Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Week 2011

27 November 2011
New week, new adventures!  It’s a standing policy that for the offices here to close, it must be a holiday celebrated in this country – completely understandable!  So we’ll work each day this week, as usual, but we’re planning a big Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday evening!  All the missionaries are invited, even if they aren’t from the States!  There will be a turkey and we’ll all ‘potluck’ the other dishes. I’m excited!  It will still be an unusual Thanksgiving, but fun!   (Anyway, there’s an Argentine holiday next Monday, so we’ll get a day off then!)

Monday night, Sarah, Thea, Dan, and I took the public bus to the Seminary asado/graduation party in the Convention Center (arriving too early, as usual!).  The seating area had been transformed to a dining area, with long tables already set with tablecloths, candles floating in bowls, table settings… and a buffet table set with traditional foods, starting with empanadas (me gusta, I love these!).  The salads were interesting and all very tasty – lettuce salad, potato salad with carrots, beet salad with hard-boiled egg. Things really got going when the asador, the grill-man, started making trips past our tables with different kinds and cuts of meat! First there was the chorizo sausage, then beef ribs (demonstrated by pointing to his own ribs for those of us that are still language challenged!), and more large chunks – all delicious and too much!  On top of that, there was graduation cake!

When we couldn’t eat any more, some of the older graduates took microphones for talent displays (voice and guitar), then awards for the “most likely to __” with photos of those nominated on a large screen.  There was even a couples contest in which we got to participate too!  We excused ourselves a little after 10:30 (still tired from last night!), rode the bus home, and slept soundly…

Tuesday was a pretty ordinary work day with occasional additions being made to my grocery shopping list for Carrefour (15% off on Tuesdays), for extra Thanksgiving cooking!  Carlos Fernandez is so gracious to include us in his weekly trips to this large store!  He always has a list for the meal preparation for the weekend guests in La Posada and for the conference attendees almost every weekend.  The other advantage, beside the good prices and Tuesday discount, is that, in his car, we have more room for groceries than just-what-we-can-carry-on-the-bus from the Jumbo!  Since we’ve been there a few times now, we know the store better each time, so we’re getting speedier!  And we even saw, but didn’t buy, some frozen turkeys!  Maybe next time!  After the discount, we had spent 284 pesos –sounds like a lot, but that’s about $70 US.

Wednesday, the Internet stopped working mid-morning! We had electricity and a network signal, so the phone company was called. Their apparent message was, “We’ll check it out and let you know.” 
We’ve been so well connected to the U.S. news and family and friends, it seemed really strange not be able to access the Internet – we’re dependent!   Lack of Internet stopped almost everything!  There were no DHL shipments scheduled, no transportation requests, no answering emails… but there was time to file and organize papers on the desk, catch up on writing blog entries!

The phone company had promised a technician by 5 p.m. When that didn’t happen, Sarah called several more times and we delayed our walk to La Esperanza for a few needed groceries.  Around 6:30 Sarah stopped at our house; she had given up for the day, so we walked down the road and purchased our fruit.  We’d planned on getting a little meat for the weekend (after the Thanksgiving meal), but they said,”Mañana” when I asked about pork chops and chicken breasts! They were sold out for the day.

Back home, I thawed some frozen fish and we had fish tacos! Maybe this is unusual, but I enjoy accomplishing a different kind of meal out of what we have on hand!  After cleaning that up, I returned to cooking butternut squash, one item I can find here that’s most like pumpkin, so I could use it to make Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake for a get-together at Radi’s on Friday night (assuming we can get to the Internet before then!!).  There’s plenty, so I’ll have some ready to make pumpkin pancakes on a Saturday morning breakfast – mmm! As soon as that was finished, I started in on oatmeal cookies with peanuts, the dessert I’d share Thursday night.  And that took all evening, till after 10 p.m., when we had some decaf and snitched a couple of the cookies!

Still no Internet on Thursday!  During staff devotions, one of the Argentine staff laughingly accused “the (North) Americans” of sabotaging the Internet to get some time off work for Thanksgiving!  Thea took the public bus up to one of the restaurants at Las Palmas so she could get online. During my morning job, I spent lots more time interacting with little Luana, who now has a particular noise she makes when she wants my attention!  She’ll be 1 on December 12; one of these days she’ll be walking over to my desk and calling out my name!  In the afternoon, DHL shipments of literature to other countries can’t wait another day, so I learned how to fill out their forms by hand, instead of online, so we can keep up with Nazarene literature orders.  Noemi had to call them for a pick-up today; good thing the phones haven’t been affected! 

It’s neat that Noemi keeps thinking of new things for Dan and me to do, especially to make the compound’s facilities more marketable – more photos on the website, of course, but more things like adding more online ‘key words’ for people to find the La Posada website, check-in cards for guests so a client database can be developed for mailings and better contacts. 

We gathered slowly on Thursday evening (maybe we’re becoming a little Argentine), using the Work and Witness dining room – 20 of us brought food and gave thanks for God’s blessings!  (As soon as we were ready to start, the phone company showed up to work on the Internet outage, so Dan and Sarah had to leave the dinner for a short time to assist them!) We did have turkey, along with chicken, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, green bean casserole, rice and broccoli, veggies and dip, bread, brownies, apple pie and cookies!!  Of course, we all ate too much, but it was so good!  Dan had brought our Wii over along with Wilmar & Jessica’s projector, so we had some fun trying games afterward! 

And the Internet is back in service!!!

Friday was a catch-up day, as we’d lost time on tasks that required Internet. We worked until after 5 p.m., then hurried home so I could make Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake and cheese grits for a Gringo Thanksgiving party at Carlos and Robyn Radi’s home. They provided asado meat and baked chicken and we ate until we were uncomfortable again!  There were about 15 of us.  What a great evening of fellowship and teasing and playing!  The Radis’ Wii was set up and the kids were ready to play! The adults stayed at the cleared-off tables and played Farkle (we had brought the dice and printed rules).  We finally called it a night at midnight and walked across the park to our house.  Morning would come too soon, even on a Saturday!

The  Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake was a hit as Robyn praised it on facebook the next morning as she had some with her morning Coffee.  Janet also converted several of our co-workers who had never tasted Pumpkin and are now begging for the recipe.

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