Friday, January 23, 2009

Not visiting this time, or Welcome to the LotNM

So after a few weeks back stateside visiting friends and family and supporting the struggling airline industry through exsessive weight-overage fees on our luggage, we've made it to Sweden.

Through all the chaos of traveling for the past few months I really hadn't had the time to internalize what was going on. Sure, I managed to get a job (barely...GT Sweden put a hiring freeze in place shortly after I signed) and we managed to rent an apartment (our last day in Buenos Aires), but when we landed I found myself pretty well mentally unprepared for the move. It wasn't really untill about 2 hours left of the flight to Stockholm that it hit me. I was looking out the window thinking, "Gee, it's getting on to morning here and I can't see the sun rise". Then I realized, "You are moving to Sweden, Brad, land of the midnight sun". What the PR/Ad folks at the tourism bureau don't mention is that this also means that Sweden is the "Land of the Noon Moon" (LotNM as I will now refer to it during the winter months). This was the first time I figured out that this wasn't just one of the many visits I've made to the LotNM. I was here to stay.

Passing through Immigrations, the officer looked at my passport and asked if Cecilia and I were traveling together. "Yes." How long would we be staying. "uhhhh, we live here now", as in as of right now this minute, we just started living here. Crazy. It blows my mind.

Going to work for the first time on Monday to be present at the bi-weekly staff meeting to introduce myself and meet everyone briefly. They are giving dude a phone; a real fancy touch screen, pull out keyboard, microsoft mobile smart-phone, that I'm sure they expect me to do all sorts of "smart" things with. And I got notice that I'm going with the department on the annual ski trip to the French Alps in March. From almost not getting a job to all that, things seem to be shaping up pretty well.

Now if C can just land something we'll be set. Considering she's at an interview as I type this, we're hopefull on that front as well.

I'll keep updating occasionally, and I'm sure as I start to work and learn the language and get to know the LotNM a bit better there will be some humorous stories.



Monday, January 5, 2009

New Years and final days in BA

Hard to believe that 3 months in South America is coming to a close. In just over 24 hours we´ll be on a plane to the U.S. of A., where in our absence, my compatriots have elected on Barrak Hussein Obama, II as leader of the"free world", other government heads decided to give billions of dollars to failing auto makers, said dollars did a bit of a turn around relative to other major (and some Argentinian Peso) currencies, and the price of oil dropped 50%. Quite a lot has happened in these past three months.

After spending Christmas in Mendoza, we came back to BsAs to pick up Russ, have another dinner at our favorite steak restaurants with some new friends we met in Mendoza, and catch our boat to Uruguay where we´d spend NYE at Punta del Este. Our host in Punta was a semi-retired Argentine photographer who was a character to say the least (who picked us up at the station in his 1978 Peugeot 404. Extremely hospitable and we felt more like a part of the family during the stay than as guests in his hostel.

After New Years, it was back to Bs As to round out our stay and finish what we hadn´t done on our first visit, namely visit La Boca and the Boca Juniors stadium and eat at our favorite steak restaurant again, one last time.

3 months is a long time to be away and we are both getting anxious to get started with "real life" again. We´ve thoroughly enjoyed every moment here and have only 1 more day to get robbed. Enjoy some pictures.


With our American friends from the winery tour in Mendoza at La Cabrerra one more time (we went back again after Uruguay)

Just outside the old colonial gates guessed it, Colonia (de Sacremento)

First visit to the beach in Uruguay. Pretty nice beaches.

Russ and Brad touring the peninsula on a pretty blustery day.

I´m convinced this person had some ties to Seattle. It´s in the same font!

Russ´first Matè experience. In the words of our host Abel (pictured), "It was emotional". Yerba Matè is the national drink of Argentina and Uruguay and is a sort of tea. Could be mistaken for a cheap bag of weed, and tastes pretty bitter at first sip. These folk´s go through anywhere between 2 and 5 liters of the stuff in a day, depending on who you ask. The matè cup and thermos are a fixture on any self respecting Argentine/Uruguayan man´s person at all times.

In addition to lodging, Abel´s daughter, Nora, who had set up camp (literally in a tent in the front yard) with dad for the summer, offered yoga in the front yard (Camilla in blue, Cecilia in Orange, Erik in green)

Self made lounge chairs at the beach

Cecilia and Camilla enjoying the sun.

Futbol on the beach on 12-31-08. The swede´s beat Freddy, Nora´s boyfriend, and I in a tight match 6-5. They had a 1 person advantage for half the game though before I took Cecilia out with a foot injury.

The ladies ready for NYE in matching dresses. How cute.

Me, Cecilia and Erik, enjoying some NYE champagne. Erik enjoying it a bit more than everyone else it seems.

La Boca district of BsAs, after returning from Uruguay. Houses were originally painted that color from leftover paint used on the nearby boat docks. Houses now painted in that color to attract tourists. It works.

In La Bombadero, the Boca Juniors stadium. For all you N. Am´s not in the know, it´s probably the biggest club in South America, and produced Diego Maradona, arguably the best football player ever and arguably the most famous Argentine ever...Evita Peron included. How can you not be when you won a world cup for your country, scoring 1. arguably the greatest goal ever, a 1 on 8 march down the field, and 2. the most infamous goal ever (a hand ball that was ruled a named the "hand of God"), you end your career and begin a life of binge eating/drinking/cocaine abuse, almost die and befriend Fidel Castro, come back from near death and get elected to coach the national team. What a life.

Diego´s star outside the staduim. Cecilia´s foot is now blessed. We haven´t gotten her a ball at her feet since this picture, but I´m expecting big things.