Week 143 December 24, 2016

Hello, we hope that you too had a great Christmas!
This post is a little late as this week Loren and I visited for four nights in the Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. We stayed first at an AirBnB for two nights in La Plata. Our host had two adorable sibling kittens named Cobre, which means Copper, and Felicidad for Happiness, who were entertaining. Loren was able to practice speaking Spanish, however, in Argentina there is a dialect spoken that is different from what we learned in school. For example, “You” familiar, is said, Bos here, not Tu.
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Two more nights were spent at an AirBnB with a family and their dog, Athena, in Lujan, said Loo-han. The father is quite an artist as a hobby. The elder son is talented in playing the guitar, while his girlfriend likes to sing. The younger son is playful and fun.
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We were all anticipating Navidad – Christmas, but, for us from the Northern Hemisphere, it felt unusual as it is summer and calor – hot, during the day in Buenos Aires. We had several laughs trying to translate certain ideas. We learned more of the dialect, for example, Sho, rather than Yo for I, and, Cashe, instead of Calle for street. As the mother spoke no English I was inspired to try a bit with my limited Spanish too. When Loren asked their word for Nun, they taught us it is Monka. When queried if the masculine would be Monko? The father quickly said, “No, no monkey!”
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We were privileged to celebrate the older son’s 16th birthday, with this family hosting a traditional BBQ. At the start of the evening his parents, his aunt, uncle, Loren and I shared a traditional communal drink. It is called Mate, which Loren wondered if it was marijuana? No! It is a little like coffee or tea, served in one metallic cup with a special – usually silver, straw. This is one aspect of our travels that Loren and I most appreciate – to be able to spend time with the local people to learn more about their culture. And this family appreciates opening their home to travelers, for their sons to learn more about the larger world in their own home environment. 

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When the evening turned to well after midnight, Google Translate described what they were then saying as, “The night is in diapers.” We finally understood this to mean, “The night is young!” And, they meant it! The boy and his friends who had already arrived before we went to bed, went out to town to celebrate, at about 3am…
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On our last day in Argentina, we went with the family to visit at the home of the aunt and uncle who we met the previous evening. They have two rescued owls which are among my favorite birds,
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and a rescued pigeon! We had a lovely visit with an additional friend there and the sons of the aunt and uncle. The older one’s girlfriend gifted us with a lovely Christmas ornament that she had made by hand.
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Then we bid a fond farewell to this lovely family after we returned to their home. 
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Loren and I then had a nearly a two hour drive to the airport, for a 5 hour overnight flight.
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This was followed by a change of planes in Miami on our way to New York for Christmas afternoon and dinner with my brother and his family. My older niece’s beau was able to share this special time with us too. Santa brought my younger niece her first car, and she is beside herself with delight in it. We so enjoyed watching the movie, Elf together, which is competing with Polar Express for Loren’s and my second choice, after It’s a Wonderful Life of all time favorite holiday movies. After dinner we watched a recording of Loren’s favorite Golden State Warriors competing with the Cleveland Cavaliers in basketball, which had a disappointing outcome for us Californians. Despite that, it was another wonderful, memorable family gathering for us to cherish!
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Now Loren and I wish you a very Happy 2017!

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