Annslee's 5th Birthday

Friday


Who knew how much love and joy one little girl could bring into our lives? 

Annslee's 5th birthday is today and we really couldn't imagine our lives without her. She's bright, fun to be around, artistic and thoughtful. She is responsible for ...
  • Getting us up, off the couch and dancing like nobody was watching on the first note of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse's, "Hot Diggety Dog". Ahem.
  • Inspiring our improvisational skills in sock-puppet show development.
  • Keeping us on our toes with her incredible memory for specific things we reportedly said 3 weeks prior.  
  • Pushing our creativity beyond its limits into imaginary play.
  • Getting us back to the playground again. 
  • Giving us our 'Grandparent' names. (I'm "Momo", he's "Bobo" )

So last night, I thought an interview with The Birthday Girl would be in order...

Interview With a 5 Year Old...

Q: What do you want to be when you grow up? 
- a doctor
Q: Who is your best friend?                        
- Peyton
Q: Do you have a boyfriend?
- Yes
Q: What is your boyfriend's name?
- Peyton
Q: What is your favorite toy?
- My sticker book
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
- Play outside
Q: What is your favorite food?
- Macaroni and Cheese

OK. So the 'interview' was not 'all that'. I plan to ask her the same questions on her 10th, 15th and 20th birthdays. Could be interesting - or not. 



For who she is today and for whom she will be in the future, we can't help but feel blessed and honored to be her "Momo & Bobo".


American Citizenship

Thursday

The Avenue in the Rain
Childe Hassam 1917
Loyalty is paramount in my book. I can forgive most anything but being disloyal. And that was why it took me so long to become a US Citizen.

As a US law-abiding, tax-paying, Canadian-born foreigner, I am ready to fully embrace the land I have called "home" for the past 37 years. Canada was my first love, and always will be - but it was time to make a commitment to the US.

To solemnly recite The Oath of Allegiance ..."I hereby declare on oath, that I entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen..." Was powerful and sobering for me. I didn't take it lightly.


I prepared myself for this day by studying US History and Civics, watching the complete mini-series..."John Adams", Steven Spielberg's, "Lincoln" and HBO's "Truman" amongst other documentaries on US government, politics and history. 

After educating myself to the best of my ability, and wearing my friends and relatives out - on US trivia, I was left with one resounding question..."What's up with The Electoral College and why do we still have it"? 
(I'll save that topic for another post).


Up, at the crack of dawn and feeling ready to be interviewed and tested by Homeland Security was somewhat nerve-wrecking but Officer Kurtz was pleasant and professional. My citizenship test was administered verbally and I must say - I was on fire!

The Naturalization Ceremony was inspiring and emotional.




I consider it to be an honor, a privilege and a responsibility to become a Naturalized US Citizen.


Thank you America, for providing this immigrant with an opportunity for a terrific life, great job, wonderful friends and for helping me find my incredible American husband.
It has been a great ride !

A Day in Montevideo, Uruguay

Sunday

Street Art: It was everywhere.






The Food: It's all about meat. And fries.



Ciudad Vieja -The Old City




The People

A crowd milling outside a non-descript office. Cameras at the ready. Was it a celebrity? A political figure? A demonstration? The excitement was nearly palpable. 



A wedding!

Adios, Montevideo. 


 Colonia Del Sacramento (a Unesco World Heritage site) would have been a cool side trip from Montevideo, but it was 170 Km away - so we opted out. Maybe next time - but for now, I am happy to have just stopped by and said, "Hola!".

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Thursday

Travelling to Argentina: 
  • Before you arrive in Argentina, get online and purchase a Visitor's Visa by paying a Reciprocity Fee. If you get to the airport and don't have a copy of it...you are out of luck on entering Argentina. 
  • Americans are charged $160 US and Canadians $92 US.  It doesn't matter where you live - it's all about which passport you carry. Finding a website that provides this documentation - in English - was a challenge but eventually, I found www.visatoargentina.com - they charge a $20/pp service fee but it was easy and fast or you could try Argentina's www.provincianet.com.ar/ and not pay service fees. Good luck with that. Keep a copy of your Visa - US is good for 10 years and Canada is good for 5 years
  • Your flight to Buenos Aires will most likely start at Ministro Pistarini International Aeropuerto. Arriving at Argentine Immigration and Customs is what we referred to in E.R. parlance as "A Cluster...". At first glance, the hoards of passengers making their attempts at navigating the unnavigable maze of posts and barriers soon dissipates into a strange order and all is good. My advice? Just ride the people-wave and you will get to where you need to be. 
  • Depending on where you want to go... Taxis and Airport Shuttles are easy to find at the airport. Taxi drivers are OK with accepting US dollars but appreciate you telling them up front if you don't have Argentine Pesos (AP) as the taxi's are metered. Do yourself a favor and change some money into Pesos. 
  • Buenos Aires' (B.A.) Metro system is efficient and cheap.
  • People native to Buenos Aires call themselves "Portenos".
A city made up of  forty-eight 'Barrios', we didn't discover all but did get an opportunity to check out a few. If you are tight on time...flag down a cab (they are everywhere) and let the driver know you want to go to 'La Boca' - you'll be glad you did.

La Boca

Tango in the streets
ü
Great food
ü


Interesting Architecture
ü



"Filetes"
 
ü
The Argentine art style known as "Fileteado" is specific to Buenos Aires. Drawings are styled with plants and flowers incorporated into them. The 'Portenos' call these works of art,"Filetes".

Microcentro & Puerto Madero

Microcentro is the commerce and business area of B.A.
Puerto Madero is touristy, newer and trendy.
No big whup, really.
The beautiful Jacaranda trees in full bloom November 11th.
Puerto Madero
Plaza Mayor
May 25, 1810 - The beginning of the Argentine War of Independence from Spain.

Recoleta

Recoleta is an upscale neighborhood with great sidewalk cafe's, boutiques and home to Cementario de la Recoleta. A massive labyrinth of narrow streets that are lined by mausoleum crypts adorned with magnificent sculptures. The final resting place of the beloved, Eva Peron amongst many more of Argentina's elite.

When you get here - step into the office and get a walking map - it will cost a few pesos but well worth it.













Buenos Aires was everything we had hoped it would be...



...Colorful, vibrant and captivating. 
Who could ask for more?



Paranoid in South America

Anticipating travel to South America was both exciting and scary. Admittedly, reports of muggings, kidnappings and police corruption go...