The Fat Lady is Singin'

Last week, Mark and I enjoyed a special night out with our friends, Brian and Christina, at the famous Teatro Colón. We bought tickets to see La Viuda Alegre (The Merry Widow), a German Operetta.  Seeing a show in this famous opera house was one of the last things on our "bucket list", and as I sat mesmerized by the sound of the orchestra filling the beautiful space, I couldn't help but feel the eminence of our departure.  The Proverbial Fat Lady was singing (in German with Spanish subtitles - nonetheless).

It is hard to imagine that our time in this wonderful South American city is coming to an end.  I remember when we arrived - how captivated we were at the French and Italian architecture, the vast parks filled with maté drinkers, the hustle and bustle of subways and city buses, the colorful graffiti, the dulce de leche ice-cream, the empanadas, and the robust malbec wine. Everything was such an adventure!

Now, as the summer heat has settled in for the holidays, and we decorate for Christmas, my emotions are as tangled up as the strings of tree lights.  There are so many things that I will miss about this place, and also things I can't wait to be done with.  I have loved the culture and beauty of Buenos Aires, but will be happy to be away from the rush and crime of a big city.  I am trying to figure out a way to store Límon ice-cream and empanada wraps on our boat, and I'll miss the grocery delivery service.  But I can't wait to be able to buy canned black beans and salsa without the import tax added!

I am loving the lack of crazy commercialism during the Christmas season, but I wish we could take our annual neighborhood drive to look at Christmas lights!  Not many people here put up decorations, aside from malls and shopping areas.  But overall it has been great for us to be away from the states during the holidays.  I never realized that Christmas just wasn't that big of a deal in other parts of the world.  I have decided that Americans are insane in their expectations surrounding the holidays - overindulging, overcommitting, overspending, just overboard on so many counts.  I have vowed to take a more Argentine approach to this season and celebrate simply.

Some of our Argentina friends!
The one thing that I will miss the most is the people we have met along the way.  I love being with my dear friend, Florencia, and her family.  We were welcomed to be with them on such a "daily life" basis that has been such a privilege - to hear them speak the Castellano language,  learning about the traditions and foods of this culture, and simply getting the kids together to play, regardless of language differences.  Florencia has become a fast friend, and I will miss meeting her at the park or out for a coffee.  I'll think of her often, I know, because of the memories we've made together - surely, every time I make flan, steak, or tartas!

With friends on boat to Gato Blanco Restaurant in Tigre

This time for us together as a family has been so sweet.  And God has paved our way with perfect playmates for the kids, and equally perfect parents for Mark and I to share our time here with.  This weekend, we got to spend time with friends who have added so much to our experience here.  The kids could play and giggle forever,  like they've been friends since birth.  I find myself wanting to spend every last moment we have with them, just soaking up the joy of being with good friends in what could have been a very lonely, isolated experience.  I have read articles written by other cruising families, that write how saying good-bye so often is the hardest part.  I can see why.  Yes, leaving is quite bittersweet, but that fat lady won't stop singing, and departure preparations continue. 

This past week, as we prepare to transition onto our boat, we have been checking off items on our provisioning list.  Most recently, a trip to a huge Carrefour allowed us to buy some necessary kitchen items - drying rack for dishes, pyrex casserole dishes, and some office supplies.  We also brought all of our winter-type clothes to the storage unit, one of many trips that we will make there in the next few weeks.  There are many things to get moved around!  Thankfully, though, we were able to get our rent extended for a week, so that we don't have to live in a hotel for 2 weeks, but just maybe for a few days before we are cleared to live aboard the boat.  As you can imagine, Mark and I are a bit stressed, as we try to plan for all of the unknowns up ahead and the ever-steepening learning curves.  Now, if I can just get these emotions untangled and get that woman to stop singing already...


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