that, we headed to the MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires). The feature exhibit was of Andy Warhol. He was an interesting guy...The exhibit was called "Andy Warhol: Mr. America".

Today we quested for a local and organic market. Other side of town...expensive taxi ride. But now we know where it is and since we dared take the metro back, we can find it next time for much less mulah. The organic market was CRUNCHY. Everyone smelled au natural there. And looked it. We found local organic veggies, butter, creama, yogurt, cheeses, and one of the vendors gave us some yummy dessert thing for Ella. Full of sugar, Tyler and I ate it instead. I also quested for a very popular and organic bakery, not so far from our place. Yay! Feeding my family is very important--especially long-term. It's quite surprisingly hard to eat healthy here. Argentinians seem to have the same infinity for processed foods as the US. I saw a 6 month old (or approximately) drinking a Coke the other day.

Ella loved the metro ride (train, she called it). We saw a guy get robbed during the ride. He did everything wrong that you could do wrong in the metro as far as your personal belongs are concerned. We didn't exactly see it happen, but at a stop, a guy who had just gotten on, jumped off right as the doors were closing. A minute or two later, the guy next to us noticed his camera was gone. Don't worry, moms, we're smart and aware when it comes to subways. Ella was lulled to sleep on the train, on my back in the Becco.

I'm suprised by how many people touch Ella at random. Women who rub her head has we pass on the streets...even old men who kiss her on the cheek while she's on my back! I assume they are a more affectionate people than Americans? Or perhaps they don't have as strong as a stranger mentality? It's sweet, but unnerving too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


We are only a couple block from the zoo. It was hot today, but we did our best to stay in the shade. Pea's favorite animals were the bears, the tigers, the llamas (she calls them O'Damas), the goats, and the monkies (mucky).

After a week of searching, I finally found a yoga mat! The phrase 'yoga mat' does not translate. But I came across one in the Nike store across the street from us and only found it because one of the store salesmen could speak some amount of English and dug one out of the back for me. I think I paid $40US for the mat, but hey, mission accomplished! We also found a Pilate's studio a few blocks away that has yoga on Thursday mornings (I think) and 9am (I think) and is pretty inexpensive (I think).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fimmy, and Finging, and perros...Oh My!

Ella is having a great time. She makes friends with everyone she sees. She got to go swimming (fimmy) yesterday. She got to do some finging (swinging) in the park. And she's now saying her first Spanish word: perro. Dog. This is funny because we think her first English words were 'woof woof' and then 'dog'. (Maybe 'momma' and 'dadda' in there somewhere.) She saw lots of dogs running through the park this evening and would point excitedly yelling, "Pow, pow" or "perro, perro". So. Cute.

We decided when we first got here, aside from finding a home, that we'd treat the first couple weeks like vacation--lots of restaurants, taxis, general touristy stuff. We found good Mediterranean food tonight and yummy gelato. The only way I haven't gained any weight yet (at least, I hope) is because we walk *all* day long. I think also for this reason, we are sleeping very well at nights. Even Pea!

We are very pleased with the location of our flat. It's close to everything! Tyler and I are wading through Rosettastone. And enjoying the malbecs. Ciao!

Our Temporary Home Sweet Home

Monday, January 11, 2010

Adventures in Eating

So we are still pretty much on Mountain Standard Time, which is fine because all of Argentina seems to be too. We wake up around 10am. We eat lunch around 3pm, dinner at 8 or 9pm, and are in bed around midnight.

We moved into our new studio today. It took us about 20 minutes to unpack. This afternoon Ella went fimmy (swimming) in the pool on top of our high-rise building. Well, I don't know...maybe 10 stories isn't high-rise. Anyway. It's a great flat--about the size of our kitchen and living room combined (for those of you who know our house). It's small, but it's bright and has a good-sized patio. I really like the open feel. The shower has the water pressure of a fire hidrant! I promise to post picures soon!

I worked today as Ella napped--that was refreshingly normal. I love my work, but it was extra good to be doing something so familiar and...English. :)

So, moving on to the title of this post...Tonight we quested for dinner. We've had some great pizzas and salads since we've been here, but were in the mood for something different. We walked around a few blocks by our new place. We've already dined at several of the local cafes (which have all been fabulous). We settled on a nice looking (napkins folded in fancy ways, lots of dinnerware sitting out, a great selection of wines...) restaurant called Canal, or something like that. We asked the waiter about the especiale (the special) advertised on the menu. He offered us a mostly English menu and pointed out what came with the special for two people. It seemed like a lot of meat, and some organ meats. I'm all for getting organ meats into my family, so I said to go for it. Well. I don't know exactly what came on the hot platter thirty minutes later. It seemed high-quality and well-prepared. But I'm pretty sure we ate kidney, some sort of entrails, ribs, and perhaps brain?! I'm only sort of kidding. We tried it all. Most of it was very chewy. Dinner for 2 here, means dinner for 4 according to our eating habits. And you know it wasn't pleasant when Tyler didn't take leftovers! The wine was excellent. But we had to buy a bottle on the way home to wash down the memories with. Oh, and I forgot to mention that as we were paying our bill, a friendly cockroach fell from the sky and started wandering our table. Tyler and I just looked at each other and laughed....and got the heck out!

Pour me another glass, my love.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dancing in the Rain

After playing in a park for awhile, in which Ella got covered from head to toe in dirt, we settled in at a corner pizzeria for lunch. We sat outside under the cafe's awning and the distant rumbles of thunder we'd been hearing all day finally came to fruition. It began to pour. And there was no keeping Ella out of the water. She had the best time playing in the rain. She jumped in puddles and danced in the water. Here she is in all her glory. She was so wet by the end. And so very, very happy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

So here we are, our crazy little family, in Buenos Aires. Traveling was great—the flights were without drama, the food on the planes was good, we felt well rested after our overnight flight from DC to Argentina, and we feel healthy. OK, almost. Well, maybe not. We did make all our connections (and our checked bag too). But it required some frantic running while pushing a stroller, car seat, and 3 carry-on bags. We are so grateful that we got here as planned, even with the tight schedule. Next, well, you know how airplane food is. Many of you know that our little girl is not the best of sleepers. But on planes she’s typically quite good. However, this was her first 10 hour, overnight flight. And the whole of the plane got to know how poorly Ella sleeps. (I’m so sorry to those who sat near us.) But it’s hard to blame her when we are each feeling as crumby as we do. We are all on the verge of antibiotics. Tomorrow will be D day for that. We brought some just in case, for somewhere down the line. May be sooner than we thought. Our immune systems tanked this week, and have yet to recover. Ella has never taken antiobiotics before, so it's a big deal to me. I can't remember the last time I took them.

But, despite a rough night, we actually fared quite well today (other than the coughing, hacking, sore throats, burning lungs, and blowing noses). We caught a cab to our hostel, found some extraordinary pizza and beer at a touristy park (appetite is progress towards recovery, right?), took a nap, viewed an apartment we might be interested in renting, ate some yummy empanadas for dinner (while Ella befriended the hostess), and strolled around the city tonight. Now Ella is fast asleep. I am soon to follow. And Tyler will be up way too late looking for other apartments. Buenos noches!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Don't Cry for us, Argentina!

We embark on quite the adventure this 2010. In two days our family--Tyler, Jamie, and Ella--moves to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for six whole months. We've rented out our home, sold one car, packed up our personal belongings (or rather, still are packing), found a great temporary home for our pooch, and shall be traveling light. We welcome you to join us in the adventure. Hence, the blog. Bookmark us and check in to see what we're up to in the coming days!


Jamie, Tyler, and Ellabellapea