Thursday, 20 August 2009

Snow! And Puppy! And Gainful Employment!

Finally, after almost three months of searching, we have both been offered work. Woohoo! Nothing straight forward of course, because nothing is ever easy, but suffice to say that Joel will be self-employed and contracted by a branch of the council to do esoteric topographical and archaeological thingies, and I will be teaching English to ungrateful youths again. Or maybe grateful, which would be a nice change. I am in a cafe with wi-fi, trying to prepare for my chat with the Principal this evening (ok, so I got distracted) and poor Joel is running around like a headless chook trying to get all the paperwork for something that translates roughly as 'sole-operator and provider to the state' done so he can start his contract as soon as possible. Cue the Argentinean Bureaucracy Polka, Maestro!

You put your right foot in,
you run all across town,
you put your right foot in and then you tear your hair out,
you stand for hours in the queue to find they close at 12.00,
and that's what it's all about! Hey!

Watch this space for more developments, we should have more news by about the time when we can get internet at the new house. Fingers crossed on both counts!

We have moved to Zapala, closer to the Andes and further from civilisation. The reasons for the move were many and varied, but the top three are (in no particular order): Joel has many friends here; we have many 'big fish, small pond' type advantages; and his mum and little half-brother live here. He's only four, and a bit of a handful, so it is really good for his mum to have us here, helping about the house and looking after the little one when need be. It is a really nice town as well, and we have all moved into Joel's grandparents' house (they live up north, but have a house here too), which is big and comfy and has nice memories attached. Just waiting on a phone line and internet... We're looking into acquiring a piece of land too, and building something of our own. We like the idea of a few chalet-style cabins, so we can live in one, and rent out the others - like a B&B, with the option of planning activities in the area if the guests want. We'll have horses and take the punters for treks around the desert, and I'll have llamas for the cute and comical factor. The department of land (for want of a better translation) will give - yep, give - us a piece of land, a couple of hectares or so, provided we supply them with a project outlining briefly what we intend to do with it. As long as they are happy that we intend to develop it, we get a piece of Patagonia for free. We've looked at a couple of places, one has an amazing view of the mountains, and the other is in a sheltered valley. Tough choice... On one of these trips to see dirt and scrub (but it will be my dirt and scrub!) out from amongst the weeds and rubbish appeared the most adorable little rascal of a puppy. In the time-honoured tradition of 'she followed me home, can I keep her?' - although in this case, she followed me to the car - we took her home. She is brindle and white, has a barrel chest and stout legs, the cutest face ever, and she loves to bound around in the snow like a little pudgy plough.

It snowed for all of two days! And at least 20 cm fell all up, I reckon. While we were moving house, which was not quite so wonderful, but this little desert outpost was covered in a lovely blanket of pure white, and it looked so clean! The Andes, when they are not shrouded in cloud, are spectacular. On a clear day you can see mountains stretching all the way along the western horizon. It is pretty amazing.

Anyhow, I have to go pick up my four year old brother-in-law in 10 mins, so here are some photos and I'll be back online as soon as I can to relate more! Hugs to all!