Monday, 21 September 2009

The first day of spring!

Oh the irony. The Last week has been gorgeous - glorious sunshine, temperature in the mid-20s (but not in the shade, and not when the wind blows... but hey, who's being picky?), and on the first official day of spring, winter came back to remind us that we are at the fickle whims of the weather gods. But I was out in shorts and tee-shirt and jandals last week, and gone a slightly more beigey shade of milk on my arms. I am caramelising. Mmmmm, sun. Who says people don't photosynthesise?
We got tired of waiting for Telefonica to get their A's into G and connect our internet, so we bought a little modem through Movistar, a cellphone company, and now have internet of sorts in the house. It is very slow during the day unless you mickey around with the settings a bit, as it happens that the phone companies are upgrading all their lines and the 3G isn't working properly until the end of the month - but it is internet! and in honour I have composed a little song:

Internet, internet, internet!
O how I love thee.
Internet, internet internet!
You make me feel so free!

I can chat to my dad and to my mum,
Find recipes to fill my tum,
My friends will know I'm not lost and gone,
All I have to do is turn it on!

Intenet, internet, INTERNET!
O how I love thee!

Sung to what ever tune you like best. In my head it has lots of horns and a good solid marching beat. :)

We are all boxing on. Progress is slow but solid, and I now have all of three classes a week at the aptly named Wellington House. I teach conversation classes to adults and teens, all of whom have pretty decent English, so it is really just an opportunity for them to speak with a native, and rework the grammar and vocabulary they learn in their other classes. Early next month I am going on a teacher-training seminar in Bariloche (the Argentinean equivalent of Queenstown) which I am very much looking forward to, both for the course content and the location.

Joel has submitted all of the paperwork he needs to be offered a contract at the local department of the ministry of transportation - he will be surveying and planning for roads and other developments in the area that require topography and a knowledge of databasing and being outside in the dirt digging. The contract just needs to be signed by the Governor, and when it is sent back here to Zapala he'll be able to start. He's also registered as a provider to the state within his field, and is in the process of registering with the federal police to be recognised as a forensic archaeologist. All of the lists and registries mean that people can look him up to offer him work as and when they need someone, and since he is technically self-employed, he can take short contracts whenever they come up. Fingers crossed that he gets lots of great offers. Neither of us have ruled out working at universities or studying further, and are investigating these options too. I might take a paper or two to make my degree more widely recognised here - maybe a teaching qualification to ensure that my degree is recognised in the public school system too. Who knows!?

In terms of wedding round two, we have made significantly less progress... We wanted it to be in November, but with our current financial situation being as it is (I currently earn a whopping 440 pesos a month. Steady now, breath in a bag if you have to) we will have to postpone. To those who are visiting in November, or had planned to, come anyway, I say. Summer here is long and hot, and even if we can't travel as much as we had wished, we will have a bit of time off to go on adventures. Our accommodation situation will have to be revised though, because there are also less houses at our disposal than last time I was here... What with Joel's brother Jeremias permanently occupying the apartment in Buenos Aires, and us permanently occupying the big and formerly empty house in Zapala, that is a few less people we can house... So to Matt, Bruce, Ben and whoever else had the urge to come to South America, you are welcome as always, but please be in touch so we can discuss and plan a bit. :)

Our new - slightly trepid - forecast for wedding date is around March next year. I am going to need the time to get in shape again if I want to wear my dress anyways... I have my doubts about it fitting at the moment but I am too scared to try in case I am right. Nothing more depressing than being three weeks away from 30 and finding out that your wedding dress doesn't fit. Really, three weeks away from turning 30 is bad enough! Sigh. Bit of a crisis. But anyways, wedding numero dos, around about March. Don't hold us to it though... We'll give you all plenty of notice! Well, as much notice as we give ourselves, how about that.

Little dog is getting bigger and bigger, but still maintains her delightfully comical shape - short stout legs, long body and waggly tail. :) She is a constant source of entertainment, and also frustration at not learning anything useful and doggy. She only comes when you call if she doesn't have anything better to do, and digs up the backyard to bury bones all the time. She gets really nervous with her bones because she thinks some other dog is going to take them off her (she can hear them barking, she knows they're out there!), so she runs laps of the backyard with the bone in her mouth, whining pitifully. Finally she will find a good hiding place, and bury it, juicy meaty bits and all, to dig up later when it is 'safer'. She forgets where she puts them though, and when she finally does dig them up they have, um, aged a bit. Then I don't let her lick my hand for a wee while... Every time I take her for a walk, the whole world goes all gooey over her. Aww, sooo cute!!! And she laps it up. It's even funnier when I am walking with Benjamin (my four-year-old brother in law), because he wants to hold the leash but that implies Bonny running around tangling everyone in the rope. So I hold the leash in the middle, keeping Bonny and Benja one on each side - the comments range from "so cute, you have them both on the same leash!" to "how practical, you can take them both for a walk at the same time!". I laugh. :)

We went for a walk with some friends on Sunday, after a delicious BBQ (or rather, asado) at their house, which took us past a little lake in the middle of the sand and scrub. This little laguna was home to some angry, hissy, shouty geese, a bajillion little black ducks (or similar...) and flamingos! It was such a strange sight to see flamingos in the desert - I thought they were more tropical birds. I had fun throwing Bonny in the water, and she had fun shaking herself dry all over us, and giving people jumpy, smelly, wet-dog hugs. A good time was had by all.

Well folks, that's it from me for the present. I have just put Benjamin to bed for a nap, and now is the perfect time to get some actual work done. I have to plan for my classes, few though they may be, My students are far too bright to just wing it, they know if I am not prepared. So I leave you with this lovely image of mountains and lake, and hope that you are all well and happy.
Til next time!