Friday, June 13, 2008

Kissing in spanish in the dark

The days are getting shorter and shorter as we approach the winter solstice, June 21st. I knew it would be this way of course, that our winter solstice here is the summer solstice in New York, and just like in New York, the days are getting shorter. What I didn't know was that it meant the sun doesn't rise till after 9am. Every morning we get the children up and off onto the school transport in the dark and it's still hours before the sun comes up. It sets around 7pm which is better than the 4:30pm sunsets we used to have in the winter, but every morning it feels as if we're waking in the middle of the night.
The girls are the ones on the front lines of cultural immersion. Every morning they go to school, greet their friends and teachers with kisses, (on the cheek), and a "Buen dia" (good morning). They call all their teachers by their first names, are learning songs in spanish that hail Argentina, and say a "pledge of allegiance" to the Argentine flag at the end of every day. Chloe knows the names and locations of all the countries in South America, and all of Argentina's provinces. Phoebe is starting to read, in spanish, and Naomi, ... Well, she tells me all the time that her teacher loves her.

Colegio Del Sol- the girls' school

Stopping in at the kid's school is a frenzy of kissing. We kiss and say "hola" to the children who we've met, we kiss the teachers and any parents we've been introduced to. Mike's taken to shaking hands with other men, but he knows it's seen as very formal. Sometimes it's helpful to lean on the fact that we're foreigners from a more formal society. People here seem to understand. The strangest thing for us is when we meet other Americans who live here, they want a kiss as well.... It does make everyone more friendly! I guess Argentina is contagious!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Volcano update,and life goes on....

Hola otra vez from Bariloche. The volcano in Chile continues to erupt spewing ash, well, everywhere. When we looked out towards the lake on Monday the mountains were completely hidden by the ash in the air. It's the rainy season here and most of the ash has been washed off the streets and buildings but the ash in the air has closed the airport for almost a month now. The border into Chile is closed and many people have been evacuated out of that region. I recently heard that lava has started flowing and there is a great concern that these eruptions will trigger an earthquake.

Life here in Bariloche continues, mostly unaffected by the events across the border. The girls are very involved with life at school, and brought home some very impressive report cards two weeks ago. Naomi's class in the "jardin" put on a circus performance for the parents. As you can see she was a tightrope walker( una equilibrista). One of the fathers is a magician and helped the children put on great show, he also performed for the parents at the end.

Phoebe and Chloe auditioned for a play with a local theater group and both have parts in "The Secret Garden". I'm working on sets and props and am involved in making numerous puppets. It's nice to be doing some 3-D work again as my work on my graphic novel is at a rather dull stage (just adding text on the computer). Here you can see a picture of "Robin", one of the main puppets in the show.

Mike is working on so many projects at once it's hard to keep track. There's a project for Star Wars, a comic book about zombies and cowboys, and several children's books. Here he's working on an illustration for "Tyr" a children's book about the norse god .

In three weeks we'll be heading up to Buenos Aires to process our residency visas. Unfortunately we'll have to take a 20 hour bus ride instead of a two hour flight, due to the ashes. Still it will be nice to see more of the city this time and perhaps it will be a nice drive through the Pampas and see some of the country between here and there.
“As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance”-Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs)


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