Finding Laughter with Family!

January 5, 2024

Now I know why those National Lampoon Chevy Chase Vacation movies are so popular. Watching them before, during or after a week with family doing your best to relax and have “fun!” delivers exactly the comic relief you need.

In fact, I am writing this from my bed in an apartment in Buenos Aires. Not because I am luxuriating with a glass of Malbec on the nightstand. No, I seem to have caught some kind of bug that started with a headache and has settled by tying my stomach in knots.

And…the first draft of this is actually handwritten because the son on the left has become a sports fan - a first for our family - and is desperately searching for a way to livestream the Lakers game in Argentina from my computer. With no success. Of course it could be worse - so much worse. But patience is not a hallmark of being 16.

To be clear, I am not complaining. We haven’t been out of California as a family in many years so we know how lucky we are this week. Nevertheless our senses of humor have been tested! It’s not easy now that everyone is an adult with their own ideas. This one hates tours, that one wants to do nothing, I want everyone to Tango! I have found my eyes lingering with a little too much longing at the younger moms and dads with their babies in slings carrying them here and there with no running commentary!

Being felled by whatever bug this is started with my husband. He knows how much I love to blame him for stuff but really, he started coughing first. He’s great about being sick though, he just fully commits and gets rid of it in 24 hours. On the other hand, I always have this fantasy that I am going to power through - treating the symptoms like a hot yoga class where you just work through the symptoms until they go away. So now I’m leveled.

I’ll be fine in a few days and in the meantime I did get to see some very cool sights here.The Cathedral from 1580 is staggeringly majestic and still runs services open to the public. There was even a live confession booth with a priest! We also took a trip down the Tigre River - lots of homes on the river with no other access. Groceries are delivered by boats. There are also ice cream boats, boats with dentists and boats with doctors. Kids are picked up and dropped off for school by boat. No LA traffic! But also no good espresso so…trade offs. One of the most consistent images here is people carrying around their “mate” tea. People walk around on the street carrying these very specifically decorated clay cups with metal straws - all day long. There are special thermoses for it and carrying cases - it’s a yerba mate lifestyle. Mate has twice the caffeine of green tea and ten times more horrible taste. Like burnt, bitter grass. I love a good caffeine buzz but…nope.

I was so happy to see a senior community in the downtown district! It took me down a rabbit hole when I got back to the apartment to see what the senior care community is like here. Surprisingly, I found 4 pages of options just in Buenos Aires. I wasn’t expecting this because I thought it’s a largely American choice to have seniors live together, but it is not unusual to find this here as well. In researching this I came across this quote which may have something to do with people needing their space, “Argentinian parents seem to always emphasize what their children don’t do, or what they do poorly. It’s somewhat normal for Argentinian children to be lectured. Parental decisions are respected and followed, and parents have the last word in family matters.” Ay dios mio!!

I’m hoping to get out tomorrow for our last day. Fingers crossed that the boys don’t spar so much that someone gets a bloody nose, Tod to do his Borges walking tour and we leave having absorbed enough Argentine culture that I get to have the last word on everything they do for the rest of their lives!