We've been back in Argentina almost two weeks, and I have to say we have been having a fairly mild streak of weather so far. Saturday was officially the first day of winter, and it was close to 70 degrees that day. Even the coldest days have been in the high 50s, and I can live with that.
I do, however, frequently wear my Cuddl Duds because houses here do not have central heat and it's often colder inside than outside. It took us a few days to get the temperature in the casita to break 55 degrees, even with our wall heater running full blast. It wasn't until Ivan had the brainstorm to install a small fan just above the heater (which is in the small hallway between the two rooms), facing the bedroom, that the gauge began to edge up. We've managed to keep the temperature between 60-65 ever since.
We have found it necessary to kick the heater up on high at night because, without insulation, the block walls absorb the cold night air, causing the temperature to plummet inside as well as out. We prefer it to be a bit cooler at night anyway, because we both sleep better, so it's not a big deal that it gets down to 60 most nights.
July is just around the corner, though, and we anticipate much colder weather so we're hoping our fan+heater system will prove sufficient.
The day we got back, it was a lovely 72 degrees and sunny, making the transition from summer to winter a little easier. A lot of other things helped ease the transition too.
We had a rocky start to the trip due to horrible traffic in Chicago. We honestly feared we'd miss our flight. And when we did arrive and tried to check in at the little kiosk, we were told we had to see a live person.* Okay, so we get in line, nervously eying the clock. Thankfully the woman who took care of us was a kind, compassionate person who, after informing us that our flight had been moved up to 4:55 instead of 5:45 (we're even later than we thought! Oh no!), quickly took care of our paperwork and then escorted us to the front of the security line.
So we started breathing a little sigh of relief, only to be asked to move aside while they physically searched one of our carry-ons. Silly me, without even thinking, had put my new mandolin slicer in the carry-on because I was worried about it getting busted if I put it into the luggage we checked through. Ugh! I was sure they'd take it away, but again God provided a kind, compassionate person who allowed me to keep it. Whoop!
The clock ticking away, we ran the rest of the way to our gate, arriving just as they started boarding. Since we were in one of the latter groups to board, we had time to catch our breaths. Whew! Then they announced if anyone wanted to check through their carry-ons for free, they could. Ivan said "Why not? Less for us to haul around" so that's what we did (btw, the mandolin slicer came through the experience just fine). And it was really nice during our layovers in Miami and Santiago to have less stuff. As we were boarding a few minutes later, Ivan saw the attendants checking every carry-on to make sure it fit their size parameters, and he's pretty sure one of ours would have been too big. Another example of God's provision.
Good friends, Julio and Magdalena, picked us up from the airport, waiting patiently for us to get through customs. We were some of the last ones off the plane, and therefore almost the last through customs. We landed about noon and it was almost 2 p.m. before we made it out of the airport. For whatever reason (maybe because we were the last in line, and the customs folks were tired?) the customs guy waved us right through, so we didn't have to wait while they pawed through our luggage. Whoop!
Julio and Magdalena treated us to lunch before heading back to Carlos Paz, and then loaned us their car for the evening so we could get settled in and do a little shopping. That was nice because it gave me time to sweep and mop the casita before we unloaded our luggage from the car. It was also helpful because our car wouldn't start; Ivan had to charge it overnight.
Throughout the trip, we saw God's hand again and again, easing the transition in so many ways.
Before I start talking too much about life back in Argentina, I'm going to do a post or two about our last weekend in the states (Ivan's ordained! The quilt was finished!). I also wanted to let those inquiring-minds-who-want-to-know: Yes, the white bedspread made it here! And it looks very nice on our bed, adding more white to the space and giving the illusion that it's a bit bigger than it really is. Yeah for the power of white!
*The reason we were flagged at the airport and had to see a live person was due to the reciprocal tourist fee that Argentina has with the U.S., but from which we are exempted because we have permanent residency status here. Showing our national IDs took care of that hiccup.