Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere

So many in the U.S. had a white Christmas -- maybe too white? Looks like some of y'all got socked with so much of the white stuff that it took down power lines and caused a lot of problems over the long holiday weekend. Hope you're managing to stay warm and dry!

With opposite seasons here in the southern hemisphere, we're contending with the other extreme: HIGH temperatures. It's been in the high 90s and low 100s for a while now, so you can imagine how thrilled we were to wake up to much cooler weather on Christmas day. It was in the 70s all Tuesday! We didn't get the promised thunder storm, but we didn't mind because even without the precipitation, the cooling winds from the south were just what we needed.

Instead of roast turkey or baked ham, here the traditional Christmas day meal is asado (grilled meat), rounded out with a salad -- or four -- and some bread. Rather than pie, we like to dig into cool, refreshing ice cream for dessert.

We did have asado for the evening meal, but for lunch I had prepared pulled pork with homemade barbeque sauce on the side (recipe included below), cole slaw, and store-bought hot dog buns (because that's all I could find). Ivan and I put all that together on Monday, and took it with us to visit our friends in Villa del Totoral.

Gail put up her artificial tree and the Diem kids decorated it, so I was able to just sit and enjoy the Christmasy feeling. It has been fun to spend the past couple days with friends who have kids, and share their joy...setting up the plastic pins so the younger boy could practice his bowling skills, helping the older one put together a Lego helicopter, and playing tea party with the little all brought back sweet memories of Christmases past with our own kids.

Speaking of our kids... We were able to talk briefly with our son and his wife via skype in the evening, and it was good to hear their voices despite the bad connection. Although we didn't talk to our daughter, we did communicate via e-mail as she helped us with our Christmas e-card. I still miss sharing our Christmas traditions of reading Luke 2 and making a birthday cake for Jesus with them, but it did our hearts good to know both of our kids were enjoying their own wonderful Christmas.

One of my (other) favorite parts of Christmas day was listening to the men sing Christmas hymns as they cooked the asado. It was just a good day all around!

Another plus to spending a couple days with our friends, is that we were able to (finally) update my computer. We've tried to do it on several occasions but it was taking so long that we kept running out of time at cyber caf├ęs, and our attempts to do it via our neighbor's connection were also unsuccessful. [Since getting his phone/internet "fixed" the end of November, it's been down more often than not. Not a very good fix, in our opinion!]

Anyway, it was necessary to update my computer so that we could then restore my iPhone using the latest version of iTunes. Our son and his wife gifted us their iPhones when they upgraded last year but we have only just recently been able to use them.

First we had to wait until one of us got our DNI (national ID) and Ivan finally received his some months back. Then we found out that our phones were locked, meaning we had to send them back to the states so AT&T could unlock them. That took a while, since we didn't feel safe mailing them and waited until we knew someone traveling to the U.S. who could take them, and someone else traveling back to Argentina who could return them to us. Once we got them back we had to get a new cell phone plan, which also took some time (nothing, and I mean NOTHING is fast or simple here). While waiting for the plan, Ivan had gone ahead and updated his computer and restored his iPhone so he was in business as soon as the cell plan went into effect. But we hadn't done mine and by then we had moved and no longer had internet, which is why it took so long to get my computer updated.

It's exhausting just to read about the process, isn't it?!

But Monday night we updated my computer, Tuesday night we restored my iPhone and this morning Ivan cut the SIM card so I AM NOW CONNECTED! Because our plan includes 3G, I can check e-mails, play Words with Friends, and (theoretically anyway) write blog posts on my iPhone. However, I don't think that will happen often, if at all, because the iPhones aren't exactly typer-friendly, are they? At least for me it takes forever to type anything on that tiny little screen. BUT I DON'T CARE ABOUT THAT. I'm just so happy about all that I CAN do with it.

Yes, I know I'm using a lot of caps, but don't you think the news warrants them?!

Okay, I'll simmer down now and give you something to simmer yourselves: a really good recipe for homemade barbeque sauce. When we moved to Argentina in 2008, you couldn't even find barbeque sauce in the stores, except very occasionally Walmart would have a few bottles in the international food section. But since then the flavor has caught on and most groceries now carry one brand of sauce. I'm not a fan, because it tastes more like fancied up ketchup and not much like the barbeque sauce we're used to in the states. So I've been trying a variety of recipes gleaned from the internet, and we're really happy with this latest one. I'm sorry I don't remember where I found it, so I can't give credit where credit is due. It reminds me of my favorite KC Masterpiece original flavor.

Barbeque Sauce
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1-1/4 cups ketchup
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (or balsamic, which is what I used)
1/2 cup water
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2-1/2 t. ground mustard
2 t. paprika
1-1/2 t. kosher salt
1 t. freshly ground pepper

Mix well and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.


When I posted photos on my P365 blog the other day, I forgot to share a picture of our Christmas decorations in Sta. Rosa. Someone left a miniature tree out there so I set that up on a table and put my Christmas tree quilt on the wall behind it. It just so happened I had a craft bag along with ornaments I was working on, with three completed cathedral windows, so put those on and then bought a couple small packages of ornaments at a dollar-type store. Too bad we didn't think about taking more of our Christmas decorations from home, but I'd forgotten about the little tree. I wouldn't have remembered it at all, but came across it while giving the house a good annual cleaning. Next year I'll be better prepared!
The tiles in front of the tree were gifts from our niece-in-law (thanks, Joy!), and I thought they added just the perfect final touch.


Mari said...

Merry Christmas! It's hard to imagine Christmas in warm weather. However, we had a green Christmas here, although it's quite cold. There's a lot of snow about 1 1/2 hours all around us, but it missed us.
I love your quilt - very cheery!

skoots1mom said...

love your decorations! Merry Christmas...we just returned home from Charles' sister' was good to see everyone. weather was in the 60' home to colder weather, for's in the 30s tonight.

The Bug said...

I love that quilt - gorgeous! I'm so glad you got your phone updated :)

rita said...

You are learning to/having to exercise MUCHA PACIENCIA what with TODO being slow and the FALTA de technological toys.

What a beauteous quilt!

Blessings--many answers to prayer in 2013!

Joe and Gail Owens said...

Yes, it was a great day with you Kim. I think that was the best Christmas day ever in Argentina-except for when our daughters were here. And thank you for the beautiful, quilted table-runner you gave me. I love it and enjoy it every single day. Thanks for the recipe for barbecue sauce...we really liked the pulled pork. Keep posting.

Joe and Gail Owens said...

Yes, we had a great time with you and Ivan on Christmas Day...the best ever. Thank you for the quilted table makes me happy every day.

Lhoyt said...

I had to laugh at your comment that NOTHING is fast and simple in Argentina. So much depends on perspective and perception. I guess I would see it that way now, but there was a time when you just took it for granted that a request for a phone would be fulfilled sometime in your lifetius, unless you wereoak ling to grease some palms, which I was not. And you might have a temporary license plate for a year or two, You name it it all took ages, and for an American that is tantamount to TORTURE! But there is something to be said for the unhurried way of life,which has all but disappeared here and in the big cities in Argentina

Lhoyt said...

BTW, always enjoy your pix and your creative quiltwork is fabulous!