We have been staying with Pablo’s family for the last month in San Martin, and it’s been an amazing experience. We have our own room in the house, but we spend most of our time in the family area with Pablo, his wife Guille, their son Nathan (10), daughter Trinidad (6mo) and Abuelo (the grandfather). It’s been a full cultural immersion, with some comical fails along the way – we’re grateful that the Carli’s have been very gracious with us!
It has been really fun getting to know REAL life in Argentina, not just the tourist or traveler version and getting to know a town… and be known in a town. Now that we’ve been here a while we know people when we walk down the street, people stop us to talk to us, we have our favorite places to eat (Almacen de Flores and La Creperia) and the waitresses ask us about how our anniversary was and if we’ve tried their favorite hang out they recommended to us yet.We even know the names of a couple of dogs in town and they greet us, Carlita the border collie is our favorite.
Pablo and Guille have been so great about showing us the wonderful area they live in. The last two weekends we have visited beautiful lakes. First it was Lago Melquina.We packed a picnic lunch and, of course, three thermoses of hot water, the yerba and our mate – you can never go without mate! The mate starts in the car on the way to your destination, who ever rides shotgun has to be the Cebador (person who serves mate for everyone)… and basically it’s doesn’t stop until, well, ever. We got to be the heroes because we had our camping stove and pot and could heat more water up, right there where we picnicked.
We stopped at the lake first to take in the views, then walked a little ways up a gorgeous river. We lounged all day, taking turns with the fly fishing rod. Rick caught two little trout that day. My accomplishment for the day was saving Trini (the baby) from a gigantic pig that wondered over from the farm next to us. We played in the water, caught crawfish and swapped stories in a friendly soup of Spanish and English.
The next day we went to Playa Bonita at Lake Lolog, the best beach around! It’s sandy and stays shallow for at least 200 yards out, perfect for playing in. We finally discovered something we could tell Argentines that proved the value of existence for futbol Americano (football, vs. futbol which is soccer) to them… You have futbol Americano, so you have something you can play in the water at the beach. It’s really hard to play futbol in even a few inches of water, and impossible in a foot or so.
My big adventure was attempting to feed jello to a 6 month old baby who absolutely did not want to eat, while riding in a car over a rocky 4×4 gravel road. The cup of jello was empty by the end of it… but I’m not sure any of it actually got eaten.
The Carli’s have treated us to delicious asado, and taught us how to cook a proper asado. Rick is convinced we need an asado pit in our backyard someday.
Since we were going to be in the same place for more than 24 hours, Rick thought it would be a good opportunity to get some real Spanish lessons in. So we got an “intensive” Spanish tutor for 2 hours a day for a week. It kinda backfired on him though as I learned much quicker than he did (taking advanced Spanish all through high school and paying attention probably helps). This resulted in Guille and I telling each other jokes in Spanish constantly… occasionally at Rick and Pablo’s expense. They took it in good stride though. (This paragraph was written by Rick in my “voice”, he needs practice understanding 1st person, 3rd person, tenses, etc.).
Click here to view a translation of this paragraph by Rick
Maybe it’s the feeling of getting to know somewhere, or having a little taste of family and friends, or maybe it’s just hitting the six month mark, but we have both been homesick the last couple of weeks, despite being in such a beautiful place.